The New Old World

The industrialized world is aging, but perhaps there is cause to celebrate. Stefany Anne Golberg at The Smart Set sees a future of technological wonder and wise elders.

"Perhaps there is something poetic about a world filled with the elderly. I imagine it could feel like wandering through a primeval forest—tall strong trees shading the green vegetation below, lots of rotting, lots of mist. One can imagine this world full of ancients to be gentler, too, where everything is softer, and time is forced to move at a slower pace, as it is for the cows who mosey across the mad streets of Delhi, assured that the traffic will part for them (and it does). Some are saying that a new era of stability and peace will come in the new old world, that we’re already seeing the benefits (look how contented Europe is), that wars are made by the restless, dissatisfied young."

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
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Why is 18 the age of adulthood if the brain can take 30 years to mature?

Neuroscience research suggests it might be time to rethink our ideas about when exactly a child becomes an adult.

Mind & Brain
  • Research suggests that most human brains take about 25 years to develop, though these rates can vary among men and women, and among individuals.
  • Although the human brain matures in size during adolescence, important developments within the prefrontal cortex and other regions still take pace well into one's 20s.
  • The findings raise complex ethical questions about the way our criminal justice systems punishes criminals in their late teens and early 20s.
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Apparently even NASA is wrong about which planet is closest to Earth

Three scientists publish a paper proving that Mercury, not Venus, is the closest planet to Earth.

Strange Maps
  • Earth is the third planet from the Sun, so our closest neighbor must be planet two or four, right?
  • Wrong! Neither Venus nor Mars is the right answer.
  • Three scientists ran the numbers. In this YouTube video, one of them explains why our nearest neighbor is... Mercury!
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Mini-brains attach to spinal cord and twitch muscles

A new method of growing mini-brains produces some startling results.

(Lancaster, et al)
Surprising Science
  • Researchers find a new and inexpensive way to keep organoids growing for a year.
  • Axons from the study's organoids attached themselves to embryonic mouse spinal cord cells.
  • The mini-brains took control of muscles connected to the spinal cords.
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