Portrait of the Human as a Young Hominin

How the world looked when we were Australopithecus. BY THOMAS HALLIDAY The swifts arrive with thunder at their backs. Winter birds, they appear, loudly, and in great numbers, pursuing the emerging insect swarms just as the wet season begins after more than four months without rain. The arrival of the migratory birds marks the return of fertility and life, the continuation of a seasonal pattern that will last for millions of years to come. The birds barrel through the mountain air of the East African highlands that will one day be part of Kenya and Ethiopia. The rise of these … Continue reading Portrait of the Human as a Young Hominin

Habits change your life. Here’s how to change your habits.

Willpower alone likely isn’t enough to replace a bad habit with a good one. KEY TAKEAWAYS The habits people build end up structuring their everyday lives, often without them noticing.   When people recognize a bad habit, they often try to change it through willpower alone — but that rarely works.  Here’s what research says are the most effective ways to replace bad habits with good ones. by Elizabeth Gilbert So you want to make a change in your everyday life — say, exercise more, meet all your deadlines, or develop a new skill. You make a plan, conjure your willpower, … Continue reading Habits change your life. Here’s how to change your habits.

Trusting the Unknown

Help in making decisions big and small By Kaira Jewel Lingo Do you have the patience to waittill your mud settles and the water is clear?Can you remain unmovingtill the right action arises by itself? —Lao-tzu (trans. Stephen Mitchell) Ispent fifteen years as a nun in the Plum Village community of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh (whom we affectionately call Thay, or “Teacher” in Vietnamese). Often people would ask Thay what to do when facing big life decisions, like which career path to take, whether to separate from or stay with their partner, or whether to ordain as a monastic. Thay would often … Continue reading Trusting the Unknown

Bad therapy

Some psychotherapeutic approaches are not only ineffective, they’re actively harmful. We’re now starting to identify them Yevgeny Botanov is a licensed clinical psychologist and assistant professor at Pennsylvania State University York. Alexander Williams is programme director of psychology and director of the Psychological Clinic, both at the University of Kansas, Edwards Campus. John Sakaluk is an assistant professor in psychology at Western University, Ontario, Canada. In 2000, Jeane Newmaker took her adopted 10-year-old daughter Candace to an ‘attachment therapy’ retreat designed to increase their emotional bond. While there, Candace underwent an intervention that’s supposed to replicate the birthing process. Therapists … Continue reading Bad therapy

The Mystery of Monkeypox’s Global Spread

Initial genomic sequencing suggests the virus hasn’t mutated to become more transmissible. So what explains its unprecedented rise across the world? by DAVID COX WHEN MORITZ KRAEMER first heard about the new monkeypox outbreak spreading through the UK, Europe, and the US, it was not through conventional scientific channels, or from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), but via Twitter. As each suspected case was reported, and infectious disease experts shared their theories in real time, Kraemer—an epidemiologist at the University of Oxford who specializes in modeling the spread of infectious diseases—became increasingly concerned. “We realized that this outbreak was unusual … Continue reading The Mystery of Monkeypox’s Global Spread

Chatter: The dark side of your inner voice

KEY TAKEAWAYS Your inner voice is a powerful problem-solving tool; it may also dwell on harmful thoughts and emotions.  Chatter occurs when such dwellings become cyclical, degrading your well-being and relationships.  According to psychologist Ethan Kross, you can harness chatter by cultivating practices that free you from the echo chamber of your mind. Your inner voice can be the devil on your shoulder or the angel. It depends on where your focus lies. by Kevin Dickinson On October 3, 2000, Cardinal pitcher Rick Ankiel threw five wild pitches in a single inning. His inauspicious performance would go down in baseball’s “wildness hall … Continue reading Chatter: The dark side of your inner voice

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