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The Reinvention of America

Americans don’t realize how fast the country is moving toward becoming a better version of itself.<p>I have seen the future, and it is in the United States.<p>After a several-year immersion in parts of the country that make the news mainly after a natural disaster or a shooting, or for follow-up stories …

South Dakota

Palantir Knows Everything About You

Trump<p>White<p>House<p>Justin<p>Mikolay<p>EMPLOYEE OF<p>EMPLOYEE OF<p>Kevin<p>Harrington<p>EMPLOYEE OF<p>Thiel<p>Capital<p>FORMER<p>OPERATOR OF<p>Alexander<p>Karp<p>FORMER<p>OPERATOR<p>OF<p>FORMER<p>OPERATOR …

Silicon Valley

How to read poetry like a professor

Thomas Foster, an ex-literature professor and author, explains how to get the most out of poems while avoiding intimidation<p>Since retiring from his professorship at the University of Michigan-Flint, where he taught literature and writing for nearly 30 years, Thomas Foster has made a fruitful career …

Literature

The Hunt for Wonder Drugs at the North Pole

In a race against antibiotic resistance, a Norwegian research team sails into the Arctic darkness.<p>Gathered around a white plastic table, four scientists surgically explored a quaking pile of mud, freshly scraped from the bottom of the ocean and spiked with twitching tentacles and antennae. In the …

Costa Rica

'There is no such thing as past or future': physicist Carlo Rovelli on changing how we think about time

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics sold over a million copies around the world. Now Rovelli is back to explore the mysteries of time. He tells Charlotte Higgins about student revolution and how his quantum leap began with an acid trip<p>• Extract from Carlo Rovelli’s new book: on the elastic concept of …

Quantum Mechanics

50 Novels All Men Should Read Before They Die

No excuses, now<p>Forget coming-of-age fiction or impenetrable 'classics' – these are the books all grown men should be ticking off. Why? Because they're as entertaining as they are wise<p>On Beauty – Zadie Smith<p>The Circle – Dave Eggers<p>East of Eden – John Steinbeck<p>The Road – Cormac McCarthy<p>The Blind …

Literature

The Era of Fake Video Begins

The digital manipulation of video may make the current era of “fake news” seem quaint.<p>In a dank corner of the internet, it is possible to find actresses from <i>Game of Thrones</i> or <i>Harry Potter</i> engaged in all manner of sex acts. Or at least to the world the carnal figures look like those actresses, and …

Virtual Reality

“The Clock Is Ticking”: Inside the Worst U.S. Maritime Disaster in Decades

A recording salvaged from three miles deep tells the story of the doomed “El Faro,” a cargo ship engulfed by a hurricane.<p>I. “The Clock Is Ticking”<p>In the darkness before dawn on Thursday, October 1, 2015, an American merchant captain named Michael Davidson sailed a 790-foot U.S.-flagged cargo ship,</i> …

Sailing

Patagonia vs. Donald Trump

We all knew the legendary outerwear company Patagonia lived and breathed the adventurous life. We knew they cared about the environment. But it wasn’t till Trump came along that we realized they were ready to fight.<p><b>Patagonia was built</b> in the image of its founder, Yvon Chouinard. In late January, …

Black Lives Matter

Yes, we’ve lost our faith in God, but we’ve lost our faith in reason too

Our failure to create social movements that fill the space vacated by the church has left people feeling helpless<p>Abandon all hope, ye who enter here. So runs the inscription above the gates of hell in Dante’s Inferno. Through those gates walks Dante with his guide Virgil:<p>Now sighs, loud wailing, …

Religion

What You Should Know if You’re Thinking About Treating Yourself With Psychedelics

MDMA is being celebrated as a new treatment for PTSD—but at what cost?<p>Psychedelics are having a moment. Clinical trials have found promising results regarding the efficacy of MDMA to treat PTSD, magic mushrooms to treat depression, and ketamine to treat OCD. Silicon Valley entrepreneurs have been …

Consciousness

The Diet That Might Cure Depression

Several studies show that healthy eating is connected with better mood.<p>At the turn of the 20th century, prominent physicians who were trying to understand where mental illness comes from seized on a new theory: autointoxication. Intestinal microbes, these doctors suggested, are actually dangerous …

Immune System

The Vatican Is Wooing Silicon Valley

And the tech sector is flirting back.<p>ROME—Barely 100 yards away from a statue of Giordano Bruno, the freethinking friar who was burned at the stake in 1600 after the Catholic Church found him guilty of heresy, some of the world’s brightest young people gathered earlier this month for the opening of …

Silicon Valley

The Book List: What was in Oscar Wilde's prison library?

