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Gratitude for help among adult friends and siblings

Anna Rotkirch in Evolutionary Psychology: Although gratitude is a key prosocial emotion reinforcing reciprocal altruism, it has been largely ignored in the empirical literature.

Etching the Neural Landscape

Greg Dunn in American Scientist: Both art and science arise from our root desires to describe our experience of reality.

From the archives of Playboy: Frank Sinatra

Joe Hyams in Playboy in 1963: Playboy: All right, let’s start with the most basic question there is: Are you a religious man?

The Bourgeois Eric Hobsbawm

David A. Bell in The National Interest: In a famous exchange in 1994, Michael Ignatieff asked Eric Hobsbawm whether the vast human costs inflicted by Stalin on the Soviet Union could possibly be justified.

Seven of Italy’s top scientists were convicted of manslaughter following a catastrophic quake. Has the country criminalized science?

David Wolman in Medium: During the winter and early spring of 2009, Selvaggi and other seismologists at Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology had been monitoring numerous tremors around L’Aquila.

You Almost Certainly Have Mites On Your Face

Ed Yong in Not Exactly Rocket Science: Think of all the adults you know. Think of your parents and grandparents.

Sid Caesar Double-Talk Routine

virginia woolf, writing, and painting

Ruth Scurr at the Times Literary Supplement: Critical to the development of Woolf’s writing was the freedom of the Hogarth Press, which she and Leonard began in 1917 after buying a hand-press for £19 5s 6d on Farringdon Street.

Why Conservatives Should Read Marx

Jonny Thakkar at The Point: If they want to be consistent, conservatives ought really to be anti-capitalist.

Chris Marker's level five

Whitney Mallet at n+1: Around the time video games were to coming to define the memory of Operation Desert Storm, Chris Marker made a movie about a video game that depicted a forgotten battle of a well-remembered war.

What Do Talking Apes Really Tell Us?

Jane C. Hu in Slate: Last week, people around the world mourned the death of beloved actor and comedian Robin Williams.

Autómata: a believable robot future

From KurzweilAI: George Mason University neuroscience researcher Todd Gillette got a preview of the forthcoming movie Autómata.

Iraqi Immigrants Struggle to Make a Living in Arizona

Sue Halpern and Bill McKibben at Smithsonian Magazine: Perhaps you’ve bought pita bread at the supermarket?

Wallace Stevens: “The Emperor of Ice-Cream”

Austin Allen at Poetry Magazine: Wallace Stevens had a notorious sweet tooth. In the oral biography Parts of a World: Wallace Stevens Remembered, friends and colleagues repeatedly attest to his appetite and love of delicious foods.

why we walk

Adam Gopnik at The New Yorker: Why people walk is a hard question that looks easy. Upright bipedalism seems such an obvious advantage from the viewpoint of those already upright that we rarely see its difficulty.

A genome is not a blueprint for building a human being, so is there any way to judge whether DNA is junk or not?

Itai Yanai and Martin Lercher in Aeon: Humans are astounding creatures, our unique and highly complex traits encoded by our genome – a vast sequence of DNA ‘letters’ (called nucleotides) directing the building and maintenance of the body and brain.

Fix a Wobbly Table With Math

Vote for one of the nominees for the 3QD Science Prize 2014

Browse the nominees in the list below and then go to the bottom of the post to vote. Alphabetical list of nominated blog names followed by the blog post title: (Please report any problems with links in the comments section below.) For prize details, click here.

Wednesday Poem

The Doctor -Exceprt from A Boxing Story No more boxers for me. Bar room brawlers, that's another story.

Europe's Slow Surrender to Intolerance

Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic: On the one hand, it is completely unsurprising that Europe has become a swamp of anti-Jewish hostility.