Ann Maguire murder: are video games linked to killings?

Do video games cause violence? The appalling murder of Ann Maguire has revived the old claims of a link; we report that the 15-year-old alleged killer played Dark Souls, “a violent video game marketed with the slogan ‘prepare to die’”; the Mail reports the same. Ever since the Columbine killers were found to be fans…

Ann Maguire murder: how violent are British schools?

How violent are British schools? With the awful news that a schoolteacher, Ann Maguire, was stabbed to death, apparently by a pupil, in front of her class in a Leeds school on Monday, it might be tempting to assume they’re pretty bad. The media are full of terrible stories of knife crime and violence in…

Animal testing: man’s reliance on rodents knows no bounds

Alexander Fleming usually gets the credit for developing penicillin, but he shouldn’t. True, he noticed that the fungus Penicillin rubens exuded a substance that killed bacteria, which he named penicillin; but it wasn’t until 1939 that anyone made any serious effort to turn it into a medicine. The men who did, Howard Florey and Ernst…

Use your illusion: why human vision is a mathematical impossibility

•Note: a few lines of the text in this was first used in my magazine feature on the perception of colour. But don’t worry, this is a very different and much nerdier piece. Nothing you see is real. You can’t believe your lyin’ eyes. “Colour doesn’t exist in the world,” says Dr Beau Lotto, a…

Britain is both a Christian country and not

One of the more frustrating things to watch is two people who are having an argument and talking past each other. They’re using the same words, but not quite referring to the same thing. I’ve been having that sense in the last few days, as everyone gets more and more upset and angry about whether…

Speaking as a member of the liberal metropolitan elite…

A few months ago, in our sister publication The Spectator, Hugo Rifkind wrote a piece asking: why do journalists think they’re not part of the ruling elite? He looked at his own life, and totted up the details, and came to the conclusion that he must be pretty elite himself: Columnist for The Spectator, leader writer…

Why is it taking so long to find MH370?

I was asked this by someone today, who obviously assumed that, because I’m a bit of a geek, I have some sort of insight into aircraft engineering and air-sea rescue search patterns. But I thought I’d have a go at answering it. The answer, by the way, is: because the ocean is big and planes…

Charles Moore gets it badly wrong on weather and climate

Let us look at the following paragraph: Most of us pay some attention to the weather forecast. If it says it will rain in your area tomorrow, it probably will. But if it says the same for a month, let alone a year, later, it is much less likely to be right. There are too…