I went on a date tonight and the guy asked me if I was religious and I said no, explaining to him why not. He said, “maybe you just need to find the right minister.” I was like, “no I have thought about religion(s) a lot, and I firmly am a non-believer, and I actually think continuing organized religion will be detrimental to the human race and the furthering of science.” Like, do people not know how big the universe is, and just go on believing in some all-knowing power that cares about our mortality and whether or not we “sin.” I don’t need a God that I am supposed to “fear” in order to know the difference between right and wrong.

Later on the date I told him about the book I’m writing, and he was like… So how are you going to get it published. And I was like…. I’m writing it for fun??? Because I love writing???? And it’s a story I’ve always wanted to tell??? And I’ll worry about publishing later???? like what a fuckboi

The heat and the death toll are rising in India. Is this a glimpse of Earth’s future?

India is struggling to cope with one of the deadliest heatwaves to hit the subcontinent. And its attempt to do so is raising a question for the whole planet – how can humans cope with the kinds of temperatures that scientists fear may become ever more common?

In very dry conditions, people can work outside in temperatures of up to 40C. But the safety cutoff drops below 30C when you have very high humidity. To calculate the limits in which it is safe for people to work in extreme heat, scientists rely on a measure of temperature that takes into account both the heat and the humidity.

This is known as the wet-bulb globe temperature. At wet-bulb temperatures higher than 35C, human skin can no longer itself cool down through evaporation. The US military suspends training and physical exercise when this temperature exceeds 32C. Peak wet-bulb temperatures measured in the heatwave in India are around 30-31C.

In recent years, several groups have used this measure to make predictions about what rising temperatures will mean for workers worldwide, and to paint a picture of what global productivity will look like as average temperatures creep up. A recent study published in Nature Climate Change estimates that heat stress has already reduced global labour to 90% of capacity during the hottest months of the year. Under the most dire climate change projections, this could fall as low as 40% by 2200. The regions predicted to be worst affected include India, northern Australia and the south-east of the US.

The things we do outlast our mortality. The things we do are like monuments that people build to honor heroes after they’ve died. They’re like the pyramids that the Egyptians built to honor the pharaohs. Only instead of being made of stone, they’re made out of the memories people have of you.
—  R.J. Palacio, Wonder

the video: little girl mortality meltdown

Peanuts, Nuts Linked to Lower Death Rates

Peanuts and other nuts have been linked to lower death rates, according to a new study. Curiously, the same cannot be said when eating peanut butter.

That’s based on new findings published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, which detail how men and women who ate at least 10 grams of nuts or peanuts per day had a lower risk of dying from several major - and often fatal - conditions compared to those who don’t snack on these nuts.

Their protective effects were strongest for respiratory disease, neurodegenerative disease, and diabetes, followed by cancer and cardiovascular diseases. The effects are equal in men and women.

I had delved down into a space where I perceived this great pool of gratitude and sadness. And don’t mix sadness up with depression or despair… All sadness is is a way of sensitizing you to what really matters, what’s really meaningful.

And death does that.

I see my death. It looms in front of me sooner than I would like, but because it’s there, because we live with that, I am so grateful for just this moment, for this time together. And that is a great gift.


Absolutely magnificent On Being conversation with Bruce Kramer, who died of ALS earlier this week, while the show was in production. His moving memoir, We Know How This Ends: Living While Dying, is out in April.

Couple with philosopher Joanna Macy on how Rilke can help us befriend our mortality to live more fully

Your nose knows death is imminent (The Guardian)

According to new research, the sense of smell is the canary in the coalmine of human health. A study published in the open access journal PLOS ONE, shows that losing one’s sense of smell strongly predicts death within five years, suggesting that the nose knows when death is imminent, and that smell may serve as a bellwether for the overall state of the body, or as a marker for exposure to environmental toxins.

Pinto, J. M. et al. (2014). Olfactory Dysfunction Predicts 5-Year Mortality in Older Adults. PLOS ONE, 9(9): e107541. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0107541.

Man has a symbolic identity that brings him sharply out of nature. He is a symbolic self, a creature with a name, a life history. He is a creator with a mind that soars out to speculate about atoms and infinity, who can place himself imaginatively at a point in space and contemplate bemusedly his own planet. This immense expansion, this dexterity, this ethereality, this self-consciousness gives to man literally the status of a small god in nature, as the Renaissance thinkers knew.

Yet, at the same time, as the Eastern sages also knew, man is a worm and food for worms. This is the paradox: he is out of nature and hopelessly in it; he is dual, up in the stars and yet housed in a heart-pumping, breath-gasping body that once belonged to a fish and still carries the gill-marks to prove it. His body is a material fleshy casing that is alien to him in many ways—the strangest and most repugnant way being that it aches and bleeds and will decay and die. Man is literally split in two: he has an awareness of his own splendid uniqueness in that he sticks out of nature with a towering majesty, and yet he goes back into the ground a few feet in order blindly and dumbly to rot and disappear forever. It is a terrifying dilemma to be in and to have to live with.

—  Ernest Becker, The Denial of Death