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Motodrom


A mesmerising look at a rare form of entertainment, Motodrom by the German director Jörg Wagner takes viewers into the midst of a visceral fairground attraction as fate-tempting, gravity-defying ‘hellriders’ race round and round the the ‘wall of death’ on antique motorbikes.

Why we need to bring back the art of communal bathing


For most of the history of our species, in most parts of the world, bathing has been a collective act.

The world wide cage


Technology promised to set us free. Instead it has trained us to withdraw from the world into distraction and dependency By Nicholas Carr Read at Aeon

Lost in light


Travelling across eight different locations, from urban San Jose in California to a desolate stretch of Death Valley, Lost in Light explores the ubiquitous but often overlooked phenomenon of light pollution.

How does LSD induce short-term psychosis but long-term optimism?


When most people think of LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­the image that comes to mind is hallucinating hippies at Woodstock, but the drug’s original use was psychotherapeutic.

Bruno the brave


For anyone who dares to voice dangerous ideas and risk imprisonment or exile, Giordano Bruno remains a hero By Stephanie Merritt Read at Aeon

Liberal academics are ‘open’ but are they truly tolerant?


One of the purposes of university is to challenge the opinions of students. This requires freedom of thought and a variety of voices.

Execution at Happy Farm


Which world would be better: one in which all meat is grown in a lab or one which still contains humanely farmed animals?

Primitive technology: forge blower


The popular Primitive Technology blog features an unnamed man in Far North Queensland, Australia building tools and structures using only raw, found materials.

Gravitational waves will bring the extreme universe into view


The first direct detection of gravitational waves on 14 September 2015 proved that massive objects can ripple the structure of space, verifying a key prediction of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

Why people collect art


Collectors drive the art world, but what drives art collectors? It’s less about aesthetics than self identification By Erin Thompson Read at Aeon

Nora Ephron on Crazy Salad


‘It’s okay being a woman now. I like it. Try it some time.’ The US writer Nora Ephron, who died in 2012, is probably best known for her prolific career in Hollywood, which included writing and directing successful romantic comedies such as Sleepless in Seattle (1993) and You’ve Got Mail (1998), among many others.

Simplicity or style: what makes a sentence a masterpiece?


A great sentence makes you want to chew it over slowly in your mouth the first time you read it. A great sentence compels you to rehearse it again in your mind’s ear, and then again later on.

Ageing out of drugs


Most addicts just stop using in time, without needing costly treatment. Why do some people walk away while others can’t?

Powers of ten


Opening at the scene of a picnic in a Chicago park, then gradually zooming out to encompass a view 100 million light years away before magnifying down again to a single proton, this classic 1977 short documentary by the legendary husband-and-wife design team Charles and Ray Eames uses exponential powers of ten to contextualise the scale of the known universe and chart the limits of human understanding.

US law has long seen people of African descent as fugitives


Occasionally, a mistruth spreads that the Second Amendment to the US Constitution was based on the need for slave patrols.

The shining star of losers everywhere


In 2003, spirits were low in the remote, seaside city of Kochi, Japan, which had been hit particularly hard by a nationwide, decade-long economic downturn. The Shining Star of Losers Everywhere tells the story of the tenacious but winless Kochi-based racehorse Haru Urara (meaning ‘glorious spring’) who became a peculiar ray of hope in Japan during a period in which few people felt as if they were winning.

Everyone fails, but only the wise find humility


Failure is like the original sin in the biblical narrative: everyone has it. Regardless of class, caste, race, or gender, we are all born to fail, we practise failure for as long as we live, and pass it on to others.

The twin boom


The proportion of twins in the population has waxed and waned in human history. For the first time we understand why By Laura Spinney Read at Aeon

The divine fire of Philip K Dick’s religious visions


Although the earliest psychoanalysts saw religion as neurotic, the modern mental health field has stopped pathologising religious beliefs.


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