A NEUROSCIENTIST PREPARES FOR DEATH

Lessons my terminal cancer has taught me about the mind By David J. Linden About the author: David J. Linden is a neuroscience professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Kavli Neuroscience Discovery Institute. His most recent book is Unique: The New Science of Human Individuality. When a routine echocardiogram revealed a large mass next to my heart, the radiologist thought it might be a hiatal hernia—a portion of my stomach poking up through my diaphragm to press against the sac containing my heart. “Chug this can of Diet Dr. Pepper and then hop up on the table for another echocardiogram … Continue reading A NEUROSCIENTIST PREPARES FOR DEATH

Trolls be gone

Anonymous users generate most toxic abuse and conspiracy theories online. The right to be anonymous should be curtailed Stephen Kinsella is founder of Clean Up the Internet, and a competition lawyer with a longstanding interest in human rights, digital technology, and democracy. He lives in Stroud, UK. We have come a long way from the optimism that surrounded the internet in the early 1990s. As Tim Berners-Lee has remarked several times, there was a ‘utopian’ view of its potential to democratise news and reinforce social cohesion. Indeed, only 10 years ago, we were celebrating the role that online communications played in the Arab Spring. Now, … Continue reading Trolls be gone

‘The Matrix Resurrections’ Review

Unlike the sequels that came before it, the latest movie in the Matrix franchise is self-aware enough to keep up with the times. By Matthew Abrahams At the impressionable age of twelve, my older sister and her high school friends brought me to see The Matrix. I hadn’t heard of Plato’s cave or Descartes’s demon or the Heart Sutra’s declaration that there is, in emptiness, “no eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind / No color, sound, smell, taste, touch, thing / No realm of sight, no realm of consciousness”—or the countless other contemplations throughout history on the limitations of human perception and consciousness that make … Continue reading ‘The Matrix Resurrections’ Review

He Did Right by Animals. And Didn’t Take Bull from Anyone.

Bernard Rollin was a pioneer in animal rights. He left us with this scalding interview. BY BRANDON KEIM Well into the 1980s, doctors would perform open-heart surgery on infants without giving them pain-relieving drugs. This is hard to believe: By the standards of contemporary medicine, not to mention common sense, the practice is akin to torture. Yet then-conventional wisdom held that babies did not feel pain, at least not in any meaningful way. Their brains and nervous systems were considered undeveloped. And regardless of what they felt, they wouldn’t remember it. One can read about this in Science and Ethics, … Continue reading He Did Right by Animals. And Didn’t Take Bull from Anyone.

Believe in astrology? You might score high in narcissistic traits

KEY TAKEAWAYS Astrology is an ancient practice that has been growing increasingly popular in recent years, in part due to the availability of astrology smartphone apps.   A recent study found correlations between certain personality traits and the belief in astrology. Of all personality traits tested, narcissism correlated most strongly with the belief in astrology. Or you might just be a Leo. by Scotty Hendricks “Idon’t believe in astrology; I’m a Sagittarius and we’re skeptical.” ― Arthur C. Clarke Astrology, a pseudoscientific approach to understanding individual personality based on the movement of the heavens, has enjoyed a surge in popularity over … Continue reading Believe in astrology? You might score high in narcissistic traits

I Feel, Therefore I Am: Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio on Consciousness and How the Feeling-Tone of the Body Underscores the Symphony of the Mind

“Ultimately, we are puppets of both pain and pleasure, occasionally made free by our creativity.” BY MARIA POPOVA “A purely disembodied emotion is a nonentity,” William James wrote in his revolutionary theory of how our bodies affect our feelings just before the birth of neuroscience — a science still young, which has already revolutionized our understanding of the cosmos inside the cranium as much as the first century of telescopic astronomy revolutionized our understanding of our place in the universe. Meanwhile, ninety miles inland from William James, while Walt Whitman was redoubling his metaphysical insistence that “the body includes and is the meaning, the main concern… … Continue reading I Feel, Therefore I Am: Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio on Consciousness and How the Feeling-Tone of the Body Underscores the Symphony of the Mind

How to pray to a dead God

The modern world is disenchanted. God remains dead. But our need for transcendence lives on. How should we fulfil it? Ed Simon is a contributing editor for the History News Network and a staff writer at the literary site The Millions. His books include the anthology The God Beat: What Journalism Says about Faith and Why It Matters (2021), co-edited with Costica Bradatan; An Alternative History of Pittsburgh (2021); and Pandemonium: A Visual History of Demonology (forthcoming, 2022). He lives in Washington, DC. On an evening in 1851, a mutton-chopped 28-year-old English poet and critic looked out at the English Channel with his new bride. Walking … Continue reading How to pray to a dead God

How not to be a phony: Kierkegaard on the two main ways people lose their true selves

KEY TAKEAWAYS According to Soren Kierkegaard, we are each pulled in two directions: toward the “finite” or the “infinite.”  When we lean too far in either direction, we risk living stagnant and inauthentic lives.  To be a human is to accept that we are both finite and infinite. We must walk the middle bridge that lies between the two chasms that risk consuming who we are. by Jonny Thomson People can lose their authentic selves when they don’t honestly confront life’s potential, according to the philosopher Soren Kierkegaard. In terms of making meaningful and authentic decisions, we are a species … Continue reading How not to be a phony: Kierkegaard on the two main ways people lose their true selves

WHY DON’T PEOPLE “TRUST THE SCIENCE?” BECAUSE SCIENTISTS ARE OFTEN CAUGHT LYING

Brandon Smith, Alt-Market Waking Times There has been an unfortunate shift in Western educational practices in the past few decades away from what we used to call “critical thinking.” In fact, critical thinking was once a fundamental staple of US colleges and now it seems as though the concept doesn’t exist anymore; at least not in the way it used to. Instead, another brand of learning has arisen which promotes “right thinking”; a form of indoctrination which encourages and rewards a particular response from students that falls in line with ideology and not necessarily in line with reality. It’s not that … Continue reading WHY DON’T PEOPLE “TRUST THE SCIENCE?” BECAUSE SCIENTISTS ARE OFTEN CAUGHT LYING

The Amazon, a Counterweight to Global Warming, Is Under Assault

Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has escalated deforestation to dire proportions. Activists accuse him of “ecocide.” BY GEORGINA GUSTIN JAIM TEIXEIRA SURVEYS his property near Trairão, Brazil from the back of a motorcycle, wearing jeans and a long-sleeved, sun-proof shirt to shield him from the jungle’s breathtaking heat. It’s the end of the dry season and, like everything and everyone in this part of the Amazon, the lean, 51-year-old rancher is covered in a fine brick-red dust. Nearby, a plume of smoke rises at the edge of the jungle canopy, heading skyward until it blurs into an indistinct haze. Burning trees crackle and spit. … Continue reading The Amazon, a Counterweight to Global Warming, Is Under Assault