“Biology expands our vision of life, letting us see beyond our experiences of being alive, look back over billions of years of living history, and peer down into the microscopic confines of a cell”. …

Philip Larkin, in an obituary of Louis MacNeice said “he was… a town observer: his poetry was the poetry of our everyday life, of shop-windows, traffic policemen and ice-cream soda, lawn-mowers, and an uneasy awareness of what the newsboys were shouting. In addition he displayed a sophisticated sentimentality about falling…

“Extractivism” is not a word much bandied about today; “populism” is. But the latter is misnomer: the project that brought Trump to power in America and will not disappear now that Biden is President is a one fomented by ultra right wing billionaires in the USA like Robert Mercer and…

I have accidentally come across a very remarkable plant. Cobaea scandens is a climbing annual from Mexico that grows to three metres from seed. I first saw it two years ago on the TV programme Gardener’s World and was intrigued enough to buy some seeds. It grows in an ingenious…

That’s us — Great Britain, the UK — I’m talking about. If the term “Warfare State” is unfamiliar to you, as it will be to most I will explain. The term was coined by the historian David Edgerton; I have taken issue with many of the contentions in his book…

AI and Big Data are the future, obviously. Humans are such feeble things and, anyway, free will has been proven to be an illusion. But with all our personal data on the big databases someone knows our own mind better than we do ourselves, don’t they?

It’s obviously already happening…

Do we really need farms to produce our food? For most of human history the question would have seemed absurd: it was farming — ie moving from being hunter-gathers to creating domesticated animals and crops — that opened the door to civilisation. But there’s a growing movement that suggests we…

Peter Forbes

I write about biomimicry and nanoscience in books and review science books for the Guardian and Independent. Teach Narrative Non-fiction at City University.

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