Essays

Latest Popular


Essay/Physics

This granular life

That the world is not solid but made up of tiny particles is a very ancient insight. Is it humanity’s greatest idea?

Carlo Rovelli

Essay/Cosmopolitanism

This is your morning

I left the US, the land of my birth, sickened by racial injustice. But the return to a homeland is not a simple matter

Enuma Okoro

Essay/Family Life

Latte pappas

Sweden’s hands-on dads represent an alternate male form forged by lowered testosterone and the potent hormones of attachment

Richard W Orange

Essay/Metaphysics

Unspeakable things

Life's most meaningful experiences can leave us tongue-tied. What can be said, let alone understood, about the unsayable?

Silvia Jonas

Essay/Illness & Disease

A bug for Alzheimer’s?

A bold theory places infection at the root of Alzheimer’s, explaining why decades of treatment have done little good

Melinda Wenner Moyer

Essay/Logic

What is logic?

Is logical thinking a way to discover or to debate? The answers from philosophy and mathematics define human knowledge

Catarina Dutilh Novaes

Essay/Family Life

How to be a patriarch

His duties are many, his challenges weighty, but his glory can be great. A guide to family management, by a Roman nobleman

Jerry Toner & Marcus Sidonius Falx

Essay/Philosophy of Language

Chomsky, Wolfe and me

I took on Noam Chomsky’s ideas about language and unleashed a decade of debate and ridicule. But is my argument wrong?

Daniel Everett

Essay/Education

Child’s play

The authoritative statement of scientific method derives from a surprising place — early 20th-century child psychology

Henry Cowles

Essay/Meaning & the Good Life

Dreadful dads

Few of the great existentialists had children. How can their philosophy help with the anxiety and dread of fatherhood?

Clancy Martin & John Kaag

Essay/History

Drugs du jour

LSD in the ’60s; ecstasy in the ’80s; ‘smart’ drugs today: how we get high reflects the desires and fears of our times

Cody Delistraty

Essay/Digital Culture

Shame on you

Unburdening ourselves online can feel radical and liberating. But is baring and sharing all as emancipatory as it seems?

Firmin deBrabander

Essay/Neuroscience

Here’s looking at you

Filmmakers have tapped laws of perception still unexplored by neuroscience to create a visual feast in the brain

Jeffrey M Zacks

Essay/Illness & Disease

The case against sugar

A potent toxin that alters hormones and metabolism, sugar sets the stage for epidemic levels of obesity and diabetes

Gary Taubes

Essay/Ethics

The Phineas Gage effect

When someone changes for the worse, we see a totally different person. But what happens if the change is for the better?

Kevin Tobia

Essay/Deep Time

Welcome to Terra Sapiens

Humans have been altering Earth for millennia, but only now are we wise to what we’re doing. How will we use that wisdom?

David Grinspoon

volume_up
play_arrow
pause
Essay/Biology

The queen does not rule

The ant colony has often served as a metaphor for human order and hierarchy. But real ant society is radical to its core

Deborah M Gordon

Essay/Deep Time

What say you, dinosaur?

Did Neanderthals speak? Did dinosaurs roar? And when did birds begin to sing? The soundscape of deep time is coming back

Alex Riley

Essay/Addiction

The addiction habit

Addiction changes the brain but it's not a disease that can be cured with medicine. In fact, it's learned – like a habit

Marc Lewis

Essay/Mathematics

Future tension

Facts about the past and present are either true or false. Can knowledge of the future offer the same degree of certainty?

Anthony Sudbery

volume_up
play_arrow
pause
Essay/Love & Friendship

Bad friends

Even the best of friends can fill you with tension and make you sick. Why does friendship so readily turn toxic?

Carlin Flora

Essay/Biology

The minds of other animals

Animal consciousness is taboo in many areas of biological science. What’s so hard about the inner lives of other species?

Antone Martinho

volume_up
play_arrow
pause
Essay/History

Revolutionary heroes

If the sultan of Mysore had had a bit more luck, George Washington might be known as the Haider Ali of North America

Blake Smith

Essay/Stories & Literature

When robots read books

Artificial intelligence sheds new light on classic texts. Literary theorists who don’t embrace it face obsolescence

Inderjeet Mani

volume_up
play_arrow
pause
Essay/Nutrition & Exercise

Is this medical bulimia?

A new medical device enables the expulsion of stomach contents for weight loss. Are you feeling disgusted? Should you be?

Nitin K Ahuja

volume_up
play_arrow
pause
Essay/Ethics

Honestly, it’s fine!

Tight-lipped, frosty and fake, the passive-aggressive person never quite takes the blame. Is this always a bad thing?

Rebecca Roache

Essay/The Home

Nobody is home

From the footloose networker to the exiled migrant, home has been displaced by an idea that’s both elusive and contested

Charles Leadbeater

volume_up
play_arrow
pause
Essay/Poverty & Development

The harvests of Chernobyl

Thirty years after the nuclear disaster, local berry-pickers earn a good living. What’s the hidden cost of their wares?

Kate Brown & Olha Martynyuk

volume_up
play_arrow
pause
Essay/Genetics

Wild thing

How and why did humans domesticate animals – and what might this tell us about the future of our own species?

Jacob Mikanowski

volume_up
play_arrow
pause
Essay/Work

Fuck work

Economists believe in full employment. Americans think that work builds character. But what if jobs aren’t working anymore?

James Livingston