What Rishi Sunak got wrong about maths

As a professional nerd, I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve been asked what I think of Rishi Sunak’s enthusiasm for maths. It’s hard to know quite what to say. I agree with much of what Sunak said in his speech last month singing the praises of numeracy. Yet...

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Why we shouldn’t hold referendums

Citizens of democracies can be ill-informed and inconsistent, and this often feels like a tragedy or even a crisis. Occasionally, however, one reads something so absurd that it would take a heart of stone not to laugh. Consider a recent survey conducted by the...

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The never-ending brilliance of board games

What is the point of games? For Lizzie Magie, the idiosyncratic genius who inspired Monopoly, the answer was clear: she thought games are educational. Klaus Teuber, the equally brilliant designer of the board game Catan, had a different view: he thought games are fun....

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Has 21st century policy gone medieval?

Criminal justice has always been a source of knotty problems. How to punish the guilty while sparing the innocent? Trial by ordeal was a neat solution: delegate the decision to God. In the Middle Ages, a suspect who insisted on their innocence might be asked to carry...

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