Link About It: This Week’s Picks

An alien probe, ancient bathroom humor, the mistaken history of chocolate and more

Ancient Bathroom Humor Discovered Uncovered this week in Turkey, inside what was once a Roman latrine, are a bunch of dirty jokes that date back to the second century. Two mosaics depict well-known Greek and Roman characters, Narcissus and Ganymede—only the scenes are a little different than the myths we know. In one, Narcissus is staring down at his penis, obsessed; in the other, Ganymede (who was …

Comet, Meteor or Alien Spacecraft

Since its first sighting in 2017, “Oumuamua” has puzzled scientists and researchers. Its strange propulsion-like movement and determined trajectory call into question whether the long, flat object is merely a comet or a meteorite—despite that being the more mundane, and maybe likely, conclusion. The way the object sped up as it passed the sun has researchers most puzzled. “Lightsails,” the solar-powered starships that Breakthrough Starshot plans …

Stephen Hawking’s Last Book Offers Brief Answers to Big Questions

In his collection of final thoughts, published 16 October, physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking addresses nothing less than the future of humanity. The book, called Brief Answers to the Big Questions, emphasizes the importance of regulating artificial intelligence, implementing clean nuclear fusion power and preparing for asteroid collision. He also predicted that gene editing tools will create an advanced race of superhumans—and so much more. In many …