Latest Ideas headlines

Couple kissing outdoors - Lovers on a romantic date at sunset,girls stands on tiptoe to kiss her man - Close up on shoes


Big Data: Changing norms for teenagers

The mix of risks that teens take changes over time.

In this June 14, 2018 photo soccer fans ride in the metro near the Luzhniki stadium before the group A match between Russia and Saudi Arabia which opens the 2018 soccer World Cup in Moscow, Russia. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)


Innovation of the Week: Smiling lessons in Russia

As the World Cup comes to Russia, there’s a new focus on hospitality.

Boston Ma 05172016 A Latte at La Colombe Coffee Roasters Cafe. Globe/Staff Photographer Jonathan Wiggs


Examining liberal lattes

This week in Uncommon Knowledge: coffee, context, and helicopter parents.

Ideas | Sage Stossel

Free-range vs. caged parenting

American citizens and border-crossing migrants may inhabit one country, but the realities they live are worlds apart.

FILE - In this Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018 file photo, a nurse prepares a flu shot from a vaccine vial at the Salvation Army in Atlanta. Most doses of vaccine are made in a production process that involves growing viruses in chicken eggs. (AP Photo/David Goldman)


A perplexing pseudonym

Why would this researcher submit their findings under a false name?

Roboter Arme am leeren Fließband


Dreading automation

This week in Uncommon Knowledge: tweet analysis, racial awareness, and “doers” vs. “thinkers.”

Ideas | A.J.B. Lane

The rise and fall of a tech bro

Everything started off so well . . .


The case for breaking up Google

Never in the history of the world has a single company had so much control over what people know and think.

Is Google a monopoly, and should it be broken up?

A Boston Globe editorial asserts that “Google accounts for about 90 percent of all Internet searches; by any honest assessment, it holds a monopoly at the very gateway to information in the modern world.” The best way to deal with the company, the editorial asserts, is to break it up.


Don’t break up Google — the market will sort everything out

Sooner or later, every Goliath is displaced by a David. That goes for Google, too. And it won’t require government intercession to make it happen.

Ideas | The Big Tech Issue

When the GOP fought against monopolies

Republicans, in both Congress and the White House, led the way to finding an effective regulatory system for big businesses.


How do you regulate a tech company?

Jonathan Taplin, author of “Move Fast and Break Things,” explains how tech giants could be regulated.


Why Facebook and Google should pay you for your data

Users’ clicks and posts built Facebook and Google’s online empires. Isn’t it time they got paid for their labor?


Antitrust law never envisioned massive tech companies like Google

The US government used to break up monopolies. Now it lets them flourish. A new movement, alarmed by today’s tech giants, wants to bring antitrust law back to life.

epa04678164 Heinz tomato ketchup at a store in central London, Britain, 25 March 2015. Media reports state that Kraft Foods has agreed to merge with Heinz. EPA/ANDY RAIN

Ideas | Amy Bentley

Is ketchup the perfect complement to the American diet?

More than just a condiment, it helped revolutionize how food is grown, processed, and regulated.

Ideas | Tom Emswiler and Will Isenberg

Vote for Jeff Sessions? Why the public should elect the US attorney general

The American people should choose their own enforcer of the law, separate and apart from the president.

Could the military help us close the worrisome gap between red and blue?

Ideas | David Scharfenberg

Our military: The greatest social engineering machine ever built

Could the military help us close the gap between red and blue?

Ideas | Beth Wolfensberger Singer

Swimsuit 2.0: New segments for Miss America

The pageant needs a non-objectifying new segment, now that they’ve eliminated the swimsuit competition.

A scientist handling a blood sample in a test tube.


On Second Thought: Blood sample fraud

This bogus-blood scandal has led to the retraction of one paper, and the likely retraction of a second article.

Hoping to determine whether dogs pose a pandemic flu threat, researchers swabbed the noses of 800 dogs.


Big Data: 15 percent of dogs in Guangxi, China

Hoping to determine whether dogs pose a pandemic flu threat, researchers swabbed the noses of 800 dogs.

FILE-- Coffee is poured into a cup in New York, Feb. 5, 2016.


Innovation of the Week: ‘Optimal alertness’

There’s a fine line between too much coffee and just the right amount.

This week in Uncommon Knowledge: mafia relocation, non-human entities, and the benefits of immigration.


‘An offer you can’t refuse’ from Italian officials

This week in Uncommon Knowledge: mafia relocation, non-human entities, and the benefits of immigration.

Long before President Trump talked about “rapists” or “animals,” the term “cannibals” defined the outer limit of humanity — and placed certain unfamiliar cultures outside of it.

Ideas | Pallavi Kottamasu

Were cannibals really so bad?

Long before President Trump talked about “rapists” or “animals,” the term “cannibals” defined the outer limit of humanity — and placed certain unfamiliar cultures outside of it.

Ultrasound scan of baby; Shutterstock ID 421937914; PO: nutshell 9/11 credit shutterstock

Ideas | Chris Kaposy

When prenatal tests hint at abortion

A test that’s supposed to give parents useful information has also, perhaps inadvertently, turned into a signal to prospective parents that Down syndrome is something a family ought to avoid.

