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Sichuan opera

With origins deep in southern China’s folk storytelling and music customs, Sichuan opera is characterised by traditional instrumentation, a distinctive singing style, elaborate, colourful costumes, changing masks that reflect characters’ emotional states, and daring stunts including martial arts, acrobatics and fire-breathing.

If we disagree about morality, how can we teach it?

People disagree about morality. They disagree about what morality prohibits, permits and requires. And they disagree about why morality prohibits, permits and requires these things.


‘Sit down, world, and relax...’ The Preschool Poets is a short film series that pairs professional animation with poems written by four-year-olds.

The shape of life

The ancient Earth was profoundly alien. How do we distinguish between the living and non-living in the fossil record?

Say goodbye to the information age: it's all about reputation now

There is an underappreciated paradox of knowledge that plays a pivotal role in our advanced hyper-connected liberal democracies: the greater the amount of information that circulates, the more we rely on so-called reputational devices to evaluate it.

A history of alienation

In the postwar period it was understood to be the fundamental malaise of modern life. Why aren’t we ‘alienated’ any more?

Why the male black widow is a real home wrecker

Female widow spiders are known for eating their mates after sex – hence the name and notoriety. But as this short video from the science documentary series Deep Look shows, the widow spider’s reputation is rife with misunderstandings, misconceptions and flat-out falsities.

What’s the best option?

It seems only logical: if A is better than B, and B is better than C, then A is better than C. Right?

A future just, green and free, under a tree named Karl Marx

California has long been seen as the place where the future takes shape, and the state has drawn to it seekers from all over the world and across the political spectrum.

Eyes of exodus

The Greek island of Kastellorizo is normally a sleepy tourist destination, with its population of just a few hundred mostly isolated from the events of the outside world.

Eyes of exodus

The Greek island of Kastellorizo is normally a sleepy tourist destination, with its population of just a few hundred mostly isolated from the events of the outside world.

Why greeting-card clichés are utterly empty yet full of meaning

Cliché is the nemesis of creativity. This statement pervades contemporary attitudes to language, both in the field of literature and in conventional human interactions.

Thus spake Albert

You probably know a quote from him. He probably never said it. How did Einstein become a touchstone of all that is wise?

All-terrain robot

Simple, versatile and just four millimetres long, a new ‘soft-bodied’ robot developed at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart in Germany is capable of navigating tight and challenging terrain, both on land and in water.

Our dreams have many purposes, changing across the lifespan

Although radically different in terms of their content and feel, the range of dream states are just as complex as waking states.

Green play

Combining vertical strips of video of Central Park on a single sunny Sunday, Green Play is ‘a joyful orchestration of one of the great meeting places in New York City’, in the words of film's director Yuge Zhou, who was born in China but is now based in Chicago.

The copy is the original

In China and Japan, temples may be rebuilt and ancient warriors cast again. There is nothing sacred about the ‘original’ By Byung-Chul Han Read at Aeon

I and Thou

When we encounter another individual truly as a person, not as an object for use, we become fully human: Martin Buber By M M Owen Read at Aeon

Utopia is a dangerous ideal: we should aim for ‘protopia’

Utopias are idealised visions of a perfect society. Utopianisms are those ideas put into practice. This is where the trouble begins.

1929: interviews with elderly people throughout the US

‘I hope, ladies and gentlemen, you have seen me and you have also heard me.’ The iconic Fox Movietone News, which ran in the United States from 1927 to 1963, was one of the first newsreels to marry moving pictures and sound.