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“awkward phase 5” by J E Theriot is licensed under CC BY 2.0

What is it about awkwardness that we can't seem to get enough of? Philosopher Adam Kotsko says our fascination with awkwardness is more than about entertainment -- it defines our modern era.

Bar time.

For a true case study of an awkward situation, just head to the nearest pick-up bar. Here's what not to say when introducing yourself to a potential mate, in the words of actor and writer Jesse Eisenberg.

flight board

When blogger Jenny Lawson tweeted about an awkward exchange with a cashier at an airport, she couldn't have imagined the flood of responses she'd get from fans recounting their own mortifying moments.

ruined boats

There’s a lot of scientific debate about the future of climate change. But have you ever considered the worst case scenario? David Wallace-Wells gives us one terrifying glimpse into the future.

The thoroughly domesticated dog

Merrill Markoe loves dogs. She’s written two novels and many comic essays about our furry friends. Doug Gordon sat down to talk with her about how dogs became our besties.  

soldiers return home

For some veterans, coming home from war can often be a struggle. In his book "Tribe," journalist Sebastian Junger offers a nuanced and thought provoking take on why it’s so difficult and complicated for some returning veterans. 

revolutionary soldier

In the final volume of Laurie Halse Anderson's “Seeds of America” trilogy, white colonists everywhere can be heard talking about liberty and freedom – just not for African Americans. 

reading a story

Can a better life story make you happier? Psychologist Tim Wilson thinks so, and he describes a technique he calls "story-editing" to create a more hopeful and meaningful life narrative.

Books and a figure

There’s a theory that reading fiction helps us learn to understand other people — and in the process, become kinder, better, more empathetic ourselves.

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