Central Arizona Project (CAP) Canal, Phoenix, AZ

What Desert Cities Can Teach Us about Water

Pushed by necessity, the country’s least sustainable region evolved to master its water use. As climate heats up, other cities may adopt similar tactics.
Queen Nzinga (1582-1663) of Matamba

An African Queen, Alien Signals, and Poison Eating

Well-researched stories from Longreads, The Atlantic, and other great publications that bridge the gap between news and scholarship.
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ada_Lovelace_portrait.jpg

Ada Lovelace, Pioneer

Ada Lovelace wrote extensive notes on the world’s first computer. Her innovations foreshadowed those used in twentieth-century PCs.
Dolphins in captivity

The Ethics of Research on Captive Dolphins

Researchers say that dolphins are so smart that captivity causes them psychological harm. But getting data in the open ocean can be tricky.
Richard Nixon at the Great Wall of China

Why Did Nixon Burn the China Hands?

Nixon targeted Foreign Service officers who served in China in the 1940s as communist sympathizers and "fellow travelers." Then he opened trade relations.
Wild rice

Wild Rice’s Refusal to Be Domesticated

The reality of wild rice defeated the best efforts of Europeans to domesticate it.
Sylvia Beach outside of Shakespeare & Co., circa 1935

The Patron Saint of Bookstores

100 years ago, Sylvia Beach, the first publisher of James Joyce’s Ulysses, opened the doors to her legendary bookstore, Shakespeare & Co.
A Hudson Bay Company trading post

Why the Dakota Only Traded among People with Kinship Bonds

“Trapping was not a ‘business for profit’ among the Dakota but primarily a social exchange,” one scholar writes.
The Flower Girl by Charles Cromwell Ingham, 1846

When Botany Was for Ladies

In nineteenth century America, young women took to studying botany—a conjoining of interest, social acceptance, and readily available schooling.
A scene from Within Our Gates

How Oscar Micheaux Challenged the Racism of Early Hollywood

The black filmmaker Oscar Micheaux was one of the first to make films for a black audience, a rebuke to racist movies like The Birth of a Nation.