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Dirty girls

Shot in 1996 by the then high-school student Michael Lucid on a handheld camera at his school in Santa Monica, California, Dirty Girls was released and screened around Los Angeles in 2000 before gaining popularity on the internet in 2013.

Keeping it in the family: why we pick the partners we do

The peacock’s dazzling tail feathers do not exist for them to carry out everyday activities such as eating or sleeping, but because their colourfulness is attractive to peahens: the more brilliant the feathers, the greater the chance the peacock has of finding a sexual partner.

Yadorigi: a village in portraits

As of 2015, an estimated 93.5 per cent of Japan’s population live in cities, making it one of the most urbanised countries in the world, and the trend towards city living has been growing for decades.

Freud the philosopher

Before fathering psychoanalysis, Freud first slayed the dominant Cartesian intellectual tradition of mind-body dualism By David Livingstone Smith Read at Aeon

Sometimes giving a person a choice is an act of terrible cruelty

It is not always good to have the opportunity to make a choice. When we must decide to take one action rather than another, we also, ordinarily, become at least partly responsible for what we choose to do.

Sex makes babies

As far as we can tell, no other animal knows this. Did our understanding of baby-making change the course of human history?

Pitching up

Ballyhaunis is a traditional farming town in County Mayo in the west of Ireland with a population just over 3,000.

What are the ethical consequences of immortality technology?

Immortality has gone secular. Unhooked from the realm of gods and angels, it’s now the subject of serious investment – both intellectual and financial – by philosophers, scientists and the Silicon Valley set.

Model hallucinations

Psychedelics have a remarkable capacity to violate our ideas about ourselves. Is that why they make people better?

The ‘mountain or valley’ illusion

Mountain or valley? Concave or convex? Why is it so difficult to tell the difference when you’re viewing a surface from directly overhead?

Far-distant days: the past has a dizzying power to ground us

In his essay The Machine-Tooled Happyland (1965), Ray Bradbury lays out his vision for the theme park of the future.

Agony in the agora

Democracy, by nature, is a contest between clashing political desires. That is why the public square matters so much By Saul Frampton Read at Aeon

Arrival of the sumo wrestlers

The bashoiri – the arrival of sumo wrestlers before a tournament – unfolds outside a venue in Tokyo. With the sumo lifestyle still dictated largely by tradition and the Japan Sumo Association, the wrestlers emerge from cars that they cannot drive, wearing robes that denote their rank, and sporting chonmage haircuts, looking splendidly anachronistic as they interact with mobile phones and pose for photos with fans.

Why vegetarians should be prepared to bend their own rules

It’s a common enough scenario. A vegetarian has been invited to a friend’s place for dinner. The host forgets that the guest is a vegetarian, and places a pork chop in front of her.

The lichenologist

Kerry Knudsen, curator of lichens at the University of California Riverside, is one of the world’s leading authorities on the composite organisms in which algae or cyanobacteria grow symbiotically inside a fungus.

Indescribable you

Can novelists or psychologists better capture the strange multitude of realities in every human self?

How can life-extending treatments be available for all?

Research into biological ageing suggests that humans might one day be able to prolong youth and postpone death.

The limits of tolerance

A religious worldview cannot expect the same kinds of tolerance as racial, gender, or sexual identities.


Working until the early morning hours in a Manhattan restaurant kitchen, Julio Sauce still finds the energy to train for and compete each year in the New York City Marathon – a gruelling 26-mile endurance test through the five boroughs.

If I teleport from Mars, does the original me get destroyed?

I am stranded on Mars. The fuel tanks on my return vessel ruptured, and no rescue team can possibly reach me before I run out of food.