by PAUL RATNER Propeller-driven snowmobile near Haapasaari, Finland. The swastika was used as the official national marking of the Finnish Air Force and Tank Corps between 1918 and 1945. (SA-kuva) A Russian expedition into the Arctic circle has unearthed a treasure-trove of artifacts from a secret Nazi weather station. It was set up on the island of Alexandra Land (in Franz Josef Land) during World War 2.
As we go about our daily lives in the year 2016, fretting about the nearby future, especially with the U.S. elections coming up, it helps to step back and take a look at the bigger picture. We are living in what seems like an advanced civilization, but let’s not kid ourselves – we are still technological infants.
In a French cave deep underground, scientists have discovered what appear to be 176,000-year-old man-made structures. That’s 150,000 years earlier than any that have been discovered anywhere before. And they could only have been built by Neanderthals, people who were never before considered capable of such a thing.
To understand the human brain we often turn to neuroscientists and psychologists. Two decades ago, Professor of Archaeology Steven Mithen decided to explore the origins of our nervous system (and much more) through his field of study. Besides popularizing the term ‘cognitive fluidity,’ in his landmark book, The Prehistory of the Mind: The Cognitive Origins of Art, Religion, and Science, Mithen speculated on exactly how primates evolved to the current iteration of the brain.
The apocalypse is nigh! From zombies to bird flu, there is no shortage of ways the human race can go extinct in the near future. But before you run off to a bunker and start stockpiling ammunition, take a look at the Swedish Global Challenges Foundation’s (GCF) Global Catastrophic Risk Report. We have bigger problems than The Walking Dead and Birdemic.
As you go through life, some days seem longer, some shorter, but altogether it’s often hard to get a sense of what actually constitutes your life while you’re living it. There are too many demands on your time, too many variables. Life just flows and flows, in a succession of days that seems endless until it isn’t.
We didn’t always sleep how we do today–a full eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. Several centuries ago, doctors prescribed a far different sleep regimen. But the advent of the light bulb changed all that.Lynn Stuart Parramore of Alternet found this lost history of sleep while trying to remedy her own sleep issues. She would wake for a couple hours in the middle of the night, becoming anxious that the next day she would be sleep deprived. But she discovered her midnight wakefulness was considered natural… several centuries ago.
You can’t step in the same river twice, but still it flows in the same direction. That is how Heraclitus sticks in my mind. Like many other presocratic philosophers, Heraclitus lived on the shores of Asia Minor, but his ideas leapt across the Aegean Sea to mainland Greece and eventually to further parts of Europe.
Becoming a planet that will support life is a complicated matter, one that scientists haven’t quite unraveled. MIHAILULIANIKOV/ISTOCK/THINKSTOCK Just in case you were feeling significant today, consider this: There could be 40 billion planets — all of them the size of Earth — orbiting sun-like stars in the Milky Way galaxy. And that doesn’t even include the other planetary possibilities that surely exist outside our own interstellar neck of the woods.
We would like a word with our fifth-grade teachers. How is it that so many supposedly educated adults still believe thatBenjamin Franklin discovered electricity when his kite was struck by lightning, and that Columbus discovered America while trying to prove that the world was round? It can’t be because we’re ignorant, or gullible, or both. Better to blame the fifth-grade teachers. For shame, Mr. Donnelly. For shame.