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Essay/Cultures & Languages

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

John McWhorter

Essay/Childhood & 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/Making

Chabuduo! Close enough …

Your balcony fell off? Chabuduo. Vaccines are overheated? Chabuduo. How China became the land of disastrous corner-cutting

James Palmer

Idea/Sports & Games

Monopoly was invented to demonstrate the evils of capitalism

Kate Raworth

Essay/Cultures & Languages

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

Robert Twigger

Essay/Cognition & Intelligence

One more time

Why do we listen to our favourite music over and over again? Because repeated sounds work magic in our brains

Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis

Essay/Cognition & Intelligence

Real talk

For decades, the idea of a language instinct has dominated linguistics. It is simple, powerful and completely wrong

Vyvyan Evans

Essay/Philosophy of Religion

Undercover atheists

Seduced by science and rationalism, yet tied to their families and communities, Hasidic atheists opt for a double life

Batya Ungar-Sargon

Essay/Food & Drink

Joy in the task

Even the finest restaurants are serving coffee made with capsules. Have we lost faith in the human touch?

Julian Baggini

Essay/Digital Culture

Creepypasta

With a flood of dark memes and viral horror stories, the internet is mapping the contours of modern fear

Will Wiles

Idea/Stories & Literature

Deep time’s uncanny future is full of ghostly human traces

David Farrier

Essay/Cities

Me, myself and I

Loneliness can be a shameful hunger, a shell, a dangerous landscape of shadowy figures. But it is also a gift

Olivia Laing

Essay/Cultures & Languages

See through words

The metaphor designer isn’t trying to make something beautiful. She wants to change your view on things. Here’s how

Michael Erard

EXCLUSIVE
Video/Art

Go underground with a little known artist who’s dug caves by hand for 20 years

39 minutes

Essay/Nature & Environment

The ghost commune

Unplugging from the electrical grid was relatively easy. What we didn’t realise was that we needed the human grid, too

Michelle Nijhuis

Idea/Art

The history of ugliness shows that there is no such thing

Gretchen E Henderson

Idea/Digital Culture

Murder in virtual reality should be illegal

Angela Buckingham

Essay/Design & Fashion

Hot girl #2

Because I’m getting older, my days as a model are numbered – and I’m not sure what to do next

Melissa Stetten

Essay/Stories & Literature

Bookish fools

The book has always been a sign of status and refinement; a declaration of self-worth – even for those who hate to read

Frank Furedi

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

Essay/Beauty & Aesthetics

Rise of the ripped

With bodies sculpted to look like comic-book heroes, today’s muscle men create an impossible template for masculinity

Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore

Essay/Design & Fashion

Losing the thread

Older than bronze and as new as nanowires, textiles are technology — and they have remade our world time and again

Virginia Postrel

Idea/Rituals & Celebrations

Why we need to bring back the art of communal bathing

Jamie Mackay

Essay/Memoir

Hotel Melancholia

Travel is supposed to make us feel more alive, so why is the hotel room a place of such loneliness and despair?

Suzanne Joinson

Essay/Philosophy of Religion

Inside the mind of God

Punitive Big Brother; cosmic petty-thief-catcher; vigilant landlord. Why is God so interested in bad behaviour?

Benjamin Grant Purzycki

Video/Design & Fashion

An exuberant Oscar®-winning film on glass-blowing, automation and all that jazz

10 minutes

Essay/Love & Friendship

If a cat could talk

Felines walk the line between familiar and strange. We stroke them and they purr, then in a trice they pounce

David Wood

Essay/Metaphysics

Everything and Moore

The legendary comics author Alan Moore has written a million-word novel, tribute to every eternal speck in his universe

Tim Martin

Essay/Film & Television

Neurothriller

It’s not just your imagination. Horror films are much more scary than they were in the past. Here’s how they do it

Patricia Pisters

Essay/Architecture & Landscape

Streets with no game

Boring cityscapes increase sadness, addiction and disease-related stress. Is urban design a matter of public health?

Colin Ellard