Ideas | Flynn Coleman

Are we modeling AI on the wrong brain?

Much like humans had to first let go of having to fly exactly like birds fly in order to crack the code of flight, we must now look beyond the widely held belief that the human mind is singular and unique as an intellectual model.

Latest Ideas headlines

Cartoon | A.J.B. Lane

Leave it to Hunter

Cartoonist A.J.B. Lane’s take on the news.

Minneapolis is one of the cities that has replaced Columbus Day celebrations with Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebrations.

Big Data

A number of Mass. cities won’t celebrate Columbus Day on Monday

Six communities across the state will instead observe Indigenous Peoples’ Day: Amherst, Northampton, Brookline, Cambridge, Somerville, and Great Barrington.

People of all ages march as they take part in a strike to demand action on climate change on Sept. 20 in New York City.

Margaret Morganroth Gullette

Contrived generational wars disguise the failure of the American Dream

It’s not about “greedy” Boomers or “slacker” Gen Xers. It’s about a generation-spanning decline in upward mobility.

Stat | Adam Dean and Simeon Kimmel

Beyond the Sacklers: Free-trade policies contributed to the opioid epidemic

We can’t say for sure that job losses are killing people. Yet it seems likely that there’s a relationship.

Cartoon | Beth Wolfensberger Singer

Some reworked Halloween decorations

Beth Wolfensberger Singer’s take on the news.

Miracle on the Mystic: Chelsea, Everett, and the New American Dream

The blue-collar cities of Chelsea, Revere, Everett, and Malden lifted thousands of their poorest children to better lives. Their story could offer clues to restoring upward mobility in America.

Harvard University economics professor Raj Chetty recently sat down to discuss what drives his work — and where he hopes it might take us.


Raj Chetty wants to revive the American Dream

The renowned Harvard economist talks to the Globe about his big-data assault on the most pressing problem of our time.

Big Data: Student views on school prayer

Pew Research Center recently released a survey about religion in the public education sphere.

Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksandr Danylyuk inspects a machine gun made by Ukraine during tactical exercises at the National Guard training ground near Stare village.

Ideas | Sevgil Musaieva

Once a model for Ukrainians, the US now shows signs of the same corruption problems

Ukrainian business people and politicians have long been willing to pay generously for the attention of influential Americans, but the Trump-Ukraine scandal has led many in Ukraine to lose hope that the US could be a role model of a country free from corruption.

Yemeni children attend the first day of class in a school that was damaged by an air strike during fighting between the Saudi-backed government forces and the Huthis.

Ideas | Stephen Kinzer

Complicity in Saudi war on Yemen will be part of Trump legacy

Even if he finishes his presidency without sending American troops into combat, history will not forgive President Trump’s support of Saudi Arabia’s relentless war against Yemen.

Ideas | David Shribman

Canadian elections are short, civil, and to the point. Why not ours?

Elections north of the border are different in tone, pace, substance and character from the raucous, coarse, gritty, permanent campaign Americans are conducting.

Cartoon | Sage Stossel

‘Profiles in Co . . . ’

Sage Stossel’s take on the news.

Impeachment won’t restrain Trumpism — it will unleash it.

Ideas | David Scharfenberg

The hidden danger of impeachment

Democrats are worried about a political backlash. But there’s a deeper concern.

Ideas | Amitha Kalaichandran

Climate change is making us sick

The UN Climate Change Summit conference failed to address the impact a warming planet has on our health.

The newly restored Caminada Headland, in Grand Isle, La., is a 13-mile-long barrier island system that buffers the Louisiana coast from tropical storms and surge.

Big Data: A key number on the climate change front

If the planet continues to warm at an advanced rate, the implications could be catastrophic for low-lying and coastal areas.


50 Words: Boston Garden, 1964

An ongoing series of stories about Boston in 50 words.

Cartoon | A.J.B. Lane

The tortoise and the heir

Cartoonist A.J.B. Lane weighs in on the news.

