Redux: Reading Beyond the Shallows

A wave of books in the last couple of years has warned of the mentally-unhealthy click bait diet and what it means for our attention spans. We are enjoined to unplug, descend from the shallows and engage in “deep work.” After all, the creator of every great work of culture has been able–at minimum–to pay attention, and that […]

The Last Word

February 6-10, 2017 This week, Craig unplugs from the wired world during his travels, and it’s not the blissful state of nature he imagined it to be—at least, not entirely. “I’d like to tell you it was sweet silence, but I could feel the Pavlovian side of myself wanting to drool. The limb ached.” Ann interviews […]

The Last Word

January 16-20, 2017 On Martin Luther King day we posted one of the civil right’s leader’s speeches, The other America, delivered at Stanford in 1967. Along with a song from Billie Holiday. “Racism is evil because its ultimate logic is genocide.” Helen’s life has been punctuated by experiences involving tea, the common thread in an […]

Sharing science in the halls of power

Today’s ceremonies likely mark the beginning of a new level of discord between scientific evidence and American policy. I’ve written here about the dark days of Canada’s own war on science under Stephen Harper, which mercifully have ended, though the work that was damaged has by no means recovered. Now, under the Trudeau government we […]

The Last Word

January 2-6, 2017 To assert one’s humanity is to make choices, even when that choice is to die, says Jenny. “When the time was right, the woman nodded to her doctor, who deactivated the pacemaker that was pumping blood to her heart. The woman died quietly with friends close, exactly the way she’d intended.” Ann finds […]

The Freshwater Bullies of Gatun Lake

The crocodiles should not be a problem. Yes, the population has spiked after being placed under protection, and there have been some attacks recently. But those attacks tend to happen when somebody steps right into the water. The crocs all hang out in the shallows. Stay out of the water and you should be fine. […]

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Intelligent Design

Sylvain Martel of the NanoRobotics Laboratory at Polytechnique Montreal has spent the last 15 years discovering that just as you figure out what you need to design, it often comes about that it’s already been designed. At least, something else already exists with those exact specifications – it’s just being used for a different purpose. He’s […]

The Last Word

November 21-25, 2016 This week, Erik brings his expertise to bear on the placebo and nocebo effects of presidential election results. What are the public health implications of deep disappointment? Of all the factors, low voter turnout may make those effects more powerful. NIH no longer uses chimps for biomedical research. But the transfer to chimp […]