The eternal human struggle to live meaningfully in the face of inevitable death entered its newest phase one Monday in the summer of 2007, when employees of Google gathered to hear a talk by a writer and self-avowed geek named Merlin Mann.
Search engines are pretty good at finding what you’re looking for these days, but sometimes they still come up short. For those occasions there are a few little known tricks which come in handy.
Most jobs that exist today might disappear within decades. As artificial intelligence outperforms humans in more and more tasks, it will replace humans in more and more jobs. Many new professions are likely to appear: virtual-world designers, for example.
By the end of the 19th century, no book in English literary history had enjoyed more editions, spin-offs and translations. Crusoe’s world-famous novel is a complex literary confection, and it’s irresistible.
Before Christmas I took a young relative to a jazz concert. The thought of it ruined his whole day. He scuffed around the house like an alt-right voter at a refugee camp. In the event, even he acknowledged that we had a fine time.
Imagine if the people of the Soviet Union had never heard of communism. The ideology that dominates our lives has, for most of us, no name. Mention it in conversation and you’ll be rewarded with a shrug. Even if your listeners have heard the term before, they will struggle to define it.
Google, Twitter and Facebook workers who helped make technology so addictive are disconnecting themselves from the internet. Paul Lewis reports on the Silicon Valley refuseniks alarmed by a race for human attention
Want to freak yourself out? I’m going to show just how much of your information the likes of Facebook and Google store about you without you even realising it. Google stores your location (if you have location tracking turned on) every time you turn on your phone.
Social media has swallowed the news – threatening the funding of public-interest reporting and ushering in an era when everyone has their own facts. But the consequences go far beyond journalism One Monday morning last September, Britain woke to a depraved news story.
If you’ve ever washed out a wound with saline instead of tap water or requested an x-ray for lower-back pain, you’re a fool.
People are often surprised to learn that Confucius, Mencius, Laozi and other classical Chinese philosophers weren’t rigid traditionalists who taught that our highest good comes from confining ourselves to social roles.
The phone rings: it’s my friend checking to see if I can pick her up on the way to a dinner party. I ask her where she is and as she explains, I reach as far as I can across the countertop for a pen. I scribble the address in my trusty notebook I keep in my back pocket.
In the past few decades, the fortunate among us have recognised the hazards of living with an overabundance of food (obesity, diabetes) and have started to change our diets. But most of us do not yet understand that news is to the mind what sugar is to the body. News is easy to digest.
When it comes to exercise, we think about how to “get” fit. But often, starting out is not the problem. “The big problem is maintaining it,” says Falko Sniehotta, a professor of behavioural medicine and health psychology at Newcastle University.
As they motored across the lagoon in the Marshall Islands, deep in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the policemen stared at the specimen laid out on the deck before them. There was no hiding the fact that this man had been at sea for a considerable time. His hair was matted upwards like a shrub.
There’s a poster on the wall of the gym I use, a place frequented by many aspiring British athletes. It says simply: “You lose 100% of the chances you don’t take.” No one likes to be rejected, to take a chance, to put in huge effort only to be rebuffed.
She is venerated around the world. She has outlasted 12 US presidents. She stands for stability and order. But her kingdom is in turmoil, and her subjects are in denial that her reign will ever end. That’s why the palace has a plan.
The ability of statistics to accurately represent the world is declining. In its wake, a new age of big data controlled by private companies is taking over – and putting democracy in peril by In theory, statistics should help settle arguments.
1. The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert (2014) An engrossing account of the looming catastrophe caused by ecology’s “neighbours from hell” – mankind. 2.
I am lying on a mat, looking up at the bright blue of the skylight above me. I exhale purposefully, then let my lungs reinflate of their own accord. I am trying hard to concentrate on this slightly counterintuitive way of breathing, but the voices in my head are distracting me.
For years Donald Heathfield, Tracey Foley, and their two children lived the American dream. Then an FBI raid revealed the truth: They were agents of Putin’s Russia. Their sons tell their story.
What greater indictment of a system could there be than an epidemic of mental illness? Yet plagues of anxiety, stress, depression, social phobia, eating disorders, self-harm and loneliness now strike people down all over the world.
Slow down, that used to be the mantra for middle age. The dread half-century reached, fiftysomethings were expected to take up less challenging physical activities – if they were physical at all.
A shadowy global operation involving big data, billionaire friends of Trump and the disparate forces of the Leave campaign influenced the result of the EU referendum. As Britain heads to the polls again, is our electoral process still fit for purpose?
Philosophers and scientists have been at war for decades over the question of what makes human beings more than complex robots by One spring morning in Tucson, Arizona, in 1994, an unknown philosopher named David Chalmers got up to give a talk on consciousness, by which he meant the feeling of being
Work has ruled our lives for centuries, and it does so today more than ever. But a new generation of thinkers insists there is an alternative.
