American and European trading vessels in the Pearl River at Canton in southern China.

The First U.S.-China Trade Deal

The Treaty of Wanghia formalized the burgeoning ties between the two countries, opening the door to new commercial and cultural exchanges.
A meteor striking earth

How to Avoid a Meteor

It isn’t likely that Earth will be hit by a large meteor, but if it were, the results would be catastrophic.
sargassum seaweed dumped on beach

The Great Seaweed Invasion

In the Caribbean, sargassum deposits have grown to unprecedented sizes, obscuring the sand and turning nearshore waters into seething sargassum soup.
Bee on Lilly

The Race to Build a Better Bee

Could drone pollinators help secure our future food supply?
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.”
Moses Williams silhouette

The Former Slave Who Became a Master Silhouette Artist

A new exhibit of silhouette artists surfaces Moses Williams, a former slave who created thousands of beautiful works of art but never got credit for them.
Illustration: a flower and leaf of the Franklinia alatamaha by William Bartram (1782)

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklinia#/media/File:William_Bartram01.jpg

America’s Mysterious Lost Tree

Extinct in the wild, the Franklinia tree is still cultivated in botanical gardens, private homes, parks, even cemeteries. It's also got an interesting Revolutionary-era backstory.
White Bear

Radical Questions: Am I My Memories?

"White Bear," an episode of the television show Black Mirror, documents the cruel and unusual punishment inflicted on the protagonist, an amnesiac.
Popcorn history

Popcorn: From Ancient Snack to Movie Standby

Popcorn is probably one of the oldest uses of the domesticated Mexican grass called teosinte, which has been cultivated as maiz for thousands of years.
A dog on trial

When Societies Put Animals on Trial

Animal trials were of two kinds: (1) secular suits against individual creatures; and (2) ecclesiastic cases against groups of vermin.