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Of love and betrayal

It’s probably the right time of year to re-post a link to this interview with Robin Dunbar of Oxford University from a few years back (I’m deducing this from the fact that I’ve already had Valentine’s wishes from charities and memory card suppliers today and been invited to ‘fall in love with’ an ‘air-conditioning solution’, […]

Continue Reading · 14 February, 2017 · natural history, podcasts, science and philosophy
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Julian Baggini on the Edge of Reason

“We have lost our reason,” writes philosopher Julian Baggini in the introduction to his latest book, The Edge of Reason, “and our loss is no accident. Gradually, the contemporary West has become more and more dismissive of the power of reason. Caring for it less, we often find we have left it behind.” The book […]

Continue Reading · 29 September, 2016 · podcasts, science and philosophy
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Ted Nield on Supercontinent

With the same inevitability as the shifting tectonic plates perhaps, my podcast backlist seems to have drifted off iTunes and disappeared beneath the waves. So I am intending to use the opportunity, which did not initially come as welcome news, to gradually re-present all my interviews from the past ten years. They may not all […]

Continue Reading · 7 June, 2016 · podcasts, science and philosophy
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Craig Stanford on Planet without Apes

“Evolutionary success is not a birthright nor is it a guarantor of survival in perpetuity. Natural selection wrought the living ape species, and like all animals their time on Earth is limited by changing environments, the emergence of competing species, predators, and the like. Some species cope well in a variety of environments. Such generalists […]

Continue Reading · 18 March, 2015 · podcasts, science and philosophy

Julian Baggini: The Philosopher in the Kitchen – 1. Practical Wisdom and hummus

Here is the first of four short films I made with Julian Baggini last summer and released last month to coincide with the paperback edition of his book, The Virtues of the Table. In this first film he asks: Do we really need to follow recipes?   Julian Baggini: The Philosopher in the Kitchen – […]

Continue Reading · 16 February, 2015 · food and drink, science and philosophy, video
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Graham Farmelo on Churchill’s Bomb

I thought this might be an appropriate time to re-post my interview with Graham Farmelo from December 2013 about Winston Churchill’s interest in science and in particular nuclear weapons. Click on the player above to listen to the interview. Here’s what I said about the book in my introduction: I first became aware of Graham’s […]

Continue Reading · 31 January, 2015 · history and politics, podcasts, science and philosophy
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Sunny Brain, Rainy Brain – the science of optimism

“The core components of optimism surprisingly don’t really have too much to do with positive thinking at all. One of the major components actually is a sense of control; what psychologists have found is that optimists are people who have a sense that they’re in control of their own destiny […] there are lots of […]

Continue Reading · 8 June, 2014 · podcasts, science and philosophy
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Jon Ronson on The Psychopath Test

Early on in his book The Psychopath Test, Jon Ronson writes: I’d never really thought much about psychopaths before that moment and I wondered if I should try and meet some. It seemed extraordinary that there were people out there whose neurological condition, according to James’s story, made them so terrifying, like a wholly malevolent space […]

Continue Reading · 15 February, 2014 · medicine, podcasts, science and philosophy
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Paranormality: investigating the impossible with Richard Wiseman

My guest on this podcast is psychologist (and former magician) Richard Wiseman, who has long been interested in why people are fascinated by the paranormal – and willing to believe things for which there is not a shred of scientific evidence. The result of his interest is Paranormality, a book which lifts the lid on […]

Continue Reading · 25 January, 2014 · podcasts, science and philosophy, supernatural
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From imaginary beasts to barely imagined beings…

Caspar Henderson‘s 21st-century bestiary, The Book of Barely Imagined Beings, is one of the most imaginatively conceived and beautifully produced books I have come across in the past couple of years. In the introduction, Caspar describes how the book was inspired when he was on a riverside picnic – Alice-style – in Oxford a few […]

Continue Reading · 10 January, 2014 · natural history, podcasts, science and philosophy