You Don't Need a Fancy Pen to Be a Great Cartoonist

All you need, if you're Jules Feiffer, is a sharp stick and an even sharper satirical eye. Before he became a Putlizer Prize winner, an Academy Award winner, and one of America's most beloved children's book illustrators, Feiffer was a very young, very angry political cartoonist who found his style by drawing with pointed wooden dowels from the local meat market.In his Big Think interview, Feiffer remembers his renegade days at The Village Voice as a time of political indignation"liberals didn't understand that they had First Amendment rights," he saysbut also of enormous editorial freedom, of a kind that virtually no publication would permit today. Certainly Feiffer himself refused to be constrained by anyone: while "trying to overthrow the government" as a cartoonist, he developed side gigs as a controversial playwright ("Carnal Knowledge") and a beloved children's book illustrator ("The Phantom Tollbooth").

Casting his eye over the American scene today, the illustrator and native New Yorker sees a "scary" but "wonderful" country whose greatest city still has "that crazy, anarchic spirit." He believes American humor, too, remains as vibrant as everexcept that the political cartoonist's traditional role may have been usurped by the likes of Stewart and Colbert.

Is life after 75 worth living? This UPenn scholar doubts it.

What makes a life worth living as you grow older?

Culture & Religion
  • Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel revisits his essay on wanting to die at 75 years old.
  • The doctor believes that an old life filled with disability and lessened activity isn't worth living.
  • Activists believe his argument stinks of ageism, while advances in biohacking could render his point moot.
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Brazil's Amazon fires: How they started — and how you can help.

The Amazon Rainforest is often called "The Planet's Lungs."

Politics & Current Affairs
  • For weeks, fires have been burning in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, likely started by farmers and ranchers.
  • Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, has blamed NGOs for starting the flames, offering no evidence to support the claim.
  • There are small steps you can take to help curb deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, which produces about 20 percent of the world's oxygen.
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Study: Sending emojis is linked to scoring more dates, sex

Emojis might contain more emotional information than meets the eye.

Sex & Relationships
  • A new study shows that people who frequently used emojis in text messages with potential dates engaged in more sexual activity and had more contact with those dates.
  • However, the study only shows an association; it didn't establish causality.
  • The authors suggest that emojis might help to convey nuanced emotional information that's lacking in strictly text-based messaging.
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