William Shatner: Empathy must be taught

What a group of orphaned elephants can teach us about emotion and learned social skills.

  • Empathy is defined as the act of recognizing, understanding, and being sensitive to the feelings and experiences of others.
  • Sharing a story about young elephants at a nature preserve, William Shatner argues that empathy is a learned skill, not an inherited trait.
  • "That has to be learned, and I don't think it's any different from a boy to a girl. You have to walk in the shoes to experience what the other person is experiencing."
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#4: What makes someone gay? Science is trying to get it straight. | Top 10 2019

Taking the fourth spot on Big Think's 2019 top 10 countdown is the question: Evolutionarily speaking, is being gay still something of an enigma?

  • Big Think's fourth most popular video of 2019 features bioethicist Alice Dreger. She presents the idea that heterosexual people have been less interesting to scientists than gay people in terms of why they exist. This is because, evolutionarily speaking, being gay doesn't lead to a higher "higher reproductive fitness" — meaning, it doesn't lead to more babies.
  • Huge and rigorous studies have proven the fraternal birth order effect: Statistically, if a mother has lots of pregnancies of males, every successive male child will be a little bit more likely to be gay. This is because the mother's immune system appears to react to the male fetus' hormones and may dampen them down.
  • The Western view of gay and straight isn't the definitive definition. In Samoan culture, there is a third gender: fa'afafine. These are boys who are raised as girls; they become women culturally and partner with men, although they don't change their physical anatomy.
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These 10 countries are closest to achieving gender equality

Iceland has closed almost 88% of its gender gap and increased its lead over second-ranked Norway.

Daniel Stephen Homer/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Iceland has once again held on to the top spot in the World Economic Forum's latest Global Gender Gap Index.
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Why the singular “They” is Merriam-Webster's word of the year

"They" has taken on a not-so-new meaning lately. This earned it the scrutiny it needed to win.

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  • Merriam-Webster has announced "they" as the word of the year.
  • The selection was based on a marked increase in traffic to the online dictionary page.
  • Runners up included "quid pro quo" and "crawdad."
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Is ‘sexy’ being redefined? If so, what does it mean for the fashion industry?

Some lingerie lines have failed to keep up with a new era.

Photo credit: JP Yim / Stringer / Getty Images
  • According to L Brands, the Victoria's Secret fashion show, which began in 1995, has been cancelled to shift its focus on digital marketing.
  • Since the advent of the fashion, the female body has been dissected and commodified to promote new feminine ideals for sales. This might be ending.
  • Feminist demands have given rise to body inclusive brands such as Aerie, ThirdLove, Universal Studios, and Savage X Fenty that redefine "sexy."
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