Our Universe is too vast for even the most imaginative sci-fi
Just how large the Universe actually is never fails to boggle the mind. We say that the observable Universe extends for tens of billions of light years, but the only way to really comprehend this, as humans, is to break matters down into a series of steps, starting with our visceral understanding of the size of the Earth.
How plagues really work
The next pandemic will erupt, not from the jungle, but from the disease factories of hospitals, refugee camps and cities
Laws or comets?
Does history unfold randomly and by chance, or are there underlying patterns and deep connections between its parts?
The real problem
It looks like scientists and philosophers might have made consciousness far more mysterious than it needs to be
Crimes of the future
Predictive policing uses algorithms to analyse data and cut crime. But does it really work, and should it be trusted?
Science once communicated in a polyglot of tongues, but now English rules alone. How did this happen – and at what cost?
New tech only benefits the elite until the people demand more
When new systems first appeared, they were frequently celebrated as technical marvels accompanied by parades, ribbon-cuttings and grand speeches. But they never appeared equitably.
Truth in stereotypes
Social scientists dismiss them, but rather than being universally inaccurate, stereotypes are often grounded in reality
Must science be testable?
String wars among physicists have highlighted just how much science needs philosophy – and not just the amateur version
How people with sports addiction are like drug addicts
‘Sports addiction’ sounds paradoxical, because we usually reserve the word ‘addiction’ for things that are recognisably bad for us, such as illicit-drug use or alcoholism, but there really is a sense in which you can become addicted to exercise.