The pigeon, the antenna and me

3 minutes

How pigeon droppings nearly derailed a massive discovery in cosmology

Great cosmology research requires accounting for an enormous number of variables, everything from nuclear detonations to bird droppings. In this animation from Nature, the American radio astronomer Robert Wilson discusses how a pair of pigeons living in a large antenna frustrated attempts to measure the minimum brightness of the sky. Even once the pigeons were removed, the measurements still weren’t right. The issue, it turned out, was cosmic microwave background radiation left behind by the Big Bang – a discovery that would eventually earn Wilson part of the 1978 Nobel Prize in physics.

Video by Dog & Rabbit

Video/Digital Culture

A transfixing audiovisual dive into varieties of emergence

4 minutes

ORIGINAL
Video/Ethics

If soldiers act with unjust aggression they are as culpable as civilian criminals

6 minutes

Video/Nature & Environment

A Herculean fish and the fight against a $6 billion mega-dam project in Alaska

25 minutes

Idea/Physics

Why we can stop worrying and love the particle accelerator

Joel Frohlich

Video/History of Science

Energy is like children’s toys: often hiding out of sight, but never actually lost

3 minutes

Essay/Deep Time

Welcome to Terra Sapiens

Humans have been altering Earth for millennia, but only now are we wise to what we’re doing. How will we use that wisdom?

David Grinspoon

Idea/Physics

How the rainbow illuminates the enduring mystery of physics

Jon Butterworth

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Essay/Biology

The queen does not rule

The ant colony has often served as a metaphor for human order and hierarchy. But real ant society is radical to its core

Deborah M Gordon

Video/Evolution

How the mantis shrimp’s six-pupiled eyes put 20/20 vision to shame

4 minutes