Ghost plant

Why Some Plants Are Parasites

Tap into the underground network of plants and fungi with mysterious myco-heterotrophes.
New York city from Hoboken, New Jersey, c. 1800

The Early American Radical Fiction of John Lithgow

In the early 1800s, the Scottish immigrant wrote an anonymous tract imagining equality. He was worried about the brand-new American republic.
Monochrome vintage engraving drawing human brain with wind up key

How Technology Got Its Modern Meaning

If we give technology credit for changing history, does that mean we give ourselves less?

Don’t Cry for Me, North Korea

Western media outlets were obsessed with whether North Koreans were truly sad about Kim Jong-il's death. Why?
A painting of Strawberry Hill from the Southeast by Paul Sandby

Is This a Gay House?

The British aristocrat Horace Walpole's villa Strawberry Hill was said to be evidence of his "degeneracy."
Photograph: Konstantin Mereschkowski

Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Konstantin_Mereschkowski.jpg

Can You Be a Good Scientist and a Horrible Person at the Same Time?

Consider Constantin Merezhkowsky, theorist of symbiogenesis.

Wren Folklore and St. Stephen’s Day

The tiny winter songbirds are clever kings to the Irish. They're also fodder (literally) for post-Christmas ritual.
US Airmail stamp: Inverted Jenny Air Mail Issue of 1918

Stamp Collecting as Metaphor for the Free Market

The hobby was originally pursued by middle-class women and children. But its resemblance to capitalist values made it attractive to men.
On the left stands King George III surrounded by symbols of British peace and liberty, while across the Channel the figure of Napoleon is stalked by poverty and ‘universal destruction’.

Jacobin Hating, American Style

The most radical faction of the French Revolution was hated by everyone in the United States from reactionaries to abolitionists.
Illustration: Branding Iron by Henry Rasmusen, c. 1937

Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Henry_Rasmusen,_Branding_Iron,_c._1937,_NGA_21119.jpg

A Fistful of Data: Information and the Cattle Industry

Beef barons needed cowboys less and bookkeepers more as the nineteenth century wore on.