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The depressed writer is a stock character, like the ditzy cheerleader or the slick salesman. It’s something we believe almost without thinking about it, in part because that pathetic figure so frequently appears in books and movies, and because we can point to historical examples of artists plagued by mental illness. John Berryman leapt from a bridge. Virginia Woolf walked into a river. David Foster Wallace, a fairly new addition to this sad list, hung himself. We mull the meaning of their deaths, divine clues from the works they left behind. Madness and the Muse

This has led to a bizarre paradox: The Creationist with an iPhone or respectively the Anti-Vaxxer in a Prius. Utilizing science and all its comforts and advances, while being selectively skeptical about what science actually has to offer. Using technology to deny science takes some skilled compartmentalizing. It’s saying you have faith in science enough to post cat gifs on Facebook but not enough for science to contradict your convictions. There was a time when we thought the Information Superhighway would make everyone more informed, better educated. Instead its enabled the misinformed to find places to permanently nestle in confirmation bias. Misery loves company—as does ignorance. Tina Dupuy

Rarely has such a lively book been written that is ultimately so much about death. Reading Elizabeth Kolbert’s “The Sixth Extinction”

“Now” is not only a cognitive illusion but also a mathematical trick, related to how we define space and time quantitatively. One way of seeing this is to recognize that the notion of “present,” as sandwiched between past and future, is simply a useful hoax. After all, if the present is a moment in time without duration, it can’t exist. What does exist is the recent memory of the immediate past and the expectation of the near future. We link past and future through the conceptual notion of a present, of “now.” But all that we have is the accumulated memory of the past—stored in biological or various recording devices—and the expectation of the future. There Is No Now (via Alan Bevere)

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