Chekhov's Resurgence

One hundred and fifty years after his birth, Anton Chekhov's plays have become almost as much a part of modern theater's repertoire as Shakespeare.

What hubristic impulse is it that draws us to rewrite this man and his work? On one level it's obvious. He's a great writer and his characters live in the imagination. His short theatre career has encouraged many to supply the plays he didn't live to write. His images—the dead bird, the failed shootings, the country estates, the axes hitting the trees—have all insinuated themselves into works as diverse as Ibsen's The Wild Duck and Louis Malle's Milou en Mai. And he's iconic, too: the pince-nez and neat goatee are almost as recognisable as the starched ruff and high forehead of Shakespeare.

Why “shooting the messenger” is a real condition, explain scientists

Harvard psychologists discover why we dislike the people who deliver bad news.

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Surprising Science
  • A new study looked at why people tend to "shoot the messenger".
  • It's a fact that people don't like those who deliver them bad news.
  • The effect stems from our inherent need to make sense of bad or unpredictable situations.
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Philosopher Alan Watts on the meaning of life

He reminds us that meaning is wherever we choose to look.

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Personal Growth
  • Alan Watts suggests there is no ultimate meaning of life, but that "the quality of our state of mind" defines meaning for us.
  • This is in contradiction to the notion that an inner essence is waiting to be discovered.
  • Paying attention to everyday, mundane objects can become highly significant, filling life with meaning.
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How to detect life on Mars

If life exists on Mars, there's a good chance it's related to us, say researchers.

NASA/JPL/USGS
Surprising Science

When MIT research scientist Christopher Carr visited a green sand beach in Hawaii at the age of 9, he probably didn't think that he'd use the little olivine crystals beneath his feet to one day search for extraterrestrial life.

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