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Heroes

  • video games_HERO

    How Video Games Satisfy Basic Human Needs

    Grand Theft Auto, that most lavish and notorious of all modern videogames, offers countless ways for players to behave. Much of this conduct, if acted out in our reality, would be considered somewhere between impolite and morally reprehensible. Want to pull a driver from her car, take the wheel, and motor along a sidewalk? Go […]

  • hardwired heroism_HERO

    Hard-Wired for Heroism

    On August 21, 2015, Anthony Sadler, 23, a California college student, was riding a train from Amsterdam to Paris with his friends, Aleksander Skarlatos and Spencer Stone. Skarlatos was an Oregon National Guardsman on who had just wrapped up a tour in Afghanistan, and Stone, an American Airman 1st Class in the U.S. Air Force. […]

  • orbital rotation_HERO

    Why Rotation Makes No Sense Sometimes

    What is orbital rotation? The basic picture is clear enough: One body is at rest, while the other follows some circular or elliptical path around it. The trouble is just to figure out which body is which. If you’re standing on the surface of the earth, it appears that the sun slowly orbits around you […]

  • blaming 2016_HERO

    Why We Love to Blame 2016

    You may have noticed it by now: the—I guess I’ll call it an impulse—to anthropomorphize “2016.” It began gradually. First, we objectified it, likening it to a disturbing film, a force of nature, broken hardware. As Slate put it: In trying to wrap our heads around 2016’s all-reason-and-logic–defying onslaught of tragedy and absurdity, we objectified […]

  • west homework_HERO

    Attitude, Not Quantity, Makes Homework Effective

    A smile pulled the corner of Yú’s* mouth. “There is a saying in China,” she says. “‘No students compete. Parents compete.’” The polished Beijing native, who is both a mother and a grandmother, leaned forward with flawless posture as she reminisced about overseeing her son’s education. He was a brilliant student who graduated high school […]

  • Gerace_HERO

    My Personal Hero: Alan Lightman on William Gerace

    Several years ago, I attended a Buddhist retreat in which I was introduced to the idea of the “retinue,” a constellation of influential and supportive people whom one imagines in an enveloping cloud as one meditates. Mentors. I took the concept one step further and decided to create an actual photo montage that I could […]

  • Lombardi_HERO

    My Personal Hero: Caleb Scharf on Michael Storrie-Lombardi

    Being a scientist can be like willingly entering into a Roman gladiatorial contest. The hours are long, there’s a rank smell of indentured servitude, and at any minute your colleagues may attempt to eviscerate you for the pleasure of the crowds. A lot of the time we can look beyond these challenges because we have […]

  • Schwarzschild_HERO

    My Personal Hero: Priyamvada Natarajan on Martin Schwarzchild (and Mr. Carter)

    I was an inquisitive child and my parents encouraged me and actively cultivated my curiosity. My first truly independent adventure, when I was 10, was to secretly take a public bus on my own to the Delhi Public Library. Given how quickly I was wolfing books down, I didn’t want to pester my parents to […]

  • Virchow_HERO

    My Personal Hero: Robert Sapolsky on Rudolf Virchow

    Germany, 1865. A man, wealthy and powerful, gets into an argument with a colleague who calls him out for being the habitual liar that he is. Enraged, he challenges his accuser to a duel. The challenger has a military background and is no stranger to weapons and dueling. The challenged, a meek physician scientist, has […]

  • Keller_HERO

    My Personal Hero: Hope Jahren on Helen Keller

    Have you ever been at sea in a dense fog, when it seemed as if a tangible white darkness shut you in, and the great ship, tense and anxious, groped her way toward the shore with plummet and sounding-line, and you waited with beating heart for something to happen? If there’s a better description of […]