Fear of a smell can be passed down several generations

Mice whose father or grand­fa­ther learned to asso­ciate the smell of cherry blos­som with an elec­tric shock became more jumpy in the pres­ence of the same odour, and responded to lower con­cen­tra­tions of it than nor­mal mice.

The Real Value of a College Degree

Is the nar­row binary of go to college/don’t go to col­lege, really the
best option we have to offer stu­dents of the twenty-first century?

Introducing the idea of ‘hyperobjects

I’m an envi­ron­men­tal philoso­pher. In 2008, I invented a word to describe all kinds of things that you can study and think about and com­pute, but that are not so easy to see directly: hyper­ob­jects. Things like: not just a Sty­ro­foam cup or two, but all the Sty­ro­foam on Earth, ever. All that Sty­ro­foam is going to last an awfully long time: 500 years, maybe. It’s going to out­live me by a great extent. Will my family’s descen­dants even be related to me in any kind of mean­ing­ful way by 2514? There is so much more Sty­ro­foam on Earth right now than there is Tim­o­thy Morton.

Notes (Rants) from Berlin: On Art and Engineering

On the open­ing night, one pan­el­list made magic of the word, enforc­ing that idea that we don’t know what they do, we can’t con­trol them, and that they go on to invent them­selves like an ever repli­cat­ing organ­ism. This, I’m afraid, is a lit­eral fairy­tale (oh, wouldn’t it be eas­ier if it was? I’m kidding).

I realised that half the time, this is because the very use of the word ‘algo­rithm’, the weight of sup­posed mean­ing we place behind it by throw­ing it into these con­texts, removes the humans that cre­ated them entirely.