When I was a teenager I read Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time. Instead of taking this beautiful book as a path to something useful, like a career in theoretical physics, I mainly used it as an excuse not to tidy my room. And I don’t mean I sat there screaming “Mum! Not now, I’m reading a book!”: if I understood it correctly, A Brief History of Time said that tidying my room would (in an absurdly, ridiculously tiny way) hasten the end of the universe. Surely, I argued, a tidy room wasn’t worth that…

That the argument was asinine should go without saying, but an argument can be asinine and still technically correct. More… “Don’t Tidy Your Room”

Uri Bram is the best-selling author of Thinking Statistically and writes about very big ideas and very small questions.


For me, there’s never been a more chilling movie than Planet of the Apes, particularly the harrowing moment when a bedraggled Charlton Heston stumbles upon what’s left of the Statue of Liberty and realizes he’s trapped in a future where monkeys have enslaved mankind. Call me paranoid, but I have a sneaking suspicion that this is where we’re headed. Daily newspapers across Asia are filled with tales of simian outrage, from pick-pocketing apes to the shadowy monkeyman — an apocryphal creature whose rumored existence sparked widespread panic several summers ago in Delhi. If that’s not enough, a more recent warning came when a friend traveling through India needed to be pumped full of anti-bacterial drugs after a malevolent monkey sank its gnashers deep into his unsuspecting buttocks.

With this in mind, I’ve always given a wide berth to apes, chimps, gorillas, and their ilk — I know they’re supposed to… More…