Earth


On July 20, 1969, the world watched as the first human stepped onto the surface of the moon. Today, we scroll online news reports as the world remembers the man whose mission would become a part of history. (more…)

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NASA/JPL

My sisters and I may have been raised in the same home, by the same parents, but our personalities couldn’t be more different. I’m the pragmatic oldest sibling, the middle sister is enigmatic, and the youngest is dynamic.

Like human siblings, “sister planets” Earth and Venus share some features in common, but they also differ from each other. They are nearly the same size (Earth is the bigger of the two) and study indicates that, like Earth, Venus was once covered by liquid water.

But, today, these two celestial bodies possess drastically disparate environments. Earth is vibrant and teeming with biodiversity; Venus is barren and incapable of supporting life. What happened to make these “sisters” go their separate ways? (more…)

I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine:
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
Lull’d in these flowers with dances and delight.
— William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2.1.255–60)

Whether for their practical uses or radiant beauty, flowers have always held a special place in our hearts. (more…)

In case you haven’t heard, ABC’s The Bachelor is back. This season Brad Womack returns to endure once again the attempts of a couple dozen women to flirt, flaunt, and fight for his affection. (To me, the show plays out like a stale romance novel, but people enjoy it enough to stomach fifteen—yes, fifteen—seasons of it.)

What’s curious about the whole premise (finding “the one”) is that it seems hindered by the process (simultaneously dating many). (more…)

Diana, the scholars’ assistant, and I don’t always agree on the ideal temperature for the office space we share. She prefers to keep things cold, but I like it hot—or at least comfortably warm. One thing we can agree on, however: it’s way too hot outside today. (more…)

RTB’s employees hail from all over America. Sandra and I are native Southern Californians accustomed to almost constant sunshine. Astrophysicist Jeff Zweerink comes from Missouri where white Christmases are reality, not dreams (more…)

A small group of us—my husband, Darren, my sisters, their friends, and myself—stood on the stone riverbanks watching other campers slide gleefully down the creek. My youngest sister, Jamie, and her friends decided to give it a try. I joined them. Over the years the water had smoothed and shaped the rock into gentle slopes, forming a natural “slip ‘n slide.” But there was no way to go about sliding gracefully. (more…)