June 5, 2013 Last week NASA scientists put the space telescope Kepler in a kind of technological coma. The craft, designed to search for Earth-like planets orbiting stars in our cosmic neighborhood (within a few thousand light-years, that is), failed and seems to be unfixable. But it has left us with an undeniable legacy.
June 5, 2013 Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is on trial for allegedly aiding the enemy by providing classified documents to WikiLeaks. Shlomo Cohen questions WikiLeaks' intent in releasing the material, while Jeff Danziger, a decorated Army veteran, doubts whether Manning will get a fair trial.
June 4, 2013 Given the resistance that has grown in this country to any form of science that treads too closely to someone's cherished ideology, celebrating science for the gift that it is with a big, honking festival seems like a good idea, says commentator Adam Frank.
June 4, 2013 President Obama's job approval ratings have taken a turn for the worse, according to several recent polls. Joel Pett points out that some of Obama's critics supported his goals, while Mike Peters thinks that by comparison, the president isn't doing so badly.
June 3, 2013 Are most people's political opinions based on information or illusion? Commentator Tania Lombrozo discusses recent research on confronting our own lack of understanding when it comes to questions of complex public policy.
June 3, 2013 While in Syria, Sen. John McCain may have had his picture taken with alleged sectarian kidnappers. Pat Bagley says the photo-flap emphasizes the complexity of possible U.S. involvement. Hajo De Reijger believes the EU's decision to lift an arms embargo will lead to too many weapons in the country.
June 2, 2013 Donald Justice's poems are not interested in making us feel comfortable or special. Yet author Mary Szybist says there is something about them that she finds profoundly consoling.
June 2, 2013 Genetically modified wheat has cropped up where it doesn't belong, causing domestic and international repercussions. David Fitzsimmons sees little chance for increased oversight of GMOs, while Rodrigo de Matos thinks feeding the world doesn't leave many appetizing alternatives.
June 1, 2013 The New York Times reported this week that only 1 in 8 of New York's public high schools still has a student newspaper. National figures are only a bit better. NPR's Scott Simon says student newspapers are the latest victims of social media.
June 1, 2013 Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann said this week that she won't run for re-election. Steve Sack and Nate Beeler demonstrate that sadness and joy over departure did not break along ideological lines.
May 31, 2013 Big Data promises a future where our Big Cities become more flexible and responsive to human needs, argues commentator Adam Frank. While danger may lurk in the data sets, the fact is that we may need to mine Big Data for solutions to our everyday problems.
May 31, 2013 Commentator Alva Noë is taken by the work of Tino Sehgal at the 2013 Venice Art Biennale. It's hard to explain, but in the end he concludes that we do not stand apart from art. We are engaged with art in ways that we don't always expect.
May 31, 2013 U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder faces questions on his testimony that he wasn't involved in decisions regarding the possible prosecution of journalists. Chip Bok dislikes how the Justice Department has targeted news organizations. Nate Beeler says Republicans also don't have a great track record.
May 30, 2013 Less than a week after President Obama announced a new drone policy, a high-ranking Taliban leader was reportedly killed in Pakistan in a U.S. strike. Clay Bennett sees drone use as a net loss, while earlier this year Mike Smith pointed out that it depends on which side of the loss you're on.
May 29, 2013 Can we act backwards in time? We can if we're talking about the world of quantum particles! It seems that the human mind plays a role in this time puzzle, too. Our role may even have something to do with why the universe exists.