What’s the smallest thing in the universe? – Jonathan Butterworth
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100

What’s the smallest thing in the universe? – Jonathan Butterworth

If you were to take any everyday object, say a coffee cup, and break it in half, then in half again, and keep carrying on, where would you end up? Could you keep on going forever? Or would you find a set of indivisible building blocks out of which everything …

Three ways the universe could end – Venus Keus
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100

Three ways the universe could end – Venus Keus

We know about our universe’s past: the Big Bang theory predicts that all matter, time, and space began in an incredibly tiny, compact state about 14 billion years ago. And we know about the present: scientists’ observations of the movement of galaxies tell us that the universe is expanding at …

Why should you read Dante’s “Divine Comedy”? – Sheila Marie Orfano
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100

Why should you read Dante’s “Divine Comedy”? – Sheila Marie Orfano

“Abandon all hope, ye who enter here… ” Inscribed above the Gate of Hell, these ominous words warn dark tidings for Dante as he begins his descent into inferno. Yet despite the grim tone, this prophecy sets into motion what is perhaps the greatest love story ever told; an epic …

The Aztec myth of the unlikeliest sun god – Kay Almere Read
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100

The Aztec myth of the unlikeliest sun god – Kay Almere Read

Nanahuatl, weakest of the Aztec gods, sickly and covered in pimples, had been chosen to form a new world. There had already been four worlds, each set in motion by its own “Lord Sun,” and each, in turn, destroyed: the first by jaguars, the next by winds, the next by …

Why should you read “The God of Small Things” by Arundhati Roy? – Laura Wright
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100

Why should you read “The God of Small Things” by Arundhati Roy? – Laura Wright

“A few dozen hours can affect the outcome of whole lifetimes/ And that when they do, those few dozen hours, like the salvaged remains of a burned clock… must be resurrected from the ruins and examined.” This is the premise of Arundhati Roy’s 1997 novel “The God of Small Things.” …

Can you solve the three gods riddle? – Alex Gendler
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100

Can you solve the three gods riddle? – Alex Gendler

Created by logician Raymond Smullyan and popularized by his colleague George Boolos, this riddle has been called the hardest logic puzzle ever. You and your team have crash-landed on an ancient planet. The only way off is to appease its three alien overlords, Tee, Eff, and Arr, by giving them …

Would winning the lottery make you happier? – Raj Raghunathan
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100

Would winning the lottery make you happier? – Raj Raghunathan

Will winning the lottery make you happier? Imagine winning a multi-million dollar lottery tomorrow. If you’re like many of us, you’d be ecstatic, unable to believe your good luck. But would that joy still be there a few years later? Maybe not. A famous study of 22 lottery winners showed …

How does the Rorschach inkblot test work? – Damion Searls
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100

How does the Rorschach inkblot test work? – Damion Searls

Take a look at this image. What might this be? A frightening monster? Two friendly bears? Or something else entirely? For nearly a century, ten inkblots like these have been used as what seems like an almost mystical personality test. Long kept confidential for psychologists and their patients, the mysterious …

Zen kōans: unsolvable enigmas designed to break your brain – Puqun Li
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Zen kōans: unsolvable enigmas designed to break your brain – Puqun Li

How do we explain the unexplainable? This question has inspired numerous myths, religious practices, and scientific inquiries. But Zen Buddhists practicing throughout China from the 9th to 13th century asked a different question – why do we need an explanation? For these monks, blindly seeking answers was a vice to …

What causes kidney stones? – Arash Shadman
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100

What causes kidney stones? – Arash Shadman

The biggest kidney stone on record weighed more than a kilogram and was 17 centimeters in diameter. The patient didn’t actually swallow a stone the size of a coconut. Kidney stones form inside the body, but unfortunately, they’re extremely painful to get out. A kidney stone is a hard mass …