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Society

Essays and videos on social issues, history, political life and the future
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Language and linguistics

The little Peruvian guide to public speaking that conjures up a grandiose world

7 minutes

Black and white photograph depicts a flood with rising water levels in a residential area. Strong currents and waves are visible, and houses in the background are partially submerged. Floodwater covers much of the landscape, with a lone tree and partial wooden structure in the foreground.
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The future

The disruption nexus

Moments of crisis, such as our own, are great opportunities for historic change, but only under highly specific conditions

Roman Krznaric

Close-up image of a jumping spider showing its detailed features, including multiple eyes, hairy legs, and fangs. The spider is facing forward with a white background.
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Evolution

What is intelligent life?

Our human minds hold us back from truly understanding the many brilliant ways that other creatures solve their problems

Abigail Desmond & Michael Haslam

Three cracked ceramic shards with painted faces are arranged on blocks, with strands of twisted rope resembling hair against a blurred green and blue background.
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The ancient world

Archeological discoveries animate the life of the warrior queen who took on Rome

6 minutes

Four young girls in dresses smile outside, with one holding a small cat.
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Biography and memoir

Preserving memories of a Japanese internment camp, and the land where it stood

8 minutes

Close-up of a hammer, metal pot, and three rounded wooden objects on a stone surface, with a hand holding the hammer.
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Making

Trek to a remote Himalayan village where artisans craft teapots fit for kings

11 minutes

Shopfront of NY 99 Cent Fresh Pizza restaurant with an open sign, vaccine notice, and menu visible through the window.
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Economic history

Economics 101

Why introductory economics courses continued to teach zombie ideas from before economics became an empirical discipline

Walter Frick

Abstract geometric pattern featuring overlapping rectangular and house-like shapes in various colours, including orange, yellow, green, pink, blue, red, and black, with circular details. The shapes create a visually intriguing mosaic-like composition.
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Political philosophy

Beyond the veil – what rules would govern John Rawls’s ‘realistic Utopia’?

6 minutes

A person with light blonde hair, wearing a dark hoodie, stands on a cliff by the sea, holding a bird. The sea is rough with waves crashing against the rocks, and several rock formations are visible in the misty background.
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Childhood and adolescence

The unique fellowship between teens and young puffins on a remote Icelandic island

20 minutes

A young woman and a man, both dressed formally, sit at a table with an electronic device in front of them. The woman is engaging with the device, which has several buttons and dials, while the man observes attentively. The setting appears to be an office or classroom. The image is in black and white.
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Technology and the self

Tomorrow people

For the entire 20th century, it had felt like telepathy was just around the corner. Why is that especially true now?

Roger Luckhurst

Medieval manuscript illustration of a dragon with a red head, green and blue wings, and a snake-like tail, standing on a hill. The dragon is bordered by a decorative green frame with circular patterns and a blue border with white rings. The background features golden leaf motifs.
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Animals and humans

Why be dragons? How massive, reptilian beasts entered our collective imagination

58 minutes

Black and white image of Japanese soldiers in battle gear marching with a Rising Sun Flag, superimposed with large Japanese calligraphy characters on a plain background.
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Nations and empires

Chastising little brother

Why did Japanese Confucians enthusiastically support Imperial Japan’s murderous conquest of China, the homeland of Confucius?

Shaun O’Dwyer

Open books arranged in a grid with pages featuring bright, hand-painted floral designs, around a drawing of a loaf of bread.
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Rituals and celebrations

Flirtation, negotiation and vodka – or how to couple up in 1950s rural Poland

5 minutes

A historical painting of a woman in a detailed blue and silver gown with lace sleeves. She wears a pearl necklace and a hat adorned with white and pink flowers. The background features a golden tapestry and dark pillars.
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Stories and literature

Her blazing world

Margaret Cavendish’s boldness and bravery set 17th-century society alight, but is she a feminist poster-girl for our times?

Francesca Peacock

A person and a dog look out from a window of a blue house during snowfall. The house has an external staircase covered with snow on the left, and a snow-covered porch on the right. The scene is set on a snowy day, with visible accumulation on the ground and surfaces.
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Technology and the self

In the town once named Asbestos, locals ponder the voids industry left in its wake

16 minutes

View from space of Europe at night, showing bright city lights and the Northern Lights in the distance. The image features a clear outline of countries and coastlines illuminated by artificial light, with a dark sky speckled with stars overhead.
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Ecology and environmental sciences

Dominion

To take care of the Earth, humans must recognise that we are both a part of the animal kingdom and its dominant power

Hugh Desmond

Silhouettes of four construction workers in hard hats standing on a beam against a sunset or sunrise sky. One worker is crouching and appearing to weld, emitting sparks.
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Mental health

The last great stigma

Workers with mental illness experience discrimination that would be unthinkable for other health issues. Can this change?

Pernille Yilmam

Close-up image of a hand holding a pile of vibrant red powder, possibly a spice or pigment, displaying a textured and granular surface. The background is blurred, ensuring the focus remains on the red powder and the hand.
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Biology

How the world’s richest reds are derived from an innocuous Mexican insect

5 minutes

Colourful hand-drawn illustration of a busy market scene. Background shows fruit stall and vendor. A yellow sign reads DO NOT LITTER.
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Cities

A lush, whirlwind tribute to the diversity of life in a northern English county

3 minutes

A black-and-white photo of a group of men sitting close together, some with mouths open as if singing or speaking. In the blurry background, additional people are seated around a table. The scene appears to be inside a room with a warm, communal atmosphere.
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Music

Folk music was never green

Don’t be swayed by the sound of environmental protest: these songs were first sung in the voice of the cutter, not the tree

Richard Smyth

A historical map of Southern Europe, including parts of Austria, Hungary, Italy, Turkey, and the Balkans. Features cities such as Milan, Vienna, Rome, and Constantinople, with regions distinguished by different colours. Sea names such as the Adriatic and Mediterranean are also visible.
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Nations and empires

A United States of Europe

A free and unified Europe was first imagined by Italian radicals in the 19th century. Could we yet see their dream made real?

Fernanda Gallo

Illustration of soldiers in action, with one leading the charge and another crawling forward. Both wear military uniforms with helmets and carry rifles. The background is a vibrant red, enhancing the sense of urgency and movement.
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Stories and literature

On Jewish revenge

What might a people, subjected to unspeakable historical suffering, think about the ethics of vengeance once in power?

Shachar Pinsker

Two people with backpacks reach towards each other with extended arms but are not touching. The text on the image reads ‘How do we touch when we can’t?’
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Film and visual culture

‘Bags here are rarely innocent’ – how filmmakers work around censorship in Iran

8 minutes

Colourful illustration of the Mad Hatter holding a clock showing 13 o’clock. His eyes are spirals. The background is filled with small images of the same character.
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Consciousness and altered states

Acid media

How perforated squares of trippy blotter paper allowed outlaw chemists and wizard-alchemists to dose the world with LSD

Erik Davis