good to read


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 for the Sciences

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

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.

In the Throes of Change

culture | 29 feb 16 | Interview: Erin Lynch, WebVisions
A conversation with author, teacher, and documentarian Douglas Rushkoff about the economy, a new renaissance, and where things are going right and wrong.

The real story on the Chakras

mind | 23 feb 16 | Christopher Wallis, Tantrik Studies
This sure-to-be-controversial post unveils the truth – from the traditional perspective, anyway – about the subtle energy centers called chakras.

How the Brain Is Computing the Mind

science | 19 feb 16 | Interview: Edge
A conversation With Ed Boyden, professor of biological engineering and brain and cognitive sciences at the MIT Media Lab and the MIT McGovern Institute.

The Energizing Effect of Humor

mind | 17 feb 16 | Association for Psychological Science
Watching funny cat videos at work may not be such a bad thing after all, as new research suggests that exposure to humorous stimuli may actually help people persevere in completing arduous tasks.

Hippie Hating

culture | 15 feb 16 | Francesca Fiorentini, Laugh to not to cry
From music to sex to style, we are all descendents of that early Neanderthal: the Hippie. Like it or not. So let’s stop throwing them under the VW bus, shall we?

My secret life

life | 11 feb 16 | Tiffany Jenkins, Aeon
Parents expect to know everything about their children’s lives. They need to remember that secrets are part of growing up.

Evolution may be smarter than we thought

science | 9 feb 16 | Richard A. Watson, University of Southampton, The Conversation
A new alternative for those questioning Darwinian evolution? Research suggests evolution itself is intelligent.

Entheogens in the Himalayan Foothills

mind | 5 feb 16 | Ralph H. Abraham, University of California, Santa Cruz
Reporting a miraculous week of entheogens and sadhus in a temple in the montane jungle of the Himalayan foothills back in 1972.

An Open Architecture for Self-Organization

culture | 3 feb 16 | Bonnitta Roy, Medium
There are three main reasons why organizations are looking for alternative architectures.

Rethinking Evolution

life | 1 feb 16 | Anne Fausto-Sterling, Boston Review
In the early 1990s, biologist and co-developer of the Gaia theory, Lynn Margulis, elaborated a sweeping claim: symbiosis lies at the explanatory heart of evolution. It seems she was right.

Memory capacity of brain is 10 times more than thought

science | 29 jan 16 | Salk Institute
Data shows that our brains can store a petabyte of information – basically as much as the entire Web.

The hunger mood

mind | 27 jan 16 | Michael Graziano, Aeon
Hunger isn’t in your stomach or your blood-sugar levels. It’s in your mind – and that’s where we need to shape up.

Evolution's End

life | 25 jan 16 | Peter Russell, You Tube
There’s no blame for the crisis we are in. Facing the end of our species could in itself be the wake-up call we need.

Kind is the New Cool

culture | 21 jan 16 | Charles Eisenstein, A New and Ancient Story
Misogyny, racism, intolerance, bullying, homophobia, disrespect, unkindness – these are becoming the recessive gene now, at least among a significant subculture of young people. Nothing gives me more optimism for the future than this.

Reclaiming LSD for Psychotherapy

mind | 19 jan 16 | Sam Wong, Mosaic
Psychotropic drugs were once used to help patients work through a variety of mental-health issues. Meet the therapists who want to bring them back.

The Science of Nonconformity

life | 15 jan 16 | Stephanie Pappas, Live Science
In the aftermath of David Bowie’s death at age 69 from cancer, a re-occurring theme has appeared in tributes to the famously idiosyncratic performer: his importance to those who felt like misfits.

Universal Basic Income Will Likely Increase Social Cohesion

science | 13 jan 16 | Scott Santens, Huffington Post
We should avoid letting our ideologies inform our opinions on matters of social and economic policy. What matters is scientifically observed evidence.

The phenomenon of universal hallucinations

mind | 11 jan 16 | Hopes&Fears
Six experts about common visions while tripping on psychoactive substances.

Good environmental stories of 2015

eco | 9 jan 16 | Mike Gaworecki, Mongabay
While the top environmental stories of the year include more than a few bummers, it wasn’t all doom and gloom for the planet last year. Here is a look at some of the more positive developments.

Sky readers

culture | 7 jan 16 | Gene Tracy, Aeon
For most of human history, the stars told us where we were in space and time. Have we forgotten how to look up?

Dear young men

life | 7 jan 16 | David Cain, Independent
Failing to “fit in” at school is a good thing; the old stereotypes of what it is to be a ‘man’ are a load of rubbish.

What makes a good life?

mind | 5 jan 16 | Robert Waldinger, TEDxBeaconStreet
What keeps us happy and healthy as we go through life? If you think it’s fame and money, you’re not alone – but you’re mistaken. Lessons from the longest study on happiness.

Fifteen Indigenous Rights Victories …

life | 5 jan 16 | John Ahni Schertow, IC Magazine
… that you didn’t hear about in 2015. In this day in age such stories are incredibly rare. They are even more difficult to find amidst the constant deluge of media that doesn’t matter. That makes them all the more valuable.

good to see

The science of psilocybin
Psychopharmacologist Roland Griffiths discloses the ways that psychedelic drugs can be used to create spiritually meaningful, personally transformative experiences for all patients, especially the terminally ill.




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."




good to hear

Doors open and...

... with the breath of the wind, we are subsumed ... Robert Curgenven's “Climata” adjusts itself to the time and the subdued, diffuse intensity of James Turrell’s Skyspaces, modelling the same porosity and liminality in aural form. It’s sense-shifting work.




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.




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