Featured image: Songline dot art of Aboriginal Australians, which acts as a cultural narrative tool and a map through Australian grasslands and deserts all at once. (courtesy National Geographic)
This week, author Maura O’Connor guides us through her new book Wayfinding: The Science and Mystery of How Humans Navigate the World. Our modern selves may rely on GPS to get from A to B, but our brains are capable of extreme navigational feats: Inuits in snow, Aboriginal Australians in the bush, and seafarers in Oceania all travel far without the concept of “being lost.” Maura shares how these travelers use natural clues and cultural context to find their way, and how neuroscience shows that wayfinding, memory and storytelling are all intertwined.
In other news:
- Another new book, Supernavigators, details the wondrous worlds of animal navigation.
- Cities are large enough reservoirs of concrete and heat that they create their own clouds, as scientists showed in new satellite and ground-based observations.
- A new database of solar panels in Australia helps engineers pick panel sites, with data on cloud coverage, voltage returns and local grid efficiency.
The playlist can be found below or on WPRB.com.