From the northern lights to light pollution, the Night issue investigates ideas that resonate most deeply in the dark.

In this issue, cultural historian Giles Slade looks at the cosmic activity behind the northern lights (which hit the peak of their 11-year cycle this fall) and discovers that North America’s energy grid is vastly under-prepared for a serious geomagnetic storm.

Fresh off an internship with A\J, Ben Williamson dissects a controversial yet wildly popular attempt by a trio of synthetic biologists to soften the image of genetic modification by selling glowing plants and giving citizen scientists a chance to grow their own (the same plants that prompted Kickstarter to implement a ban on giving genetically modified organisms as rewards).

Rob Thacker breaks down how the planet’s most powerful new telescope works, and offers a closing riff about the disappearing universe.

We also capture the perils of light pollution (and relay some great mitigation strategies), profile Canada’s trailblazing effort to recycle sex toys, and retrace Joshua See’s intrepid footsteps as he photographs student-supported field research by one of Canada’s bat gurus in the rainforests of Borneo and Guyana. Plus, get a dose of the oversized truck drivin' blues with our review of Oil Sands Karaoke.

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In the podcast, Daryn Caister talks to Rob Thacker about what’s up next in Canadian space science. In part two, hear the stories of people displaced by the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway in recordings from Louis Helbig’s Sunken Villages exhibit.

"As our night sky changes and the stars disappear, so we change too. The sense of awe that drove us to find answers to incredible questions is escaping us."

- Robert Thacker in Because the Night, from the Night issue.

 

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