A new book by Scott Weems on humor and human nature raises fascinating questions about why we laugh. Commentator Alva Noë cracks up easily and asks for help collecting some more jokes.
"After our primate cousins came down out of the trees, humans evolved on the savanna." You've heard that idea before, but is it true? The debate heats up — way up.
The gift of believing in imagination, enjoying it as if it's real, usually falls away in adulthood. But keeping the door open between the imagined and real worlds can show us the way forward.
As those with Alzheimer's disease lose their memories, do they also lose their identities? Commentator Tania Lombrozo considers new research into traits seen as central to identity.
DNA. RNA. Amino acids. They all sound so abstract, so far from human reality. But it's the stuff from which you are constructed. Commentator Adam Frank shares a video that brings it all to life.
Could it be that we are living in a giant, convincing simulation? If so, we've got a lot to be mad about, says commentator Alva Noë.
It can be exasperating, when life throws a little unfairness your way. When that happens to commentator Barbara J. King, she watches this video featuring an experiment with two monkeys. It helps.
As we learn more about the brain, we should ask whether learning too much might, ultimately, compromise our freedom. Simulating reality could be a threat to reality, warns commentator Marcelo Gleiser.
You are living in an age of wonders, says commentator Adam Frank. Every day we take part in activities that once seemed like the realm of science fiction. So why are you so dissatisfied?
There's a time and place for evidence-based decision making. For commentator Tania Lombrozo, naming her babies wasn't it.
Sometimes a fake cigarette is real. Commentator Alva Noë on why the debate over banning electronic cigarettes turns more on the use of symbols than it does on the facts.
Anxiety seems uniquely human, doesn't it? It's that ability to imagine the worst, the danger lurking in every uncertain outcome. Commentator Barbara King says we are not alone in these feelings.
The whole debate between science and religion is hitched to the wrong tree, says commentator Marcelo Gleiser. Common ground exists: each is a manifestation of humanity's attraction to the mysterious.
The relationships between big and small, near and far, then and now can be perplexing. Commentator Adam Frank says you can bring it all into focus by spending a little quality time with your toilet.