Latest Ideas headlines

Ideas | Beth Wolfensberger Singer

Creature comfort

Reading about animals’ mating habits can offer a surprising respite from a depressing news cycle.

notebook pen glasses checks are on the table


When a journal withdraws the wrong paper

For a brief period, this common clerical error muddied the scientific record.

4 puppies showing their paws above white banner


Reaching peak puppy cuteness

For this study, human participants viewed dozens of photos of puppies.

epa05660110 A handout image released by Virgin Galactic on 04 December 2016 shows Virgin Spaceship Unity (VSS Unity) glides for the first time after being released from Virgin Mothership Eve (VMS Eve) over the Mojave Desert, USA, 03 December 2016. The VSS Unity sucessfully landed after a free-flying test at Mojave Desert, some two years after a man died when the spaceship's predecessor crashed. EPA/VIRGIN GALACTIC / HANDOUT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES


Innovation of the Week: Space flight as a penthouse perk

When trying to sell a condo for $85 million, this investor had to get creative.

Stack of american dollars isolated on white.; Shutterstock ID 27941507; PO: oped


Uncommon Knowledge: Investors, spread the wealth around

Unusual insights from the social sciences.

cleaning shoes macro-2


A Boston story in 50 words

Entrepreneurs around every corner.

Ideas | Liya Rechtman

When the apocalypse is a feature, not a bug

President Trump’s moves in the Middle East hearten an unlikely segment of his political base: Christian evangelicals steeped in apocalyptic theology.

for Travel - 28forever - Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Mass. (Necee Regis Photo) Library Tag 08282011 Travel - New England

Ideas | David Sloane

Is the cemetery dead?

As customs change, cemeteries are trying to keep up.

Ideas | Sage Stossel

For the class of 2018, things are looking good

Seniors may be apprehensive about what comes next. But life after graduation offers cause for optimism.

Downtown Los Angeles smog and fog black and white.


Big Data: The impact of urban living

What these scientists found was alarming for a nation in an urban renaissance.


Innovation of the Week: Jaywalking deterrent

Officials are testing out a new approach at one of this city’s busiest intersections.

man in a business suit giving a shrug Library Tag 02262012 Ideas


Selling distrust

Critics say capitalism erodes institutions and relationships. Turns out, working in sales might do just that.

Ideas | Daniel Horowitz

In the worst human traumas, psychologists found the roots of happiness

Positive psychology gives us courses like Yale’s “Happiness 101,” but the origins of the field lie in war and misery — traumas that required the mind to develop resilience.

detail of the Procession Fresco at Knossos Palace in Crete, Greece

Ideas | David Scharfenberg

Why we’re told to ‘stand up straight!’

Considering the curious power of posture, from ancient Greece to Hogwarts.

How children’s literature became everybody’s literature

Ideas | Maria Devlin McNair

How children’s literature became everybody’s literature

Maybe the line between “fiction” and “children’s fiction” was artificial all along.

*** BESTPIX *** SACRAMENTO, CA - APRIL 27: Joseph James DeAngelo, the suspected

Ideas | S.I. Rosenbaum

Genetic data can track down criminals — and everyone else

Neither the Golden State Killer nor Buckskin Girl had a genetic profile in the archive used to identify them. That didn’t matter.

Ideas | A.J.B. Lane

Here’s what to expect heading into a college reunion

There’s so much to look forward to.

Stethoscope with financial on the desk.


On Second Thought: Control of a legacy

This rebuttal backtracked an effort to define one editor’s tenure.

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 22: The shadow of U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is cast on a photograph of heroin and fentanyl during a news conference the U.S. Capitol March 22, 2018 in Washington, DC.


Big Data: 19,413

This shift complicates public health efforts to prevent overdoses.


Innovation of the Week: The 0.5k race

It’s all thanks to the Society for Lazy and Carefree Runners.


A Boston story in 50 words

What’s worse than driving in Massachusetts? Doing it without a map.

FILE — President Donald Trump at a campaign stop for Rick Saccone, a Republican who was running for Congress, in Pittsburgh, March 10, 2018. Saccone ended up losing the special election to the Democrat, and now Republican leaders in Washington are trying to impress upon Trump how vital his words and actions can be in the midterm elections. (Tom Brenner/The New York Times)


Getting to know your opponent

In this week’s Uncommon Knowledge: Jury selection, Jerusalem, and losing the majority.

Boston vs. the rising tide

Ideas | Courtney Humphries

Boston vs. the rising tide

A seaside city once lived by the rhythms of its tides. As the oceans rise, it may do so again. What lessons can Boston learn from its past?

Ideas | Beth Wolfensberger Singer

Home goods for future flood zones

Despite rising sea levels and insurance premiums, buyers keep snatching up fancy waterfront homes.


‘Incel Rebellion’? How maladjustment becomes a movement

What researchers call the “failure to launch” can be a destabilizing influence in society.

Western Lowland Gorilla Family of Pregnant Mother and Baby


Big Data: Counting gorillas

New research indicates we might not have the whole story on Western lowland gorillas.


