What It Means to Be a Hero

“Acts of courage in the age of Covid-19.”

Source: New Statesman
Published: Jul 22, 2020
Length: 10 minutes (2,550 words)

The Great University Con: How the British Degree Lost Its Value

English universities appear to have done the impossible: attracting increasing numbers of students and graduating them with high scores. Unfortunately, lower academic standards and grade inflation are responsible for England’s so-called education miracle. Instead of selling academic rigor, universities sell degrees, and that’s what students come to buy.

Source: New Statesman
Published: Aug 21, 2019
Length: 20 minutes (5,186 words)

The Millionaire Makers: What Happens When 100,000 People Create Their Own Lottery?

A Reddit money pool — where anyone can sign up for a chance to win a few thousand dollars (and maybe even some bitcoin) — is testing the limits of online honor codes.

Source: New Statesman
Published: Dec 28, 2017
Length: 8 minutes (2,121 words)

Ralph Steadman: The Gonzo Marksman

“It can be hard to fill the hours, so I try to make a mark every day.” Ralph Steadman, the Welsh artist best known for his political cartoons and collaborations with Hunter S. Thompson, continues to make art that makes a statement.

Author: Xan Rice
Source: New Statesman
Published: Jan 3, 2017
Length: 17 minutes (4,493 words)

Head in the Cloud

What does “remembering” mean in an age where human memory is outsourced to gadgets and social networks?

Source: New Statesman
Published: Feb 23, 2016
Length: 11 minutes (2,995 words)

‘I Was Killed When I Was 27’: The Curious Afterlife of Terence Trent D’Arby

In 1987, Terence Trent D’Arby’s debut album sold a million copies in just three days, and the music press went crazy for him. There was nowhere to go but down.

Source: New Statesman
Published: Oct 9, 2015
Length: 18 minutes (4,697 words)

The Foodbank Dilemma

What does the rise of food banks tell us about Britain today?

Source: New Statesman
Published: Oct 21, 2014
Length: 31 minutes (7,906 words)

Crowdsourcing The Facts

There is a constant stream of data, images and videos coming in from conflict regions across the globe—in our ever-connected world anyone with an internet connection can be a war reporter. And there is power in numbers.

Source: New Statesman
Published: Sep 11, 2014
Length: 16 minutes (4,171 words)

The Dangerous Business of Laughter in Ancient Rome

Humor in Ancient Rome could be a matter of life and death, at least when an emperor was involved.

Laughter and joking were just as high-stakes for ancient Roman emperors as they are for modern royalty and politicians. It has always been bad for your public image to laugh in the wrong way or to crack jokes about the wrong targets. The Duke of Edinburgh got into trouble with his (to say the least) ill-judged “slitty-eyed” quip, just as Tony Abbott recently lost votes after being caught smirking about the grandmother who said she made ends meet by working on a telephone sex line. For the Romans, blindness – not to mention threats of murder – was a definite no-go area for joking, though they treated baldness as fair game for a laugh (Julius Caesar was often ribbed by his rivals for trying to conceal his bald patch by brushing his hair forward, or wearing a strategically placed laurel wreath). Politicians must always manage their chuckles, chortles, grins and banter with care.

Author: Mary Beard
Source: New Statesman
Published: Jun 12, 2014
Length: 6 minutes (1,705 words)

Life and Death At His Fingertips

Henry Marsh is one of Britain’s top neurosurgeons and a pioneer of neurosurgical advances in Ukraine. Erica Wagner witnesses life on a knife-edge:

I first encountered Henry Marsh late one night on my sofa. I was too tired to go to bed, and so kept the television on as one programme ended and another started. This was The English Surgeon, a 2007 documentary by Geoffrey Smith about the work that Henry has been doing for over 20 years now at the Lipska Street Hospital in Kyiv, Ukraine. Following a meeting with Igor Kurilets, a Ukrainian neurosurgeon struggling against the post-Soviet culture of poor resources and entrenched, old-fashioned thinking about medical care, Henry began volunteering his time in Kyiv. He brought not only his skills but equipment that had been discarded – generally for no good reason – by the NHS, packed up in wooden crates he made himself.

Source: New Statesman
Published: Mar 20, 2014
Length: 15 minutes (3,990 words)