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Blog Archive for the ‘Long Term Science’ Category

The Hermit Who Inadvertently Shaped Climate-Change Science

by Ahmed Kabil on July 6th, 02017

Billy Barr was just trying to get away from it all when he went to live at the base of Gothic Mountain in the Colorado wilderness in 1973. He wound up creating an invaluable historical record of climate change. His motivation for meticulously logging the changing temperatures, snow levels, weather, and wildlife sightings? Simple boredom. Now, the…  Read More

Göbekli Tepe and the Worst Day in History

by Ahmed Kabil on May 24th, 02017

Technological advances are revolutionizing the field of archaeology, resulting in new discoveries that are upending our previous understanding of the birth of civilization. Many scholars believe that few will be as consequential as Göbekli Tepe. The ruins of Göbekli Tepe. Photograph by Vincent J. Musi. IN 01963, anthropologists from the University of Chicago and the…  Read More

The Orrery at The Interval: An Invitation to Long-Term Thinking

by Ahmed Kabil on April 24th, 02017

As visitors to Fort Mason amble past The Interval, the Long Now Foundation’s cafe-bar-museum-venue space, some are drawn, as if by gravitational pull, to an unusual eight foot-tall stainless steel technological curiosity they glimpse through the glass doors. Metal gears sit stacked one on top of the other to form a tower, with geneva wheels jutting…  Read More

The Other 10,000 Year Project: Long-Term Thinking and Nuclear Waste

by Ahmed Kabil on March 16th, 02017

With half-lives ranging from 30 to 24,000, or even 16 million years , the radioactive elements in nuclear waste defy our typical operating time frames. The questions around nuclear waste storage — how to keep it safe from those who might wish to weaponize it, where to store it, by what methods, for how long,…  Read More

The 10,000-Year Geneaology of Myths

by Ahmed Kabil on February 8th, 02017

ONE OF THE MOST FAMOUS SCENES in the Paleolithic cave paintings in Lascaux, France depicts a confrontation between a man and a bison. The bison appears fixed in place, stabbed by a spear. The man has a bird’s head and is lying prone on the ground. Scholars have long puzzled over the pictograph’s meaning, as…  Read More

Edge Question 02017

by Ahmed Kabil on January 20th, 02017

It’s been an annual tradition since 01998: with a new year comes a new Edge question. Every January, John Brockman presents the members of his online salon with a question that elicits discussion about some of the biggest intellectual and scientific issues of our time. Previous iterations have included prompts such as “What should we…  Read More

Edge Question 02016

by Andrew Warner on January 12th, 02016

It’s been an annual tradition since 01998: with a new year comes a new Edge question. Every January, John Brockman presents the members of his online salon with a question that elicits discussion about some of the biggest intellectual and scientific issues of our time. Previous iterations have included prompts such as “What should we…  Read More

MIT Paleoclimate Study Reveals When the American West Dried Up

by Charlotte Hajer on November 3rd, 02015

We know that the American West was once much wetter than it is today; the region is riddled with ancient lake beds and fossilized aquatic creatures. At some point in the last 15,000 years, these inland seas disappeared and turned to desert – but exactly when this happened was not well known. Until recently: a…  Read More

Live audio stream for Andy Weir at The Interval on October 27, 02015

by Mikl Em on October 24th, 02015

Long Now members can tune in for a live audio simulcast of this sold out event starting at 7:15 PT, October 27 Andy Weir author of The Martian speaks in Long Now’s “Conversations at The Interval” series this Tuesday. Andy will talk about the real science of a Mars colonization mission. What would Martian colonization…  Read More

Mount Tambora Eruption in 01815 Reverberated Across the Planet

by Charlotte Hajer on September 18th, 02015

In April of 01815, Mount Tambora – an active volcano in what is now Indonesia – erupted after a few hundred years of dormancy. For several days, it spewed hot lava and ash into the air, casting its environment in pitch black darkness. The largest observed eruption in recorded history, it was heard and felt as far as 1,600…  Read More