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Politics & Government

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?

Cabinet of Curiosities

There’s Someone Buried under the Floor!

The story of a building that will not stand until a living human being is imprisoned in its foundations is so common as to form it own genre.

Roundup

Halloween Stories

Why are Victorians the default haunted house, what do ghosts have to do with the imagination, and why do we like to be scared?

The Digital Voyage

Has the Internet Weakened Our Political Institutions?

According to our columnist, the internet has destabilized many of the informal institutions that underpin our democracy.

Suggested Readings

Angry Women, Captive Jaguars, and Brainy Catholics

Well-researched stories from the New Yorker, Pacific Standard Magazine, and other great publications that bridge the gap between news and scholarship.

Most Recent

Politics & Government

How to Get People to Vote

In the United States midterm elections, it is common for as few as 40% of eligible adults to vote. Why it matters, and some possible solutions. Politics & History

The Curious Voyage of HMS Endeavour

Captain James Cook had secret orders to to search for a predicted Southern Continent. He ended up claiming New Zealand and part of Australia for the U.K. Politics & History

The Invisible Struggles of the Civil War’s Veterans

Many Civil War veterans like Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain came out of combat with injuries and lasting disabilities that no one could see. Science & Technology

The Anthropology of the Office Email

Researchers learn a lot from studying office workers' email. But the question remains: do they learn more about the people, or about the medium itself?

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Politics & History

How Victorian Mansions Became the Default Haunted House

Quick: Picture a haunted house. It's probably a Victorian mansion, right? Here's how these structures became signifiers of horror, haunting, and death. Plants & Animals

The Most Abundant Creature You’ve Never Heard Of

Conodonts are actually older than the oldest previously known vertebrates, making them the earliest known “skeletonized” vertebrates in existence. Politics & History

What Happened to the Night Children?

A hundred years ago, it was quite common for working-class children to roam the streets freely at night.

Long Reads

Education & Society

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. Science & Technology

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

Neither banning nor recycling will rid us of Styrofoam. Can we live without it? Arts & Culture

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. Science & Technology

Porklife: Building a Better Pig

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

Editors' Picks

Business & Economics

Could Sears Have Avoided Becoming Obsolete?

Amid a broader decline of American retail, Sears is struggling. Did changes in its business model over the course of its history doom it to failure? Politics & History

The Midterms That Changed America

In 1994, Republicans swept the midterms and Newt Gingrich became Speaker of the House. His “Contract with America” was both polarizing and transformative. Arts & Culture

Halloween Stories

Why are Victorians the default haunted house, what do ghosts have to do with the imagination, and why do we like to be scared? Arts & Culture

10 Poems by African-American Poets

Poems by African-American poets, including Gwendolyn Brooks, Kwame Dawes, Rita Dove, Langston Hughes, Tyehimba Jess, Kevin Young, and more. Science & Technology

6 Ways to be a Digital Mentor to Your Kids

What’s involved in being a digital mentor? People have been asking me various version of this question in ...

Arts & Culture

When Artists Painted with Real Mummies

The popular paint pigment called “mummy brown” used to be made from—yep—ground-up Egyptian mummies.

Krazy Kat’s Complex Relationship with Race

Behind the slapstick antics in this beloved comic strip simmered ambivalence about color and race.

The Mysterious Mana of Speaking

The Austronesian concept of "mana" helps us understand that behind the monolithic "magic" of modern power and authority, there is a fragile human dimension.

Audio Stories

When Harriet Beecher Stowe and George Eliot Were Penpals

These 19th-century novelists might seem to have little in common. But for 11 years they wrote each other letters, forging an unusual literary friendship.

The Pirate Creed

Examining the 18th-century social contract of Captain Bartholomew Roberts and his men shows just how organized and codified pirate societies could be.

Did Venereal Disease Lead to Abolition?

Many abolitionists seeking to end slavery in the British West Indies were concerned less with human rights, more with the preponderance of interracial sex.

Romantics like Nathaniel Hawthorne heard the “long shriek” of a distant train whistle as an affront to the natural sounds of birds and leaves.

A History of Noise

Politics & History

How to Get People to Vote

In the United States midterm elections, it is common for as few as 40% of eligible adults to vote. Why it matters, and some possible solutions.

The Curious Voyage of HMS Endeavour

Captain James Cook had secret orders to to search for a predicted Southern Continent. He ended up claiming New Zealand and part of Australia for the U.K.

The Invisible Struggles of the Civil War’s Veterans

Many Civil War veterans like Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain came out of combat with injuries and lasting disabilities that no one could see.

Business & Economics

Governing Fisheries in the High Seas

Overfishing is a huge problem in international waters. Some suggest a fishing ban. Others stress a shared shift toward cooperation and long-term thinking.

Can Universal Basic Income Achieve Economic Security?

A wealthy country like the United States needs a solution for improving the supply and fairness of work overall. Is universal basic income the way to go?

Ecological Economics: An Oxymoron?

Mainstream economics has largely neglected to integrate ecological systems into its models. But the two disciplines don't have to be diametrically opposed.

Science & Technology

The Anthropology of the Office Email

Researchers learn a lot from studying office workers' email. But the question remains: do they learn more about the people, or about the medium itself?

Epidemics as Entertainment

Plagues capture the public imagination in ways that other less terrifying--but more deadly--diseases don't.

The Most Abundant Creature You’ve Never Heard Of

Conodonts are actually older than the oldest previously known vertebrates, making them the earliest known “skeletonized” vertebrates in existence.

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