What is lost when we lose in-person learning. BY MICHAEL DENHAM Last year, my first in medical school at Columbia University, I used a bone saw to slice through the top half of a cadaver’s skull, revealing a gray brain lined with purple blood vessels. This was Clinical Gross Anatomy, the first-year course that has fascinated or devastated (or both) every medical student. You never forget the day you open the skull. Cutting into the brain, unlike the muscles of a forearm or the arteries running down a thigh, feels personal. As a cloud of aerosolized bone dust particles darkened … Continue reading You Can’t Dissect a Virtual Cadaver
by Daniel Kolitz It’s a nice day, you’re strolling along, music’s queued up, prospects looking good, your sweater’s matching your pants, the person you’re seeing just sent you a cute text, no one you know is actively sick or angry at you, your dreams are, if not on the brink of actualization, not impossibly far from it, and yet here you are, suddenly bowled over by the memory of some dumb thing you said a decade ago. That’s the power of embarrassment. Doesn’t matter how long it’s been. Doesn’t matter how thoroughly you’ve attempted to remake yourself. Embarrassment doesn’t care … Continue reading Why Am I Still Embarrassed About Things That Happened 10 Years Ago?
How a tiny creature faster than the Space Shuttle balances the impossible equation of extreme fragility and superhuman strength. BY MARIA POPOVA Frida Kahlo painted a hummingbird into her fiercest self-portrait. Technology historian Steven Johnson drew on hummingbirds as the perfect metaphor for revolutionary innovation. Walt Whitman found great joy and solace in watching a hummingbird “coming and going, daintily balancing and shimmering about,” as he was learning anew how to balance a body coming and going in the world after his paralytic stroke. For poet and gardener Ross Gay, “the hummingbird hovering there with its green-gold breast shimmering, slipping its needle nose … Continue reading Between Science and Magic: How Hummingbirds Hover at the Edge of the Possible
Getting to the core of today’s social acrimony. BY MARK MACNAMARA In a polarized nation, victimhood is a badge of honor. It gives people strength. “The victim has become among the most important identity positions in American politics,” wrote Robert B. Horwitz, a communications professor at the University of California, San Diego. Horwitz published his study, “Politics as Victimhood, Victimhood as Politics,” in 2018.1 He focused on social currents that drove victimhood to the fore of American political life, arguing it “emerged from the contentious politics of the 1960s, specifically the civil rights movement and its aftermath.” What lodges victimhood in … Continue reading Why People Feel Like Victims
IMDB/COURTESY BY JEANA LEE In 1939, a first-year doctoral student at UC Berkeley named George Dantzig, arrived late to class. His professor, famous statistician Jerzy Neyman, had written two statistics problems on the blackboard. Dantzig quickly jotted them down, assuming that they were homework problems. A few days later, Dantzig turned in the problems late to Professor Neyman, apologizing for the overdue assignment. The problems had seemed “a little harder to do than usual.” Six weeks later, an ecstatic Professor Neyman knocked on Dantzig’s door. As it turns out, the problems weren’t homework at all. They just so happened to be … Continue reading The truth behind the ‘genius’
KKGAS / STOCKSY UNITED Trauma can have damaging long-term effects, even on your physical health. Arm yourself with the science behind the sensations and therapies that can kickstart healing. BY MERYL DAVIDS LANDAU Amy Orr was watching TV one night some time ago when she felt a stabbing pain in her upper abdomen. Still hurting a few days later, she went to the emergency room, where doctors suspected gallstones. But tests were inconclusive, so they gave her pain meds and sent her home. The pain vanished that night, but it showed up again and again for months. She wound up at … Continue reading How Your Body Remembers Trauma
A surprisingly small population could save our species. By Patrick Pester – Staff Writer From all-out nuclear war to a giant asteroid strike, it’s not hard to imagine ways human life on Earth could abruptly end. But assuming there are some survivors, how many people would it take to keep our species going? The short answer is, it depends. Different catastrophes would create different doomsday conditions for surviving human populations to endure. For example, a nuclear war could trigger a nuclear winter, with survivors facing freezing summer temperatures and global famine, not to mention radiation exposure. However, putting some of these conditions aside and focusing on … Continue reading What’s the minimum number of people needed to survive an apocalypse?
Americans dump 12 million tons of furniture into landfills annually. What if we kept these pieces circulating in the economy? BY ELIZABETH SEGRAN Okay, I’ll admit it. I’ve bought furniture on impulse or out of desperation without thinking about its environmental impact. That rickety $150 Ikea bed I used for only two years in grad school. The $99 Target bar cart I picked up while shopping for a party. The $75 Wayfair lamp that completed my living room. I’m not alone. Since the 1990s, the American market has been awash with inexpensive home goods made in low-wage overseas factories, designed to … Continue reading Used furniture is about to become a $16.6 billion business. Even Ikea is getting in on it
If you’re brave enough to try it, taking cold showers can change your life for the better. BY JOHN ANDERER FACT CHECKED BY WILLIAM MAYLE Given the choice, 99 out of 100 people would choose an inviting warm shower over an ice-cold one. But like in so many other areas of life, there’s something to be gained by jumping out of one’s comfort zone. The truth is, a cold shower can induce a number of changes and positive reactions in the human body that are beneficial across your physical, cognitive, and mental health. Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Water … Continue reading What Happens to Your Body When You Take a Cold Shower, Says Science
Did the 20th century bring a breakthrough in how children are treated? by Andrzej Krajewski It took several thousand years for our culture to realize that a child is not an object. Learning how to treat children as humans continues to this day.”Nature wants children to be children before they are men,” wrote Jean-Jacques Rousseau in the book Emile, or On Education (1762). While Rousseau did not see children as humans, he appealed to parents to look after their offspring. “If we consider childhood itself, is there anything so weak and wretched as a child, anything so utterly at the mercy of … Continue reading The birth of childhood: A brief history of the European child