Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cole_Thomas_The_Course_of_Empire_Destruction_1836.jpg

A Nation in Decline, as Always

What does it really mean for a nation to be “in decline?” And why does it make for such appealing political rhetoric?
Lysol advertisement from the March 1918 issue of Good Housekeeping via via Flickr 1918 Good Housekeeping Ad recommended Lysol to fight the typhoid epidemic.

Good Housekeeping Treated Advertisers as Health Experts

Good Housekeeping set itself up as a source of authoritative advice, but included ads for “health” products known to be harmful.
Pisco Sour Cocktail

Sour Grapes: The Pisco War

Peru and Chile both produce the grape brandy called pisco, and they both consider it their national drink.
Ducks caged for foie gras

New York City Bans Foie Gras

The practice of eating fatty goose livers dates back to at least 2500 BCE. Is there a humane way to produce it?

Video Game Streams Are Creating New Forms of Community

Khasino, a Marvel Strike Force streamer on Twitch, makes his living playing video games for an audience.
Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer, 2019 Laureates in Economic Sciences

Why Are Random Trials So Common in Anti-Poverty Work?

Three economists who have devoted their careers to studying poverty alleviation won the Nobel Prize in economics. How did their methods catch on?
Classic cars drive along dirt road in the mountains

The End of the Country Road

When "good roads" first became a political issue, rural people were decidedly not the ones advocating for them.
A road beside some mountains and a lake

Why Plastic Roads Lead to a Cleaner Ocean

To prevent several millions tons of plastic from flushing into the ocean every year, engineers are paving roads with it.
An advertisement for Ivory Soap from the Christian Herald, 1913

Using God to Sell Soap

Ivory Soap got its name from Psalm 45.
Antique engraving of a view of the State Street, Boston. Mid 1800s.

The Birth of the Modern American Debt Collector

In the 19th century, farm loans changed from a matter between associates into an impersonal, bureaucratic exchange.