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The strange habits of Albert Einstein and other geniuses: Long walks, recycled cigarette butts and toe squishes

By Zaria Gorvett Celebrated inventor and physicist Nikola Tesla swore by toe exercises – every night, he’d repeatedly ‘squish’ his toes, 100 times for each foot, according to the author Marc J. Seifer. While it’s not entirely clear exactly what that exercise involved, Tesla claimed it helped to stimulate his brain cells. The most prolific […]

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Social media is a product of the market place; Can it really be harnessed for democratic purposes?

By Jack Shenker Shortly after midnight on Friday, 28 January 2011, someone in 26 Ramses Street, a nondescript 12-storey office building in downtown Cairo, turned off Egypt’s internet. No email, web access, WhatsApp or Skype. It didn’t matter. A few hours later, Egyptians came out and made a revolution anyway. Tahrir Square, the physical epicentre […]

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The adoption of Bitcoin in developing countries offers the ‘unbanked’ access to financial services

By Clive Sanford Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies have loyal followers who believe that the future of mediums of exchange and stores of value is in currency constructs that are outside the purview of governments and central banks. They also have confidence that the technological underpinnings of cryptocurrencies give these a unique and lasting advantage. While […]

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Can it be better to never have been born? A philosopher argues against procreation

By David Benatar In 2006, I published a book called Better Never to Have Been. I argued that coming into existence is always a serious harm. People should never, under any circumstance, procreate – a position called ‘anti-natalism’. In response, readers wrote letters of appreciation, support and, of course, there was outrage. But I also […]

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How the Protestant ‘Revolution’ reshaped the world

By Alec Ryrie If you’re a Protestant, the anniversary of the revolution Martin Luther set in motion 500 years ago last Tuesday is a big deal. But even if you’re not, it should be. The Reformation was one of the decisive events that made the world we live in, for better or worse. Luther and […]

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Are people smart enough to be citizens?

By Nicholas Tampio In early 2017, Scientific American published a symposium on the threat that “big nudging” poses to democracy. Big Data is the phenomena whereby governments and corporations collect and analyze information provided by measuring sensors and internet searches. Nudging is the view that governments should build choice architectures that make it easier for […]

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Moreno shows that Correa’s brand of leftist populism is not the only one

By Bello In February, Rafael Correa, Ecuador’s then-president, compared the country’s run-off election to the battle of Stalingrad. “We are going to fight the worldwide right wing,” he said. His man, Lenín Moreno, duly scored a narrow victory against Guillermo Lasso, a conservative banker. Yet with Mr Moreno in office for less than five months, […]

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Moreno is undoing Rafael Correa’s legacy but what exactly will he put in its place?

By Soledad Stoessel It may be a bit much to invoke Gustav Meyrink’s Golem – the indomitable clay creation that destroyed everything in its path, alive but soulless – but the lurching, paradoxical maneuvering of Ecuador’s president, Lenin Moreno, does lend itself to literary comparisons. Moreno served as vice president for six years under Rafael […]

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