When Very Bad Words Are the Sh*t (Linguistically Speaking)
The fact that people can use “literally” about things that can’t possibly be factual may literally make your blood boil.
Why Did “Thieves’ Cant” Carry an Unshakeable Allure?
If thieves’ cant—a language known only to criminals—was the Devil’s cabinet, bourgeois society couldn’t help but peep inside.
Border Walls are Symbols of Failure
From feudal fortresses to contemporary border barriers, walls have always offered more symbolic value than real protection.
Can Science Fiction Predict the Future of Technology?
Science fiction isn’t limited to predicting tech developments: It’s more broadly concerned with imagining possible futures, or alternative presents.
The Language of Your Love Life
Pet names and baby talk between lovers can be cringe-worthy and even incriminating. So why do couples use such lovey-dovey language?
The Cadaver Synod: Putting a Dead Pope on Trial
Why did Pope Stephen VI go to such great lengths to destroy an enemy who was already dead?
Why Can’t the TSA Just Go on Strike?
The post-9/11 expansion of federal powers over transportation security was also an extension of power over the security workforce.
Public Dissection Was a Gruesome Spectacle
Renaissance-era anatomists taught people to “knowe thyself” by reading the books of bodies.
To Fight Fake News, Broaden Your Social Circle
Fake news is spread through online communities that become echo-chambers of like-minded ideas. What's your online community like?
The Ladylike Language of Letters
Letters reveal how language changes. They also offer a peek into the way people--especially women--have always constructed their private and public selves.