Do you really need a root canal? (The Atlantic)
by Ferris Jabr
From the over-cautious scheduling of frequent cleanings to horror stories of unnecessary procedures, dental overtreatment is a common problem. Dentistry suffers from too little evidence to support specific procedures and too many incentives to err on the side of doing them anyway.
The myth and reality of cargo cults (Topic)
by Brooke Jarvis
“Cargo cults” were a major topic in twentieth-century anthropology, probably partly because white scholars could see them as proof of their own superior culture. But the term describes a range of real dynamic and complex belief systems, like the understanding of a mysterious man named John Frum in the Republic of Vanuatu.
The laser mapping that could help restore Notre Dame Cathedral (CNN)
by Michelle Lou and Brandon Griggs
In 2015, Vassar College art professor Andrew Tallon mapped Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral using 3D laser scanning. Now, his measurements could help in the restoration of the intricate building.
How drinking held an empire together (Atlas Obscura)
by Reina Gattuso
The South American Wari Empire, which came long before the rise of the Inca, was multiethnic, multilingual, and expansive. To hold the people together, Wari elites held summits at a brewery where leaders of diverse groups shared a spicy alcoholic brew while they talked politics.
Why puberty is starting younger (Scientific American)
by Virginia Sole-Smith
The age that girls enter puberty has dropped significantly in recent decades. Possible reasons include the rising use of plastics, calorie-dense diets, and trauma. The implications for girls’ lives in adolescence and beyond are worrying.
Got a hot tip about a well-researched story that belongs on this list? Email us here.