Personalities are typically thought to be genetically determined; not so, says the New Scientist: "We may learn our personalities, and adjust them to situations we find ourselves in over time."
"Corruption has marred every aspect of Somali society," says Afyare Abdi Elmi, a professor of International Affairs. It is, he says, the most corrupt country in the world.
"With deception so significant a part of the natural world, it's little wonder we resort to it almost reflexively. Indeed, who's not to say that lying isn't an in-built part of human nature?" asks the Independent.
If not humans, is God to blame for recent natural disasters? What are the limits of divine and human agency? The New Yorker explains a philosophical twist whereby divinity is expressed through free will.
Gary Becker and Richard Posner at the University of Chicago weigh in on the Gulf oil leak. Did BP make a good-faith estimate of the risk entailed by deep-water drilling or was it negligent?
If Americans have an impending sense that our present moment represents a capitalized End of Something, let us take the moment to exhale and appreciate the tranquility of finality.
"Just as healthy optimism can turn into irrational exuberance, a clear-eyed realism about the challenges facing the United States can gradually inflate a pessimism bubble," says Ross Douthat today.
In just 3,000 years, an evolutionary microsecond, Tibetans have developed a unique version of a gene that helps them adapt to living at high altitudes. This according to a study published in Science.
"Fiction has now become a museum-piece genre most of whose practitioners are more like cripplingly self-conscious curators or theoreticians than writers," says the polemical Lee Siegel.
"What exactly is the Iranian threat?" asks Noam Chomsky in his latest article. The linguist turned political activist finds glaring hypocrisies in U.S. foreign policy toward the Middle East.
"It seems like we in the West have made a tradeoff between self-reliance and physical comforts and social well being. So, which is more important?" asks a Notre Dame psychology professor.
"Those who haven’t abandoned Juárez may be watching the death of it, both day and night." Sarah Hill gives a tragic account of the Mexican city gone from boom to bust to nearly dust.
Matthias Ringmann, a minor scholar and cartographer working in landlocked Eastern France, was responsible for putting America on the map, literally. History, however, has since forgotten him.
The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, or SETI, made assumptions quite different from Stephen Hawking's dire warnings about aggressive alien life. Should we keep looking?
"We love them, of course, but new research suggests that having children makes us unhappy — it's just that none of us feels able to admit it." The Independent researches a taboo issue.