December recommendations

Documentary / Amazon Prime, 1 hour, 51 minutes 
A former NFL star faces a world of contradictions when he’s diagnosed with ALS right as his wife becomes pregnant with their first child. Offering an intimate look at the realities of a degenerative disease and the tolls it takes on a young family, Gleason showcases the resilience of the human spirit and the power of believing our futures will be greater than our pasts.  

Kurzgesagt: Universal Basic Income Explained - Free Money for Everybody? 
Youtube video, 10 minutes 
What is UBI? How would free money change our lives? Is the rise of AI making this an inevitable trajectory? This animated video takes the "explain it like I'm five" approach to try and answer these questions as objectively as possible. Hopeful possibilities and unexpected consequences are equally explored. 

A Son's Race to Give His Dying Father Artificial Immortality
By James Vlahos
WIRED, ~25 minutes

Can a personality live on artificially? If so, can we find comfort in a technology that carries on the subtleties of those we knew and loved after they’re gone? The jury will be long out on whether this is healthy to the healing process, or detrimental. The tougher question is if it’s right. 

Dragons of Eden
by Carl Sagan
Book, 289 pages 

Carl Sagan’s exploration of the human brain  - winner of the 1978 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction - assumes no magic. This book is unique in its approach to the brain as a product of natural selection and a decipherable entity that is composed of atoms. By tracing how our brain evolved from reptiles - the dragons in the title - Sagan embraces the very little we know about the most complex organ in the human body, and imagines what we could learn in the future.

Ben Brostoff