Recent Posts

The Shadow of the Present

Tony Spawforth— As I write about the remote past, I never feel that history has repeated itself. Even so, there are times when the Greek and Roman worlds seem to offer an eerie prefiguring of the present. Democracy In 415 BC the adult males who made up the politically empowered

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Ep. 67 – How False Beliefs Spread

A look at where false beliefs and fake news come from, how they spread, and what you can do to protect yourself against them. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Spotify | Soundcloud

The Center of the Universe

Marcia Bartusiak- Walk into an open field on a clear, moonless night. Overhead, sparkling stars are sprinkled across the sky. All of them seem equidistant from you—and no one else—and you are lulled into imagining yourself at the center of the universe. For nearly five hundred years, astronomers have struggled to

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Understanding Empathy

Susan Lanzoni— “Where does the mind stop and the rest of the world begin?” asked the philosophers Andy Clark and David Chalmers in 1998, considering the case of Otto, a patient suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Otto always carried with him a simple spiral notebook as a memory aid, in which

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The What and the Where of Color

David Scott Kastan & Stephen Farthing— Our lives are saturated by color. The sky above us is blue (or gray or pink or purple or nearly black). The grass we walk on is green, though sometimes it is brown. Our skin has color, though not exactly the color we normally

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Siberia: Not (always) a freezing wilderness

Janet M. Hartley— Why write a history of Siberia? ONE REASON is to address popular preconceptions about Siberia. The first of these is the belief that Siberia is all ice and snow and that the temperature never rises above freezing. There is indeed a lot of ice and snow in the

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Meet the innovative printmaker, Rembrandt van Rijn

Timothy J. Standring– Rembrandt van Rijn was the Alfred Hitchcock of the Golden Age of Dutch painters.  Like the British director—who made cameo appearances in many of his films—Rembrandt placed himself in his compositions: as a mendicant, as a helper who holds the arm of Christ in the Descent from

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Reconstructing Seapower

Andrew Lambert— In the late 1880s, American strategist and historian Alfred Thayer Mahan coined the term “sea power” by purposefully splitting the word “seapower,” a direct translation of the Greek thalassokratia, to sustain his agenda. The Greek word had been used by Herodotus and Thucydides to describe states which were

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Armistice Attire

Guy Cuthbertson— When the fighting on the Western Front ended on November 11, 1918, and people celebrated wildly back at home, unusual outfits featured prominently in those celebrations. Flags became clothing, and there was plenty of improvised fancy dress. Adults and children dressed as the Kaiser, for instance, or students

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