How “Meaning Withdrawal,” aka Boredom, Can Boost Creativity
Two Ironing WomenEdward Degas In his book Boredom: A Lively History, an oxymoronic title if ever there was one, Peter Toohey argues that the eponymous feeling has plagued our species since ancient times. “Boredom is a universal experience, and it’s been felt in most eras,” says Toohey, a professor of Greek and Roman studies at […]
If Half of All Species Go Extinct, Will One of Them Be Us?
Biodiversity JengaMartin Sharman How many animal species do you think go extinct every year? Last week I conducted a highly unscientific polling of around 20 of my Facebook and Google Chat contacts, asking that same question. I’m not trying to brag, but I have some really smart friends, many of them with degrees in biology. […]
Using Sharks’ Tricks to Prevent Lethal and Costly Infections
Staph bacteria (red) forming a biofilmNational Science Foundation A common enemy befouls surgeons, plumbers, and sailors alike: slime. In each of their professions, they wage ceaseless war against biofouling—layers of living organisms that stick around exactly where we don’t want them. Removing these various scum layers is a billion-dollar endeavor. Boats were among the first […]
If You Can’t Beat Diseases, Domesticate Them
A tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) sucking blood from human skinMarco Uliana via Shutterstock For most of our history, wolves have been a menace to humanity. Sharp teeth, raw speed, and pack coordination put us at serious risk. Their howls still send chills down our spines for good reason. But some thousands of years ago, some […]