Science

The Joys of Being a Natural History Artist

Debby Kaspari— I’m a natural history artist, and try to draw and paint from living animals whenever possible. Some of what I do in the field might turn out to be finished art, and some of it will become raw material for studio works. But making the art is only

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When Healthcare Is About ‘Parts and Money’

Abraham M. Nussbaum— As you become a physician, you feel as if you are learning to see people as a compendium of parts and a source of income: parts and money. No one pulls you aside during training and tells you this plainly. Just the same, you learn, as I

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Should You Go to a Sleep Clinic?

Meir Kryger— Many millions of people throughout the world have sleeping problems. In America alone, an estimated 80 million have had problems with their sleep. The percentage of people in Europe with sleep problems varies from about 30% in Poland to about 17% of the population in Italy and Denmark,

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Groundwater: Overpumped, Undervalued, and Essential to Water and Food Security

William M. Alley and Rosemarie Alley— Groundwater is the source of drinking water for about half the world’s people, as well as the dominant source of household water in rural areas. Many large cities depend solely or largely on groundwater. Groundwater is also critical to food production, providing more than

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Silent Assassins: How Owls Adapted to Nocturnal Hunting

Mike Unwin— You needn’t be a birder to recognize an owl. The round face and large, forward-facing eyes immediately distinguish it from any other bird. And it is arguably this face—with its superficially human expressions—that explains why owls have maintained such a hold on our imaginations. It has led us to personify the

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Stage Fright, Shyness, and Speaking to the Crowd

Joe Moran— I have been shy for as long as I can remember. For half of my life it just seemed an inconvenience, something to live with rather than be curious about. I became interested in shyness as a subject—one that might repay careful reflection—when I began to find my

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Why Israel’s Population Matters

Alon Tal— Some fifty years ago, environmentalists began to speak out about the grave environmental impacts of an exponentially growing population. These concerns resonated with large elements of the public, even as the implications flew in the face of some axiomatic assumptions about modern, Western society. Growing populations are associated

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Finding Solace in the Cosmos

David Bercovici— I was born in 1960, and by the time I decided I wanted to be a scientist at the young age of 12, the Vietnam War had been going on for my entire life. As far as any of us of that generation were concerned, the war had

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Vera Rubin and the Discovery of Dark Matter

James Owen Weatherall— When Vera Rubin was first invited to use the telescope at the Palomar Observatory, in the mountains outside San Diego, the form she was asked to fill out included the following notice: “Due to limited Facilities, it is not possible to accept application from women.” In pencil, someone

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Politics in the Age of Social Media

Emily Weinstein & Howard Gardner— While there was never a “golden age” of politics, journalism, or democracy, social media has permanently disrupted assumptions that were widely shared for much of the twentieth century. In that earlier era, political parties were strong; candidates for major offices were vetted by people who

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