Progress: A Linear Development?

Rolf-Dieter Heuer With the discovery of the Higgs boson, the last gap in the "Standard Model" of physics has been filled. Martin Eiermann talked with the head of the CERN laboraties, Rolf-Dieter Heuer, about the future of physics, the value of diversity, and the difference between knowledge and belief. … Read More>> Advertisements

Everything Was a Problem and We Did Not Understand a Thing

Why can everyone learn Portuguese? Are some aspects of our nature unknowable? Can you imagine Richard Nixon as a radical? Is Twitter a trivializer? New Scientist takes a whistle-stop tour of our modern intellectual landscape in the company of Noam Chomsky. Graham Lawton Let’s start with the idea that everyone connects you with from the … Continue reading

Bashing Orthodoxy

Michael Powell OXFORD, England —You walk out of a soft-falling rain into the living room of an Oxford don, with great walls of books, handsome art and, on the far side of the room, graceful windows onto a luxuriant garden. Does this man, arguably the world’s most influential evolutionary biologist, spend most of his time … Continue reading

Expressing Technology With Sir James Dyson

Tim Carmody On Wednesday, Sept. 14, Wired hosted a roundtable with Sir James Dyson at our New York offices. Dyson and his staff began by showing off their new vacuum cleaner (the DC 41) and Dyson Hot, a new fan/space heater, which was being introduced later that day. We asked Sir James questions about every … Continue reading

Chomsky Half Full

Joel Whitney interviews Noam Chomsky November 2009 Noam Chomsky discusses his forthcoming book, the hypocrisy of neoliberalism, where he feels hopeful about democracy despite U.S. terrorism, and his friendship—okay, passing acquaintance—with Hugo Chavez and other “pink tide” presidents. If Noam Chomsky’s critics have a common refrain, it is pointing to his habit of being far … Continue reading

Free Diver Pursues World Records at Deadly Depths

Corbis In an interview with SPIEGEL, French free diver Guillaume Néry discusses the dangerous pursuit of world records, the art of holding his breath for up to eight minutes and how diving can help humans rethink their relationship to water. … Read More>> Guillaume Néry, 29, is a free diver in the Constant Weight Apnea … Continue reading

Is There a Link Between Creativity and Addiction?

Addiction starts with genetics and the environment, but is triggered by stress David Biello  A drink of alcohol, any kind; "rails" of white powder; a pill prescribed by a pediatrician to assist with attention deficit disorder. Whatever the poison, addiction can take a powerful toll. Nor is it limited to drugs—food, sex and even death-defying … Continue reading

Scientology Questions for Janet Reitman

The author of Inside Scientology discusses the impressive Scientology schools, the church’s efforts to recruit African-Americans, and why celebrities don’t help bring new followers. By Jessica Grose Rolling Stone contributing editor Janet Reitman didn’t know much about Scientology when she started researching the religion back in 2005 for the magazine. Since her original article, "Inside … Continue reading

"Perfection Is Not A Useful Concept"

Nick Bostrom directs the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University. He talked with Martin Eiermann about existential risks, genetic enhancements and the importance of ethical discourses about technological progress. The European: I want to start with a quote from your website. You have said: “When we are headed the wrong way, the last thing … Continue reading

A field guide to bullshit

Alison George How do people defend their beliefs in bizarre conspiracy theories or the power of crystals? Philosopher Stephen Law has tips for spotting their strategies You describe your new book, Believing Bullshit, as a guide to avoid getting sucked into "intellectual black holes". What are they? Intellectual black holes are belief systems that draw … Continue reading

Epiphanies from Henry Kissinger

America’s most famous diplomat reflects on a very revolutionary 2011, the rise of China, and the prospects for a new Cold War. INTERVIEW BY BLAKE HOUNSHELL The Obama administration exaggerates the impact of its rhetoric [on the Arab revolutions] but does not have a clear sense of the kind of world they’d like to see … Continue reading

An Interview with Cordelia Fine

Anna Lena Phillips Psychologist and writer Cordelia Fine studies how our brains work and writes about the subject in clear and entertaining prose. Her first book, A Mind of Its Own: How Your Brain Distorts and Deceives (W. W. Norton and Co., 2006) was one of 12 books long-listed for the 2007 Royal Society Prize … Continue reading

Ehsan ul-Haq

Pakistan’s former head of Inter-Services Intelligence discusses 9/11, bin Laden and Pakistani security. CHARLES HOMANS Gen. Ehsan ul-Haq took office as the head of Pakistan’s powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) directorate in October 2001, and by the time he retired six years later he had risen to commander in chief of Pakistan’s armed forces. Those positions … Continue reading

Lunch With Francis Fukuyama

By Martin Wolf Francis Fukuyama Fukuyama is best-known for his book The End of History and the Last Man (1992), in which he stated that liberal democracy was the only way to run a modern state. I get the impression that his support for democracy is now much more conditional than he thought then. He … Continue reading

Henry Kissinger on China. Or Not.

