How My Ecstasy Trip Turned Into a Rare Anxiety Disorder
A week after the concert, when my trip should’ve already been over, I was still seeing things. When I took my contacts out, the lights blurred into vast orbs, and hung in front of my eyes like Christmas lights.Photograph by Dimas Ardian / Getty Images When I was at the Firefly Music Festival in Delaware, […]
Why Your Biology Runs on Feelings
Think feelings are important? You’re more right than you know.
Why Hasn’t the World Been Destroyed in a Nuclear War Yet?
In broadest terms, the danger facing the world is that the superpowers have institutionalized a major nuclear showdown.Photograph by U.S. Army Photographic Signal Corps / Wikipedia When opposing nations gained access to nuclear weapons, it fundamentally changed the logic of war. You might say that it made questions about war more cleanly logical—with nuclear-armed belligerents, […]
The Antidote to “Black Mirror” Virtual Reality
We will take VR far, in creative and unanticipated ways, but it will also be mundane, contrary to the bleak alarm peddled by Black Mirror.Image courtesy Netflix / YouTube Both of Black Mirror’s virtual-reality episodes, “USS Callister” this season and “Playtest” in last one’s, presume VR users will be alone, immobile, and unaware of their […]
The Real Difference Between You and a Plant
The best way to draw the line sounds less biological than poetic: What separates us is the “difference between staying and going,” as Hope Jahren, the geochemist and geobiologist, puts it.Vincent van Gogh / Wikicommons One way to rouse someone is to ask: “What makes you think you’re so different from a plant?” Several sensible […]
The Radical Humanism of the Soviet Planetarium
This planetarium was hailed as a successor to Russian theater and the Orthodox Church.
To Save Drowning People, Ask Yourself “What Would Light Do?”
Imagine you’re a lifeguard and you see someone struggling to stay afloat. Being a responsible lifeguard, you want to get to them as quickly as possible. You’re pretty fast when swimming, but even faster running on sand. So what’s the quickest route to get to the swimmer? It may not sound like it, but this […]
Can PTSD Be Good for You?
There’s no way to be sure what will traumatize someone, and not everyone exposed to “trauma” develops PTSD.Wikicommons You might think it insensitive or even offensive to ask whether PTSD could be good for someone. Who wants a disorder, let alone one caused by “post-traumatic stress”? Yet when Nautilus posed this question to Rachel Yehuda, […]
The Stick Is an Unsung Hero of Human Evolution
Stone’s silent sister in the archaeological record.
Your City Has a Gender and It’s Male
Why city designers are increasingly thinking about the female perspective.