Junk Planet: Is Earth the Largest Garbage Dump in the Universe?

image edited by Fernando Kaskais By Robert J. Burrowes Is Earth the largest garbage dump in the Universe? I don’t know. But it’s a safe bet that Earth would be a contender were such a competition to be held. Let me explain why. To start, just listing the types of rubbish generated by humans or the locations into which each of these is dumped is a staggering task beyond the scope of one article. Nevertheless, I will give you a reasonably comprehensive summary of the types of garbage being generated (focusing particularly on those that are less well known), the locations … Continue reading Junk Planet: Is Earth the Largest Garbage Dump in the Universe?

Did Human Sacrifice Help People Form Complex Societies?

 An artist’s rendition of a South American ritual sacrificeHistorical Picture Archive / Corbis / Getty The debate over how well ritual killings maintained social order by LAURA SPINNEY In 1598, a European miner working in the Bolivian highlands stumbled across a 10-year-old Andean girl who was still alive, despite having been walled up inside a funerary tower three days earlier. Several decades had passed since the Inca Empire—the most sophisticated in the world at that time—had fallen, but its practices lived on among the Incas’ descendants in the region, including human sacrifice. The practice held on a little longer after this incident. … Continue reading Did Human Sacrifice Help People Form Complex Societies?

A Gentleman’s Guide to Preparing for Your Inevitable Death

Because it’s gonna happen—just hopefully not for a while by Brian VanHooker Roger Ebert once said, “There’s nothing like impending death to rouse you from existential boredom.” And that’s just making sure you get to as much bucket/fuck-it-list entries as possible — Joe Versus the Volcano-style (a movie Ebert gave 3.5 stars btw). But there’s a lot of other stuff — most of it banal and/or involving serious decluttering and paperwork — to take care of before you go, too, and while it may seem scary, complicated or just plain depressing, planning for death is an essential part of life, whether you expect to pass soon or are … Continue reading A Gentleman’s Guide to Preparing for Your Inevitable Death

How to Practice Right Speech Anywhere, Anytime, and With Anyone

  A Buddha statue in the Ajanta Caves. And why right speech begins with good listening By Krishnan Venkatesh This is part of a series on the eightfold path. You can read the other articles here. Mastering our minds begins with mastering our mouths. We spend the first 10 years of our lives learning “elementary right speech”: how to interact politely, respectfully, and inoffensively; when to speak, when not to speak. Then we spend another decade learning to express more complex feelings and ideas to others. We might call this intermediate right speech, although what we study even on these two preliminary … Continue reading How to Practice Right Speech Anywhere, Anytime, and With Anyone

Slow Thought: a manifesto

Photo by Ernst Haas/Getty We need a philosophy of Slow Thought to ease thinking into a more playful and porous dialogue about what it means to live by Vincenzo Di Nicola is a tenured full professor of psychiatry at the University of Montreal, where he works as a child and adolescent psychiatrist. Trained in psychology, psychiatry and philosophy, he completed his doctorate in philosophy at the European Graduate School. He is now working with fellow psychiatrist and philosopher Drozdstoj Stoyanov on a volume called Psychiatry in Crisis: At the Crossroads of Social Science, the Humanities, and Neuroscience, to be published by Springer International. … Continue reading Slow Thought: a manifesto

Sylvia Beach and the World’s First International Writers’ Protest

Illustration by Mimmo Paladino for a rare edition of Ulysses. When 167 literary titans banded together in solidarity with “that security of works of the intellect and the imagination without which art cannot live.” BY MARIA POPOVA “You may gather from my article what Ulysses has done to a supposedly balanced psychologist,” Carl Jung wrote in his blistering review of James Joyce’s Ulysses a decade after the publication of the trailblazing novel that had unbalanced literature and pioneered a new literary aesthetic of stream-of-consciousness narrative. Initially rejected in English-speaking countries, Ulysses had ignited the global literary imagination thanks to the visionary publisher Sylvia Beach (March 14, 1887–October 5, 1962), founder of … Continue reading Sylvia Beach and the World’s First International Writers’ Protest

The South Asian Men Sliding Into Your DMs in Hopes of ‘Fraandship’

They might seem like bots, but they’re most definitely real Hussein Kesvani, Writer, UK/Europe There’s a common character who’s likely to appear in your “requests” folder on Facebook or Twitter. More often than not, it’s a young guy, usually of Indian or Pakistani descent, sporting a neatly trimmed beard and aviator sunglasses. His messages will always begin with “hii,” “hello,” or my favorite, “hello dear.” Usually, you’ll ignore him. But most of the time, he will try to continue the conversation by sending selfies, or if you’re a woman, messages declaring his undying love. Such interactions aren’t anything new, but recently, … Continue reading The South Asian Men Sliding Into Your DMs in Hopes of ‘Fraandship’