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Solving the heroin overdose mystery: how small doses can kill

Heroin, like other opiates, depresses activity in the brain centre that controls breathing. Sometimes, this effect is so profound that the drug user dies, and becomes yet another overdose casualty.

‘Here we are all the same’

The US Constitution guaranteed freedom of religion, but the fight for religious equality was only just beginning By Richard D Brown Read at Aeon

Synchronising fireflies

Part of an art experiment conducted in Thailand’s mangrove forests by the Swiss artists Robin Meier and André Gwerder, this short film documents a stunning display of fireflies flashing in manipulated patterns.

This is the Muslim tradition of sci-fi and speculative fiction

Think invisible men, time travel, flying machines and journeys to other planets are the product of the European or ‘Western’ imagination?


Prejudice remains a huge social evil but evidence for harm caused by microaggression is incoherent, unscientific and weak By Scott O Lilienfeld Read at Aeon

A communications primer

From personal email and texts to Facebook, Twitter and the like, the last several decades have seen an unprecedented influx of new means of human-to-human communication.

Dissolving the ego

You don’t need drugs or a church for an ecstatic experience that helps transcend the self and connect to something bigger By Jules Evans Read at Aeon

Even the ancient Greeks thought their best days were history

This May, Greece’s parliament passed yet another austerity bill in the hopes of securing more European debt relief.

The Honeys and Bears

‘I never was a dancer, but I can dance in the water.’ Putting the maxim ‘it’s never too late to learn’ into eloquent practice, the Honeys and Bears is a synchronised swimming team made up exclusively of people over the age of 55 – some of whom never swam until their 60s.

The tree of knowledge is not an apple or an oak but a banyan

In European societies, knowledge is often pictured as a tree: a single trunk – the core – with branches splaying outwards towards distant peripheries.

The island

Located in the Indian Ocean, northeast of Australia and south of Indonesia, the Australian territory of Christmas Island is the arrival point for thousands of asylum seekers held in indefinite detention.

The future is emotional

Human jobs in the future will be the ones that require emotional labour: currently undervalued and underpaid but invaluable By Livia Gershon Read at Aeon

Cognitive dissonance helps old dogs with their new tricks

How do we get others to change their minds? That is the question many of us are asking in this polarising social and political climate, where the gulf between some people’s beliefs appears almost insurmountable.

Quantum common sense

Despite its confounding reputation, quantum mechanics both guides and helps explain human intuition By Philip Ball Read at Aeon

Being hear

'Nature is music. I'm not asking you to get all theoretical here – I'm saying, just listen.' There are vanishingly few places left on land untouched by human-made sounds, and those quiet areas are shrinking every year.

So I exaggerate a little – am I wrong to jazz up my stories?

Before 8 November 2016, I thought it was okay to stretch the truth in storytelling, especially if you were trying to be funny.

How totalism works

The brainwashing methods of isolation, engulfment and fear can lead anyone to a cult. I should know – I was in one By Alexandra Stein Read at Aeon


Created using footage captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft between 2011 and 2015, Sun is a mesmerising, perspective-shaking glimpse at Earth’s life-giving star.

Why does contemporary art make for wildly popular blockbusters?

For Americans who love art by the likes of Hans Holbein, Édouard Manet, Georges Braque and Paul Klee, dark times lie ahead.

The bloodstained leveller

Throughout history, plagues and wars have left greater equality in their wake. Can we get there again without violence?