Nautilus

How Outer Space Dulls an Astronaut’s Mind

On a wet Wednesday in June, 1783, the first hot air balloon lifted into the sky in the French city of Annonay. It travelled three thousand feet into the air and was carried aloft for nearly two miles, eventually touching down in a vineyard. It flew empty; safety wasn’t a guarantee. A couple of months later, another balloon was sent floating above Paris, this time ferrying a sheep, a duck, and a rooster. The duck was expected to be okay, given its proclivity for flying, but onlookers weren’t so sure about the sheep and rooster, earthbound creatures as they are, like us. After travelling a similar height and distance as the first balloon, the animals were found to be unharmed after landing (although the sheep had peed

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Nautilus

Nautilus14 min read
WeChat Is Watching: Living in China with the app that knows everything about me.
It’s 9 a.m. on a typical morning in Chengdu and I’m awakened by the sound of my phone alarm. The phone is in my study, connected to my bedroom by sliding doors. I turn off the alarm, pick up my phone, and, like millions of people in China, the first
Nautilus10 min read
The Thrill of Defeat: What Francis Crick and Sydney Brenner taught me about being scooped.
I once knew a scientist who worked in the lab all of her waking hours for weeks on end. Indeed I’ve known a few. When a big discovery appears within reach, research can become an obsession. Imagine, then, what it must feel like to lose the race to be
Nautilus13 min readSociety
Why We Keep Playing the Lottery: Blind to the mathematical odds, we fall to the marketing gods.
To grasp how unlikely it was for Gloria C. MacKenzie, an 84-year-old Florida widow, to have won the $590 million Powerball lottery in 2013, Robert Williams, a professor of health sciences at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, offers this scenar