Distillations Blog

The Distillations Blog is the place for regular updates from the intersections of science, culture, and history.

A cover for the 1980 Atari 2600 game Space Invaders.
September 02, 2016

The search for extraterrestrial intelligence has been going on for decades, but so far no one has found anything. As the Italian physicist Enrico Fermi once asked, where is everybody?

a French shampoo ad from 1907
August 22, 2016

Who’s responsible for regulating beauty products that lead to less-than-beautiful results?

Mephistopheles and Faust play chess
July 24, 2016

Artificially intelligent programs are playing board games better than humans ever could. Is it possible to design a board game that can stump even the smartest computer?

A leaf illuminated by sunlight.
July 15, 2016

Around 2.5 billion years ago, cyanobacteria spewed an element into the atmosphere that was toxic to many of Earth’s early life-forms: oxygen.

Science adviser Donna J. Nelson poses with Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul.
July 01, 2016

Breaking Bad showcased the chemistry of everything from making methamphetamine to building thermite explosives, but who made sure the science on the show was accurate?