Soldiers training in the Israeli Defense Forces

Is Mandatory Military Service Good for a Country?

A prescribed period of civic service may offer benefits, promoting active citizenship across the socioeconomic divide and creating strong social ties.
mailboxes

The Massive Fight over Sunday Mail

Sunday mail delivery was hugely controversial in the early 19th century, inspiring one of the U.S.'s first efforts to rally public opinion around a cause.
Engraved Illustrations of Various Castles and Fortified Structures

The Medieval Castle That Pranked Its Visitors

At Hesdin, in France, the idyllic beauty of the grounds met the sadistic slapstick of the castle’s “engines of amusement.”
ProPublica child detention center recording

The Cries Heard Around the World

ProPublica's audio of crying children in detention centers touched a nerve. Humans are keenly attuned to the sounds of crying, in part because of evolution.
1919 Chicago White Sox

When “Foreigners” Were Blamed for a Baseball Scandal

In the early 20th century, baseball was a magnet for illegal gambling. But when the Chicago White Sox threw the World Series, Jews became the scapegoats.
Narayan and Iravati Lavate

The Mumbai Couple Suing for Their Right to Die

Eighty-seven-year-old Narayan Lavate, and his wife, Iravati, 78, say they are “leading unproductive and obsolete lives.”
River Basin archaeologists

The River Basin Surveys Preserved American Prehistory

Between 1945 and 1969, archaeologists hurriedly surveyed over 20,000 prehistorical sites before the Mississippi River Basin was flooded by dams.
anti-abolitionist cartoon

How Antebellum Christians Justified Slavery

After Emancipation, some Southern Protestants refused to revise their proslavery views. In their minds, slavery had been divinely sanctioned.
Slavoj Zizek

Getting a Grip on Slavoj Žižek (with Slavoj Žižek)

The Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek is famous for his provocative takes, but how should we understand his basic ideas?
Marbles Reflecting a Rainbow Background

Losing Our Marbles

For decades kids across the world played with marbles, creating their own games and slang. So why did such a popular game go suddenly extinct?