Latest Ideas headlines

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.

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.

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?

On the Internet, ‘doggos’ come barking forth

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

Ideas | Cathy Young

Face it: Pets aren’t people

I love animals, but there’s a moral difference between them and human beings.

Uncommon Knowledge

The impacts of watching more TV, and more

Watching TV appears to encourage authoritarian views.

This child shows a classic day-4 rash with measles. Credit: CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION


Zombie ideas are dangerous

This bogus claim has been thoroughly discredited but keeps rearing its head.

Ideas | A.J.B. Lane

Spoiler alert

The president welcomes guests to the Oval Office.

FILE - In this Feb. 12, 2011 file photo, Ann Coulter waves to the audience after speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington. University of California, Berkeley students who invited Coulter to speak on campus filed a lawsuit Monday April 24, 2017, against the university, saying it is discriminating against conservative speakers and violating students’ rights to free speech. Campus Republicans invited Coulter to speak at Berkeley on April 27, but Berkeley officials informed the group that the event was being called off for security concerns. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

Ideas | Mark Peters

Coulter, Milo, and the censorious history of ‘no-platforming’

One person’s value judgement is another’s thought police.

‘Woof’? No, try ‘bork’! The Internet has a new lingo about dogs

Ever have friends who use insufferably cute terms — think “doggie-poo” — while talking about their Labradoodles?

This artist's rendering provided by The Satanic Temple on Saturday, May 6, 2017 shows a monument the organization is planning to erect at a veterans' memorial park in Belle Plaine, Minn. The city, about 45 miles southwest of Minneapolis, is allowing the monument, which features inverted pentagrams, a soldier's helmet and a plaque honoring veterans who died in battle, after the Freedom from Religion Foundation threatened to sue over another statue that features a soldier praying over a grave marked with a cross. (Chris P. Andres/The Satanic Temple via AP)


Innovation of the week: A monument to veterans — and Satan

The Satanic Temple sensed an opening.

FILE - This May 2, 2013 file photo shows the Stillwater Mining Co. complex, the only platinum and palladium mine in the United States, near Nye, Mont. South Africa's Sibanye Gold Limited completed its $2.2 billion purchase of Littleton, Colorado-based Stillwater on Thursday, May 4, 2017, positioning it as the world's fourth-largest producer of precious metals. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown, File)


Big Data: 492 natural sites

Bad news for wildlife in protected areas.

Deliveroo's workers and other


Euphemism: in·de·pend·ent sup·pli·er (n.)

The so-called gig economy is rife with noncommittal mumbo-jumbo.

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 19: Chris Kreider #20 of the New York Rangers hits the helmet of Karl Alzner #27 of the Washington Capitals during the second period at Madison Square Garden on February 19, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Uncommon Knowledge

Does safety gear make the game even riskier?

Also: split screen debates, the strategy of repetition, and extreme candidates in this week’s Uncommon Knowledge.

09/27/2008 CONCORD, MA The turf on the football field at Concord-Carlisle High School in Concord is shown during a game between Concord and Newton South High School. (ARAM BOGHOSIAN FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE) Library Tag 01192009

Ideas | David Ropeik

How citizen science made fake grass look scary

The human brain is really good at jumping to conclusions about patterns and threats and then stubbornly sticking to those conclusions.


What scientific studies have told us since last Mother’s Day

Time to appreciate everything mothers do for us.

Ideas | Janelle Nanos

The onslaught of spam calls will keep getting worse

An army of robocalls have descended upon us, content to dial until someone answers.

MIAMI, FL - MARCH 08: Alessandra Mondolfi joins with others during 'A Day Without A Woman' demonstration on March 8, 2017 in Miami, United States. The demonstrators were calling for woman to have equity, justice and human rights for women and all gender-oppressed people. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Ideas | Mark Peters

Womyn, wimmin, and other folx

No, that’s not a typo.

Poor little turtle lying on his back symbolizing bad luck or sickness


A Boston story in 50 words

A menagerie in the vet’s waiting room.

Businessman thinking over isolated white background

Uncommon Knowledge

Why women entrepreneurs don’t get funded

Also hormones, headshots, and tennis matches in this week’s Uncommon Knowledge.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly arrives to for a news conference at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Washington, Wednesday, April 26, 2017, to announce the opening of new Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE). (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Ideas | Timothy Snyder

The VOICE office enables citizens to denounce their neighbors

If we could denounce our neighbor with impunity, would we recognize the danger to ourselves?

