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Eulogy for silence

Tinnitus is like a constant scream inside my head, depriving me of what I formerly treasured: the moments of serene quiet

A close-up of an orange and black butterfly perched on a leaf with a soft, pastel-coloured background.
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History of ideas

Chaos and cause

Can a butterfly’s wings trigger a distant hurricane? The answer depends on the perspective you take: physics or human agency

Erik Van Aken

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

X-ray image of a single flower with visible petals, stem, and internal structures on a black background.
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Philosophy of mind

Do plants have minds?

In the 1840s, the iconoclastic scientist Gustav Fechner made an inspired case for taking seriously the interior lives of plants

Rachael Petersen

Four young girls in dresses smile outside, with one holding a small cat. Outdoor furniture is visible in the background.
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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

Intricate artwork of robed and winged figures in a mystical forest, surrounding a glowing central figure adorned with flowers.
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Beauty and aesthetics

All aquiver

The Decadent movement taught that you should live your life with the greatest intensity – a dangerous and thrilling challenge

Kate Hext

Shopfront of NY 99 Cent Fresh Pizza 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

Cyclists in a professional race riding in rainy conditions. The leading cyclist in a blue jersey raises his arms in victory, with other cyclists closely following behind on the wet road. Everyone is wearing helmets and sunglasses for protection.
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Sports and games

Performance-enhancing vices

Selfishness channels ambition, envy drives competition, pride aids the win. Does it take a bad person to be a good athlete?

Sabrina Little

Sepia photograph of the poet with long curly hair and a full beard and moustache. He wears a white shirt and dark suit, and has a thoughtful expression.
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Stories and literature

To capture grief in poetry is to describe the ineffable. Here’s why Tennyson did it best

8 minutes

Image of a human colon highlighted in blue, with a contrasting yellow-orange background, taken using a medical imaging technique to show the internal structure.
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Illness and disease

Getting past ‘it’s IBS’

While science illuminates the gut-brain relationship, doctors remain ignorant and dismissive of patients with gut problems

Xi Chen

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

A colourful, abstract image featuring a large, black and white bird in flight. The background is a swirling mix of purple, orange, and yellow hues. A small figure of a child walks in the distance, casting a long shadow.
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Ageing and death

Peregrinations of grief

A friend and a falcon went missing. In pain, I turned to ‘Slaughterhouse-Five’ – and found a new vision of sorrow and time

Emily Polk

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

Abstract artwork featuring geometric shapes, primarily red and black triangles, against a white background. Russian text is interspersed, with a red triangle pointing rightward and a large white circle on the right. Various smaller shapes and text elements are scattered around.
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Quantum theory

Quantum dialectics

When quantum mechanics posed a threat to the Marxist doctrine of materialism, communist physicists sought to reconcile the two

Jim Baggott

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