In a new book, To Forgive Design: Understanding Failure, engineer Henry Petroski chronicles disasters from the sinking of the Titanic to the destruction of space shuttles Challenger and Columbia. Petroski discusses why these accidents are often caused by factors other than a design flaw.
How do astronauts take a bath in space? What happens to their sense of smell in a weightless environment? Two NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station discuss the challenges of life in low Earth orbit and how their research is a stepping stone for future space exploration.
In The Social Conquest of Earth, biologist and naturalist Edward O. Wilson writes of how humans and insects conquered the Earth by forming complex societies based on group cooperation, and he discusses the evolutionary struggle between our altruistic and selfish natures.
From farting fish, to the laws of stupidity, Marc Abrahams (editor and co-founder of The Annals of Improbable Research) has a knack for finding science that "makes you laugh, and then makes you think." Abrahams discusses some improbable research, and why science that might at first seem absurd, matters.
New research shows that first-graders and baboons have at least one thing in common: Both can tell the difference between actual written words and random sequences of letters. The finding challenges some conventional ideas about what goes on in the human brain when we read.
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