Computer programming pioneer and Navy officer Grace M. Hopper stands by a computer station in Washington, D.C., 1978.

The Internet Women Made

Claire L. Evans’s new book is a bittersweet reminder that the internet used to be freer and more fun.

Fear of Frying

A brief history of Trans Fats.
Fentanyl’s contribution (red) to the overdose death rate (black) in selected states, 2015-2017.

‘The Numbers Are So Staggering.’ Overdose Deaths Set a Record Last Year

The opioid epidemic has contributed to a decrease in American life expectancy – a pattern not seen since World War II.
A tobacco advertisement (c. 1879). For many Victorian city dwellers, cigar smoke was not an acrid affront to the senses but rather potent protection from miasma, which lurked in reeking gutters and squalid factories.

If You Smell Something, Say Something

City dwellers of the 19th century were dogged by a foul terror: miasma.
A Peruvian museum exhibit at an archaeological site from the Pre-Columbian Lambayeque culture, August 14, 2016.

Three New DNA Studies Are Shaking Up the History of Humans in the Americas

Three new genetics studies present a fascinating, complex picture of how the first people in America spread across two continents.
Members of a U.S Army engineering brigade place concertina wire around an encampment for troops near the U.S.-Mexico International bridge in Donna, Texas on November 4, 2018.

That Beautiful Barbed Wire

The concertina wire Trump loves at the border has a long, troubling legacy in the West.
Recording unit of French artillery

Making a New World: Armistice Soundwave

A team of sound artists reconstructs what the end of the First World War might have sounded like.
A Zenith Model 7G605

Explaining the 'Mystery' of Numbers Stations

The stations' broadcasts have been attributed to aliens and Cold War relics, but they actually are coded intelligence messages.
A World War II veteran before and after receiving an ocular prosthetic (1946).

The Eye at War: American Eye Prosthetics During the World Wars

How the U.S. military handled a shortage of prosthetic eyes for injured soldiers.
A German soldier with two prosthetic arms rides a bike to work during World War I (circa 1915-1918).

War and Prosthetics: How Veterans Fought for the Perfect Artificial Limb

The needs and entrepreneurship of wounded soldiers have driven many of the most significant advances in prosthetic technology.
Radium Girls work in a U.S. Radium Corporation factory, ca. 1922.

It's Against The Law for Employers To Make You Sick. Thank The 'Radium Girls' For That

100 years ago, factory workers fought to hold companies accountable for their radium poisoning.
Cover of Joy Division's 1979 album

Pop Culture Pulsar: Origin Story of Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures Album Cover

The cover's design, a black-and-white data display, traces its origins to the stars.