Everyone wants to be free; or at least have some choice in life. We all have our professional, family and social commitments. On the other hand, most people believe that they are free to choose what to do, from the simplest to the more complex: should I drink coffee with sugar or sweetener? Do I put some money in the savings or do I spend it all? Who should I vote for in the next elections? Should I marry Carmen or not?
The question of free will is essentially a question of agency, of who is in charge as we go through our lives making all sorts of choices.
A creature that lived 375 million years ago and is thought to have been the first fish to have made the transition to land sported large pelvic bones in addition to its leg-like front fins, new research shows, suggesting that it was a more efficient walker than previously thought.
Tiktaalik roseae, discovered in 2004 on Ellesmere Island in Nunavit, Canada, is a key transitional fossil that links lobe-finned fishes and tetrapods, the first four-limbed vertebrates at the end of the Devonian period.
Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 1:36 pm
By Adam Frank
Right now, as you are reading these very words, trillions of particles called neutrinos are streaming through your body. Hardly a single atom in your body feels their passage. Hardly one of the trillion neutrinos feels your presence. They are ghosts to you as you are to them. But that doesn't mean these tiny flecks of matter don't matter.
Neutrinos, it turns out, have shaped the universe and their remarkable story has now been expertly told in a new book by astrophysicist Ray Jayawardhana. It's called Neutrino Hunters.
Imagine a couple of million years ago, a curious young alien from the planet Zantar — let's call him a grad student — lands on Earth, looks around and asks, "Who's the brainiest critter on this planet? Relative to body size, who's got the biggest brain?"
The chemical that was found last week to be contaminating the drinking water of hundreds of thousands of West Virginians is used to clean coal. But very little is known about how toxic it is to people or to the environment when it spills.