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Politics & History
The Invention of Dessert
The English word “dessert” emerged in the seventeenth century, derived from the French verb “desservir.” But the concept has changed a lot since then.
Using God to Sell Soap
Ivory Soap got its name from Psalm 45.
The Lost City of Heracleion
Once a bustling metropolis, this long-lost Egyptian city flooded, sank, and was forgotten -- until archeologists rediscovered it.
The Genderless Eighteenth-Century Prophet
In 1776, a 24-year-old Quaker woman named Jemima Wilkinson died of fever, and came back to life as a prophet known as the Publick Universal Friend.
Franklin, the American State that Wasn’t
Franklin was the 14th state of America. If you haven't heard of it, that's because it only lasted for four years.
Understanding Planet-Wide Danger
The way Americans metabolized the global threat of nuclear war has had lasting effects on how we think about our newest global threat: climate change.
Regrowing Germany’s Trees After WWII
The cities of Dresden and Hamburg saw their green spaces decimated by WWII, but each city grew back its trees in a very different way.
Boy Scouts and the Phenomenon of “Boyification”
After a series of traumatic wars, the U.K. and the U.S. embraced a trend of "boyification." Scholars theorize it was an attempt to recover lost innocence.
The Pirate-y Life of Ferdinand Magellan
Magellan’s voyage in search of the “Spice Islands” was marked by storms, sharks, and scurvy—plus multiple attempts at mutiny.
How Janet Flanner’s “High-Class Gossip” Changed America
The journalist's witty Paris Letters for the
helped establish Americans' feelings of superiority over Europe.
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