• Zombies on Your Mind?

    Just what is consciousness and how does it work? What does it mean that I am aware? That I am aware of myself? Does it arise entirely from the brain? Is it a function of a soul? Are other animals conscious? How would we know? Does individual consciousness survive beyond death? And what about ... zombies?

  • The Infinite Coast

    According to the U.S. state department the coastlines of Washington, Oregon and California together measure 2,131 km. This would seem to settle things. But the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (N.O.A.A.) says that number should be 3,288 km. Has at least one of these agencies measured ... poorly?

  • QFT: The World is Stranger Than You Thought

    Beginning with studies of electromagnetism, scientists have come to understand reality in such a way that there really is no such thing as tiny bits of matter that exist independently and that cannot be divided. Atomism (in any traditional sense) is dead. Reality is not what we thought it was.

  • On the Importance of Forgetting

    Most attention in our culture is given to the importance of remembering. But it turns out that forgetting can be just as important. The inability to forget can be as destructive as the inability to remember.

  • The Black Hole

    The release Wednesday of the first-ever image of a black hole dominated the world’s collective imagination. An amorphous ring of fire glowed curiously across Facebook feeds and newspaper headlines, inviting a barrage of timid questions from lay people – which, given our total understanding of black holes, is all of us.