Latest Ideas headlines

Ideas | Kelly Kasulis

The curious treatment of lesbians under Nazi rule

Nazi doctrine tried to confine women to domestic roles by barring them from most professions and incentivizing childbirth.

A giant larvacean (the blue, tadpole-like animal) beats its tail, pumping water and microplastic beads (red dots) through its inner filter.


Innovation of the Week: ‘The mucus house’

This could be a way to deal with all the plastic in the ocean.

Old army boots isolated on white background stock photo


A Boston story in 50 words

Tensions running hot in 1972.

Cartoon spaceman explores the moon (Vector Illustration)


Big Data: 28.5 gigaparsecs

Are we alone out here?


Euphemism: ‘Weather extremes’

This is a classic example of what Stephen Pinker calls the “euphemism treadmill.”

Nostalgia by youth - old family photo albums and photos heap

Uncommon Knowledge

Distractions, Robin Hood, and Goodwill

Unusual insights from the social sciences in this week’s Uncommon Knowledge.

Ideas | Sage Stossel

White House renovations can’t fix the deeper problems

The People’s House is only as good as the people we put in it.

hair curler on pink background


A Boston story in 50 words

A heartbreaking interruption.

FILE--Golfer Ted Rhodes, the first African American to play in a PGA-sanctioned event, died in 1969. But people are now wanting to know more about him since Tiger Woods thanked him after winning the Masters. (AP Photo/File)

Ideas | Craig Fehrman

Unequal on the fairway

Every weekend, America ends up arguing about golf.

FILE - In this Oct. 18, 2011, file photo, then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton checks her Blackberry from a desk inside a C-17 military plane upon her departure from Malta, in the Mediterranean Sea, bound for Tripoli, Libya.Clinton is telling voters not to trust Donald Trump, but a new government report about her usage of a private server as secretary of state is complicating that message. The sharp rebuke from the State Department’s Inspector General, which found Clinton did not seek legal approval for her homebrew email server, guarantees that the issue will remain alive and well for the likely Democratic presidential nominee. (AP Photo/Kevin Lamarque, Pool, File)

Ideas | Mark Peters

But what about her e-mails?

It’s instinctual deflection, like a 5-year-old busted for stealing a cookie who screams that his siblings get away with worse.

Ideas | Aneri Pattani and Maeve Donohue

Our shrinking vocabulary of death

Causes of death were often described in more colorful terms back in the 1960s and ’70s.


Big Data: 64 million tons

There are big costs to feeding America’s pets.

Sunglasses icon with long shadow. Flat design style. Sunglasses silhouette. Simple icon. Modern flat icon in stylish colors. Web site page and mobile app design element.


Innovation of the Week: Eclipse sunglasses

Using these faux gazing goggles could cause serious eye damage.

Nuclear bomb weapon vector illustration graphic design

Uncommon Knowledge

Nuclear-trigger happy

From bright horizons to the dark web and more in this week’s Uncommon Knowledge.

Surgical instruments.Medicine single icon in cartoon style vector symbol stock illustration .


On Second Thought: He said, she said

Women make up about 35 percent of all physicians in the United States, but only 19 percent of surgeons.

Ideas | S.I. Rosenbaum

How data can hide in plain sight

Experts are seizing on a very different self-defense strategy: one that strives not to be impermeable, but undetectable.

Ideas | A.J.B. Lane

Democrats: Featuring ‘Good ol’ Congressman Seth Moulton’

Good grief!

Ideas | Jesse Singal

How the Internet got the ‘Google memo’ wrong

Social media is where nuance goes to die.

Ideas | Justin Tyler Clark

How political correctness led to Islamophobia

What prompted the outcry against Sharia?


Innovation of the Week: Bluetooth-enabled salt shakers

For all your Bluetooth-connected salt-shaking needs.

hockey referee control the ice hockey match


Uncommon Knowledge: Compromised refs, blaming the president for local taxes, and more

From presidents to referees: Surprising insights from the social sciences.


Euphemism: com·mu·ni·ty cat (n.)

Could this be a new children’s superhero whose kryptonite is catnip?


How to fit 20,000 characters on a typewriter with only 72 keys

Chinese, with fewer keys.


Who’s writing this stuff?

For literature lovers, White House staff names spell things out.

Ideas | Kelly Kasulis

How breakfast rewires your brain

“If we change our behavior depending on our food, that would be quite striking information.”

Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) looks on while playing against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the third period of Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series in Toronto on Sunday, April 23, 2017. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)

Ideas | Dr. Amitha Kalaichandran

Whose team is the doctor on?

Experts say that the role of the team doctor needs to be reexamined, but not everyone agrees.

