The empty brain
Your brain does not process information, retrieve knowledge or store memories. In short: your brain is not a computer
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
The obesity era
As the American people got fatter, so did marmosets, vervet monkeys and mice. The problem may be bigger than any of us
Indifference is a power
As legions of warriors and prisoners can attest, Stoicism is not grim resolve but a way to wrest happiness from adversity
The play deficit
Children today are cossetted and pressured in equal measure. Without the freedom to play they will never grow up
Economists believe in full employment. Americans think that work builds character. But what if jobs aren’t working anymore?
Elon Musk argues that we must put a million people on Mars if we are to ensure that humanity has a future
Are coders worth it?
In today’s world, web developers have it all: money, perks, freedom, respect. But is there value in what we do?
The golden quarter
Some of our greatest cultural and technological achievements took place between 1945 and 1971. Why has progress stalled?
Adversity in childhood can create long-lasting scars, damaging our cells and our DNA, and making us sick as adults
Gender is not a spectrum
The idea that ‘gender is a spectrum’ is supposed to set us free. But it is both illogical and politically troubling
Chabuduo! Close enough …
Your balcony fell off? Chabuduo. Vaccines are overheated? Chabuduo. How China became the land of disastrous corner-cutting
Mistresses are big business in China, where no official is a real man without his own ernai. What’s in it for the girls?
Beyond true and false
Buddhist philosophy is full of contradictions. Now modern logic is learning why that might be a good thing
If you have a mouthful of teeth shaped by a childhood in poverty, don’t go knocking on the door of American privilege
How the light gets out
Consciousness is the ‘hard problem’, the one that confounds science and philosophy. Has a new theory cracked it?
People once woke up halfway through the night to think, write or make love. What have we lost by sleeping straight through?
The new mind control
The internet has spawned subtle forms of influence that can flip elections and manipulate everything we say, think and do
A theory of jerks
Are you surrounded by fools? Are you the only reasonable person around? Then maybe you’re the one with the jerkitude
Critics say that porn degrades women, dulls sexual pleasure, and ruins authentic relationships – are they right?
The meanings of life
Happiness is not the same as a sense of meaning. How do we go about finding a meaningful life, not just a happy one?
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
An inconvenient child
My six-year-old son was suspended as a danger to others. His crime? A disability you could find in any classroom
One more time
Why do we listen to our favourite music over and over again? Because repeated sounds work magic in our brains
Die, selfish gene, die
For decades, the selfish gene metaphor let us view evolution with new clarity. Is it now blinding us?
How organisations enshrine collective stupidity and employees are rewarded for checking their brains at the office door
The very laws of physics imply that artificial intelligence must be possible. What’s holding us up?
When we peer into the fog of the deep future what do we see – human extinction or a future among the stars?
The new astrology
By fetishising mathematical models, economists turned economics into a highly paid pseudoscience
I am not a story
Some find it comforting to think of life as a story. Others find that absurd. So are you a Narrative or a non-Narrative?