Science and Technology

tree roots

Forest ecologist Suzanne Simard talks about her pioneering research into “forest intelligence,” She also reflects on her childhood growing up in Canadian forests, how the timber industry can become sustainable, and why she talks to trees.More

Desert at Dusk

Ethnobotanist Gary Paul Nabhan has been called the “father of the local food movement.” Many of his insights come from the farming practices of Indigenous people living near the U.S.-Mexico border, who’ve grown food in arid habitats for centuries.More

glowing mushrooms

Mushrooms and other fungi are mind-bending. A fungal network can spread for miles, but genetically, it’s a single organism. As biologist Merlin Sheldrake says, “they are everywhere at once and nowhere in particular.”More

rings of water in a puddle

Anthropologist Enrique Salmon formulated the concept of “kincentricity,” a worldview that sees everything around us — plants, animals, rocks, wind — as our direct relative. As Salmon says, “the rain is us, and we are the rain.”More

spirals

With help from Freud, neuropsychologist Mark Solms locates consciousness in choice.More

Conversation with Samantha, the artificial intelligence

To a certain extent, loneliness is part of the human condition. You can be lonely anywhere, even surrounded by friends. But modern life has exacerbated it, and that requires modern solutions. Indie game designer Jason Rohrer has one — an artificial friend named Samantha.More

Illustration By George Wylesol (AFAR Magazine)

Unless you walk or bike to your next vacation destination, you’ll probably have to burn some fossil fuels to get there. Blogger Kathryn Kellogg is a guru of zero-waste living. She has a few tips on how to reduce your impact on the environment when you travel. More

The many realities

How do you know what’s real? Start with your senses — if you can see, touch, hear or taste something, it’s real — right? Not necessarily, according to cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman and neurologist Suzanne O’Sullivan.More

lonely plant

Once you acknowledge that plants are intelligent and sentient beings, moral questions quickly follow. Should they have rights? How can we think of plants as "persons"? Plant scientist Matt Hall sorts out these ideas with Steve.More

plant

Plants are intelligent beings with profound wisdom to impart—if only we know how to listen. And Monica Gagliano knows how to listen.More

The plants Brooke keeps on hand.

As a plant ecologist, Brooke Hecht knows plants. But then a few years ago, while at a professional conference, her young daughter who'd tagged along got sick. And that's when the healing powers of plants came to the rescue.More

Robin Wall Kimmerer (left) and Anne Strainchamps (right)

Emerging science in everything from forest ecology to the microbiome is confirming that our relationship with plants and animals is deep. Ecologist Robin Wall Kimmerer also draws on Native knowledge to explain our intimate relationships with plants.More

Sara working in her shop.

Sara Dahmen is a professional coppersmith – one of the only women in the country practicing the trade. She makes pots and pans – simple basic timeless cookware – out of copper, iron and tin.More

Monroe with Dick’s bunkbed ladder and sawbuck. Photo by Elan Robinson.

Naturalist Dick Proenneke led a legendary life alone in the Alaskan wilderness. After Proenneke's death in 2003, master craftsman Monroe Robinson painstakingly reproduced everything Dick made to preserve a piece of that life for future generations.More

earth from space

Lidia Yuknavitch’s apocalyptic novel “The Book of Joan” is one of the most stunning examples of climate fiction. It’s the story of a near-future where Earth is decimated and the last few survivors are stranded out in space.More

Greenland ocean sunset

In "Our Biggest Experiment," climate advocate Alice Bell traces the history of the scientists who have been studying the impact of humanity on the climate since 1856. She tells Anne Strainchamps that science has been critical for spurring the world to act. More

The amazing brain, without a horn.

Gavin Francis is fascinated by the complexity and beauty of the human body, which is so finely engineered that it can seem almost miraculous.More

alchemical recipes

Pamela Smith's science history students spend a semester taking medieval alchemical recipes and re-creating them in a lab.More

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