Nurses react as community members applaud them on April 30, 2020 at NYU Langone Hospital in New York City.

Will Society Remember the Pandemic’s Heroes?

If history is any guide, probably not.
Embarkation of the Pilgrims

Why the Pilgrims Were Actually Able to Survive

If you were reading Bradford's version of events, you might think that the survival of the Pilgrims' settlements was often in danger.
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.