this incredibly rich machinery – with Antonio Damasio

Picking up where we left off a year ago, a conversation about the homeostatic imperative as it plays out in everything from bacteria to pharmaceutical companies—and how the marvelous apparatus of the human mind also gets us into all kinds of trouble.

  • "Prior to nervous systems: no mind, no consciousness, no intention in the full sense of the term. After nervous systems, gradually we ascend to this possibility of having to this possibility of having minds, having consciousness, and having reasoning that allows us to arrive at some of these very interesting decisions."
  • "We are fragile culturally and socially…but life is fragile to begin with. All that it takes is a little bit of bad luck in the management of those supports, and you're cooked…you can actually be cooked—with global warming!"



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Is life after 75 worth living? This UPenn scholar doubts it.

What makes a life worth living as you grow older?

  • Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel revisits his essay on wanting to die at 75 years old.
  • The doctor believes that an old life filled with disability and lessened activity isn't worth living.
  • Activists believe his argument stinks of ageism, while advances in biohacking could render his point moot.
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How Pete Holmes creates comedic flow: Try micro-visualization

Setting a simple intention and coming prepared can help you — and those around you — win big.

  • Setting an intention doesn't have to be complicated, and it can make a great difference when you're hoping for a specific outcome.
  • When comedian Pete Holmes is preparing to record an episode of his podcast, "You Made it Weird with Pete Holmes," he takes 15 seconds to check in with himself. This way, he's primed with his own material and can help guests feel safe and comfortable to share theirs, as well.
  • Taking time to visualize your goal for whatever you've set out to do can help you, your colleagues, and your projects succeed.
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New evidence shows Neanderthals got 'surfer's ear'

Our relationship with water still matters.

Photo: Eric Cabanis/AFP/Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • According to new research, half of Neanderthal skulls studied had exostoses — aka "surfer's ear."
  • The condition is common in mammals that spend a lot of time in water.
  • Though today we are largely disconnected from nature, the consequences of our relationship to it are still felt.
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Why Secular Humanism can do what Atheism can't.

Atheism doesn't offer much beyond non-belief, can Secular Humanism fill the gaps?

Photo by mauro mora on Unsplash
Culture & Religion
  • Atheism is increasingly popular, but the lack of an organized community around it can be problematic.
  • The decline in social capital once offered by religion can cause severe problems.
  • Secular Humanism can offer both community and meaning, but it has also attracted controversy.
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3 unsung heroes who helped society overcome division

The true course of progress is not only charted by great men and women, but also by ordinary people having conversations.

(Photos: Wikimedia/Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images/U.S. Embassy Jerusalem/Flickr)
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • History's great men and women may enjoy name recognition, but everyday heroes can be anyone willing to talk.
  • We profile three everyday heroes who helped society overcome adversity through civil discourse.
  • Their stories validate John Stuart Mill's belief that good things happen when you converse with people with whom you disagree.
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