Dissecting the crisis

Can a small group of ultra wealthy people rewrite U.S. history? That’s the concern of Heather Cox Richardson, a history professor at Boston College. She takes a closer look at the ideological battles that have shaped American society, including the struggle for equal rights, in Democracy Awakening. History Repeats Itself A key takeaway from Richardson’s analysis […]

On polar expeditions, pack extra snacks

Planning is so important when you travel. And planning is particularly important when you’re headed to cold reaches of Antarctica. Unfortunately, polar explorers aren’t known for crafting careful itineraries or thorough packing lists. The crew of the Belgica learned this lesson the hard way when they crashed into polar ice in 1897. Lights Out Spending the winter with your […]

Shipwrecked! 🌴

Maritime historians have their work cut out for them, especially when they’re writing about shipwrecks. Reconstructing the story of not one, but two, shipwrecks in 1864, Joan Druett has retraced the steps of the crews using survivors’ journals and historical records. Today’s Instaread navigates the dangers of the past. An Inauspicious Beginning It’s one thing […]

Let’s avoid another arms race

Max Tegmark is a professor of physics at MIT. He’s also the president of the somewhat sinister sounding Future of Life Institute, the group that authored the letter asking for a six-month pause on the development of advanced artificial intelligence. You know, to preserve the future of humanity. What Needs Sorting?  It’s easy to get […]

The history of easy money

Before there were coins or bills, there was interest. Creditors have been lending money (and before that, seeds and animals) since the eighth century BC. The Mesopotamians recorded their loans on clay tablets, not unlike your credit card companies or the bank that services your mortgage. The First Financial Crises We don’t know exactly when […]

Do you care about the future?

Human civilization is relatively young—and it could last for a very long time. If humanity manages to persist for millions of years, it means that those of us living today will be considered the ancients, living at the very beginning of history.  Choose Wisely Ask yourself, are you a good ancestor? Or the type whose […]

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