Science + Technology – Articles, Analysis, Opinion

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India’s launch vehicle carrying Chandrayaan-2 lifted off from Sriharikota, India, in late July 2019. Indian Space Research Organization via AP

Indian Moon probe’s failure won’t stop an Asian space race that threatens regional security

Are India and China engaged in a new space race? India's increasingly ambitious space ventures, including its Chandrayaan-2 lunar mission, are evidence of the country's interest in space exploration.
Evolution has no final endpoint in mind. Uncle Leo/Shutterstock.com

Evolution doesn’t proceed in a straight line – so why draw it that way?

If you go by editorial cartoons and T-shirts, you might have the impression that evolution proceeds as an orderly march toward a preordained finish line. But that's not right at all.
People have been modifying Earth – as in these rice terraces near Pokhara, Nepal – for millennia. Erle C. Ellis

Surveying archaeologists across the globe reveals deeper and more widespread roots of the human age, the Anthropocene

Hundreds of archaeologists provided on-the-ground data from across the globe, providing a new view of the long and varied history of people transforming Earth's environment.
Uber and Lyft drivers protest their working conditions in Los Angeles in May 2019. AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

Worker-protection laws aren’t ready for an automated future

If your job doesn't currently involve automation or artificial intelligence in some way, it likely will soon. Computer-based worker surveillance and performance analysis will come, too.
Red Cross forensic specialist Stephen Fonseca, right, searches for bodies in a field of ruined maize in Magaru, Mozambique, after Cyclone Idai, April 4, 2019. AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi

Humanitarian forensic scientists trace the missing, identify the dead and comfort the living

Meet the unsung aid workers who put their lives on the line during war and natural disaster to make sure the dead are treated with respect – and that their grieving families get closure.
On June 5-6, 2012, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory collected images of one of the rarest predictable solar events: the transit of Venus across the face of the Sun. NASA/SDO, AIA

Why we need to get back to Venus

This hot, acidic neighbor with its surface veiled in thick clouds hasn't benefited from the attention showered on Mars and the Moon. But Venus may offer insights into the fate of the Earth.
It’s a mess, but is it all bad? EHFXC/Wikimedia Commons

Don’t ban new technologies – experiment with them carefully

New technologies and services aren't creating irreversible damage, even though they do generate some harms. Preemptive bans would stifle innovation and block potential solutions to real problems.
Is there still time to reach the ‘off’ button? Raul Topan/Shutterstock.com

Bring on the technology bans!

Legal bans and moratoriums on other emerging technologies need not be permanent or absolute, but the more powerful a technology is, the more care it requires to operate safely.