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Are university admissions biased?

Simpson’s paradox is a statistical phenomenon in which a trend appears in small data sets, but differs or reverses when those sets are combined into a larger group.

Stop boycotting SeaWorld if you care about marine conservation

In 2010, the death of Dawn Brancheau, a trainer at SeaWorld Orlando, focused attention on the entertainment groups’ orca (or killer whale) shows.

Mother Canada

Planned for the Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Nova Scotia by the Toronto businessman Tony Trigiani, the 24-metre Mother Canada monument was intended to serve the dual purpose of honouring the country’s war dead and boosting the area’s largely seasonal fishing economy.

Freud in the scanner

A revival of interest in the power of introspection and thought has brought Freud’s ideas back into the scientific fold By M M Owen Read at Aeon

Everyone in the world should be taxed on their energy footprint

Technological advances and historically unprecedented income inequalities have raised living standards while enabling a new global elite to enjoy lifestyles more lavish in energy consumption and environmental impact than those enjoyed by any aristocracy in the past.

Touching the sky

At their best, daredevils rival philosophers and mystics in their exploration of human mortality and spirit By Lary Wallace Read at Aeon

How a children’s toy led to an essential medical device

Centrifuges are a basic component of any modern medical laboratory. Used to separate different types of cells within a blood sample by spinning them extremely quickly, they are an essential tool for detecting many diseases.

The ethics of ET

The discovery of independent life beyond Earth would have deep philosophical implications for us, and our ideas of morality By Tim Mulgan Read at Aeon

‘Let the soul dangle’: how mind-wandering spurs creativity

The Renaissance painter Albrecht Dürer was regarded by his friends as a master in the art of mind-wandering.

Field song

‘Just like the bad things, the beautiful things are temporary too.’ Roberto Olivera was raised in poverty in southern California, where he worked the tomato fields alongside his mother and abusive stepfather, migrant workers from Mexico.

How to fight work bullshit (and keep your job and your dignity)

After getting lost in the conference hotel, I finally located the ‘creativity workshop’. Joining the others, I sat cross-legged on the floor.

The empire dreamt back

To help rule its empire, Britain turned to psychoanalysis. But they weren’t willing to hear the truth it told By Erik Linstrum Read at Aeon

Praying mantis love is way weirder than you think

The tempestuous sex lives of praying mantises have long been fodder for cartoons and trivia nights, but what really happens when these wonderfully weird insects procreate?

Black holes are simpler than forests and science has its limits

Albert Einstein said that the ‘most incomprehensible thing about the Universe is that it is comprehensible’.

Goodbye, Old Glory

The Jefferson Davis Monument stood in New Orleans from 1911 – when it was dedicated in a ‘Whites Only’ ceremony – until 11 May 2017.

Metaphysics of metamorphosis

The swarming, ever-changing character of the living world challenges our deepest assumptions about the nature of reality By John Dupré Read at Aeon

Democratising the digital

Digital technologies are a market product and play politics by different means. It’s up to us to harness them for democracy By Jack Shenker Read at Aeon

Why you need to touch your keys to believe they’re in your bag

Art thou not, fatal vision, sensibleTo feeling as to sight?Macbeth (Act II, scene 1), William Shakespeare As virtual reality headsets hit the market, they bring with them the echoes of Macbeth’s words: the world they immerse you in might look or even sound right, but can’t be touched or grasped.

Maya Angelou on con men

‘You use the white man’s bigotry against him.’ In this 1970 interview resurrected for PBS’s animated series Blank on Blank, the US writer and civil-rights activist Maya Angelou recalls the ‘education’ she received from her stepfather – a pool- and gambling-hall owner who ‘lived by his wits’ – and his con-man friends.

Is goodness natural?

Philippa Foot was one of a group of brilliant women philosophers who swam against the tide of 20th-century moral thought By Nakul Krishna Read at Aeon