Book spine poetry: The Human Cycle

I recently took an interest in book spine poetry. I posted my first effort, The World Without Us, at another blog, Science Word Geek. Here’s a new one:

book spine poetry 3

The Human Cycle

A gradual awakening,
Moments of being,
The voyage out in search of Eden.
The immense journey from certainty to uncertainty:
Inevitable illusions, being wrong, stumbling on happiness, doubt.
The sense of an ending. Nothing to be frightened of.

I’m grateful to the authors: Colin M. Turnbull, Stephen Levine, Virginia Woolf (two titles), Leo Hamalian, Loren Eiseley, F. David Peat, Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini, Kathryn Schulz, Daniel Gilbert, Jennifer Michael Hecht, and Julian Barnes (two titles).

Recent Nature issue on depression

Nature recently devoted an issue to depression, and some of the articles (commentary rather than research reports) are available for free download as PDFs. Start with this infographic about depression worldwide and scroll down to the list of other titles at the bottom. All of the titles from 2014 and two from 2013 are currently available at no charge. Lots of interesting stuff there, including a comparison of research on cancer and on depression and a discussion of current ideas on what makes cognitive behavioral therapy work.

The trees are balding

In fact, many of the trees are already bald. Autumn is well advanced. Last week we celebrated Halloween, which is followed by the Christian feasts of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. These two days commemorate the church’s saints and its rank and file dead, Continue reading →

Thinking Meat is waking up

Greetings to any loyal readers who are still out there. The Thinking Meat Project is about to waken from its long hibernation.

When I started Thinking Meat in 2005, I envisioned it covering a broad range of topics, all related to what it’s like to be thinking matter (as Richard Feynman memorably put it, “Atoms with consciousness, matter with curiosity”). Continue reading →

Book review: Paleofantasy, by Marlene Zuk

Paleofantasy: What Evolution Really Tells Us about Sex, Diet, and How We Live, by Marlene Zuk

The myth of the golden age dies hard. People who espouse a Paleo lifestyle speak in terms of evolution, but the overall framework of their beliefs strikes me as being modeled surprisingly closely on earlier stories of a golden age, a fall, and attempts to live in accordance with the rules that will return us, at least to some degree, to the golden age. Continue reading →