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Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.
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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.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

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The ray-cat solution

14 minutes

Could the weirdest solution to the problem of nuclear waste also be the best?

In 1981, the US Department of Energy and the civil engineering company Bechtel Corp assembled a task force to help tackle the problem of how to warn future humans to stay away from radioactive nuclear waste sites thousands of years into the future. Perhaps the strangest solution came from the French author Françoise Bastide and the Italian semiologist Paolo Fabbri, who proposed genetically engineering cats to change colour in response to radiation, and creating a mythology of danger around those cats. An exploration of unusually creative problem-solving, the French director Benjamin Huguet’s film probes how the once-obscure, decades-old ‘ray-cat solution’ has recently found new life.

Director: Benjamin Huguet

Support Aeon

Ideas can change the world

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.

But we can’t do it without you.

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.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

Become a Friend for $5 a month or Make a one-off donation

Essay/Computing & Artificial Intelligence
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From book critiques to music choices, computation is changing aesthetics. Does increasingly average perfection lie ahead?

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Essay/Data & Information
The bit bomb

It took a polymath to pin down the true nature of ‘information’. His answer was both a revelation and a return

Rob Goodman & Jimmy Soni