Why on earth would we sacrifice our lives for lasting fame?
Island-mindedness has no place in a cosmopolitan age
Time to clean all the junk science out of our courtrooms
Even a legal plan can’t safeguard the manner of your dying
There are few fantasies so absurd as the idea of living on through fame. So why does immortality still beckon?
No island is an island
Islands are a natural laboratory for science, they gave us evolution. But isolation is no model for a cosmopolitan age
Framed by forensics
Junky, out-of-date science fuels jury errors and tragic miscarriages of justice. How can we throw it out of court?
Nobody wants a protracted, dehumanised death: why is it still so easy for doctors to ignore a dying patient's wishes?
Talk like an Egyptian
If we want to safeguard our languages, stories and ideas against extinction, we had better study Egyptology
The gene that jumped
Genes that leap from one species to another are more common than we thought. Does this shake up the tree of life?
Social progress, high-speed transport and electricity everywhere – how the Victorians invented the future
Misunderstanding risk factors has led to massive overtreatment of diseases people don’t have and probably never will
The modern wedding
A white gown, a grand reception, a multi-tiered cake – the stuff of a traditional wedding or something else entirely?
For decades, the idea of a language instinct has dominated linguistics. It is simple, powerful and completely wrong
The golden quarter
Some of our greatest cultural and technological achievements took place between 1945 and 1971. Why has progress stalled?
What I learned about fear, sex, desire and dread from the peculiar pleasures of diving with great white sharks
The sorrow of bees
Scientists torturing bees to save them have nightmares about the work. Must grief be part of experimental design?
The Communion wafer is food and symbol, relic and rite. In an age plagued by fears of disease, can it still help us connect?
The good zombie
The new zombie still eats brains, but it can think, emote and even fall in love. Why zombies with heart are on the rise
Fra Angelico’s frescos inspired generations of devotion. Can religious art still work its magic on the godless?
Disgust is often used as a tool of persuasion. But are gut feelings ever a reliable guide in questions of right and wrong?
Numbing the imagination
CGI has become wearingly dull and cliched. Can its deep weirdness be recovered and filmgoers’ minds stretched again?
The self is moral
We tend to think that our memories determine our identity, but it’s moral character that really makes us who we are
The bitter truth
Today’s bitter craft beers are dominated by hoppy preservatives. How did they taste back when brewers were shamans?
Is the growing market for male escorts a sign of female sexual liberation or just a re-run of the same old stereotypes?
The most exciting discovery in physics could come about thanks to telecoms satellites. Is a single theory of reality in sight?
In the 1940s, Japan’s search for a national philosophy became a battle for existence. Did Zen ideas create the kamikaze?
People once woke up halfway through the night to think, write or make love. What have we lost by sleeping straight through?
We prize originality, yet humans are natural-born copycats and only good imitators survive. Is it time to celebrate the rip-off?
Chicken of tomorrow
How a massive breeding contest turned a rarely eaten backyard bird into the technological marvel that feeds the world
The unearned gift
How does it feel when writer’s block finally gives way, and what is it that brings back the grace of creation?
Going to the chapel
Paul Simon’s album ‘Graceland’ is a joyous political statement. Does it strike the same chord in the sombre Rothko Chapel?