Astronomy Cast Ep. 508: 2018 Vacation Present Guide

We did it, we made it to the end of another year. Once again it’s time to wonder what gifts to get your beloved space nerds. We’ve got some suggestions. Some are brand new this year, others are classics that we just can’t help but continue to suggest. Let’s get into it. We usually record…
Teach Children About Social Justice With These Books

Teach Children About Social Justice With These Books

As parents, the list of things we want to teach and instill in our kids is endless. We want them to grow up to be people who brush their teeth twice a day—and floss. We want them to clean up after themselves and do their best in school (while also not being too hard on…
The Uneasy Alliance In Between Astrophysics and Warfare

The Uneasy Alliance In Between Astrophysics and Warfare

The fact that “we are all made of star stuff,” as Carl Sagan famously put it, has become fairly common knowledge by now, celebrated in movies, poems, and song lyrics. What’s generally not known is that a key confirmation of “stellar nucleosynthesis,” the creation of the heavy elements that comprise our bodies and our planet,…
Great voids: The Ultimate Heart of Darkness

Great voids: The Ultimate Heart of Darkness

If Stephen King had chosen astrophysics for a career, odds are good that he’d be studying black holes. They’re astronomy’s greatest horror show. Consider if you fell into one: “The stretching force of gravity would ‘spaghettify’ [you],” writes Chris Impey in “Einstein’s Monsters: The Life and Times of Black Holes.” “You would be stretched at…
Shift and Accomplishment: A Transgender Researcher’s Story

Shift and Accomplishment: A Transgender Researcher’s Story

In 1997, a Stanford University neuroscientist wrote a letter to his colleagues. He signed the letter with his birth name, Barbara Barres, but made it clear that from now on he wished to be known as Ben. “Whenever I think about changing my gender role, I am flooded with feelings of relief,” he wrote. “Whenever…
Amongst the Whales: 5 Concerns for Nicholas D. Pyenson

Amongst the Whales: 5 Concerns for Nicholas D. Pyenson

Nick Pyenson’s office in the depths of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History is crammed with stuff. Fossils — real and 3D-printed — large skulls, and miniscule bones are piled next to books, files and folders, along with many, many boxes. Which isn’t surprising, given that Pyenson is the museum’s curator of fossil…
In “Increasing,” Elizabeth Rush Provides an Elegy for Our Damaged Coasts

In “Increasing,” Elizabeth Rush Provides an Elegy for Our Damaged Coasts

The fates of humans and coastal ecosystems are often more intertwined than we realize. Nearly 40 percent of Americans, or about 120 million people, live on the coasts — along with thousands of breeding pairs of ospreys; millions of shrimp, lobsters, salmon; and countless other species of birds and bugs, mammals and plants. And as…
Get Your Teenager to Check Out a Classic Unique With Instagram Stories

Get Your Teenager to Check Out a Classic Unique With Instagram...

Photo: Donald Iain Smith (Getty Images) A third of today’s teenagers don’t read books for pleasure, reports a survey from the American Psychological Association. That’s nearly triple the number reported in the 1970s. And yet teens are reading—perhaps more than ever before. Glued to screens, they’re voraciously consuming words in the form of texts, photo…
An Elephant’s Carcass, and a Grim Tip of Poaching’s Victims

An Elephant’s Carcass, and a Grim Tip of Poaching’s Victims

It was my first time in a helicopter. As the red, doorless Robinson R44 lifted wobbly above the African tree line, kicking up a thick cloud of dust in its wake, I couldn’t help but notice that my frayed nylon seatbelt was the only thing holding me back from the vast, dry forest of Malawi’s…
Check out to Your Kid With the Perfect Noise Impacts Accompaniment

Check out to Your Kid With the Perfect Noise Impacts Accompaniment

Photo: Novel Effect Last night, I read my daughter a story before bed, like I always do. I picked an old favorite from her bookshelf—Giraffes Can’t Dance. But this time, a musical cast accompanied my narration. “The warthogs started waltzing ...” I read. Just then, a romantic melody started playing. I continued. “And the rhinos…
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