The obesity era
As the American people got fatter, so did marmosets, vervet monkeys and mice. The problem may be bigger than any of us
Are coders worth it?
In today’s world, web developers have it all: money, perks, freedom, respect. But is there value in what we do?
The play deficit
Children today are cossetted and pressured in equal measure. Without the freedom to play they will never grow up
Mistresses are big business in China, where no official is a real man without his own ernai. What’s in it for the girls?
How the light gets out
Consciousness is the ‘hard problem’, the mystery that confounds science and philosophy. Has a new theory cracked it?
When we peer into the fog of the deep future what do we see – human extinction or a future among the stars?
The end of sleep?
New technologies are emerging that could radically reduce our need to sleep - if we can bear to use them
Chinese parents bemoan their children’s laziness and greed, but this generation of young people has had enough
Joy in the task
Even the finest restaurants are serving coffee made with capsules. Have we lost faith in the human touch?
Master of many trades
Our age reveres the specialist but humans are natural polymaths, at our best when we turn our minds to many things
Die, selfish gene, die
For decades, the selfish gene metaphor let us view evolution with new clarity. Is it now blinding us?
The reality show
Schizophrenics used to see demons and spirits. Now they talk about actors and hidden cameras – and make a lot of sense
The golden age
The 15-hour working week predicted by Keynes may soon be within our grasp – but are we ready for freedom from toil?
The great swindle
From pickled sharks to compositions in silence, fake ideas and fake emotions have elbowed out truth and beauty
The very laws of physics imply that artificial intelligence must be possible. What's holding us up?
I love her and it’s a secret. I love her so much it kills me, and you bet I’d sooner die than tell her
Trying to resolve the stubborn paradoxes of their field, physicists craft ever more mind-boggling visions of reality
The meanings of life
Happiness is not the same as a sense of meaning. How do we go about finding a meaningful life, not just a happy one?
One week, no food
Intrigued by the buzz around medical fasting, I tried it. A rollercoaster of boredom and energy ensued
The kindness of beasts
Dogs rescue their friends and elephants care for injured kin – humans have no monopoly on moral behaviour
Does life have a purpose?
Nobody expects atoms and molecules to have purposes, so why do we still think of living things in this way?
If human history turns on the tilt of the multiverse, can we still trust our ideas of achievement, progress and morality?
Out of the deep
From Atlantis to Noah’s Ark, we have long been drawn to stories of submerged lands. What lies beneath the flood myths?
Hot girl #2
Because I'm getting older, my days as a model are numbered – and I'm not sure what to do next
Where's the male Pill?
Many promising male contraceptives are in development, but none has come to market. So why has it taken so long?
Me, myself and I
Loneliness can be a shameful hunger, a shell, a dangerous landscape of shadowy figures. But it is also a gift
Solitude is enlightening but if it does not lead us back to society, it can become a spiritual dead end
The vanishing groves
A chronicle of climates past and a portent of climates to come – the telling rings of the bristlecone pine
I’m 43 years old now, damn it, and my life is amazing. So why am I comparing myself to some styled professional?
Return of the oppressed
From the Roman Empire to our own Gilded Age, inequality moves in cycles. The future looks like a rough ride