Kids gaming in the library

The Grand Old Tradition of Gaming at the Library

Visit your local public library today and you may find rows of kids playing computer games, or even a couple of Xboxes. Gaming at the library is a tradition that goes back to the 1850s.
Close-up of a mans legs doing cross-country skiing in the Alps.

A Brief History of Skis

Researchers tested various ski designs dating back 4,000 years to understand how human movement on snow has evolved.
Pope Sixtus V abortion ban

What a 16th-Century Abortion Ban Revealed

In 1588, Pope Sixtus V issued a papal bull officially classifying abortion, regardless of the stage of fetal development, as homicide.
Shaker tree art

The Shaker Formula for Gender Equality

Shaker communities seem to have appealed to a lot of women because they offered a respite where their work was honored and respected.
18th century hoop skirt

Why Hoop Petticoats Were Scandalous

In the 18th century a new trend in women's underwear sparked public scandal: the hoop petticoat. How the world became obsessed with what was under women’s skirts.
Infinite monkeys

The Inevitable Triumph of Iteration over Intellect

By virtue of pure chance, a monkey can come up with Romeo and Juliet. This suggests that we can circumvent comprehension and skip straight to competence.
Freedmen's School

Bringing Universal Education to the South

2018 marks the 150th anniversary of a number of constitutional conventions in Southern states during Reconstruction. One lasting achievement was creating universal education systems.
women in a reading room at Smith College in 1898

The Reading Rooms Designed to Protect Women from “Library Loafers”

In the late 1800s, American women began to move more freely in public. In response, public libraries created sex-segregated reading rooms, intended to keep women in their proper place.
Rey Star Wars

The Last Jedi’s Twisted Theory of the Self

In Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Rey and Kylo Ren share a telepathic bond forged by the Force, brilliantly illustrating Douglas Hofstadter's "Strange Loop" theory of the self.
Senior Couple on Road Trip

What Retirees Can Learn from the RV Community

A look at the RV community, where retirees support one another in the face of illness, mechanical breakdowns, or sudden financial shortfalls.