The Concourse of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is an ancient method of healing founded upon the idea of Qi. Qi, written as 气 and pronounced like the “chi” in “chia seeds,” means energy in Chinese. In English, the word “energy” derives from words associated with force and vigor, but anyone who has taken general chemistry or physics knows that the concept of energy has much deeper underpinnings in nature itself. …

A poem inspired by Jessica Salfia’s poem “First lines of emails I’ve received while quarantining.”

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Illustration compiled by Sirena Khanna. Images sourced from Unsplash (Graham Holtshausen, Webaroo, Adam Solomon, John Schnobrich, Wesley Tingey).

This poem is from the perspective of a college student’s inbox. Thank you to the incredible leaders, selfless helpers, and compassionate teachers who have filled my inbox with love and understanding. To the bills, the advertisements, and the annoying reminders that have made this poem possible: thank you, but no thank you.

Reset password.

I hope you and your loved ones are safe and well.
We’re writing to you today with a few important updates:
We would like to inform you that
This is a difficult and confusing time for all of us right now.

I hope you are doing well.
With all that’s happening in the world, we’re doing something different this month:
Social distancing. …

Fingernails hold our secrets in everything from personal data to ancestral roots

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Illustration by Sirena Khanna; Photo by Felix Mittermeier from Pexels

Fingernails define humans

Plato once defined man as a “featherless biped,” which prompted Diogenes the Cynic to pluck a chicken and exclaim, “Behold! There is Plato’s man.” In response, Plato refined his definition of man to “a featherless biped with broad flat nails.” Nails, seemingly boring features only useful for scratching and decorating, made Plato’s cut for the definition of human beings.

“Man is a featherless biped with broad flat nails.”


Plato’s appreciation of nails is not misplaced. Fingernails are far more interesting than we might think. …

How diet changed the evolution of our brains

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Illustration by Sirena Khanna

The Story Begins with Fire…

Food is often on our minds. We are the only species that watches competitive baking, eats tropical fruit in freezing climates, and adorns our food with gold. The mass production, transport, and consumption of foods from all over the world are feats that can only be derived by the human brain, and as it turns out, food is what helped shape our brains in the first place.

The story starts 1.9 million years ago when our ancestors, Homo erectus, first appeared in Eurasia (as the most recent fossil evidence suggests). Raw meat, as well as vegetables and fruit, were staples of the hominid diet. One day, our ancestors made a great culinary advancement and cooked meat entered the scene. By chance or tasteful insight, H. …


Sirena Khanna

I love brains, art, and science. I’m always learning and eager to share the tidbits of life that to me make the human experience so fascinating and unexpected.

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