37 articles
  • Japan waiting for train lonely hero

    Alienation Is Killing Americans and Japanese

    The stories have become all too familiar in Japan, though people often do their best to ignore them. An elderly or middle-aged person, usually a man, is found dead, at home in his apartment, frequently right in his bed. It has been days, weeks, or even months since he has had contact with another human […]
  • old books_HERO

    Seven Scientists Describe Seven Kinds of Aging

    The novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez struck an optimistic note about aging: “The essence of a human being is resistant to the passage of time,” he once wrote. On the other hand, Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club, was a bit less sentimental: “It happens fast for some people and slow for some, accidents or gravity, […]
  • Hume portrait_HERO

    Why David Hume Is So Hot Right Now

    David Chalmers, co-director of the Center for Mind, Brain and Consciousness at New York University, once undertook something odd for a philosopher: He conducted an international poll. In November 2009, he and his then-PhD advisee, David Bourget, asked over 2,500 of their colleagues—professors and graduate students alike—among other things, with which dead thinker they most […]
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    How Facebook Fuels Relationship Anxiety

    John Bowlby, born in 1907 London to an upper class family, had little parental love. His mother believed (as was common at the time) kindness would spoil children, and his father, a knighted surgeon, left home to fight in the Great War; his primary caregiver, a nursemaid named Minnie, who did love him, was let […]
  • Trichobatrachus_robustus

    Evolution Puts on the Best Freak Show Going

    Suicide-bombing ants. Bone-breaking frogs. Spit-flinging arachnids. Back-birthing toads. And bone-dissolving worms. What do all of the above have in common? Specialized adaptations. They’ve become so accustomed to their distinct habitats that they’d be more likely to perish, compared to their more generalist relatives, if moved to a slightly different locale.Each of them, as a result, […]
  • Article Image

    We Have No Idea How Most Species Age

    To humans, aging can seem to be inextricably linked with physical decline. In 1975, “on a whim,” the photographer Nicholas Nixon decided to illustrate this process. That year he took a picture of his wife and her three sisters standing together, shoulder-to-shoulder; and every year after, for four decades, they stood for a picture in […]

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    What Do Women Want in a Political Career?

    On New Year’s Day, perhaps as a way to celebrate, the National Women’s Political Caucus endorsed Hillary Clinton for President. The NWPC, based in Washington, D.C., is a grassroots organization aiming to increase the presence of women in politics—well under one quarter of our nation’s politicians are women. Paula Willmarth, the NWPC’s Vice President of […]

  • Cave_HERO

    This Is Life at 400

    Ballooning life expectancies are upending age-old definitions of life stages.

  • frayed string_HERO

    Physics Makes Aging Inevitable—A Response to Comments

    When I published Life’s Ratchet four years ago, I was focused on how life can create and sustain highly ordered systems in the presence of the surrounding molecular chaos—how molecular ratchets, in other words, “extract order from chaos.” To my surprise, the book generated great interest in the area of aging research. Aging, says Ed […]

  • Article Image

    Are We in the Anthropocene Yet?

    In the early 1990s, a few miles west of El Kef, a town in Tunisia, geologists set a small golden spike in between two layers of clay that remains there to this day. They wanted to mark the tiny yet striking layer of iridium—a hard, dense, silvery-white metal—sandwiched in the middle. It was deposited by […]

  • Lipsitz_HERO

    The Real Secret of Youth Is Complexity

    Our physiological processes become increasingly simple as we age.

  • Spark_Dijkgraaf_HERO

    Spark of Science: Robbert Dijkgraaf

    The director of the Institute for Advanced Study on the wonders of his childhood attic.
  • Marsa_HERO_F

    Retiring Retirement

    A growing portion of the elderly look and act anything but.
  • Piore_HERO

    The Immortality Hype

    Despite the hyperbole, private funding is changing the science of aging for the better.
  • Nabokov butterfly net_HERO

    How Butterfly Genitalia Inspired Nabokov’s Masterpieces

    By 1967, Vladimir Nabokov had published 15 novels and novellas and six short story collections. But as he told the Paris Review that year, “It is not improbable that had there been no revolution in Russia, I would have devoted myself entirely to lepidopterology”—the study and classification of butterflies—“and never written any novels at all.” […]
  • light switch_HERO

    Epigenetics Has Become Dangerously Fashionable

    For the past few years, social scientists have been buzzing over a particular topic in molecular biology—gene regulation. The hype has been building steam for some time, but recently, it rocketed to the forefront of public discussion due to a widely circulated piece in the New Yorker. Articles on the topic are almost always fascinating: […]