today at 01:00. Facebook
Human-pig chimeras could help us meet our desperate need for transplantable organs. But a chimera such as this would be genetically human-animal, not just an animal with human organs. How do we decide the moral status of this creature, and would its slaughter be murder? [ Link ]

Should a human-pig chimera be treated as a person? – Julian Savulescu |...
yesterday at 23:10. Facebook
Daoist power: Herding Horses by Han Gan, Tang dynasty, China. Photo courtesy the National Palace Museum, Taipei/Wikipedia

Feature image for Aeon Essay, In defence of hierarchy
[ Link ]
yesterday at 19:00. Facebook
A whirlwind tour of early medical science, and the health and lives of the people of those days, through a collection of obsolete medical equipment and scientific models. Behind the strangeness of these contraptions is an equally strange beauty. Aeon Video: [ Link ]

Breakthroughs, quackery and strange beauty: the afterlife of outmoded...
yesterday at 16:00. Facebook
Contemporary slavery comes predominantly in the form of bonded labour, part of a complex, infinite coercive system that works at the intersection of care and exploitation. It is essential to tell the stories of the oppressed, but to understand exploitation, we must talk to exploiters too: [ Link ]

This is what slavery looks like today, in the eyes of slavers – Austin...
yesterday at 01:00. Facebook
Comedy requires passage into the ugly, uncomfortable areas of the human heart, particularly in a live forum. Yet, comics complain of needing to self-censor in the face of moralising pushback. Where's the line? As long as the jester produces a laugh, he is allowed to keep his head: [ Link ]

The only line comedy shouldn’t cross is the no-laughter line – Casey...
03/22/2017 at 19:01. Facebook
A radical addiction recovery programme forcibly detains addicts, refuses medication and culminates in a compulsory 11,000 page autobiographical thesis. An evenhanded look at a controversial approach, an Aeon Video Exclusive: [ Link ]

Can writing an 11,000-page autobiographical thesis cure addiction? |...
03/22/2017 at 16:01. Facebook
In the struggle for equality, we have forgotten how to talk about hierarchy, and to defend it where it matters. We live in a time when no distinction is being drawn between useful hierarchies, and self-interested, exploitative elites. Hierarchies can serve democracy, protect the rule of law and protect equal treatment. In a time of attack on civic institutions and the judicial system, we need...
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Hierarchies have a place even in societies built on equality – Stephen C...
03/22/2017 at 01:00. Facebook
One of the most important pharmaceutical breakthroughs of the 20th century was born out of an unorthodox grant proposal. Nowadays, however, scientific review panels can often fund 20 per cent or less of proposals submitted, meaning that adventurous proposals rarely get funded. Instead, reviewers should focus on filtering out the worst ideas, and admit the rest to a lottery:[ Link ]

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Science funding is a gamble so let’s give out money by lottery – Shahar...
03/21/2017 at 19:00. Facebook
‘Variation, rather than moderation, is probably the most important thing when it comes to pleasure.’ How does pleasure work in the brain? Finding connections between hedonistic pleasure and the life well-lived, with Morten Kringelbach – an Aeon In Sight video: [ Link ]

A happy life is built on pleasures such as sex and food, but also...
03/21/2017 at 16:01. Facebook
Fukuyama's ‘The End of History’ was perhaps the most unfairly dismissed and misunderstood book of the post-war era. Now it seems that it is Fukuyama, and not his many vocal critics, who looks entitled to a last hollow laugh. He predicted resentment among those who had lost their traditional places at the top of social hierarchies, and an archetype of megalothymia – a desire not just for...
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Was Francis Fukuyama the first man to see Trump coming? – Paul Sagar |...
03/21/2017 at 01:00. Facebook
State treatment of dissident citizens is a perennial philosophical problem. But the treatment of resident aliens is equally equally worthy of reflection. We can diagnose the true health of the state from the way that it treats its non-citizen residents, a lesson that is evident in Plato's Republic: [ Link ]

There's a Green Card-holder at the heart of Greek philosophy – David V...
03/20/2017 at 19:01. Facebook
The ‘golden ratio’ is an irrational number whose physical manifestation is found in nature, and is renowned for its beauty. Mathematically pleasing and aesthetically alluring, its most famous form – the ‘golden rectangle’ – might be the fairest shape of all. Aeon Video: [ Link ]

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, which is the fairest rectangle of them all?...
03/20/2017 at 16:01. Facebook
Everyone thinks they know about Casanova, but almost no one really does – and there's much of interest. As well as penning his infamous intimate memoirs, Casanova was the unlikely author of a science fiction novel, and played an unintentional role in the fall of the Venetian Republic: [ Link ]

Is there more to the legendary lover than his reputation? – Laurence...
03/20/2017 at 02:00. Facebook
Humans live enfolded by deep time. It leaves its impression upon us, and we impress upon it our anxieties, our inventions, our desires. What is the meaning of deep time in the Anthropocene era, where industrial civilisation has changed the Earth in ways that are comparable with deep-time processes? [ Link ]

Deep time’s uncanny future is full of ghostly human traces – David Farrier | Aeon Ideas
03/19/2017 at 19:00. Facebook
Physics teacher Jeffrey Wright keeps his students engaged by investing in them as individuals. When asked why, he says that ‘one size fits all’ doesn’t work with education. Wright learned this last lesson after his son Adam was born with Joubert syndrome, a rare disorder that limits his control over his body. From the Aeon Video archive:

A physics teacher so extraordinary he can explain combustion and love | Aeon Videos
03/19/2017 at 17:00. Facebook
‘I love my mom and it’s a secret. I love her so much it kills me, and you bet I’d sooner die than tell her.’ A bittersweet love letter to a mother from a non-demonstrative daughter, detailing the frustration, embarrassment and overwhelming sense of love that growing up as a child of first generation immigrants can entail. From the archive: [ Link ]

I love my mom a not-normal amount and it makes me crazy – Mary H K Choi | Aeon Essays
03/18/2017 at 19:00. Facebook
Humans have long imagined beings in other worlds whose motivations and physiologies closely mirror our own. This is fine for ancient myths and Hollywood blockbusters, but even modern scientists can’t seem to stop anthropomorphizing. How can we do better? An Aeon Original and editor's pick:
03/18/2017 at 17:00. Facebook
An online company offers to ‘curate a library that matches both your personality and your space’. The bookshelf, it seems, symbolises high culture. The book has always been a sign of status and refinement; a declaration of self-worth – even for those who hate to read. But are book collectors real readers, or just cultural snobs? Bookish fools: [ Link ]

Are book collectors real readers, or just cultural snobs? – Frank Furedi | Aeon Essays
03/18/2017 at 15:00. Facebook
Experiments carried out at Princeton University’s Perception Demonstration Center illustrate the powerful relationship between perception and past experience. An excerpt from the classic educational documentary Gateways to the Mind, and last week's most viewed on Aeon Video: [ Link ]

Optical illusions show how past experience dramatically influences perception | Aeon Videos
03/18/2017 at 13:01. Facebook
Authoritarianism is staging a comeback, and the new authoritarians are nothing like the old ones. Where the old autocrats wanted their subjects to become ‘new men’, today's authoritarian does not pretend to make you better, only to make you feel better about not wanting to change. Last week's most read: [ Link ]

The new dictators speak for the complainer, not the idealist – Holly Case | Aeon Essays