ARLINGTON, TX - JULY 05: Fans sit in the stands during a rain delay prior to the Texas Rangers taking on the Boston Red Sox at Globe Life Park in Arlington on July 5, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Uncommon Knowledge

Love and hate in Red Sox Nation

E.T., Ridgemont High, and dating opportunities in this week’s Uncommon Knowledge.

The second wave of combat helicopters of the 1st Air Cavalry Division fly over an RTO and his commander on an isolated landing zone during Operation Pershing, a search and destroy mission on the Bong Son Plain and An Lao Valley of South Vietnam, during the Vietnam War. The two American soldiers are waiting for the second wave to come in. (Photo by Patrick Christain/Getty Images)


A Boston story in 50 words

Some people would be grateful for an empty nest, it seems.

Ideas | Linda Rodriguez McRobbie

When babies felt no pain

Pain is fundamental to the human experience. Yet we are still struggling mightily to understand it.

Powdered heroin is pictured in this undated handout photo courtesy of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said his agency was stepping up efforts to stem sharp increases in deadly heroin overdoses, trafficking in the drug and abuse of prescription narcotics at the root of what he called an

Ideas | Mark Peters

Sex, dreck, and rock ‘n’ roll

The Drug Enforcement Administration list of “Drug Slang Code Words” is a huge narcotic thesaurus.


On Second Thought: A diagnosis mix-up

A journal heralded the study as “a tour de force.” But the excitement was short-lived.

An Indian man carries an umbrella as he rides his bicycle during heavy rains in Chennai on May 18, 2016. While northern and cent=ral India is reeling under high summer temperatures and drought conditions, southern and eastern parts of the country have been struck with heavy rainfall ahead of the onset of the monsoon season. / AFP PHOTO / ARUN SANKARARUN SANKAR/AFP/Getty Images


Big Data: 0.134 mm

The Indian monsoon season has slowly been getting wetter.

Pouring coffee on a cup isolated on white background


Innovation of the Week: Enhanced instant coffee

Bestherbs, based in Grand Prairie, Texas, offered something appealing: help in a cup of coffee.

Ideas | Sage Stossel

Is banning social clubs a good idea?

Checking in on the state of Harvard’s exclusive clubs.

YOUNGSTOWN, NY - JULY 25: President Donald Trump arrives with wife, Melania, during an event at the Covelli Centre on July 25, 2017 in Youngstown, Ohio. (Photo by Justin Merriman/Getty Images) YOUNGSTOWN, OH - JULY 25: U.S. President Donald Trump arrives for a rally at the Covelli Centre on July 25, 2017 in Youngstown, Ohio. The rally coincides with the Senates vote on GOP legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. (Photo by Justin Merriman/Getty Images)

Opinion | Evan McMullin

Foreign collusion: Yup, it’s still bad

Foreign meddling in our democracy inhibits our control over our government.

epa06113444 Senate Majority Leader Republican Mitch McConnell (C) walks from the Senate floor as Senate Republicans continue work on legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as 'Obamacare', on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, USA, 27 July 2017. A series of votes are expected as Senate Republicans work on a limited repeal of the ACA, or 'skinny repeal' plan. EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

Ideas | Mark Peters

The real scoop on ‘skinny’

We’re all trying to get skinnier in America — even with our legislation.

The Clark Art Institute - Exhibition:

Ideas | Kelly Kasulis

Art through the eyes of babes

Do children see paintings differently?

Funny mixed breed grey boomer dog isolated against grey background. Studio portrait.


A Boston story in 50 words

Dogs and humans can quench their thirst together.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk unveils his plans to colonize Mars during the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, September 27, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.

Ideas | Jacob Haqq-Misra

Could space pay for a universal basic income?

Universal basic income requires a new source of big money. Enter the era of space tourism.

Uncommon Knowledge

Is there a booze-fueled racial bias?

Plus: charity, sex, and phone upgrades in this week’s Uncommon Knowledge.

Child with vintage suitcase and city map on summer vacation. Travel and adventure concept


Euphemism: ‘Travel designer’

Travel agencies struggling in the online world have gone upscale to survive.


How the Vandals got the handles

Primitive brutes? Not so much.

Apartment Houses and Buildings Set in Flat Style.


Big Data: 7.2 million empty rooms

It’s a classic mismatch of supply and demand.

Ideas | A.J.B. Lane

Summertime fun on the Cape & Islands

Can you help this nice middle class family get to their vacation rental on time?

Blue Vintage TV on the isolated white background

Ideas | David Scharfenberg

Help us, Fox News. You’re our only hope

It’s President Trump’s base that matters, and there’s only one institution that can reach them.

Ideas | Mark Peters

When did ‘collusion’ become the new ‘conspiracy’?

The verb “collude” doesn’t show up till the 1500s, well after “collusion” entered English.