Single parents worldwide: Statistics and trends

Single parents were very common in the 17th and 18th centuries. The most common cause: death of a parent. Approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of all children in this era experienced the death of a parent during childhood. Since then, medical advances and improvements in sanitation and maternal care have significantly reduced mortality of people in reproductive age. […]

Why we should worry about comets, asteroids and mass extinctions

Every once in a while, the Earth presses the reset button on life. Virtually all plant and animal species that have ever existed on Earth are extinct today. The fossil record and geological data show that mass extinctions occur periodically when life on Earth undergoes short periods of intense stress. Yet mass extinctions play a vital role in […]

The history of pharmacy and medication

Pharmacy is derived from the Greek word pharmakeia, meaning “use of drugs, medicines, potions, or spells; poisoning, witchcraft; remedy, cure.” The practice of pharmacy has been around for thousands of years, and healing with medicinal plants is as old as mankind itself. There is evidence that Neanderthals used pain-killers and antibiotics to self-medicate as early as 49,000 […]

Is your grandma on dangerous meds?

Many people can relate to this story: my grandma was suffering from chronic pain from arthritis, anxiety and insomnia. On top of her blood thinners, cholesterol drugs and other medications, her doctor prescribed Ativan (a benzodiazepine) as a sleeping aid and anti-anxiety medication, and OxyContin (an opioid), which is at the root of our current […]

Björk Digital: on the cutting-edge of music, art and technology

The iconic Icelandic singer, songwriter and actress, Björk, is one of the most innovative artists of her generation. She has pushed the boundaries of artistic expression, blending technology, performance art and music, throughout her 40-year career. She bridges the divide between experimental musician and pop celebrity, with her use of unconventional instruments, warm passionate vocals, electronic beats and wild […]

A brief history of consciousness

“Consciousness” has become a very popular buzzword that I’ve heard in radically different contexts lately. For example, consciousness is often used when discussing artificial intelligence, philosophy, neuroscience, spirituality and even politics. Some recent news articles show some of the variety of ways “consciousness” is used: The race to make conscious robots is putting the single […]

Morality and the University of Duality

Good vs. evil, light vs. dark, peace vs. war, love vs. hate, body vs. soul, mind vs. matter, us vs. them. The dichotomy between contrasting concepts can be referred to as duality or dualism, which suggests conflict between two opposing ideas. Duality as a learning tool Over the course of our human lives, we must […]

Home with Ram Dass

I’ve just returned from one of the most powerful spiritual experiences of my life: the Ram Dass Retreat in Maui. I’d previously read some of Ram Dass’ books, listened to many of his lectures and heard podcasts of people that had attended his retreats. By myself, I can read and theorize; I’ve only experienced fleeting, elusive glimpses of […]

A brief history of biofuels: from ancient history to today

Biofuels were once our primary fuel Biofuels and bioenergy are as old as civilization itself.  Solid biofuels like wood, dung and charcoal have been used ever since man discovered fire, and are still used today for cooking and heating in many communities in developing countries. Even liquid biofuels such as olive oil and whale oil […]

The curious history of the Christmas tree

The Christmas tree is one of the most iconic winter traditions of modern culture. It graces homes and office buildings all over the world and it has been accepted as a symbol of the holiday season by Christians, many other faiths as well as the secular community. The Christmas tree has been a subject of controversy for […]

Growing older while female: power, stereotypes and Hollywood

This morning, my 6-year old daughter found a few stray white hairs on my head and said, “Wow mom, you’re going to be an old lady soon!”. I’ll be turning 37 in a few weeks, yet 40 – the beginning of a new era – is just around the corner. I’m sure I’ll still look and feel […]

Artificial intelligence, military robots and consciousness

This summer, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk, physicist Stephen Hawking, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and over 1000 leading experts in artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics signed an open letter warning of a “military artificial intelligence arms race” and called for a ban on “offensive autonomous weapons”. These weapons have been described as the […]

Relationships edition: A watched pot never boils

They say a watched pot never boils – waiting for something with eager attention seems to take a very long time. We’ve all been there. For example, a friend of mine was distraught with anxiety about whether a man she recently met would ask her out for another date. The smallest of his actions led […]

From agnostic to gnostic: from ignorance to knowledge

I used to refer to myself as an agnostic, or someone who neither believes nor disbelieves in the existence of God. I used this as a safe haven to avoid the ridiculous debates between modern militant atheists and the radical religious right, both blindly believing in their own paradigms. Ironically, my atheist peers have repeatedly […]

Honey: liquid gold

While visiting my parents last week, my father remarked, “I’ve never seen your skin so clear”. My secret is a substance that I’ve always had in the kitchen but that I now also keep in the bathroom. Called the “food of the gods” or “liquid gold”, honey has unique nutritional and medicinal properties that go well beyond […]

Hermeticism: the nexus between science, philosophy and spirit

Last week, I summarized the history of alchemy in Europe, the Middle East, India and China. Alchemy is tradition spanning millennia that influenced the development of modern chemistry, medicine, philosophy and psychology. Western alchemy blends Greek, Egyptian, Islamic and Jewish traditions, and is a branch of Hermetic philosophy, which is based on the works of […]

Alchemy: how a tradition spanning millennia became modern chemistry

Alchemy is generally seen as an archaic proto-science based on superstition that is of little interest to the modern chemist. In truth, chemistry owes much to alchemy, which covers philosophical traditions and chemical history spanning several millennia in the Middle East, China, India and Europe. Alchemy has played a significant role in the development of […]

Dreams and visions in scientific innovation  

  “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” – Albert Einstein Scientists and researchers spend over two decades in school learning to identify problems, design projects, construct experiments, collect data, conduct literature reviews, calculate, […]

Can knowledge come from within? or A brief history of knowledge

In modern day, the most credible way to understand nature and the universe is through science. Science is defined as: “the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.” (Oxford Dictionary) The root of the word science originates from the latin, scientia, which means knowledge. Knowledge comes from the Greek word, Gnosis, signifying knowing through […]

Waldorf schools, Theosophy and Rudolf Steiner

Out of curiosity, I recently visited the École Rudolph Steiner de Montréal, a private French language school in Notre-Dame-de-Grace. The school spans grade 1 to 8 and practices Waldorf pedagogy, which is centered on imagination, spirituality and holistic learning. The first Waldorf School opened in 1919 in Germany and now there are over 1000 Waldorf schools in 60 countries worldwide. Waldorf […]