Jones Edward Salk

Verbatim: Jonas Salk

Virologist Jonas Salk led the team that developed the breakthrough vaccine for polio. He was also a social critic.
Mango the Mambo dancer performs on stage with drum accompaniment, 1954

When Mambo Was King, Its Creators Were Stereotyped

As a style of Afro-Cuban music and dance, mambo was considered "primitive." And not just by white North Americans.
Two arms with tattoos

Why Does the Bible Forbid Tattoos?

And have we been misinterpreting Leviticus?
Two boys selling newspapers outside of a saloon

How Women Lost Status in Saloons

During World War I, anti-vice crusaders marked women who liked the nightlife as shady. You can tell by the way men started talking about them.
A collage of book covers

What We’re Reading in 2020

Funk music, floating cities, poetic prose, and a return to the classics.
New Year / Felt tip pen

Happy New Year!

Why do we celebrate on the 1st of January? Do financial incentives help you stick to resolutions? And other burning questions.
An Ancient Roman latrine

Most Popular Stories of 2020

Crocodiles in Egypt, latrines in Rome, two timely syllabi, plus interviews with an epidemiologist and a theoretical physicist, were readers' favorites this year.
Members of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union receive the flu shot in 1957

These Good News Medical Stories Got Us through 2020

The science of COVID-19 vaccines, the 1957 flu vaccine that controlled that outbreak, eradicating polio in India with oral vaccines, and more.
Der liebe Augustin erwacht in der Pestgrube by Adam Brenner

Best of Suggested Readings from 2020

Well-researched stories about the upside of public shaming, the octopus's sense of taste, and more from publications that bridge the gap between news and scholarship.
An illustration of a man sneezing

You Don’t Get Colds from Being Cold

On the persistence of a folk belief.