Female runners have long fought for the recognition and status of male ones. Rachel Hewitt asks why a woman pulling on a pair of trainers is still such a defiant act.

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Photo: Artem Varnitsin/EyeEm/Getty Images

By Rachel Hewitt

At around 5pm on October 28th 2018, the day the clocks went back in Britain, I pulled on my running shoes and left the house. My usual route follows a seven-mile (11km) loop. It starts in the medieval walled city of York, going south on good, firm cycle paths, then on to boggier trails and through a small wood to the nearby village of Bishopthorpe, returning via a few suburban alleys, across a race-course and a paved riverside path. It is flat and untroubled by cars, and I do it once or twice each week, taking one…


We see exceptional intelligence as a blessing. So why, asks Maggie Fergusson, are so many brilliant children miserable misfits?

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Photo: PeopleImages/Getty Images

By Maggie Fergusson

Tom remembers the day he decided he wanted to be a theoretical astrophysicist. He was deep into research about black holes, and had amassed a box of papers on his theories. In one he speculated about the relationship between black holes and white holes, hypothetical celestial objects that emit colossal amounts of energy. Black holes, he thought, must be linked across space-time with white holes. “I put them together and I thought, oh wow, that works! That’s when I knew I wanted to do this as a job.” Tom didn’t know enough maths to prove his theory…


The Bay Area is an incubator for the future of fertility

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Photo: Jill Lehmann Photography/Getty Images

By Alexandra Suich Bass

One Saturday night a few months ago, a friend of mine who works in the tech industry announced the good news that she and her husband were expecting a baby. This September, they will engage in that quintessential parenting ritual: a mad dash to the hospital and the return home with their newborn. Their birth experience, however, will have a modern twist. My friend is not having the baby herself.

Their new arrival will come courtesy of a female stranger whom they screened, paid and entrusted to incubate their embryo. Only after their surrogate goes into…


The world’s only living natural experiment in the creation of language has happened among the deaf in Nicaragua. As Dan Rosenheck discovered, it has fundamentally changed how linguists think about one of civilisation’s greatest mysteries.

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Photo: Tara Moore/Getty Images

By Dan Rosenheck

“He may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.” So Franklin Roosevelt is said to have described Anastasio Somoza, the American-backed dictator of Nicaragua. Somoza’s countrymen had little for which to thank the kleptocratic dynasty he founded. But Hope Portocarrero, the American-born wife of his son, Anastasio Jr, sought refuge in good works from the misery of her marriage to a philandering brute. Among these was a school she set up in 1977 in the capital, Managua, for students with disabilities. …


As buying a house becomes harder and remote working simpler, should we remain wedded to the idea of settling down? Jonathan Beckman meets the people who hope to find a home wherever they wander.

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Photo: Hiroshi Watanabe/Getty Images

By Jonathan Beckman

At cocktail hour on a mild October evening, as thousands of Londoners are wadded face to armpit on their tube journeys home, half a dozen residents of a handsome, brown-brick townhouse in Chelsea have gathered in the basement kitchen. Jonny Sywulak, a 34-year-old software engineer and former bartender, is standing behind a balustrade of vodka bottles, demonstrating how to concoct a Bloody Mary. …


The players are celebrities, the fans are fanatical and someone, hopefully, is going to get very rich. Simon Parkin meets the people trying to turn competitive video-gaming into a professional sport.

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A general view during the British Esports League Of Legends school championship finals at Insomnia64 Esports Gaming Festival at NEC Arena on April 20, 2019 in Birmingham, England. Photo: Luke Walker/Getty Images

By Simon Parkin

The player enclosure at the Overwatch World Cup looks like a cross between the green room of a talk-show and a slovenly student apartment. A shantytown of brushes and wet-wipes clutters a line of hair-and- make-up stations. A trestle table sags under the weight of a buffet fit for a children’s party — buckets of luminous energy drink, crisps, chocolate, a rogue banana, more crisps — which is constantly replenished by a soundless brigade of staff. The most dedicated players at this video-game tournament, who have flown into Los Angeles from London, Seoul, Stockholm, Beijing and beyond…


Slash fiction — a branch of fan fiction that imagines straight heroes getting together — is strangely popular among straight women. Helen Joyce examines the light it sheds on female sexuality.

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Wax figures of James T. Kirk and Mr. Spock. Photo: Peter Bischoff/Getty Images

By Helen Joyce

It all began with “Star Trek”, or more precisely with James T. Kirk, the captain of the Enterprise, and his first officer, the half-human, half-Vulcan Spock. The show, which debuted in 1966, was no immediate hit: it was nearly cancelled twice before finally being taken off the air just three years later, after 79 episodes. But throughout the following decade, as it was endlessly repeated, a cult built up around it. Films and new series followed. Now, a half-century later, its influence on popular culture is clear. Its catchphrases (“Beam me up, Scotty”; “Live long and prosper”)…


As video games get better and job prospects worse, more young men are dropping out of the job market to spend their time in an alternate reality. Ryan Avent suspects this is the beginning of something big.

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Photo: Koron/Getty Images

By Ryan Avent

David Mullings was always a self-starter. Born in Jamaica, he moved to Florida to go to university, and founded his first company — a digital media firm that helped Caribbean content find a wider audience — before finishing business school at the University of Miami. In 2011 he opened a private-equity firm with his brother. In 2013 the two made their first big deal, acquiring an 80% stake in a Tampa-based producer of mobile apps. A year later it blew up in their faces, sinking their firm and their hopes.

Mullings struggled to recover from the blow…


People in richer societies cry more. Matthew Sweet probes the reasons.

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Photo: “Oldboy”/Show East

By Matthew Sweet

When he became a father, Charles Darwin began taking notes on the emotional development of his children. Such record-making was part of the rhythm of the household. He logged the weather, his farts and sneezes, and the behaviour of the earthworms he kept in a jar on the piano. His offspring were too compelling a source of data to ignore.

Willie was his first-born. Darwin tickled his feet with a spill of paper and watched for laughter. Annie arrived 14 months later. Darwin observed the moment when she first responded to her own reflection in the polished…


Bands are known for drink, drugs and dust-ups. But beyond the debauchery lie four models for how to run a business. Ian Leslie explains.

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Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

By Ian Leslie

In his languidly titled autobiography, “Life”, Keith Richards tells a story that captures something about the workplace culture of the Rolling Stones and his decades as the band’s guitarist. It’s 1984 and the Stones are in Amsterdam for a meeting (yes, even Keith Richards attends meetings). That night, Richards and Mick Jagger go out for a drink and return to their hotel in the early hours, by which time Jagger is somewhat the worse for wear. “Give Mick a couple of glasses, he’s gone,” Richards writes, scornfully.

Jagger decides that he wants to see Charlie Watts, who…

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