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Is it morally wrong to believe something that is not based on hard evidence?

By Francisco Mejia Uribe You have probably never heard of William Kingdon Clifford. He is not in the pantheon of great philosophers – perhaps because his life was cut short at the age of 33 – but I cannot think of anyone whose ideas are more relevant for our interconnected, AI-driven, digital age. It might […]

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Academic gullibility: Researchers prove how easy it is to fool editors and peer reviewers

By Yascha Mounk Over the past 12 months, three scholars — James Lindsay, Helen Pluckrose, and Peter Boghossian — wrote 20 fake papers using fashionable jargon to argue for ridiculous conclusions, and tried to get them placed in high-profile journals in fields including gender studies, queer studies, and fat studies. Their success rate was remarkable: […]

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Why are we so good at killing our houseplants?

By Charlotte Mendelson For most of us, apartment dwellers and city types, houseplants are an admission of defeat. We look wistfully at plants in the supermarket—tendrils and fronds, furry flaps, spines and holes and soft neon shoots—persuading ourselves that they might bring us comfort. Is the particularly unusual leaf structure of a tapioca plant a […]

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Why social media is so awful and why its managers want to keep it that way

By Mark O’Connell Twitter, as everyone knows, is Hell. Its most hellish aspect is a twofold, self-reinforcing contradiction: you know that you could leave at any time and you know that you will not. (Its pleasures, in this sense, are largely masochistic.) My relationship with the Web site, which has, for years now, been the […]

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Down with the uplifters!

By H.L. Mencken Of all the varieties of men, the one who is least comprehensible to me is the fellow who immolates himself on the altar of what he conceives to be the public interest – in other words, the reformer, the uplifter, the man, so called, of public spirit. What I am chiefly unable […]

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Letter to an Ecuadorian friend in Vilcabamba

By Viktoria Vidali Dear Rosa, It has now been over two years since we waved goodbye outside our apartment where we lived next to you and Juan on the horse-trodden streets of Vilcabamba. We all cried then. Aldo, though very weak, had reassured me that he could make the long trip from Quito to San […]

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The illogic of immortality

By Paul Sagar The finale of Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) sees the quest for the Holy Grail reach a dramatic conclusion. The film’s villain – the Nazi collaborator and artifact hunter Walter Donovan – knows that drinking from the sacred goblet will bring him eternal life. But from a table […]

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Chevron turns the tables, sues Ecuador for violation of bilateral investment treaty

By Michael Krauss What is going on here? Why has Chevron sued Ecuador? This column has exhaustively detailed the tragedy of the suit against Chevron. This is the petroleum company’s counter-attack. Herewith a primer on the international arbitration proceeding pursuant to the U.S.-Ecuador Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT), which entered into force in 1997. What is […]

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