<b>Collected Works</b> of Matthew Arnold<b><br>City of God</b> by St Augustine<b><br>The Confessions</b> of St Augustine<b><br>Various Works</b> by Charles Baudelaire<b><br>The Pilgrim’s Progress</b> …

A guide to credit card and airline points for complete and total beginners

There are two types of people in this world: people who are obsessed with amassing airline miles and those who aren’t.<p>For the people who aren’t, the former group can seem an intimidating, mystifying bunch. What with all that talk of loyalty, status, bonuses, mileage runs, and upgrades, the points …

Personal Finance

If you want to stay successful, learn to think like Leonardo da Vinci

Some of history’s greatest contributions have come from polymaths.<p>Aristotle practically invented half a dozen fields of study across philosophy. Galileo was as much a physicist as he was an engineer when he helped kick-start the scientific revolution. Da Vinci might have been even more famous as an …

Learning

50 Books from the Past 50 Years Everyone Should Read at Least Once

Challenge accepted.<p>Fifty contemporary classics everyone should read at least once—only 50? There are hundreds we could include, and if we did, this …

Books

The nine types of startups Y Combinator thinks the world needs in 2018

Every year, thousands of startup founders apply to Y Combinator in the hope that their company will be funded and join the ranks of YC alumni like Dropbox, Airbnb, Stripe, Instacart and reddit. Through the application process, we at YC get to see what some of the smartest, most creative people on …

LSD Brings Your Brain to the Edge of Chaos

This new LSD study is like an acid trip all on its own.<p>One Saturday in 1964, neurologist Oliver Sacks took a bit of amphetamines, LSD, a “touch” of cannabis, faced a white wall in his home, and said “I want to see indigo now—now!”<p>“And then,” he wrote in the New Yorker in 2012, “as if thrown by a …

Consciousness

A Tantalizing Signal From the Early Universe

Astronomers have found evidence of the first stars igniting in cold, dark gas, a detection with huge implications for our understanding of the cosmos.<p>Near the beginning, not long after the Big Bang, the universe was a cold and dark place swirling with invisible gas, mostly hydrogen and helium. Over …

Universe

15 Major Award-Winning Novels You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

O fame, fame, thou glittering bauble. In searching for thee, what fame have I not lost? Yes, even literary fame, the mildest of the family, can be …

Books

An Animated Introduction to the Existentialist Philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre… and How It Can Open Our Eyes to Life’s Possibilities

Among the vogue names of midcentury Western philosophy, few ever rose to such cultural heights as that of Jean-Paul Sartre. Fans once dropped it …

Four Leading Theories on Why Humans Need to Sleep

It remains one of biology's biggest mysteries.<p>Outside of death, few things unite every member of the animal kingdom quite like sleep. Some animals, like the large hairy armadillo, sleep upwards of 20 hours a day in captivity, while others, like the giraffe, might only clock 10 minutes daily in the …

Consciousness

It's not just in the genes: the foods that can help and harm your brain

Our diet has a huge effect on our brain and our mental wellbeing, even protecting against dementia. So, what should be on the menu?<p>As a society, we are used to the idea that we feed our bodies, and that our diet shapes our waistlines. But many of us forget that the same diet also feeds our brains, …

Nutrition

Scientists studying psychoactive drugs accidentally proved the self is an illusion

Philosophers and mystics have long contemplated the disconcerting notion that the fixed self is an illusion.Neuroscientists now think they can prove it or, at least, help us glimpse this truth with some help from psilocybin, the psychoactive property in magic mushrooms.<p>Researchers around the world …

Sleep deprivation seems to have opposite effects in healthy and depressed people

The first sign that something is happening is Angelina’s hands. As she chats to the nurse in Italian, she begins to gesticulate, jabbing, moulding, and circling the air with her fingers. As the minutes pass and Angelina becomes increasingly animated, I notice a musicality to her voice that I’m sure …

The Plot Against America

Decades before he ran the Trump campaign, Paul Manafort’s pursuit of foreign cash and shady deals laid the groundwork for the corruption of Washington.<p>I. The Wisdom of Friends<p><b>The clinic permitted Paul Manafort</b> one 10-minute call each day. And each day, he would use it to ring his wife from Arizona, …

Paul Manafort

The idea that everything from spoons to stones is conscious is gaining academic credibility

Consciousness permeates reality. Rather than being just a unique feature of human subjective experience, it’s the foundation of the universe, present in every particle and all physical matter.<p>This sounds like easily-dismissible bunkum, but as traditional attempts to explain consciousness continue …

Consciousness

The Startling Link Between Sugar and Alzheimer's

A high-carb diet, and the attendant high blood sugar, are associated with cognitive decline.<p>In recent years, Alzheimer’s disease has occasionally been referred to as “type 3” diabetes, though that moniker doesn’t make much sense. After all, though they share a problem with insulin, type 1 diabetes …

Diabetes