Inner Nature: The current understanding of the nature of our universe

By Vidya Rajan, Columnist, The Times The Big Bang was an explosion of immense power at a point in space about 13.7 billion years ago; the singularity from which everything in this universe – energy, space, time, matter – originated. Consensus on the universe’s origins from a fiery explosion emerged because of one incontrovertible signature that it left behind: a little bit of the heat from...

ReFirement at Any Age: Turn the Lights Back On

By Gail Supplee Tatum, Columnist, The Times The title of this article is from a song that Billy Joel wrote after not having written an original song in seventeen years! After years of writing amazing songs that spoke to the world in so many ways, he just wasn’t able to honestly and humbly express something real and authentic. When I heard that and then listened to the song, it brought tears to...

Inner Nature: Cooperation versus Competition

By Vidya Rajan, Columnist, The Times Nobel Laureate William Golding’s book, Lord of the Flies, tells of a group of young boys accidentally marooned on an island, who lost every smidgin of “civilization” and reverted to clannism, competition, and eventually to savagery: they kill the boys who show thoughtfulness. The book’s title became shorthand for the beast inside us all which needs to...

Inner Nature: Time — reality or illusion?

By Vidya Rajan, Columnist, The Times When his dear friend Michele Besso passed away, Einstein wrote a condolence letter: “Michele has left this strange world a little before me. This means nothing. People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction made between past, present and future is nothing more than a persistent, stubborn illusion.” Whether time is real, or whether it...

Smart ways to use your tax refund

By Joe Oliver, Columnist, The Times It’s almost that time of year when many people start receiving their tax refunds. If you get one, what will you do with it? Of course, the answer will depend somewhat on how big your refund is. Last year, the average refund amount was about $2,750, according to the Internal Revenue Service’s Filing Season Statistics report. Whatever the size of your refund,...

Inner Nature: Merde!

By Vidya Rajan. Columnist, The Times Merde. In other words, s**t, p**p, d**g, number 2, BMs, excreta, droppings, stools, feces. This is not a really pleasant subject of conversation, or even a polite one (unless you lived back in the eighteenth century when everyone was apparently fascinated by it as an indicator of health). But it’s an important part of life. If you’ve ever been constipated...

Advice on love, life and surviving Valentine’s Day

By Nancy Plummer, Columnist, The Times Dear Nancy, I’m a widow of five years and finally feel ready to date. My friends put me on a dating app and I realized quickly it’s not for me. Last weekend a few friends and I went skiing nearby and I met this really nice man. We talked in the ski lodge for over two hours and bought me a drink. He wasn’t wearing a ring and my friends felt he was really...

Inner Nature: Cannibalism – proscribed or protein?

By Vidya Rajan, Columnist, The Times Expose a young mouse mother to a stressful stimulus – say a sudden loud noise – and she may eat her own pups. Rough for the young. But what turns a mother from nurture to cannibalism in an instant? Bees will also eat their young – younger larvae first – under some circumstances ([1]). And humans too. Why do they do it? Cannibalism, which is the consumption...

Inner Nature: Virgin Births

By Vidya Rajan, Columnist, The Times December seems a good time of year to bring up the topic of virgin births. Religion aside, this is actually an interesting and significant biological topic. Curiously, virgin births have been documented in all vertebrates with jaws with the exception of mammals. To be clear, the majority of organisms on this planet – single celled bacteria and protists –...

ReFirement at Any Age: ‘Tis the Season to….

By Gail Supplee Tatum, Columnist, The Times Fill in the blank… The holiday season is in full swing! The beauty of sparkling lights and festive decorations in homes and lining the streets reminds us of all that is grand during this time. The scents of fresh evergreen trees and homemade baked goods add to the aroma surrounding homes everywhere. Families gather, creating memories encircled with...