An electric school bus

Why Aren’t Yellow School Buses Green?

There is a new push for electric school buses, which would pollute less. But the electric-powered vehicle is actually a very old technology.
Sir Charles Knowles, an officer of the Royal Navy

Colonialism Created Navy Blue

The indigo dye that created the Royal Navy's signature uniform color was only possible because of imperialism and slavery.
George Washington's Yelp Reviews

George Washington’s “Yelp Reviews”

Staying at inns allowed Washington to examine the state of the infrastructure for traveling in the new federal Republic. The only problem was, he hated it.
NYC movie theater air conditioning

Can We Live Without Air Conditioning?

Air conditioning is a profoundly paradoxical technology: the hotter it gets the more we use it, and the more we use it the hotter it gets.
New York skyline

The Real Reason Why NYC’s Skyscrapers Are Where They Are

Why does Manhattan have two business separate districts? Turns out that it's not because of the usual story about bedrock depth.
babies healthcare

The First Health Insurance Policies Helped Reduce Infant Mortality

Some early healthcare history shows the effect of insurance plans: lower infant morality and better standards across the board.

How American Tourism Began

American tourism took the scenic route over the course of the twentieth century. A growing middle class and car ownership helped.
Cormorants on a Guano Island

Are We Entering a New Golden Age of Guano?

A history of civilization could be written in fertilizers. And the history of guano—bird poop—tells us a lot about slavery, imperialism, and U.S. expansion.
It is the bean, that we mean, so white and lean.

What It Was Like To Be an African-American Soldier During the Civil War

What was it like to be one of the 186,017 African Americans who served in the Union Army during the Civil War?
Benjamin Franklin at work on a printing press.

Public Banks: An American Tradition

When it comes to finance and banking, early Americans like Benjamin Franklin make Bernie Sanders look conservative.