Originally Atlantis was the the name of an alleged lost continent that sank into the Atlantic Ocean around 9000 B.C. This version, which is the origin of all Atlantis lore and theories, cannot possibly be true, but that doesn't really matter, because if Atlantis isn't an underwater continent, maybe it's an island or even a lost city on dry land. Atlantis has been identified by various seekers in Spain, Sweden, North Africa, Russia, Mexico, Sri Lanka, and California, among other places.
Thousands of people observe the night sky throughout the year, either as a hobby or for scientific purposes. Meteor showers hold a unique benefit over other types of stargazing—you don't need a telescope. You won't even need binoculars. All you will need is an alarm clock to wake you up at the right time, and a sleeping bag if you plan to camp out. However, simply stepping out into your back yard is enough for most to observe a meteor shower. But exactly what is a meteor shower? What are these natural occurrences that we call "shooting stars" and go out of our way to place wishes on? Learning what you're seeing will make your next stargazing session that much more interesting.
Is it any coincidence that The Martian came to the big screen the same week that NASA discovered water on Mars? Many people believe that this it's too suspicious to be a coincidence. The Martian, released on October 2, 2015, depicts Matt Damon as astronaut ark Watney, who is suspected to be dead after a dangerous storm hits Mars. After being left behind by his crew mates, it is discovered that he had in fact, survived the storm. Left to survive the desolate environment and somehow send a message to Earth that he has survived, Watney faces the challenge of staying alive on an uninhabitable planet. The discovery of water on Mars seems like it could have been created as a publicity stunt to promote the movie. However, the discovery has caused scientists to relish the possibilities of what life on that planet would be like, and to ask "is life on Mars possible?"
The human brain has spawned a parallel universe of imagined lifeforms, landmarks, and civilizations. Though usually conceived of as fiction, this parallel universe often leaks into various Earth systems. Robot explorers, genetically engineered animals, artificial intelligence, international space stations—these are, before anything else, the products of our imagination. They are what happens when an organism is capable of asking itself: What does the future look like? The Biosphere 2 in Tucson, Arizona is a totemic example of how such fantasies can carry over into reality.
The following article was originally published on The Free Advice Man's website here.
From our wildlife being taken over to our greenhouse gases being at an all-time high, environmental crisis is forcing us to ask what, how, and why. Throughout history, there have been recurring battles between man and nature in every century, from nature versus big corporations to growth versus quality of life. In each battle, each opposing side struggles to regain control of the situation at hand. But what they really should be addressing is: When have we gone too far?
In 1966, I spent four months in the Galápagos Islands, gathering materials for a picture book on that archipelago. My Galápagos, the Galápagos of 1966, had been discovered by science but not by Lindblad. Charles Darwin had come 131 years before, but tour boats were not yet calling; there were no hotels, and the Ecuadorian government had yet to establish the Galápagos National Park. The islands were best known among the citizens of the mainland for their old penal settlements. The Encantadas—the enchanted isles, as the Spanish had first called them—for a time had been devil's islands of the Pacific.
Earth is a beautiful place. Rolling dirt-tracks through forests fill us with wonder; a fresh fall of snow brings out the pearly whites of our smiles and anyone who has ever climbed a mountain to gaze upon the sprawling, living lands below knows the uplifting gratification of that sight. Earth is also more deadly than we can fathom: natural disasters like tsunamis and earthquakes are unavoidable, unforgivable, and will always decimate populations without care or notice, but many troubles we cause for ourselves. We’ve created ghost-towns, cost the lives of millions, and been ravaged by the tumultuous venom of Mother Nature. The hubris of war has rendered many places on Earth unfit for humans, from Bikini Atoll destroyed by nuclear testing, to the Anthrax-riddled Soviet island of Vozrozhdeniya. But it doesn't take Cold War weapons research to render a place completely barren. Sometimes industries can wreak havoc just as permanent as war.
Ask a Westerner what most surprised them about their trip to China. If they were not staying in a five-star hotel in a major city on the dime of a major Chinese corporation, most likely you are going to get your ear bent with stories of people spitting on the floor of, not just a public streetcar, but their own bloody offices!...and also of pollution that makes L.A.’s ring-around-the-collar skyline circa the smoggy eighties look like a Rocky Mountain High by contrast. The brute summary is that this place is colossally productive, and also colossally filthy—and unashamed of it.