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Primitive technology: tiled roof hut

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

The right to vote should be restricted to those with knowledge

Who should hold power: the few or the many? Concentrating power in the hands of a few – in monarchy, dictatorship or oligarchy – tends to result in power for personal benefit at the expense of others.

Courage and free speech

Throughout human history there have been individuals who have been ready to risk everything for their beliefs By Timothy Garton Ash Read at Aeon

How subtle eye signals helps turn-taking in conversation

In every conversation, there is an unspoken code – a set of social rules that guides you. When to talk, when to stop talking, when to listen, and where to look.

Written in baleen

Trees lay down rings, the earth tells its story in geological strata and now we’ve found the secret archive of the whale By Rebecca Kessler Read at Aeon

How wolves change rivers

Yellowstone’s reintroduction of wolves in 1995 is one of the best-known instances of a trophic cascade – a single change in a food chain that transforms an entire ecosystem.

Without tenure, professors become terrified sheep

People outside academia often struggle to comprehend tenure. We live in a society where job security is in decades-long decline.


How organisations enshrine collective stupidity and employees are rewarded for checking their brains at the office door By André Spicer Read at Aeon

How summer camps and Scout groups turn children into citizens

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has both proud supporters and critics of its policies on religious beliefs and sexuality.

Tashi and the monk

In a remote region of the Indian Himalayas, Lobsang Phuntsok, formerly a Buddhist monk, has dedicated his life to rescuing unwanted, orphaned and needy children.

Street talk

People who can switch between street dialects and standard language might have the same cognitive advantage as bilinguals By Michael Erard Read at Aeon

Further: Seth Shostak

Planets aren’t rare. Life is surprisingly durable. The more we’ve learned about the Universe, the more the search for extraterrestrial life has shifted from science fiction to serious scientific undertaking.

Coding is not ‘fun’, it’s technically and ethically complex

Programming computers is a piece of cake. Or so the world’s digital-skills gurus would have us believe.

The whistle

‘They think that a referee has no feelings at all.’ The Polish director Grzegorz Zariczny’s The Whistle follows Marcin, a low-league soccer referee, as he breaks up fights and absorbs the criticisms and ire of angry players, rowdy fans, disgruntled coaches and a referee committee.

America’s Declaration of Independence was pro-immigrant

In 1776, American Patriots faced problems of crushing sovereign debt, vituperative debates about immigration, and questions about the role of foreign trade.

It is and it isn’t

Marcel Duchamp’s ‘Fountain’ is not just a radical kind of art. It’s a philosophical dialetheia: a contradiction that is true By Damon Young & Graham Priest Read at Aeon

Opposition to Galileo was scientific, not just religious

In 1614, when the telescope was new technology, a young man in Germany published a book filled with illustrations of the exciting new things being discovered telescopically: moons circling Jupiter, moon-like phases of Venus, spots on the Sun, the rough and cratered lunar surface.

Books for life

There is something deeply revealing about the books one truly loves in childhood and adolescence By Adam Gidwitz Read at Aeon

Farewell: etaoin shrdlu

Once called the ‘eighth wonder of the world’ by Thomas Edison, Linotype typecasting machines revolutionised publishing when they were invented in 1886, and remained the industry standard for nearly a century after.

Why panpsychism fails to solve the mystery of consciousness

Is consciousness everywhere? Is it a basic feature of the Universe, at the very heart of the tiniest subatomic particles?