Restoration of Burgess Shale fossil arthropod Waptia fieldensis

Meeting Earth’s First Animals at the Burgess Shale

The Burgess Shale is a huge deposit of unique fossils that reveals records of the middle Cambrian, a vital period in evolutionary history.
A man sitting in an office with a computer.

The Link Between Startups and Privilege

Self-made? The most successful independent ventures are often backed by legacy money or networks.
Image from Livre des profits ruraux (late 15th century France)

The Landlord Asks for a Christmas Rose

Bizarre customs of landholding—from demands for flowers to ritualized flatulence—reflect the philosophy that developed under the feudal system.
Callery Pear Trees in bloom

When a Cultivated Tree Goes Rogue

The Callery pear was meant to help prevent fire blight from destroying the commercial pear industry. Then it became invasive.
Illustration from "The Nights of Straparola" (1894)

The Invention of the Passive Fairy Tale Heroine

European fairy tales featured bold, independent female characters—until the Reformation forced shifts in cultural attitudes towards women.
The Sharing Economy Was Dead on Arrival

The Sharing Economy Was Dead on Arrival

Sharing economy firms like Lyft and Airbnb promised community, but the ideas they promoted as overturning the status quo are the status quo.
Mr. Knightley and Emma Woodhouse, from Jane Austen's Emma

Jane Austen’s Subtly Subversive Linguistics

Why are Jane Austen books still so beloved? A linguist argues it has more to do with Austen's masterful use of language than with plot.
Head shot portraits of a woman making different faces.

Social Drama, China Relations, and a Tree of Blood

Well-researched stories from Slate, Aeon, and other great publications that bridge the gap between news and scholarship.
The InSight lander operating on the surface of Mars.

What’s Inside Mars?

Everything scientists think they know about the interior of Mars is based on indirect observations. NASA's new InSight Lander aims to change that.
Charlotte Salomon, gouache from Life? or Theater?

The Mystery behind Charlotte Salomon’s Groundbreaking Art

Before she was killed by Nazis, Charlotte Salomon created a unique, genre-bending artwork that may have also been a confession to a murder.