Latest Ideas headlines

Deserted hospital corridor, concept of extended waiting.

Ideas | Dr. Jay Baruch

I’m an ambassador from nightmares. My medical training didn’t prepare me

All grief is specific and private and tangled up in relationships.

Ideas | Sage Stossel

Natural disasters are spreading

It seems nature’s elements have turned against us.


Uncommon Knowledge: From rent to rivalry

Longstanding debates and new discoveries from the social sciences.

(FILES) This file photo taken on December 11, 2014 shows a Thames Water sewer supervisor working in the intersection of the Regent Street and Victoria sewer in London. Sewage workers have found a 130-tonne ball of congealed fat -- dubbed a


Big Data: 143 tons

It’s enormous, and attracting considerable attention in the British press.


Euphemism: ex·pe·ri·enc·er (n.)

Alien abductees have found a new defining term.

MNS robots


Innovation of the Week: A robot hivemind

These robots could latch onto each other and merge their nervous systems.

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 31: White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon waits for the arrival of U.S. President Donald Trump for a meeting on cyber security in the Roosevelt Room at the White House January 31, 2017 in Washington, DC. Citing the hack of computers at the Democratic National Committee by Russia, Trump said that the private and public sectors must do more to prevent and protect against cyber attacks. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Ideas | Mark Peters

D.C. gives swamps a bad name

In real life, swamps aren’t so bad.

MOVIES: Christopher Lloyd, left, as Dr. Emmett Brown and Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly in the 1985 film

Ideas | Mark Peters

In Merriam-Webster’s Time Traveler, word detectives get their due

Merriam-Webster provides a user-friendly way to peer into the past.

Ideas | Aloni Cohen, Sunoo Park, and Adam Sealfon

Can you think like a bar code?

There’s something special about these small black-and-white images.

Ideas | A.J.B. Lane

Interpreting dreams of Donald Trump

What do these dreams mean?

BEIRUT, LEBANON - OCTOBER 13: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad waves to the crowd in southern suberb of Beirut upon his arrival on October 13, 2010 in Lebanon. The controversial visit is seen as a boost for key ally Hezbollah. According to reports Mr Ahmadinejad may visit the border with Israel - the site of recent deadly clashes between Israeli and Lebanese forces. (Photo by Salah Malkawi/Getty Images)


On Second Thought: Political retractions

Retracting a paper on these grounds is unusual, to say the least.

CARIBBEAN SEA - SEPTEMBER 7: In this NOAA handout image, NOAA's GOES satellite shows Hurricane Katia (L) Hurricane Irma (C) and Hurricane Jose (R) on September 7, 2017 in the Atlantic Ocean. South Florida is bracing for the major storm surge set to make landfall this weekend. (Photo by NOAA GOES Project via Getty Images)


Big Data: 157 miles per hour

Scientists have resisted efforts to expand the Saffir-Simpson scale.

CAMBRIDGE MA - 11/08/2016: Voting Ward 8 at the Graham and Parks School in Cambridge. The 2016 presidential election, voter turnout at polling places (David L Ryan/Globe Staff Photo) SECTION: METRO TOPIC 09turnout


Uncommon Knowledge: Voter turnout, attendance laws, and fortifications

Unusual insights from the social sciences.


Innovation of the Week: Twinkie vodka

This version may be easier to swallow than most.


A Boston story in 50 words

Reunited neighbors.

Ideas | Annalee Newitz

Robots need civil rights, too

We may not even recognize new life when we see it.

FILE - In this Jan. 26, 2016, file photo, Gwyneth Paltrow poses for photographers before Chanel's Spring-Summer 2016 Haute Couture fashion collection in Paris. Paltrow hosted the inaugural

Ideas | Mark Peters

The epidemic of gloatrage

There’s a good/bad feeling to being giddily offended.

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 19: (AFP OUT) Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) attends a lunch with members of Congress hosted by US President Donald J. Trump (not pictured) in the State Dining Room of the White House on July 19, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Reynolds - Pool/Getty Images)


Same News, Three Ways: Money talks, critics walk

Strange how events can change people’s convictions.


Innovation of the Week: Musical brain mapping

“It made you want to cry.”


Euphemism: Special Person’s Day

The name is probably a bit too broad.


Uncommon Knowledge: From Jackson Pollock to the Supreme Court

Surprising insights from the social sciences.

Male hand choosing a shirt


A Boston story in 50 words

Competitive shopping takes a reverent turn.

Man spraying insect repellents on skin outdoor. Pest control. Vector illustration flat design. Isolated on white background. Mosquito protection.


Big Data: 725,000 mosquito-related deaths

Mosquitoes have developed resistance to many types of insecticides.

Ideas | Beth Wolfensberger Singer

A handy guide for when to text Mom

In case any college freshmen need guidance.

Ideas | Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow

The gadget that broke humanity

Long before smartphones, the Sony Walkman lured consumers into electronic cocoons.

Ideas | Victoria Tentler-Krylov

New life for old, cold wood

Oak reclaimed from Boston Harbor pilings has a hot new use.

Boston, MA 051013 At the Talbot Avenue stop in Dorchester, a commuter waited to board the Fairmont Commuter Rail Line, running from Hyde Park to South Station, Friday, May 10 2013. (Staff Photo/Wendy Maeda) section: Metro slug: 13fairmont reporter: Meghan Irons


A Boston story in 50 words

Traveling on the MBTA.

Ideas | Adam Bessie and Jason Novak

The undersecretary of trolling affairs, and other lesser-known Cabinet positions

Many of Washington’s lesser-known positions have been filled.

Ideas | Beth Daley

Genetic tests are everywhere, but how reliable are they?

These types of genetic tests are finding an eager audience.


Innovation of the Week: Trump-shaped ecstasy

Novelty apparently sells.

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 09: In this photo illustration, a young man wipes dates from a list of recent years on August 09, 2017 in London, England. The choice of having personal data removed from the internet or the


On Second Thought: A faux Jesus disappears from the record

The “right to be forgotten” was affirmed in 2014 by a European judicial ruling.


Uncommon Knowledge: Creationism and bull markets

Unusual insights from the social sciences.

Beer DeCoded used Bento Lab, a portable DNA analysis kit, to map beer genomes. Both companies were funded on Kickstarter.

Ideas | Linda Rodriguez McRobbie

Do-it-yourself DNA? Go right ahead

Using the world’s first portable DNA lab to sequence beer is a cool thing to do.

Robert Welch, founder and president of the John Birch Society, is shown on May 15, 1961. The location is not known. (AP Photo)

Ideas | Ted Widmer

America’s original troll army

In those more innocent times, certain beliefs were beyond the pale.

Junk unhealthy food and healthy vegetables diet comparison, best food for brain concept

Ideas | Kelly Kasulis

How to lose weight? Get your brain under control

Some of us might actually be wired to want higher-calorie foods.

Brewer-Burroughs Playground in Jamaica Plain.

Ideas | Ed Lyons

What I learned from visiting every park in Boston

It’s a walk in the park — all of them.

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.

Senior Adviser Stephen Miller speaks during a press briefing at the White House on Wednesday. MUST CREDIT: Washington Post photo by Jabin Botsford

Ideas | Mark Peters

Cosmopolitan: Ten tips for amazing, non-racist usage!

The word is a favored insult of white nationalists and supremacists.

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.