Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
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What if Middle-earth was in Pakistan?

Iranian Tolkien scholar finds intriguing parallels between subcontinental geography and famous map of Middle-earth

Image: Mohammad Reza Kamali, reproduced with kind permission
  • J.R.R. Tolkien himself hinted that his stories are set in a really ancient version of Europe.
  • But a fantasy realm can be inspired by a variety of places; and perhaps so is Tolkien's world.
  • These intriguing similarities with Asian topography show that it may be time to 'decolonise' Middle-earth.
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Perhaps all atlases should be this subjective

To get a sense of faraway places, these 'atlases' let the locals give you their perspective.

Image: Subjective Atlas, reproduced with kind permission.
  • Most atlases are terrible: nothing more than glorified road maps.
  • These 'Subjective Atlases' offer bottom-up views of places, provided by people who actually live there.
  • Each of the 12 atlases so far is unique, and surprising – but don't expect to drive by them.
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Study: We like villains similar to ourselves

Love a good villain? It says a lot about you.

Photo by Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images)
  • People tend to be attracted to others with similar positive traits, but recoil from those with similar negative traits.
  • This tendency doesn't exist with villains, who we like even if we share negative traits with them.
  • This finding may led to new studies on how we process personality traits, story processing, and your internet browsing history.
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Art will never die. So why does it need philanthropy?

We wouldn't want to live without it, so how can we create art that's durable?

  • You cannot kill the arts. This is particularly true when you talk about poetry, which does well in a world of social media as its easy to digest in its short form.
  • Measuring success in art can be tricky, though. Impact and influence can be felt immediately, so how does art find that everlasting durability?
  • Philanthropy can encourage and enable art, and as a result, potentially lengthen its lifespan. If we can find ways to measure art in its own terms, we can effectively give a platform to new voices who complete the cultural picture.
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Creative process: Are you in a period of ‘woodshedding’?

It's normal if you're not productive in your creativity all the time. Even the greats took breaks.

  • Creative types can feel an overwhelming sense of pressure to be prolific, especially in times like these when, in theory, free time is abundant. Creativity is a resource that takes different forms and like other resources, it has its limits.
  • According to Elizabeth Alexander, poet and president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, it's common for artists to have gaps in the chronology of their work. Familial commitments, depression, and health troubles are among the very valid reasons to not be producing creative works.
  • Borrowing a term from jazz musicians, Alexander explains that creatives can also go through a period of 'woodshedding,' a term that refers to the practice of working on one's craft and experimenting in a private place (like a wood shed) until it is ready to be shared with the world.

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