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Ed Lake
Editorial Director, Profile Books

Ed Lake is an editorial director at Profile Books and former deputy editor of Aeon. He spent five years at The Daily Telegraph before moving to the Middle East to work on The National, where he was deputy editor on the Review section. He is interested in the philosophy of science, the history of political thought, and novels in which a dreamer wakes into a world transformed. He lives in north London.

Essay/Computing & Artificial Intelligence

The info moralist

Persecuted little guy, or powerful revolutionary – what sort of wunderkind was Aaron Swartz?

Ed Lake


Bang or whimper?

We’re still here, which means we have a vacancy for an apocalypse scenario. The one we choose could be revealing

Ed Lake

Essay/Future of Technology

Tales on Dark Mountain

Is there anything left for the green movement to do but assuage its grief in ritual and myth?

Ed Lake

Edited by Ed Lake

Essay/Ecology & Environmental Sciences

It’s not easy being green

If rational persuasion fails to make people behave environmentally, could rituals and a dash of guilt do a better job?

Stephen Cave & Sarah Darwin

Idea/Family Life

If babies were randomly allocated to families would racism end?

Howard Rachlin & Marvin Frankel

Essay/Cultures & Languages

Naughty words

What makes swear words so offensive? It’s not their meaning or even their sound. Is language itself a red herring here?

Rebecca Roache

Essay/Film & Television

Fantasy North

The top of the globe has always meant fantasy, myth, adventure. What explains the icy northern grip on our imagination?

E R Truitt

Idea/Data & Information

Doing more with less: the economic lesson of Peak Paper

John Quiggin


High five!

Why, in the entire history of human life, did awesomeness become the great virtue of our age (and suckiness its vice)?

Nick Riggle

Essay/Film & Television

Dispatches from the ruins

The human world has become bafflingly complex and strangely fragile making apocalypse the easiest thing to imagine

Frank Bures

Idea/Childhood & Adolescence

What every dictator knows: young men are natural fanatics

Joe Herbert

Idea/Political Philosophy

It’s not presidents but pressure groups who lead US politics

Erik Loomis


Biohackers should produce a microbial uberfood for the world

Dawn Field

Essay/Old Age & Death

Ask the aged

Who better to answer questions about the purpose of life than someone who has been living theirs for a long time?

Karl Pillemer

Essay/Mind & Body

The hunger mood

Hunger isn’t in your stomach or your blood-sugar levels. It’s in your mind – and that’s where we need to shape up

Michael Graziano


To boldly sell

Space is for sale. And if we want to get serious about our interplanetary ambitions, that could be a good thing

Grayson Clary

Essay/Philosophy of Religion

Why pray?

Prayer occurs in many faiths. It stays recognisable despite its varied forms. It must be good for something – but what?

Benjamin Dueholm

Idea/Politics & Government

Huge currency zones don’t work – we need one per city

Mark Griffith

Essay/Meaning & the Good Life

Is it OK to have kids?

Your decision about whether to procreate is serious. That makes it philosophy’s business, alarming as that might sound

Richard Chappell

Essay/Philosophy of Science

The cold fusion horizon

Is cold fusion truly impossible, or is it just that no respectable scientist can risk their reputation working on it?

Huw Price


Trying to simulate the human brain is a waste of energy

Peter Hankins

Idea/Beauty & Aesthetics

Why physics needs art to help picture the universe

Frank Wilczek

Essay/Cultures & Languages

The ministry of truth

Orwell taught us to fear technocratic jargon that doesn’t let us say what we mean. But that is language at its best

Elijah Millgram


Should we rename institutions that honour dead racists?

Regina Rini

Idea/The Future

The buildings of the future will keep rearranging themselves

Darran Anderson


We’re closer to Alpha Centauri than to cryopreserving humans

Brian Hanley

Idea/Philosophy of Science

Cosmologists should be more skeptical of dark matter

Stuart Clark

Essay/History of Science

Through a glass, sadly

The aquarium was once the best way to encounter the wonders of sea life. It has become a mere travesty, tacky and cruel

Bernd Brunner

Essay/Internet & Communication

User behaviour

Websites and apps are designed for compulsion, even addiction. Should the net be regulated like drugs or casinos?

Michael Schulson

Idea/Ecology & Environmental Sciences

When a season comes early, it has a deadly butterfly effect

John Pastor


The Amish are online, onscreen, and multiplying fast. In their battle with modernity, it’s tough to say who’s winning

Kevin Williams

Idea/Political Philosophy

Democracies fail when they ask too little of their citizens

Stephen Cave

Essay/Rituals & Celebrations

Great pretenders

Live-action role-play is venturing into some weighty social topics. Can make-believe really show us possible worlds?

Alexa Clay

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