Giant American Ground Sloth: Awesome Extinct Animals, Pt 1

The word "Pleistocene" always reminds me of that malleable sculpture substance that is really good at getting stuck under fingernails.  That stuff, however, is plasticine and is not the topic of the 5-part series of posts that is coming your way. Pleistocene refers to the geological epoch from about 2.5 million years ago (mya) to …

Happiness and the Brain

This week's topic had me wondering: what's going on in our brains when we're happy? A little bit of quick research revealed what I believe to be some interesting findings that I will share with you [...]

A Warm Little Pond

When we last spoke, I promised a short history of Life, the Universe, and Everything. It seems I have only delivered an introduction to the latter two, without really talking about how Life itself came about on this majestic blue marble. The origin of life [...]

We’re Back!

After a semester-long absence, the Thoughtful Pharaoh returns.  I will be participating in the Essay-A-Week Challenge, issued long ago by the great Alec Thomson, renewed last year by the renowned Kacper Niburski, and put forward this year by the talented and gracious David Laing.  There are 16 topics and I will try to get to …

About As Likely As A Lunar Footprint Getting Hit By Space Debris

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s footprints on the moon will never fade.  Until they get struck by a meteor or the sun expands.   Well, we know the sun will expand to engulf the Earth’s current orbit in approximately 5 billion years, but how likely is it that a meteor will wipe one of these footprints …

Star Colours

Human eyes can see wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation between 390 and 750nm.  Light at the long end of this range (~750nm) appears red while light at the short end (~390nm) appears blue or violet.  We call this range the visible spectrum for pretty obvious reasons; it’s the wavelengths of light that are visible to our …