Philosophy

Stem Cells, Stressed Cells, Healing, and the Lure of Rejuvenation

Stem Cells, Stressed Cells, Healing, and the Lure of Rejuvenation

A recent study in Nature, entitled “Stimulus-triggered fate conversion of somatic cells into pluripotency“, suggests that subjecting cells to dangerous but non-lethal conditions (such as a bath in acid, or a mechanical squeeze) can turn them into stem cells. Unsurprisingly, this publication set off a bit of a media blitz, and then it turned out that there were numerous problems with th... »

How I Lost My Religion Without the Help of Michael Stipe

How I Lost My Religion Without the Help of Michael Stipe

Losing my faith was not only deeply personal but also a complicated untangling of odds and ends beliefs that I’d managed to acquire during my formative years on the buckle of the Bible belt. So, I figured what better way to introduce myself than to consolidate all of those years of slowly peeling off the god bandaid that resulted in oh so much emotional and intellectual turmoil into a list o... »

Guest Post: Islamic Art and the Smithsonian Celestial Globe

Guest Post: Islamic Art and the Smithsonian Celestial Globe

This is a guest post from Skepchick Network contributor Benny! Benny is best know for his writing on Queereka and we were thrilled when he asked us to post this article on islamic art and it’s link to astronomy. Enjoy! From Benny: Since I am attending a Catholic college we are required to take two religion classes as part of our general degree requirements. Luckily the types of classes that ... »

Sex, Cards, and Calculus: The Life of Émilie du Châtelet

Sex, Cards, and Calculus: The Life of Émilie du Châtelet

In popular mythology, the 1687 publication of Newton’s Principia was the culminating moment when one human told the world how the universe works, performed his century’s equivalent of the mic drop, and then received the adulation that was his due.  Of course, it worked nothing like that, and while England was quick to lionize his intellectual achievement, it took half a century for his ideas to ca... »

“Present Shock”, Game of Thrones, and Stories that Never End

“Present Shock”, Game of Thrones, and Stories that Never End

Recently, Douglass Rushkoff talked about something called “Present Shock” in Wired. In particular one quote stood out for me, about how storytelling is changing: “Think Game of Thrones. In the old days, this sort of show might be considered bad writing. It doesn’t really seem to be moving toward a crisis or climax, it has no true protagonist, and it’s structured less like a TV sh... »

Rolling Boulders

Rolling Boulders

Over a lunchtime conversation at CONvergence last weekend, I was reminded of an oft used metaphor for social change, the pendulum. While the imagery is compelling, I realized that the analogy is pretty much garbage and that there is a somewhat more robust one available. After the break, I present my arguments using the medium most respected in formal debate, cartoony marker drawings. »

Whistle for Progressive Mainstream Hip Hop

Whistle for Progressive Mainstream Hip Hop

I was driving home today and Flo Rida’s song “Whistle” came on the radio. I was about to switch away when I was struck by how positive the message was. The chorus promotes a proactive, and respectful approach to physical pleasure without the homophobic hangups with which American culture is so often associated. Let’s explore this surprising piece of art in more detail. »

Tales from Pareidolia

Tales from Pareidolia

Good day, Labbers. I have a treat for you today in the form of a tantalising guest post from Stuart F Taylor. Stuart is the author of Tales from Pareidolia, an illustrated collection of original fairy tales inspired by skepticism and science. Stuart lovingly plucked two Mad Art Lab illustrators to contribute to the book, so we are very proud to hand the spotlight over to him for this post, where h... »

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