Can neuroscience give my brain the plasticity of a child’s?
How the Scientific Revolution made an honest man of God
Should you fact-check your grandma’s Facebook posts?
How epigenetics got hijacked by the body police
The elastic brain
A child’s brain can master anything from language to music. Can neuroscience extend that genius across the lifespan?
Can God lie?
Until the Scientific Revolution, God’s power included a licence to deceive. How did science make an honest man of Him?
The internet is rife with myths, scams and hoaxes. When any claim can be checked out, why does fiction still trump fact?
Epigenetics has shown that there’s no such thing as a normal human body, so how did it get hijacked by the body police?
The Silk Road might have started as a libertarian experiment, but it was doomed to end as a fiefdom run by pirate kings
She wants to be alone
When even a simple stroll down the sidewalk is an exercise in self-loathing, why don’t more women run away to the woods?
Too many worlds
Nobody knows what happens inside quantum experiments. So why are some so keen to believe in parallel universes?
Since imperial times Chinese governments have yearned for a perfect surveillance state. Will big data now deliver it?
Since ancient times philosophy has tried to cure us of anxiety. But worry is an important part of being a moral person
Seduced by science and rationalism, yet tied to their families and communities, Hasidic atheists opt for a double life
Scorched Earth, 2200AD
Climate change has done its worst, and now just 500 million humans remain on lifeboats in the north. How do they survive?
Be not brave
Cowards have been shamed, beaten and shot, yet their failing has an important social function. Let’s hear it for cowardice
From a vast subculture of gaming addicts in China, only a few go professional and get rich. Is the social cost worth it?
Slaves or wage slaves
Incentives, rewards, bonuses and bonding experiences – Roman slaveowners were the first management theorists
Science once communicated in a polyglot of tongues, but now English rules alone. How did this happen – and at what cost?
Beyond the churn
Junk news is like junk food – a quick bite that fails to nourish. Are slow-burning stories what we really want, and need?
People or parchment?
A fixed constitution has no place in a modern democracy, so why is the founding document of the US still seen as sacred?
From Aesop to doge
The animal who speaks in a human voice is a figure of the most enduring imaginative power. What do we hope to hear?
It is easy to think that mass shooters are simply monsters but that is just a way to duck our shared responsibility
Get ready for companies that run themselves. But will the autonomous economy set us all free, or just make the rich richer?
A fault in our design
We tend to think that technological progress is making us more resilient, but it might be making us more vulnerable
A new wave of videogames offers lessons in powerlessness, scarcity and inevitable failure. What makes them so compelling?
A circus of the senses
It makes letters colourised and numbers pulsate with cosmic time: a rare gift, or are we all on the synaesthetic spectrum?
Pretty in pink
My two-year-old daughter already knows that pink is for girls. And she loves it. Why does that make me see red?
Our latest message to ET could be full of LOLcats and celebs. We should try to do better, or keep quiet altogether
Cover of darkness
The cypherpunks are winning the crypto-war against government spies. What will happen when everyone is anonymous?
Boys and girls alike
An un-consenting child, an unnecessary, invasive surgery: is there any moral difference between male and female circumcision?
The power of story
Across time and culture, stories have been agents of personal transformation – in part because they change our brains