Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
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Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
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Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
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Cancer Is 90 Percent Curable in Kids, so How Can We Make Old Bodies Feel Young Again?

A little-known scientific experiment, in which researchers reversed the aging process in rodents, was recently repeated by three major medical institutions. The results will make you think very differently about aging.

David Agus: I want to tell you one story. And the story came from the early 1950s. A woman named Wanda Ruth Lunsford — she was a scientist in New York City and she published one paper, which turned out to be her only paper in science and she was actually pushed out of science. What she did was she took an old rat and a young rat, she put them to sleep and she tied their skin together. So after about a day or so their blood supplies joined. Well, several weeks later she looked and in that old rat, there were new neurons growing in the brain, the heart beat stronger and the muscles were bigger. The gray hair turned brown again. She claimed she reversed aging. People call her Dracula, Frankenstein, all kinds of crazy names.

Well, earlier this year three separate laboratories at Harvard; Stanford; University of California, San Francisco, repeated the experiment and it worked. And what they showed is at age 25, in you and I, our stem cells go to sleep and get turned off. And proteins, from young mice in this case or young humans, can turn them back on again. And when these stem cells get turned back on, new neurons can be grown, repair happens much quicker in tissue. We all see that. Our child breaks his leg; he or she is back walking again in a couple weeks. You don't even know what happened. Your grandmother breaks her leg and it hits her quality of life the rest of her life. So there are clinical trials now using proteins that were found in young individuals to try to stimulate bone repair in the elderly who have fractures. And so just like a diabetic requires a shot of insulin so that they can manage their sugar, going forward if you break your leg in the elderly, we may just give you a shot of these proteins to turn back on your stem cells so you can repair quicker. 

We're trying it in cancer because cancer in kids is about 90 percent curable. Once you turn 25, that same cancer turns incurable. So maybe if I can convince the body it's younger I can have, or we as a science community can have, a bigger impact on cancer. So I leave you with that bit of hope that aging is something that may be able to be reversed, and not so that we can live till 150, but so that we can all live until our ninth or 10th decade without there being a decrease in quality in those last decades, because that would be the goal, quality years till the end.

 

A little-known scientific experiment, in which researchers reversed the aging process in rodents, was recently repeated by three major medical institutions: Harvard; Stanford; and the University of California, San Francisco. The results confirm that it is possible to manipulate the aging process, allowing us to maintain a higher quality of life for longer.


In the fight against cancer, this is crucial. While the stem cells in young bodies are very effective at overcoming cancer, those cells switch off by the age of 25. If we can discover ways to keep them on, we all might enjoy healthier lives for longer.

The “new normal” paradox: What COVID-19 has revealed about higher education

Higher education faces challenges that are unlike any other industry. What path will ASU, and universities like ASU, take in a post-COVID world?

Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Everywhere you turn, the idea that coronavirus has brought on a "new normal" is present and true. But for higher education, COVID-19 exposes a long list of pernicious old problems more than it presents new problems.
  • It was widely known, yet ignored, that digital instruction must be embraced. When combined with traditional, in-person teaching, it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale.
  • COVID-19 has forced institutions to understand that far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student's family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted.
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R.P. Eddy wrote about a coming pandemic in 2017. Why didn't we listen?

In his book with Richard Clarke, "Warnings," Eddy made clear this was inevitable.

Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images
Coronavirus
  • In their 2017 book, "Warnings," R.P. Eddy and Richard Clarke warned about a coming pandemic.
  • "You never get credit for correctly predicting an outbreak," says science journalist Laurie Garrett in the book.
  • In this interview with Big Think, R.P. Eddy explains why people don't listen to warnings—and how to try to get them to listen.
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Creativity: The science behind the madness

Human brains evolved for creativity. We just have to learn how to access it.

Videos
  • An all-star cast of Big Thinkers—actors Rainn Wilson and Ethan Hawke; composer Anthony Brandt; neuroscientists David Eagleman, Wendy Suzuki, and Beau Lotto; and psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman—share how they define creativity and explain how our brains uniquely evolved for the phenomenon.
  • According to Eagleman, during evolution there was an increase in space between our brain's input and output that allows information more time to percolate. We also grew a larger prefrontal cortex which "allows us to simulate what ifs, to separate ourselves from our location in space and time and think about possibilities."
  • Scott Barry Kaufman details 3 brain networks involved in creative thinking, and Wendy Suzuki busts the famous left-brain, right-brain myth.

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
Strange Maps
  • J.R.R. Tolkien 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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New study explores how to navigate 'desire discrepancies' in long term relationships

With the most common form of female sexual dysfunction impacting 1 in 10 women, this important study dives into how to keep a relationship going despite having different needs and wants in the bedroom.

NDAB Creativity / Shutterstock
Sex & Relationships
  • A new study highlights the difficulties faced by women who struggle with decreased sexual desire, and explains how to navigate desire discrepancies in long-term relationships.
  • Hypoactive sexual desire disorder is one of the most common forms of female sexual dysfunction, impacting an estimated 1 in 10 women.
  • Finding other ways to promote intimacy in your relationship is one of the keys to ensuring happiness on both sides.

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