What to Do When Your Brain Insists You’re Always on a Boat
Chris Perry had felt the world bobbing beneath her feet for nearly four months, suffering from a disorder rather poetically dubbed Mal de Debarquement syndrome.Photograph by Zvonimir Orec / Shutterstock A few years ago, Chris Perry went on an Alaskan cruise with her family to celebrate her parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. When she boarded the […]
How to Get Evangelicals to Care About Climate Change
It’s not that evangelicals don’t care about the environment. It’s that they care about people more.Wikicommons Last year was among the three warmest years ever recorded, 1.51 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average, scientists from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently reported. The two years prior were warmer (2016 the warmest), […]
The Irony of the Pope Decrying Fake News
It’s hard to ignore the irony of the leader of the Catholic religion decrying intolerant and hypersensitive attitudes, to which Catholic dogma has contributed for centuries.Illustration by DonkeyHotey / Flickr Pope Francis may be the first pontiff in Roman Catholic history to embrace the voice of the modern pundit. In 2015, he wrote an encyclical […]
The importance of perspective in science cannot be understated and yet often is. From the outside, science can seem like a common noun, a smooth and untextured monolith containing the Truth. But science is a method and not a body of knowledge, and it is practiced by fallible humans.
How to Understand Extreme Numbers
The late statistics wizard Hans Rosling, who died in February of 2017 at age 68, brought at least 10 toilet paper rolls to some of his beloved presentations. He would stack them into a tower on a table, each roll representing one billion people. In a 2012 talk at the Skoll World Forum, he […]
How to Use Blinkist Properly
There’s a right way and a wrong way to use Blinkist. You’ll still want to do some reading, for one thing.Photograph by Jonathan Grado / Flickr The summer reading for my senior-year A.P. psych class was Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink, the bestseller all about the “power of thinking without thinking”—both its triumphs (fine “snap” judgments) and […]
Why Did a Billionaire Give $75 Million to a Philosophy Department?
Philosophy matters. The new challenges of the genomics revolution, the rise of AI, the growth in inequality, societal fragmentation, and our capacity for devastating war all invite philosophical perspective.Painting by Otto Scholderer / Wikicommons Last week, for the first time in recent memory, a news story in this troubling period had me, a bachelor of […]
What Makes the Hardest Equations in Physics So Difficult?
Reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine‘s Abstractions blog. Physics contains equations that describe everything from the stretching of space-time to the flitter of photons. Yet only one set of equations is considered so mathematically challenging that it’s been chosen as one of seven “Millennium Prize Problems” endowed by the Clay Mathematics Institute with a $1 million reward: […]
The Antelope Killing Fields
Why did two thirds of all saiga antelope die in a couple months?
Antonio Damasio Tells Us Why Pain Is Necessary
The neuroscientist explains why feelings evolved.