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What Makes You So Smart?


What Makes You So Smart, Middle School Math Teacher?

Noah Davis talks to Vern Williams about what makes middle school—yes, middle school—so great.

A Conversation With


What Do Clowns Think of Clowns?

Three major players weigh in on the current state of the clown.

X and Y


Why Don’t Men Read Romance Novels?

A lot of men just don’t read fiction, and if they do, structural misogyny drives them away from the genre.

Guy in the Sky


Why Do Americans Pray?

It depends on how you ask.



Musicians Are Better Multitaskers

New research from Canada finds trained musicians more efficiently switch from one mental task to another.

In the Classroom


Veterans in the Ivory Tower

Why there aren’t enough veterans at America’s top schools—and what some people are trying to do to change that.

The Rest of the World


Our Language Prejudices Don’t Make No Sense

We should embrace the fact that there’s no single recipe for English. Making fun of people for replacing “ask” with “aks,” or for frequently using double negatives just makes you look like the unsophisticated one.

In the Classroom


Education Policy Is Stuck in the Manufacturing Age

Refining our policies and teaching social and emotional skills will help us to generate sustained prosperity.

Sociological Images


The Bird Hat Craze That Sparked a Preservation Movement

How a fashion statement at the turn of the 19th century led to the creation of the first Audubon societies.

Sociological Images


The Majority of Languages Do Not Have Gendered Pronouns

A world without “he.” Or “she.”

Placebo Week


‘Voodoo Death’ and How the Mind Harms the Body

Can an intense belief that you’re about to die actually kill you? Researchers are learning more about “voodoo death” and how it isn’t limited to superstitious, foreign cultures.



That Arts Degree Is Paying Off

A survey of people who have earned degrees in the arts find they are doing relatively well, although their education didn’t provide much guidance on managing a career.

X and Y


A Brief History of High Heels

How what was once standard footwear for 16th-century Persian horsemen became “fashion’s most provocative accessory.”

Quick Studies


Advice for Emergency Alert Systems: Don’t Cry Wolf

A survey finds college students don’t always take alerts seriously.

Time to Celebrate


Goodbye, Columbus: If You’re Worried That America Has Forgotten Its Western-Civ Roots, Go Read a Book

Conservatives say that by derogating Columbus Day we annul 1,500 years of cultural history. So how many of them have read Erasmus?



Michelle Obama Trans-Truthers Reveal Persisting Prejudices

Black and trans women are still stereotyped as unfeminine.

Quick Studies


A City’s Fingerprints Lie in Its Streets and Alleyways

Researchers propose another way to analyze the character and evolution of cities.

Quick Studies


When Violins Meet Leaf Analysis

Techniques used to analyze leaf shapes reveal the subtle evolution of the violin.

But It's Just a Game


Landon Donovan: A Great Man?

There are no Great Men.

In the Classroom


Does the University of Illinois Care About Academic Freedom?

The university’s decision to withdraw a job offer to professor Steven Salaita after he tweeted political commentary shows its disdain for an open learning environment.

Sociological Images


What Predicts NFL Arrest Records: Position or Disposition?

Some positions have a disproportionate number of offenders.

We Read It


Lord Byron and the Birth of Vampires

Sexual politics meet literary monsters in a new book by Andrew McConnell Stott.

Over the Speakers


Beyoncé Doesn’t Perform for the Male Gaze

That argument denies her agency, her feminism, her fandom—and the fact that females can gaze too.

We Read It


Why Did ‘Excellent Sheep’ Alienate So Many Readers?

William Deresiewicz’s new book appears to have touched a nerve.

Sociological Images


Why Don’t Religious People Know More About Religion?

The committed may derive many things from their church attendance and faith, but knowledge of religion isn’t one of them, according to a Pew quiz.

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Politicians Really Aren’t Better Decision Makers

Politicians took part in a classic choice experiment but failed to do better than the rest of us.

Earliest High-Altitude Settlements Found in Peru

Discovery suggests humans adapted to high altitude faster than previously thought.

My Politicians Are Better Looking Than Yours

A new study finds we judge the cover by the book—or at least the party.

That Cigarette Would Make a Great Water Filter

Clean out the ashtray, add some aluminum oxide, and you've (almost) got yourself a low-cost way to remove arsenic from drinking water.

Love and Hate in Israel and Palestine

Psychologists find that parties to a conflict think they're motivated by love while their enemies are motivated by hate.

The Big One

One company, Amazon, controls 67 percent of the e-book market in the United States—down from 90 percent five years ago. September/October 2014 new-big-one-5

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