Statesman Henry Kissinger takes a cautious view of Beijing’s reaction to the Arab Spring, and U.S. relations with the world’s rising power. By BRET STEPHENS New York ‘What I am reflecting about now is not that I don’t think I know an answer to your question," says a pensive Henry Kissinger, sitting in his spacious … Continue reading

"We Are Crossing the Boundary Between Knowledge and Belief"

Experimental Physics and The Limits Of Human Knowledge Rolf-Dieter Heuer Rolf-Dieter Heuer is the director of the European Organization for Nuclear Research and oversees the vast CERN laboratories in Switzerland. He sat down with Martin Eiermann to talk about the search for the Higgs Boson, the limits of human knowledge and the distinction between science … Continue reading

The Last Word

Daniel Bell reflects on Friends, Foes, Influences, Ideologies, the State of the Novel, the State of the Union, and the Old Neighborhood. By Roberto Foa and Thomas Meaney. This interview was conducted on September 21, 2010, a few months before Daniel Bell’s death, at his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I. Adversaries Who was your adversary … Continue reading

La Estocada

Fortunato Salazar interviews Bette Ford, April 2011 The famed American matador on Catalonia’s impending bullfighting ban, the art of killing well, and her friendships with Hemingway and Norman Mailer. It’s a commonplace in American culture that the attitude toward bullfighting is unconflicted: having once valorized it in our literature and film, we now loathe it. … Continue reading

Mathematical artist

Why hyperbolic space is awesome Celeste Biever, physical science and space news editor Dried apples, ghostly skirts, beads and twisted balloons are just some of the tools Vi Hart uses to explore hyperbolic space, a Pringle-like geometry where angles in a triangle add up to less than 180 degrees and the parallel postulate of Euclidean … Continue reading

One Writer’s Road Trip with Novelist David Foster Wallace

By Charlie Duerr David Foster Wallace Gary Hannabarger / Corbis In 1996 Rolling Stone sent a young writer to cover David Foster Wallace on the last leg of his book tour promoting Infinite Jest. The gargantuan novel was climbing the bestseller list and Wallace was the toast of the literary world. In his new book, … Continue reading

‘Religion? Reality Has a Grander Magic of its Own’

Interview with Scientist Richard Dawkins  AFP A sculpture by the British artist Damien Hirst. Is evolution a fact? Evolution is fact. That, at least, is what evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins argues, making his case in his new book "The Greatest Show on Earth," which has just been published in German. SPIEGEL ONLINE spoke with Dawkins … Continue reading

Sexologist Volkmar Sigusch

‘Our Society is Still Ignorant about Sex’ By Thomas Hüetlin and Claudia Voigt Photo Gallery: 4 Photos dpa German sexologist Volkmar Sigusch was one of the main thinkers behind the sexual revolution of the 1960s. In a SPIEGEL interview, he discusses its legacy, the benefits of online porn, why open marriages can sometimes be a … Continue reading

The brain engineer: Shining a light on consciousness

by Rowan Hooper Neuroengineer Ed Boyden is best known for his pioneering work on optogenetics, which allows brain cells to be controlled using light. A speaker at the TED2011 conference this week, his vision, he tells Rowan Hooper, is nothing less than to understand the brain, treat neural conditions and figure out the basis of … Continue reading

Trans-Formative Change

Meaghan Winter interviews Dean Spade, March 2011 America’s first openly transgendered law professor on the power of zines, the sacrifice social movements require, and the limits of legal reform. The average life span of a transgendered person is twenty-three years. The statistic is shocking, until it begins to make sense. Gender non-conformists face routine exclusion … Continue reading

The Un-Victim

Amitava Kumar interviews Arundhati Roy, February 2011 In the wake of sedition threats by the Indian government, Arundhati Roy describes the stupidest question she gets asked, the cuss-word that made her respect the power of language, and the limits of preaching nonviolence. We Have to be Very Careful These Days Because… That is what I … Continue reading

