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Final draft: scripting the apocalypse


Death, panic and sound grammar – in 1973, a secret UK committee drafts a message to be played in case of nuclear attack The post Final draft: scripting the apocalypse appeared first on Aeon Magazine.

Why it has become OK to be American and Catholic


For nearly 350 years, anti-Catholic bias was a reliable and powerful presence in the political and religious culture of the United States.

Hearing silence


What does a classical musician do when she loses her hearing? Flautist Elizabeth Petcu finds music with her other senses The post Hearing silence appeared first on Aeon Magazine.

Evolution is a grand process that works even on a tiny scale


Peruse my bookshelves and you’ll find a suspiciously large number of the titles are devoted to wildlife and plants.

In residence: Xavier Corberó


How the sculptor’s stunningly aesthetic home is ‘a place in which the mental space – not the real one – is what matters’ The post In residence: Xavier Corberó appeared first on Aeon Magazine.

Generational labels are lazy, useless, and just plain wrong


Science fiction uses generations as guinea pigs in thought experiments: writers will change one important feature of human life, but leave the rest intact, in order to hypothesise how a single, world-rearranging shift might play out.

Flatline


Can you live without a pulse? How two bold doctors successfully replaced a dying man’s heart with a ‘beatless’ device The post Flatline appeared first on Aeon Magazine.

How descendants of African slaves are stigmatised for life


It started a few years ago, with a conversation I had with my then-boyfriend, a Senegalese agronomist, first about peanuts and then about slavery.

Shell swap


Rather than find new shells or bake to death in the sun, Caribbean hermit crabs do an incredible seaside housing swap The post Shell swap appeared first on Aeon Magazine.

We will forget


What happens when the Rapture fails to come as scheduled? The psychology of betting that the end is near The post We will forget appeared first on Aeon Magazine.

How altitude sickness can help to keep us grounded


Altitude sickness is democratic. It strikes the young just as easily as the old. The super-fit can be laid low at 2,500 metres while an inveterate smoker can have no problems at all.

The Death of Socrates


Can philosophy and morals be transmitted through a painting? A close reading of 'The Death of Socrates' The post The Death of Socrates appeared first on Aeon Magazine.

Has cosmology's hot streak finally come to an end?


One crisp day last March, Harvard professor John Kovac walked out of his office and into a taxicab that whisked him across town, to a building on the edge of the MIT campus.

Goodbye Mandima


Zaire, 1996: a 10-year-old French boy leaves the village where he grew up, escaping a war that his friends cannot The post Goodbye Mandima appeared first on Aeon Magazine.

Game theory’s cure for corruption? Make us all cops


Naturalists have long regarded ants and bees as a sort of living parable on the benefits of universal virtue. ‘Karl Marx was right, socialism works,’ said the great ant specialist Edward O Wilson; ‘it’s just that he had the wrong species.’ Certainly, the eusocial insects (from the Greek eu meaning ‘

Herbs and empires: a brief history of malaria drugs


From gin and tonics to geopolitics, our fight against malaria is strange, cyclical and shows few signs of slowing The post Herbs and empires: a brief history of malaria drugs appeared first on Aeon Magazine.

Why does the Vatican accept the Big Bang but not evolution?


There was a moment in the recent history of the Roman Catholic Church when an influential Jesuit tried to forge a deep synthesis between religion and modern science.

Aaron Swartz was on a crusade, that is clear, but for what?


Who was Aaron Swartz?

The internet’s own boy: the story of Aaron Swartz


The tragic story of programmer Aaron Swartz, whose activism for a freer internet put him under fire by the US government The post The internet’s own boy: the story of Aaron Swartz appeared first on Aeon Magazine.

Reverence


Bringing brands into religion: how custom yarmulkes combine traditional Jewish values with US popular culture The post Reverence appeared first on Aeon Magazine.


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