Matt Ridley is the author of provocative books on evolution, genetics and society. His books have sold over a million copies, been translated into thirty languages, and have won several awards.
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My latest Mind and Matter column in the Wall
A new study by Dirk Helbing at ETH Zurich in
Switzerland and colleagues has modeled the emergence of “nice”
behavior in idealized human beings. It’s done by computer, using
the famous “prisoner’s dilemma” game, in which a prisoner has to
decide between cooperating with a comrade to get a mutual reward or
avoiding a punishment by being the first of the two to defect to
the other side. The Zurich team found that so long as players in
the game stay near their (modeled) parents, the birth of a nice guy
predisposed to cooperate can trigger “a cascade” of generous
This is a version of an article I published in The Times on 27
The east wind could cut tungsten; the daffodils are weeks
behind; the first chiffchaffs are late. It’s a cold spring and the
two things everybody seems to agree upon are that there’s something
weird about the weather, and it’s our fault. Both are almost
I have published the following article in the Newcastle Journal
Obsidian was once one of humankind's most sought-after
materials, the "rich man's flint" of the stone-age world. This
black volcanic glass fragments into lethally sharp, tough blades
that, even after the invention of bronze, made it literally a
Because sources of obsidian are few and far between, obsidian
artifacts are considered some of the earliest evidence of commerce:
Long-distance movement of obsidian, even hundreds of thousands of
years ago, suggests the early stirring of true trade.
I have the following article in the Times on 15 March:
Move over shale gas, here comes methane hydrate. (Perhaps.) On
Tuesday the Japanese government’s drilling ship Chikyu started
flaring off gas from a hole drilled into a solid deposit of methane
and ice, 300 metres beneath the seabed under 1000 metres of water,
30 miles off the Japanese coast.
My latest Mind and Matter column for the Wall
Street Journal is on the prospect of de-extinction, especially the
Extinct species are gone forever. Or are they? For some time now
the dream of re-creating something like a mammoth from its DNA has
been floating about on the fringes of the scientific world (and in
movies like "Jurassic Park") without being taken seriously.
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