Politics and History

lightning

Ancient humans lived as hunter-gatherers, with animistic religions. So why did people start to believe in Big Gods? University of British Columbia psychologist Ara Norenzayan has a theory. More

A wall with the asexual flag colors

One of the first assumptions we make about a relationship is that it begins with sexual attraction. But what about desire without sex? Angela Chen explores the contradictions — and the possibilities — of asexuality in her new book.More

Clock of the Long Now

Alexander Rose tells Anne Strainchamps about the Clock of the Long Now — an all mechanical clock being constructed in the high desert of Western Texas designed to run for ten thousand years.More

sunny protest

Lynne Segal, the British feminist icon, has a theory about happiness: it's both personal and political. She advocates radical happiness — finding joy in collective action.More

people

Social scientists are finding that generating happiness in your life may have less to do with an arbitrary number — like your bank account or how many Instagram followers you have — and more to do with how well you connect with the people around you.More

kisses

Kathryn Bond Stockton is an English professor and queer theorist and a self-professed lover of kissing. She wrote a whole book just to make out what kissing means in our lives.More

Egypt

Archeologist Eric Cline says a "perfect storm" of calamities led to the collapse of the Late Bronze Age. He points out that we face many of the same challenges today.More

Girls in pink, boys in blue

Historian Jo Paoletti speaks with Shannon about gender's ever-changing relationship with fashion.More

broken columns

Renowned classicist Mary Beard says we have lots to learn from Ancient Rome, including insights into how empires rise and fall.More

Avery Trufelman

Avery Trufelman hosts "Articles of Interest," a six-part podcast from "99 Percent Invisible" about some iconic items of clothing — from blue jeans to Hawaiian shirts to pockets. Anne wanted to know how that work connects to what she wears every day.More

The Illustrated London News's illustration of the Christmas Truce

In 1914, over the week leading up to Christmas day, the opposing troops sang carols to each other, played ball and exchanged gifts, in spite of their generals’ wishes. Historian Stanley Weintraub says that the Christmas Truce was a one-time-only event.More

The hangman of Stuttgart shows Kepler's mother instruments of torture.

In 17th century Germany, the mother of famed astronomer Johannes Kepler, Katharina Kepler, was accused of being a witch. Centuries later, author Rivka Galchen has taken her story and spun it into fiction in her book "Everyone Knows Your Mother is a Witch."More

a view of the Manhattan skyline from the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Queens.

One of the greatest walkers of our time, William Helmreich — known for exploring every street in New York City — was an early casualty of COVID-19. But composer David Rothenberg got to walk with him one last time, around wetlands in Queens.More

Afghan carpet for sale

Anna Badkhen spent a year in the remote Afghan village of Oqa. She got to know the master weavers, who make some of the world's most beautiful carpets.More

A performer on "Afghan Star."

In the midst of chaos in her home country, Humaira Ghilzai recently sat down with Charles Monroe-Kane to talk about what might be lost culturally as the Taliban take power.More

Apache attack helicopter in approach, Sep 2020

In her book, "Against White Feminism," Pakistani Rafia Zakaria argues that white American feminists prolonged the bloodshed during the 20 year war in Afghanistan. She asks if these feminists ever asked Afghan women of the region what they wanted.More

"Poison Squad" Volunteers taking in a dinner with a side of Borax.

Science writer Deborah Blum on the government scientists who made the case for food regulation by "eating dangerously."More

Tyrone  Muhammad

Tyrone Muhammad, also known as "Muhammad the Mortician," is the funeral director at Newark’s Peace and Glory Home for Funerals. He spent decades trying to stop the epidemic of gun violence in the black community he serves, but nothing prepared him for a pandemic.More

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