Browsing: Science

How do we cope with the fact that the universe is dying? We find the most comfort in forming connections, creating the world we want to live in, and valuing the time we have together on this isolated yet beautiful planet. The seventh annual Universe in Verse, a celebration of the wonder of reality through science and poetry, entailed a joyful collaboration with Australian musician and writer Nick Cave and Brazilian artist and filmmaker Daniel Bruson on an animated poem that reflects on this fundamental question of being alive. BUT WE HAD MUSIC by Maria Popova Right… read article

A version of this essay appeared in The New York Times Book Review. A cloud is a spell against indifference, an emblem of the water cycle that makes this planet a living world capable of trees and tenderness, a great cosmic gasp at the improbability that such a world exists, that across the cold expanse of spacetime strewn with billions upon billions of other star systems, there is nothing like it as far as we yet know. Clouds are almost as old as this world, born when primordial volcanos first exhaled the chemistry of the molten planet into the sky,… read article

In Gallery 919, in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, there is a giant breathing machine. Its creator, William Kentridge, calls it “the elephant,” after Charles Dickens’s description of factory machines that move “monotonously up and down, like the head of an elephant in a state of melancholy madness.” On the walls surrounding the elephant […]

Humans have long had a desire to capture the now—to freeze the current moment to look back on after it has left us. We painted, wrote things down, developed photography and storage systems, and built vast libraries of books and images. In 1939, during the New York World’s Fair, Westinghouse introduced the first-ever “time capsule” […]