Latest Ideas headlines

Round flying bookshelf against blue sky


Big Data: A millennium of Venice

These records span more than 1,000 years.

May 26, 2016 - Logan International Airport Terminal A Travelers wait in the security check-point line at Logan International Airport terminal A Security lines have become hours-long waits at airports around the country due to TSA cutbacks, and although they have not been as bad at Logan, local airport officials are closely monitoring the situation as the busy summer travel season begins. business,27logan(2),johnston (Katherine Taylor for The Boston Globe)


A Boston story in 50 words

A moment of levity during TSA screening.

A member of the US Army's explosive ordinance disposal (EOD) unit scans the area around a burning M-ATV armored vehicle after it struck an improvised explosive device (IED) near Combat Outpost Nolen in the Arghandab Valley north of Kandahar July 23, 2010. REUTERS/Bob Strong (AFGHANISTAN - Tags: CONFLICT MILITARY) Library Tag 07242010 National/Foreign

Uncommon Knowledge

The pace of insurgent innovation

From crowdfunding to counterinsurgency and more in this week’s Uncommon Knowledge.


Innovation of the Week: Robo-counselor for couples

“Robots don’t judge,” said one test subject.


On Second Thought: self-copying

Alberto Carpinteri is notorious for his dubious theories.

Ideas | Sage Stossel

Taking stock of fatherhood in unusual times

Our annual celebration of fathers is upon us.

Ideas | Mark Peters

Neurodiversity: When you’re not flawed, just mentally different

People with mental disabilities want to be seen as more than just their diagnoses.

Gal Gadot in the 2017 film WONDER WOMAN, directed by Patty Jenkins.

Ideas | Jack Cheng

Why is Wonder Woman reading Sumerian?

As someone who took a year of Sumerian language courses, I took notice.

Close-up of player's hand holding baseball on white background


A Boston story in 50 words

Trying to make a perfect catch.

Students and parents toured Purchase College in Purchase, N.Y., on April 21.

Ideas | James S. Murphy

‘Free college’ shows how big ideas always get sanded down

How “free college” turned into a modest scholarship plan.

Uncommon Knowledge

Jailbreaks and prophecies

A collection of unusual academic insights in this week’s Uncommon Knowledge.

 Grey sport pigeon isolated on white background


Innovation of the week: A pigeon as a drug mule

Scoring party drugs in Kuwait can be a challenge.


Big Data: 22 million people get the flu

A new discovery could pave the way for more efficient medicines.

A woman read a library book as she walked by the Public Garden.

Ideas | Benedict Cosgrove

Where have all the covers gone?

E-readers are depriving us of a certain romance and sense of kinship in the world.

A protester is arrested by Seattle Police during a May Day protest, Monday, May 1, 2017, in Seattle. Thousands of people from New England to the Midwest to the West Coast chanted, picketed and protested Monday as demonstrations raged against President Donald Trump's immigration policies along with the traditional May Day marching in favor of labor. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)


Euphemism: ‘community member’

A change in terminology takes “innocent until proven guilty” to a whole new level.

Ideas | A.J.B. Lane

The consequences are unpredictable

Welcome to the inequality derby, where anything can happen!

“Four Horsemen of Apocalypse,” by Viktor Vasnetsov. Painted in 1887.

Ideas | Walter Scheidel

Only cataclysm can cure inequality

Only violence and pestilence have leveled the economic playing field.

New numbers for the average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage will be released Thursday.


It’s not just the money; it’s the instability

A growing number of Americans suffer because of a gap between those who enjoy financial stability and those who don’t.

Demonstrators gather outside the White House a day after President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, May 10, 2017, in Washington. (APi)

IDEAS | Christopher Voparil

The truth doesn’t matter

Seeing the Comey testimony won’t change the minds of all believers

This image released by Warner Bros. Entertainment shows Robin Wright in a scene from


Wonder Woman reclaims ‘Amazon’ from the bookseller

It’s a river! It’s an e-commerce site! No, it’s a race of female warriors, and they’re ready for a comeback.

Boston , Ma.,04/ 09/ 09: Boston 's Mounted Police unit patrols Beacon Street neighborhood . They may face the budget cuts from the City of Boston. ( David L. Ryan, Globe staff photo ) section :FEATURE slug : reporter Library Tag 05052009 Metro


A Boston story in 50 words

The agony and ecstasy of finding a parking spot.

dollar frozen in ice cube, financial crisis concept

Ideas | Amy Crawford

Why everyone should know how much you earn

Americans don’t like to disclose their salaries, but transparency is the answer to pay disparities.

Uncommon Knowledge

Sometimes, cursing is useful

Also: self-help, boys’ clubs, and the new normal in this week’s Uncommon Knowledge.

Background of panoramic modern office with city view vector flat design illustration. Horizontal layout.

Ideas | Kelly Kasulis

Great bosses know how to surprise us

It doesn’t always matter how much money we get, so long as we’re frequently rewarded.

Ideas | Beth Wolfensberger Singer

Big wishes for the iPhone’s second decade

Ten years ago this month, Apple released the first iPhone.

