The Crazy And Charming Theory Of Love In Plato’s “Symposium”

Plato Symposium

A symposium scene on a 5th century BCE Greek cup currently housed in the State Antiquities Collection in Munich, Germany. Source: Wikimedia

Written 2,400 years ago, Plato’s philosophical novella, Symposium, includes one of the weirdest – and most charming – explanations of why people fall in love ever invented. Plato gives this trippy exegesis to the playwright Aristophanes, who appears as a character in the book.

Before turning to Aristophanes’s odd speech, let’s set the stage. First, we’re at a dinner party. Wealthy Athenian men have gathered, as they often did, to drink wine, eat, philosophize, and carouse with women, younger men, or each other. On this (fictional) occasion, the guests are all playwrights and philosophers and they include Plato’s idol Socrates. As the night progresses, the conversation turns to the meaning of love.

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25 Rooftop Gardens That Will Make Your Jaw Drop

Rooftop Gardens Curved Roof

Urban planners are frequently including green features like rooftop gardens in their designs. Source: Homes Direct

Rooftop gardens might seem like a development of modernity, but they actually date back to antiquity. From the famed ziggurats of Mesopotamia to the wondrous Hanging Gardens of Babylon, roof gardens have not only served to delight people, but also to grow food, provide flood control and insulate homes. Many cities across the globe are promoting the installation of rooftop gardens for these very reasons.

Rooftop gardens are most commonly found in cities where free ground level space is limited, heat build-up is of concern and water overflow is an issue. Gardens can actually reduce the overall heat absorption of a building, thus reducing energy consumption and helping fight smog. But that’s not the only thing these little environmental superheroes do. They also provide space for growing affordable and sustainable crops, recreation and migratory way stations for animals.

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Our Disappearing Glaciers, Seen Through Designers’ Eyes

If it weren’t for the startling implications, James Balog and Jeanne Gang’s short film on our disappearing glaciers would be rather…soothing. But given the fact that these images didn’t come out of a design studio, and that they are emblematic of an increasingly warm world, the footage of glacial retreat is more than a bit troubling. To learn more of the science behind warming temperatures, check out our post.

Vintage NASA Photography Highlights Our Space Legacy

classic nasa eugene cernan

December 1972, Apollo 17 mission: Portrait of astronaut Eugene Cernan by Harrison Schmitt.
Huffington Post

Due to relatively recent funding cuts at NASA, it seems that interest in and support of space travel is at an all-time low. It hasn’t always been this way, though. The Cold War helped convene scientists, politicians and security specialists and focus attention to the stars. The developments that followed catapulted us to places previously unknown, and greatly altered the way we conceive of space, science and security. These vintage NASA images take us back to that time of fear, excitement and opportunity.

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classic nasa buzz aldrin

November 1966, Gemini 12: Astronaut Buzz Aldrin takes the first selfie in space. Huffington Post

classic nasa american flag

December 1972, Apollo 17: Harrison Schmitt captures Eugene Cernan with the Earth hovering above an American flag. Huffington Post

classic nasa space walk

June 3rd, 1965, Gemini 4: Ed White makes the first EVA (extravehicular activity) or Spacewalk for the US, over New Mexico. Photo by James McDivitt Huffington Post

classic nasa earth view

December 1968, Apollo 8: William Anders captures the first Earth-rise ever to be seen by humans. Huffington Post

classic nasa flag moon

February 1971, Apollo 14: Edgar Mitchell photographs Alan Shepard and the American flag on the moon’s surface. Huffington Post

classic nasa dark side of the moon

February 1967, Lunar Orbiter 3: First high quality image taken of the ‘dark side’ of the moon. Huffington Post

classic nasa neil armstrong

July 1969, Apollo 11: Buzz Aldrin photographs Neil Armstrong on the surface of the moon. This is the only clear image of Armstrong on the moon’s surface, and was not known about for decades. Huffington Post

classic nasa lunar reflection

November 1969, Apollo 12 EVA2: Alan Bean captured with the image of photographer Pete Conrad reflected in his visor. Huffington Post

classic nasa walter cunningham

October 1968, Apollo 7: On-board photograph of Walter Cunningham shot by Walter Schirra. Huffington Post

classic nasa gemini 9

June 1966, Gemini 9: “The Angry Alligator” photo by Eugene Cernan. Huffington Post

Classic nasa florida sun

October 1968, Apollo 7: Photo by Walter Cunningham of the Florida Peninsula with the sun shining high above the Earth’s surface. Huffington Post

classic nasa island earth

July 11th, 1969 Image of the surface of the Earth partially covered by shadow. Huffington Post

classic nasa rocket launch

April 1972, Apollo 16 lifts off on its mission to be the 5th manned spacecraft to land on the moon and the first to land in the lunar highlands. Huffington Post

classic nasa first photo

October 20th, 1946 the first photograph taken from space. Taken 65 miles above the planet’s surface, the photograph was developed by engineer Clyde Holliday. Huffington Post

classic nasa mendeleev-basin

August 1971, Apollo 15, Al Worden photographer: oblique telephoto panorama of the North Rim of Crater Pasteur, on the far side of the Moon. Huffington Post Reproduction, © Bloomsbury Auctions

classic nasa north rim

May 1969, Apollo 10: Telephoto panorama view of the moon floor and western rim of Mendeleev Basin. Huffington Post Reproduction, © Bloomsbury Auctions

classic nasa station 8

August 1st, 1971, Apollo 15 EVA-2: David Scott at the ALSEP site near the LM, Station 8, panoramic view. Huffington Post Reproduction, © Bloomsbury Auctions

classic nasa hadley delta

August 1st, 1971, Apollo 15 EVA-2: Panoramic view of David Scott photographing a geologic ¬find at Hadley Delta mountain, near Station 6. Photos by James Irwin. Huffington Post Reproduction, © Bloomsbury Auctions

classic nasa hadley station 6

August 1st, 1971, Apollo 15 EVA-2: 300 feet up the flank of 11,500-foot-high Hadley Delta mountain, Station 6. Photos by James Irwin. Huffington Post Reproduction, © Bloomsbury Auctions

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