Articles

Why scrambling back to 2019 is not progress

Loyal readers will know my fascination with Keith Jarrett’s unplayable piano. In 1975, the jazz pianist was prevailed upon — against his better judgment — to take the stage in front of a large audience at the Cologne opera house. Thanks to a mix-up, Jarrett was forced...

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The Truth About Hansel and Gretel

https://playlist.megaphone.fm/?p=CAD6536215675 Cautionary Tales is written by me, Tim Harford, with Andrew Wright. It is produced by Ryan Dilley and Marilyn Rust. The sound design and original music is the work of Pascal Wyse. Julia Barton edited the scripts. Thanks...

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Cogs and Monsters and Dungeons and Dragons, oh my!

Lots of intriguing books on deck this week! Jon Peterson's "Game Wizards" is an in-depth history - and I really do mean in-depth - of the creation of Dungeons and Dragons and in particular the ugly struggle for control of TSR. It's vivid and incredibly...

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How to tackle vaccine hesitancy

In rich countries there are plenty of vaccines, but we seem to be running out of people who want them. This is frustrating. The vaccines are a medical miracle — safe, more effective than we dared to hope and produced with unprecedented speed. They are the way out of...

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Comics, games, and a genius

I was delighted to see The Economist give a glowing review to Ananyo Bhattacharya's brilliant new book The Man From The Future, noting that it fills "a yawning gap in the history of science". You heard about that book here first. A different book in almost every way...

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How to spot scientists who peddle bad data

I never planned to fake my data. My project involved interviewing the customers visiting a games shop in central London, then analysing the distance they had travelled. Arriving at the location with a clipboard, I realised that I didn’t have the nerve. I slunk home...

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ZOMG it is a very exciting week for new nerd books

Some nerd-tastic books coming out this week from friends and colleagues:Ananyo Bhattacharya’s stunning and deep intellectual biography of John von Neumann, “The Man From The Future”. Looks beautiful, full of telling detail and packed with ideas about group theory,...

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