Just Read: The Meaning of Human Existence
Exalted we are, risen to be the mind of the biosphere without a doubt, our spirits uniquely capable of awe and ever more breathtaking leaps of imagination. But we are still part of Earth’s fauna and flora, bound to it by emotion, physiology, and, not least, deep history. It is folly to think of this planet as a way station to a better world.
Picking up where The Social Conquest of Earth left off, EO Wilson continues to tell the story of humanity in The Meaning of Human Existence. With such a suggestive title, this book could very be about humanity’s destiny, and while there is certainly some discussion of that, of our potential as a species, this book feels to me largely concerned with what it means to be human from a variety of perspectives.
Although you may not come away with a sense of what our purpose is, reading this book is tremendously worthwhile, even (or especially?) Continue reading
Get acquainted with stem cells in under 4 minutes
Just found the video by the Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute at McMaster University below via this WIRED article. This nicely done set of visual explanations with succinct narration clearly describes stem cells generally, embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells. Awesome!
Science Stories, by Teens
During a recent visit to the Field Museum in Chicago, IL, I was delighted to find an exhibit showcasing a museum program that offers opportunities for teens to tell stories about science through video!
Reminds me of something I was recently told: if you ask students to explain something in the form of a video (rather than in writing or via multiple choice test), you are likely to get much richer explanations, deeper inquiry and more insight into their thought processes. Great to see opportunities like this are available and going well. Wish I had had experiences like this as a kid!
What the appendix does, where cows came from and more—The Wild Life of Our Bodies
The moment that made us human in that series of happenings was not the language, the gods, or even the ability to draw Rubenesque women in stone. It was when we decided that when a leopard stalked the cave, we ought to go after it and kill it. When we decided to kill a species not for food or in self-defense, but instead in order to control what lived and what did not live around us, when we did that we were then fully human. From The Wild Life of Our Bodies.
Listening to a recent Science Friday interview with Dr. Rob Dunn, I was enthralled by the discussion of who we share our homes and bodies with on a microscopic level. Yearning to find out more about the variety of relationships we have with other organisms, I got a copy of Dr. Dunn’s book The Wild Life of Our Bodies which is a fascinating collection of stories about the organisms that make us who we are and how they and we have changed each other over time. Continue reading
Making Stress Less Stressful
Just watched this Scientific American video on stress adaptation / management. Great to get a glimpse of the mechanics of stress and how we can tune our response to stressors.
Still Gives Me Goosebumps: The Sagan Series, chapter 8
It’s incredible where we as a species have walked and what we have seen. Thanks, Carl Sagan and Reid Gower.