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Society

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

Neuroscience

The empty brain

Your brain does not process information, retrieve knowledge or store memories. In short: your brain is not a computer

Robert Epstein

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Economics

Conspicuous consumption is over. It’s all about intangibles now

Elizabeth Currid-Halkett

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Language and linguistics

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

John McWhorter

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Social psychology

A belief in meritocracy is not only false: it’s bad for you

Clifton Mark

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Work

Fuck work

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

James Livingston

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War and peace

What did Hannah Arendt really mean by the banality of evil?

Thomas White

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Gender and identity

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

Rebecca Reilly-Cooper

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History of science

What Einstein meant by ‘God does not play dice’

Jim Baggott

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Cosmology

Exodus

Elon Musk argues that we must put a million people on Mars if we are to ensure that humanity has a future

Ross Andersen

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Philosophy of science

Why philosophy is so important in science education

Subrena E Smith

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Sports and games

Monopoly was invented to demonstrate the evils of capitalism

Kate Raworth

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video

Beauty and aesthetics

This is the final resting place of your cast-off clothing

14 minutes

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Computing and artificial intelligence

Algorithms associating appearance and criminality have a dark past

Catherine Stinson

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Knowledge

Escape the echo chamber

First you don’t hear other views. Then you can’t trust them. Your personal information network entraps you just like a cult

C Thi Nguyen

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Fairness and equality

Poor teeth

If you have a mouthful of teeth shaped by a childhood in poverty, don’t go knocking on the door of American privilege

Sarah Smarsh

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Making

Chabuduo! Close enough …

Your balcony fell off? Chabuduo. Vaccines are overheated? Chabuduo. How China became the land of disastrous corner-cutting

James Palmer

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Future of technology

The golden quarter

Some of our greatest cultural and technological achievements took place between 1945 and 1971. Why has progress stalled?

Michael Hanlon

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Economics

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?

James Somers

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Human rights and justice

Why the trial by ordeal was actually an effective test of guilt

Peter T Leeson

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Knowledge

You don’t have a right to believe whatever you want to

Daniel DeNicola

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Information and communication

The new mind control

The internet has spawned subtle forms of influence that can flip elections and manipulate everything we say, think and do

Robert Epstein

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Anthropology

It’s not that your teeth are too big: your jaw is too small

Peter Ungar

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Sex and sexuality

Pornucopia

Critics say that porn degrades women, dulls sexual pleasure, and ruins authentic relationships – are they right?

Maria Konnikova

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Computing and artificial intelligence

Coding is not ‘fun’, it’s technically and ethically complex

Walter Vannini