Latest Ideas headlines


Readers React: “No, Michael, Democrats need to resist what feels good to them and embrace self-discipline for a change.”

A critique of Nancy Pelosi draws fire.

Original contemporary acrylic and pastel painting of people addicted to cell phone by Nalidsa Sukprasert


False Alarms: Your cellphone won’t give you brain cancer

Much of the fear can be traced back to a single scientist — who got it wrong.


Tweets of the Week

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">I’m dead ass convinced this idiot racist could kill someone on Twitter live in the WH west wing & u guys would be like “when he kills someone he reaffirms his message of division. We have to work together to reflect BLAH’ CALL 4 IMPEACHMENT Speaker PelosiStop dragging this OUT <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Janelle Monáe, Cindi (@JanelleMonae) <a href="">July 14, 2019</a></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>


50 Words

A name misheard.

Aziz Ansari at the 2018 Golden Globe Awards.


Aziz Ansari and the problem with #MeToo redemption stories

The gray, foggy feeling isn’t confusion — did he or didn’t he? — but conflicted certainty: We know he did, so how should we feel about it?


Democrats are skipping out on the most important gun fight of all

The most pressing — and solvable — problem is shootings on the streets of our cities.


Consumers called out Nike and Uber for their labor conditions. Now, it’s time to shame colleges

Universities are leaning more and more on poorly treated adjunct labor. Parents should demand better working conditions for the people teaching their children.

Revellers run next to fighting bulls during the running of the bulls at the San Fermin Festival, in Pamplona, northern Spain, Thursday, July, 11, 2019. Revellers from around the world flock to Pamplona every year to take part in the eight days of the running of the bulls. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)


Big Number: Bullfight

At least three people have been gored by the bulls so far this year at the annual Running of the Bulls in Pamplona.


Tweets of the Week: Steyer for Batman, Warren’s emails, and the ‘war cloud’

A look back at the week in 280 characters.


Readers react: ‘Last year’s death has fundamentally changed something very important to many thousands of people — the ability to swim in the ocean’

An online commenter says a fatal attack off the coast of Wellfleet last fall changed everything.

Ideas | Beth Wolfensberger Singer

New versions of classic children’s books for 2019

Having a hard time explaining to your kids why this country seems increasingly careless about the very young?

A polar fox is fitted with a satellite tracking collar in Krossfjorden, Svalbard, a Norwegian Arctic archipelago, on July 29, 2017, as part of research conducted by the Norwegian Polar Institute. Norwegian researchers said Tuesday July 2, 2019, that this young female arctic fox, shown in this photo, has been tracked walking from northern Norway to Canada’s far north, a distance of 4,415 kilometers (2,737 miles), via Greenland in 76 days. ()


Big Number: How far would you go in search of food?

This little Arctic fox went the distance.

FILE - In this July 1969 file photo, Astronaut Edwin Aldrin walks by the footpad of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module. (AP/Photo, NASA, file)


Readers react: ‘What we lack these days is the kind of spark the space program gave us.’

A critique of the Apollo 11 mission, on its fiftieth anniversary, gets pushback.

Ideas | Sage Stossel

Wagering is wagering . . . no matter how nicely presented

Encore’s expensive flash and enticing diversions can’t compare to the heft of local history or the convivial drama of shared sporting moments.

The waters off Gansbaai. South Africa, offer close, intense encounters with great whites.


Summer on the Cape means shark panic. But what if we embraced these majestic fish, instead of pushing them away?

Beach communities all over the world have made close encounters with the apex predator a booming industry.

Modern grey container ship moving in still water

Ideas | John Konrad

The next global tech disruption will happen where few expect it

Because shipping is slow to change, it will be the last major industry to undergo 21st century-style tech-driven disruption. When tech finally does take hold, the global consequences will be unprecedented.

FILE - In this July 1969 file photo, Astronaut Edwin Aldrin walks by the footpad of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module. (AP/Photo, NASA, file)

Ideas | Rachel Slade

50 years ago, we walked on the moon but we’re still not sure why

Half a century later, 238,900 miles away, are the tattered remains of a world power imbued with incredible wealth and ingenuity that, left alone to expend its resources any way it wished, shot billions of dollars into space.

A scene from HBO miniseries Chernobyl (Episode 1).

Ideas | Bathsheba Demuth

Chernobyl reminds us of the tragic cost of lies

What is the cost of such evasions and lies? “Chernobyl” argues it is future lives.


Tweets of the Week: Student debt, Wayfair, and monologues

A look back at the week in 280 characters.

Ideas | A.J.B. Lane

Meet the ‘Kwaj’ alumni

Of all the alumni groups found in Boston, the most unusual is the cohort of folks who lived on Kwajalein.


