Author Archives: Bob Welbaum

The Science of Sex

On the theory that everyone likes to talk about sex (and if that’s wrong, this is going to be really embarrassing), but the NPR show Radiolab has recently broadcast a series of six programs on sexuality under the apt umbrella title of “Gonads.”  The series began with “The Primordial Journey” (June 20) on sex selection

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Wild Animals and Cities

We invented cities thousands of years ago, but they have become the focal points of our civilization in only the past 150 or so years.  As cities get larger and more complex, how do the animals that normally live in those areas adapt?  We’re just getting to the point where animals have had a chance

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Life Without Cars

I’ve just learned of a city of 80,000 people that is safe, quiet and full of open space.  What’s the secret?  They banned cars. The city is Pontevedra in northwest Spain.  Its transformation was the brainchild of its mayor since 1999, Miguel Anxo Fernández Lores: “Before I became mayor 14,000 cars passed along this street

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Who is Really in Control?

Have you ever pushed a button and wondered if anything really happened? You may be onto something.  There are 1000 “Walk” buttons at intersections in New York City, but only about 100 are actually functional.  Pushing the “door close” button in an elevator probably doesn’t make the door close any faster.  And if you’ve ever

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Panhandlers and the Cashless Society

One trend I’m following with great interest is the move toward a cashless society.  This would certainly be a significant change with, as usual, many unintended consequences. For example, one of the most common replies to panhandling is “I don’t have change.”  Today that might not be just an excuse.  So is this cashless trend

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