Latest Ideas headlines

Car of accident make front bumper cracked damaged at claim the insurance company. Working car repair inspection at damaged of accident. Image with clipping path and style blur focus.

Ideas

A Boston story in 50 words

A tense moment in Reading.

Ideas | Sage Stossel

About that ‘baby bust’

A response to Lyman Stone’s piece about America’s plunging birth rate.

BOSTON - OCTOBER 5: Dr. Jack Szostak attends a news conference after winning the Nobel Prize in Medicine October 5, 2009 in Boston, Massachusetts. Szostak, along with colleagues Elizabeth Blackburn and Carol Greider, won the prize for their work discovering telomerase, an enzyme which builds telomeres, and how it replaces DNA that has been worn off the tips of chromosomes. (Photo by Jodi Hilton/Getty Images)

Brainiac

On Second Thought: A welcome correction

Nobel Prize winners might be smarter than most people — but they’re not infallible.

top view of french fries on white background

Brainiac

Uncommon Knowledge: Do you want fries with that?

In this week’s edition: geometric patterns, partisan parents, and the introduction of the all-powerful potato.

Searches for “dog person” (in red) were dwarfed by searches for “cat person.”

Brainiac

‘Cat Person’: A literary frenzy in one chart and three tweets

On Monday, a piece of short fiction called “Cat Person” suddenly exploded on social media.

Brainiac

Innovation of the Week: Seedless avocados

This comes in the aftermath of a new public health scourge in Great Britain.

A survivor cries during a memorial ceremony at the Memorial Hall of the Victims in Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders ahead of China's National Memorial Day for Nanjing massacre victims in Nanjing city, east China's Jiangsu province on December 4, 2017. China's National Memorial Day marks on December 13 the 80th anniversary of the 1937 Nanjing massacre by Japanese troops. / AFP PHOTO / - / China OUT-/AFP/Getty Images

Ideas | James R. Ross

Saving Nanjing from the forces of forgetting

The massacre was one of the last century’s greatest crimes. But few in the West remember it as such.

Chess queen on a white background. 3d illustration.

Brainiac

Innovation of the Week: AI chessmaster

This self-taught program soundly beat its human-trained counterparts.

Brainiac

Big Data: Feeding the squirrels

Squirrels have developed tricks to keep track of their hidden snacks.

FILE - In this Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017, file photo, former U.S. President Barack Obama arrives on stage prior to delivering a speech in Paris. Carter Wilkerson, a guy with an insatiable appetite for chicken nuggets, and Obama are among the most retweeted tweets of the year. On Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, Twitter released its top trending people and subjects ranging from the arts, to politics, to Korean boy bands. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File)

Brainiac

Uncommon Knowledge: Thanks, Obama

Did the Obamacare rollout impact the 2016 election?

Excavator or digger moving beach sand after erosion by the tides on a tropical beach with calm ocean in Cairns, Queensland, Australia

Brainiac

Euphemism: Beach nourishment

Climate change is eroding beachfront on Cape Cod and around the world.

Ideas

A Boston story in 50 words

One single chance to play with the King.

Ideas | A.J.B. Lane

‘Prius repellant’: Rolling coal stinks up the roads

With this modification, a diesel engine can belch black smoke at the flick of a switch.

Little Baby Girls in crib together

Ideas | Lyman Stone

America’s looming fertility collapse

Where have all the babies gone?

Ideas | Kelly Kasulis

An embarrassment of human emotions

To date, scientists still haven’t been able to define the full spectrum of human emotions.

Ideas | Thomas Levenson

Antibiotics gave us routine surgery. Growing resistance could change everything

When drugs brought infection under control, more bodily ills became fixable — at least for a while.

Ideas | Mark Peters

It’s only human to see our own sins in animals

What happens when biologists try to affix moral judgements on other organisms?

ap images

Ideas

A Boston story in 50 words

Driving can be treacherous.

Packaged chips icon vector illustration isolated on white background. Fast food snack, vending machine menu pictogram in flat design

Brainiac

Innovation of the Week: GPS-thwarting snack bag

Tom Colella went to extraordinary lengths to ensure he could play golf.

Different colorful pills on white background

Brainiac

Big Data: 1,500 drugs collected

One in 10 medicines in the developing world are either counterfeit or substandard.

Brainiac

Uncommon Knowledge: Grim reapers for Trump

An experiment showed supporters with death on their minds.

Illustration of a long shadow warning signal with quotes

Brainiac

On Second Thought: The phantom menace

Four hundred citations is a lot — particularly for a paper that doesn’t exist.

04muther FullSizeRender-14 -- Sunset in the village of East End, Grand Cayman. Photos taken on Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands. Photo credit: Christopher Muther, Globe Staff.

