Some philosophers argue humans use grocery lists or Scrabble trays as an extension of our minds, outsourcing some of our problem solving to the outside world. Now two biologists have made the controversial proposal that spiders may do the same with their webs, joining other animals that appear to “think” outside their brains.
As the iconic Florida panther claws its way back from the brink of extinction, clashes with humans are ramping up and the long-term future of the species hangs in the balance. In June 2016, I went down to southwestern Florida to investigate.
Just how fast the universe is expanding has long been one of the most contentious questions in physics. Now a new disagreement over this rate is pitting two houses—astronomers in the school of Edwin Hubble, and cosmologists who study the afterglow of the big bang—against each other.
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Nestled between small limestone islands in the Pacific nation of Palau is a coral reef that has evolved to resist climate change-esque conditions. In January 2015, I flew there as part of my graduate school thesis to understand what that means to coral reef biologists and their Palauan hosts.
In 1957, the physicists Margaret and Geoffrey Burbidge, William Fowler and Fred Hoyle laid out a set of recipes for how the lives and deaths of stars could fill in almost every slot in the periodic table. That implied that humans, or at least the elements making up our bodies, were once stardust. So was gold—somehow.