Are we alone? Given the immensity of the Cosmos, a mathematical impossibility. Will we ever come to know we are not alone? That's a tougher question. But should first contact occur today we could be in for a shock1. So right now may be a good time to prepare. And perhaps the best way to prepare is to imagine the possibility...
2004: A Historic Year (But Only If ...) (Space)
If the processes that began in 2004 are not seized upon and followed up, argues Rick Tumlinson, private sector initiatives into space might well join the Apollo program as historical dead ends.
Penrose: The Answer's Not 42 (Wired)
One of the world's greatest physicists, Roger Penrose, takes on the grand unifying "theory of everything."
Searching for the Why of Buy (LA Times)
Researchers scan for insight into how marketing may brand the brain's preference for products and politicians.
Neal Stephenson’s Past, Present, and Future (Reason)
Mike Godwin interviews science fiction author Neal Stephenson, the author of the widely praised Baroque Cycle, discussing such topics as science, markets, and post-9/11 America.
Voltaire Feared Boredom, not Inconsistency (New Yorker)
He was like Nancy Mitford, Michael Moore, Susan Sontag, Toad of Toad Hall.
American High Schools: What's Wrong (Tom Paine)
Bill Gates says America's high schools need to be redesigned.
A Browser That Talks Back (Slate)
How to chat your way around the Web.
Female eggs have been grown in male testes; study gives clue to how genes and environment create sex. Read more here and here.
Sport of Kings (and Queens)
Why so few women chess masters? America's top female player ponders the question:
Study after study has "shown that children who are exposed to the game are ahead of their peers who are not involved with the royal game. Chess is a wonderful tool to increase concentration, self-control, patience, imagination, creativity, logical thinking and many more important and useful life skills," she says.