Monthly Archives: September 2019

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It’s been 30 years since the public first heard about Area 51. Here’s why UFO hunters are still obsessed. Thousands of people are expected to travel to desert towns in Nevada this weekend, inspired by a viral call to “storm Area 51” in hopes of overpowering the US military and uncovering whatever government secrets might be hiding there. The desert base, which is entirely off-limits to civilians, has long been at the center of a conspiracy among alien fans and ufologists — people who hunt for UFOs. Somewhere amid Area 51’s vast desert acreage, they believe, is a heavily guarded underground lab where the government keeps and studies captured alien aircraft — and possibly even aliens themselves. This belief that Area 51’s “military base” is a cover for alien research has been fully mythologized by pop culture over the years, becoming an entrenched part of alien lore. But those who […]

Have you reached a point where life’s repetitious routine has become overwhelming? Have the best laid plans fallen through? Maybe you’re not sure the right way forward, only that the path you’re on now isn’t it. Perhaps what you need is to step out of your day-to-day for a bit of a life-changing adventure. Perhaps for a week, two or ten. Before you say you can’t afford it, there are lots of ways to pursue an adventure on a limited budget. It’s what I did. Six years ago I embarked on an open-ended adventure. Now I spend half of each year traveling, and I’ve been to six continents, 48 states, 57 countries and in the process, became a better version of myself. Here are some ideas if you’re looking to do the same. Why Are You Going? Think finding yourself is only for the young and unattached? It’s not. You […]

How to get clarity in life. Do you ever feel like you’re completely lost in a world that keeps on racing? The world moves fast. One moment you’re excited about a new opportunity, and the other moment you feel totally hopeless for no particular reason. And if that’s not bad enough, there’s so much noise in the world that we lose sight of what we’re doing. It’s not uncommon to think, “Wait, what was I supposed to do on this planet?” Look, we all get distracted. The world’s a weird place. And people ask me about how we can get clarity all the time. One reader recently sent me this email: “Love to hear you talk about how to get clarity and minimize distractions and noise around us. What techniques do you employ to find that focus?” It’s a good question that got me thinking. And if I look at […]

Some people never grow out of conditional relationships. They hold onto the belief that love and acceptance are contingent on some benefit they’re providing to people, some condition that they must fulfill. We sit silently. My friend stares deeply into her empty glass, occasionally shuffling the ice around with her straw. “Wow,” she says. I sit and wait for her to say something else. What started out as a festive night somehow became a long, deep discussion about love, what it consists of, and how rare it actually is. Finally, I say, “Wow, what?” “I’m just thinking that I’ve never experienced that.” “Well, maybe you just haven’t met the right person yet,” I say — the totally cliche thing that every friend says in this situation. “No,” she says. “I mean, I’ve never experienced that with anyone. My parents, my family, even most of my friends.” She looks up at […]

From 2003 to 2012, music was disposable and nothing survived. . From the late 1990s until whenever we stopped burning things onto compact discs, I gave my friends, family, and colleagues a year-end best-of mix as my Christmas card. I kept it to my favorite 20 songs of the year, the final track listings subject to last-minute switches, bold additions, and sequence changes that were controversial to only myself. During a recent decluttering of my office, I found a whole bunch of them, from 2003 to 2009, and as I popped each one open and looked at the seven years of soundtracks I fretted over for seven solid Decembers, I was faced with one important question: What the hell are most of these songs? Now, listen: I can tell you my favorite music from 1987, because I still have my Replacements, George Michael, and Tommy Keene records. I know my […]

The neurology of flow states. Don’t look at the clock! Now tell me: How much time has passed since you first logged on to your computer today? Time may be a property of physics, but it is also a property of the mind, which ultimately makes it a product of the brain. Time measures out and shapes our lives, and how we live our lives in turn affects how we perceive the passage of time. Your sense of time is malleable and subjective—it changes in response to changing contexts and input, and it can be distorted when the brain is damaged, or affected by drugs, disease, sleep deprivation, or naturally altered states of consciousness. However, a new set of neuroscience research findings suggests that losing track of time is also intimately bound up with creativity, beauty, and rapture. Time is most commonly manipulated by the kinds of things we do to […]