Choice Science

Whether it’s deciding what to drink, what to wear or whom to marry, The Salon’s Thomas Rogers asks if America’s decision-obsession is always for the best.

"To most Americans the idea of an arranged marriage sounds not only bizarre, but fundamentally wrong. How could you let someone else decide the person you're going to be spending the rest of your life with? But as Sheena Iyengar describes in her new book, ‘The Art of Choosing,’ arranged marriage has been the norm in many parts of the world for 5,000 years -- including in the Sikh community in which her parents were married -- and our opposition to the idea says a great deal about the ways in which culture and history have shaped the way Americans think about personal choice. Iyengar, who grew up in Sikh enclaves in New York and New Jersey, is now a professor of business at Columbia University and one of the country's leading researchers on decision making. In ‘The Art of Choosing,’ a broad and fascinating survey of current research on the subject, Iyengar stitches together personal anecdotes, examples from popular culture, and scientific evidence to explain the complex calculus that goes into our everyday choices, from picking our favorite soda to choosing our medical insurance. She also writes about the ways in which her blindness -- Iyengar lost her sight as a teenager -- has given her a unique perspective on the subject."

Scientists claim the Bible is written in code that predicts future events

The controversy around the Torah codes gets a new life.

Michael Drosnin
Surprising Science
  • Mathematicians claim to see a predictive pattern in the ancient Torah texts.
  • The code is revealed by a method found with special computer software.
  • Some events described by reading the code took place after the code was written.
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The mystery of Jesus’ brother gets even weirder

The controversy over whether Jesus had any siblings is reignited after an amazing new discovery of an ancient text.

Jesus and James. Unknown painter. Possibly 14th century.
Politics & Current Affairs
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Orangutans exhibit awareness of the past

Orangutans join humans and bees in a very exclusive club

(Eugene Sim/Shutterstock)
Surprising Science
  • Orangutan mothers wait to sound a danger alarm to avoid tipping off predators to their location
  • It took a couple of researchers crawling around the Sumatran jungle to discover the phenomenon
  • This ability may come from a common ancestor
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