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Posts Tagged ‘Jeffrey Kluger’

And yet, it’s a happier fact of human behavior that all tribes are separated less by walls than by membranes, and those membranes can break and the tribes combine as easily as two raindrops running down a windshield that need merely touch to merge.  But something must make the touching happen — and not many things can.
And if it made us small?  If it made us feel that we are of less consequence, less magnitude, than we usually think we are?  Well, good.  Humility was part of the veil of peace that was drawn over the country on Aug. 21.  So was community.  And so, it would be nice to think, was gratitude.
    —    Jeffrey Kluger
From his article:  “Mother Nature, the uniter, briefly eclipses the nation’s divisions
Describing the 21 August 2017, totality eclipse for Time Magazine dtd:  4 September 2017
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On This Day In:
2016 Obstacles
Election + 2 Weeks
2015 Done What You Could
2014 Impossible To Other Men
2013 Just In Case
2012 Isn’t This Just Pleasant?
2011 No Void In Sight

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It says something both odd and exceptional about our species that while we could rightly be preoccupied with the simple business of surviving on the one world we’ve got — keeping the people in our own small tribe fed and healthy and safe from the perceived menace of the tribes across the valley — we always have one eye trained outward.  We can’t say exactly what we’re looking for — deliverance, company, answers to eternal questions — but we look out all the same.
Building the instruments that make that wondering gaze possible isn’t easy or cheap, and none of it pays the kinds of earthly dividends that pick-and-shovel programs like fixing roads or building airports do.  But there are other kinds of dividends as well, and if uncovering the universe’s most ancient secrets doesn’t qualify, what would?  Washington could certainly spend its money more frugally, but it’s hard to see how it could spend it more imaginatively.
   —   Jeffrey Kluger
From his article: “Eyes In the Sky
Appearing in: Time Magazine, dtd: July 3, 2017
The link to the article is: http://time.com/4828091/eyes-in-the-sky/
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On This Day In:
2016 Private Entrance
Camping Out In Camden
2015 Quality Government
A Handful Of Flics
2014 Just Another Brick From The Wall
2013 Artistic Demands
2012 Foundations
2011 Are We Devouring Yet?

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“The universe is hardwired to be an organic chemist,” says [Scott] Sandford.  “It’s not a very clean or tidy one, but it has really big beakers and plenty of time.”
 …
Says NASA planetary scientist Chris McKay: “A hurricane is a self-organizing, self-propagating system with a life cycle.  It’s born, it grows, it eats, and then it dies.  Why isn’t it alive?”
The answer, in this view, is that it can’t remember what it’s doing or how it’s changed and pass those improvements on.
 …
Still, life as we know it —  warm, watery and carbon-based — might remain the best model.  Chemistry and evolution are both, in their own ways, lazy.  They take the simplest routes to elegant solutions.  Perhaps there are other ways to get the biological job done, but it’s hard to come up with a better alternative.
Ultimately, as many astrobiologists argue, the question of life in space might be as simple as a three-part formula: chemistry plus energy plus time.  McKay likes to cite what’s know as the zero-one-infinity rule, which applies in a lot of scientific theories but especially in the search for life.  We know that the number of planets in the universe with life is not zero.  We know so far that it’s at least one.  If we do find another, it makes no chemical or mathematical sense for the total potential figure not to be unlimited.
“So what we’re searching for,” says McKay, “is two.”  That search is as big as the universe — but so is the promise it holds.
    —    Jeffrey Kluger
From his article: “The Perfectly Sane Case For Life In Space
In Time Magazine, February 22-29, 2016
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On This Day In:
2015 Still Trying
2014 Destiny, n.
2013 No Apologies
2012 Utterly Convinced
2011 A Key To Effectiveness

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