Pollution above a city

The Importance of Shining a Light on Hidden Toxic Histories

Societies celebrate heroes and commemorate tragedies. But why is there so little public acknowledgment of environmental disasters?
Scientists releasing weather balloons
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Healing the Ozone: First Steps Toward Success

A worldwide effort to heal damage to the ozone layer is showing early progress.
Painting of the english surgeon Edward Jenner inoculating a child.

How Far Back Were Africans Inoculating Against Smallpox? Really Far Back.

When I looked at the archives, I found a history hidden in plain sight.
Prehistoric mounds on the campus of Louisiana State University.

Googling for Oldest Structure in the Americas Leads to Heaps of Debate

The straightforward way in which Google answers this query is a case study in how new science becomes accepted as fact in the modern era of rapid communication.
Women's Care Center.

(Still Being) Sent Away: Post-Roe Anti-Abortion Maternity Homes

In the years before Roe v. Wade, maternity homes in the United States housed residents who, upon giving birth, often relinquished their children for adoption.
Trees burning in a forest fire.

We Are Witnessing the First Stages of Civilization’s Collapse

Will our own elites perform any better than the rulers of Chaco Canyon, the Mayan heartland, and Viking Greenland?
Engraving of people fleeing the Peshtigo fire.

In Maui, Echoes of the Deadliest U.S. Wildfire: The 1871 Peshtigo Blaze

The Peshtigo fire ran through 17 towns and killed more than 1,000. It was worsened by a dry season and extreme winds — not dissimilar to what happened in Maui.
Maps and photos of the Smithsonian and its anthropologicl collections.

Revealing the Smithsonian’s ‘Racial Brain Collection’

The Smithsonian’s human brains collection was led by Ales Hrdlicka, a museum curator in the 1900s who believed that White people were superior.
A wax replica of a dissected human head on display at the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia.

A Museum of ‘Electrifying Frankness’ Weighs Dialing It Down

The Mütter Museum, a 19th-century collection of medical curiosities and human remains, wants to adopt a more “respectful” approach. Some fans won’t have it.
Major General Groves and J. R. Oppenheimer view the base of the steel tower used for the first atomic bomb test near Alamogordo, New Mexico, on Sept. 11, 1945.

A New, Chilling Secret About the Manhattan Project Has Just Been Made Public

Turns out Oppenheimer’s boss lied, repeatedly, about radiation poisoning.
Survivors walk among the smoldering ruins of Hiroshima, Japan, on August 6, 1945.

Hiroshima's Anniversary Marks an Injustice Done to Blast Survivors

On this date 78 years ago, the first atomic bomb fell on Hiroshima. Survivors involuntarily provided key medical data for years, without receiving any help.
A group of people standing outdoors wearing masks over their mouths. This was probably during the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918. One of the women has a sign in front of her reading 'Wear a mask or go to jail."

Wear a Mask or Go to Jail

What the history of the 1918 Flu Pandemic can help us understand about today's public health measures.
Heinrich Harder's "Megatherium americanum," or elephant-sized ground sloth, 1908.

The Nature Trade

Dan Flores reminds us that modern North Americans still walk in the footsteps of our fellow animals.
President Warren G. Harding against a background of news clippings related to his death.

Why President Warren G. Harding's Sudden Death Sparked Rumors of Murder and Suicide

The commander in chief's unexpected death in office 100 years ago fueled decades of conspiracy theories but was most likely the result of a heart attack.
A sign once carried by a victim of radiation from the 1945 atomic bomb test in New Mexico on display at the New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe in 2019.

What ‘Oppenheimer’ Doesn’t Tell You About the Trinity Test

As a new generation of Americans learns about the world’s first nuclear test, the people who lived through it are being left out of the story again.
Front entrance of the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The Mütter and More

Why we need to be critical of medical museums as spaces for disability histories.

How Spaghetti Squash Squiggled Its Way Onto American Tables

It took a shift in food culture for consumers to embrace the "noodle plant."
Photo of Joseph Weizenbaum against a collage of antiwar protests and code.

‘A Certain Danger Lurks There’: How the Inventor of the First Chatbot Turned Against AI

Computer scientist Joseph Weizenbaum was there at the dawn of artificial intelligence– but he was also adamant that we must never confuse computers with humans.
Figurine of man with his head in a kiln (from the Metropolitan Museum of Art).

The Corporatization of Creativity

Our ways of thinking about thinking are a product of postwar business culture.
J. Robert Oppenheimer

"Cry Baby Scientist": What Oppenheimer the Film Gets Wrong about Oppenheimer the Man

The so-called "father of the bomb" helped bring us prematurely into the age of existential risk.
Grafitti reading "no mines."

The Navajo Suffered From Nuclear Testing. 'Oppenheimer' Doesn't Tell Our Story

We must recognize the continued suffering and sacrifice of the Navajo that built the atomic era.
Chaco Canyon ruins.

A Scientist Said Her Research Could Help With Repatriation. Instead, It Destroyed Native Remains.

Federal agencies awarded millions of dollars to scientific studies on Native American human remains, undermining the goals of tribes fighting for repatriation.
Senator Brien McMahon and J. Robert Oppenheimer. April 26, 1954.

The True Story Behind Oppenheimer’s Atomic Test—And How It Just Might Have Ended The World

It turns out there was an "unlikely" chance the first atomic bomb could have ignited the atmosphere — which didn’t stop the Manhattan Project.

‘Barbie’ and ‘Oppenheimer’ Tell the Same Terrifying Story

The “Barbenheimer” double feature captures the dawn of our imperiled era.
J. Robert Oppenheimer at microphone

The Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer

Christopher Nolan’s film delves deeply into what this country did to its most famous scientist.
J. Robert Oppenheimer.

Hollywood Movie Aside, Just How Good a Physicist was Oppenheimer?

A-bomb architect “was no Einstein,” historian says, but he did Nobel-level work on black holes.
Ozempic injection and box
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For 150 Years, We’ve Sought a Scientific Solution To Cure Addiction

A miracle cure for addiction may not be around the corner.
Madeline Potts, a nurse with Chicago's Public Health Department, checks on a man at one of several cooling centers in the city July 28, 1995.

A Heat Wave Killed Hundreds in Chicago Nearly 30 Years Ago

As record temperatures bake portions of the United States this summer, a Chicago heat wave in 1995 offers a grim preview of the toll from climate change.
Stevia flowers
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Stevia’s Global Story

Native to Paraguay, Ka’a he’e followed a circuitous path through Indigenous medicine, Japanese food science, and American marketing to reach the US sweeteners market.
Cartoon spoofing weight loss and weight gain patent medicines.

How the Use of BMI Fetishizes White Embodiment and Racializes Fat Phobia

Size-based health and beauty ideals emanated from eugenic pseudoscientific postulates, and BMI continues to advance white supremacist embodiment norms.