Check Out These Blog Posts From Steve McEllistrem

The Gold Doubloon

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 document detailing its provenance. This coin is priceless. And I just happened to stumble across it in a wealthy neighborhood a few blocks away from ...
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What Does It Mean To Be Human?

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 and elephants, are self-aware. They communicate and reason and empathize and even occasionally manipulate their habitat. Do they imagine? Probably. So what makes us special? ...
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What if Humanity has Reached its Apex?

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 of us lack the knowledge to efficiently grow our own crops or raise healthy sheep. With each generation, we become just that tiny amount more ...
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Cultivate Your Anger

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 interstate when a moron in a minivan – a little ahead of me and to my left – decided to brake and cut across two ...
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