Getting married, having children, landing a better job: contrary to popular belief, these don’t guarantee happiness. They can produce a temporary high, but over the course of years, they don’t tend to produce happier people. Happiness, however, can be learned. Studies have shown that there are multiple ways to make ourselves happier. Most of them…

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Good news – medicine is making tremendous progress. We still have a few problems, of course. The Covid-19 pandemic is currently creating havoc around the world. Although we can’t know exactly when it will pass, it will eventually pass. In the meantime, we have to be smart – practice social distancing, self-isolate if we suspect…

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You tease us with warmth Like a belly dancer Swaying nearer Then pulling away Veils keeping us from seeing you clearly Music pulsating Audience edging forward in their seats Eager to grasp the beauty you promise While you skirt the edges of the stage Bare feet gliding sideways As you study us Watching to see…

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You might not believe this but I found a gold doubloon the other day – an old Spanish coin dated 1537. It had been dented by a musket ball fired at Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor. How do I know that? Well, again, this is somewhat unbelievable, but the doubloon was sitting atop a…

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We like to think we’re special, we’re different than the rest of the animal kingdom. We can reason and communicate and imagine and empathize and manipulate our world in a way no other creature can. We have consciousness, self-awareness. All these attributes allegedly make us human. But what does that mean? Other animals, like dolphins…

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We began around 3 million years ago (give or take a couple hundred thousand years). We evolved over time, becoming smarter in some ways, less intelligent in others as we have focused our efforts on increasingly narrow fields of study. For example, we know a lot more about computers than even our grandparents, but most…

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We all get angry. It grows in all our gardens – a base human emotion, hard wired into us by millions of years of evolution, rooted to the depths of our emotional structure. We can no more eliminate anger than we can lust or fear or joy. The other day, I was driving on the…

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There comes a time in every democracy, in every nation, when we reach a crisis that can’t be handled in the usual ways, in the ways that we have traditionally managed those challenges. We understand the world by examining the past, by looking at how we solved certain kinds of problems before, then extrapolating from…

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Despite the relative prosperity of the past few years and the steady growth of our economy since the great recession, income inequality hasn’t gotten better. Instead, it’s gotten worse. But almost everyone is doing pretty well. Most people have smart phones, for example, an item that was once considered a luxury. Most people have computers…

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Bristlecone pines are the oldest trees in the world, some of them around 5,000 years old. But clonal colonies – groups of genetically identical individuals – can survive much longer than that. One such colony of quaking aspen, nicknamed Pando, covers 106 acres in Utah and is not only one of the largest living organisms…

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