How statistics lost their power – and why we should fear what comes next

  Rather than diffusing controversy and polarisation, it seems as if statistics are actually stoking them. Antipathy to statistics has become one of the hallmarks of the populist right, with statisticians and economists chief among the various “experts” that were ostensibly rejected by voters in 2016. Not only are statistics viewed by many as untrustworthy, […]

How statistics lost their power – and why we should fear what comes next

  Rather than diffusing controversy and polarisation, it seems as if statistics are actually stoking them. Antipathy to statistics has become one of the hallmarks of the populist right, with statisticians and economists chief among the various “experts” that were ostensibly rejected by voters in 2016. Not only are statistics viewed by many as untrustworthy, […]

Facebook’s Like button is a built-in filter bubble

  Imagine if every newspaper came with a mandatory T-shirt. Suddenly, that tabloid you paged through out of curiosity becomes part of your identity. You have to explain to friends that despite being a walking billboard, you don’t actually agree with The Wall Street Journal’s conservative editorials, or think The New York Times is too […]

How shapes can predict your tolerance of ‘deviancy’

Here’s a simple question that can tell us an awful lot about you. Is this a circle? If you said: “Yeah, sure, close enough,” then you are probably politically liberal, and strongly support the idea of government aid for the homeless and unemployed. You are also likely to support same-sex marriage and legalisation of marijuana […]

Welcome to Jun, the town that ditched bureaucracy to run on Twitter

Elena Almagro was cleaning floors when she was nine, and didn’t learn to read or write because her family were too poor to send her to school. Now in her 60s, Elena says she never thought she would be able to use Twitter when the mayor started to encourage her. “He said I should enrol […]

The seats where Tories weren’t blue and Labour wasn’t red

The UK’s political parties are closely identified with particular colours – but in some parts of the country they traditionally fought under quite different shades. Three candidates gather on a podium. Each wears a coloured rosette. So far, so humdrum. Except that here it’s the Conservative wearing red, Labour’s candidate in green and the victorious […]

In the chaos of coalition, the best storyteller will win

People died – 19 Labour MPs in total, many of them from sheer exhaustion at the stress, the all-night sittings, and the fact that every single day the government might fall. I found their stories often very moving. Joe Harper, one of the whips, died after delaying an operation so he could be around to […]

I am a cook in the US Senate but I still need food stamps to feed my children

Every day, I serve food to some of the most powerful people on earth, including many of the senators who are running for president: I’m a cook for the federal contractor that runs the US Senate cafeteria. But today, they’ll have to get their meals from someone else’s hands, because I’m on strike. Read the […]

All Day Long: a Portrait of Britain at Work review – is our labour really working?

Ina, who hasn’t told her boyfriend what she does, is happy for Biggs to use her real name; R, who worked in Pret a Manger for several years, isn’t. R earned £200 a week, which rose to £245 if the store got its weekly bonus. The bonus was dependent on the mystery shopper employed by […]