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The Guardian view on American Christianity: change and decay | Editorial

Market-driven Christianity has boomed in the US but now it is beginning to bust<p>Is Christianity ceasing to matter in the US? The question might seem absurd in the light of statistics that show a country which still publicly respects religion to an extent difficult for a European to imagine. Fewer …

Religion

Anonymous Leaks to the WashPost About the CIA’s Russia Beliefs Are No Substitute for Evidence

(2) The reasons no rational person should blindly believe anonymous claims of this sort — even if it is pleasing to believe such claims — should be …

Donald Trump

Homo Sapiens 2.0? We need a species-wide conversation about the future of human genetic enhancement

After 4 billion years of evolution by one set of rules, our species is about to begin evolving by another.<p>Overlapping and mutually reinforcing revolutions in genetics, information technology, artificial intelligence, big data analytics, and other fields are providing the tools that will make it …

Genetics

The man who made America: Reason, religion and the brilliant mind of John Locke

<b>John Locke (Wikimedia)</b><p>There will be no lack of odes to colonial America today. Let’s also remember the man whose ideas made it possible<p>George Makari<p>November 26, 2015 1:00pm (UTC)<p>Excerpted from “Soul Machine: The Invention of the Modern Mind”<p>After his triumphant return to London, John Locke’s theory …

9 Learnings from 9 Years of Brain Pickings

Reflections on the rewards of seeking out what magnifies your spirit.<p>On October 23, 2006, <i>Brain Pickings</i> was born as an email to my seven colleagues at one of the four jobs I held while paying my way through college. Over the years that followed, the short weekly email became a tiny website updated …

Fitbit-owned app creates customized exercises on Android devices

A couple of years before it was acquired by Fitbit in 2015, FitStar released an app starring NFL star Tony Gonzalez that can create customized workouts based on your goals and fitness level. Now, that app has arrived on Google Play. It's officially called "FitStar Personal Trainer," because it's …

9 Lessons from My Suicide Attempt.

This is not a blog I write lightly. I want to warn people who are feeling hopeless or depressed to be cautious before reading any farther.<p>A little …

She Kills People From 7,850 Miles Away

Her name is ‘Sparkle.’ She operates a drone. She is sick of whiny boys. And she is perfectly OK with dealing out death.<p>Anne crawled out of bed in her …

Bertrand Russell & Buckminster Fuller on Why We Should Work Less, and Live & Learn More

Why must we all work long hours to earn the right to live? Why must only the wealthy have access to leisure, aesthetic pleasure, …

Whither Eagleman?

I recently posted a TEDx talk by the neuroscientist David Eagleman, author of Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain and the subject of a recent …

It’s time we dispelled these myths about autism

These four misconceptions about autism are damaging and in desperate need of debunking, says Steve Silberman.<p>The history of autism is, in part, a history of myths: of myths enshrined as facts by medical experts, of myths shaping societal attitudes towards a highly complex condition, and eventually, …

Autism

Secret bank accounts, income inequality—and why Luxembourg matters

Gabriel Zucman is on a mission.<p>The 28-year-old French economist, currently at the University of California, Berkeley, has built his career remarkably quickly, and in the process has made a place for himself among the most influential economists working today.<p>Zucman decided, in part, to pursue a …

Economics

A tumor stole every memory I had. This is what happened when it all came back

My brain tumor introduced itself to me on a grainy MRI, in the summer of 2009, when I was 28 years old.<p>It had been with me from the day I was born. Tumors like mine develop in utero. They are usually discovered in children, but no one could tell me why mine had only been found once I was an adult. …

Mind

The imperialist lie that won’t die: America is making the planet safer

The U.S. maintains 800 military bases across the globe. They’re a threat to national security — and harm us all<p>With the U.S. military having withdrawn many of its forces from Iraq and Afghanistan, most Americans would be forgiven for being unaware that hundreds of U.S. bases and hundreds of …

Canadian, World, Politics and Business News & Analysis

A Point of View: Does atheism have to be anti-religious?

<b>We tend to understand atheism as a war between religion and science - but in earlier times atheism was both more complex and more rich, says philosopher John Gray.</b><p>In recent years we've come to think of atheism as an evangelical creed not unlike Christianity. An atheist, we tend to assume, is …

Avoiding waste with the Japanese concept of 'mottainai'

<i>The idea of 'mottainai'—a Japanese approach to the concept of waste—could provide the west with a philosophical answer to environmental crises. Kevin</i> …

Japan

20 cognitive biases that screw up your decisions

And you might think you approach all those decisions rationally.<p>Yet research suggests there are a huge number of cognitive stumbling blocks that can affect our behavior, preventing us from acting in our own best interests.<p>Here, we've rounded up some of the most commonly cited biases that screw up …

Why we love, why we cheat

Anthropologist Helen Fisher takes on a tricky topic – love – and explains its evolution, its biochemical foundations and its social importance. She …

Anthropology

Too Much Information

When the generation-defining writer David Foster Wallace took his own life in 2008, he left behind an unfinished novel, The Pale King, that will either serve to round out his transcendent body of writing or place a haunting question mark at the end of his career. John Jeremiah Sullivan holes up …

Astronauts Have Done So, So Much With Duct Tape And Electrical Tape

You’ve heard the story of how duct tape saved Apollo 13*, but that’s not the only time tape has come to the rescue in space. Here are some of the …

Urban Explorer Finds The Sad Remains Of The Soviet Space Shuttle Program

Ralph Mirebs, an urban explorer and photographer in Russia, has revealed extraordinary photos of Soviet space shuttle prototypes gathering dust in an …

The Dalai Lama’s Daily Routine and Information Diet

“To understand the Dalai Lama … perhaps it’s most useful to see him as a doctor of the soul.”<p>I think a great deal about the difference between routine and ritual as a special case of our more general and generally trying quest for balance — ripped asunder by the contrary longings for control and …

This Slow Space Station Docking Video Is Oddly Mesmerizing

All that's missing is some Strauss<p>Travel to and from the International Space Station occurs with such regularity these days, it hardly seems worth remarking. The only exception is when things go wrong, as with the recent case of the errant Russian Soyuz cargo spacecraft (which fortunately had no …

Bertrand Russell on Love, Sex, the Good Life, and How Moral Superstitions Limit Our Happiness

“The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge. Neither love without knowledge, nor knowledge without love can produce a good life.”<p><b>Bertrand Russell</b> (May 18, 1872–February 2, 1970) endures as one of humanity’s most lucid yet luminous thinkers, his ideas tracking between the timeless …

Richard Feynman on Science vs. Religion and Why Uncertainty Is Central to Morality

“It is impossible to find an answer which someday will not be found to be wrong.”<p><i>“If we ever reach the point where we think we thoroughly understand who we are and where we came from,”</i> Carl Sagan wrote in his timeless treatise on science and spirituality, <i>“we will have failed.”</i> Perhaps because, as …

TC Boyle: 'I’m distressed by this absurd world, so the only way I can think straight is to make up stories'

The award-winning author of World's End and The Tortilla Curtain reveals his writing inspirations, ranging from Brazilian jazz to a loaded revolver<p>TC Boyle, 66, is an American novelist and short-story writer. Born in New York state, he completed a PhD and MFA at the University of Iowa before …

Here's how to solve the 'simple' high-school math problem stumping everyone on the internet

A question from a global math Olympiad for high-school children in Singapore is going viral after the question was leaked online.<p>The question seems simple — all you need to do is work out Cheryl's birthday, based on three statements and with just 10 possible dates to chose from — but the logic to …

Mathematics