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Neuroscientist Explores the Ethical Quandries of a Digital Afterlife

Now imagine the resources required to simulate the brains of millions or billions of dead people. It’s possible that some future technology will allow for unlimited RAM and we’ll all get free service. The same way we’re arguing about health care now, future activists will chant, “The afterlife is a right, not a privilege!” But it’s more likely that a digital afterlife will be a gated community and somebody will…

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The “Other Side” Is Not Dumb.

The song “No One Is Alone,” from the musical Into the Woods, always gives me chills. Last year when my daughter was learning it in her voice class, I helped her work through some of the words. While the whole musical has a dark tone that I find comes too close to nihilism, in the context of that darkness, I find this part deeply moving: Everybody makes One another’s terrible mistakes Witches…

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from “The Poet” by Ralph Waldo Emerson

The poets made all the words, and therefore language is the archives of history, and, if we must say it, a sort of tomb of the muses. For, though the origin of most of our words is forgotten, each word was at first a stroke of genius, and obtained currency, because for the moment it symbolized the world to the first speaker and to the hearer. The etymologist finds the…


Surprise: Humanities Degrees Provide Great Return On Investment

The conventional wisdom is that humanities majors are wasting all that tuition money and dooming themselves to lives of underemployment. The conventional wisdom is wrong. Humanities degrees are actually worth well more than the cost of college. […] The present value of the extra earnings that graduates in humanities majors can expect over their lifetime is $302,400 for drama majors, $444,700 for English majors, $537,800 for history majors, and $658,900…

A school girl wearing a padded hood to protect her from falling debris, walks in school field during an earthquake simulation exercise at an elementary school in Tokyo

Why Japanese Kids Can Walk to School Alone

It’s a common sight on Japanese mass transit: Children troop through train cars, singly or in small groups, looking for seats. They wear knee socks, polished patent-leather shoes, and plaid jumpers, with wide-brimmed hats fastened under the chin and train passes pinned to their backpacks. The kids are as young as 6 or 7, on their way to and from school, and there is nary a guardian in sight. Even…