The Poetic Clarity of That ‘Pale Blue Dot’

Through Photography, Science Has Given Humanity a Sense of Itself

When the Voyager 1 space probe was launched in 1977, it was equipped with a camera to chronicle its travels through the cosmos. One of the images that astronomer Carl Sagan hoped the probe would capture was that of Earth as the probe left the confines of our solar system, leaving our little planet, a “pale blue dot,” behind. Sagan thought this image of a barely visible Earth could help humanity more precisely understand our place in a vast and endless universe. “There is perhaps no better demonstration of …

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Can Muscle Cars Really Fly? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Can Muscle Cars Really Fly?

Matthew Porter’s Photographs of an American Symbol Conjure Dreamlike Worlds

Muscle cars are a quintessential American symbol: fast, powerful, and entirely impractical. But perhaps it’s their impracticability that makes these gas-guzzling, aggressively loud vehicles coveted by so many. Having a …

Chasing the Sun’s Medicinal Rays | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Chasing the Sun’s Medicinal Rays

At the Turn of the 20th Century, Southern California Became a Testing Ground for Healthy Living

Southern California has long attracted those seeking a mild climate, a healthy lifestyle, and sunshine. According to Lyra Kilston, author of Sun Seekers: The Cure of California, the origins of …

A Picnic of Perils and Pratfalls | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

A Picnic of Perils and Pratfalls

Joe Rocco is a New Yorker who now lives in Los Angeles. As a boy, he drew constantly, inspired by his heroes—cartoonists like Charles Addams, Gary Panter, Buddy Hickerson, and …

How the Gilded Age Turned Cowboys Into ‘Adventure Heroes’ | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

How the Gilded Age Turned Cowboys Into ‘Adventure Heroes’

Cattle Herding May Have Been Boring and Demeaning, But It Seemed Like an Antidote to Soul-Killing Industrial Jobs

It is rare to find cowboys on the silver screen who spend much time performing the humdrum labor—herding cattle—that gave their profession its name. Westerns suggest that cowboys are …