For an awfully long time, hominids lived in hunter-gatherer societies. This highly social way of living is thought to have evolved the origins of language, culminating in our species, Homo sapiens, coming to dominate all others. Was it our language that set us apart? How can we find out?
When we think of scientific advancement, Hollywood has taught us to envisage the obsessed scientist working alone in the lab late at night, hunched over a microscope or painstakingly pipetting chemicals into test tubes. Suddenly, one of the tubes turns green and starts fizzing and he’s got his breakthrough formula made. Scientists lovingly call this the Breakthrough Myth.
How does DNA work – and what exactly does it do? DNA is a chemical molecule that forms the basis of all life on Earth. It stands for deoxyribonucleic acid – because it’s comprised of the building blocks: nucleic acids, ribose sugars, and phosphate groups. On the surface it’s a simple yet beautiful molecule and yet it creates the complexity of all living things: plants, bacteria, fungi and animals. The process of evolution has created some mind-boggling systems to record this biological data, replicate it in all living cells, and execute that code in order to create and maintain life. Today I want to give you a glimpse of the amazing facility of DNA. How DNA works, what it looks like, and how it replicates.
Facebook has taken a lot of flack lately. First there are the revelations that most user profiles (representing about 2 billion people) have been scraped and sold for commercial and political ends. And now the very nature of social media is being exposed as potentially damaging to your mental health. So how does this work? How does a social media website cause psychological harm, when all it’s apparently doing is populating your screen with news and photos from your friends?
How jellyfish have sex is really alien and unintuitive, at least in the eyes of humans. If they had vocal chords, or brains, or cognitive processing abilities, jellies would argue that they’re an ancient group of animals who mastered sexual reproduction a long time before us, and we’re the ones who are frankly odd-balling it with our penises and vaginas and miserable, painful childbirth.
If superheroes were real, Elon Musk would be Science Man. Or Technology Chap. Or Business Acumen Person. Either way, he’s a major force behind our industrial and technological evolution, and that’s why we should all know who he is and what he’s doing. Because he’s literally trying to save the human race.