Latest Ideas headlines

Ideas | Beth Wolfensberger Singer

Stop in the name of love

An end-of-the-school-year ode to a crossing guard.

Young saint woman with halo above head

Uncommon Knowledge

The impacts of religion, and more

From marijuana to religion: this week’s collection of insights from the social sciences.


A Boston story in 50 words

A search for sunlight.

This artist rendering provided by World View Enterprises shows the World View Voyager balloon carrying a pressurized space capsule that will be transported to the edge of space. The Arizona company says it has successfully completed the first scale test flight of a high-altitude balloon and capsule being developed to take tourists to the edge of space. World View Enterprises of Tucson said Tuesday June 24, 2014 that it launched the flight last week from Roswell, NM. CEO Jane Poynter says the system broke the world record for highest parafoil flight, lifting a payload one-tenth of what is planned for passenger flight to 120,000 feet. (AP Photo/World View Enterprises)


Innovation of the Week: Fried chicken marketing in space

“Can you actually launch KFC’s world-famous Zinger chicken sandwich into space?”

This undated photo made available by Ascend on Wednesday, June 7, 2017 shows Valerie Huber. The prominent leader of the abstinence-only sex education movement has been appointed to a senior position at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, joining several other social conservative activists in the leadership ranks at HHS. (Paula Lyman/Ascend via AP)


Euphemism: sexual risk avoidance

The term may act as a cloaking device for increased funding to abstinence-only education.

Vintage wooden spool of thread and needle on white background


Big Data: 1 millimeter

Dressmakers may have superior 3-D vision.

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 | Thanassis Cambanis

Let’s make a deal

The rough outlines of the Trump doctrine are starting to emerge.

Westminster, MA., 07/22/09, Five years ago, Wachusett Brewing Company launched its blueberry beer with a heavy dose of skepticism. But the fruity concoction has exploded in popularity, doubling in sales in recent years and BECOMING the Westminster brewery's most coveted beer. Section: Business, Reporter: Jenn Abelson Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff note:---The steam is actually nitrogen vapor. There was a machine injecting liquid nitrogen into the bottles. The liquid nitrogen immediately turns into a gas (what you could see), expands rapidly and pushes all the air out of the bottles. The oxygen in air is bad for the beer, the nitrogen is fine for it. -- 091315CraftBeer

Ideas | David Scharfenberg

Manual labor goes upscale, one craft cocktail at a time

Ancient occupations are being reimagined in artisanal form.

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.

Brookline, MA (Feb 21, 03) - Commuters standing in the stairwell, and the doors have trouble closing, on an overcrowded Riverside train, at the Longwood stop, rush hour. (PHOTO BY SARAH BREZINSKY) Library Tag 02232003 Metro Library Tag 09262004 Ideas

Opinion | Alaina Leary

Please offer me a seat

I desperately need that subway seat you’re sitting in, even though I don’t look like I do.

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.