Are Volcanoes Responsible for Life?

An experiment carried out more than 50 years ago has revealed that volcanoes may have played a crucial role in the formation of the first organic building blocks of life on Earth.

More surprising than volcanoes' role in creating life is that the supporting research has been lost for fifty years. "Laboratory samples left over from a 1958 experiment in an American university have revealed, with the help of modern analytical techniques, that scientists had unwittingly discovered that gases given off by volcanoes can be used to make the vital sulphur-containing amino acids of proteins. The discovery is further vindication of the pioneering experiments of Stanley Miller, who as a young graduate student demonstrated that a 'primordial soup' of water and a few simple gases can produce the more complex organic molecules of life."

Car culture and suburbs grow right-wing populism, claims study

New research links urban planning and political polarization.

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Politics & Current Affairs
  • Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
  • Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
  • People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
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How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
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NASA astronomer Michelle Thaller on ​the multiple dimensions of space and human sexuality

Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.

Flickr / 13winds
Think Again Podcasts
  • Why can't we have a human-sized cat tree?
  • What would happen if you got a spoonful of a neutron star?
  • Why do we insist on dividing our wonderfully complex selves into boring little boxes
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