Latest from Low Earth Orbit

Since I’ve previously used this blog to write about my admiration for astronauts (links), I thought I’d provide an update on some of the people currently inhabiting the International Space Station. First and foremost, a big shout-out to Iowa-born Peggy Whitson, the current ISS commander who has spent more time in space than any other American, male Read More …

Our New Computer Overlords

The current President and his cabinet have said a lot of confounding things over these past 100 days or so, but one comment struck me as especially curious. During an interview last month, former hedge-fund manager and current Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin was asked about artificial intelligence and its potential impact on the Read More …

Fly Me to the Moon

You may have missed it given all the other headlines of late, but we have an early candidate for science story of the year. Two weeks ago, Elon Musk announced that his company, SpaceX, had been approached by two as-yet unnamed people who want to visit the Moon on one of his rockets and then return Read More …

Science in the White House

As the Presidency of Barack Hussein Obama draws to a close, I thought I’d remind everyone that he has been a tireless promoter of science for the past eight years. Among other things, he launched the BRAIN Initiative, the Precision Medicine Initiative, and he helped broker a global climate agreement in Paris. He privatized the space industry. He even Read More …

America the Beautiful

I don’t often shill for multi-billion dollar corporations, but the past few weeks have got me thinking about one of my all-time favorite commercials. It’s the now-famous ad for Coca-Cola that features “America the Beautiful” being sung in multiple languages. The commercial irked a surprising number of people when it first aired during the Super Bowl Read More …

Wild Horses at the National Zoo

The so-called wild mustangs who roam the American West are actually descended from domestic animals, and are thus technically feral mustangs. In fact, most of the world’s free-ranging horses are feral, though there is one famous exception. The horses who roam the Mongolian highlands, known to science and history as Przewalski horses, have never consented to Read More …

Basket of Adorables

One of the benefits of studying the history of animals is that you occasionally come across images like this one in the archives. Vermont studio H.C. White and Co. photographed this basket of puppies for the stereoscope in 1906, and the stereo card is now housed at the Library of Congress. In fact, the Library contains Read More …