NASA researchers recently announced that life beyond our planet will be discovered in the next twenty years. Bill Nye, everyone’s favorite “Science Guy,” an educator, scientist, and the CEO of The Planetary Society, an organization that promotes space exploration, stopped by Big Think’s studio to discuss how this will change the world. The last time Nye visited us, he provided a disturbing assessment of the damaging belief of creationism, a movement he calls unique to the United States. Now he’s back with a request to the American public: let’s all contribute the price of a cup of coffee to continue the search for life.
Nye wants the search to target Europa, one of the 63 known moons of Jupiter. It's believed to have around twice as much sea water as Earth. The salt water geysers of Europa also indicate that it has the ingredients for life. Nye is convinced that that’s where we’ll first discover our cosmic neighbors, and it’s up to each of us to make it happen, as he explains:
"It would change the world for a price of a cup of coffee and wait, there's more. It wouldn't be the work of a guy like Galileo or Copernicus or Kepler, these are famous names in astronomy, or Isaac Newton or Einstein. It would be the work of all of us. It would be the work of all of us taxpayers and citizens of the earth who participate in this. Now it might be U.S. taxpayers nominally, but guarantee you the European Space Agency, Canadian Space Agency, almost certainly the Indian Space Research Organization, the Roscosmos, everybody would have a small part on this mission. Everybody would be involved. And if we were to find evidence of life it would change the world. Change the world."
The discovery would certainly unite the world. Until a NASA explorer docks on Europa, you can tour the cosmos and learn about the latest initiatives in the search for E.T. on the website of The Planetary Society.
What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.
- Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
- Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
- Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
An ordained Lama in a Tibetan Buddhist lineage, Lama Rod grew up a queer, black male within the black Christian church in the American south. Navigating all of these intersecting, evolving identities has led him to a life's work based on compassion for self and others.
- "What I'm interested in is deep, systematic change. What I understand now is that real change doesn't happen until change on the inside begins to happen."
- "Masculinity is not inherently toxic. Patriarchy is toxic. We have to let that energy go so we can stop forcing other people to do emotional labor for us."
We were gaining three IQ points per decade for many, many years. Now, that's going backward. Could this explain some of our choices lately?
There's a new study out of Norway that indicates our—well, technically, their—IQs are shrinking, to the tune of about seven IQ points per generation.
Here's why generalists triumph over specialists in the new era of innovation.
- Since the explosion of the knowledge economy in the 1990s, generalist inventors have been making larger and more important contributions than specialists.
- One theory is that the rise of rapid communication technologies allowed the information created by specialists to be rapidly disseminated, meaning generalists can combine information across disciplines to invent something new.
- Here, David Epstein explains how Nintendo's Game Boy was a case of "lateral thinking with withered technology." He also relays the findings of a fascinating study that found the common factor of success among comic book authors.
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