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Art Is (Girlfriends Times Two)

Visiting “Soul of a Nation”

A new exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum asks: Is there a Black aesthetic?

Cabinet of Curiosities

A contraption used to extract the silk from a spider

The Tangled History of Weaving with Spider Silk

Spider silk is as strong as steel and as light as a feather, but attempts to industrialize its production have gotten stuck, so to speak.

Suggested Readings

A pink pill on a table amongst white pills.

Real Placebos, Brutal Progress, and Paleolithic Myths

Well-researched stories from Longreads, The Atlantic, and other great publications that bridge the gap between news and scholarship.

Lingua Obscura

Neon text on the side of a building reads "All we have is words, all we have is worlds."

The Hidden Life of Modal Verbs

A linguist explains why we get so distracted by the fiery language of politics, while ignoring urgent information reported by scientists.

Roundup

Thanksgiving table

Thanksgiving Stories

Americans are getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving, the middle entry in the Halloween-Thanksgiving-Winter holidays trifecta. Plate up with some ...

Most Recent

Constantine Samuel Rafinesque

The Raffish and Radical Constantine Samuel Rafinesque

Constantine Samuel Rafinesque was an adventuring naturalist who named 2,700 genera and wrote about evolution before Darwin. Why has he been forgotten?
Building Colonies for WW1 Veterans

Building Colonies for WWI Veterans

After World War I, policymakers seriously considered the idea of setting up farming colonies for returning veterans.
A person in distress, from graffiti in Finland

Pathologizing Distress

One bioethics scholar wonders if modern medicine is in danger of pathologizing what are painful, but normal, human experiences.
A cluster of deep sea octopus Muusoctopus robustus.

The Last Vigil of the Octopus Parent

For some species of octopus, reproducing is a lonely act that ends in death.

More Stories

Long Reads

The remains of a carved turkey's carcass on a cutting board

It’s Time to Reinvent Food Waste!

Startups worldwide convert refuse into energy, biomaterials, and more food.
selling great britain to texas

The Plan to Sell Texas to Great Britain

Stephen Pearl Andrews, a lawyer, Houston socialite, and abolitionist, concocted a plan to free Texas' slaves—with a hint of treason.
guy fawkes mask

The Gunpowder Plot, Redux

The cultural meaning of Guy Fawkes’ conspiracy to blow up the House of Lords has shifted, from countercultural symbol to HBO drama.

Can Re-Clamming Our Harbors Keep Superstorms at Bay?

Hurricanes like Sandy destroy coastlines. Clams and oysters help keep them together.

Studies have shown that the act of anthropomorphizing can alleviate loneliness and promote social connection.

Personification is Your Friend: the Language of Inanimate Objects

Nosferatu

Marxferatu: Teaching Marx with Vampires

For a younger generation trying to understand Marxism, the best way in may be: vampirism.

Can Universal Basic Income Achieve Economic Security?

A wealthy country like the United States needs a solution for improving the supply and fairness of work overall. Is universal basic income the way to go?
solar city

Ecological Economics: An Oxymoron?

Mainstream economics has largely neglected to integrate ecological systems into its models. But the two disciplines don't have to be diametrically opposed.