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French Revolution Calendar

Why the French Revolution’s “Rational” Calendar Wasn’t

What ever happened to "the most radical attempt in modern history to challenge the Western standard temporal reference framework?"

The Digital Voyage

Mechanical Turk

Amazon’s Mechanical Turk has Reinvented Research

Online services like Amazon's "Mechanical Turk" have ushered in a golden age in survey research. But is it ethical for researchers to use them?

Public Intellectuals

Michelle Dean

Michelle Dean: A Sharp Look at Criticism by Women

Dean on the obstacles women face in being taken seriously as intellectuals, feminist infighting, and the importance of being an outsider.

Security State of Mind

Food security

Global Food Security: A Primer

World hunger is not caused by our inability to produce enough food. The problem arises because of the economic inequality that distorts food distribution.

Suggested Readings

Royal Weddings, Ancient Pollution, and Hippo Poop

Well-researched stories from the Washington Post, Science Magazine, and other great publications that bridge the gap between news and scholarship.

Most Recent

Bajau boys on boat

Humans Are Still Evolving

Biologists suggest that evolution never stops, even for modern humans. This is especially true in parts of the developing world.
BBQ

How Barbecue Defined America

The barbecue boom in 1950s American was tied to nationalistic concepts of the "perfect family": patriarchal, suburban, and white.
Adults reading comics

Why Adults Love Comic Books

There's more to comic books than bright colors, gratiutious violence, and whimsy. Comics tells stories that are deeply significant to their readers.
Mark Twain

Was Mark Twain a Con Man?

A man named Samuel Clemens received funds from the radical abolitionist Boston Vigilance Committee in 1854. It may have been Mark Twain, pulling a prank.

More Stories

Long Reads

Benedetta Carlini

Lesbianism (!) at the Convent

Mother Superior Benedetta Carlini, a visionary nun of Renaissance Italy, was accused of heresy and “female sodomy.”
Obama commencement speeches

The Controversy around Commencement Speeches, Part MMXVIII

Why are battles over just who gets the honor of toasting new graduates—and what they say—always so heated?
Treadmills atonement

Treadmills Were Meant to Be Atonement Machines

America’s favorite piece of workout equipment was developed as a device for forced labor in British prisons. It was banned as cruel and inhumane by 1900.
Axolotl

The Race to Save the Axolotl

When an axolotl loses a limb, it regrows, and nary a scar remains. But this incredible creature is on the brink of extinction.

It might not be possible to protect your chardonnay.

Climate Change Vs. Your Wine

commuting workers

Can America Get Behind Full Employment?

Full employment was a prominent goal in U.S. politics after World War II, but has faded from policy debates in recent decades.
Chanel N°5

The French Perfume Boom

The marketing of scents through clever branding, rather than real differences in what’s being sold, originated in nineteenth-century France.
miniature people standing on around a stack of coins

Can Consumer Groups Be Radical?

Historian Lawrence Glickman looked at the consumer movements of the 1930s to find out.