The Healing Power of Gardens
Oliver Sacks on the Psychological and Physiological Consolations of Nature: “In forty years of medical practice, I have found only two types of non-pharmaceutical ‘therapy’ to be vitally important for patients with chronic neurological diseases: music and gardens.”
The Desert Soil That Could Save Lives
Chile’s desiccated Atacama Desert was once considered a dead zone, but it hides great riches that could help us tackle a major threat to human health. “The premise was that since the conditions are so harsh in the Atacama Desert, organisms become adapted to those conditions.”
Kidney Stone Drug Found To Starve Pancreatic Cancer Cells To Death
A research team at Columbia University has made an exciting discovery, finding that a compound currently under development for a rare kidney stone disease can starve pancreatic cancer cells of a key amino acid they depend on, a technique that proved to stop tumor growth in mice.
Puff, Puff, Pass: A New Vape With Hazy Origins Takes Juul’s Place
Due to their popularity with teenagers, flavored vapes fell directly into regulator’s crosshairs. Pod-based vape companies, like JUUL, are now banned from selling any flavored pods, aside from menthol and tobacco. Now, Puff Bar’s popularity is surging, but no one knows anything about the mysterious company.
Grandma’s Dementia Made Her Forget Her Homophobia
After watching how my family treated my lesbian mom, I assumed it would all repeat when I came out. But as my grandma’s memory faded, her disapproval of gay people vanished too. My grandma had lost a lot of her memory, and she’d apparently forgotten her disapproval of same-sex relationships too.
Why Can’t The World’s Greatest Minds Solve The Mystery Of Consciousness?
Philosophers and scientists have been at war for decades over the question of what makes human beings more than complex robots. Why aren’t we just brilliant robots, capable of retaining information, of responding to noises and smells and hot saucepans, but dark inside, lacking an inner life?
Russian Startup Wants To Put Huge Ads In Space
The first of StartRocket’s space-based ads could go up by 2021. The ads — a bit like skytyping, only in low-Earth orbit rather than in the atmosphere — would be visible only at night but could be seen from just about anywhere on the planet.
The Citarum: The World’s Most Polluted River
The Citarum River in Indonesia is the world’s most polluted river. One of the main polluters is the fashion industry: 500 textile factories throw their wastewater directly into the river. The filmmakers teamed up with international scientists to investigate the causes and consequences of this pollution.
The Complement System, Tiny Bombs In Your Blood
One of the key players of our immune system is the complement system. An army of millions and trillions of tiny bombs, which work together in a complex and elegant dance to stop intruders in your body.
The Race To Understand Antarctica’s Most Terrifying Glacier
Thwaites Glacier has long been the subject of dark speculation. If this mysterious glacier were to break down into icebergs and eventually collapse into the ocean—it might be more than a scientific curiosity. It might be the kind of event that changes the course of civilization.
How Eating Alone Is Radically Changing Our Diets
Eating alone has become a defining feature of modern life: the breakfasting commuter; the household members with conflicting schedules; the widower who receives few visitors.
The Hidden Trauma Of “Short Stays” In Foster Care
Every year, thousands of children are removed from their homes by officials who fear for their safety—only to be returned within days. It “felt like being kidnapped,” one said.
When A Performance Expert Battles Mental Illness
Brad Stulberg literally wrote a book on peak performance, but he had to reconsider everything after an unexpected battle with mental illness: “I felt detached from my body, as if I was in a virtual-reality video game. Soon I was completely paralyzed by the sense that I was losing my mind.”
The Surprising Psychology Of Dieting And Plate Design
You’ve probably heard the idea that using smaller plates and bowls can affect your perception of how much you’re eating, thereby helping you eat less. But how well does it work? A new study sheds light on that popular theory, finding that if you’re really hungry, it doesn’t work.
The Diabetes Patients Who Hacked A Pancreas
While diabetics anxiously awaited the release of commercial systems, tech-savvy diabetics and their loved ones worked on do-it-yourself systems. How could a bunch of hackers, working in their free time, create something medical manufacturing companies had yet to put on the market?
Why Green Energy Finally Makes Economic Sense
Renewable energy is now comparable with the cost of building new coal and nuclear capacity. Existing, older power plants already have the capital investment sunk, so they are cheaper — but, in the case of South Africa at least, many of these plants are reaching retirement ages.
Hack Your Dreams: MIT Built A Wearable Glove To Encourage Lucid Dreaming
A team of scientists at MIT is building devices meant to monitor people’s sleep and influence their dreams. One device, called Dormio, is an “interactive social robot” designed to detect when the user is falling asleep and affect their dreams with audio cues.
The Soul-Expanding Value Of Difficulty
You must think that something is happening with you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand; it will not let you fall. Why do you want to shut out of your life any agitation, any pain, any melancholy, since you really do not know what these states are working upon you?
Americans Are Going Bankrupt From Getting Sick
Medical debt is a uniquely American phenomenon, a burden that would be unfathomable in many other developed countries. According to a survey in the American Journal of Public Health, nearly 60 percent of people who have filed for bankruptcy said a medical expense contributed to their bankruptcy.
The Internet Is Destroying Our Collective Attention Span
The length of time our “collective attention” is on any given event has grown shorter, and topics become popular and then drop out of public view at an accelerating rate. It’s no surprise if it feels harder and harder to dwell deeply on any topic.
The Danger Of Fast Carbs
The average American eats more than 1,000 calories of rapidly digestible starches and sugars every day, and gets 500 more from the fats and oils added to many of these products. Starch serves as the carrier for much of the fat, sugar, and salt that we ingest, and like sugar, it is converted into rapidly absorbable glucose.