Permission to Speak

What twenty years in Afghanistan taught me about the Taliban.

Error-laden datasets are warping what we know about AI.

The Internet is tricking our brains.

Parents of the social media generation are not okay.

Ethan Hawke on giving yourself permission to be creative.

The myth of an overcrowded Britain.

Any amount of Covid damages children’s blood vessels.

The neurological cost of Covid.

The 60-year-old scientific mistake that helped Covid kill.

The future of the pandemic. The new normal.

“We are being robbed of the illusion that we can predict what will happen in the space of a second, a minute, an hour or a day. How can we prepare—can we prepare—for what is to come?”

31 December 2021

Somehow Also No

The seven types of rest.

Did we get anything done this weekend?

How the Home Office forced a British citizen into destitution abroad. The government plans to exempt itself from the rule of law. Britain is becoming a police state by stealth.

Give me slack.

Fear the fungi.

Photographing the ancient baobabs of Madagascar.

The Adam and Joe Show, 25 years on.

Leunig, wellness, and wokeness. It’s been heartbreaking watching these developments over recent years. Like many Melbourne-adjacent Australians, his work has meant a lot to me. I’m trying to hang onto the good elements while reassessing the ones that Moore has highlighted.

7 December 2021

Rewriting History

AI is starting to have a big real-world impact, hijacking art history and swapping singers’ voices.

Nineties Dad Thrillers—like Yacht Rock, a genre recognised in hindsight.

Jurassic Park but with a cat. Claws.

Emily Zugay redesigns your favourite corporate brands.

People who have unusual—or non-existent—inner voices.

Read more…

28 November 2021

Quids Game

Why are we so exhausted? How to find your focus again.

The study of the mind needs a Copernican shift.

Will AI enable us to talk with whales?

The race to reinvent document editing.

How WeChat became a trap for Uyghurs.

Inside the Facebook Papers. “History will not judge us kindly.” Facebook is an authoritarian state.

If Wes Anderson directed X-Men.

Grievous bodily charm.

The unnatural history of the beach.

Yurts, yoghurt, and Mongolian microbiomes.

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4 November 2021

Useful Websites

Useful websites.

The story behind Ommadawn.

Chernobyl’s Reactor 4 just woke up. I don’t know what to say.

It’s too late to stop shortages of cans and cardboard. Blitz Spirit!

Why are Britons so much more relaxed about Covid than Europeans? Will it last?

Trauma books won’t save you. Mixing and matching vaccines pays off.

How Cold War Steve turned Covid angst into art.

Social media doesn’t turn people into assholes—they already were.

Can history predict the future? Did David Graeber explain the past?

How to stay assertive in emotional conversations. What if emotions aren’t universal?

Wellness and the far right.

Cats and their human doubles.

Move over, John Williams.

22 October 2021

Mad World

How we view free time is making us less happy. How to cultivate hope. How to stop languishing. Ready, steady … oh.

Much of white American culture was cooked up by the real estate industry.

Why flight is so controversial in online games.

Armando Iannucci’s epic Covid poem. Six rules that will define our second pandemic winter. Covid was spreading as early as mid-2019. UK private hospitals treated just eight Covid patients a day during the pandemic.

A TikToker disrupted thousands of scientific studies.

Once you see this video of a Welsh seagull, you can’t unsee it. Sorry, Thumper.


No longer hurting.

Yemen’s floating unexploded bomb.

Maria Ressa’s fight for facts.

The Brexit three-card Monte.

We’ve got 99 problems.

Stages of life.

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9 October 2021

Straw Dogs

Polynesia’s master voyagers.

Breaking into games design in 1982.

The psychological toll of wanting your kid to be perfect.

Cory Doctorow on Facebook and its secret war on switching costs.

The invisible plague.

Post-vax covid is a new disease.

What “mild” really means.

The vaccine is doing what it was designed to do.

Iran was our Hogwarts.

Millennials know how to get richer.

Noel Fielding as cakes.

Giant straw animals take over northern Japan.

26 September 2021

A Cure for Cancer

One woman’s mission to eradicate Nazi revisionism on Wikipedia.

All of those women were right.

The paradigm that derailed the science of obesity.

Has mRNA biotechnology delivered a cure for cancer?

The man who helped make Pixar possible.


2021: A Bus Odyssey.

Mozu Miniature Studios (via).

Demolition Man.

18 September 2021

The State of It

Why there is a shortage of drivers in the UK.

Why public schoolboys aren’t fit to run the country.

The hollow heart of Brexit.

EU citizens who have applied for settled status in Britain are being threatened with deportation.

Why is English spelling so weird?

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31 August 2021

A Collective Hallucination

The populist revolt against the tyranny of merit.

How Britain fell to right-wing identity politics.

When a country cancelled half its citizens.

Labour never had a red wall.

Boris Johnson and the erosion of the rule of law.

The world’s newest failed state.

Read more…

30 July 2021