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Parking problem solved

What happened to this ingenious, forgotten solution to the problem of parallel parking from the automobile’s early days?

Should we be suspicious of the Anthropocene idea?

Officially, for the past 11,700 years we have been living in the Holocene epoch. From the Greek for ‘totally new’, the Holocene is an eyeblink in geological time.

For the love of dogs

Can an encyclopedic knowledge of dogs help an 11-year-old with Asperger’s connect with people? The post For the love of dogs appeared first on Aeon Magazine.

Medieval technology, indistinguishable from magic

In 807 the Abbasid caliph in Baghdad, Harun al-Rashid, sent Charlemagne a gift the like of which had never been seen in the Christian empire: a brass water clock.

The roper

As a black calf roper, Kendrick Domingue challenges the myths of the American West by gunning for the Rodeo finals The post The roper appeared first on Aeon Magazine.

Do we need a telepathy machine when we already have empathy?

Every modern generation has had its own idiosyncratic obsession with telepathy, the hope that one human being might be able to read another person’s thoughts.


What’s more relaxing than a leisurely soak? A visit to Californian hot springs luxuriates in water’s calming effects The post Soak appeared first on Aeon Magazine.

If your memory fails, are you still the same person?

‘On my good days, I can almost pass for a normal person. On my bad days, I feel like I cannot find myself… I don’t know who I am and what I am going to lose next.’ So says Alice Howland, as played by Julianne Moore, in the film Still Alice (2014).

Epigenome: the symphony in your cells

Like musicians reading from a score, our cells interpret our genome differently. Will we become master DNA conductors?

What will our descendants judge as our greatest sin?

In 100 years it will not be acceptable to use genderised words such as ‘he’ or ‘she’, which are loaded with centuries of prejudice and reduce a spectrum of greys to black and white.

Japan’s disposable workers: net café refugees

Are Japan’s low-income workers who live in internet café cubicles a vision of an increasingly unequal future?

If suicide is signalled on social media, should you intervene?

She sat before me, feet in combat boots tapping an irregular rhythm on our muted yellow clinic floor.

The odd tale of the clever octopus

Wearing a seashell as a disguise, the wily and merciless veined octopus stalks an unsuspecting rock crab The post The odd tale of the clever octopus appeared first on Aeon Magazine.

Seltzer works

The crisp bubbles of real New York seltzer from the city’s last bottler serve up refreshment and stir up rich nostalgia The post Seltzer works appeared first on Aeon Magazine.

Technology starts with imagination, not analysis

Picture yourself in a supermarket aisle in 2050. These new ‘magic meatballs’, brightly coloured for the kids, seem worth a try.

God knows more about misbehaviour than anything else. Why?

Of all humanity’s eccentricities, religion could very well be the most baffling. Even though no one has produced a fleck of evidence for the existence of the gods, people will engage in repetitive, often taxing behaviours, under the impression that some ethereal being out there knows and cares.

Bhiwani junction

A 12-year-old Indian boxer dreams of fighting his way to glory, or a government job. Can a brutal sport be redemptive?

Can secular people benefit from prayer?

I don’t believe in God, but I need some kind of a prayer to repeat when things go haywire. I need a prayer because, as a writer with several unruly dependents under my roof, each day is a rollercoaster, a crapshoot, an exercise in uncertainty.

The Libet experiment: Is free will just an illusion?

Can we really make conscious decisions, or is our sense of agency actually just a bit of brain trickery?

Without a library of Platonic forms, evolution couldn’t work

When it slithers through the grass, the legless glass lizard is indistinguishable from a snake. But harass it and it will perform a very un-snakelike feat.