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Essay/
Childhood and adolescence
The play deficit

Children today are cossetted and pressured in equal measure. Without the freedom to play they will never grow up

Peter Gray

Essay/
Knowledge
How to choose?

When your reasons are worse than useless, sometimes the most rational choice is a random stab in the dark

Michael Schulson

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

Essay/
Childhood and adolescence
Where’s Bobbi Fischer?

Little girls sign up to play chess in droves. So why are so few of the world’s top players women?

Hana Schank

Essay/
Stories and literature
The truth about tarot

Whether divining ancient wisdoms or elevating the art of cold reading, tarot is a form of therapy, much like psychoanalysis

James McConnachie

Essay/
Personality
How luck works

You’re at the casino and you win big – a lucky fluke, divine intervention or inner smarts? The answer’s against the odds

Carlin Flora

Essay/
Computing and artificial intelligence
Hunger games

A new wave of videogames offers lessons in powerlessness, scarcity and inevitable failure. What makes them so compelling?

Will Wiles

Essay/
Ethics
Tennis with Plato

In play an adult can become like a child, fully absorbed in the here-and-now. Play, not work, brings us fully to life

Mark Rowlands

Essay/
Beauty and aesthetics
Against flow

In the myth of flow, the performer soars when the music starts. But it’s grit and self-analysis until the very last bar

Barbara Gail Montero

Essay/
Music
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?

Philip Ball

Essay/
Sports and games
Rules of ascent

For mountaineers, it’s not enough to get to the top – it must be done a certain way. But why is the harder way better?

Paul Sagar

Essay/
Bioethics
A doping manifesto

The rules on doping in sport are incoherent – should we change them to allow the right kind of performance enhancement?

Julian Savulescu

Essay/
Neurodiversity
Soccer broke my brain

I was 17 when concussion put me on the bench for good. Only now do we understand how sports injuries affect the mind

Rebecca Ruiz

Essay/
Dance and theatre
The comic’s quandary

Does heckling let the real comedian stand up and shine, or does it trample a punchline and mangle a routine?

Lary Wallace

Essay/
Computing and artificial intelligence
Return to Nib’s Knoll

As kids, we make secret worlds – in trees, in our imaginations, even online – but can we go back to them when we’re grown?

Robin Sloan