Thanks to the internet, a researcher’s job is infinitely easier than it would have been throughout life before the 1990’s. Open access to scientific information has been a great service and relief for millions of students, scholars, members of academia, doctors, theologians, and scientists alike, all around the world. I can just imagine how difficult being a scribe in those centuries past would have been, countless hours peering over countless books, but then again I suppose it can’t be much different from my college experience. There was nothing that could have replaced a good text book when it came to a lot of the information I was seeking. These days however, it seems like there’s more information than ever just on a few good web sites. Here’s a photo of a book on astronomy and mathematics from the tenth century. It’s an incredible artifact to find in such good condition, just don’t ask me to translate; my degree isn’t in tenth century Middle Eastern languages! © Shafraz.Nasser. As much as I love reading and the raw physical tangibility of holding a physical representation of information and knowledge (a book!) in my hands, there really is nothing that can beat the sheer usefulness of the internet and what it can do for so many different people in so many different areas where research applies. It’s really a culmination of the driving force of innovation that has taken the world this far, and we all know that necessity spawns the greatest innovation. I really enjoy this photo just because of how much it says with so little. You can see a representation of several different scientific schools of thought (the globe representing geology and geography, the telescope representing astronomy, the potted plant representing botany, the small mannequin representing biology, and chemistry being represented by the little measuring units). © Robert Couse-Baker. I’ve always has an interest and passion for many areas of science, but my skill with higher level mathematics was terribly lacking. That never stopped me from finding an interest in things like biology and medicine, and I’m sure a lack of natural skill with a given subject won’t stop many people with the passion and interest to research the things they have an interest in. I think it’s really just a matter of time before the right person from the right background with the right interests to discover something really world-changing like a cure for cancer. I think the global climate for research is in the right place for such a thing to happen, but let’s all enjoy ourselves and keep reading in the mean time. This photo of the Helix Nebula (originally taken by the Spitzer Space Telescope) is quite beautiful and certainly has an uncanny resemblance to an eye. The magnitude of such things never ceases to make me reflect on my own life and how small we all are in the grand scheme of things… © Phil Plait.