I came across an interesting video debunking the idea that Koko the gorilla actually used sign language: I don’t have the expertise to fully evaluate this on my own, but it accords with the theory which I have heard that it is more plausible that Koko was trained to respond to prompts from trainers than […]


I watched the four-part Netflix series on the Three Mile Island disaster and found it to be well crafted and emotionally poignant, though only OK as an educational resource on the partial meltdown. My technical complaint is that they explain almost nothing about why the accident happened and exactly what took place while it was […]


United Nations secretary general’s remarks on the ongoing release of the IPCC’s sixth assessment report are remarkable for their directness and candour: “Climate activists are sometimes depicted as dangerous radicals,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres during the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) news conference on Monday. “But the truly dangerous radicals are the countries […]


Today I saw a Twitter post with some text that governments cut from the Summary for Policymakers from the 6th Assessment Report (AR6) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): B6.4. Factors limiting ambitious transformation include structural barriers, an incremental rather than systemic approach, lack of coordination, inertia, lock-in to infrastructure and assets, and […]


As Toronto, Canada, and the rest of the world are dismantling their public health protection measures (masks are now mostly voluntary in Ontario) it seems like people’s frustration has gotten ahead of the reality that there will be further waves and variants, in part because of unequitable and insufficient vaccine distriubution globally and also partly […]


The current consensus among memory researchers is that we need other capacities to be in place, skills that are not directly to do with the storage of information, before we can hope to carry our memories forward into later childhood and adulthood. One such factor is language. As soon as you can use words to […]


I want to persuade you that when you have a memory, you don’t retrieve something that already exists, fully formed—you create something new. Memory is about the present as much as it is about the past. A memory is made in the moment, and collapses back into its constituent elements as soon as it is […]


Without our memories, we would be lost to ourselves, amnesiacs flailing around in a constant, unrelenting present. It is hard to imagine being able to hang on to your personal identity without a store of autobiographical memories. To attain the kind of consciousness we all enjoy, we probably rely on a capacity to make links […]

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It may not be easily accessible to non-Audible subscribes, but Stephen Fry’s 12-part series “Inside Your Mind” is thought-provoking, informative, and excellent. He does a great job as a science popularizer and communicator, sharing experimental research without jargon and in a consistently accessible and engaging way. So far, I have found the episode on memory […]


The sea presents no end of dangers to ships and mariners, and surely one of the most frightening and unavoidable are rogue waves at least twice the height of the significant waves around them. The first to be detected was the 1995 Draupner wave, recorded from a North Sea oil platform off the coast of […]