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
Elon Musk argues that we must put a million people on Mars if we are to ensure that humanity has a future
The play deficit
Children today are cossetted and pressured in equal measure. Without the freedom to play they will never grow up
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 golden quarter
Some of our greatest cultural and technological achievements took place between 1945 and 1971. Why has progress stalled?
Mistresses are big business in China, where no official is a real man without his own ernai. What’s in it for the girls?
Indifference is a power
As legions of warriors and prisoners can attest, Stoicism is not grim resolve but a way to wrest happiness from adversity
Beyond true and false
Buddhist philosophy is full of contradictions. Now modern logic is learning why that might be a good thing
How the light gets out
Consciousness is the ‘hard problem’, the one that confounds science and philosophy. Has a new theory cracked it?
An inconvenient child
My six-year-old son was suspended as a danger to others. His crime? A disability you could find in any classroom
People once woke up halfway through the night to think, write or make love. What have we lost by sleeping straight through?
One more time
Why do we listen to our favourite music over and over again? Because repeated sounds work magic in our brains
A theory of jerks
Are you surrounded by fools? Are you the only reasonable person around? Then maybe you’re the one with the jerkitude
Critics say that porn degrades women, dulls sexual pleasure, and ruins authentic relationships – are they right?
If you have a mouthful of teeth shaped by a childhood in poverty, don’t go knocking on the door of American privilege
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
When we peer into the fog of the deep future what do we see – human extinction or a future among the stars?
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 end of sleep?
New technologies are emerging that could radically reduce our need to sleep - if we can bear to use them
Die, selfish gene, die
For decades, the selfish gene metaphor let us view evolution with new clarity. Is it now blinding us?
Lock up your wives!
Advice columns from decades past provide a chilling glimpse into the horrors of marriage counselling before feminism
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?
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?
War in the womb
A ferocious biological struggle between mother and baby belies any sentimental ideas we might have about pregnancy
Is this life real?
Philosophers and physicists say we might be living in a computer simulation, but how can we tell? And does it matter?
The last days of Peter Bergmann
One week, no food
Intrigued by the buzz around medical fasting, I tried it. A rollercoaster of boredom and energy ensued
Boys and girls alike
An un-consenting child, an unnecessary, invasive surgery: is there any moral difference between male and female circumcision?
How I found my way out of depression, thanks to the writings of the English priest who brought Buddhism to the West