Salmon egg hatching (Salmo salar) - the Alevin (larva) has grown around the remains of the yolk sac - visible are the arteries spinning around the yolk and little oildrops, also the gut, the spine, the main caudal blood vessel, the bladder and the arcs of the gills. In about 24hrs it will be a fry without yolk sac. CREDIT: Uwe Kils/Globe staff illustration


On second thought: Fish stories

Something’s fishy with these Swedish researchers.



Innovation of the week: Muddy jeans

Apparently these are worth $425.


Big Data: Synthetic voices in one minute

That’s how long it takes Lyrebird to copy a human voice.

Car Wreck with Smashed Hood and Ambulance


A Boston story in 50 words

Moments after a car accident.

The dish in which wheat spaghetti with red sauce.Main dish vegetarian.Vegetarian Dishes single icon in cartoon style vector symbol stock web illustration.

Uncommon Knowledge

Taking the lead, from CEOs to the NBA

Tipping, the glass ceiling, and more in this week’s Uncommon Knowledge.

Quincy, MA--2/23/2017 - The Wollaston MBTA station, along with the other three in Quincy, is set for a revamp. Photo by Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff Topic: sombta Reporter: Jill Terreri Ramos


Same news, three ways: Sticklers for rules

Trying to uphold very specific regulations.

A apple, pear and lemon putted together like Frankenstein


Euphemism: new breed·ing tech·nique (n. pl.)

To some ears, it sounds like the modern-day equivalent of Dr. Frankenstein’s creepy creations.

head of spotted pig, sketch vector graphics black and white pattern on a background of pink circle


Innovation of the week: SwineTech

This could save farmers a lot of bacon.

Ideas | A.J.B. Lane

The robotic employment apocalypse is coming. Will your job be spared?

You have 27.9 seconds to clear out your desk.

Ideas | Kelly Kasulis

Is there life without math?

Not all cultures have numbers. But living a life without cardinals or ordinals might soon be impossible.

Lewiston High School students walk the runway for the school's pre-prom fashion show at the Franco American Heritage Center in Lewiston, Maine, Thursday, March 16, 2017. Fifteen years ago, the school district had an enrollment of 4,500 students and falling, a sign of a city on its knees, says Lewiston School Superintendent Bill Webster. Today, there are 5,400 students, more than one-quarter of them immigrants, and the number is going up. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Ideas | Mark Peters

Mark Peters: The weird pageantry of the ‘promposal’

Cute, or deranged?

Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump speaks during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015, in Simi Valley, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)


Trump is instinctive, but not like Reagan was

It’s OK for presidents to tout big ideas and make fast decisions, but Trump is testing the limits.

orthognathic dental occlusion on white background

Ideas | Kelly Kasulis

When Neanderthals French-kissed humans

Teeth are being used to rewrite some of what we know about our ancestors.

Painted ice cream stick made chair with clipping path.


A Boston story in 50 words

Where did that popsicle go?

Tesla Motors Inc CEO Elon Musk talks about Tesla's new battery swapping program in Hawthorne, California in this June 20, 2013, file photo. NASA had hoped to turn over maintenance of a mothballed shuttle launch at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida pad by October 1, saving itself millions of dollars. Instead, a battle for control of the pad between technology entrepreneurs Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos has spurred a government probe and Congressional protests, even before NASA chooses a partner. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/Files (UNITED STATES - Tags: TRANSPORT BUSINESS)

Ideas | Mark Peters

‘Supervillain’ is an irresistibly evil label

Supervillain-spotting is propelled by the exaggeration-prone, hyberbolic, clickbaity world of the Internet.

Chicago Bulls guard Rajon Rondo (9) drives towards the basket past Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) during the second quarter of a first-round NBA playoff basketball game in Boston, Tuesday, April 18, 2017. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Uncommon Knowledge

Detecting bias in basketball

Subliminal messaging, inequality, and dunce caps in this week’s Uncommon Knowledge.

Supporters of President Donald Trump Tristan Pitera, left, and Jesse Michaelson of Sound Beach, N.Y., take part in a March 4 Trump rally on Fifth Avenue near Trump tower, Saturday, March 4, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Ideas | David Scharfenberg

The genius of Trumpism

You start with a big personality and a big moment, and you go from there.