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Why Is My Cat So Dang Weird?!

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The midnight racing, the pre-pounce butt-wiggle… these are just a small sampling of the odd things that cats do. But you don’t need to be a crazy cat lady to appreciate these sometimes-ferocious little furballs! Let’s start by nipping at the evolutionary excuses your cat has for being, well, the weirdest!

They’re fluffy, they’re moody, and they’re ready to pounce at any given moment! Even if you’ve never had a feline for a pet, surely you have found yourself scratching your head about their odd behavior before. If we look a bit closer, cats are a household critter that hunters, psychologists, and your 9-year-old niece can relate to! Read on to unravel the mystery of why on earth cats do what they do—and just maybe, we’ll discover a little more appreciation for our weirdest roommates…

By Renee Laroche-Rheaume


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Designing Schools of the Future

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"We are building a state-of-the-art Formula 1 engine in the body of an old, broken-down Buick, and wondering why the car won't go."While pedagogical methods have advanced tremendously in recent decades, the shape of our learning spaces has not. Think: rooms filled with desks in rows all facing front, in an environment directly counter to contemporary progressive learning styles. Seeking to remedy these constrictions, Kurani links architecture with student-centered learning. His innovative designs help schools empower students and teachers in the learning process, thus helping entire communities. He shares more in this piece.


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How Purpose Changes Across Your Lifetime

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Purpose is not a destination, suggests research, but a journey and a practice.

Purpose is the stuff of inspirational posters and motivational speeches. When we find our purpose, they say, we’ll know what we are meant to do in life. The path will be laid out before us, and our job will be to keep following that vision with unwavering commitment.

By Kira M. Newman


But is this really what purpose looks like?

Alongside the self-help hype is a body of research on purpose across the lifespan, reaching back more than 30 years. Following people as they grapple with their identity as teens, settle into the responsibilities of adulthood, and make the shift to retirement, this research paints a more complicated picture of purpose—but a hopeful one, too.

Here’s the upshot: We don’t have to worry about finding our one true purpose; we can find purpose in different areas of life. In fact, purpose isn’t something we find at all. It’s something we can cultivate through deliberate action and reflection, a…

Big Picture Competition: Celebrating Earth's Diversity

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Now in its seventh year, BigPicture encourages photographers from around the world to contribute their work to a competition that both celebrates and illustrates the rich diversity of life on Earth, and inspires action to protect and conserve it through the power of imagery. Take a look at the gallery of stunning images from this year's winners, and learn more about the photographers here.


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How Does Religion Affect Happiness Around the World?

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A new study suggests that the answer depends on the stresses your society is facing.

Can religious faith make you happier?

By Jill Suttie


It’s a question that has plagued happiness scientists. While it makes sense that religion could bring meaning to people’s lives, meaning is not necessarily the same as happiness—even if it provides us with other benefits.

In addition, being religious often means attending religious services and being part of a social network, which tends to make people happier. So, it’s hard to tease out the impact of faith from other factors, like community, on happiness. Finally, while some large-scale studies have found a correlation between religiosity and happiness, others have had mixed results, suggesting that the story may be complex or involve factors tangential to religious belief.

Indeed, a new study suggests that it may depend on the society in which you live.

The researchers surveyed 40,534 randomly selected respondents from 43 nations about their happiness…

Who Makes Roller Coasters?

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How does someone start making roller coasters?! If your life isn’t turning out to be a positive and creative thrill yet, hang on to your hat. You could be just one interesting experience away from that if you have the courage to try some things you don’t know much about! Check this out.

Have you ever stood in line, excitedly shifting from foot to foot, craning your neck to check the number of people ahead of you waiting to experience the thrill of a ride at the amusement park? You’re ready for that high; the fear and the promise of surprise that is waiting for you. Adrenaline pumps through your veins as you inch closer and closer and—finally!—take your seat and strap into your favorite roller coaster. But as your amygdala goes for the ride of its life through all the twists and turns, has this ever crossed your mind? Who makes these things?!

