We’ve been told for decades that exercise is good for us, that it will keep us feeling better, healthier, and even lengthen our lives. But is that really true? Certainly exercise strengthens the heart and improves circulation, which raises the oxygen levels in the body. It lowers the risk of heart diseases like high blood…

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Most of us Americans have been raised to be self-sufficient or at least to aspire to self-sufficiency, to be individuals first and members of society second. The lone hero fighting the system or the bad guys compels our adulation. We admire Dirty Harry, Wonder Woman and Katniss Everdeen. We see accepting help as a weakness,…

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Over the years, I’ve acquired lots of books – some of them nonfiction, but many more that are fiction. For a time, I had as many as a thousand volumes in my home library. I eventually began the process of culling the works, donating away those I felt certain I would never read or re-read.…

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I have friends who are liberal and friends who are conservative, and while both consider the people on the opposite spectrum to be completely wrong, they also have a problem with centrists. The conservatives tell me that moderates encourage or at least enable the liberals in their agenda to move the country leftward toward socialism,…

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I have a question for America, which I need to answer as well. Why can’t we compromise anymore? At some point in the last two decades we determined that compromise was tantamount to surrender. Our side had to win at all costs. Anything else was bitter defeat. Partly that viewpoint has been driven by gerrymandering…

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Let’s talk about placebos – fake medical treatments that are used to analyze the efficacy of real treatments. But the interesting thing about placebos is that even though they aren’t real medical treatments, they can have a real effect on patients who receive them. Sometimes the effect is negative, but often it’s positive. For example,…

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We are all hypocrites. That should come as no surprise to most of you. We all decry liars even as we all lie. We all demand perfection from others even as we fail to achieve it ourselves. But hypocrisy is inherent in our nature. We are genetically wired for it and we’ll never be able…

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I’ve been thinking about music a bit lately, contemplating its effect on the brain, wondering why we often love songs even when we can’t understand the words. What is it about Ode to Joy that makes me happy when I don’t have a clue what the singers are singing? First of all, music changes our…

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We are all capable of great goodness, and yet we are all complicit in the killing of our neighbors. Everything we do, in some way, harms the world and the people around us. We buy soap, which contains chemicals that are harmful to the environment, hurting algae or bacteria, which then hurt other life forms…

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We’ve been hearing a lot about how great our air quality is – how it’s cleaner than it has been in decades, how we’ve made great strides in reducing smog and pollution – and it’s true that we’ve made progress in this area, but that doesn’t mean we’re doing as well as has been reported.…

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