Incredible photos of New York City when it was covered in farmland

The Brennan farmhouse, at 84th and Broadway, 1879. Collection of The New-York Historical Society by Leanna Garfield Most New Yorkers today are living on what was once farmland. As early as the 17th century, before Manhattan formed its famous 1811 street grid, the island contained farms in neighborhoods from Midtown to the Upper West Side. The Museum of the City of New York’s online collection reveals what the city looked like at the time. The series, “The Greatest Grid,” features illustrations and photos of New York City’s former rolling hills, which were later demolished to create a flat streetscape. Take a … Continue reading Incredible photos of New York City when it was covered in farmland

Why Our Brains Constantly Create New Threats

BY David Levari WHY do many problems in life seem to stubbornly stick around, no matter how hard people work to fix them? It turns out that a quirk in the way human brains process information means that when something becomes rare, we sometimes see it in more places than ever. Think of a “neighborhood watch” made up of volunteers who call the police when they see anything suspicious. Imagine a new volunteer who joins the watch to help lower crime in the area. When they first start volunteering, they raise the alarm when they see signs of serious crimes, like assault … Continue reading Why Our Brains Constantly Create New Threats

How to Change Your Mind: Michael Pollan on How the Science of Psychedelics Illuminates Consciousness, Mortality, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence

Art by Bobby Baker from Diary Drawings: Mental Illness and Me “The Beyond, whatever it consists of, might not be nearly as far away or inaccessible as we think.” BY MARIA POPOVA “Attention is an intentional, unapologetic discriminator. It asks what is relevant right now, and gears us up to notice only that,” cognitive scientist Alexandra Horowitz wrote in her inquiry into how our conditioned way of looking narrows the lens of our perception. Attention, after all, is the handmaiden of consciousness, and consciousness the central fact and the central mysteryof our creaturely experience. From the days of Plato’s cave to the birth of neuroscience, we have endeavored to … Continue reading How to Change Your Mind: Michael Pollan on How the Science of Psychedelics Illuminates Consciousness, Mortality, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence