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Society

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

A woman stands against a white wall, in a red top and blue jeans, extending an open hand forward. Subtitles at the bottom read ‘Let me show you.’
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Language and linguistics

Closed captions suck. Here’s one artist’s inventive project to make them better

8 minutes

A colourful abstract drawing of two people talking on the left, and three others walking with baskets on the right. There are boats in the background and watercolour splashes.
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Anthropology

Why are witchcraft accusations so common across human societies?

4 minutes

A busy public library reading room with people using desktop computers at wooden tables, surrounded by bookshelves and lit by large windows and chandeliers.
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History of technology

Indexing the information age

Over a weekend in 1995, a small group gathered in Ohio to unleash the power of the internet by making it navigable

Monica Westin

Black-and-white photo of a man and a woman, seen from behind, on the deck of a boat, looking out to shore
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essay

Philosophy of language

Metaphors make the world

Woven into the fabric of language, metaphors shape how we understand reality. What happens when we try using new ones?

Benjamin Santos Genta

A puppet king in a red robe, holding a sceptre, stands in front of a decorative doorway, with one arm raised as if speaking or greeting.
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Thinkers and theories

‘My art is oratory, Socrates.’ An ancient warning on the power and peril of rhetoric

4 minutes

A measure for depth of water stands upright in a dried up landscape that was formerly a lake
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Information and communication

Beware climate populism

The most ardent deniers of anthropogenic climate change today will become the climate conspiracy theorists of tomorrow

Ákos Szegőfi

Two men escort a handcuffed man from a cabin with a wooden exterior. The men are wearing casual clothing, including a cowboy hat.
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essay

Information and communication

How to hate

The manifesto was always a hotheaded call to arms. Then it got a slick, digital makeover in the cause of coldblooded hate

Tyler Thier

A black and white shot shows three men sitting on a sea wall and seen from a diminishing perspective such that they represent a scale of size
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essay

Philosophy of language

The geometry of other people

Some friends are ‘close’. Others are ‘distant’. But our spatial descriptions of social life are more than just metaphors

David Borkenhagen

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Information and communication

To converse well

A good conversation bridges the distances between people and imbues life with pleasure and a sense of discovery

Paula Marantz Cohen

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Art

The art of rules

Conceptual art often confounds. The key is to understand the rules of the artwork and the aesthetic experiences they yield

Sherri Irvin

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Information and communication

Mapping data visualisation’s meteoric rise from Victorian London to today

6 minutes

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History of technology

Who owns history? How remarkable historical footage is hidden and monetised

18 minutes

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History of technology

The long-awaited arrival of TV to Shetland sparks debate in this vintage clip

9 minutes

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Global history

The famed medieval map that stretched beyond Earth to heaven, history and myth

5 minutes

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History of technology

We’ve always been distracted

Worried that technology is ‘breaking your brain’? Fears about attention spans and focus are as old as writing itself

Joe Stadolnik

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History of science

Bat-people on the Moon – what a famed 1835 hoax reveals about misinformation today

8 minutes

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The ancient world

What did the Rosetta Stone’s inscription actually communicate?

17 minutes

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Art

The revolutionary artist who propelled the Black Panther movement with imagery

8 minutes

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The ancient world

Why did the Romans create a massive, entirely impractical map of their empire?

7 minutes

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Politics and government

Is mass media still ‘manufacturing consent’ in the internet age?

5 minutes

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History of technology

Master cartography and mythical creatures – the world according to the Catalan Atlas

8 minutes

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Mood and emotion

A century of letters captures the emotions of life in a new city, far from home

21 minutes

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Technology and the self

Adaptive technologies have helped Stephen Hawking, and many more, find their voice

5 minutes