The Art of Solitude: Buddhist Scholar and Teacher Stephen Batchelor on Contemplative Practice and Creativity

“Here lies the paradox of solitude. Look long and hard enough at yourself in isolation and suddenly you will see the rest of humanity staring back.” BY MARIA POPOVA “Give me solitude,” Whitman demanded in his ode to the eternal tension between city and soul, “give me again O Nature your primal sanities!” In those primal sanities, we come to discover that “there is no place more intimate than the spirit alone,” as May Sarton wrote in her stunning 1938 ode to solitude — her hard-earned testimony to solitude as the seedbed of self-discovery, for it is in that intimate place that we see … Continue reading The Art of Solitude: Buddhist Scholar and Teacher Stephen Batchelor on Contemplative Practice and Creativity

CAN FASTING BE GOOD FOR YOU? TWO STUDIES REVEAL HOW IT CHANGES THE BODY

by KATIE MACBRIDE RESEARCHERS STUDYING calorie restriction and intermittent fasting agree that how we eat — or don’t eat — can affect our longevity. Among those same researchers, however, is debate over which practice is actually responsible for the well-documented health benefits. Studies, mostly in animals, have linked molecular, metabolic, and antiaging benefits to both calorie restriction and intermittent fasting. But it’s difficult to parse exactly why scientists are observing this, mainly because of the inherent nature of this work. For example, calorie restriction studies in rodents typically have the animals eat once per day, rapidly consuming their food. This unintentionally results in fasting — which is more defined … Continue reading CAN FASTING BE GOOD FOR YOU? TWO STUDIES REVEAL HOW IT CHANGES THE BODY

Chemistry Between People: A Sum of Their Connections

Have you ever felt a special “spark” with someone—an intense bond with a potential partner, friend, or colleague? If so, you probably thought you experienced “chemistry.” Literary references to interpersonal chemistry appeared as early as 1590, when English poet John Donne wrote about “love alchemy” in his eighth elegy, The Comparison:  “Then like the Chymicks masculine equall fire,  Which in the Lymbecks warm wombe doth inspire  Into th’earths worthlesse durt a soule of gold,  Such cherishing heat her best lov’d part doth hold.”  Since then, countless books, films, and TV shows have referred to interpersonal chemistry between characters. But the term doesn’t refer exclusively to romantic chemistry. For instance, chemistry is a common metaphor in sports and music, and even in business, academia, and scientific partnerships. However, despite its … Continue reading Chemistry Between People: A Sum of Their Connections

There’s Someone Who Isn’t Busy

Two Zen students enter the arena of dharma combat. By Stephen Mitchell Dharma combat is a dialogue between a Zen student and a Zen master, or two masters or advanced students, that demonstrates their understanding of the truth. The old dialogues contain many marvelous exchanges of this sort. Let me unpack one of them so that you can experience the thrill of dharma combat. (I chose this one, Case 21 from the Book of Serenity, because it is a particularly clear example, but there are hundreds of dialogues that would have served my purpose just as well.) Dramatis personae: Yün-yen and Tao-wu, … Continue reading There’s Someone Who Isn’t Busy

Feeling, in situ

What if emotions are not universal and hardwired but exquisite acts of meaning-making specific to context and culture? Elitsa Dermendzhiyskais a science writer and entrepreneur working at the intersection of technology, research and mental health. She is co-creator of Betwixt, an immersive self-reflection app that combines storytelling, psychology and play. Edited by Marina Benjamin The first time I saw Pixar’s movie Inside Out (2015), I was too entranced by its craftsmanship to realise that there was something odd, almost eerie, about its human characters. I was charmed by little Riley, the protagonist, with the chattering critters prancing around in her … Continue reading Feeling, in situ

La Niña is coming. Here’s what that means for winter weather in the U.S.

By Rachel Treisman/NPR (College Park, Md.) — La Niña will most likely be joining us for the winter again, according to federal forecasters. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center announced on Thursday that La Niña conditions have developed and are expected to continue, with an 87% chance that they will be in place from December to February. La Niña (translated from Spanish as “little girl”) is not a storm, but a climate pattern that occurs in the Pacific Ocean every few years and can impact weather around the world. The U.S. is expected to feel its effects on … Continue reading La Niña is coming. Here’s what that means for winter weather in the U.S.

China Tested A Fractional Orbital Bombardment System That Uses A Hypersonic Glide Vehicle

Such a capability could potentially allow China to execute a nuclear strike on any target on earth with near-impunity and very little warning. BY TYLER ROGOWAY  Areport from Financial Times’ Demetri Sevastopulo and Kathrin Hille states that China has tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic glide vehicle that goes into space and traverses the globe in an orbital-like fashion before making its run through the atmosphere toward its target. There would be huge implications if such a system were to be operationalized, and according to this story, which says it talked to five officials confirming the test, the U.S. government was caught totally off-guard by it. The trial flight … Continue reading China Tested A Fractional Orbital Bombardment System That Uses A Hypersonic Glide Vehicle

Harvard Scientist Suggests That Our Universe Was Created in a Laboratory

Avi Loeb and the Great Unknown. The Harvard professor who thinks an alien probe visited our star system in 2017 has a message for the academic community. by VICTOR TANGERMANN It was an otherwise non-notable day in October 2017 when Canadian astronomer Robert Weryk made an astonishing discovery. Thanks to data from the University of Hawaii’s Pan-STARRS1 telescope at the Haleakala Observatory in Hawaii, Weryk spotted an unusual object, oblong and approximately the size of a football field, screaming through the solar system at 196,000 miles per hour. Strangest of all was that it seemed to be accelerating slightly, pushed by … Continue reading Harvard Scientist Suggests That Our Universe Was Created in a Laboratory

COULD A PSYCHEDELIC EGO DEATH BRING YOU BACK TO LIFE?

Tripping on mushrooms can make you feel at one with everything. Could that help heal mental illness? BY MELISSA PANDIKA While Kia Turner was tripping on shrooms about a month ago, she experienced something profound. Until then, she’d felt self-conscious about her appearance. Her eyes, which she’d considered too large, now looked beautiful as she gazed at them in the mirror in her dad’s living room. “Why am I having insecurities about my eyes?” she wondered. “They’re my eyes.” She no longer saw the point of wanting to look like anyone but herself. For the first time, she saw her … Continue reading COULD A PSYCHEDELIC EGO DEATH BRING YOU BACK TO LIFE?

Porn and the sexual imagination

Cultivating your sexual garden with porn by Carol Hay, Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and author of Think Like a Feminist: The Philosophy Behind the Revolution. Porn holds a mirror up to society. Most mainstream porn – the free stuff – is misogynistic and demonstrates a casual loathing of women. The personalized market algorithm that advertises you a new kettle the moment you half-mention to a friend you might need a new kettle, is also mining your search history, location, and other data to bring you the porn it thinks you want – and often in our … Continue reading Porn and the sexual imagination