• Essay

    Writing the Truth in a World of Lies

    German Playwright Bertolt Brecht Found in His Work—and Characters—a Vehicle For Change

    by Oliver Mayer

    What can we do? As we stare at a broken world, malignant and sense-deadening, what response ...

  • The Takeaway

    What Will First Contact Be Like?

    Imagining the Alien Arrival Is a Creative Endeavor—One That Might Just Bring Humanity Together

    by Talib Jabbar

    An “ineffable sense of wonder” filled last night’s Zócalo event, “How Should We Prepare for Aliens ...


Why Do We Want to Find Aliens?

Humanity’s Fascination with ‘Little Green Men’ Dares Us to Imagine What’s Out There

by Charles Cockell

The most memorable taxi ride of my life occurred when I stepped into a cab driven by a man named John, back in 2016. We fell into a conversation about our lines of work. He told me how much he enjoyed his job. As a taxi driver, he got to meet the wonderful menagerie of humankind and find out their life stories—and be paid to do it, no less. And I described my day as a working astrobiologist: how I try to use instruments to detect the signs of living things on other planets, either their fossil remains, or the parts of cells that are alive and well today.
  At the mention of extraterrestrial life, John glanced at me in the rearview mirror, a glimmer in his eyes. “I wonder,” he mused. “Could there be alien taxi drivers out there?”
  At first the notion struck me as bizarre, even slightly ridiculous. But then I realized that it was a sweeping and rather profound question ...


Could a Tattoo Cure What Ails You?

Medicine Is an Art. Art, Too, Can Be Medicine

by Anh Diep

Tattoos and medicine may seem an unlikely pairing, but medical tattoos are nothing new. Religious tattoos of ancient Egyptians honored the gods and, possibly, directed divine healing to ailing body parts. Circa 150 CE, Galen, a Greek physician working in the Roman Empire, tattooed pigment onto patients’ corneas to reduce glare and improve their eyesight. In the past century, more and more people have tattooed their medical histories, such as blood type, hereditary conditions, and even medical requests such as “do not resuscitate,” on their wrists and chests. Modern doctors have also used tattoos in reconstructive and cosmetic procedures to disguise scars and restore the appearance of lost body parts, such as nipples for mastectomy patients.
  Today, that history comes full circle—as researchers now try to determine if tattooing could be used as a medical tool, giving healthcare providers a better way to administer drugs ...

  • The Takeaway

    Can California Lead a Reproductive Justice Movement?

    From Sister-Friends to 'Full-Spectrum' Doulas, the Golden State May Be a Model for Care

    As the full weight of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade bears down on the nation, California is seeking to become a sanctuary state for reproductive rights. The governor has signed a new law protecting Californians from civil liability for providing, aiding, or receiving abortion care. And the …