Michael Sandel on justice

Nigel Warburton  Should we torture one person to save many? What is fairness? On the eve of BBC4’s justice season, philosopher Michael Sandel explains why justice is at the heart of contemporary political debate Nigel Warburton: For me the word justice seems to imply that there is some injustice in the world—it seems to be … Continue reading

Why Some Elite Colleges Give Away Courses Online

By Marc Parry Foundations and universities have spent a fortune producing freely available online course materials. This week a new book, Unlocking the Gates (Princeton University Press), takes stock of that movement by focusing on some of its most high-profile players and their online successes and failures. The author, Taylor Walsh, is a research analyst … Continue reading

Alarming Tales of International Hacking from a Cyber-Terrorism Czar

Spies and hackers know only too well about the security loopholes that riddle the Internet—and maybe even the guts of our computers. Former presidential advisor Richard Clarke has ideas for how we can prepare for the new world of virtual combat. by Robert Keating; photograph by Nathaniel Welch On a September night in 2007, a … Continue reading

The Cost of the World’s Long Senior Moment

Interviewee: Michael W. Hodin, CFR Adjunct Senior Fellow Interviewer: Deborah Jerome, Deputy Editor, CFR.org While several decades ago experts feared overpopulation as a demographic time bomb, a newer concern is the world’s aging population. The number of people over sixty globally is expected to exceed the number of children for the first time in 2045; … Continue reading

Why I’m Going to Oslo

Wan Yanhai, a Chinese AIDS activist and longtime friend of Liu Xiaobo, is the Nobel laureate’s only close colleague to elude Beijing’s crackdown and who will attend the Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo. In an exclusive interview with FP, he shares his thoughts on Charter 08 and China’s future. A Nobel Peace Prize is usually … Continue reading

Tim Ferriss Wants to Hack Your Body

By Gary Wolf Photo: Lucas Foglia Tim Ferriss is a self-made lab rat. The author and entrepreneur has been subjecting himself to audacious experiments in physical training and nutrition since high school. In perhaps the most extreme undertaking, he packed on 34 pounds of muscle while dropping 3 pounds of fat in 28 days. He … Continue reading

Updike Redux

Lila Azam Zanganeh interviews John Updike In a previously unpublished interview, John Updike talks about Nabokov and his other literary heroes, why he wrote a book about a terrorist, and why he never expected to be a novelist. John Updike and Vladimir Nabokov never met, but admired each other’s work. Updike the critic, but also … Continue reading

Transcript of interview with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri

Edited transcript of interview by Washington Post’s Janine Zacharia with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri at his home office in Beirut, Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010. WP: What’s your general sense of the situation here at the moment? Hariri: It’s a totally new country, and even just four years ago after the 2006 war (with Israel), … Continue reading

What I’ve Learned, By Skype’s Niklas Zennstrom

By David Rowan Think of all the giant technology companies that have changed your life, and the chances are that they’re American. Facebook, Google, Twitter, Apple, Microsoft — there’s something about the U.S. digital economy (not least piles of Silicon Valley cash) that churns out tech billionaires faster than Europe can generate teetering banks. That’s … Continue reading

Nick Lane: Winner of the Royal Society book prize

Graham Lawton, deputy editor Nick Lane’s book Life Ascending: The ten great inventions of evolution won the Royal Society 2010 Prize for Science Books. Graham Lawton caught up with him at the event. You were the longest odds to win, are you surprised? I didn’t believe the odds. I don’t think the bookmaker reads the … Continue reading

Viktoria Mohacsi

A Roma political leader and celebrated human rights campaigner speaks to FP on hate crimes, segregation, and why Europe needs to protect its most vulnerable minority. INTERVIEW BY JOSHUA E. KEATING In recent weeks, French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s government has come under fire from the European Union and human rights organizations for its expulsion of … Continue reading

How Beer, Oprah and Sergey Brin Can Help Cure Aging

By Steven Leckart Aubrey de Grey doesn’t care if you live forever. He just wants you not to get sick. It’s not exactly an easy-to-grok distinction, but that doesn’t stop the British gerontologist from trying. In recent years, de Grey has emerged as the most recognizable, outspoken and controversial cheerleader for regenerative medicine. In 2003, … Continue reading

