- What, exactly, is life?
- Evidence for extra-terrestrial life is mounting daily.
- Fire In The Sky, 35 Years Later: An interview with abductee Travis Walton.
- Real-life Da Vinci Code: Historians discover tiny numbers and letters in the eyes of the Mona Lisa.
- Coded manuscript by Leonardo da Vinci discovered in a public library in the French city of Nantes.
- Buried in Peru’s desert, fossils draw smugglers.
- A critique of recent Neanderthal stories.
- ‘Eden’: Evidence is mounting that a 75,000-year-old human settlement – the first human civilization outside of Africa – may lie beneath the waters of the Persian Gulf.
- The great-grandmother of Jesus was St. Ismeria, according to medieval manuscripts.
- Lego replica of Antikythera Mechanism is mind-blowing.
- Sympathetic magic: When does vandalism become an archaeological feature? When it’s done in antiquity, of course.
- ‘Missing links’ carry around a surprising amount of intellectual baggage.
- Margaret Mead’s war theory kicks butt of neo-Darwinian and Malthusian models.
- Documents released by the National Archives shed new light on the genesis of Eisenhower’s warning against a “military-industrial complex.”
- Thousands of newly declassified documents from the National Archives show that, after World War II, American counterintelligence recruited former Gestapo officers, SS veterans and Nazi collaborators to an even greater extent than had been previously disclosed and helped many of them avoid prosecution or looked the other way when they escaped.
- Fujitsu has built a device that simultaneously harvests energy from light and heat.
- As Russia plans to build a glass-domed undergound city deep beneath Siberian ice, Nick Duerden explores subterranean dwelling.
- Healing thyself: Does psychedelic therapy exploit the placebo effect?
- Study of controversial hallucinogen Salvia shows intense, novel effects in humans.
- Our brains are wired so we can better hear ourselves speak. And to hear ourselves think?
- Eating purple-coloured fruit such as blueberries could help ward off Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s because it soaks up harmful iron compounds, new research suggests.
- Something From Nothing: Researchers find that matter can be conjured from a vacuum.
- The end of planet formation, as told by trace elements from the mantles of Earth, the moon and Mars.
- Violent origin for Saturn’s rings.
- In a recent article, How Big Was It, Really? A New Way To Think About The News, NPR’s Robert Krulwich talked about Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s walk across the lunar surface back in 1969 and wondered, how come they walked such a modest distance? The next day, he got an email from Neil Armstrong, talking about the first moon walk.
Thanks to Charlotte P, Dr. Greg Little, and Red Pill Junkie.
Quote of the Day:
Data: Doctor, what is the definition of life?
Doctor Crusher: That is a BIG question. Why do you ask?
Data: I am searching for a definition that will allow me to test an hypothesis.
Doctor Crusher: Well, the broadest scientific definition might be that life is what enables plants and animals to consume food, derive energy from it, grow, adapt themselves to their surroundings, and reproduce.
Data: And you suggest that anything that exhibits these characteristics is considered alive?
Doctor Crusher: In general, yes.
Data: What about me? I do not grow. I do not reproduce. Yet I am considered to be alive.
Doctor Crusher: That’s true. But you are unique.
Data: Hmm. I wonder if that is so.
Doctor Crusher: Data, if I may ask, what exactly are you getting at?
Data: I’m curious as to what transpired between the moment when I was nothing more than an assemblage of parts in Dr. Soong’s laboratory and the next moment when I became alive. What is it that endowed me with life?
Doctor Crusher: I remember Wesley asking me a similar question when he was little, and I tried desperately to give him an answer. But everything I said sounded inadequate. Then I realized that scientists and philosophers have been grappling with that question for centuries without coming to any conclusion.
Data: Are you saying the question cannot be answered?
Doctor Crusher: No – I think I’m saying that we struggle all our lives to answer it — that it’s the struggle that is important. That’s what helps us to define our place in the universe.
Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Quality of Life episode.
This quote was mostly found in a 2008 forum thread’s heated argument over whether on not several sci-fi creations, especially Transformers, are ‘alive’.