The Great Race of Mercy

“How the boy said, ‘mama, I’m going to die,’ and how she knew enough to say, ‘no you aren’t honey, no you never will.’ How this boy could only stare back at his father and mother and why they lied.” In the late decades of the 18th century and the early 19th century, unknown numbers …

Tasting colours and seeing sound: Synaesthesia

“One hears a sound but recollects a hue, invisible the hands that touch your heartstrings,” wrote Vladimir Nabokov, 20th century novelist. He experienced a curious condition called synaesthesia, which comes from the Greek words syn (together) and aisthesis (perception) and literally means ‘joined perception’. The condition basically causes a fusion of sensory perceptions in which …

The astronauts who put the USA on the moon

The Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1 into an elliptical low Earth orbit on October 4, 1957. This surprise precipitated the space age and triggered the space race. The success ushered in new technological, political, military, and scientific developments. On April 12, 1961, Yuri Gagarin became the first person in history to leave the Earth’s atmosphere …

Alien encounters and the man from Grenada

The month of August indeed belonged to the tiny rover that could — Curiosity. We were all hooked right from the landing and until those first images of the red planet were beamed back. Not even Will.i.am could spoil it for us. We revelled in everything in between, from the missed high-fives, peanuts, Neil deGrasse Tyson’s conversation with the rover, …