Science

Listening To The Echoes Of Creation

Scientists last week revealed evidence of gravitational waves from the very beginning of the universe. Commentator Marcelo Gleiser asks: Are we closer to understanding creation itself?

The National Science Foundation's South Pole Station, home to the BICEP2 telescope.

Culture

Science And Fiction Without Science Fiction

Once in a while Hollywood produces a gem, says physicist Adam Frank. He cherishes movies that fold together science and humanity in a way that allows us to look at ourselves and our society anew.

The 2011 film Another Earth, directed by Mike Cahill, explores very human questions against an improbable backdrop.

Science

The Rotating Snakes Are All In Your Mind

Illusions aren't just for fun; they also help reveal how human vision works. Commentator Tania Lombrozo turns to an expert for an explanation of why we perceive motion where none exists.

When the Rotating Snakes illusion is presented in grayscale, most people still perceive motion, but less than in the original color version.

Science

Digging Into The Roots Of Gender Differences

When girls act differently from boys, both biological and cultural factors may be at work. But which is primary, and can research on chimpanzees shed light on the answer?

Two children running hand in hand on a meadow on a sunny day.

Policy

Is That Another Wave Of Collapse Headed Our Way?

Is civilization on the brink of collapse? Every age has its seers who falsely claim that all is rotten. But it's also true, as a new study notes, that history is littered with examples of implosion.

London's financial district, known as the Square Mile. Will it be one of the first dominoes to fall when society can no longer sustain itself?

Culture

Do We Know What Life Is?

Life, in all its forms, is amazing. Neil deGrasse Tyson captures some of this wonder in the latest episode of Cosmos. But commentator Alva Noë says he also seemed to avoid the biggest question of all.

Polar bears are a great example of natural selection and evolution. But how did this ball get rolling?

Science

A New Window On The Big Bang Has Been Opened

The very first moments of the universe hold secrets we'd very much like to know. Commentator Adam Frank says news today takes us a step closer to understanding the origins of the cosmos.

The BICEP2 telescope at twilight, which occurs only twice a year at the South Pole.

Science

The Green You See Is Not The Green You See

Just in time for St. Patrick's Day, commentator Tania Lombrozo brings us two illusions in green. Look at them long and hard, if you dare.

In this perceptual illusion, regions of the image in peripheral vision appear to be in motion. In fact, the entire image is static.

Culture

Beware Of The Quick-Fix Mirage

The jury is still out of brain-fitness programs. And this shouldn't surprise us. Getting our heads in shape isn't likely to be easier than getting our bodies fit, says Alva Noë.

Just because you can get your body or your mind in shape doesn't mean you will actually do the hard work necessary to succeed. Inertia is powerful thing.

Philosophy

The Astronaut Who Went On Strike

In the story of astronaut William Pogue's quest for more contemplative time in space, commentator Barbara J. King finds inspiration for everyday life here on Earth.

The three members of the Skylab 4 crew (left to right): Gerald P. Carr, commander; Edward G. Gibson, science pilot; and William R. Pogue, pilot.

Culture

When Art Is Queer

Is there such a thing as gay art? Commentator Barbara J. King visited an exhibit in New York this week called "Queer Threads" and says she learned a lot about human connectivity and community.

Sheila Pepe, Your Granny's Not Square, 2008, Crocheted shoelaces and yarn, 84 x 144 x 48 in.

Philosophy

The Truth Is, Philosophy Rules Your World

A remarkable new book brings Plato back to teach us how to make our lives matter and why philosophy is here to stay. Commentator Marcelo Gleiser can't recommend it enough.

A 2012 installation in the small Italian village of Corigliano d'Otranto celebrates the philosophies of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle and their search for a better way of life.

Culture

Plane Lost, Uncertainties Regained

The mystery of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 is all the more troubling given how certain we seem to be about everything around us. Has technology inoculated us from reality?

Uncertainty is the order of the day as officials in Kuala Lumpur brief the media on a missing Malaysia Airlines jet.

Policy

Evolution Is Coming To A Storybook Near You

Kids love animals. They love stories, too. Bring the two together, mix in a little science, and you suddenly have a potent teaching tool, says commentator Tania Lombrozo.

"Better Together" will illustrate a story about bird personalities and cooperation when the book Great Adaptations is published in the fall.

Culture

What Is The Funniest Joke In The World?

A new book by Scott Weems on humor and human nature raises fascinating questions about why we laugh. Commentator Alva Noë cracks up easily and asks for help collecting some more jokes.

A man covers his mouth as he laughs.