Planet 9 won’t be as big as Uranus. Really.

This week’s news in the Astronomical Journal that Mike Brown and Konstantin Batygin of CalTech have predicted a ninth planet got the usual barrage of silly media headlines about ‘discovery’. The thing is, Brown and Batygin haven’t found anything. They’ve hypothesised that there’s a planet. And they are not the first to wonder about some… More Planet 9 won’t be as big as Uranus. Really.

Imaginings about imaginary imagination, tulips and climate

I have always been fascinated by the human ability to make what we imagine seem real. And then to take that reality and imagine something else built on it, and so on. Eventually, we build a ‘reality’ that is built not on physical evidence, but on our chain of imagined concepts – which society picks… More Imaginings about imaginary imagination, tulips and climate

It doesn’t take much to be kind – if we pay attention

An elderly woman boarded the train I was riding the other day. The carriage was crowded, but someone immediately gave up his seat for her. Random acts of kindness like this are what should happen in the world. They don’t – not nearly often enough. A lot of the problem, I think, flows from the… More It doesn’t take much to be kind – if we pay attention

Lessons of Paris: how to use kindness to defeat humanity’s dark side

The news from Paris has horrified me on so many levels. Part of the horror flows from the way the dark side of human nature has been – once again – starkly revealed by last week’s terror attacks. If we look across the world today – and back through history – that darkness is also evident in many… More Lessons of Paris: how to use kindness to defeat humanity’s dark side