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Like the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis that revolutionized biology in the mid-twentieth century by marrying Mendelian genetics to Darwinian natural selection, the rise of biotechnology - epitomized by the Human Genome Project, which began in the twentieth century’s last decade and was completed in 2003 - constitutes a turning point in our perception of who we are and where we’re headed.

John Brockman
 
Challenges of Science

27 apr 16 | Brockman, Life
Scientists’ understanding of life is progressing more rapidly than at any point in human history, from the extraordinary decoding of DNA to the controversial emergence of biotechnology. The book explains just how far we’ve come – and takes a brilliantly educated guess at where we’re heading.

 

 

 

Transformational teachings

19 apr 16 | Puett, Gross-Loh, The Path
Professor Michael Puett’s course at Harvard challenges all our modern assumptions about what it takes to flourish; so he says to his students: “The encounter with these ideas will change your life.” As one of them told his collaborator, author Christine Gross-Loh, “You can open yourself up to possibilities you never imagined were even possible.”

 

 

 

"Techniques of ecstasy"

11 apr 16 | Turner, Sky Shamans of Mongolia
Part travelogue, part experiential spiritual memoir, Kevin Turner takes us to visit with authentic shamans in the steppes and urban centers of modern-day Mongolia. Along the way, the author, a practicing shaman himself, tells of spontaneous medical diagnoses, all-night shamanic ceremonies, and miraculous healings.

 

 

 

Commonplace and universal

29 mar 16 | Nehamas, On Friendship
Acclaimed philosopher Alexander Nehamas shows that for centuries, friendship was as much a public relationship as it was a private one; he sheds light on why we love our friends and how they determine who we are, and who we might become. Close friendship is central to the good life.

 

 

 

Generosity and goodness

17 mar 16 | Jodorowsky, Farcet, Sacred Trickery and the Way of Kindness
In his new book, Alejandro Jodorowsky is revealed as a man who has grown into a brilliant spiritual maverick of the 21st century. He discusses the Way of Kindness he now follows, and how it can have a profound effect on your spirit, infusing life with a wealth of happiness.

 

 

 

Saving our biosphere

9 feb 16 | Wilson, Half-Earth
In order to stave off the mass extinction of species, including our own, we must move swiftly to preserve the biodiversity of our planet, says Edward O. Wilson in his new book. He proposes a solution commensurate with the magnitude of the problem: dedicate fully half the surface of the Earth to nature.

 

 

 

Enduring and creative methods

29 feb 16 | Kennedy, Inventology
As Pagan Kennedy argues, recent advances in technology and communication have placed us at the cusp of a golden age; it’s now more possible than ever before to transform ideas into actuality. By identifying the steps of the invention process, Kennedy reveals the imaginative tools required to solve our most challenging problems.

 

 

 

good to know

What LSD tells us about human nature

mind | 27 apr 16 | Marc Lewis, The Guardian
Our brains, with their intrinsic tendency to segregate, are designed to veer toward over-control. Psychedelics blow all that apart – and we can learn from them.

New Tree of Life

science | 25 apr 16 | Laura A. Hug et al., Nature Microbiology
Scientists have dramatically expanded the tree of life, which depicts the variety and evolution of life on Earth, to account for thousands of new microscopic life forms discovered over the past 15 years.

Sexy beasts

life | 23 apr 16 | Alex Riley, Aeon
Male flamboyance does more than ruffle a few feathers – it helps the female choose a mate in top metabolic health.

Kenya to reverse deforestation

eco | 21 apr 16 | Mike Gaworecki, Mongabay
Kenya aims to plant a total of 20 million trees around Mount Kenya and other highland forests, known as Water Towers because of their role in conserving the country’s rivers, lakes and fresh drinking water.

The Platonic Bifurcation

culture | 19 apr 16 | Ralph H. Abraham
Two roots of the Platonic cosmology join in a subtle bifurcation in Ancient Greece. The Yogic tradition of Vedic Sanskrit, perhaps transmitted by Pythagoras, and the Homeric of Archaic Greek, are yoked by Plato.

LSD-Induced Ego Dissolution

science | 17 apr 16 | Robin Carhart-Harris et al., Current Biology
When people take LSD, they sometimes feel as though the boundary that separates them from the rest of the world has dissolved. Now, the first functional magnetic resonance images of people’s brains while on LSD help to explain this phenomenon.

Popular Theories of Consciousness Are Worse Than Wrong

mind | 15 apr 16 | Michael Graziano, The Atlantic
Most of them play to our intuitions, but don’t actually explain anything.

Beyond hashtags

life | 13 apr 16 | Athina Karatzogianni, The Conversation
How a new wave of digital activists is changing society.

The Many Lives of Mongolian Shamanism

culture | 11 apr 16 | Kevin Turner, Reality Sandwich
For thousands of years, Mongolia has been a nexus of Eurasian shamanisms that competed, mixed, and meshed across our planet’s largest continent. An excerpt from Sky Shamans of Mongolia by the author.

