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Science and Technology

The Sun Interview

Wrong Turn

Biologist Rupert Sheldrake On How Science Lost Its Way

I suggest that morphogenetic fields work by imposing patterns on otherwise random or indeterminate activity. Morphogenetic fields are not fixed forever, but evolve. The fields of Afghan hounds and poodles have become different from those of their common ancestors, wolves. How are these fields inherited? I propose that they are transmitted from past members of the species through a kind of nonlocal resonance, which I call “morphic resonance.”

By Mark Leviton February 2013
The Sun Interview

Indefensible

David Krieger On The Continuing Threat Of Nuclear Weapons

The path to security can only be through total nuclear disarmament. We cannot indefinitely maintain a world of nuclear haves and have-nots, and we cannot go attacking every country that we think might be on the path to making a bomb.

By Leslee Goodman January 2013
Readers Write

The Internet

Mallomars, Virginia Tech, pen pals

By Our Readers August 2012
Quotations

Sunbeams

If we had a reliable way to label our toys good and bad, it would be easy to regulate technology wisely. But we can rarely see far enough ahead to know which road leads to damnation. Whoever concerns himself with big technology, either to push it forward or to stop it, is gambling in human lives.

Freeman Dyson

September 2011
The Sun Interview

The Sincerest Form Of Flattery

Janine Benyus On The Virtues Of Imitating Nature

Our mission, in both our business and our nonprofit, is to increase respect for the natural world. Creating more-sustainable products and processes is just an extension of that. To learn from nature, you have to become involved with what Wes Jackson calls the “deep conversation.” To learn how to take carbohydrates and water and turn them into a fiber as strong as steel, as a spider does, you go to a spider and respectfully ask, “How are you doing that?” Then you go and try to do it yourself. And when you fail — it’s very hard to do! — you go back to the organism and ask again.

By David Kupfer September 2009
Quotations

Sunbeams

In the main, and from the beginning of time, mysticism has kept men sane. The thing that has driven them mad was logic.

G.K. Chesterton

July 2009
Quotations

Sunbeams

By nature, French artist Edgar Degas was conservative. His friend the etcher Jean-Louis Forain believed in progress. Forain had recently installed that newfangled invention, the telephone. Arranging to have a friend phone him during the meal, he invited Degas to dinner. The phone rang; Forain rushed to answer it, then returned, beaming with pride. Degas merely said, “So that’s the telephone. It rings and you run.”

Bartlett’s Book of Anecdotes

March 2009
The Sun Interview

Computing The Cost

Nicholas Carr On How The Internet Is Rewiring Our Brains

As we increasingly connect with the world through computer screens, we’re removing ourselves from direct sensory contact with nature. In other words, we’re learning to substitute symbols of reality for reality itself. I think that’s particularly true for children who’ve grown up surrounded by screens from a young age. You could argue that this isn’t necessarily something new, that it’s just a continuation of what we saw with other electronic media like radio or TV. But I do think it’s an amplification of those trends.

By Arnie Cooper March 2009