Politics and History

Margery Kempe was one of the world's most famous Christian mystics — a medieval pilgrim with a penchant for uncontrollable sobbing. More

First it was vinyl; now, it's the typewriter. Vintage Smith-Coronas and Olivettis are hot items on Ebay and making a comeback in the age of computers. As cities around country are hosting "type ins" one can't help but wonder: are we seeing a hipster fad or the analog rebellion?  Philosopher Richard Polt assesses the typewriter revolution.More

Betsan Corkhill founded Britain's therapeutic knitting movement — the clinical application of knitting to treat a variety of mental and physical ailments. More

water

WisContext — a reporting collaboration between Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Television and the University of Wisconsin's Cooperative Extension —has done some exceptional reporting on water rights and the economics of water diversion in our home state of Wisconsin. We're sharing some of it here.More

Kerepunu women at the marketplace of Kalo, British New Guinea, 1885

A conversation with renowned biologist Jared Diamond, best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning book “Guns, Germs and Steel.” His new book is “The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies?”More

Man alone in a tunnel

David Morris spent three years reporting in Iraq before an improvised explosive device forced him to return home. The attack haunted him, and kicked off a bout with PTSD that would take years to recover from. More

Mind/body

Remember debating the mind-body duality in college? You probably argued the meaning of Descartes’ adage “I think, therefore I am” in your dorm. Maybe you even delved into the idea of what is consciousness. But for Lauren Slater, author of “Prozac Diary,” the mind-body argument isn’t a debate or an intellectual pursuit. It’s a personal choice, one that is both necessary and terrible.More

Frances Jensen is both a neuroscientist and a mother of two (former) teenagers. She talked with To the Best of Our Knowledge Executive Producer Steve Paulson about the positive “plasticity” of teenage brains as well as teens’ propensity for risk-taking.More

Angie Jiang goes to Washington

Have you ever tried to lobby a US Senator? How about when you were 17? Angie Jiang did. She’s a high school senior. She’s on the swim team. She loves Beyonce. And she’s an advisor to the UN.More

Teens walk out against gun violence on March 14 in Madison, Wis.

As we hear out the ambitions of today's teen activists, politicians and artists, what do they think adults need to do to help them change the world?More

Tyler Ruzich

Generation Z is arguably shaping up to be one of the most activist generations in recent memory. In Kansas, six teenagers running for governor. Tyler Ruzich is one of them — running as a Republican "for a new generation."More

Students testing their DNA

What's it like to discover that your own genetic ancestry is both black and white? At West Chester University in Pennsylvania, Anita Foeman leads the DNA Discussion Project, where students use DNA testing to learn about their mixed bloodlines.More

jefferson

For years it was rumored that Thomas Jefferson had a sexual relationship with Sally Hemings. Then legal historian Annette Gordon-Reed proved it. She tells the complicated story of the Jefferson-Hemings relationship.More

a son of Thomas Jefferson and his slave, Sally Hemings, is buried in a local cemetery.

Steve Paulson was surprised to discover that a son of Thomas Jefferson and his slave, Sally Hemings, is buried in a local cemetery. With the help of Erin Hoag of the Wisconsin Veterans Museum, he searches for the grave of Eston Hemings Jefferson.More

Half brothers Robert Lafayette Gee (right) and Henderson Gee (left). Robert was Ruben Gee‘s first child to his white wife, Aurelia. Henderson was his second child to his slave, Venus. Henderson was born a slave.

Rev. Alex Gee is fascinated by geneology. So he took a DNA test and discovered one of his ancestors was a white slave owner. Then he went down to New Orleans to meet his white relatives — and that meeting sparked a slew of complicated emotions.More

Historical photo of the St. Louis Arch

Edward McPherson on The Legacy of the St. Louis Arch.More

Fighter jets

From the European Union to the United States, analysts have claimed that the Western world is seeing a resurgence of populism. Dutch philosopher Rob Riemen disagrees though, he says it's time to call the problem what it is: fascism.More

Pardeep Singh Kaleka and Arno Michaelis

Pardeep Singh Kaleka's father was murdered when a white supremacist attacked the Sikh temple that his father led. Remarkably, he and a former white supremacist met just two months after the massacre. Now, they work together.More