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Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

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Ross Andersen
Senior Editor, The Atlantic

Ross Andersen is a senior editor at The Atlantic where he oversees the Science, Health and Technology sections. He was formerly the deputy editor of Aeon.

Essays
7
Conversations
229
Essay/Astronomy
In the beginning

Cosmology has been on a long, hot streak, racking up one imaginative and scientific triumph after another. Is it over?

Ross Andersen

Essay/Cosmology
Exodus

Elon Musk argues that we must put a million people on Mars if we are to ensure that humanity has a future

Ross Andersen

Essay/Food & Drink
Sacrament

Wine is an elixir, a miracle-worker and shapeshifter – no wonder even the most secular of us hold it sacred still

Ross Andersen

Essay/Ethics
Hell on Earth

What happens to life sentences if our lifespan is radically extended? A philosopher talks about future punishment

Ross Andersen

Essay/Architecture & Landscape
Embracing the void

The ancients had pyramids to tame the sky’s mystery. We have Star Axis, a masterpiece forty years in the making

Ross Andersen

Essay/Computing & Artificial Intelligence
Omens

When we peer into the fog of the deep future what do we see – human extinction or a future among the stars?

Ross Andersen

Essay/Deep Time
The vanishing groves

A chronicle of climates past and a portent of climates to come – the telling rings of the bristlecone pine

Ross Andersen

Edited by Ross Andersen

Essay/Family Life
Korean Thanksgiving

‘Take a photo of the spread,’ my mother says. ‘This way you can remember what to arrange when I’m dead.’

Mary H K Choi

Essay/Digital Culture
Future reading

Digital books stagnate in closed, dull systems, while printed books are shareable, lovely and enduring. What comes next?

Craig Mod

Essay/Data & Information
Broken links

When no ancient chat or post is beyond the grasp of Google, what matters more: the right to forget, or to be remembered?

Alana Massey

Essay/Cultures & Languages
Origins

Paleogenetics is helping to solve the great mystery of prehistory: how did humans spread out over the earth?

Jacob Mikanowski

Essay/Cities
Homes for the homeless

San Francisco’s homeless are harangued and despised while conservative Utah has a radically humane approach

Susie Cagle

Essay/Knowledge
When the truth hurts

The truth about health or personal relationships can entail pain and regret. Is it sometimes better to stay in the dark?

Jess Whittlestone

Essay/Knowledge
Rock of ages

Archaeologists used to be obsessed with religion. Now they can’t be bothered with it. Is the field worse off?

Rose Eveleth

Essay/Architecture & Landscape
Desert utopia

It might be pleasing to dream of arcologies, mega-cities, and space colonies – but no one can design the perfect human community

Jared Keller

Essay/History
What lies beneath

Why do archaeological fraudsters work so hard to deceive us? Because bad science makes for good stories

Ted Scheinman

Essay/Death
To heaven and back

Is the heaven tourism memoir spiritual kitsch for the superficial seeker, or an earnest attempt to wrestle with death?

Mya Frazier

Essay/Childhood & Adolescence
Where’s Bobbi Fischer?

Little girls sign up to play chess in droves. So why are so few of the world’s top players women?

Hana Schank

Essay/Biology
Earth’s aliens

Alien lifeforms might be living right under our noses, but how can we find them if we don’t know what we’re looking for?

Sarah Scoles

Essay/Deep Time
Last hominin standing

Was human evolution inevitable, or do we owe our existence to a once-in-a-universe stroke of luck?

Dan Falk

Essay/Digital Culture
Pornucopia

Critics say that porn degrades women, dulls sexual pleasure, and ruins authentic relationships – are they right?

Maria Konnikova

Essay/Cultures & Languages
See through words

The metaphor designer isn’t trying to make something beautiful. She wants to change your view on things. Here’s how

Michael Erard

Essay/Design & Fashion
Losing the thread

Older than bronze and as new as nanowires, textiles are technology — and they have remade our world time and again

Virginia Postrel

Essay/Human Rights
When a child goes to war

Our myths are full of young heroes yet our media calls them tragic victims. What is the truth about child soldiers?

Malcolm Harris

Essay/Demography & Migration
Against generations

Generational thinking is seductive and confirms preconceived prejudices, but it’s a bogus way to understand the world

Rebecca Onion

Essay/Earth Science
The fire age

We can melt ice sheets and cook landscapes. When humans made fire, they made themselves and their planet too

Stephen J Pyne

Essay/Biology
Rethinking extinction

The idea that we are edging up to a mass extinction is not just wrong – it’s a recipe for panic and paralysis

Stewart Brand

Essay/Memoir
A conscientious objector

Jacob Bridge is a popular lieutenant in the US Marines who woke up one day with an urgent need to leave the military. Why?

Lyle Jeremy Rubin

Essay/Astronomy
Life in the dark

In the dark corners of our galaxy, there are billions of rogue planets roaming around, starless – can they support life?

Sean Raymond

Essay/History of Technology
Into the mystic

From Stonehenge to Silicon Valley: how technology nurtured New Age ideas in a world supposedly stripped of its magic

Benjamin Breen

Essay/Ecology & Environmental Sciences
Anthropocene fever

The Anthropocene idea has been embraced by Earth scientists and English professors alike. But how useful is it?

Jedediah Purdy

Essay/Memoir
Like a prayer

Even secular people need time out to meditate, reflect, and give thanks. Is prayer the answer?

Heather Havrilesky

Essay/Food & Drink
To tip or not to tip?

Rude in Tokyo, rude not to in New York – tipping mystifies tourists, economists and anthropologists. Should we stop?

Julian Baggini

Essay/Computing & Artificial Intelligence
Get under the hood

Our laptops are sleek and polished. Our operating systems are fluid and intuitive. Computing is easy and that’s a problem

Samuel Arbesman

Essay/Digital Culture
Fact-checking grandma

The internet is rife with myths, scams and hoaxes. When any claim can be checked out, why does fiction still trump fact?

Lyz Lenz

Essay/Cultures & Languages
From Aesop to doge

The animal who speaks in a human voice is a figure of the most enduring imaginative power. What do we hope to hear?

Stassa Edwards

Essay/Engineering
A fault in our design

We tend to think that technological progress is making us more resilient, but it might be making us more vulnerable

Colin Dickey

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