Readers React: “A nation of 325 million cannot take them all in.”

A dispute over the limits of empathy.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on April 29, 2019 former US vice president Joe Biden speaks during his first campaign event as a candidate for US President at Teamsters Local 249 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. - Presidential Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden came under spirited attack from White House rivals on June 5, 2019, after his campaign confirmed that he supports a ban on federal funding for abortions that many in his party want overturned. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP)SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images


Big Number: ‘Middle Class Joe’ goes high class

A pricey rental in Virginia.


The Democratic presidential debate activity sheet

The first two debates happen this week, with 10 candidates each. So, here, something to enhance focus. Use coins (or antacids) as markers and play against a friend.

Trump rallies his base, but he’s not growing it

For Trump, the path to victory risks reinforcing the image that has made him so unpopular to begin with.


Why we shop and shop and shop

Like millions of Americans, I’m hopelessly addicted to buying things. So I turned to science to learn how our brains, technology, and capitalism are conspiring to empty our wallets.


An open letter to my white MAGA-voting uncles on the occasion of my Italian-born great aunt’s funeral

We don’t talk about politics together. So I apologize for rupturing this truce, especially now, in our mutual moment of pain.


Who’s responsible for the border crisis? The United States

The United States government supported coups in Guatemala and Honduras. Now, we’re paying the price.

Tweets of the week: Google calendar down and Harvard rescinding Parkland student’s admission

A look back at the week in 280 characters.

Yvie Oddly.


Readers React: ‘Hey, dummy. Gender ain’t real!’

How empowering is drag?

Big Number

The safety of the measles vaccine, measured.


Innovation of the Week

A 3D facial model — built on memory.


Trump’s latest betrayal strengthens the case for impeachment

The president’s willingness to take campaign help from Russia in 2020 is another disturbing sign of his unfitness for office.


Tweets of the Week: Trump at the Olive Garden, #MeToo Advice, and Praise for Papi

A look back at the week in 280 characters.


Readers React: ‘This sounds nice, but it ignores a huge upcoming phenomenon: the “birth dearth”’

Can we really recruit more rural students to colleges and universities?


Big Number

That’s a lot of pictures.


50 Words

Breakfast on the beach.

Ideas | Peg Tyre

How to survive in an AI world

While American schools move away from a humanities-centered education — and embrace science and math — Japan is tacking in the opposite direction. Who’s right?

A rendering of Scape’s proposed development — small apartments at modest rents — in the Fenway.


Finally — the tiny apartments that millennials need

For years, I’ve been calling for the compact, affordable, amenity-rich apartments that could solve our housing crisis. Now, they could be on the way.

Yvie Oddly.

RuPaul, I owe you an amen

Historically, drag is entertainment by men for men, with queens coopting an exaggerated male view of femalehood to uproarious laughter. Was it okay to chuckle at an all-too-easy version of womanhood, one that denied the complexity of the female conundrum?

Rural Minnesota road with dramatic clouds at sundown

Ideas | Tony Rehagen

How educational gatekeepers are overlooking rural kids

We’re starting to understand how educational gatekeepers are overlooking rural kids like me. And that’s become an American-size problem.


By the number: Put down the bottled water

If you are what you eat, then every single one of us is a little bit plastic.

Ideas | A.J.B. Lane

Godzilla takes on Fenway

The truth is, we have a history of falling for unstoppable titans of one kind or another.

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 30: Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao participates in a celebration of 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion Joey Logano on the South Lawn of the White House April 30, 2019 in Washington, DC. Nicknamed 'Sliced Bread,

Ideas | Rachel Slade

Elaine Chao’s conflicts of interests could have major consequences

The zealously anti-regulation Trump administration may be open to undermining centuries-old maritime laws that have protected American industry and the country itself since this nation’s founding. And Elaine Chao, mired in conflicts of interest, may be helping to steer that ship.


Readers react: ‘His calling for Trump’s impeachment has brought him a great deal of press’

Is Justin Amash a profile in courage?

View inside a wholesale supermarkert looted during the massive blackout that has paralyzed Venezuela for six days, in Maracaibo, in the border state of Zulia on March 13, 2019. - More than 500 shops were plundered in the oil tanker Zulia state (northwest). Although Caracas and the states of Miranda and Vargas -- home to the country's international airport and main port -- had intermittent power, the western states of Barinas, Tachira and Zulia remained without electricity. (Photo by JUAN BARRETO / AFP)

Ideas | Antonio Matheus

How the Venezuelan dictatorship ruined cats for me

The Venezuelan dictatorship has ruined cats for me, and I don’t know where to go from here.