WNPR

Tania Lombrozo

Do mass shootings, like the tragic event in Las Vegas on the evening of Oct. 1, change people's minds about gun control?

From a policy perspective, we can ask whether changes in gun regulations would likely affect the occurrence of mass shootings and other forms of gun violence. (We certainly should be asking these questions.)

What makes for a truly merry Christmas? Is your time better spent picking perfect, personalized gifts and decorating your home, or enjoying holiday cheer with family and friends?

We associate technology with the shiny and new. But humans have been using technology to change the environment and themselves since at least the lower Paleolithic period, when our ancestors were making stone tools.

Is the technology of today fundamentally different? In particular, does it change the way we think of ourselves or our relationships to each other and the environment? Does it change the way we think about what exists (metaphysics), about what and how we can know about it (epistemology), or about how we ought to live (ethics)?

We classify people in all sorts of ways.

Some categories are based on a person's beliefs: A theist, for instance, is a person who believes in one or more gods. Some categories are based on behavior: A vegetarian, for example, is a person who doesn't eat animals. And some categories seem to straddle beliefs and behavior: Being politically conservative could be defined in terms of beliefs, but also in terms of corresponding behaviors, such as voting for conservative political candidates or donating one's time or money to conservative causes.

Twice a year, most Americans do a truly bizarre thing. In coordinated fashion, we change our clocks an hour ahead or behind and proceed as if the new time tells us what we should be doing: when to eat, when to sleep, when to wake and when to work.

Earth, of course, spins and rotates on its merry course, unperturbed by our temporal machinations. If we used to wake after sunrise, we might now wake before morning light. If we used to drive home with the setting sun, we might now drive home in darkness.

Hardly a week goes by without some brain imaging study making the rounds in science news.