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Treat people as citizens

How a generation of political thinkers have underestimated the abilities of ordinary people and undermined democracy By Nicholas Tampio Read at Aeon

How our smartphones stop us from living in the moment

As a teacher who has long witnessed and worried about the impacts of technology in the classroom, I constantly struggle to devise effective classroom policies for smartphones.

Ballet rotoscope

Taking inspiration from the rotoscope – an early filmmaking device that allowed animators to trace over live-action – the Japanese design group EUPHRATES used an innovative computer algorithm to capture outlines and extract other information from a video of a ballerina, Kurimu Urabe of the Bolshoi, dancing in a ballet studio.

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

The quest for criminal justice is fraught with uncertainty. Did the defendant commit the crime, or is he a victim of incriminating circumstances?

Intimate spaces

In his Poetics of Space, Gaston Bachelard created a philosophy of at-homeness, rich in emotion and memory By Gillian Darley Read at Aeon


In his intimate and personal film Promise, the French-based South Korean director Jéro Yun takes us on visits to a Paris hostel where he has formed a friendship with the owner, a woman who reminds him of his mother whom he hasn't seen in a decade.

‘Know thyself’ is not just silly advice: it’s actively dangerous

There is a phrase you are as likely to find in a serious philosophy text as you are in the wackiest self-help book: ‘Know thyself!

Does science need mavericks?

Staid and conformist, science risks losing its creative spark. Does it need more mavericks, or are they part of the problem?

Nixon’s coming

‘A part of me was going: Now's your big chance: say something that makes him see everything.’ In the very early morning of 9 May 1970, a few days after the Ohio National Guard killed four Vietnam War protesters at Kent State University, and the United States began conducting military operations in Cambodia, President Richard Nixon ventured out from the White House to talk with protesters gathered outside the Lincoln Memorial.

Anger is temporary madness: the Stoics knew how to curb it

People get angry for all sorts of reasons, from the trivial ones (someone cut me off on the highway) to the really serious ones (people keep dying in Syria and nobody is doing anything about it).

Confucian ancestor worship

Confucius’ philosophy of ‘filial piety’ – a fervent respect for one’s parents and ancestors – is still central to Chinese society, even among those who aren’t followers of Confucianism.

The death of languages

Endangered languages have sentimental value, it's true, but are there good philosophical reasons to preserve them?

An unlikely triumph

In its first century the American higher-education system was a messy, disorganised joke. How did it rise to world dominance?

The Madras Observatory: from Jesuit cooperation to British rule

The Madras Observatory offers little to the visitor's eye. Stone slabs and broken pillars lie ignored in a fenced-off section of a local weather centre in the southern Indian city of Chennai.

Leh wi tok (Let us talk)

The small West African nation of Sierra Leone descended into civil war in 1991 when the rebel group Revolutionary United Front (RUF) took up arms against the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF).

How doctors’ bias leads to unfair and unsound medical triage

When someone is sick or needs the help of a physician, who should decide what is appropriate – what blood tests and imaging studies to order, what medicines to prescribe, what surgeries to perform?

Why women stray

Evolutionary theory says men stray to increase offspring, but what motivates women? Enter the mate-switching hypothesis By David Buss Read at Aeon

Correlation can imply causation

The old statistics axiom that correlation doesn’t imply causation is true, but causation can be drawn from more than one correlation.

The battlefield is dead

The traditional arena of war is no more. Will it give way to a perpetual continuum of military and paramilitary violence?

‘Ketman’ and doublethink: what it costs to comply with tyranny

In the spring of 1949, poet Czesław Miłosz was working as a cultural attaché in the Polish embassy in Washington, DC.