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On the run

Calling for secular reform in Pakistan’s politics earned me the enmity of the political Islamists, who tried to kill me

by Raza Rumi

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User behaviour

Websites and apps are designed for compulsion, even addiction. Should the net be regulated like drugs or casinos?

by Michael Schulson

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We need interactive media not for more thrills but to grasp our world better

6 minutes

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Dance or die! A male spider must impress a female with his moves, or be eaten

4 minutes

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The interrogator’s soul

An ordinary person becomes a torturer with surprising ease. The hard part comes when it’s time to be human again

by Shane O’Mara

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The intellectual history of the debate around assisted suicide

7 minutes

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The Amish are online, onscreen, and multiplying fast. In their battle with modernity, it’s tough to say who’s winning

by Kevin Williams

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Why can’t blindfolded people walk in a straight line? It’s a scientific mystery

4 minutes

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Great pretenders

Live-action role-play is venturing into some weighty social topics. Can make-believe really show us possible worlds?

by Alexa Clay

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Freedom, fantasy, family – the sundry allures of the American renaissance faire

9 minutes

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Better babies

The long and peculiar history of the designer human, from Plato’s citizen breeders to Nobel sperm banks and beyond

by Nathaniel Comfort

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The candid, surprising stories of a tower block’s residents emerge in the lift

25 minutes

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Saved by the book

Self-help books might have a reputation for nonsense but the best of them are more effective than medication or therapy

by Elizabeth Svoboda

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What football goalies do wrong can teach us how to be better at solving problems

7 minutes

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English is not normal

No, English isn’t uniquely vibrant or mighty or adaptable. But it really is weirder than pretty much every other language

by John McWhorter

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Like prizefighters, boxing kangaroos train for years for a shot at supremacy

4 minutes

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The story trap

We use neat stories to explain everything from sports matches to symphonies. Is it time to leave the nursery of the mind?

by Philip Ball