The existential lure of astrology

Astrology is often synonymous with mystery and fate. But popular astrologer Chani Nicholas uses words like “access” and “agency” to describe her approach, which is more akin to that of an activist organizing for social change than a clairvoyant inviting you into a curtained room.

Nicholas, whose first book, You Were Born for This: Astrology for Radical Self-Acceptance, was released on January 7, has been working in astrology for over 20 years, amassing over 300,000 followers on Instagram, including superstars like Lizzo and Me Too founder Tarana Burke. Last year, she was commissioned by Spotify to create monthly …

The lost neighborhood under New York’s Central Park

If you’ve been to New York, there’s a good chance you’ve been to Central Park. But there’s a part of the land’s story you will never get to see.

It’s a piece of hidden history that goes back to the 1820s, when this land was largely the open countryside of New York. The expanse became home to about 1,600 people — many of whom were escaping the crowded and increasingly dangerous conditions of lower Manhattan.

Among them was a predominantly black community that bought up affordable plots to build homes, churches, and a school. The area became known as Seneca …

More than half the world’s millennials fear a nuclear attack this decade

A majority of millennials around the world believe it’s more likely than not that a nuclear attack will happen sometime in the next 10 years — a sign that younger adults’ views on global affairs is exceedingly bleak.

The International Committee of the Red Cross, a worldwide humanitarian organization, surveyed 16,000 millennials — adults between the ages of 20 and 35 — in 16 countries and territories last year: Afghanistan, Colombia, France, Indonesia, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Palestinian Territories, Russia, South Africa, Syria, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, and the United States.

Half of those nations are experiencing conflict …

What we still haven’t learned from Gamergate

It’s natural to assess what sociocultural lessons we’ve learned from the previous decade, now that we’ve entered a new one — and whether they’re the kinds that might help us make the 2020s a better era. No honest attempt at such an assessment can be complete without grappling with the messy human dramas and the increasing trend toward polarized, incendiary conversations that emerged in the latter half of the 2010s. And that means contending with the unlikely, unpleasant, and far-reaching watershed movement that was Gamergate.

As it was happening, many members of the media were quick to dismiss it. …

Is rationality overrated?

Since the 1970s, behavioral economists — from Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky to Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler — have been chipping away at the idea that human beings are basically rational creatures. Their work has suggested that we’re actually a lot more irrational than we think.

That’s caused no small amount of hand-wringing: Humans were supposed to be “the rational animal”! Are we instead just doomed to keep making lots of terrible decisions?

New research says there’s another way to look at it. What if people often choose to be irrational in cases where doing the rational thing would …

What we know about a shooting, stabbing, and fire in Honolulu, Hawaii

Two police officers were killed in a shooting in Honolulu, Hawaii Sunday morning — a third officer was reportedly wounded, and fourth person was stabbed.

According to Hawaii News Now, the suspected gunman — who is believed to have died as well — opened fire on police officers responding to a stabbing. That suspected gunman reportedly stabbed his landlord as she tried to evict him.

After the officers arrived, the gunman is believed to have set fire to his building, and those flames destroyed at least three other homes.

“A little bit before 10, we started smelling some smoke,” …