Essay/History of Technology

The Soviet InterNyet

Soviet scientists tried for decades to network their nation. What stalemated them is now fracturing the global internet

Benjamin Peters

Essay/Metaphysics

Bun or bump?

Does the mother contain the foetus or is it a part of her? On the metaphysics of pregnancy, and its ethical implications

Suki Finn

Idea/Death

Humans are the only animals who crave oblivion through suicide

Nicholas Humphrey

Video/Art

How the ‘Master of Black’ uses non-colour to manipulate light in his artwork

4 minutes

Ideas make a difference

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Video/Demography & Migration

Painted frame by frame, a vivid animation restores a history lost to deportation

6 minutes

Idea/Stories & Literature

Black stories matter: on the whiteness of children’s books

Andrea Adomako

Essay/Work

The quitting economy

When employees are treated as short-term assets, they reinvent themselves as marketable goods, always ready to quit

Ilana Gershon

Video/Stories & Literature

A story is like a black box – you put the reader in there: George Saunders on storytelling

7 minutes

Idea/Illness & Disease

Fatal nurture: what a rare disorder says about ‘bad mothers’

Chris Millard

Essay/Neuroscience

Now you see it, now you…

Seeing things that are hidden; failing to see things in plain sight. How magic exploits the everyday weirdness of perception

Vebjørn Ekroll

Popular this month

Idea/History of Ideas

Before you can be with others, first learn to be alone

Jennifer Stitt

Essay/Philosophy of Mind

I attend, therefore I am

You are only as strong as your powers of attention, and other uncomfortable truths about the self

Carolyn Dicey Jennings

Essay/Economics

Of money and morals

Moneylending has been taboo for most of human history. So how did usury stop being a sin and become respectable finance?

Alex Mayyasi

Essay/Bioethics

The pig on your plate

That pigs are smart and sensitive is not in doubt. How can we justify continuing to kill them for food?

Barbara J King

Video/Progress & Modernity

Two young Bushmen grapple with the possibility of transitioning to modern lives

29 minutes

Idea/Beauty & Aesthetics

The revolutionary figure of the beautiful, self-improved soul

Justine Kolata

Essay/Ethics

Moral luck

Two people drive drunk at night: one kills a pedestrian, one doesn't. Does the unlucky killer deserve more blame or not?

Robert J Hartman

Video/History

The amazing and awful outcome of releasing 1.5 million balloons into the sky

7 minutes

Idea/Sports & Games

Monopoly was invented to demonstrate the evils of capitalism

Kate Raworth

Essay/Physics

Operation: neutrino

How the neutrino went from ghost particle to vital physics tool – a tale of bombs, espionage and subtle flavours

David Kaiser

Video/Physics

How the ‘identity agnostic’ neutrino exists in three states all at once

3 minutes

Idea/Astronomy

What high-speed astronomy can tell us about the galactic zoo

Christopher Kochanek

Essay/Bioethics

The pig on your plate

That pigs are smart and sensitive is not in doubt. How can we justify continuing to kill them for food?

Barbara J King

Video/History of Science

In 1938, a fish thought extinct for 65 million years resurfaced, nearly unchanged

7 minutes

Idea/Mental Health

Psychopaths have feelings: can they learn how to use them?

Arielle Baskin-Sommers

Essay/History

America’s hidden philosophy

When Cold War philosophy tied rational choice theory to scientific method, it embedded the free-market mindset in US society

John McCumber

Video/Ethics

Pain leads to empathy and self-preservation: should we make robots ‘feel’ it?

12 minutes

Idea/Politics & Government

Moderation may be the most challenging and rewarding virtue

Aurelian Craiutu

Essay/Cultures & Languages

Is linguistics a science?

Much of linguistic theory is so abstract and dependent on theoretical apparatus that it might be impossible to explain

Arika Okrent