Something about our current moment seems to have put a particular strain on our personal relationships. Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

Why friendships are falling apart over politics

Cover: Something about our current moment seems to have put a particular strain on our personal relationships. Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images Why friendships are falling apart over politics Something about our current moment seems to have put a particular strain on our personal relationships. Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images Melanie Green, University at Buffalo …

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Let’s not get ahead of ourselves… Peter Dazeley/The Image Bank via Getty Images

Dating over Zoom? Don’t be surprised if those online sparks fizzle in person

Cover: Let’s not get ahead of ourselves… Peter Dazeley/The Image Bank via Getty Images Dating over Zoom? Don’t be surprised if those online sparks fizzle in person Let’s not get ahead of ourselves… Peter Dazeley/The Image Bank via Getty Images Sheril Kirshenbaum, Michigan State University For those dipping their toes into the dating pool during …

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Descartes was wrong: ‘a person is a person through other persons’

According to Ubuntu philosophy, which has its origins in ancient Africa, a newborn baby is not a person. People are born without ‘ena’, or selfhood, and instead must acquire it through interactions and experiences over time. So the ‘self’/‘other’ distinction that’s axiomatic in Western philosophy is much blurrier in Ubuntu thought. As the Kenyan-born philosopher …

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Cheers! How the physics of fizz contributes to human happiness

Cover Photo by Getty Images Think of the last time you had something to celebrate. If you toasted the happy occasion, your drink was probably alcoholic – and bubbly. Have you ever wondered why it’s so enjoyable to imbibe a glass of something that sets off a series of microexplosions in your mouth? A glass …

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The fast track to a life well lived is feeling grateful

Cover: Photo by David Pollack/Corbis via Getty Images For the Ancient Greeks, virtue wasn’t a goal in and of itself, but rather a route to a life well lived. By being honest and generous, embodying diligence and fortitude, showing restraint and kindness, a person would flourish – coming to live a life filled with meaning …

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Newspaper Carriers (Work disgraces) by Georg Scholz. 1921. Courtesy Wikipedia

The bad news on human nature, in 10 findings from psychology

Cover: Newspaper Carriers (Work disgraces) by Georg Scholz. 1921. Courtesy Wikipedia It’s a question that’s reverberated through the ages – are humans, though imperfect, essentially kind, sensible, good-natured creatures? Or are we, deep down, wired to be bad, blinkered, idle, vain, vengeful and selfish? There are no easy answers, and there’s clearly a lot of …

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Is love losing its soul in the digital age?

Cover: A young couple posing for an Instagram photo. Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock.com Is love losing its soul in the digital age? A young couple posing for an Instagram photo. Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock.com Firmin DeBrabander, Maryland Institute College of Art Instagram users have taken to issuing “weekiversary posts,” where they diligently mark the duration of their romances. An …

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Can a physics of panic explain the motions of the crowd?

Cover: Revellers rush up a hill after panic broke out during the Love Parade in Duisburg, Germany, on 24 July 2010. Photo by Erik Wifferes/Afp/Getty When people come together in a crowd, physical and emotional connections define their movement, state of mind and will to act. Understanding crowds can help us manage the panic caused …

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Conspicuous consumption is over. It’s all about intangibles now

In 1899, the economist Thorstein Veblen observed that silver spoons and corsets were markers of elite social position. In Veblen’s now famous treatise The Theory of the Leisure Class, he coined the phrase ‘conspicuous consumption’ to denote the way that material objects were paraded as indicators of social position and status. More than 100 years …

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What know-it-alls don’t know, or the illusion of competence

One day in 1995, a large, heavy middle-aged man robbed two Pittsburgh banks in broad daylight. He didn’t wear a mask or any sort of disguise. And he smiled at surveillance cameras before walking out of each bank. Later that night, police arrested a surprised McArthur Wheeler. When they showed him the surveillance tapes, Wheeler …

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