So, yeah, I get it. It's just about the end of summer. For most folks, this means the last chance to get away to the beach or the lake or the woods. Just about any kind of "away" will do.
And with escape on our minds, it may be hard to get pumped up to think about deep issues like the politics of consumption on a finite planet, or the nature of math as invention vs. discovery, or how quantum mechanics accepts a causality as axiom.
Originally published on Wed August 19, 2015 2:05 pm
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Remember so-called death panels?
When Congress debated the Affordable Care Act in 2009, the legislation included a provision that would have allowed Medicare to reimburse doctors when they meet with patients to talk about end-of-life care.
But then Sarah Palin loudly argued that such payments would lead to care being withheld from the elderly and disabled.
Her assertions greatly distressed Dr. Pamelyn Close, a palliative care specialist in Los Angeles.
Carbohydrates are a rich source of energy. That's exactly why some of us may feel a bit conflicted about them, since several recent studies and diets have suggested we should cut them to lose weight. (The latest study concluded that total calories matter most if you want to shed pounds.)
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Now to space, and we'll take the elevator. The U.S. Patent Office has granted a patent for a freestanding space elevator tower. The idea of a space elevator has long captured the imaginations of writers, from Arthur C. Clarke to Roald Dahl.
Soon enough — like it or not — we are all going to be talking a lot more with computers, at least according to Brian O'Neill, a professor of computer science at Western New England University. They will be tutoring our students and tending to us in our old age. And a big part of their job will be telling stories.
Many illnesses are contagious. You'd do well to avoid your neighbor's sneeze, for example, and to wash your hands after tending to your sick child.
But what about mental illness?
The idea that anxiety, autism or major depression could be transmitted through contact may sound crazy — and it probably is. There's a lot we don't know about the origins of mental illness, but the mechanisms identified so far point in other directions.