There’s a beautiful medley of science, art, and writing in the new issue of Nautilus. Here are a handful of highlights from Issue 41.
- A Lab of Her Own
Biologist Bob Goldstein had always been intrigued by Rita Levi-Montalcini, an Italian biologist, and Nobel laureate. Goldstein sensed there was more to the brilliant scientist’s story than textbooks let on, particularly during WWII. And indeed there was, as Goldstein explains in an article that grabs you like fiction and takes you on a scientific adventure. What Goldstein discovered is that Levi-Montalcini, alone in her bedroom, discovered nothing less than how the nervous system is wired, from embryo to full body. It’s a revelation sure to rewrite biology textbooks from here on out.
- It’s Not Irrational to Party Like It’s 1999
Must we always be rational? Where’s the fun in that? But wait, says Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker, those are the wrong questions to ask. Rationality is less about abandoning emotion than feeling how you truly want to feel. Writes Pinker, “It is in no way irrational to keep a garden, fall in love, care for stray dogs, party like it’s 1999, or dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free.”
- This Is Some Good Shit
The story of human poop is an amazing one. Who knew it was such a rich resource? Science writer Lina Zeldovich did. She grew up on a small Russian farm where her grandfather recycled the family poop into soil that enriched their annual harvests. Zeldovich brings us the dirty truth about “the other dark matter.” For all the environmental problems that human waste has caused, it can be recycled, and is, by Washington, D.C.’s wastewater plant, into valuable soil.
These stories are just a sampling of what’s available in the latest issue of the Nautilus print edition, Issue 41.