Long after the days of Downtown Abbey and personal servants, Chris Moss argues that the best way to be an upstanding modern day (hu)man is definitely not by following Country Life’s tips for being a “modern gentleman.” (Telegraph)

Through endless practice of beauty and perfection, dancers break their bodies — and often their minds. After the enormous physical and mental toll, they still pull in a much lower income than other athletes and artists of comparable prestige. Read about the grace and struggle of two of ballet’s finest. (Der Spiegel)

Humanity is an animal. Is this statement metaphor or fact? Perhaps both. As we strive to understand what sets us apart from the other critters on planet earth, Robert Sapolsky takes a hard look at empathy, metaphor, and the brain chemistry responsible. (Nautilus)

What’s your favorite number? And why? Here are six of the best responses. (Intelligent Life) •

Maren Larsen is the associate editor of The Smart Set. She is a digital journalism student, college radio DJ, and outdoor enthusiast.


Long live the clowns. Long live the clowns and the jugglers and fire-eaters and dancers. Long live the trapeze artists and acrobats and magicians. Long live all the live performers who entertain us on the stage and street. It seems they are all going to die.


A eulogy is sad celebration, but who among us can say that we were surprised when Laurence Shatkin, Ph.D., author of 2011 Career Plan, 200 Best Jobs for Introverts, 250 Best-Paying Jobs, 150 Best Jobs for a Better World, Best Jobs for the 21st Century, et al., recently announced that “stage performer” is a dying profession in America. We were not surprised. We’ve been living in an increasingly automated world for more than a century now. We’ve grown to expect, without much resistance, that modernity will continue to turn… More…