Talking politics: A Thanksgiving guide to divisive conversations

A guide to keep conflicts from flaring up while you pass your uncle the pumpkin pie.

  • As American families gather around the table for Thanksgiving, there's no guarantee that everyone will have the same views when it comes to politics. This means that there's a lot of potential for conflicts to blow up as we pass one another the pumpkin pie.
  • The best approach is to not shy away from important conversations — yes, talk about politics. However, try to do so in a way that preferences understanding. In other words, instead of trying to change their position — as you beat them over the head with a drumstick — try to understand where they're coming from.
  • Chances are, just by asking them questions you will learn something new that you haven't considered before. That alone, intellectual humility, is something to cherish this holiday season.

Listen: Scientists recreate voice of 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummy

Scientists used CT scanning and 3D-printing technology to recreate the voice of Nesyamun, an ancient Egyptian priest.

Surprising Science
  • Scientists printed a 3D replica of the vocal tract of Nesyamun, an Egyptian priest whose mummified corpse has been on display in the UK for two centuries.
  • With the help of an electronic device, the reproduced voice is able to "speak" a vowel noise.
  • The team behind the "Voices of the Past" project suggest reproducing ancient voices could make museum experiences more dynamic.
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The value of owning more books than you can read

Or, how I learned to stop worrying and love my tsundoku.

(Photo from Wikimedia)
Personal Growth
  • Many readers buy books with every intention of reading them only to let them linger on the shelf.
  • Statistician Nassim Nicholas Taleb believes surrounding ourselves with unread books enriches our lives as they remind us of all we don't know.
  • The Japanese call this practice tsundoku, and it may provide lasting benefits.
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Some shark species have evolved to walk

The relatively quick evolution of nine unusual shark species has scientists intrigued.

Image source: Mark Erdmann
Surprising Science
  • Living off Australia and New Guinea are at least nine species of walking sharks.
  • Using fins as legs, they prowl coral reefs at low tide.
  • The sharks are small, don't be frightened.
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