A drawing of locusts in the fifteenth century.

The Long-Lost Locust

The 1874 locust swarm was estimated to be twice the square mileage of the state of Colorado. Why don't locusts swarm anymore?
Exxon Mobil Corp.'s Olefins Plant in Baytown, Texas.

Endless Combustion

Three new books examine how the rise of coal, oil, and gas have permanently remade our world.
Students at a dissection at the University of North Carolina, ca. 1900.

Blackface Is Just a Symptom of American Medicine’s Racist Past

The study of medicine is rife with racist assumptions and experiments that still shape health outcomes today.
A visualization of the difference between average and peak decibel levels in Marvin Gaye's

They Really Don’t Make Music Like They Used To

If the Eagles or Marvin Gaye fan in your life is complaining about this year’s Grammy songs, this might be why.

Science’s Freedom Fighters

Why do Americans get so worked up by the basic assertion that all science is political?
Detail from a painting of David Hosack’s Elgin Garden, ca. 1815.

Flower Power: Hamilton's Doctor and the Healing Power of Nature

In the early 1800s, David Hosack created one of the nation's first botanical gardens to further his pioneering medical research.
Four illustrations showing the progression of yellow fever. Etienne Pariset and André Mazet, 1820.

Politics of Yellow Fever in Alexander Hamilton's America

Yellow fever ravaged Philadelphia in 1793, touching nearly everyone in the city.
Frequencies (2007).

A History of Noise

Whether we consider the sounds of nature to be pleasant or menacing depends largely on our ideologies.
A masseur at an American Red Cross Military Hospital, Neuilly, France, 1918.

Quacks, Alternative Medicine, and the U.S. Army in the First World War

During WWI, the Surgeon General received numerous pitches for miraculous cures for sick and wounded American soldiers.
Computer programmer Margaret Hamilton sits in mock up of Apollo command module on display at MIT, where she headed group that programmed Intrepid’s moon landing.

Computers Were Supposed to Be Good

Joy Lisi Rankin’s book on the history of personal computing looks at the technology’s forgotten democratic promise.
Multiplayer SimCity.

Model Metropolis

Behind one of the most iconic computer games of all time is a theory of how cities die—one that has proven dangerously influential.
A middle aged couple in a convertible (2017).

How the Midlife Crisis Came to Be 

The midlife crisis went from an obscure psychological theory to a ubiquitous phenomenon.