University and State: a long and fruitful friendship?

Now universities may also teach us how to protect our countries, if not take a look at the new offering of homeland security and terrorism courses that are popping up this semester.

Mind trouble

It seems that the very trendy biological determinism keeps gaining adepts. According to a leading neuroscientist, cerebral abnormalities may be the ones to blame for the crimes committed, and not the person. Read it next.

Apparently mentally stimulating careers may help to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease by challenging our brains and keep them active.

Plus, our own brains are programmed to fight schizophrenia. Recent studies indicate that a cannabis-like substance produced in the brain may help reducing the effects of psychotic experiences.

Memory Boom

In a culture that seems to be unhealthily marvelled by past, scientists are studying the psychological and biological processes which produce the déjà vu phenomenon.


Get to know more on how could brain imaging help predict the choices people is going to make, and on game theory and the science of decision making.

Job perspective

Read about the British family revolution, and on the flexible working measures UK workers are asking in order to balance family and profession.

Check out this report on how marriage is changing its image among the 55-plus crowd and even those older, as the rise in longevity and the acceptation of divorce influence those marriages that were supposed to last forever.

Next time you plan your holydays you could be picking between going on a cruise to Mars and visiting Saturn's rings. Know more on space tourism.

A trio of newly discovered worlds that resemble Earth prompted scientists to think of the possibility of life.

September 9th, Thursday, 2004, Ip nº 87.

Death as cultural creation
Death defying

Can you remember when did you first realise you were probably going to die? Have you ever considered that death may actually underlie our daily actions and thoughts? The following piece analyzes the effects of this awareness, and proposes we are constantly suppressing this knowledge because it is very debilitating. Interesting enough the article suggests that we are not naturally bond to feel existential anxiety but it is culture what makes us prone to feel it. After all when raised in a culture certain ideas and fears get stuck in us. So if we were to imagine a better way of starting, wouldn't be nice to hold a pre-cultural notion that has nothing to do with death and that we shouldn't have to tone down later? Something more empowering than this primal fear, something that tells us we are somehow going to remain here.

The ease of inheriting a way of being
Slaves for Vacation: Europe Ponders the Meaning of Life

Then check two pieces about the European approach to life and work which allow us to think about inheriting a way of thinking, and also about validating a way of being (or in this case living) just because it seems rooted in what one is supposed to be. Including an essay on Europe's views on leisure that proposes a false dichotomy in which American work ethic is merely associated with materialistic values, and leaves scarce room for spiritual development. But if the idle Europeans are really pondering on life they surely aren't going too far. Neither perpetuating obsolete ideologies in a nostalgic mood, nor bragging about the way one is out of sloth and lack of ideas are exactly bold thinking. Should we believe that a continent's outlook, ideas, or even personal traits are unable to change even if they seem characteristic?

Appeared in MIT's Technology Review

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