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The Slightly Smaller Screen

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Why ‘Game of Thrones’ Isn’t Medieval—and Why That Matters

Fantasy worlds are never just fantasy. They appeal to us because they refract our own histories and speak to contemporary interests.

World Cup Week

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The Most Political Matches in World Cup History

A rumored death threat from Mussolini, what was ostensibly an on-field boxing match, and an egregious handball doubling as payback for the Falklands War.

Inequality

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The United States Needs a Slavery Museum

As part of its reparations demands, the Caribbean Community is seeking money for cultural organizations that examine the history of slavery. Here’s why the U.S. should construct similar institutions to memorialize our peculiar institution.

Quick Studies

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The Mona Lisa Landscape Was Probably a Studio Backdrop

Researchers compared the Mona Lisa’s background with the hills shown in its stereo pair. In doing so, they revealed a da Vinci secret.

Quick Studies

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To Haul Pyramid Stones Over Egyptian Sands, Just Add Water

A clue from an Egyptian tomb has provided scientists with a new explanation of how stones were transported for the construction of pyramids.

Quick Studies

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Cavemen Were Awesome Parents

Toy hand axes, rock bashing, and special burials indicate that Neanderthals were cooler parents than previously thought, according to a new theory.

Quick Studies

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Natural History Isn’t Dead–It Just Crawled Into a Microscope

Natural history collections are consolidating. Lessons are being dropped from biology courses. But amid the apparent carnage, microbiology is rising.

Quick Studies

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What Makes Normal People Commit War Crimes?

Delivery matters: Authorities give orders in a way that minimizes psychological impact for the soldiers who carry out these crimes.

Sociological Images

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What’s Wrong With Women’s History Month?

We’re only recognizing women who have excelled at what are generally thought to be “masculine” pursuits.

Hmmm

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How Do Psychiatrists Treat Werewolves?

With psychotropic drug cocktails, of course.

You Don't Know America

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You Don’t Know Abraham Lincoln

What happens when you and a Lincoln expert stand next to the Lincoln Memorial and ask questions of visiting tourists?

 

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According to the U.S. Census, Jesus Was White

Unfortunately for Megyn Kelly, considering he died 2,000 years ago, that classification doesn’t make much sense.

 

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The History of a Year

An examination of the (many) books that are built around a specific 52-week period.

 

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Why Is Hanukkah So Closely Associated With Christmas?

It’s all about the Benjamins.

 

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What a Real War on Christmas Looks Like

A history lesson for former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and other conservatives worried about “a secular clown posse” set on destroying Judeo-Christian traditions.

 

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Does History Repeat Itself, But With More Porn?

From Madonna to Miley Cyrus, has there been any progress in this conversation about whether it’s feminist or anti-feminist for a women to use sex or nudity to sell her pop music?

Conference Call

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Conference Call: What’s Happening in November and December—and Why It Matters

From Perspectives on Progress to 3-D Printing: Destiny, Doom, or Dream?, academic gatherings you should be aware of.

 

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A Brief History of America’s Favorite Pastime’s Favorite Pastime

If there’s one thing that knits together the history of baseball, it’s cheating.

 

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A Cheater’s History of Cheating

For all the meanings it can have today, cheat evolved from a very specific, multisyllabic word that’s only vaguely connected to the one we use now.

The Rest of the World

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How We Discovered That Christopher Columbus Didn’t Get to America First

And why it doesn’t really matter if he was 500 years too late.

 

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This Government Shutdown Won’t Be Our Last

Get used to government shutdowns. Serious budget problems are a common feature of large states in decline.

 

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The Gun Club

The history of citizen ownership of firearms isn’t just about protection against tyranny; it’s also about forcing subjects to defend tyranny.

 

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The Protestant Work Ethic Is Real

Thanks to a recent paper in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, we finally have some answers for why Americans work so hard.

 

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Why Does Citizenship Matter?

How national affiliation became such an important part of our personal identity.

 

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A Brief History of the Great Gay Olympics

Russian legislators have said they will enforce new anti-gay laws during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, but the ancient athletic games started out as little more than a gigantic festival of homoerotic excess.

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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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