Brainiac

Euphemism: Tax neutral

This term came to light in the hubbub over the Paradise Papers.

Ideas | Beth Wolfensberger Singer

Royal wedding hat updates

Now that Prince Harry is engaged to one of our own, some American-style edits are in order.

dbunn - stock.adobe.com

Ideas | Amy Crawford

Retirement is now one-third of adult life. Time to rethink the golden years

“People get real tired of doing nothing but golf.”

Landscape

Ideas

A Boston story in 50 words

“When asked about my wanderlust I share this.”

Ideas | Sage Stossel

The home for fallen men

Is it time to revive Victorian-era institutions of moral rehabilitation?

Ideas | Mark Peters

Should we still say ‘whom’? LOL, no

BuzzFeed’s global copy chief, Emmy J. Favilla, explains why “whom” is bad and “haha” is good.

Ideas | Ted Widmer

Project West Ford and the plan to pollute space

It started with one of the strangest scientific experiments of the Cold War.

Aftermath from the Cocoanut Grove fire on Nov 28, 1942.

Brainiac

A disaster remembered, via Google Maps

At first, it sounds like somebody’s idea of dark humor.

The UCLA campus was flooded by a broken 30-inch water main in 2014.

Brainiac

Relic of the Week: Divining rods

Believe it or not, these are still in use.

Brainiac

Uncommon Knowledge: From helicopter to smartphone parent

In this week’s edition: Family relations, social sharing, and gender in politics.In this week’s edition: Family relations, social sharing, and gender in politics.

In a Friday Oct.. 13, 2017 photo, Nicodemus, a comfort dog, looks out a window in Omaha, Neb. Nicodemus was among a group of dogs that went to Las Vegas to comfort victims of the mass shooting. (Julia Nagy/Omaha World-Herald via AP)

Brainiac

Big Data: 40,000 years of being best friends

As they were domesticated, dogs developed the ability to form powerful bonds with humans.

Ideas | Alan Wirzbicki

Dying arts can be saved — but is it worth it?

Cinema buffs love 70-millimeter film, which made “2001” beautiful, but staying authentic is really hard.

Ideas | Zachary Davis

Three models of citizenship

These go a long way towards explaining frictions in our civic space.

Chief Massasoit visited by Governor Winslow, Plymouth Colony, 1620s. Hand-colored woodcut of a 19th-century illustration. (North Wind Picture Archives via AP Images)

Ideas | Christopher Klein

After the first Thanksgiving, things went downhill

The people who arrived in 1630 in huge numbers were much more opinionated and less open-minded than the Pilgrims.

ideas

Born in Boston, buried in a ‘foreign devil’ graveyard in China

When New England was America’s gateway to China, Massachusetts left its mark on distant shores.

Brainiac

Innovation of the Week: Skipping ahead to the good parts

Plot. Character development. Who needs it?

Caenorhabditis elegans, a free-living transparent nematode (roundworm), about 1 mm in length. Fluorescence micrograph.

Brainiac

Big Data: 1 millimeter

Just like humans, this worm experiences withdrawal symptoms.

Tow Truck pulling a car in silhouette

Ideas

A Boston story in 50 words

Parking in Boston? Never a dull moment.

the concept of education of children. the generation of knowledge

Brainiac

On Second Thought: Supportive colleagues

Academics are notorious for infighting — but not always.

Brainiac

Uncommon Knowledge: Municipal police spending

In this week’s issue: police leniency, the EPA, and frontier voting patterns.

Ideas | A.J.B. Lane

Can’t we all just get along?

A helpful guide to making civil conversation with your relatives this Thanksgiving.

August 1980: Ballet dancers Mikhail Baryshnikov and Lesley Collier perform a pas de deux in 'Rhapsody' at Covent Garden in London. Choreography was by Sir Frederick Ashton and music by Sergei Rachmaninoff. (Photo by Mike Lawn/Evening Standard/Getty Images)

Ideas

A Boston story in 50 words

Celebrity sighting at Filene’s.

Internet investor and science philanthropist Yuri Milner, left, and renowned cosmologist Stephen Hawking, right, seated in a speech adaptive wheelchair, discuss the new Breakthrough Initiative focusing on space exploration and the search for life in the universe, during a press conference, Tuesday, April 12, 2016, at One World Observatory in New York. The $100 million project is aimed at establishing the feasibility of sending a swarm of tiny spacecraft, each weighing far less than an ounce, to the Alpha Centauri star system. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Ideas | Jacob Haqq-Misra

Here’s why plans for a ‘death laser’ in space have been put on hold

There’s constant tension between human ingenuity and the risk that humans can’t be trusted.

Ideas | Alexander P. Cole, M. Carlton, and Quoc-Dien Trinh

If hackers attacked the hospital

Advanced devices come with advanced risks.