The health food chain Tossed has just opened the UK’s first cashless cafe. It’s another step towards the death of cash. This is nothing new. Money is tech. The casting of coins made shells, whales’ teeth and other such primitive forms of money redundant.
Over the last year, as the presidential campaign grew increasingly bizarre and Donald Trump took us places we had never been before, I saw a spike in media references to Amusing Ourselves to Death, a book written by my late father, Neil Postman, which anticipated back in 1985 so much about what has
If you want to see how inflated our portion sizes have become, don’t go to the supermarket – head to an antique shop. You spot a tiny goblet clearly designed for a doll, only to be told it is a “wine glass”. What look like side plates turn out to be dinner plates.
They may have been disproved by science or dismissed as ridiculous, but some foolish beliefs endure. In theory they should wither away – but it’s not that simple In January 2016, the rapper BoB took to Twitter to tell his fans that the Earth is really flat.
For more than a year we’ve been investigating Cambridge Analytica and its links to the Brexit Leave campaign in the UK and Team Trump in the US presidential election.
On an August morning in 2008, Tony Wyss-Coray sat in a conference room at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Palo Alto, California, waiting for his lab’s weekly meeting to begin.
When I first got pregnant, I was a smart-arse corporate lawyer, used to getting my own way.
Ai Aoyama is a sex and relationship counsellor who works out of her narrow three-storey home on a Tokyo back street. Her first name means "love" in Japanese, and is a keepsake from her earlier days as a professional dominatrix.
Confessing to boredom is confessing to a character-flaw.
Cheap and effective, CBT became the dominant form of therapy, consigning Freud to psychology’s dingy basement. But new studies have cast doubt on its supremacy – and shown dramatic results for psychoanalysis. Is it time to get back on the couch?
The School of Life’s Sunday sermons could be described as lectures for people who don’t believe in God but still like church.
If you ask Jill Price to remember any day of her life, she can come up with an answer in a heartbeat. What was she doing on 29 August 1980? “It was a Friday, I went to Palm Springs with my friends, twins, Nina and Michelle, and their family for Labour Day weekend,” she says.
Matthew Walker has learned to dread the question “What do you do?” At parties, it signals the end of his evening; thereafter, his new acquaintance will inevitably cling to him like ivy.
Is this the beginning of the end for Apple? The tech giant’s inexorable growth has been a given for most of the 21st century but, on Wednesday, Apple reported its first decline in quarterly sales for 13 years: a 13% fall, down to $50bn (£34bn).
The emails currently roiling the US presidential campaign are part of some unknown digital collection amassed by the troublesome Anthony Weiner, but if your purpose is to understand the clique of people who dominate Washington today, the emails that really matter are the ones being slowly released b
How much proper brainwork – not zoning out in meetings, or reorganising the stationery cupboard, but work that involves really thinking – should you aim to get done in one day? It sounds like a trick question. We think of creativity as fundamentally mysterious, and of humans as extremely varied.
The social network had a grand plan to connect millions of Indians to the internet. Here’s how it all went wrong Until Mark Zuckerberg arrived in a bright orange helicopter in October 2014, Chandauli had never seen a celebrity visitor.
It’s important for people to tell you what side they are on and why, and whether they might be biased. A declaration of members’ interests, of a sort. So, I am going to be talking to you about reading. I’m going to tell you that libraries are important.
One morning this summer, I got up at first light – I'd left the blinds open the night before – then drank a strong cup of coffee, sat near-naked by an open window for an hour, worked all morning, then had a martini with lunch.
They know more about their clients than the clients’ own wives. They are loyal in the face of appalling behaviour. They are the brains behind the most ingenious tax avoidance schemes. And there are more of them than ever The Pritzker family is one of the wealthiest in the United States.
Mounting pressures at work are taking a heavy toll on life at home. Employees say their bosses want them to put job before family, and many are expected to be on call around the clock. More than one in four say they work longer hours than they want to, we learn from the latest YouGov poll.
Look around on your next plane trip. The iPad is the new pacifier for babies and toddlers. Younger school-aged children read stories on smartphones; older boys don’t read at all, but hunch over video games. Parents and other passengers read on Kindles or skim a flotilla of email and news feeds.
Periodically, in the vast spans of time that have preceded us, our planet’s living beings have been purged by planetary catastrophes so extreme they make your typical Ice Age look like the geological equivalent of a stroll in the park.
The full scale of the financial rout facing millennials is revealed today in exclusive new data that points to a perfect storm of factors besetting an entire generation of young adults around the world.