A Boston story in 50 words

Close to disaster on a hot summer night.

NBC105 7/29/1999 Saturdays (8-9 p.m. ET) FREAKS AND GEEKS -- NBC Series -- Pictured:(l-r) James Franco as Daniel, Jason Segel as Nick Baron, Linda Cardellini as Lindsay Weir, Seth Rogen as Ken Miller, John Daley as Sam Weir, Martin Starr as Bill Havenchuck, Samm Levine as Neal Schweiber -- NBC Photo: Chris Haston Library Tag 09251999 Living


Uncommon Knowledge: Freaks and geeks, and beyond

Surprising insights from the social sciences.

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 21: The Empire State building and the skyline of Manhattan is viewed from one of the top floors of the newly built Four Seasons private residences at 30 Park Place on January 21, 2015 in New York City.

Ideas | Craig Fehrman

How cities split the nation

Forget red states and blue states. The way to understand politics today is red farms and blue cities.


If a double-negative is a positive, what do you get when you retract a retraction?

Unlike many retraction stories, this one ends happily for the author.

FILE - This 2016 digitally-colorized electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the Zika virus, in red, about 40 nanometers in diameter. A study released on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 suggests although signs of Zika infection can be seen in men’s semen for nearly a year, the risk of sexual transmission appears to fade in just one month. (Cynthia Goldsmith/CDC via AP)


Big Data: 800 million viruses

This study is one of the first to examine viruses’ environmental distribution.

A tarantula burger is prepared at Bull City Burger and Brewery in celebration of Exotic Meat Month in Durham, North Carolina, U.S. April 16, 2018. Picture taken April 16, 2018. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart - RC172896F4F0


Innovation of the Week: The tarantula burger

In case anyone found pickles and tomatoes boring.

Winter city scene. Woman on bike in traffic


A Boston story in 50 words

Different modes of transportation cause friction.

Statue of justice on the white background


Uncommon Knowledge: Separate, therefore unequal

Surprising insights from the social sciences.

Ideas | David Scharfenberg

Paper checks forever?

The check has to be one of the strangest objects of the digital age — utterly obsolete, but somehow totally essential.

Ideas | Sage Stossel

Hollywood reboots for the Trump presidency

After the return of “Roseanne,” other famous reboots are in the works.


Words you couldn’t say in The Boston Globe — until now

From “pussyhats” to “hir” and “zir,” the Globe’s gender-affairs beat reporter tries to reconcile a fast-moving national conversation with stodgy newspaper style.

2017 PBS television program - American Experience: Oklahoma City. Pictured: The Branch Davidian compound burning in Waco, Texas (April 1993).

Ideas | Alan Stone

25 years ago in Waco

With a quarter century of hindsight, it’s still not clear how the deadly raid in Waco turned so tragically wrong.


Ideas | Justin T. Clark

Building Boston to shape morality

Amid political strife in antebellum Boston, reformers turned to “visual literacy” for solutions.

Ideas | A.J.B. Lane

A mythical place where the Red Line meets the Blue Line

Some unusual track configurations for the possible link between Bowdoin and Charles/MGH stations.

This image released by Fox shows the Apu from the animated series


Social conflict over ‘The Simpsons’

Is Apu an ugly ethnic stereotype? If so, has he always been?

Watertown, MA 090314 Detail of baguettes. For a story on sour dough we photographed on August 3rd at Sheryl Julian's home in Watertown. cover story on making your own sourdough starter for family breads. We'll shoot baguettes, rounds, rolls, loaves, also biscuits, and pancakes. Writer Jaclyn Fishman is styling at sheryl julian's house. Food styling/Sheryl Julian and Jaclyn Fishman. (Essdras M Suarez/ Globe Staff)/ G


‘Herman’ spreads through bread

Some starters have been kept alive for more than a century.

A team at MIT developed a wearable device that aims to pick up otherwise imperceptible neuromuscular signals in your jaw and face.


Innovation of the Week: Transcribing the words in your head

A team at MIT developed a wearable device that aims to pick up otherwise imperceptible neuromuscular signals in your jaw and face.

East Boston, MA -- 4/01/2018 - Girls run across the plaza at Madonna Queen of the Universe Shrine after attending Easter services there. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff) Topic: Reporter:


A Boston story in 50 words

One mother’s terrible loss.

Heavy traffic clogs the 101 Freeway as people leave work for the Labor Day holiday in Los Angeles on August 29, 2014. A Labor Day travel prediction by the American Auto Association (AAA) expects that 34.7 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Labor Day holiday weekend, mainly due to lower gas prices and a rebounding economy. AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)


Another terrible side effect of traffic

This week in Uncommon Knowledge: frustrated drivers, the minimum wage, and divine inspiration.

Ideas | Bernhard Warner

Why women live longer than men — and how men will benefit from it

In the animal kingdom, humans are unusual: Women live longer than men. Figuring out why could help men age better, too.