Brainiac | David Deschamps and Bennett Singer

Who’s gay? Depends on who’s asking

Despite the LGBT community’s improved visibility, it’s still not clear how many Americans are gay.

Headstone and Flowers with Copy Space Isolated on White Background.


Innovation of the week: Last rites in space

It’s a “shooting star” outer space memorial.

hipster dog American Staffordshire Terrier breed in a pince-nez and bow tie


On Second Thought: Academic standards go to the dogs

This isn’t the first time a dog has achieved such prestige.

IDEAS | Jim Kozubek

Fixing genes won’t fix us

We’re betting that we can engineer our way out of problems through biochemical transformations. But what if we can’t?

FILE - In this July 5, 2015, file photo, a man uses the dating app Tinder in New Delhi. Streaming music service Spotify announced on Sept. 20, 2016, that it is teaming with Tinder to allow users of the dating app share musical preferences on their Tinder profiles. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal, File)

ideas | mark peters

How Tinder and OKCupid spawned a new genre of slang

“Ghosting,” “breadcrumbing,” “cushioning” — America is swiping right on dating lingo.

Blurred figures of doctors and nurse down the corridor in surgery section of a modern hospital.


Stories in 50 words from Boston Medical Center

The nursing staff of Boston Medical Center recently held a 50 Words writing competition. Here are two of the winning entries.

Ax isolated on white background

Ideas | Tom Emswiler

Ax the sales tax (also the income tax)

This dismal math presents an opportunity to revamp the way we generate revenue for the Commonwealth.

Roulette Game; Shutterstock ID 103850318; PO: Business 07-01-2016

Ideas | Q&A

How Milton Bradley’s morality play shaped the modern board game

Facing bankruptcy, Bradley turned to a backup business venture and developed a hit board game. The rest is history.

Saluting soldier in camouflage on white background

Uncommon Knowledge

Military service, jury service, and more

Experiments on perception, race, and more in this week’s Uncommon Knowledge.

Ideas | Sage Stossel

Honoring Memorial Day

Remembering the reason for this holiday weekend.


Innovation of the week: RoboCop in Dubai

This RoboCop patrolled an upscale mall in its first outing.

HBO series


Euphemism: ‘Spinoff’ becomes ‘successor show’

When a TV or movie franchise succeeds, it may never end.

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2009, file photo, guide Ang Rita Sherpa who has climbed Mt. Everest ten times, look on during a press conference in Katmandu, Nepal. A Nepalese mountaineering official says the former Sherpa guide who was the first person to scale Mount Everest 10 times has been hospitalized after suffering a brain hemorrhage. Ang Tshering of the Nepal Mountaineering Association said Monday, April 17, 2017, that Ang Rita was rushed to a hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital, last week after he fell unconscious. He remains in serious condition, though his is situation is improving. (AP Photo/Binod Joshi, File)


Big Data: 10 climbs to the top

This one is a record.

Ideas | David Scharfenberg

Extinction is a bummer. Let’s bring back the dead.

Some scientists want to revive the passenger pigeon and the woolly mammoth.

FILE -- FBI Director Robert Mueller III testifies during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 9, 2012. The Justice Department has appointed Mueller to serve as a special counsel to oversee its investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced on May 17, 2017, a move that dramatically raises the stakes for President Donald Trump. (Luke Sharrett/The New York Times)

Ideas | Mark Peters

Who’s ‘special’ now? Trump investigator Robert Mueller is only the latest

President Trump now faces a special counsel — but how special is “special”?

On the Internet, ‘doggos’ come barking forth

A new lingo for dog lovers emerges from Internet meme culture. Suddenly, it’s everywhere.

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA - MAY 09: Guests react to a statement by U.S. Rep. Rod Blum (R-IA) during a town hall meeting on May 9, 2017 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The meeting is the second of four town hall meetings Blum has scheduled in his district this week. About 1,000 people attended the event. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***

Ideas | John Cluverius

Don’t bother calling Congress

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably been asked to contact a legislator about one issue or another.

fishing lure with a sharp three hook


A Boston story in 50 words

A fast reel, reel, and a strike . . .

FILE - In this June 16, 2013 file photo, Internet users browse their Facebook website by the free wifi internet service in an underground station in Hong Kong. This week's news that a Russian crime ring has amassed so+me 1.2 billion username and password combinations makes now a good time to review ways to protect yourself online. The hacking misdeeds were described in a New York Times story based on the findings of Hold Security, a Milwaukee firm that has a history of uncovering online security breaches. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)


Same news, three ways: Yes, I said it

Online revelations can come back to haunt you.


Innovation of the Week: RompHim

Untucked polo shirts and Axe body spray are getting old.

Bernita Jackson, 51, has her blood pressure measured at an event to inform people about the Affordable Care Act and donate turkeys to 5,000 needy families, in Los Angeles, California, November 25, 2013. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: HEALTH SOCIETY POVERTY POLITICS)


Big Data: 1 millimeter of mercury

Could this reduce the instances of heart attacks?