2 October 2019

The New Rogue State

What if the world treated the U.S. like the U.S. treats rogue states? Some risky but practical proposals to harness a superpower that has clearly lost control.

28 August 2019

Making Elements Doesn’t Pay

For the first time since 1869, when Dmitri Mendeleev stood before the Russian Chemical Society and proposed a novel way to arrange elements, his periodic table will cease to be an unfinished work, a map with borders yet to be filled in.

23 July 2019

Is fair trade finished?

Fairtrade changed the way we shop. But major companies have started to abandon it and set up their own in-house imitations – threatening the very idea of fair trade.

26 June 2019

The Papers of JBS Haldane

When I read Haldane’s final essay, I still vividly held in my mind the letter he wrote at the excitable age of five to his granny, telling her about a meringue he’d eaten. No one who’d written a biography ever told me what a heartbreaking exercise it is.

12 June 2019

Arundhati Roy’s Prescient Anger

Then, while these worries were being nursed, the world made itself more deserving of Roy’s anger. Reading “My Seditious Heart,” you feel as if Roy has been hollering as extravagantly as possible for years, trying to grab our attention, and we’ve kept motoring on toward the edge of the cliff.

25 April 2019

Air vs Paper: World War Loo!

I asked Redway what he would do if he went into a restroom and saw only a hand dryer. “I’ve always got … ” he began, then started digging through the pocket of his coat. A jingle of keys emerged, then some coins, and finally, a crumpled sheet of paper towelling.


22 April 2019

A Bloody Easter Sunday

Sri Lanka now finds itself in a state of doubled wariness. It must contend with the nature of this new threat. It must also contend with its own nature: its inability to protect its minorities and its proclivity to politicize strife.

22 April 2019

The Chronicler of Madras

This, then, was Mr Muthiah’s answer. How do you relate to Madras? You pay attention to it. You seek out its past, you admire its buildings, you tend to its beaches, you listen to its stories. You find charm in the ordinary, and delight in slowness.

26 March 2019

Fifty-Eight Holes in Azerbaijan

A few years ago, Walter Crist happened upon one of the world’s oldest board games. There is something touchingly human in the dispersal of these games—in the vision of travellers packing for long, hard journeys and remembering to take with them something to kill time.