For centuries, people leaned into the popular (and false) belief that possession—material wealth and stature—was synonymous with happiness. But now minimalism is on the rise, and for good reason: it works. With the popular Netflix film Minimalism: A Documentary About Important Things and the massive bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up emphasizing the benefits of decluttering, it's no surprise that more and more people are cleaning out gear closets, streamlining their workouts, and buying less stuff. Because when you do, there's way more room for adventure.
The first piece of furniture I ever bought kept me up at night. I was 25 years old, and the offending item was a 60-pound oak armoire the color of whiskey and the size of a standard refrigerator. It wasn’t the price or the quality of its construction that triggered the angst. It was what it represented. I now owned something that couldn’t fit in my rooftop RocketBox. I saw my adult life beginning, along with a relentless accumulation of more stuff. That armoire was the loss of my freedom.
Read the rest of this article at: Outside
The Curse of The Bahia Emerald
RIGHT NOW, IN A VAULT controlled by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, there sits a 752-pound emerald with no rightful owner. This gem is the size of a minifridge. It weighs as much as two sumo wrestlers. Estimates of its worth range from a hundred bucks to $925 million.
Eight years ago the emerald was logged into evidence by detectives Scott Miller and Mark Gayman of the Sheriff’s Major Crimes Bureau. The two men are longtime veterans: 30 years for Miller, 28 for Gayman. They dress as the Hollywood versions of themselves, in wraparound sunglasses, badges dangling off long chains. Among Gayman’s career highlights is the time he busted Joe Pesci’s ex-wife for the hit she put out on her new lover. One thing they both hate is the emerald case. It’s a whack-a-mole of schemers. Detangling all the rackets and lies is, Miller says, “a puzzle from hell.”
Read the rest of this article at: Wired
Inside the Anti-Science Forces of the Internet
In January, Natural News shared a big story on Facebook: A federal scientist had affirmed Donald Trump’s belief that vaccines cause autism.
According to this researcher, the government had supposedly suppressed study data showing that African-American boys had a “340 percent increased risk for autism” after being vaccinated. “Despite being cast to the lunatic fringe by the mainstream media for his remarks,” the article said, the scientist “has confirmed Trump’s suspicions.”
The claim was false — but the story was an enduring hit. Since it was first published in November 2015, the link has popped up in alternative-health and anti-vaccine communities with names like “Vaccination Information Network” and “Healing ADHD & Asperger’s Without Hurting.” It’s been shared by Trump supporters, a fan account for the hacking group Anonymous, the conspiracy theory subreddit, and a former X Factor contestant on Twitter. All told, it’s garnered more than 141,000 likes, shares, and (overwhelmingly positive) comments on Facebook, according to the social media–tracking tool CrowdTangle. Meanwhile, a Time story that poked holes in the claim got 3,300.
Read the rest of this article at: Buzzfeed
Jack White's Infinite Imagination
Last summer, Jack White bought a house in Kalamazoo, Michigan, that he had seen only in photographs. He wasn’t planning to live in it, except perhaps occasionally on retreats—he lives in Nashville. He was drawn to its past. The house was designed by George Nelson, a figure in American modernism, who mostly designed furniture. “A George Nelson house, there’s not too many of those,” White said in a car on the way there.
White is forty-one, and since his adolescence, in Detroit, when he was an upholsterer’s apprentice, he has been avidly interested in modern design. He used to drive around the city looking for thrown-out furniture, and sometimes he found Nelson sofas and chairs and restored them. He saw himself more as a custodian of the Nelson house than as its owner. “I’m a believer in nobody owns anything,” he said. “If you could take care of it and pass it along, it’s good.” The car travelled through farm fields beneath a dome of blue sky. “Anyway, it’s a place I can go and write songs and shake up my environment,” he continued.
Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker
It’s Time to Take the Gaia Hypothesis Seriously
Can a planet be alive? Lynn Margulis, a giant of late 20th-century biology, who had an incandescent intellect that veered toward the unorthodox, thought so. She and chemist James Lovelock together theorized that life must be a planet-altering phenomenon and the distinction between the “living” and “nonliving” parts of Earth is not as clear-cut as we think. Many members of the scientific community derided their theory, called the Gaia hypothesis, as pseudoscience, and questioned their scientific integrity. But now Margulis and Lovelock may have their revenge. Recent scientific discoveries are giving us reason to take this hypothesis more seriously. At its core is an insight about the relationship between planets and life that has changed our understanding of both, and is shaping how we look for life on other worlds.
Studying Earth’s global biosphere together, Margulis and Lovelock realized that it has some of the properties of a life form. It seems to display “homeostasis,” or self‐regulation. Many of Earth’s life‐sustaining qualities exhibit remarkable stability. The temperature range of the climate; the oxygen content of the atmosphere; the pH, chemistry, and salinity of the ocean—all these are biologically mediated. All have, for hundreds of millions of years, stayed within a range where life can thrive. Lovelock and Margulis surmised that the totality of life is interacting with its environments in ways that regulate these global qualities. They recognized that Earth is, in a sense, a living organism. Lovelock named this creature Gaia.
Read the rest of this article at: Nautilus