Why are so few crime novels about female thrill-killers?
Why dowsing for water is a test of faith – and of science
If we can learn while asleep, when will we ever switch off?
Stagnant and dull, can digital books ever replace print?
Murder she wrought
Female thrill-killers are rare in crime fiction. Why is it hard to imagine a woman who murders for pleasure not revenge?
Climate of doubt
Devastated by years of drought, California farmers hire dowsers to locate their water, exposing the power of belief
New evidence suggests that we can learn while we sleep, but do we really want to put our hours of rest to work?
Digital books stagnate in closed, dull systems, while printed books are shareable, lovely and enduring. What comes next?
Aimé Césaire and Léopold Senghor had a radical vision for the world: decolonisation without national independence
Working on TV
The golden age of TV drama raises some big questions about work and the meaning of life
She swoons to conquer
Readers of romance fiction enjoy tales of alpha males and forced seduction. Could they still be considered feminists?
When no ancient chat or post is beyond the grasp of Google, what matters more: the right to forget, or to be remembered?
The dimming of the light
With its revolutionary heat and rational cool, French thought once dazzled the world. Where did it all go wrong?
Welfare's last stand
Long in retreat in the US, the welfare state found a haven in an unlikely place – the military, where it thrived for decades
Light travels at around 300,000 km per second. Why not faster? Why not slower? A new theory inches us closer to an answer
A happy state
Why is the welfare state under attack when happiness economics shows it is the system most conducive to human wellbeing?
The company you keep
Hallucinated voices can be helpful life guides, muses of creativity, and powerful agents for healing the fractured self
Paleogenetics is helping to solve the great mystery of prehistory: how did humans spread out over the earth?
Perfect genetic knowledge
Human genomics is just the start: the Earth has 50 billion tons of DNA. What happens when we have the entire biocode?
What do they want?
What would happen if the aid industry started collecting data on how the people it serves actually feel about their lives?
History is full of sorrowful knights, sobbing monks and weeping lovers – what happened to the noble art of the manly cry?
Clothes and daggers
British missionaries hated the sari; US feminists would ban the burqa. Why do empires care so much about women’s clothes?
Lying for science
Psychologists used to manipulate and deceive their subjects with impunity. Did the end justify the means?
I am not a story
Some find it comforting to think of life as a story. Others find that absurd. So are you a Narrative or a non-Narrative?
Streets with no game
Boring cityscapes increase sadness, addiction and disease-related stress. Is urban design a matter of public health?
Every living thing
Why shower precious resources on rescuing individual animals while habitats are destroyed and whole species disappear?
Homes for the homeless
San Francisco’s homeless are harangued and despised while conservative Utah has a radically humane approach
Fat but fit?
The medical evidence is overwhelming – obesity is bad for you and it would be a major mistake to give up fighting it
When the truth hurts
The truth about health or personal relationships can entail pain and regret. Is it sometimes better to stay in the dark?
Was I raped?
Brutal assaults by strangers are unambiguous. But what should a woman do when she is the victim of an ‘almost rape’?
The end of walking
In Orwellian fashion, Americans have been stripped of the right to walk, challenging their humanity, freedom and health
Digital star chamber
Algorithms are producing profiles of you. What do they say? You probably don’t have the right to know