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Cream of the Cool

I watch with Jimmie and Liz as the exodus to Reykjavík takes place. Jimmie had been the only one of the group not laid low by the terrifying weather that had gripped the ship in the last day. The storm had delayed our arrival in port by several miserable hours. A "severe gale and a high sea," Jimmie had called it casually, in the way that you might call King Kong a 'bad monkey.' He had checked in on everyone in turn, helping us to ride out the violent tossing of the sea and…

This is my own variation of a simple Bengal style vegetable dish. It is quick and uncomplicated to prepare and should make for a delicious introduction to cooking with Punch Pooran.

Also known as Panch Puren, Panch Phoron or simply "five spice" in English, Punch Pooran is a famous Bengal style blend of seeds for cooking. The blend contains equal parts of cumin (Jeera), fennel, fenugreek (Methi), nigella (Kalonji), and yellow mustard seeds. The special thing about Punch

A bush robot is a hypothetical form of robot formed simply of repeatedly branching limbs. One trunk divides into three, three into nine, nine into 27... and so on, potentially down to nanotech scales.

This type of robot has appeared in science fiction novels in various forms for decades, but it was formally explored for NASA by Hans Moravec, so it is often called a Moravec bush, and sometimes --…

Designer babies are a currently hypothetical problem of the future; genetically modified human beings that parents tweak to be a bit better than the average human. As we inch ever closer to allowing gene therapy in sperm, eggs, and embryos, two views of the future are ever more frequently brought up for ethical hand-wringing.

One possibility is that genetic modification will allow for the elimination of diseases such as cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs, Huntington’s disease,…