Guest Post: What Is Spirituality?
An excerpt from Spirituality and Intellectual Honesty
by Thomas Metzinger
Here’s something to spend the weekend contemplating…
Can something like a completely secularized form of spirituality exist? Or is this idea perhaps incoherent—something that on second sight cannot be described consistently and without getting lost in obvious contradictions?
Guest Post: Awake at Last
by Laurie Shiers
My friend, Laurie Shiers, shares her heartwarming, poetic, and shockingly honest account of becoming a mother. A beautiful story, beautifully told…
Click here to read the article
Guest Post: The Mystery of Time
An Excerpt from Your Brain is a Time Machine, by Dean Buonomano
I enjoyed every minute of my work on Dean’s latest book, as it explores some of the most fascinating questions about both the universe and the brain: What is time? Why does time seem to speed up or slow down? Is our sense that time flows an illusion? Dean illuminates such concepts as free will, consciousness, spacetime, and relativity from the perspective of a neuroscientist. This is an exciting, mind-bending read!
Click here to read the excerpt from Dean Buonomano’s
Your Brain Is A Time Machine
Guest Post: Rockets Rising
An excerpt (#2!) from Rise of the Rocket Girls, by Nathalia Holt
This is the first time I’ve ever done this… But I think the history is so important, and Nathalia has done such a beautiful job of getting it down so eloquently on paper, that I’ve posted another excerpt from her book.
Rockets were considered fringe science, and the people who worked on them weren’t taken seriously. When Frank [Malina] asked one of his professors at Caltech, Fritz Zwicky, for help on a problem, the teacher told him, “You’re a bloody fool. You’re trying to do something impossible. Rockets can’t work in space.” …
Guest Post: Rocket Girls
An excerpt from Rise of the Rocket Girls, by Nathalia Holt
Fascinating, beautifully written, enlightening history… I love this book.
… It was 1968, and the women were gearing up for another go at Mars. Mariner 6 and 7 would be the latest craft to fly by the Red Planet. The computers eagerly plotted the spacecraft’s trajectories and programmed the instruments that would probe the planet from space in search of extraterrestrial life. Helen was doing contingency planning, just in case something went wrong…
Guest Post: Life’s Beginning
An Excerpt From The Selfish Gene, By Richard Dawkins (40th Anniversary)
40 years later, this is still one of the best descriptions of evolution and natural selection of all time. Happy Birthday to “The Selfish Gene”! If you haven’t read it yet, you owe it to yourself to read it now:
…Chemists have tried to imitate the chemical conditions of the young earth. They have put these simple substances in a flask and supplied a source of energy such as ultraviolet light or electric sparks – artificial simulation of primordial lightning. After a few weeks of this, something interesting is usually found inside the flask… Continue Reading
Guest Post: Stardust
An excerpt from The Universe Within
by Neil Shubin
All the galaxies in the cosmos, like every creature on the planet, and every atom, molecule, and body on Earth are deeply connected. That connection begins at a single point 13.7 billion years ago…
Guest Post: What Will I Say Next?
An excerpt from How Could Conscious Experiences Affect Brains?
by Max Velmans
…In speech, for example, the tongue may make as many as twelve adjustments of shape per second—adjustments which need to be precisely coordinated with other rapid, dynamic changes within the articulatory system. According to Lenneberg (1967), within one minute of discourse as many as ten to fifteen thousand neuromuscular events occur…
Guest Post: Your Inner Fish
An excerpt from Your Inner Fish: A Journey Into the 3.5 Billion-Year
History of the Human Body
by Neil Shubin
… No matter how different the species look as adults, as tiny embryos they all go through the same stages of development. To fully appreciate the importance of this, we need to look again at our first three weeks after conception…
Guest Post: Meditation Retreat
An excerpt from 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works—A True Story
by Dan Harris
It was the longest, most exquisite high of my life, but the hangover came first…
Guest Post: The Emotional Past
An excerpt from Synaptic Self: How Our Brains Become Who We Are
by Joseph LeDoux
…According to the mood congruity hypothesis, memories are more easily retrieved when the emotional state at the time of memory formation matches the state at the time of retrieval. For example, we are more likely to remember sad than happy events when depressed…
Guest Post: Watching The Movie Of Our Life
An excerpt from The Mind’s Past, by Michael Gazzaniga
Starting in the mid-1950’s, although not publishing his results until the mid-1960’s, Benjamin Libet tweaked the scientific world with the question, “How long must a stimulus occur before we become conscious of it?”…
Guest Post: What Is It Like To Be A Thermostat?
An excerpt from The Conscious Mind, by David Chalmers
… if experience is truly a fundamental property, it seems natural for it to be widespread. Certainly all the other fundamental properties that we know about occur even in simple systems, and throughout the universe…
Guest Post: The User Illusion
An Excerpt from The User Illusion: Cutting Consciousness Down To Size
By Tor Norretranders
The fact is that every single second, millions of bits of information flood in through our senses. But our consciousness processes only perhaps forty bits a second – at most. Millions and millions of bits are condensed to a conscious experience that contains practically no information at all…
Guest Post: What Is Consciousness?
Here is an excerpt from a fascinating conversation between psychologist, Susan Blackmore and philosopher, David Chalmers, in the book Conversations On Consciousness, by Susan Blackmore:
I think someone could know all the physical facts about the world and still not know about consciousness. So if the relationship between brain processes and conscious experience isn’t one of reduction, what is it?
Guest Post: The History Of Homeopathy
An Excerpt From Challenging Nature, By Lee Silver
Homeopathic medicine, or homeopathy, was the creation of a single person, Samuel Hahnemann, who graduated from a German medical school in 1779 and practiced the “healing arts” until 1843, first in Germany and then in Paris…
Guest Post: Life’s Beginning
An Excerpt From The Selfish Gene, By Richard Dawkins
…Chemists have tried to imitate the chemical conditions of the young earth. They have put these simple substances in a flask and supplied a source of energy such as ultraviolet light or electric sparks – artificial simulation of primordial lightning. After a few weeks of this, something interesting is usually found inside the flask…
Guest Post: Music and Happiness
An Excerpt From The Happiness Trip, By Eduardo Punset
The most recent research has revealed that music, by acting on the central nervous system, raises levels of endorphins, the brain’s own opiates, as well as other neurotransmitters such as dopamine, acetylcholine, and oxytocin. Endorphins have been found to provide motivation and energy for life, to cause joyfulness and optimism, to decrease pain…
Guest Post: The Future Of Intelligence
An Excerpt From On Intelligence, By Jeff Hawkins
Like a supersmart diplomat, intelligent machines may play a role in reducing conflict and human suffering. You might think intelligent machines would need emotions to foresee patterns involving human behavior, but I don’t think so…