There are, indeed, moments in time when the heavens touch the earth, and the results are truly awesome: Natural glass, formed when sandy soil is melted by lightning and then quickly cooled, is wild in
Archives for October 2011
I’ve been reading a lot lately about the controversy over fracking—fracturing layers of shale, deep underground, using a concoction of pressurized water, sand, and chemicals, to release pockets of natural gas trapped in the rocks.
Stress, suffering, and the musical possibilities of not throwing a piano off the top of a tall building
A piano: I can smell it before I see it—wood and dust and what else I’m not sure. I don’t know what makes piano-smell different from the tang of generic wooden furniture. Maybe all the other parts, the felt and steel and iron, give it that unique character. But I know that smell, even before I can name it.
When you think of climate change research, mucking through mangrove mud in the Federated States of Micronesia probably doesn’t first come to mind. But there I was, waist deep in evidence. Welcome to the dirty
Laughter is like dope: addictive and inebriating. People use laughs as social lubricant, the way we drink alcohol to ease tension and loosen up. But this laughter high may be more than a metaphor, a
To a paleontologist, early humans and their relatives are a bit like paper dolls. Instead of hats or dresses, the interchangeable pieces are an array of fossilized body parts, ranging from apelike to almost human.
Last week, I started a series of discussions over at my blog, The Panic Virus, under the rubric SciWriteLabs. The idea was to harness some of the excitement and energy that had sprung up around