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Nobody has escaped the occasional eerie feeling of being spied on by our digital devices. We’re all too familiar with the strange sense of deja vu that comes from being served up ads on something we were only just talking about with close friends and family.

There are plenty of stories around of creepy tech being too close to home. Of people receiving niche gifts from the other side of the world only to be shown them again in ads just hours or minutes later. …


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Despite the best efforts of teachers and tutors, the informal lessons taught in school were the most valuable by far. Those hours spent learning how to evade a few minutes of work, writing reams of excuses to get out of a page of homework, faking injury to evade P.E, and learning how to grab an extra lunch when it was on the cards. Life lessons that have more than proven their worth since.

The second most valuable thing from our school days is the occasional answer to daytime T.V.’s finest quiz shows. Here, however, we may be over-confident in the…


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You can scarcely make a click without bumping up against one or more step-by-step guides to guaranteed success online. So common and so insistent are publications about our triumphs that it’s a wonder we manage to fail at all.

Such articles are most often found under un-cryptic titles such as ‘the definitive guide to guaranteed success’, ‘CEO Secrets that work for you’ or just simply ‘Be Like Bezos’. These Cosmo quizzes for the new-millennial claim to teach the ins and outs of becoming the ruthless CEO of our dreams. But how many of us have those dreams to begin with?


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Higher education is in the middle of vast change which should, hopefully, see it emerge far stronger than it was before. The idea of packing 2-300 students into a small hall to talk at them for 55 minutes at a time is no longer quite as appealing as it used to be. There are faster, better, and more effective ways to educate, teach, and learn.

That it took us to the point of global pandemic to action these changes should be one of our more major regrets. The model we used until early 2020 is now centuries old and looking…


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Imagine for a second, it’s the middle of the first term of the 2020/21 academic year. You’re studying your dream subject at your first choice university in a brand new city for the first time in your life. Of course, It is still 2020 and full-time study combined with part-time remote work has kept you at the same desk in the same room in the same halls for months on end. 60 hours a week in the same Ikea chair and still not enough time to complete every bit of work as well as you’d like

The alleged answer to…


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For all of human history our innovation and ingenuity have been accelerating at a staggering pace. The stone age, which lasted us a good two and a half million years, eventually gave way to the bronze age, which lasted us merely the next 2000. Things, it’s very often said, have gone very much downhill since.

The iron age followed on for the next eight centuries making the industrial age possible for the next two. …


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In law, marriage, and daily life good intentions will get you a fairly long way. In the wider world, however, they really do count for very little at all.

In science, things are even more tricky still. Some of the best minds of the previous century have spent their entire careers on ideas, technologies, and methods which just didn’t pan out. They may yet turn out to be the lucky ones. Others have dedicated their lives to world-changing works, only to discover their impact on the planet wasn’t the positive boost they were hoping to achieve.

Alfred Nobel was said…


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If there is abundant anger or growing frustration over the ability of the UK government to bungle and mismanage even the basic steps of a crisis, you could be forgiven for missing it entirely. Early estimates suggest that poor handling, needless delays, and a response halfway between callous and absent has added thousands of extra deaths to an unfortunately large tally.

Press coverage of the crisis has occasionally switched gear from PR to legitimate criticism, but not often. Many of the hardest-hitting news segments the cabinet have faced during the crisis have been puff pieces and re-introductions with medical staff…


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Cycling is the prescribed cure to many of Britain’s most serious ailments this summer. The UK government are urging the public onto their bikes to help the population shape up and ward off future health crisis. The sudden boom in cycling popularity — an increase of hundreds of percent in some areas — has made it the natural choice to maintain momentum and boost fitness levels nationwide.

Keeping hold of just a few of the hard-won lockdown victories long after the crisis is over will be no easy task. …


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Cults are a fascinating bunch. On a personal level, it’s hard to imagine yourself drawn so hard to a personality, idea, or set of rules that it impacts almost every other aspect of your life. Over one hundred hours of Netflix alone are dedicated just to cults and their often devastating consequences. Doomsday cults, who believe in the imminent end of the world, are an especially fascinating example.

A wide variety of the type exists; from die-hard ‘preppers’ expecting nuclear winter or chemical warfare — to extreme religious fanatics awaiting imminent biblical armageddon. …

Ian

Freelance writer with interests in tech, politics, and science; occasionally also the outdoors often escaping from the first two.

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