why US states have straight borders

Why Are U.S. Borders Straight Lines?

The ever-shifting curve of shoreline and river is no match for the infinite, idealized straight line.
Portrait young couple at voter polling place

The Case for Lowering the Voting Age

If the standard we hold for who can vote is the consent of the governed, why shouldn’t children be included?
Otto Weininger

The Man behind the “New Man”

Otto Weininger's only book, Sex & Character, is a misogynist, anti-Semitic screed masquerading as philosophy. Yet it was enormously influential in fin-de-siècle Vienna.
used styrofoam food containers

Is the 30-Year-Long Styrofoam War Nearing Its End?

Neither banning nor recycling will rid us of Styrofoam. Can we live without it?
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Percy Bysshe Shelley

Mary Shelley’s Obsession with the Cemetery

The author of Frankenstein always saw love and death as connected. She visited the cemetery to commune with her dead mother. And with her lover.

Porklife: Building a Better Pig

Can we reconcile our growing appetite for meat with our desire to treat factory animals better?
econophysics

Sociophysics and Econophysics, the Future of Social Science?

Can empirical data about human behavior make the “soft” sciences more like the “hard” ones? New interdisciplinary fields are voting yes.
Barragan house

Casa Luis Barragán, Sacred Space of Mexican Modernism

A tour of the Mexican modernist architect Luis Barragán’s house and studio reveals a surprise with a touch of the divine.
obstetric forceps

Why Male Midwives Concealed the Obstetric Forceps

The history of obstetric forceps shows the dangers of privatizing important medical know-how.
Telling the bees painting

“Telling the Bees”

In nineteenth-century New England, it was held to be essential to whisper to beehives of a loved one’s death.