The Mysteries of the First-Ever Map of the North Pole

The second draft of the Septentrionalium Terrarum, released in 1606. GERARDUS MERCATOR/PUBLIC DOMAIN Gerard Mercator’s 16th-century attempt at mapping the Arctic includes such guesses as a giant whirlpool and polar pygmies. By Cara Giaimo These days, climate scientists are looking hard at Arctic maps. As winter sea ice shrinks and cracks appear, they try to understand the reasons for these changes, and determine what we should expect in the future. Centuries ago, though, when people tried to map the Arctic, they weren’t too concerned with what was happening to it—they just wanted to know what the heck was up there. And, … Continue reading The Mysteries of the First-Ever Map of the North Pole

Undersea: Rachel Carson’s Lyrical and Revolutionary 1937 Masterpiece Inviting Humans to Explore Earth from the Perspective of Other Creatures

Art by Rambharos Jha from Waterlife “Against this cosmic background the lifespan of a particular plant or animal appears, not as drama complete in itself, but only as a brief interlude in a panorama of endless change.” BY MARIA POPOVA Pioneering biologist and writer Rachel Carson (May 27, 1907–April 14, 1964) catalyzed the modern environmental movement with the groundbreaking publication of Silent Spring in 1962, but the spark for this slow-burning revolution was kindled a quarter century earlier, while 28-year-old Carson was working for what would later become the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. When she was tasked with writing … Continue reading Undersea: Rachel Carson’s Lyrical and Revolutionary 1937 Masterpiece Inviting Humans to Explore Earth from the Perspective of Other Creatures

How Long Should You Wait to Buy Something You Really Want?

by Tracy Moore Finding spontaneous joy on a carefully planned budget Most all financial advice in the known universe centers around two common pitfalls: You don’t budget your money well, and you buy too much shit you don’t need. We’re all familiar with impulse buying — thoughtless, unconsidered spending on stuff you could just as easily go without that adds up over time and derails the best-laid plans for saving money. A recent essay on Thought Catalog offers one way to curb impulse buying: Wait three days before buying any non-necessity, and then, and only then, allow yourself to buy if you really … Continue reading How Long Should You Wait to Buy Something You Really Want?

In praise of cash

image edited by Web Investigator Cash might be grungy, unfashionable and corruptible, but it is still a great public good, important for rich and poor alike Brett Scott writes about financial activism and social and environmental finance. He is the author of The Heretic’s Guide to Global Finance (2013). I recently found myself facing a vending machine in a quiet corridor at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. I was due to speak at a conference called ‘Reinvent Money’ but, suffering from jetlag and exhaustion, I was on a search for Coca-Cola. The vending machine had a small digital … Continue reading In praise of cash