Pyramid schemes are as American as it gets

Have you ever been invited by a friend or a family member to a coffee shop or a lunch date, and when you get there you realize that they don’t just want to catch up? Instead, it turns out they’ve got a great business opportunity for you. All you have to do is spend a …

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An atheist chaplain visits death row

When you hear the word “chaplain,” you probably think of a priest or an Imam or some other kind of traditional clergyperson — that’s what springs to my mind in any case. Which is why I was surprised when I stumbled upon an article in the New York Times magazine from earlier this year about …

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Panic about artificial intelligence is real, but is it justified?

If you’ve followed the news in the last year or two, you’ve no doubt heard a ton about artificial intelligence. And depending on the source, it usually goes one of two ways: AI is either the beginning of the end of human civilization, or a shortcut to utopia. Who knows which of those two scenarios …

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Maggie Jackson on what we can learn from uncertainty

One of the things that human beings seem to fear is uncertainty. Most of us like to know things, and when we don’t know things, we get uncomfortable. And when we’re forced to face the unknown, our response is often to retreat into old ideas and routines. Why is that? What’s so unnerving about ambiguity? …

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Why the Protestant work ethic is making American labor miserable

When you hear the phrase “work ethic,” you might think of the perfect employee. The one who puts her job above everything else, who never complains, the type that lives to work. That is certainly one version of the work ethic, and it’s a story that serves employers much more than it serves employees. But …

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Jon Kabat-Zinn on how mindfulness meditation went mainstream

Capitalism has a way of hijacking our culture’s best ideas. Regardless of the domain, industry turns almost every promising movement into a product. Mindfulness meditation is an interesting example of this phenomenon. The number of Americans who’ve tried meditation has tripled since 2012, which, on the surface at least, seems like a great thing. And …

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