Should we be suspicious of the Anthropocene idea?
Medieval technology, indistinguishable from magic
Do we need a telepathy machine when we already have empathy?
If your memory fails, are you still the same person?
Imagining the Anthropocene
The Anthropocene idea has been embraced by Earth scientists and English professors alike. But how useful is it?
Robots came to Europe before the dawn of the mechanical age. To a medieval world, they were indistinguishable from magic
Would telepathy help?
Will the next generation of telepathy machines make us closer, or are there unforeseen dangers in the melding of minds?
Dementia undermines all of our philosophical assumptions about the coherence of the self. But that might be a good thing
Once and future sins
In 2115, when our descendants look back at our society, what will they condemn as our greatest moral failing?
The stigma of depression is lifting on social media, so if suicide is signalled in your newsfeed, should you intervene?
How to design the future
As technological choices become ever more complex, design fiction, not science, hints at the future we actually want
Inside the mind of God
Punitive Big Brother; cosmic petty-thief-catcher; vigilant landlord. Why is God so interested in bad behaviour?
Like a prayer
Even secular people need time out to meditate, reflect, and give thanks. Is prayer the answer?
It seemed Darwin had banished biological essences – yet evolution would fail without nature’s library of Platonic forms
Why do some people believe conspiracy theories? It’s not just who or what they know. It’s a matter of intellectual character
For all the smart tech, we still feel pressed for time. Are digital services the problem, or are we humans to blame?
The genius and hubris of plastic has been absorbed by every living thing. Is it a curse or evolution’s next step?
To tip or not to tip?
Rude in Tokyo, rude not to in New York – tipping mystifies tourists, economists and anthropologists. Should we stop?
How luck works
You’re at the casino and you win big – a lucky fluke, divine intervention or inner smarts? The answer’s against the odds
Method and madness
Theatre provides stimulus for psychotic, schizophrenic and depressed patients, but can it improve their mental health?
In Japan, beetles are pets, grasshoppers a delicacy and fireflies are adored. Is the creepy-crawly a Western invention?
Get under the hood
Our laptops are sleek and polished. Our operating systems are fluid and intuitive. Computing is easy and that’s a problem
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