How the geometry of ancient habitats may have influenced human brain evolution | Ars Technica

There's a pivotal scene in the 2012 film The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey when Gandalf, Bilbo Baggins, and a company of dwarves are chased by orcs through a classic New Zealand landscape. For Northwestern University neuroscientist and engineer Malcolm MacIver, the scene is an excellent example of the kind of patchy landscape—dotted with trees, bushes, [...]

On Crazyism, Jerkitude, Garden Snails and Other Philosophical Puzzles – Scientific American

Horgan: Why do you write fiction? Doesn't that mean philosophy isn't really that fulfilling for you? Schwitzgebel: Wait, writing fiction can’t be a way of doing philosophy? Sartre, Rousseau, Zhuangzi, Voltaire, Nietzsche and Borges might disagree! Is anyone currently doing better work on the ethics of technology than the TV series Black Mirror? For instance, [...]

Media Literacy & Fake News: A Syllabus | JSTOR Daily

In some ways, the entire mission of JSTOR Daily is about media literacy. Our goal is to provide scholarly context to the news using the methodical thinking that goes into careful research. Any story you read on the site does this work, which becomes more important as disinformation circulates on the internet. That said, the [...]

Overblown and under-loved: wind farms at the edge of beauty | Aeon Essays

In The Great Animal Orchestra, Bernie Krause defines soundscape by breaking it down into ‘geophony’ — the sounds made by the physical environment (wind, water, etc); ‘biophony’ — the sounds made by animals, birds and insects; and ‘androphony’ — the sounds made by human activities. A soundscape is the interaction and balance of these factors, [...]

Our greatest invention was the invention of invention itself | Psyche Ideas

What caused our species to break out of the pattern set by archaic humans? Again, there were probably many factors. But from my perspective as someone who studies the human mind, one development stands out as of special importance. There is a mental ability we possess today that must have emerged at some point in [...]

Matt Zwolinski | A moral case for Universal Basic Income | The Critic Magazine

Precisely how large a UBI should be, who exactly should be eligible to receive it, and how it should be financed and distributed are, of course, important questions that political philosophy alone cannot answer. But for most of us, these questions of policy design, important as they are, are secondary to matters of principle. If [...]