An illustration of claqueurs from an 1853 issue of Harper's Magazine

When Paid Applauders Ruled the Paris Opera House

Professional applauders, collectively known as the “claque,” helped mold the tastes of an uncertain audience.
President Joe Biden holds a semiconductor during his remarks before signing an Executive Order on the economy

Semiconductor Shortages End an Era of Globalization

Our security studies columnist on leanness, supply chains, and resilience in a post-pandemic world.
Handstone with model mine

The Princes of Saxony Collected These Kitschy Miniature Mountains

Struck with “Berggeschrey,” or “mountain clamour,” early modern nobles of Saxony dolled up the dirty and dangerous work of the mines with gold and glitter.
A punk with a mohawk in a cottagecore painting

The Punk Rock Linguistics of Cottagecore

So you want to borrow a concept from another culture but don’t know what to call it? Try a morpheme!
claude glass

The Claude Glass Revolutionized the Way People Saw Landscapes

Imagine tourists flocking to a famous beauty spot, only to turn around and fix their eyes on its reflection in a tiny dark mirror.
Man with a sealed mouth

After the Capitol Riot, Who Will Govern Speech Online?

Protecting democracy from the power of free speech seems like a paradox. However, free speech on the internet has never truly been free.
A 19th-century engraving depicting an Arab slave-trading caravan transporting black African slaves across the Sahara.

What Was the Zanj Rebellion?

A remarkable episode of Medieval Islamic history that often goes untold.
1837 Merchant's Exchange Hard Times Token

“Hard Times Tokens” Were Not One Cent

The counterfeit currencies issued in response to 1837’s coin shortage were worthless—or were they?
From a movie ad for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, 1917

The Shark-Fighting Brothers behind 20,000 Leagues under the Sea

In 1916, the Williamson brothers used their father's underwater photography device to film a fight with a shark, piquing Universal Pictures' interest.