All posts by M.C.

Can You Overdose on Happiness? – Issue 60: Searches

It is a good question, but I was a little surprised to see it as the title of a research paper in a medical journal: “How Happy Is Too Happy?”

Yet there it was in a publication from 2012. The article was written by two Germans and an American, and they were grappling with the issue of how we should deal with the possibility of manipulating people’s moods and feeling of happiness through brain stimulation. If you have direct access to the reward system and can turn the feeling of euphoria up or down, who decides what the level should be? The doctors or the person whose brain is on the line?

What happiness looks like: Deep brain stimulation involves the implantation of electrodes in the … Read the rest

Why Happiness Is Hard to Find—in the Brain – Issue 60: Searches

I arrived for my meeting with Professor Chambers at the pleasant Cardiff pub near his office where we’d agreed to have lunch. He was already sitting at the back of the room, and waved me a hello as I entered.

Professor Chris Chambers is a disarmingly laidback Australian in his late 30s. In what seemed to be a complete submission to cultural stereotypes, he was, at the time, wearing a T-shirt and baggy shorts (despite it raining outside). He is also completely bald, to a “shiny” extent. I’ve met several younger male professors now who have little to no hair on their heads. My theory is that their big powerful brains generate so much heat that it scorches the follicles from the inside.

Pavel L Photo … Read the rest

Inside the Lost “Harvard” of Paris

Inside the Lost “Harvard” of Paris

Gustave Eiffel, the Michelin brothers, the Peugeot family– they were all educated by one of the oldest, most prestigious universities in France– which no longer exists. In its heyday, this ‘Harvard of Paris’ was housed in an extraordinary 17th century Parisian mansion, one that if you’ve been to Paris, you’re most likely very well-acquainted with. You see, I happened upon an album of photographs in the archives of the French National Library, which allows us a glimpse through the windows of perhaps the grandest école in French history. I’d never heard of this École Centrale des Arts et Manufactures, but as I began looking closer at the architecture, I realised I’d been here before!Read the rest