By Sam Burns


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Freedom in Prison: The Story of My Great-Grandfather

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Aryae Coopersmith recounts the moving story of his great-grandfather Shmuel, a Talmud scholar who was forced war front in Bosnia-Herzegovinae. When it was discovered he didn't have the makings of a soldier in him, he was given prison guard duty instead. "How was Shmuel, a naive young kid who knew nothing about prisons, going to run a prison full of battle-scarred soldiers? He offered the prisoners a deal. I'll leave your cells unlocked and let you guys run the prison, he told them. But your part of the deal is, you've got to take care of each other, serve the food on time, and keep the place clean." What unfolded next was an unforgettable story of trust, love and the triumph of the human spirit in dark times.


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Hood Feminism: A Call For Solidarity

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"In her searing collection of essays, Mikki Kendall takes aim at the legitimacy of the modern feminist movement arguing that it has chronically failed to address the needs of all but a few women. Drawing on her own experiences with hunger and violence, along with incisive commentary on politics, pop culture, the stigma of mental health, and more, Hood Feminism delivers an irrefutable indictment of a movement in flux-- and a ferocious clarion call to all would-be feminists to live out the true mandate of the movement in thought and in deed." This NPR review of Kendell's NYT bestseller shares more.


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The Super COOL Way Antarctic Fish are Improving Your Ice Cream!

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You may have to thank these fish for your favorite smooth, tasty, ice cream treat! The fish? Oh yeah—what these scientists have discovered about how Antarctic fish survive in the freezing waters will make your next trip to the freezer way more exciting!

What does your favorite bowl of ice cream have to do with the fish that call water beneath the Antarctic ice their home? These strange fish have stumped scientists for years—how are they thriving in sub-zero temperature waters without freezing solid?! Well, today, we meet the researchers who have dedicated years to uncovering their clever trick, and you’ll never be able to dive into a pint of ice cream the same again!

By Sam Burns


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Non-Violent Communication: A Language of Life

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by Preeta Bansal


Thom Bond brings 27 years of study and training experience in human potential to his work as a writer, speaker and workshop leader. His passion and knowledge of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) combine to create a practical, understandable, humorous, and potentially profound approach for learning and integrating skills that help us experience more compassion and understanding. Thom is a founder and the Director of Education for The New York Center for Nonviolent Communication. He is best known as the creator and leader of The Compassion Course, a comprehensive online NVC-based training, Since 2011, more than 14,000 participants in over 110 countries have learned to communicate compassionately through this year-long course. As a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), it is now offered in four languages, funded entirely through donations. The course continues to grow at near-geometric rates, and commenced a new cycle on June 21, 2017 (and now again in 2020).

In 2002 Thom Bond w…

Empathy vs Sympathy

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Empathy and sympathy are not just two different approaches to confronting the emotional challenges of others; they are diametrically opposite responses in many important ways. Sympathy places another's problems at a distance from us, places us in a position of superiority, and "drives separation", says the film's narrator, Dr. Bren Brown. Empathy, on the other hand, requires that one internalize the feelings of another. That shared experience drives interpersonal connection, she says. "What makes things better is connection."


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How to Shift from Hostility to Empathy in Political Conversations

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In tough conversations, science suggests a way to bridge divides and foster understanding: by appealing to other people's values.

By NationSwell and the Greater Good Science Center


How to Become a Planet Hunter & Other Important Life Lessons

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Have you ever had a moment that changed the trajectory of your life? For Anne Datillo, a moment of curiosity took her from college student to Planet Hunter! Whether or not we’re reaching for the stars, her story has some wisdom we can all learn from!

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber


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We Have to Talk: A Checklist for Difficult Conversations

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"There are dozens of books on the topic of difficult, crucial, challenging, fierce, important conversations. Those times when you know you should talk to someone, but you don't. Maybe you've tried and it went badly. Or maybe you fear that talking will only make the situation worse. Still, you feel stuck, and you'd like to free up that stuck energy for more useful purposes." Judy Ringer is a conflict resolution trainer, and a black belt in Aikido. Here she offers a checklist for difficult conversations, along with best practice strategies, tips and additional resources.


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