Edward Willett

Author's posts

Perception

Is what you see what’s really there, or is it all in your head? “Well, I don’t know about you,” I hear you say (which is a good trick, considering this is a newspaper column), “but I see what’s really there. This newspaper is really here in my hands–I’m not imagining it.” No, you’re not. …

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Fire!

Fire’s leaping, luminous tongues are familiar to us from fireplaces, campfires, candles and cookstoves. But do you really know what fire is? Our ancestors didn’t, which is why they made fire central to myth, magic and religion. Many myths speak of a time when humans suffered because they couldn’t warm themselves; then they discovered fire …

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Teledetection

I recently saw two pictures of southern Saskatchewan taken one year apart, in the summers of 1983 and 1984. The photographs are primarily green and pink. In the first photo there’s plenty of green, but also plenty of pink. In the second photo, the green has just about overwhelmed the pink. That might sound like …

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Modems

There’s a rather standard science fiction situation, based loosely on some of the oddities of quantum physics (the quirks of quarks, one might say), that postulates a whole other universe co-existing with ours, sharing the same space, but unseen. Well, in a sense this “parallel” world is already accessible, though not as a science-fictional “alternate …

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What is a scientist?

What is a scientist? That’s a question easier to ask than it is to answer.The first person we know of who might be called a scientist was Thales of Miletus, who lived in Ionia, now the west coast of Turkey, around 600 B.C. Aristotle said he founded “natural philosophy” — the notion that even huge …

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