Ideas | Sage Stossel

Make way for venture capitalists

Fitness-minded biotech entrepreneurs have been meeting weekly to run a 4.5 mile loop around the Charles.

Breaking down the numbers on supplements.


Big Data: 1,496 studies

Breaking down the numbers on supplements.

Last version of Sony's pet robot AIBO moves in front old version displayed on an altar prior to hold the robots' funeral at the Kofukuji temple in Isumi, Chiba on April 26, 2018. More than a hundred robot dogs from different years were sitting next to each other in Japan -- it was not for a tech fair but for their


Innovation of the Week: Funeral for robot dogs

The owners of those other dogs couldn’t just let them go.

FILE - In this Sept. 22, 2014, file photo, a view of the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse in Washington.


Judges vs. climate change

This week in Uncommon Knowledge: Courtrooms, city finance, and college students.

Ideas | Pasquale Toscano

Where are all the superheroes with disabilities?

Superhero films have outsize importance for underdogs. Yet as today’s buff protagonists leap gracefully across the screen, they stir a deep ambivalence among people with disabilities.

Elisabeth Moss as Offred in “The Handmaid's Tale.”

Ideas | Joanna Weiss

In a #MeToo world, the dark allure of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

In real life, women are gaining power. So what’s the allure of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” whose latest season shows fine actresses suffering in garish ways?

Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr looks on during a meeting to discuss economic and security issues held at Iraqi Shiite Muslim leader Ammar al-Hakim's house in the southern Shiite city of Najaf on January 23, 2015. Al-Sadr expressed his hopes for a unity government and encouraged the efforts of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in avoiding previously made mistakes. AFP PHOTO/ HAIDAR HAMDANI (Photo credit should read HAIDAR HAMDANI/AFP/Getty Images)

Ideas | Thanassis Cambanis

How did Iraq’s Moqtada al-Sadr become a statesman? People just got used to him

Throughout the Iraq war, al-Sadr was a high-profile villain. Now everybody — including the United States — has just gotten used to him.

Ideas | A.J.B. Lane

Trying to cross the water

There must be a better way.

A view of a swimming pool at the New Peterhof Hotel which was chosen to be South Korean national football team's base camp hotel for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, in Saint Petersburg on March, 14, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Olga MALTSEVAOLGA MALTSEVA/AFP/Getty Images


Big Data: What’s in the pool water?

Hotel pools, public parks, and water parks may all be involved.

Hackspace is hosting its weekly project night on Tuesday.


Innovation of the Week: Human muting technology

If you wish your open-office coworkers would be quieter, tech may have a solution.


With the in-laws, talk politics at your own risk

Weekly roundup of insights from the social sciences, including marriages that cross partisan lines.

Ideas | Beth Wolfensberger Singer

Creature comfort

Reading about animals’ mating habits can offer a surprising respite from a depressing news cycle.

Ideas | Linda Rodriguez McRobbie

Don’t get too comfortable: America’s relentless pursuit of convenience and relaxation

Frontier spirit? As if. It’s the quest for convenience and sameness that shapes the American psyche.

Ideas | Catharine Wang

The dodgy world of do-it-yourself genetics

Direct-to-consumer companies are generating some unintended spillover effects that consumers may not be prepared for.

notebook pen glasses checks are on the table


When a journal withdraws the wrong paper

For a brief period, this common clerical error muddied the scientific record.

4 puppies showing their paws above white banner


Reaching peak puppy cuteness

For this study, human participants viewed dozens of photos of puppies.

epa05660110 A handout image released by Virgin Galactic on 04 December 2016 shows Virgin Spaceship Unity (VSS Unity) glides for the first time after being released from Virgin Mothership Eve (VMS Eve) over the Mojave Desert, USA, 03 December 2016. The VSS Unity sucessfully landed after a free-flying test at Mojave Desert, some two years after a man died when the spaceship's predecessor crashed. EPA/VIRGIN GALACTIC / HANDOUT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES


Innovation of the Week: Space flight as a penthouse perk

When trying to sell a condo for $85 million, this investor had to get creative.

Stack of american dollars isolated on white.; Shutterstock ID 27941507; PO: oped


Uncommon Knowledge: Investors, spread the wealth around

Unusual insights from the social sciences.

This pair of photos shows a view of the crowd on the National Mall at the inaugurations of President Barack Obama, above, on Jan. 20, 2009, and President Donald Trump, below, on Jan. 20, 2017. The photo above and the screengrab from video below were both shot shortly before noon from the top of the Washington Monument. (AP Photo)

Ideas | Alex Kingsbury

‘Post-truth,’ the ultimate form of cynicism

Politicians lying is nothing new, but, by many accounts, it’s happening in a sneaky new way.

Ideas | Rachel Slade

How cheap is too cheap?

The global economy, which drives prices ever lower, depends on global shipping. So if shipping companies can’t survive relentless competition, who can?

cleaning shoes macro-2


A Boston story in 50 words

Entrepreneurs around every corner.

Ideas | Liya Rechtman

When the apocalypse is a feature, not a bug

President Trump’s moves in the Middle East hearten an unlikely segment of his political base: Christian evangelicals steeped in apocalyptic theology.