Kalpana Konnur

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Nature and the Serious Business of Joy

“There can be occasions when we suddenly and involuntarily find ourselves loving the natural world with a startling intensity, in a burst of emotion which we may not fully understand, and the only word that seems to me to be appropriate for this feeling is joy.”<p><i>“Our origins are of the earth. And so</i> …

6-Day Iceland Road Trip Itinerary

Most people want to drive the entire Ring Road during a trip to Iceland, but what are your options if you only have 5-6 days on the island? While you …

European Travel

24 of the Most Scenic Places to Camp in the United States

Take a road trip from coast to coast, and you’ll find beautiful sights in every state in the U.S.<p>One of the best things about traveling around the …

Zadie Smith’s 10 Rules of Writing

In the winter of 2010, inspired by Elmore Leonard’s 10 rules of writing published in <i>The New York Times</i> nearly a decade earlier, <i>The Guardian</i> reached out to some of today’s most celebrated authors and asked them to each offer his or her rules. My favorite is <b>Zadie Smith’</b>s list — an exquisite balance …

Alan Lightman on the Longing for Absolutes in a Relative World and What Gives Lasting Meaning to Our Lives

“We are idealists and we are realists. We are dreamers and we are builders. We are experiencers and we are experimenters. We long for certainties, yet we ourselves are full of the ambiguities of the Mona Lisa and the <i>I Ching</i>. We ourselves are a part of the yin-yang of the world.”<p><i>“Every formula which</i> …

On a Magical Do-Nothing Day: A Lovely Illustrated Ode to the Nourishment of Nature and the Art of Solitude in the Age of Screens

A modern Alice-in-Wonderland tale of self-discovery against the odds of culture.<p>Generations of great thinkers have extolled the creative purpose of boredom. Long before psychologists came to understand why “fertile solitude” is the seedbed of a full life, Bertrand Russell pointed to what he called …

Flatland Revisited: A Lovely New Edition of Edwin Abbott Abbott’s Classic 1884 Allegory of Expanding Our Perspective

On the absurdity of truth by consensus, and a gentle invitation to consider how our way of looking at the world limits our view of it.<p>This is how the world changes: We loosen the stranglehold of our givens, bend and stretch our minds to imagine what was once unimaginable, test our theories against …

Chicago's Top 6 Dayhikes

95<p>SHARES<p>Hot dogs. Lake Michigan. Da Bears. And excellent trails? Absolutely: The Windy City's greater stomping grounds offer river-sculpted canyons, …

The Courage to Be Yourself: E.E. Cummings on Art, Life, and Being Unafraid to Feel

“To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight.”<p><i>“No one can build you the bridge on which you, and only you, must cross the river of life,”</i> wrote the thirty-year-old …

Literature

Take Fate by the Throat: Beethoven on Creative Vitality and Resilience in the Face of Suffering

“Day by day I am approaching the goal which I apprehend but cannot describe.”<p>“After all that has been said and mused upon the ‘natural ills,’ the anxiety, and wearing out experienced by the true artist,” Elizabeth Barrett Browning, who paved the way for women in the arts, wrote in reflecting on art …

Literature

Descartes on Wonderment

“Wonderment is the first passion of all… Those without any natural inclination to this passion are ordinarily very ignorant.”<p>Looking back on his life, the elderly Albert Einstein located his most significant existential turning point in a single moment of wonderment when he was a small boy. But …

We Have A New Prime Number, And It’s 23 Million Digits Long

Somewhere out there on the number line, huge prime numbers are lurking, waiting to be discovered. On Wednesday, a new one was. The Great Internet …

8 Top Trail Meccas

Gone are the old days of trail running where we took a real off season, much like we did in track and cross country. Sure, we still laced up our …

Best Trails in Michigan

Michigan Trails<p>Michigan, located in the Midwest region of the U.S., is made up of two peninsulas: the Upper and Lower peninsulas. In the west, …

The World's Most Epic Day Hikes

Adventure<p>These tremendous treks don't require an overnight bag.<p>Every trail offers a fresh adventure, whether you meander along a river, through a forest, or into a valley. With these 10 treks from around the globe, you'll take in views of gorgeous landscapes, challenge your abilities, and see a new …

The Vampire Problem: A Brilliant Thought Experiment Illustrating the Paradox of Transformative Experience

“Many of [life’s] big decisions involve choices to have experiences that teach us things we cannot know about from any other source but the experience itself.”<p>To be human is to suffer from a peculiar congenital blindness: On the precipice of any great change, we can see with terrifying clarity the …

Self-improvement

Is telekinesis based on real brains or science fiction?

Staying in and watching <i>Stranger Things</i> instead of going out to trick-or-treating this Halloween?<p>With the premiere of the new season of Netflix’s …

Canada by train in winter reveals dazzling Great White North

"It's as if we're in a permanent postcard," Karin Gedge said, gazing at the snow-swathed evergreens slipping by the broad dining-car window. "No, better, a permanent Christmas card. All that's missing is the cardinal."<p>It was last January, and my wife, Laurel, our friends the Gedges and I were well …

Trains

Empathy Is a Clock That Ticks in the Consciousness of Another: The Science of How Our Social Interactions Shape Our Experience of Time

“We may be born alone, but childhood ends with a synchrony of clocks, as we lend ourselves fully to the contagion of time.”<p>When I was growing up, my father — a kind man of quick intellect and encyclopedic knowledge about esoteric subjects — had, and still has, one habit that never failed to make …

How Van Gogh Found His Purpose: Heartfelt Letters to His Brother on How Relationships Refine Us

Long before <b>Vincent van Gogh</b> (March 30, 1853–July 29, 1890) became a creative legend and attained such mastery of art that he explained nature better than science, he confronted the same existential challenge many young people and aspiring artists face as they set out to find their purpose and do …

Winter in Montana

29 Calvin And Hobbes Wallpaper Comics That Were Everything In The 90's

Advertisement<p>Calvin and Hobbes was a comic strip created by Bill Watterson and loved by many. It was one of those comics you could enjoy as a kid in …

The 9 best state parks in Pennsylvania

Ohiopyle State Park<p>White-water (and any water) enthusiasts adore Ohiopyle, because thanks to the Youghiogheny River, it has the best rafting in the …

A Summer in Sun Valley, Idaho

While travelers flock to the ski town during winter months, this mountain locale has just as much to offer when the weather's warm.<p>Sun Valley, Idaho—where the first destination ski resort in North America was established in 1936—may have its roots in winter. But visit during the warmer months and …

The Best Comfort Thru-Hiking Gear

90<p>SHARES<p>There's no way around it: thru-hiking takes a toll on you. But plan your recovery and practice self-care, and you'll keep going strong. This …

The 9 advanced economies with the best quality of life in the world

It measures 109 countries for inclusive development and the results are derived by looking at 12 key performance indicators of inclusive development under three pillars:<p>Within these pillars, WEF gets a score from looking at each country's ranking in:<p>Out of the 109 countries measured, 30 are …

World Economy

18 Of The Most Dangerous And Dramatic Roads In The World

Don't slip. 😶<p>Do you love driving and yearn for adventure? If so, these photos will throw you for a loop. Tides, rivers, snow, waves and cliffs are just a few of the features that make for some of the most dramatic and adrenaline-pumping ― and sometimes truly treacherous ― road trips in the …

Roads

17 Extremely Michigan Things You Can Only Do In Michigan

Celebrate Christmas in July at the world's biggest Christmas store!<p><b>Other things to do</b>: Grab some locally made Mackinac Island Fudge, stay at the Grand Hotel, or ride a horse and buggy through downtown.