The explosion in the atmosphere over the coming Cold War years of hundreds upon hundreds of atomic bombs—big and small; fission and fusion; to be launched by missiles or dropped by aircraft or fired from guns; made by the United…Read more

Vampire bats, despite my first unfortunate experience, are actually gentle when not defending themselves against what must initially be perceived as an attack by a giant spider. Though much maligned for their blood-feeding habits, vampires are actually quite sophisticated. They…Read more

‘Alalçs are large and have midnight black feathers and blue eyes that turn to brown as they mature. They were abundant in Hawaii’s montane forests and mountain slopes, places where ‘ohi’a and koa trees grew, and fruits and seeds as…Read more

Cultures that never invented, or borrowed, agricultural technology never created ornamental gardens. Examples of such nongardening societies include, but are not limited, to the !Kung people (San) of the Kalahari Desert, the Kayapó of Brazil, the Australian Kooris, and pastoralists…Read more

The ocean sunfish, a creature that borders on ugly, looks like something created by a committee and then in disgust tossed into the sea. Even the fish’s simple scientific name, Mola mola, suggests a committee compromise. Almost anyone would be…Read more

While closed landfills have emerged as popular sites for solar power, enterprising developers are also searching deep within the fabric of our older cities for new solar prospects. Chicago’s West Pullman neighborhood hosts one of these installations, on heavily polluted…Read more

In spite of being partially blind from 1800 onwards, Wollaston, one of the leading scientists of his day, made many contributions to optics. The 1802 discovery came when, following in the footsteps of Isaac Newton, he was studying the spectrum…Read more

“The evolution of this doesn’t seem to be logical,” he began, and told me how starches, oils, fats, proteins, and other energy strategies seem to be scattered at random across the plant kingdom. No one technique stands out as more…Read more

You may be surprised to learn that simply being awake creates toxic products in your brain. During sleep, your cells shrink, causing a striking increase in the space between your cells. This is equivalent to turning on a faucet—it allows…Read more