Does playing Tomb Raider really improve your IQ?

Does playing Tomb Raider really improve your IQ? It’s not as daft as it sounds. We may be in an era where we constantly bemoan the dumbing down of culture, but there is strong evidence to suggest that the huge increase in our daily exposure to technology — from using the Internet and smartphones to…

The Indiana Jones Hypothesis

Is it true that in Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones plays no real role in the outcome? This was posited by the character Amy in an episode of The Big Bang Theory. She claimed that: “Indiana Jones plays no role in the outcome of the story. If he weren’t in the film it would…

Has China really bought five percent of Ukraine?

[For Esquire Magazine, November 2013] It appears so. It’s an utterly staggering fact, but it represents an escalation in the ongoing land-grab for food resources. Two Chinese state-owned firms will take over Ukrainian land in the eastern Dniepropetrovsk region and use it to grow crops (and raise pigs) for use back in China. The deal…

Why did men stop wearing hats?

The above picture from the 1923 English FA Cup Final (between West Ham United and Bolton Wanderers) shows all but one man wearing a hat. And the hatless man had probably just removed his to scratch his head as the photo was being taken. So why did the vast majority of men stop wearing hats…

How much gold is there in the world?

The truth is, we don’t know. At least, not to any great degree of accuracy, which is odd given how it plays a big part in the global economy. Thomson Reuters GFMS (Gold Fields Mineral Services) produces an annual gold survey that is used by global investors to gauge such things. The GFMS says there…

Why do we not have more solar power in the region?

It would seem like an obvious idea. The planet needs to wean itself off fossil fuels, so why haven’t we built solar power plants in the deserts, to give us the energy we need? After all, in just six daylight hours, the Earth’s deserts soak up more energy than the entire planet uses in a…