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Why Chimpanzees Don't Hold Elections

By Lisa Feldman Barrett/Undark

This excerpt is adapted from 7 1/2 Lessons About The Brain.

Most of your life takes place in a made-up world. You live in a country whose name and whose borders were made up by people. You allow particular humans to be leaders of that country, such as a president or a member of Congress, by following procedures invented by people long dead, such as elections, and you give them powers that were also made up by people. You acquire food and other goods with something called "money," which is represented by pieces of paper and metal and even by electromagnetic waves flowing through the air, and which is also completely made up. You actively and willingly participate in this made-up world every day. It is real to you. It's as real as your own name, which, by the way, was also made up by people.

We all live in a world of social reality that exists only inside our collective human brains. Nothing in physics or chemistry determines that you're leaving the United States and entering Canada, or that an expanse of water has certain fishing rights, or that a specific arc of the Earth's orbit around the sun is called January. These things are real to us anyway. Socially real.

Continue reading "Why Chimpanzees Don't Hold Elections" »
Posted on January 5, 2021
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History Club

A People's History Of Thanksgiving

Where Is The Gold?
With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.
Continue reading "A People's History Of Thanksgiving" »
Posted on November 28, 2013
Chicago Blog Review

Chicago Blog Review: Fruit Slinger

A welcome blast of summer-friendly food porn on a daily basis.
Continue reading "Chicago Blog Review: Fruit Slinger" »
Posted on August 6, 2009

Why Chimpanzees Don't Hold Elections

By Lisa Feldman Barrett/Undark
Most of your life takes place in a made-up world.

Posted on January 5, 2021

A Series Of Fortunate Events

Brought To You By The Skeptical Inquirer
How chance rules our world.

Posted on December 8, 2020

How James Baker (Dishonestly) Made George W. Bush President

By Richard Pildes/The Conversation
A remarkable breach in the confidentiality of a court's internal deliberations coupled with sheer dishonesty and gamesmanship put the loser in the White House against the will of the people and the Electoral College. It's nothing to be commended for.

Posted on December 4, 2020

Ralph Steadman's Life In Ink

By Rusty Blazenhoff/Boing Boing
"For the first time, the artist opened his studio and archives to create a book that encompasses his entire career."

Posted on November 30, 2020

The Strange History Of Binding Books In Human Skin

By Elizabeth Svoboda/Undark
As Rosenbloom crisscrosses the globe to confirm the purported origins of skin-bound books - a cracking detective story in itself - her journey offers unusual insight into what defines informed consent, what separates homage from exploitation, and how power disparities can breed casual inhumanity.

Posted on November 22, 2020

The Irreverence Polling Needs

By W. Joseph Campbell/The Conversation
In 1984, at a time when election polling was going through another rough patch, the legendary Bud Roper said in a speech to the American Association for the Advancement of Science that "Our polling techniques have gotten more and more sophisticated, yet we seem to be missing more and more elections."

Posted on November 17, 2020

When Prophecy Fails

By Wikipedia
What a 1950s Chicago housewife tells us about our country today.

Posted on November 11, 2020

The Lives, Loves, Deaths & Art Of Neanderthals

By Susan Cosier/Undark
"Neanderthals were never some sort of highway service station en route to Real People. They were state-of-the-art humans, just of a different sort."

Posted on November 8, 2020

The Artificial Scarcity Of E-Books In Education

By Rory Mir/The Electronic Frontier Foundation
If technology enables us to share, reproduce and update educational materials so effectively that we can give them away for free, it's our moral duty to do so.

Posted on October 30, 2020

How Journalists Invented Wild Bill Hickok

By SIU Press
Mythologized and sensationalized, Hickok was turned into the deadliest gunfighter of all, a so-called moral killer, a national phenomenon even while he was alive. It wasn't true.

Posted on October 29, 2020

MUSIC - Chicago Music Poster History.
TV - Hollywood Still Can't Get Abortion Right.
POLITICS - The Dark Side Of Kirin Beer.
SPORTS - Halas Hell.

BOOKS - Why Chimps Don't Hold Elections.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Recall! Sriracha Chicken Ravioli.


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