Measure of a man: will robots ever have the capacity to feel human emotions?
Reprogramming science fiction: the genre that is learning to love
By Andrew Harrison - 20 February 11:28

From Battlestar Galactica to Spike Jonze’s new film Her, modern science fiction is growing up and humanising.

A sculpture by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan in Milan.
Swearing: the fascinating history of our favourite four-letter words
By Kate Wiles - 18 February 12:45

The most commonly-used swear words reveal more about our medieval past than just attitudes towards sex and body parts.

The disused Battersea Power station - an iconic London landmark. Photo: Getty
Exclusive, insensitive and architecturally uninspiring – the new age of urban regeneration
By Philip Kleinfeld - 17 February 10:47

The redevelopment of Battersea Power Station and the Nine Elms area in south London illustrates a much wider problem in the way cities are managed and planned – councils seem perfectly happy to see private interests direct the course of historically interesting places.

Matthew Taylor: ‘‘Film bridges the divide between aesthetic excellence and popularity’’
By New Statesman - 13 February 11:27

The chief executive of the RSA takes the <i>NS</i> Centenary Questionnaire.

In the hot seat: Bazalgette's focus is now on persuading business to invest
Peter Bazalgette: “Subsidy? It’s a wet, tedious , passive word. I don’t use it”
By Michael Prodger - 13 February 7:22

A year ago, Peter Bazalgette, the TV entrepreneur responsible for <em>Big Brother</em>, was put in charge of the £400m-a-year Arts Council England. Is he spending the funds wisely?

New Statesman
Slavoj Žižek: what is an authentic political event?
By Slavoj Zizek - 12 February 15:51

Julian Assange and his collaborators enacted a true and authentic political event. But what do we mean by that, and how does it influence our actions?

Michael Rosen: Everything, all human life, is history
By Michael Rosen - 06 February 8:37

To live with this paradox of history, being on the one hand “gone” yet at the same time being “with us at all times”, is what it is to be human.

How a gift for puncturing fads left one academic lonely but right
By Ed Smith - 06 February 8:29

The academic George Watson was an anti-Marxist but never a conservative.

Before the First World War: what can 1914 tell us about 2014?
By Richard J Evans - 23 January 9:58

Old world decline, rogue empires, killing for God – looking at 1914, we can discover that there are many uncomfortable parallels with our own time.

Illustration by Laura Carlin.
Frozen assets: Being broke and cold is like having an unrelenting headache
By David Sedaris - 15 December 15:48

The winter of 1983 was not unnaturally cold by North Carolina standards.

The north is not all Coronation Street and popping the kettle on
By Philip Hensher - 05 December 8:21

This is a place with a rich cultural life and a jumble of social classes.

Alan Johnson: Sometimes, the things that make us human emerge from the worst things we have to endure
By Alan Johnson - 28 November 10:12

Sometimes the best things that make us human emerge from the worst things that we have to endure.

Texting.
Once the full stop meant a sentence was over - now it means you're angry
By Ben Crair - 26 November 13:07

The perpetual flow of instant messaging fears a heavy full stop - it means the conversation is over, or that you're being sarcastic, or angry. How did this happen to a once neutral punctuation mark?

New Statesman
Do we need a better word for "butch'"?
By Nayla Ziadeh - 10 November 9:28

The only word that used to be available if you were non-straight and masculine presenting was "butch". Times have changed - and one woman has found that the term "Masculine of Center" strikes a chord with America's LGBTQ community.

New Statesman
What makes us human? Doing pointless things for fun
By Matthew Parris - 07 November 9:19

When viewing cave paintings in the Sahara, one set of five-dot clusters defeated us. And then we realised why they were there.

Watch: Peter Tatchell, George Galloway, and David Goodhart on equality, identity and democracy
By New Statesman - 03 November 11:25

With society more liberal toward minorities than ever before, many believe identity politics need no longer hold such sway. But is this a mistake?

Texas.
Naomi Klein: How science is telling us all to revolt
By Naomi Klein - 29 October 10:00

Is our relentless quest for economic growth killing the planet? Climate scientists have seen the data – and they are coming to some incendiary conclusions.

Founding mothers.
Meet the Victorian women who fought back
By Simon Heffer - 17 October 15:21

Once, Queen Victoria was the only woman in the realm with no legal impediment because of her sex. She reigned over a society that was full of intelligent women going mad with frustration - and then they began to do something about it.

New Statesman
Soon our personalities will be purely ornamental
By Will Self - 10 October 15:02

Everything around us nowadays seems to hearken to the past. Soon, all human psyches will retain as decorative features the individualism and the individual memories that were once functional attributes.

Malcolm Gladwell. Portrait by David Yellen
The pseudo-profundity of Malcolm Gladwell
By Steven Poole - 10 October 10:41

The essayist's mania for teachable narrative goes hand in hand with a revealingly indifferent attitude to truth.

Matisse.
Watch: Jim Crace, Catherine Hakim and Hannah Dawson debate beauty, intellect and power
By New Statesman - 08 October 15:36

We openly discriminate in favour of intelligence while playing down the role of physical beauty in our lives. Is this a mistake? Are we cheating ourselves?

Zizek.
Slavoj Žižek: "Most of the idiots I know are academics"
By Luke Massey - 08 October 12:41

Luke Massey talks to the cultural theorist and ideas machine about Obama, stupidity and his favourite quasi-fascist industrial metal outfit - Rammstein.

MPs from Churchill through Douglas Hurd to William Hague have written books
Why do politicians love writing political biographies so much?
By Peter Clarke - 07 October 9:12

Many politicians have the gift of the gab but few manage to acquire literary skills. Roy Jenkins and Douglas Hurd showed how to do it with their biographies of Churchill and Disraeli; now can Boris do the same?

Alison Lapper.
The needs that make us human: "To love, to be loved, to be accepted, and to be respected"
By Alison Lapper - 03 October 11:30

Artist Alison Lapper was born without arms and was denied the affection she needed as a child. Here, as part of our "What Makes Us Human" series, she reflects on her experiences, and what they can tell us about humanity.

New Statesman
Roger Scruton: The questions that have no answers
By Roger Scruton - 23 September 12:28

Our nature as questioning beings seems to have a huge cost. And maybe we are no longer prepared to pay it.

Is the internet killing gossip?
By Ian Leslie - 12 September 13:20

Social media lull us into thinking we’re whispering to a friend at a party, when in reality we’re shouting through a megaphone. But every time we hold back from dishing the dirt, we become a little bit less human.

Meadow.
The highest ground pulsates with life
By John Burnside - 12 September 10:50

High Alpine meadows, like their near relatives prairie and wetland, teach us to consider the world from a fresh perspective.

New Statesman
Languages: we're learning them in the wrong way
By Joe Iles - 11 September 11:07

Why communication need no longer be the main focus for language learners.

What ever happened to snuff?
By Ben Duckworth - 05 September 12:58

Snuff hit Britain at the beginning of the eighteenth century. Ben Duckworth discovers that it never really left.

Terry Pratchett.
Watch: Terry Pratchett, A S Byatt and Terry Eagleton on fantasy, fiction and desire
By New Statesman - 03 September 16:00

What can fantasy tell us about the ways in which we perceive reality? Terry Pratchett, A S Byatt and Terry Eagleton discuss fantasy as a vast and powerful mode of thought.

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