Aeon

Thus spake Albert

A piece looking at the prevalence of Albert Einstein aphorisms in the public consciousness_Ñ_at an extraordinary level even for someone of his stellar reputation. The story examines his sayings and how they were in some cases applied in his own life and times.

Aliens in our midst

Whilst we look for alien life on other planets, this piece examines ctenophores – creatures closer to home that are “profoundly different from any other animal on Earth” – so much so in fact that they may be on an entirely different evolutionary path to their planetary cohabitants.

What would it take to build a tower as high as outer space?

Such are the advances that have been made in structural engineering, that proposals now exist to create buildings that can reach space. For such “megastructures” to be viable however, we may need to look to the natural world for inspiration – perhaps even our own bodies, where an estimated 98% of atoms are replaced each year.

Art by algorithm

An article looking at the impact of computational advances on art and aesthetics, and the potential for a future of bland, algorithmically-driven perfection. The piece also considers a more appealing path for art, exemplified by changes in chess since Gary Kasparov was defeated by the Deep Blue supercomputer, where human and computer now unite to elevate and evolve the game into something altogether different.

The legend of the Legion

A profile of the French Foreign Legion, staffed primarily by foreign nationals as its name suggests, and with a modern day reputation for going into harm’s way as an elite unit. Its history is more diverse, particularly its complex relationship with the French state, perhaps best exemplified by the involvement of some of their number in an attempted coup against Charles De Gaulle’s government in 1961.

Wild Thing

A history of our domestication of animals, and the genetic impact this has on the animals in question, and their human keepers.

The African Enlightenment

A piece proposing that many of the ideas of Enlightenment philosophy put forward by Locke, Hume and Kant had actually been conceived a century earlier in Ethiopia.