Secret Earths

mind | 7 apr 16 | Erik Davis, Techgnosis
A catalog essay on the contemporary reframing of animism, from an art show devoted to rare earth elements.

Where do minds belong?

life | 3 apr 16 | Caleb Scharf, Aeon
Intelligence could have been moving back and forth between biological beings and machine receptacles for aeons.

The Beasts That Keep the Beat

science | 1 apr 16 | Ferris Jabr, Quanta Magazine
New insights from neuroscience – aided by a small zoo’s worth of dancing animals – are revealing the biological origins of rhythm.

The Psychedelic Paradox

mind | 29 mar 16 | Fisher, Psychological Medicine, volteface
Ask anyone who has ever tried LSD, and they will tell you that ‘paradoxical’ is a fitting descriptor of its effects. Seeing, feeling and thinking seemingly impossible scenarios are the characteristic symptoms of this and other psychedelic drugs.

The Mattering Instinct

life | 29 mar 16 | Interview: Edge
A conversation with Rebecca Newberger Goldstein about that commitment to one’s own life that is inseparable from pursuing a coherent human life.

The enormous power of the unconscious brain

science | 25 mar 16 | Chris Baraniuk, BBC
A lot of the things we do in everyday life don’t need to involve our conscious mind. In many cases, the more we use it, the less effective we become.

Decriminalization of all drugs

life | 25 mar 16 | Christopher Ingraham, The Washington Post
A group of 22 medical experts convened by Johns Hopkins University and The Lancet have called today for the decriminalization of all nonviolent drug use and possession.

When Myth Became Fact and Men Became Mythmakers

culture | 23 mar 16 | David C. Downing, Patheos
Both C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien were engaged in mythopoesis, “myth making,” finding new stories in which to embody spiritual intuitions that seem to go as far back as humanity itself.

AI & The Future Of Civilization

culture | 21 mar 16 | Interview: Edge
A conversation with Stephen Wolfram, distinguished scientist, inventor, author, about how pretty obvious it is that we can automate many of the things that we humans have been proud of for a long time. What’s our future in that situation?

Enlightenment Through Fear of Dying

mind | 17 mar 16 | Interview: Gilles Farcet, Reality Sandwich
The following is excerpted from Sacred Trickery and the Way of Kindness: The Radical Wisdom of Jodo by Alejandro Jodorowsky with Gilles Farcet.

Consciousness: the product of balanced chaos?

mind | 15 märz 16 | David Schultz, Science
Our experience of reality may be the product of a delicate balance of connectivity between neurons – too much or too little and consciousness slips away.

Selfish or altruistic?

science | 11 feb 16 | Grit Hein et al., University of Zurich
Researchers have shown how peoples’ motives can be identified as they are characterized by a specific interplay between different brain regions, and how empathy motives increase altruistic behavior in selfish people.

Half-Earth

eco | 9 feb 16 | Edward O Wilson, Aeon
Half of the Earth’s surface and seas must be dedicated to the conservation of nature, or humanity will have no future. See also Edward O Wilson’s latest book Half-Earth.

Perspectives on the current global crisis

culture | 7 mar 16 | Interview: Will Shonbrun, Project Censored
A conversation with Ralph Metzner, focusing on his book The Expansion of Consciousness.

Why do people use flotation tanks?

mind | 3 mar 16 | Tom Ireland, BBC, Magazine
Flotation tanks have been a niche interest of various “new-age” and hippy communities for decades, but in recent years the number of people using them in the UK has grown.

The neuroscience of creativity

science | 1 mar 16 | Tim Newman, Medical News Today
Neuroscientific investigations often cross the borders between scientific disciplines; from biology to psychology and to philosophy.

good to see

The Brain Dictionary
An interactive map shows which brain areas respond to hearing different words. It reveals how language is spread throughout the cortex and across both hemispheres, showing groups of words clustered together by meaning, allowing us to explore the complex organisation of the enormous dictionaries in our heads.




Human Brain on LSD

For the first time ever, scientists scanned a brain on LSD using modern technology. What they saw was a more "unified brain."




Terence McKenna's True Hallucinations
An experimental documentary about the chaos at La Chorrera, the imagination, time, the Logos, belief, hope, madness, and doubt – created by Peter Bergmann.




good to hear

Turn Away And Return

The consistently excellent Hammock are back with Everything and Nothing, an album that spreads its hands wide to encompass two beautiful extremes. They push the music to the limits – and past the limits – of where it’s gone before.




Première Branche

Orla Wren and Cyril Secq’s Branches is distinct and organic music, somewhere secluded away from the troubles of the world.




Sonar

With his current project Multicast Dynamics, Dutch electronic music producer, sound designer and media artist Samuel van Dijk, creates ever-evolving sound textures.




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