Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 5.27.22 PM

On Night, Darkness & the Past

When we banish the dark, what do we lose? The stars, of course. But what else? Archaeologist Colleen Morgan reflects. In Turkey and Jordan I’d sleep on the roof, watching shooting stars and satellites, feeling the depth of space all around me. In cities, hell, in most places, all the artificial light flattens the sky, makes it a far-away, vaulted ceiling. In moonless nights in the desert the night sky consumes you,…

image
6

Creationism dismissed as ‘a kind of paganism’ by Vatican’s astronomer

Brother Consolmagno, who works in a Vatican observatory in Arizona and as curator of the Vatican meteorite collection in Italy, said a “destructive myth” had developed in modern society that religion and science were competing ideologies. He described creationism, whose supporters want it taught in schools alongside evolution, as a “kind of paganism” because it harked back to the days of “nature gods” who were responsible for natural events. —The Scotsman…

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 4.50.17 PM
5

The six wives of Henry VIII, in pie chart form

If you’ve ever wanted to see the reigns of Henry VIII’s wives represented in a pie chart, the New Statesman is here to serve. Catherine was queen for 24 years. That’s nearly seven times longer than her nearest successor. It’s nearly 50 times longer than Anne of Cleves, who was queen for all of six months. There was barely time to adjust the headband on the crown. Frame it a…

image
3

The dark future of American space exploration: NASA’s golden age is about to come to a thudding halt

I remember, as a kid, being thrilled by the images that came in from the Voyager flybys in the late 70s and 80s. I wrote a fan letter to NASA when I was about 11, and received a big stack of glossy publications on the Space Shuttle and commercial technologies spun off from NASA inventions. If NASAs New Horizons mission to Pluto is extended beyond 2017, the entire active human presence at…

image

Ancient Sea Rise Tale Told Accurately for 10,000 Years

“It’s quite gobsmacking to think that a story could be told for 10,000 years,” Nicholas Reid, a linguist at Australia’s University of New England specializing in Aboriginal Australian languages, said. “It’s almost unimaginable that people would transmit stories about things like islands that are currently underwater accurately across 400 generations.” —Scientific American.

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 4.31.50 PM

Earth With Rings

Sure, Saturn’s rings are cool, but the Earth is pretty awesome too, what with the water, the oxygen, the life, the chocolate. So let’s imagine just how awesome Earth would be if it also had rings. Ron Miller’s illustrations show various views of the earth with what that lucky planet Saturn has. —Ron Miller/Black Cat Studios