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Our Writers’ Favorite Stories of 2021

Without our writers (and editors and fact checkers and producers) and you, we're nothing.
Limnoria quadripunctata, male and female, ventral view.

How “Termites of the Sea” Have Shaped Maritime Technology

These small marine pests have been eating our ships for millennia, forcing us to keep building better boats throughout history.
Great Snow in 1717

The Snowy Winter that Devastated Colonial New England

For eleven days in February and March 1717, New England was hit with four major snowstorms. The devastation struck some as a sign from God.
The Actor Arashi Wakano as a wakashu in a kappa (raincoat)

The Disappearance of Japan’s “Third Gender”

Gender roles in Edo Japan recognized an in-between position for young men, called Wakashu, that was erased as Japan westernized.
Pavlova cake on a white background

Food and Culture

Food is complicated. That creation you love from "The Great British Baking Show? It's been the subject of arguments over culture, identity and copyright.

Holiday Supply Chain Issues of Ancient Rome

Hey, at least we’re not trying to track down frankincense and myrrh.
Marcus G. Daniel

Charity Scams of Yore

Between the 1850s and 1940s, a charity scam worked a collection circuit of Evangelical Christians in least five hundred towns across eighty countries.
Ella Tyree in Ebony, February 1949

Women in Science Textbooks

A team of scholars examined the seven most popular ecology textbooks. Guess what they didn't find?
Some of the chief defendants listening to the court summary at the Nuremberg War Trials. In the front row (from left to right) are Goering, Hess, von Ribbentrop, Keitel, Kaltenbrunner and Rosenberg. In the back row are Doenitz, Raeder, von Schirach and Sauckel.

In History, The Past is the Present is the Future

If the past is so all terribly bad, then aren’t we lucky in the present?
A British airship in flight above the British countryside set against a cloudy sky, 1918

Whatever Happened to Airships?

In moving away from fossil fuels, some in aviation are thinking of bringing back helium-assisted flight.