Solving the Kashmir Conundrum

Authors: Daniel Markey, Senior Fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia, CFR Siddiq Wahid, Vice-Chancellor, Islamic University of Science & Technology, Jammu and Kashmir Prem Shankar Jha, Author and Columnist Zia Mian, Program on Science and Global Security, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs Interviewers: Jayshree Bajoria Indian-administered Kashmir has been rocked for … Continue reading

The Rising Chinese Consumer

Authors: JC de Swaan, Lecturer on Asian Capital Markets, Princeton University Roya Wolverson, Staff Writer, CFR.org China’s policies on currency and trade, seen by the United States and other Western countries as protectionist, are coming under increasing criticism. China’s yuan policy is a potential flashpoint at the G20 meeting next month in South Korea, but … Continue reading

An interview with James Wolfensohn

By David Bosco As the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund gather for their annual meetings, I spoke to James Wolfensohn, the former World Bank president, about the direction of the institution he led and his own recollections. His memoir, A Global Life, has just been published. In the book, Wolfensohn details his early … Continue reading

Web exclusive Popshot: the new face of British poetry?

By Tom Chatfield  Four issues, unknown contributors, cutting-edge illustrations, no adverts or sponsors. Tom Chatfield talks to the 23-year-old editor of the first British poetry magazine to win international distribution The future of poetry is a quietly boring question that’s been hanging around British letters for the last few decades. Very few poets sell more … Continue reading

Web exclusive Exclusive interview: Gaspar Noé

By Justin Villiers  The enfant terrible of French cinema, director of the provocative film "Irreversible," talks about his long-anticipated new feature: "Enter the Void" Audience members walked out in disgust during Gaspar Noé’s provocative film, “Irreversible,” at the Cannes film festival back in 2002. Set in Paris and starring Monica Belluci and Vincent Cassel, it … Continue reading

Michel Houellebecq, The Art of Fiction No. 206

Interviewed by Susannah Hunnewell “Do you like the Stooges?” Michel Houellebecq asked me on the second day of our interview. He put down his electric cigarette (it glowed red when he inhaled, producing steam instead of smoke) and rose slowly from his futon couch. “Iggy Pop wrote some songs based on my novel The Possibility … Continue reading

Woody Allen on Faith, Fortune Tellers and New York

Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times By DAVE ITZKOFF Asked on Tuesday morning if it was appropriate to wish him a happy Jewish New Year, Woody Allen made it clear that such formalities were not necessary. “No, no, no,” he said with a chuckle, seated in an office suite at the Loews Regency hotel. “That’s for … Continue reading

Does the Cuban model work? Look to numbers, not tea leaves

Posted By Ian Bremmer Tuesday, September 14, 2010 – 11:27 AM Share By Heather Berkman Last week, Jeffrey Goldberg posted a column at The Atlantic that sparked an international uproar over whether Fidel Castro had admitted that Cuba’s economic system is failing. Goldberg published a series of interviews he conducted with Fidel during a recent … Continue reading

How Not to Get Played by Ahmadinejad

A reporter’s guide to interviewing the Iranian president. BY BARBARA SLAVIN Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is coming to New York again next week for the annual opening of the U.N. General Assembly. If the past is any guide, he will try to use the U.S. press as a prop to distract from his shaky standing at home. … Continue reading

Government Involvement with Science And Art

An interview with Noam Chomsky. By Noam Chomsky and Ollie Mikse. As a graduate student at Penn State, I had made it almost a requirement to read at least three or four Noam Chomsky books a year. If you read enough Chomsky, you start wondering, "What is his outlook on my line of work?" Over … Continue reading

Losing our minds to the web

An influential new American book claims that the internet is damaging teenagers’ brains and our ability to think. But the web’s real dangers lurk elsewhere. By Evgeny Morozov. In 1889 the Spectator published an article, “The Intellectual Effects of Electricity,” intended to provoke its Victorian readers. Robert Cecil, the prime minister, had recently given a … Continue reading

Wireless hotspot shootout: MiFi v. Overdrive 4G

By Jacqui Cheng. Wireless data hotspots are quickly becoming all the rage among travelers and geeks who don’t like to be tied down to their homes and coffee shops. Though 3G USB sticks have been growing in popularity for years, the new WiFi hotspot-type units are picking up steam because they allow users to share … Continue reading

Christopher Hitchens

By George Eaton. How is your campaign to have the Pope arrested progressing? It’s outrageous that people like myself, Richard Dawkins and Geoffrey Robertson are taking this on. What are law officers, and police departments, for? But we will do it if they won’t. Do Europeans overestimate how religious the US is? Yes. The number … Continue reading