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Discover

Discover July/August 2019

Discover Magazine will amaze you, enlighten you, and open your eyes to the awe and wonder of science and technology. Discover reveals secrets, solves mysteries, and debunks old myths. Discover shares new findings and shows you what makes our universe tick.

Maa:
United States
Kieli:
English
Julkaisija:
Kalmbach Publishing Co. - Magazines
Jakeluväli:
Monthly
Lue lisää
OSTA IRTONUMERO
5,57 €(sis. verot)
TILAA
18,55 €(sis. verot)
10 Numerot

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2 min
life at the edge

When day-to-day life grinds along in its own way for each of us, it can feel like we’re rolling through in the muddled-up middle. No clear definition, not much stark contrast. But slow down and look a little closer, and it’s apparent that life is full of extremes. Often, they’re just too big or small to catch our eye. Some of these extremes we take for granted. For others, we aren’t even aware they’re chugging along, invisible to us. A theme of extremes runs through this annual special issue — consider it the Everything Worth Knowing section on life at the edge. Take the sun, certainly an extreme environment. Or the moon, which is extreme in a much different way. Or the nature of flight, and how it manifests in all kinds…

2 min
print feedback

Moral vs. Material (“The Happiness Dilemma,” March 2019) Maybe what evolution is telling us is that we are looking for happiness in all the wrong places. The examples used in von Hippel’s article — the next mastodon, the new car, the next raise, winning the lottery — all play into the fallacy that true happiness resides in the material, the ephemeral. Ask Buddha, Aristotle or even Thomas Jefferson. They would probably tell us that happiness is the result of a moral, well-lived life. Stuart Lynn Worcester, Mass. Lidar’s Past (“A Lost World Emerges,” March 2019) This story was very enlightening and illustrated how light detecting and ranging (lidar) is used to look through vegetation and reveal details invisible to explorers. However, I was surprised the author didn’t mention previous uses of this technology. In 2015,…

1 min
the crux

RAISING THE HEAVENS FROM THE SEA In 1503, a storm sank the Portuguese ship Esmeralda off the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, taking the lives of the crew. In 2014, divers and archaeologists returned to the wreck to retrieve what remained. That included this metal disk, thought to be an astrolabe — an instrument that mariners used to navigate by measuring the height of celestial bodies above the horizon. Two features of the Portuguese flag — the coat of arms and an armillary sphere, a pattern of rings meant to represent the heavens — affirmed its provenance. Likely constructed between 1496 and 1501, the astrolabe was certified this year as the oldest example known.…

3 min
cloudy with a chance of lava

IT WAS 1975 on the Caribbean island of Basse-Terre, part of Guadeloupe. Beyond a green stretch of jungle, the volcano La Soufrière de Guadeloupe loomed. The island’s capital, also called Basse-Terre, lay nestled between the ocean and the towering peak, which hadn’t had a major eruption since around 1530. But that July, La Soufrière began showing signs of life. Debate ensued among seismologists over the chances of a major eruption; some saw evidence that molten magma below the Earth’s crust was rising. By November, authorities were scrambling to craft an emergency plan for the city and the surrounding area, then home to roughly 75,000 people. In August of the following year, at least 72,000 residents were evacuated. But no magma came. The evacuation itself proved more destructive, costing $342 million at the…

1 min
crepuscular

FOR MOST OF US, WHEN THE SUN’S UP, WE’RE UP. Other critters are nocturnal, operating mainly at night. But not everything falls into those two camps. Many creatures are crepuscular — most active at dusk and dawn — including some species of butterflies, bees, deer, rabbits, even house cats. The trait can allow these animals to avoid extreme temperatures, predators and competition with others over resources. Meteorologists also use the term to describe some types of light rays from the sun, such as the ones that pierce through clouds like spotlights.…

2 min
transyouth movement

RESEARCHERS HAVE LONG STUDIED TRANSGENDER PEOPLE — those who don’t identify as the gender that aligns with their biologically determined sex at birth. But until recently, most of the research has focused on adults. Kristina Olson, a psychologist at the University of Washington, is helping to change that. Since 2013, she’s spearheaded the TransYouth Project, a 20-year study following kids who have socially transitioned, a process that effectively transforms them into their selfi dentified gender. This often includes using pronouns that correspond to their identified gender, and altering fashion and hairstyles to match as well. More than 300 children from the U.S. and Canada are participating, all between the ages of 3 and 12 when they started the study. Already, Olson and her team have found that the kids’ gender development —…