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Igor Tulchinsky & Christopher E. Mason | Big Think | 23rd August 2023
The headline is an exaggeration, but the thesis is interesting. Political polling can create a sense of momentum and narrative that makes an election seem decided long before citizens actually vote. We don't govern nations via opinion poll, but we do let them influence our elections. Refusing to take part in a poll, it is argued here, destabilises its prediction and thus strengthens democracy (1,400 words)
Keith Houston | Lapham's Quarterly | 23rd August 2023
Humans started counting at least 40,000 years ago, around 35,000 years before we started writing. This is shown by a baboon fibula found in South Africa that bears 29 notches made by different tools over time. We may never know what its maker was counting, but this tally stick shows maths moving from fingers to tools. "No invention is simpler and yet more significant than this" (2,160 words)