In praise of uselessness (Psyche)
by Helen De Cruz and Pauline Lee
In the fourth century B.C.E., many Chinese thinkers promoted cutting out “useless” rituals and cultural activities in favor of producing sufficient basic resources for all. The writer of the Daoist text Zhuangzi disagreed, arguing for the value of “useless” things and people.
The awful Victorian soup that never existed (Atlas Obscura)
by Diana Hubbell
To many in the UK, brown Windsor soup is prime example of the terrible food that the British enjoyed in the Victorian era. It turns out, the soup isn’t a dish that turned into a joke—it’s the other way around.
Why is everyone talking about Bruno? (Slate)
by Chris White
The song “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” from the new Disney movie Encanto has become a surprise hit. Can music theory help explain why?
What is AI doing to our relationships? (Wired)
by Will Coldwell
AI can write our emails for us, warn us about heated conversations on social media, and monitor families in crisis for signs of trouble found in heart rates and speaking patterns. What will these new tools mean for the way we communicate?
The Chinese workers in America’s sugar fields (The Conversation)
by Moon-Ho Jung
After the end of the Civil War, many sugar plantation owners in Louisiana recruited Chinese laborers to work alongside Black laborers. But the Asian workers proved much less docile than they anticipated.
Got a hot tip about a well-researched story that belongs on this list? Email us here.