Vast early America

There is no American history without the histories of Indigenous and enslaved peoples. And this past has consequences today Karin Wulf is executive director of the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture and professor of history at William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. Edited bySam Haselby Nations need history; it is a key genre for explaining the status quo. Modern nations and modern historical practices in the West developed over the same centuries, so the effort to harness the latter to the former is no surprise. Yet whether about the removal of statues, the veracity of journalism and … Continue reading Vast early America

Plagues and empires

What can the decline of the Roman Empire and the end of European feudalism tell us about COVID-19 and the future of the West? John Rapley is a political economist at the University of Cambridge, as well as a senior fellow at the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study. His latest book is Twilight of the Money Gods: Economics as a Religion and How it all Went Wrong (2017). He lives in London and Johannesburg. Edited bySam Haselby Early in 2020, after a mysterious coronavirus emerged out of China and then raced across the globe, a quiet new year took a screeching turn. … Continue reading Plagues and empires

A good scrap

Disagreements can be unpleasant, even offensive, but they are vital to human reason. Without them we remain in the dark Ian Leslie writes about psychology, culture, technology and business for the New Statesman, The Economist, The Guardian and the Financial Times. He is the author of several books on human behaviour, the most recent of which is Conflicted: How Productive Disagreements Lead to Better Outcomes (2021). He lives in London. Edited by Christian Jarrett In the town of Dayton, Ohio, at the end of the 19th century, locals were used to the sound of quarrels spilling out from the room above the bicycle store on West Third Street. The … Continue reading A good scrap


BY DIANA BOCCO Nostradamus was born Michel de Notredame in 1503 in Saint-Remy-de-Provence, France. It’s fair to say Nostradamus didn’t have a boring life. He originally worked as an apothecary, then attended the University of Montpelier to pursue a medical degree. Along the way, he was expelled for practicing a “manual trade” (the use of herbal remedies), which was considered “too low” for a doctor (via Biography). The jury is out as to whether he eventually went back to school and received a medical license, but Biography points out he did work as a physician during the plague outbreak in Italy … Continue reading THIS IS HOW NOSTRADAMUS PREDICTED THE END OF THE WORLD

Meet Mary Pearcey, The 19th-Century Murderess Who May Have Actually Been ‘Jack The Ripper’

Public Domain/RedditMurderess Mary Pearcey was one of the only female suspects considered by London police to be the notorious “Jack the Ripper” serial killer. By Genevieve Carlton | Checked By Leah Silverman Two years after Jack the Ripper murdered and mutilated five women in London, Mary Pearcey was found guilty of an eerily similar slaying. In 1888, the streets of London’s East End were stalked by a grisly killer known only as “Jack the Ripper.” Though that murderer was never caught, over 100 suspects were identified — including a murderess named Mary Pearcey. Indeed, some historians have long suspected that the vicious butcher might have been … Continue reading Meet Mary Pearcey, The 19th-Century Murderess Who May Have Actually Been ‘Jack The Ripper’

Clues to The Collapse of a Maya Civilization Found in Ancient Human Feces

by DAVID NIELD Human poop can reveal more than you might think, even when it’s really, really old. In a new study of a Central American Maya civilization, samples of ancient feces have shown how the size of this community varied significantly in response to contemporary climate change. Researchers identified four distinct periods of population size shift as a reaction to particularly dry or particularly wet periods, which haven’t all been documented before: 1350-950 BCE, 400-210 BCE, 90-280 CE, and 730-900 CE. In addition, the flattened poop piles show that the city of Itzan – which in the modern day would be in … Continue reading Clues to The Collapse of a Maya Civilization Found in Ancient Human Feces

Nazis created an anti-Semitic Bible and Aryan Jesus

A Nazi institute produced a Bible without the Old Testament that portrayed Jesus as an Aryan hero fighting Jewish people. by Paul Ratner  Nazis created a special institute to erase Jewish presence in Christianity. The institute produced a Bible that omitted the Old Testament and completely rewrote the New Testament. Jesus was portrayed as an Aryan hero of human origin who fought Jewish people. The rise of the Nazis in the 20th century was a horrific byproduct of political, economic, and social tensions of the day. It was also rooted in often esoteric and devious spiritual influences and practices, with … Continue reading Nazis created an anti-Semitic Bible and Aryan Jesus

On the necessity of obedience

George Berkeley was a visionary immaterialist. And a philosopher whose views on subordination to God legitimised slavery by Tom Jones, is director of research in the School of English at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, UK. His books include an edition of Alexander Pope’s An Essay on Man (2016) and George Berkeley: A Philosophical Life (2021). Edited by Nigel Warburton George Berkeley is known for his doctrine of immaterialism: the counterintuitive view that there’s no material substance underlying the ideas perceived by the senses. We tend to think of a horse-drawn coach as a thing, but Berkeley tells us it’s really a set … Continue reading On the necessity of obedience

Buddhism and the Real World

For most of its history, the dharma has had little to offer in the domain of social action. But that’s OK. By Donald S. Lopez Jr.  / Illustrations Jonathon Rosen  Over forty years ago, I set out for India to conduct my dissertation research at a Tibetan refugee monastery. Shortly after arriving, I was taken to meet the abbot. In my few days there, I had become concerned that many of the young monks—boys who seemed to be between 8 and 16—had large scabs on their shaved heads, something that I assumed was a treatable skin condition. I was on a … Continue reading Buddhism and the Real World

Africa writes back

European ideas of African illiteracy are persistent, prejudiced and, as the story of Libyc script shows, entirely wrong D Vance Smith is a medievalist and Old Dominion Professor in the Department of English at Princeton University. His books include The Book of the Incipit (2001); Arts of Possession (2003); and Arts of Dying: Literature and Finitude in Medieval England (2020). Edited by Sam Dresser Four different writing systems have been used in Algeria. Three are well known – Phoenician, Latin and Arabic – while one is both indigenous to Africa and survives only as a writing system. The language it represents is called Old Libyan or Numidian, simply because … Continue reading Africa writes back