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Thinkers and theories
Marxism and Buddhism

Life is suffering, whether you sit under a Bodhi Tree or stand with the workers. But do the two schools agree on the remedy?

Adrian Kreutz

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Film and visual culture
Celebrity matters

As aspirational avatars, idolised icons and vessels of collective memory, celebrities permeate all aspects of modern life

Holly Grout

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Religion
Zen terror

Master Nissho Inoue and his band of assassins teach some uncomfortable truths about terrorism, for those who will hear

Brian Victoria

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Neuroscience
Now you see it

Our brains predict the outcomes of our actions, shaping reality into what we expect. That’s why we see what we believe

Daniel Yon

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Love and friendship
How to find The One

Hold out for the perfect partner or settle for good enough? In the calculus of love, flourishing means getting it right

Aaron Ben-Ze’ev

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Biology
Life ≠ alive

A cat is alive, a sofa is not: that much we know. But a sofa is also part of life. Information theory tells us why

Michael Lachmann & Sara Walker

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Pleasure and pain
Catching desires

That drink, that cigarette, that dance: wanting things is highly contagious. Can you be immunised against the infection?

Bence Nanay

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Film and visual culture
Love isn’t what it was

In a strangely unremarked-upon twist, Disney films have taken to subverting romance and rethinking the happy-ever-afters

Sophus Helle

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Nations and empires
Scots running amok

As loan sharks, drug smugglers, generals and plant hunters, Scots played a central role in expanding the British Empire

Jessica Hanser

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Astronomy
Monsters in the dark

The Universe’s biggest galaxies could hold the key to the birth of the cosmos. Why are these behemoths so hard to find?

Matthew Bothwell

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Knowledge
Knowledge is crude

Far from being a touchstone of the truth, knowledge is a stone-age concept that harms our dealings with the modern world

David Papineau

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Nations and empires
Asia had the upper hand

For centuries, Europeans in Asia were guests, trading partners and subordinates. Only much later did Empire seem imaginable

Chris Nierstrasz

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Medicine
We need worms

You might think they are disgusting. But our war against intestinal worms has damaged our immune systems and mental health

William Parker

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History
Who really owns the past?

Cultural heritage is an ideal imposed from above. It’s time to listen to what communities value about their own histories

Michael Press

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Animals and humans
Green-eyed pets

Commonsense tells us that both dogs and cats experience jealousy. Are we being anthropomorphic or can we know for sure?

Paul Thagard

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Mental health
The red thread of obsession

Evolved human capacities for vigilance and worry are both exacerbated and rewarded by the intense pressure of modern life

Elizabeth Svoboda