Why is it so easy to dehumanise a victim of violence?
There is no shame worse than poor teeth in a rich world
What makes the very sticks and stones of a building sacred?
Animal deceivers can warn us against the human variety
The essence of evil
You don’t have to be a monster or a madman to dehumanise others. You just have to be an ordinary human being
If you have a mouthful of teeth shaped by a childhood in poverty, don’t go knocking on the door of American privilege
Houses of the holy
Sacred structures needn’t be religious. Great buildings have a curious power to command reverence in any cultural setting
Snake in the grass
Animals and viruses practise deception, fast and slow, in ways that help us understand human predators and scammers
Everything and Moore
The legendary comics author Alan Moore has written a million-word novel, tribute to every eternal speck in his universe
Sorry but not sorry
No longer the hardest word, a public apology is now the defence strategy of the rich and powerful. Can it still do good?
Human industry is now noisy enough to drown out whale songs. What would happen in the ocean if we went quiet?
Cutting brings relief because emotion and pain criss-cross in the brain. Can we untangle the circuits and stop self-harm?
Human sprawl is usually a threat to wildlife, but birds buck the trend. Can we help biodiversity take wing in our suburbs?
Does relentless enthusiasm really help the world, or should generation TED learn to take a more sceptical view?
The psychology of torture
The Milgram experiments showed that anybody could be capable of torture when obeying an authority. Are they still valid?
Freedom from food
It takes time to plan a meal, to say nothing of cooking and eating it. What if we could opt out of food altogether?
My daughter, myself
Storms of doubt and change I expected as the parent of an adolescent, I just thought they would be hers, not mine
Bonfire of the humanities
Public debate is afflicted by short-term thinking – how did history abdicate its role of inspiring the longer view?
The free-will fix
New brain implants can restore autonomy to damaged minds, but can they settle the question of whether free will exists?
Elon Musk argues that we must put a million people on Mars if we are to ensure that humanity has a future
A closed loop
The DNA helix gave 20th-century biology its symbol. But the more we learn, the more life circles back to an older image
The good death
It’s a modern dream that we can plan a good and peaceful death but what can we really do to meet the end of all we are?
The other half
To end inequality, we must realise that it isn’t about the rich, it’s about the poor. And we know almost nothing about them
Not so foolish
We are told that we are an irrational tangle of biases, to be nudged any which way. Does this claim stand to reason?
Trial by fire
From fire-walking to the ice-bucket challenge, ritual pain and suffering forge intense social bonds
Earth is not a garden
Some of the world’s most powerful conservationists are giving up on wilderness. They are making a big mistake
The calculus of contagion
In the battle against disease, the difference between a raging epidemic and a passing fever comes down to a single number
Runs in the family
Cricketing dynasties seem to imply that talent is genetic. Yet the evidence from other sports queers the pitch
The Grand Tour, 2.0
Can today’s travel deliver on the promise of the Grand Tour – or is the idea of edifying travel utterly bankrupt?
The humanitarian future
Can humanitarian agencies still fly the flag of high principle, or are they just relics of an imperial model of charity?
The first cut
Most American boys are circumcised as a matter of course. Now, many of them feel violated. Should the practice be banned?
Lock up your wives!
Advice columns from decades past provide a chilling glimpse into the horrors of marriage counselling before feminism