January 18, 2018 Why Don't Country Flags Use The Color Purple? For centuries purple dye was worth more than gold. The dye used to produce purple fabric came from a sea snail that only lived off the shores of modern day Lebanon. Because it was so rare, purple became associated with royalty. This is the reason you don't see purple on country flags. It was just too expensive to produce.
January 17, 2018 How Two Microbes Changed History What if we told you that, more than two billion years ago, some tiny living thing started to live inside another living thing … and never left? And now, the descendants of both of those things are in you?
January 16, 2018
A Language Made of Music Solresol is a language, invented out of whole cloth by Jean-François Sudre in the 19th century, that used seven musical notes to create all the words that he thought you'd ever need. It did work: so why aren't we all speaking in notes right now?
January 12, 2018 The Last Time the Globe Warmed Imagine an enormous, lush rainforest teeming with life...in the Arctic. Well there was a time -- and not too long ago -- when the world warmed more than any human has ever seen. (So far)
January 10, 2018 What Causes a Foreign Accent? The human vocal tract can produce thousands of different sounds but languages use only a tiny subset of them. What happens when you try to speak a language that uses a different subset from your own?
January 9, 2018 Raoul Martinez on The Myth of Responsibility Are we wholly responsible for our actions? We don’t choose our brains, our genetic inheritance, our circumstances, our milieu – so how much control do we really have over our lives? Philosopher Raoul Martinez argues that no one is truly blameworthy. Our most visionary scientists, psychologists and philosophers have agreed that we have far less free will than we think, and yet most of society’s systems are structured around the opposite principle – that we are all on a level playing field, and we all get what we deserve.
January 5, 2018 How the Animal Kingdom Sleeps Sleep is universal in the animal kingdom, but each species slumbers in a different — and often mysterious — way. Some animals snooze with half their brain, while others only sleep for two hours a day (without even suffering sleep deprivation!). Ed Yong guides us through the latest research on how creatures catch their z’s
January 3, 2018 How Do We Abolish the Electoral College? Robert Reich explains why it's time abolish the electoral college and make sure our democracy doesn't ever again elect a candidate who loses the popular vote.
January 1, 2018 Bioprecipitation: How Bacteria Makes Snow Raindrops and snowflakes generally start to form around something else in the air, like a speck of dust, but sometimes that something else is bacteria.