Intrepid astronomer and science advocate Carl Sagan envisioned society’s potential as peaceful, compassionate, curious, awe-inspired, and, yes, even skeptical. In his PBS series Cosmos, Sagan explored a rarely talked-about perspective regarding our place in the vast universe, bringing mind-bending concepts about life and space to popular culture. In honor of the science writer’s cosmic legacy — this weekend marked what would have been Sagan’s 80th birthday — we’re looking back on several thought-provoking quotes about our planet and… Read More
If you’ve done any kind of traveling outside the United States, it will quickly dawn on you just how young America really is. Brooklyn-based artist, 2014 Guggenheim Fellow, and TED speaker Rachel Sussman has photographic evidence. Her The Oldest Living Things in the World series, which we first spotted on Photojojo, documents the artist’s research and travels across continents in search of the world’s oldest inhabitants—continuously living things that have weathered 2,000 years or more. … Read More
Have you seen those nifty black cotton swabs from Muji? They look really cool — well, about as cool as cotton swabs can look — but they actually suck. The whole point of cleaning your ears is looking at the resulting honey-colored gunk, a pleasure that’s wholly denied by the black cotton swabs! But, apparently, we shouldn’t even be cleaning our ears, regardless of the color of the cotton swabs. … Read More
There’s a small indie film that came out a couple of years ago, Robot and Frank, which features Frank Langella as “Frank,” an aging, elderly retiree with a case of dementia whose worried kids hire a live-in nurse for his day-to-day life. But in this case, the live-in nurse is a robot. It’s a smart, well made small film, ostensibly cute on the surface (“Robot” and Frank, a former cat burglar, rob a house together!), but it has a lot to say about aging, friendship, and how we’re going to deal with technology in the future. … Read More
Can an eye change the world? Are we here but not there? Is it ethically dubious to give worms sight, as if we are playing God? If we prove that the eye is a genetic mutation, does that make the idea of intelligent design moot? Is there a spirit in the great beyond where we’re all cats and dogs married in our souls? If even we have souls anyways?
Have you ever gotten high and pondered semi-deep thoughts that come from your handful of college science classes? Yes? Then you could probably write a pretty OK Mike Cahill movie. … Read More
We are an obsessed culture, and there are few things we tend to fixate on more than finding love. Over 41 million people in the United States have attempted to find a partner through online dating — a billion-dollar industry that banks on our desire for a connection. But services like OkCupid, Tinder, and Match.com weren’t the first computer-based dating platforms — or the first matchmakers. We spotted eight vintage matchmaking devices and services that demonstrate how dating was done before the age of the Internet. … Read More
Space advocate, science nerd, and author Carl Sagan believed “the Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena” and that we have a responsibility to “deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.” He wrote about humanity’s interconnectedness with all things, including the faraway places we have yet to explore, with poetry, passion, and wisdom. To celebrate Sagan’s birthday, we’ve gathered 25 of the most beautiful space-related tattoos — and a few that even feature Sagan (and his words) himself. … Read More