Category Archives: Psychology

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).

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.

From zero to hero

IT was the alt-history, the policy that didn’t get enacted. No-Covid, zero-Covid or elimination aimed to stamp out community transmission of Covid-19 in a given area, rather than just reduce it to “manageable” levels. Most of the world eschewed it, and it got bad press from the start. Only autocratic regimes could pull it off, one mantra went. Countries like China and ah, New Zealand and, oops, that notorious police state Davis in California…

University of California Davis

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

On pandemics and reciprocity

LAST November, having alerted the world to the new and highly transmissible Omicron variant of the Sars-CoV-2 virus, South Africa-based scientist Tulio de Oliveira saw that country hit with travel bans. Already smarting at what he saw as wealthier nations’ hoarding of vaccines, antiviral drugs and test reagents, his frustration spilled over. “If the world keeps punishing Africa for the discovery of Omicron and ‘global health scientists’ keep taking the data, who will share early data again?” he tweeted…

This article first appeared in The Guardian on 18 March 2022. To continue reading, click here.

The big idea: should other species have their own money?

ONLY about 120,000 orangutans remain in the wild, and despite the whopping $1bn that has been spent on protecting them since 2000, their numbers continue to decline. The orangutan is the most endangered great ape, but the picture is only marginally less grim for the others – except us, of course – and the trend is the same across the living world: we’re witnessing a sixth mass extinction. Given that current conservation efforts aren’t working fast enough, many feel it is time for some out-of-the-box thinking. It doesn’t come much further out than giving other species their own money, but that proposal is now on the table. The first to benefit might be our intelligent, red-haired cousins…

This article first appeared in The Guardian on Saturday 12 March. To continue reading, click here.