Editor's note

When we think of how many times a day we check our phones compared to the number of times they actually provide us with useful, meaningful information, it’s actually quite scary. We think we’re connecting with a wide world of “friends” but sometimes, we’re just compulsively scrolling through feeds for no reason at all. A small study of people who decided to opt out of digital life provides some interesting lessons for the rest of us, even if we’re not ready to walk away entirely. The group reported feeling more connected with people, not less, and they didn’t think they were missing out by switching off.

Theresa May came out fighting for her Chequers Brexit deal yesterday after what many saw as a humiliating trip to Salzburg to meet EU leaders on Thursday. The Chequers deal may not be dead yet, but it’s likely May will have to evolve her offer. May continues to insist that there will not be a referendum on whatever deal she does eventually manage to strike, claiming it would be a ‘betrayal’ of the original referendum decision. Is she right? A psychologist investigates.

What would you think if you saw a wild boar trotting along the street beside you on your morning commute? You might be quite surprised, but it happens all the time in Italy, where the hairy swine can be found tramping about like they own the place. Their antics are funny YouTube fodder but have become a municipal nightmare, nonetheless.

As the rate of people giving up meat and animal products increases, it’s throwing up questions about whether or not you can convert your pets to the same lifestyle. Is a dog necessarily a carnivore? It seems they are less reliant on meat than you might think – and, indeed, wolves are more partial to fruit and veg than they’d admit in public. But just because your four-legged friend can go vegan, it doesn’t necessarily mean it should.

If you’re into space exploration or have an interest in human endurance – or you just love watching films – then we have an exclusive preview film screening this Thursday for Conversation readers of First Man, the story of Neil Armstrong’s mission to be the first person to walk on the moon with the Apollo 11 mission. It will be followed by a science Q&A with Conversation authors Monica Grady, Martin Archer and Jennifer Wild. Find out how you can get your hands on a pair of tickets here.

This week we also have questions for MI6 about its past, reassuring findings for parents of picky eaters and props for Scotland for getting serious about period poverty.

Laura Hood

Politics Editor, Assistant Editor

‘Someone likes me.’ Shutterstock.

Three things we can all learn from people who don’t use smartphones or social media

Rowland Atkinson, University of Sheffield; Mariann Hardey, Durham University

Many of us complain about the stress of being 'always on' – here's what life could be like, if you actually disconnected.

No going back? Frank Augstein/PA

Would a vote on the Brexit deal be a betrayal? What social psychology tells us

Ken Rotenberg, Keele University

The prime minister says the public doesn't want another vote. But what if their faith in the first result isn't based on truth?

This little piggy went to Genoa. Shutterstock.

Wild boars run amok in the city of Genoa, as abandoned rural areas are ‘rewilded’

Robert Hearn, University of Nottingham

Seems humans aren't the only ones moving into cities in ever greater numbers.


Vegan dogs: should canines go meat free?

Wanda McCormick, Anglia Ruskin University

As omnivores, dogs should be able to adapt well and manage on well prepared commercially available vegetarian diets as long as the essential nutrients they would normally get from meat are present.

First Man: Neil Armstrong.

The Conversation: special preview film screening of First Man & space science Q&A

Jo Adetunji, The Conversation

The screening will include a Q&A hosted by Conversation science editor, Miriam Frankel, with leading UK space scientist Monica Grady, space plasma scientist Martin Archer, and psychologist Jennifer Wild.


Featured events


Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh, Edinburgh, City of, EH99 1SP, United Kingdom — The Conversation

Manchester University Music Society: Welcome Concert

Martin Harris Centre for Music and Drama, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, Manchester, M13 9PL, United Kingdom — University of Manchester

Repression through ‘normality’: Challenges for mental health and capacity law and practice

Lindsay Stewart lecture Theatre, Craiglockhart Campus, Glenlockhart Road, Edinburgh, Midlothian, EH14 1DJ, United Kingdom — Edinburgh Napier University

In conversation with Emma Butt

Holbeck Cinema, Department of Theatre, Film and Television, York, York, YO10 5GB, United Kingdom — University of York

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