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Our Luminous Humanity: What Earth’s Nocturnal Selfie from Space Reveals About Who We Are

Shimmering assurance of our destiny as imaginative makers and tenacious tinkerers.<p><i>“For a moment of night we have a glimpse of ourselves,”</i> Henry Beston wrote in his breathtaking 1928 love letter to darkness, <i>“and of our world islanded in its stream of stars — pilgrims of mortality, voyaging between</i> …

Apollo Missions

Simone Weil on Science, Quantum Theory, and Our Spiritual Values

“When someone exposes himself as a slave in the market place, what wonder if he finds a master?”<p>Many decades before Rebecca Goldstein, one of the most compelling philosophers and scientific thinkers of our time, examined how Einstein and Gödel’s work on relativity rattled our understanding of …

Where Children Play: Photographs of Playgrounds Around the World

From Bolivia to Bhutan, a visual ethnography of childhood experiences.<p><i>“Children help us to mediate between the ideal and the real,”</i> MoMA curator Juliet Kinchin wrote in her beautiful design history of childhood. Nowhere is this mediation more dynamic and vibrantly alive than in playgrounds — those …

Wild Ideas: The Creative Problem-Solving Strategies of Different Animals, in Illustrated Dioramas

From procrastinating pigeons to counting bears to dung beetles that navigate by the stars.<p><i>“Life and Reality are not things you can have for yourself unless you accord them to all others,”</i> Alan Watts wrote in his mind-expanding 1950s meditation on what reality really is. Although our species has a …

How Kindness Became Our Forbidden Pleasure

“We are never as kind as we want to be, but nothing outrages us more than people being unkind to us.”<p><i>“Practice kindness all day to everybody and you will realize you’re already in heaven now,”</i> Jack Kerouac wrote in a beautiful 1957 letter. <i>“Kindness, kindness, kindness,”</i> Susan Sontag resolved in her …

The Science of How the Universe Will End, in a Poetic Animation

The lyrical symmetry of how the cosmos was born, how it will die, and what to make of the mystery in between.<p><i>“Death,”</i> wrote Rilke in a beautiful 1923 letter, <i>“is our friend precisely because it brings us into absolute and passionate presence with all that is here, that is natural, that is love.”</i> The …

The Science of Stress and How Our Emotions Affect Our Susceptibility to Burnout and Disease

How your memories impact your immune system, why moving is one of the most stressful life-events, and what your parents have to do with your predisposition to PTSD.<p>I had lived thirty good years before enduring my first food poisoning — odds quite fortunate in the grand scheme of things, but …

The Rebellious and Revolutionary Life of Galileo, Illustrated

How a college dropout reordered the heavens and forever changed our understanding of our place in the universe.<p>In 1564, <b>Galileo Galilei</b> was born into a world with no clocks, telescopes, or microscopes — a world that was believed to be the center of the universe, orbited by the sun and the moon and …

Elizabeth Alexander on What Poetry Does for the Human Soul

“…and are we not of interest to each other?”<p><b>Elizabeth Alexander</b> is among the most entrancing and spiritually invigorating poets of our time, and only the fourth poet in history to read at a U.S. presidential inauguration. Her recent memoir, <i>The Light of the World</i>, is one of the most breathtaking …

Hunter S. Thompson on Violence, Vengeance, and the Only True Fix for Our Destructive Impulses

“One of the most important things is to recognize that we do have this mounting violence in us, and then to find the reasons.”<p>More than half a century after Tolstoy’s little-known correspondence with Gandhi on violence, human nature, and why we hurt each other, as the civil rights movement was …