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Press and Pop Culture

Atlas Obscura but Not So Accurata

Atlas Obscura seems to have reached a point that it no longer can describe itself as, well, obscura. The website enjoys more than 300,000 pageviews each day and has produced a book, which is currently the “#1 Best Seller in General Travel Reference” and #293 overall at Amazon. While individual entries might be, physically, off […]

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History

17th-Century Extraterrestrials

At last spring’s Philadelphia Science Festival I talked about early 17th-century thoughts about extraterrestrial life. Here is a draft of that talk. 17th-Century Lunar Men The news recently has been filled with stories about Kepler 186f. In case you missed it, Kepler 186f is an earth-sized planet orbiting near the outer limits of the habitable […]

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Literature & Scholarship

John Dee in Rudolfine Prague

In his A Time of Gifts Patrick Leigh Fermor conjures up a melancholic image of Rudolfine Prague and its fascination with the occult. Emperor Rudolf II: “Moody and unbalanced, he lived in an atmosphere of neo-platonic magic, astrology and alchemy. His addiction to arcane practices certainly darkened his scientific bent.” Johannes Kepler nourished Rudolf’s and […]