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.
Why petitions matter (The Washington Post)
by Daniel Carpenter
Does signing an online petition make a difference? When it comes to the behavior of the person or institution you’re petitioning, probably not. But historians and political scientists find that petition-signing can matter a lot when it comes to building a movement. Bonus: JSTOR Daily recently looked the origin of petitions.
The history of booze is the history of people (National Geographic)
by Andrew Curry
Our ancestors were drinking way before they started writing or farming—even before they were humans at all. Over the past 30 years, researchers have learned that alcohol may have influenced human religion, battle, farming, and even our ancestors’ first move down out of the trees.
To sleep, perchance to forget (The New York Times)
by Carl Zimmer
Scientists have been speculating about the purpose of sleep for a long time. New experimental evidence boosts the theory that shut-eye lets our brains prune down our memories so we can use them more effectively.
This vaccine stops cancers, but only if people use it (The Conversation)
by Electra D. Paskett
The HPV vaccine is a remarkable development, capable of preventing six types of cancers. Yet most kids aren’t receiving it. Now, a cancer researcher explains, a newly approved, simpler vaccination regimen could offer a way to change that.
The queer Victorian era (The Atlantic)
by Deborah Cohen
Before the invention of categories like gay and straight, Victorians organized their thinking about sexuality an entirely different way. A humanities scholar looks at the wide array of relationships and attitudes found in a single elite British family.
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.