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Fix and release

Fix and Release is an illuminating and moving look at the work of Sue Carstairs, the executive and medical director of the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre in Canada.

The minds of plants

From the memories of flowers to the sociability of trees, the cognitive capacities of our vegetal cousins are all around us By Laura Ruggles Read at Aeon

How Orwell used wartime rationing to argue for global justice

‘We are the 99 per cent!’ Many of us who have applauded those stirring words, beginning with the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011, knew that the number was not precise, and was never intended to be.

Kurt Vonnegut: the shape of stories

Although his master’s thesis on the topic was rejected by the University of Chicago’s anthropology department, it's hard to discount the acuity of the US writer Kurt Vonnegut's theory of ‘story shapes’.

Even if genes affect intelligence, we can’t engineer cleverness

First, let me tell you how smart I am. So smart. My fifth-grade teacher said I was gifted in mathematics and, looking back, I have to admit that she was right.

The other side of the curtain

During the Cold War, US propagandists worked to provide a counterweight to Communist media, but truth eluded them all By Melissa Feinberg Read at Aeon

Are university admissions biased?

Simpson’s paradox is a statistical phenomenon in which a trend appears in small data sets, but differs or reverses when those sets are combined into a larger group.

Stop boycotting SeaWorld if you care about marine conservation

In 2010, the death of Dawn Brancheau, a trainer at SeaWorld Orlando, focused attention on the entertainment groups’ orca (or killer whale) shows.

Mother Canada

Planned for the Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Nova Scotia by the Toronto businessman Tony Trigiani, the 24-metre Mother Canada monument was intended to serve the dual purpose of honouring the country’s war dead and boosting the area’s largely seasonal fishing economy.

Freud in the scanner

A revival of interest in the power of introspection and thought has brought Freud’s ideas back into the scientific fold By M M Owen Read at Aeon

Everyone in the world should be taxed on their energy footprint

Technological advances and historically unprecedented income inequalities have raised living standards while enabling a new global elite to enjoy lifestyles more lavish in energy consumption and environmental impact than those enjoyed by any aristocracy in the past.

Touching the sky

At their best, daredevils rival philosophers and mystics in their exploration of human mortality and spirit By Lary Wallace Read at Aeon

How a children’s toy led to an essential medical device

Centrifuges are a basic component of any modern medical laboratory. Used to separate different types of cells within a blood sample by spinning them extremely quickly, they are an essential tool for detecting many diseases.

The ethics of ET

The discovery of independent life beyond Earth would have deep philosophical implications for us, and our ideas of morality By Tim Mulgan Read at Aeon

‘Let the soul dangle’: how mind-wandering spurs creativity

The Renaissance painter Albrecht Dürer was regarded by his friends as a master in the art of mind-wandering.

Field song

‘Just like the bad things, the beautiful things are temporary too.’ Roberto Olivera was raised in poverty in southern California, where he worked the tomato fields alongside his mother and abusive stepfather, migrant workers from Mexico.

How to fight work bullshit (and keep your job and your dignity)

After getting lost in the conference hotel, I finally located the ‘creativity workshop’. Joining the others, I sat cross-legged on the floor.

The empire dreamt back

To help rule its empire, Britain turned to psychoanalysis. But they weren’t willing to hear the truth it told By Erik Linstrum Read at Aeon

Praying mantis love is way weirder than you think

The tempestuous sex lives of praying mantises have long been fodder for cartoons and trivia nights, but what really happens when these wonderfully weird insects procreate?

Black holes are simpler than forests and science has its limits

Albert Einstein said that the ‘most incomprehensible thing about the Universe is that it is comprehensible’.