You Eat a Credit Card’s Worth of Plastic Every Week

What is our hidden consumption of microplastics doing to our health? BY KATHARINE GAMMON Martin Wagner was annoyed that his colleagues were always talking about microplastics in the ocean. It was 2010 and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch had been headline news. Here was this massive gyre, formed by circular ocean currents in the Pacific Ocean, reportedly brimming with plastic particles, killing sea turtles and seagulls. Wagner, a professor of biology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, whose lab focuses on the impact of plastics on human and ecosystem health, felt like scientists were pointing to marine systems … Continue reading You Eat a Credit Card’s Worth of Plastic Every Week

Philosopher of the apocalypse

From the ashes of the Second World War, Günther Anders forecast a new catastrophe: technology would overwhelm its creators Audrey Borowski is postdoctoral fellow at the MCMP at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, as well as a research associate at the University of Oxford where she completed her DPhil. Her interests range widely from the early modern period to the 21st century, from Leibniz to catastrophe and the philosophy of artificial intelligence. As the commander of the weather plane that supported the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima on 6 August 1945, Claude Eatherly did not feel any particular animosity … Continue reading Philosopher of the apocalypse

Some Reflections on Human Life: “Nothing Short of a Miracle”

Though our lifetimes are fleeting on a cosmic scale, we experience them as long and adventurous. Focus on this and you will be naturally motivated to make the most of life. By Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa KarmapaMAY 16, 2022 These leisures and endowments, which are so difficult to obtain, have been acquired, and they bring about the welfare of all. If one fails to take this favorable opportunity into consideration, how could this occasion occur again? Just as lightning illuminates the darkness of a cloudy night for an instant, in the same way, by the power of the … Continue reading Some Reflections on Human Life: “Nothing Short of a Miracle”

Climate Change Is Turning Us Into Sleep-Deprived Zombies

Sleepless in Seattle… and the rest of the world. by Miriam Fauzia Not getting enough sleep? Well, bad news: Climate change might just make things much, much worse. In a new study published Friday in the journal One Earth, researchers in Denmark have found that as the planet warms due to climate change, how much sleep we get a night may tank because of how poorly our bodies respond to heat. This reduction in such an essential bodily function could have an even bigger negative impact on people vulnerable to heat, like older adults, or those living in low-income areas and countries. “In … Continue reading Climate Change Is Turning Us Into Sleep-Deprived Zombies

Are you a spectator to reality? Or are you its creator?

KEY TAKEAWAYS If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there to hear it, it really does not make a sound. What you experience as sound is constructed in your brain.   You cannot experience the world, or even your own body, objectively.  By seeking out new experiences, your brain teaches itself to craft new meaning. Signals from the environment, such as those detected by your sense organs, have no inherent psychological meaning. Your brain creates the meaning. Lisa Feldman Barrett IN PARTNERSHIP WITH John Templeton Foundation This year’s World Chess qualifying tournament brought a new twist: the heart … Continue reading Are you a spectator to reality? Or are you its creator?

When hope gets in the way

Hope is usually seen as a positive agent of change that spares us from pain. But it can also undermine healing and growth by Santiago Delboy is a psychodynamic psychotherapist in private practice and adjunct clinical faculty at the Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis. His writing has appeared in the journals Psychoanalytic Dialogues, Psychoanalytic Inquiry and Revista de la Sociedad Peruana de Psicoanálisis. He lives in Chicago. The word ‘hope’ seems to hold an unambiguous quality in our vocabulary, imbued with a kind of purity that makes it unquestionably good. From old sayings to modern slogans, we are encouraged to develop and sustain a sense of hope. … Continue reading When hope gets in the way

Zen Is Not a Democracy

Brad Warner discusses ethics, Zen, and his new book The Other Side of Nothing Interview with  Brad Warner by Tricycle Brad Warner has been a notable figure in Zen in the West since the publication of his first book, Hardcore Zen, in 2003. His blog of the same title was a prominent landmark in online Buddhist discourse as Buddhist communities ventured online two decades ago. Warner is a bass guitarist in a punk band, and his teaching style often has an irreverent exterior.  On the cover of his new book, The Other Side of Nothing (New World Library, May 2022) the Buddha sports a spiky blue … Continue reading Zen Is Not a Democracy

No Two Human Brains Are Alike

The uniqueness of each mind is written in its ever-changing circuitry. BY WILLIAM A. HARRIS The brains of human beings are different from those of every other species of animal, because all species’ brains have been tuned to their lifestyles through millions of years of evolution. A spider’s brain is geared to weaving webs and catching flies, a fish’s brain is tuned for a life in the water, and a human brain is geared to human affairs. But what mental functions separate us most from other animals? What makes us human? Answering this question is a continuous quest of philosophy, … Continue reading No Two Human Brains Are Alike

Against human exceptionalism

In a tight spot, you’d probably intuit that a human life outweighs an animal’s. There are good arguments why that’s wrong Jeff Sebo is clinical associate professor of environmental studies, affiliated professor of bioethics, medical ethics, philosophy and law, and director of the animal studies MA programme at New York University. He is also on the executive committee at the NYU Center for Environmental and Animal Protection and the advisory board for the Animals in Context series at NYU Press. He is co-author of Chimpanzee Rights (2018) and Food, Animals, and the Environment (2018), and the author of Saving Animals, Saving Ourselves (2022). This January, a … Continue reading Against human exceptionalism

Space Is an Ecosystem Like Any Other. And It’s in Peril.

Artificial satellites, thousands of which now clutter low Earth orbit, have essentially become an invasive species. BY THOMAS LEWTON OUTER SPACE isn’t what most people would think of as an ecosystem. Its barren and frigid void isn’t exactly akin to the verdant canopies of a rainforest or to the iridescent shoals that swim among coral cities. But if we are to become better stewards of the increasingly frenzied band of orbital space above our atmosphere, a shift to thinking of it as an ecosystem — as part of an interconnected system of living things interacting with their physical environment — may be … Continue reading Space Is an Ecosystem Like Any Other. And It’s in Peril.