Going viral

FIRST the pharaoh changed his name, from Amenhotep IV to Akhenaten. Then he decreed that a new capital should be built far away from the old one. And in this city, one god should be worshipped, forsaking all others: the sun god Aten…

Pete Reynolds for New Scientist

This article first appeared in New Scientist on 19 July 2022. To continue reading click here (paywall).

The big idea: could the greatest works of literature be undiscovered?

WHEN the great library at Alexandria went up in flames, it is said that the books took six months to burn. We can’t know if this is true. Exactly how the library met its end, and whether it even existed, have been subjects of speculation for more than 2,000 years. For two millennia, we’ve been haunted by the idea that what has been passed down to us might not be representative of the vast corpus of literature and knowledge that humans have created. It’s a fear that has only been confirmed by new methods for estimating the extent of the losses…

This article first appeared in The Guardian on 28 May 2022. To continue reading, click here.

Bill Gates on the pandemic

IN 2015, the American technologist and philanthropist Bill Gates warned that humanity wasn’t ready for a pandemic. Seven years on, as the world emerges (hopefully) from a pandemic for which it wasn’t ready, he thinks we have it within our power to make sure this one was the last. There will be more disease outbreaks, but we now possess the tools and the knowledge to prevent them from becoming global catastrophes…

This article first appeared in the New Statesman on 4 May 2022. To continue reading, click here:

Bill Gates on the pandemic: a misplaced faith in innovation

Interview: Frans de Waal, primatologist

SEX and gender have come to represent one of the hottest fronts in the modern culture wars. Now, on to this bloody battlefield, calmly dodging banned books, anti-transgender laws and political doublespeak, strolls the distinguished Dutch-American primatologist Frans de Waal, brandishing nearly half a century’s worth of field notebooks and followed, metaphorically speaking, by an astonishingly diverse collection of primates…

Bonobos

This article first appeared in The Guardian on 17 April 2022. To continue reading, click here.

writer & journalist