To better understand our brains and design safer anesthesia, scientists are turning to EEG. BY JACKIE ROCHELEAU After experimenting on a hen, his dog, his goldfish, and himself, dentist William Morton was ready. On Oct. 16, 1846, he hurried to the Massachusetts General Hospital surgical theater for what would be the first successful public test of a general anesthetic. His concoction of sulfuric ether and oil from an orange (just for the fragrance) knocked a young man unconscious while a surgeon cut a tumor from his neck. To the onlooking students and clinicians, it was like a miracle. Some alchemical … Continue reading Under Anesthesia, Where Do Our Minds Go?
The company was set up by a school friend of Kate Middleton. by Dan Ladden-Hall The British government is now a shareholder in a company that plans high-end sex parties after the firm took advantage of a program to help businesses during the pandemic. Killing Kittens—which was created by Emma Sayle, a school friend of Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge—is a sex-tech company known for hosting lavish orgies at which guests have to pass a vetting process. When COVID hit, Killing Kittens signed up for a U.K. government scheme called the Future Fund, which helped it stay afloat when its in-person parties … Continue reading Killing Kittens, an Elite Sex-Party Planner, Is Now Partly Owned by the British Government
Bat friends, monkeys sharing, and humans holding hands: the brains of social animals synchronise and expand one another Sofia Quaglia is a freelance science reporter, writing about the environment, health and the mind. Her work has been published in The Guardian, BBC and National Geographic, among others. Humans are not the only creatures that show a refined grasp of social norms. If a group of adult male rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) find themselves sitting around a turning table set with food, they will display an ‘I scratch your back, you scratch mine’ ethos of reciprocity. One monkey will offer another one a … Continue reading Connected-up-brains
A shift to proportional representation in the U.S. would open up new possibilities — not just on guns, but on climate, immigration and democracy itself. BY LEE DRUTMAN Lee Drutman is the author of “Breaking the Two-Party Doom Loop: The Case for Multiparty Democracy in America.” He is a senior fellow at the think tank New America, a lecturer at Johns Hopkins University, co-host of the podcast Politics in Question and the co-founder of Fix Our House, a campaign for proportional representation in America. After every mass shooting in the U.S., there’s a familiar cycle: Grief, outrage and frustration, followed by helplessness and the predictable sinking feeling … Continue reading How To Escape Gun Control Gridlock
Pain makes sense from an evolutionary perspective. What’s puzzling is why so many of us choose to seek out painful experiences. KEY TAKEAWAYS From an evolutionary perspective, it makes sense that we feel pain: It trains us to avoid experiences or stimuli that harm us. But that begs the question, why do so many people choose to pursue things that will bring them pain? To psychologist Paul Bloom, the answer is that living a meaningful life requires that we choose to take on a reasonable amount of pain. by Stephen Johnson The writer and philosopher Alan Watts once posed a … Continue reading Why a meaningful life is impossible without suffering
Changing your mind (or someone else’s) is a complex process. But understanding how your brain works can help. If you’ve ever tried to change someone’s mind but found they were completely unwilling to budge in their thinking, it can help to understand how the brain works. Changing your mind—or someone else’s—is a complex process done through assimilation or accommodation, says David McRaney, author of How Minds Change: The Surprising Science of Belief, Opinion, and Persuasion and host of the science podcast You Are Not So Smart. “When the brain is confronted with novel information that generates cognitive dissonance, we tend to assuage that … Continue reading How psychology can help you change someone’s mind
Here’s a puzzle: why do we neglect and disdain the one vulnerable group we all eventually will join? Beauvoir had an answer Kate Kirkpatrick is tutorial fellow in philosophy and Christian ethics at Regent’s Park College, University of Oxford. She is the author of, most recently, the biography Becoming Beauvoir (2019). Sonia Kruks is Danforth Professor of Politics Emerita at Oberlin College in Ohio. She is the author of Simone de Beauvoir and the Politics of Ambiguity (2012). Old age is not exactly a time of life that most of us welcome, although globally speaking it is a privilege to reach it. In Western … Continue reading Old not Other
A study that got people daydreaming about winning the lottery yields hope for a more sustainable society By Sarah DeWeerdt The majority of people surveyed in 33 countries around the world say their lifestyle dreams could be fulfilled with a finite—and often relatively modest—amount of money. The findings call into question a founding principle of economics, and suggest unexpected opportunities for achieving sustainable societies. Economists generally assume that people have unlimited wants: no amount of wealth or consumption ever feels like enough, and people are hard-wired to be perpetually driven to accumulate more and more. But the new study suggests that … Continue reading Economists assume the desire for wealth is insatiable. What if they’re wrong?
A look at the grim scenarios—and the U.S. playbook for each By Eric Schlosser The 12th main directorate of the Russian Ministry of Defense operates a dozen central storage facilities for nuclear weapons. Known as “Object S” sites and scattered across the Russian Federation, they contain thousands of nuclear warheads and hydrogen bombs with a wide variety of explosive yields. For the past three months, President Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials have been ominously threatening to use nuclear weapons in the war against Ukraine. According to Pavel Podvig, the director of the Russian Nuclear Forces Project and a former research fellow at the Moscow Institute of … Continue reading WHAT IF RUSSIA USES NUCLEAR WEAPONS IN UKRAINE?
Were Hitler’s SS henchmen willing executioners fueled by racial propaganda or mindless servants vying for promotions? KEY TAKEAWAYS When it comes to understanding the evils of Nazism, historiography may be of more use to us than history. Historiography is the study of how the way historians interpret a particular subject changes over time as trends shift and new analytical methods develop. Immediately following the war, studies were based on interrogations with former Nazis. Later, these interrogations were replaced with the testimonies of Holocaust survivors. by Tim Brinkhof The driving factors behind the unprecedented violence witnessed during World War II have … Continue reading Hitler’s SS: How do ordinary people become sociopathic Nazis?