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Why “Is math real?” is a good question (Smithsonian Magazine)
by Dan Falk
A TikTok video by a high schooler who wondered if math is “real” came in for a lot of ridicule on the internet. But it raises deep questions, like why some beautiful mathematics is useless to scientists and whether aliens would be able to make sense of a statement like 2+2 = 4.

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Will that COVID vaccine really be safe? (FiveThirtyEight)
by Maggie Koerth
Trials of vaccines for COVID-19 are happening at an unprecedented speed, and under unprecedented political pressure. So how can we know if the result will be something we should feel comfortable putting into our bodies?

In search of a better sugar (The New Yorker)
by Nicola Twilley
For more than a century, people have been looking for ways to sweeten food without filling it with sugar. Today, food companies are trying a new tack, finding or making sugars that interact with our bodies differently. But tricking ourselves into eating differently is never simple.

An American feminist in Iran (Public Books)
by Rosa Campbell and Taushif Kara
In 1979, white American feminist Kate Millett went to Iran in search of a global women’s uprising. Looking back at what she found, cultural critic Negar Mottahedeh examines the perspectives of Iranian revolutionary women and the limits of a universal feminist story.

Voting by mail in the Civil War (
by Jessica Pearce Rotondi
Mail-in ballots are nothing new. We had them during the Civil War. And that’s just one way historical voting has operated differently from the booths and ballots we’re used to today.

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