A few minutes into my encounter with the Angry Chef, I begin to wonder if his moniker might be ironic, like the big guy whose friends call him “Tiny”.
Just over a week ago, Donald Trump gathered members of the world’s press before him and told them they were liars. “The press, honestly, is out of control,” he said. “The public doesn’t believe you any more.” CNN was described as “very fake news… story after story is bad”.
As I write this, I’m sitting on the back porch of the rural Vermont homestead I share with my husband and our daughter, gazing out on the 66 acres of forest, fruit trees, gardens, ponds, and streams that we feel incredibly lucky to call our own.
Author Alain de Botton is known for applying philosophical concepts to everyday life; his books include How Proust Can Change Your Life (1997), Status Anxiety (2004) and The Architecture of Happiness (2006).
When the logic of capitalism means universities are run as businesses, much is lost. Reclaiming literature is crucial to understanding the times we live in I’ve recently finished marking 40-odd exams, mostly written by people between the ages of 18 and 21.
Expert interrogators know torture doesn’t work – but until now, nobody could prove it. By analysing hundreds of top-secret interviews with terror suspects, two British scientists have revolutionised the art of extracting the truth. By
She smiles at the image, noting how elegant the furniture was, the carefree atmosphere where she sat in an ante-chamber off Joseph Goebbels’ office with five other secretaries, how his nails were always neatly manicured.
Does money matter? Does wealth make us rich any more? These might seem like odd questions for a physicist to try to answer, but Britain’s referendum decision is a reminder that everything is connected and that if we wish to understand the fundamental nature of the universe, we’d be very foolish
The German writer Norman Ohler lives on the top floor of a 19th-century apartment building on the south bank of the river Spree in Kreuzberg, Berlin. Visiting him there is a vertiginous experience.
“If you’ve got money, you vote in,” she said, with a bracing certainty. “If you haven’t got money, you vote out.” We were in Collyhurst, the hard-pressed neighbourhood on the northern edge of Manchester city centre last Wednesday, and I had yet to find a remain voter.
Well, it’s happened. The UK is off. It’s sailing towards the horizon and we all know who to thank.
A woman apparently using my name meant a nightmare of unpaid traffic fines and a criminal record.
Ever since childhood, Brian Regan had been made to feel stupid because of his severe dyslexia. So he thought no one would suspect him of stealing secrets
It matters how we talk and think about mental health. Get it wrong, and people can end up being misled, or even worse, hurt. Last week the BBC ran a well-intentioned season about mental health that, unfortunately, gave a completely lopsided view of psychiatry.
The optimum amount of sleep is supposed to be eight hours a night. Why is shuteye so important – and what happens if we don’t get enough? “The only known function of sleep is to cure sleepiness,” the Harvard sleep scientist Dr J Allan Hobson once joked.
It is difficult to imagine life before our personal and professional worlds were so dominated and “switched on” via smartphones and the other devices that make us accessible and, crucially, so easily distractible and interruptible every second of the day.
On a cold February night in 1986, Berlin’s Glienicke Bridge became the scene of the cold war’s last ever prisoner exchange – a dramatic hand-over involving a Soviet dissident and Karel Koecher, the only foreign agent ever known to have infiltrated the CIA.
They promised it would be an easy victory. But they had no idea what was about to hit them On Friday 10 June, five men charged with keeping Britain in the European Union gathered in a tiny, windowless office and stared into the abyss.
At the age of 20, Christopher Knight parked his car on a remote trail in Maine and walked away with only the most basic supplies. He had no plan. His chief motivation was to avoid contact with people. This is his story
Animals are the main victims of history, and the treatment of domesticated animals in industrial farms is perhaps the worst crime in history. The march of human progress is strewn with dead animals.
Here’s what you don’t want to do late on a Sunday night. You do not want to type seven letters into Google. That’s all I did. I typed: “a-r-e”. And then “j-e-w-s”. Since 2008, Google has attempted to predict what question you might be asking and offers you a choice.
1) How to Talk to Girls at PartiesNeil Gaiman’s science fiction comedy short story has been adapted by screenwriter Philippa Goslett and directed by John Cameron Mitchell – making his first movie since 2010’s Rabbit Hole.
For the last 15 years, US journalist Gary Taubes has been the self-nominated public enemy No 1 of the global “healthy eating” establishment.
For some, eating alone can be a joyous thing: forking mouthfuls of pasta straight from the pan, peanut butter licked off a spoon, the unbridled pleasure of walking home from the chippie alone on a cold night. But regularly eating meals in isolation is a different story.
As 2017 begins, Canada may be the last immigrant nation left standing. Our government believes in the value of immigration, as does the majority of the population.