Who are we?

Question: What forces have shaped humanity most?

Lidia Bastianich: I think if you look very, very way back in history, food has been a big determining force in . . . from the Venetians and their spice trades to the Orient, and bringing back and making actually ____________ one of the richest sort of city state; which in turn with its money created Florence and the salt trades; which in turn fueled the Renaissance or whatever. So food is potent. You know the travel of Columbus was to find the new . . . yes, was to find the Fountain of Youth; but also it was to find new foods and new ideas. So food is extremely important in the evolution of what happens in the world – happened and it continues to happen.

 

The legacy of the Venetian spice trade.

Participatory democracy is presumed to be the gold standard. Here’s why it isn’t.

Political activism may get people invested in politics, and affect urgently needed change, but it comes at the expense of tolerance and healthy democratic norms.

Photo by Nicholas Roberts /Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Polarization and extreme partisanships have been on the rise in the United States.
  • Political psychologist Diana Mutz argues that we need more deliberation, not political activism, to keep our democracy robust.
  • Despite increased polarization, Americans still have more in common than we appear to.
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Swedish scientist advocates eating humans to combat climate change

A scientist in Sweden makes a controversial presentation at a future of food conference.

Surprising Science
  • A behavioral scientist from Sweden thinks cannibalism of corpses will become necessary due to effects of climate change.
  • He made the controversial presentation to Swedish TV during a "Future of Food" conference in Stockholm.
  • The scientist acknowledges the many taboos this idea would have to overcome.
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Astronomers spot only the 2nd interstellar object ever seen

An amateur astronomer discovers an interstellar comet on its way to our Sun.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Surprising Science
  • The comet C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) was spotted by an amateur astronomer.
  • The object is moving so fast, it likely originated outside our solar system.
  • The comet should be observable for another year.
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