Extra Credit: Well-researched stories from around the web that bridge the gap between news and scholarship. Brought to you each Tuesday from the editors of JSTOR Daily.
The truth about the cross (The Washington Post)
by Robin M. Jensen
What did Roman crosses really look like? Where did the cross symbol we know today come from? How did early Christians think about the crucifixion, and why did they rarely depict the cross in their art? A theologian explores the history of Holy Week’s symbolism.
If computers think like people, how can we ever trust them? (Technology Review)
by Will Knight
Artificial intelligence built with complex neural networks—designed to help computers think more like humans, not just mirror our actions with prefab algorithms—can now diagnose diseases, drive cars, and recognize a bird. But when machines make decisions using deep learning, we don’t have any way to understand their “thought process.” Computer scientists and philosophers explore the implications for building machines we can trust.
The meaning of Trump’s architecture (The New Yorker)
by David Owen
An architecture critic explores what a public space in Trump Tower—featuring copious fake gold, endless mirrors, and a 60-foot-high waterfall—can tell us about the psychology behind the Trump brand. For more on the cultural and political meanings of skyscrapers, check out this JSTOR Daily interview with University of Chicago scholar Adrienne Brown.
The cultural record of natural disaster (Aeon)
by Carrie Arnold
Over the past 15 years, scientists have begun using a new method to learn about tsunamis, volcanoes, and other natural disasters: drawing on the legends and myths of societies that lived through these calamities hundreds, or thousands, of years ago.
The global gig economy (The Atlantic)
by Annie Lowrey
When we think about whether the gig economy is good for workers, we often focus on the New York City Uber driver or the San Francisco Airbnb host. But online platforms let companies hire virtual assistants or programmers anywhere in the world on a per-task basis. A geographer looks at whether this is a good deal for workers.
Have you seen a story online that does a good job of bridging the gap between the news and scholarship? Or something that seems particularly well-researched? Let us know and we may include it in next week’s roundup. Email us at jstordaily_submissions (at) jstor (dot) org.