National Geographic (Aug. 2019)

“This place is very, very boring,” the Bihari girl declared within a minute. “My teachers are boring. What do I do?”

I laughed.

Ambition and intelligence shone in her eyes. …

Where will she end up? Where will we? Nobody knows. The important thing on this road we share is to keep walking. And not be afraid.

National Geographic (Aug. 2019)

To be human is to migrate forward through time, the seconds like islands, where we arrive, castaways, and from which we are swept off by the tide, arriving again and again, in a new instant, on a new island, one we have, as always, never experienced before. … We become refugees from our childhoods, the schools, the friends, the toys, the parents that made up our worlds all gone, replaced by new buildings, by phone calls, photo albums, and reminiscences.

National Geographic (Apr. 2019)

But what will it be like, I asked Reid, to have thousands of these zipping around the skyline? You’re inventing a new technology that has just as much revolutionary potential as automobiles. What kind of world will it make?

“We’ll figure it out,” Reid said.

Maybe we will. But it might be wise to do some of the figuring first. We didn’t have to go completely nuts about cars, allowing them to become the tail that wagged the urban dog. We didn’t have to rip up all the streetcar lines. We didn’t have to forget that cities are for people–and we don’t need to do it again.

“Rethinking Cities”

National Geographic (Apr. 2019)

Along the 45-mile stretch of El Camino between San Francisco and San Jose, within half a mile of the road, there are 3,750 commercial parcels occupied by a motley collection of mostly one- or two- story buildings. … If El Camino were lined with three- to five-story apartment buildings, Calthorpe explained, with stores and offices on the ground floor, it could hold 250,000 new homes. You could solve the Silicon Valley housing shortage and beautify the place at the same time, while reducing carbon emissions and water consumption and wasted human hours.

“Rethinking Cities”

,

National Geographic (Aug. 2018)

While it sometimes seems as if we have more nightmares than pleasant dreams, this probably isn’t true. Frightening dreams are simply more likely to trigger our override system and wake us.

“Want to Fall Asleep? Read This Story.”

,

National Geographic (Aug. 2018)

Every time we experience REM sleep, we literally go mad. By definition, psychosis is a condition characterized by hallucinations and delusions. Dreaming, some sleep scientists say, is a psychotic state–we fully believe that we see what is not there, and we accept that time, location, and people themselves can morph and disappear without warning.

“Want to Fall Asleep? Read This Story.”

National Geographic (May 2018)

I’ve always found it difficult to think of climbing as heroic, though I understand how some might view it this way. Stand at the foot of a Himalayan peak, and you quickly understand that getting to the top is going to require exceptional strength, stamina, concentration, and courage. But I’ve always thought that an act of heroism requires some sort of higher purpose than just risking your life to see if you can make it to the top.

“Down the Mountain,” Cory Richards