Youths filled the State House on Sept. 20 during the youth “climate strike” event in Boston. Writes Tatiana Schlossberg: “It’s OK to be angry and upset, but you have to stay engaged and involved.”

Ideas | Tatiana Schlossberg

Combating climate change can feel like a daunting task, but we’re not powerless

There are several things we should keep mind as we try to confront the twin problems of climate change and environmental degradation.

Icebergs floated along the eastern cost of Greenland last month.

Ideas | Tatiana Schlossberg

Buying jeans, eating burgers, watching Netflix: They affect the environment, too

Nearly everything we do has an effect on the climate. But the narrative of personal responsibility just makes us feel guilty while letting those who are truly responsible off the hook. We do have tools to make a difference, though.

Gabriela Paz-Soldan of Northborough, a student at Algonquin High School, attended Friday’s climate strike event at Boston City Hall.

Ideas | David Scharfenberg

The climate strikers are waging the most important fight in human history — can they win?

The signature causes of a new generation, including this one, face long odds. Activists say they have a potent strategy: Hope.

Caribou from the Porcupine Caribou Herd migrate onto the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.

Bathsheba Demuth

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge drilling is next chapter in long history of plundering Arctic resources

President Trump’s inflated claims about ANWR are of a piece with the history of resource extraction in the Arctic, one prone to lying about potential profits and blind to real costs.

The Milky Way shone in the sky over El Roque beach in the Canary Islands in 2015.

Ideas | Tony Rehagen

There’s too much artificial light at night to see stars. That’s a problem

More than the cost to human health, the ecological impact, and the blinding of astronomy, is our spiritual connection to the night sky.

50 Words: 4-year-old twins wake at dawn . . .

An ongoing series of stories about Boston in 50 words.

Cartoon | Beth Wolfensberger Singer

How to pray for the Trump administration

Here’s Beth Wolfensberger Singer’s take on the news.

An observation of Saturn on June 20 as the planet made its closest approach to Earth.


Big Data: Put a ring on it

Saturn’s rings? As old as the solar system itself.

Above: The 45,000-seat Kazan Arena in Kazan, Russia, which hosted six matches during the 2018 World Cup. A complex of sports arenas in the city is attracting a stream of world-class athletic events.

Ideas | Stephen Kinzer

What cheese can tell us about US-Russia relations

Two weeks is scant time to take the measure of any country, but I was struck by how different Russia is from our image of it. The Russia I found is vibrant, self-confident, largely free, and hardly concerned about hostility from Washington.

Joe Biden visited with students at Texas Southern University in Houston on Friday.

Michael A. Cohen

Time to discuss the issue that shall not be named: Joe Biden’s age

Political insiders talk about it incessantly in private. Now, they need to take the conversation public.

50 Words: The Holocaust Memorial

An ongoing series of stories about Boston in 50 words.

Ideas | Rachel Somerstein

Rates of maternal mistreatment in the US are high across the board — especially for women of color

Pregnant women of color are more likely to be harassed, yelled at, or otherwise mistreated by medical professionals, according to a new study.

A woman deported from the United States was greeted by family in Guatemala City in August.


Desperate Guatemalan women will not be deterred, even in the face of grave risk

What would you do to escape hunger? Would you rather be locked up with your children, or see them murdered, kidnapped, or turned into sex slaves?

An alien sculpture looms over The Alien Research Center, a retail souvenir shop located near the military testing base known as Area 51, in Rachel, Nev.


Big Data: I want to believe

Just in time for “Storm Area 51” planned for September.

The pushcart market in the East Side Ghetto of New York’s Jewish Quarter is a hive of activity.

Ideas | Aimee Ortiz

The long and twisted history of ‘ghetto’

It’s a loaded word carrying more than 500 years of baggage, at times becoming an emblem of hate and oppression, but with the passage of time, it’s also become a point of pride.

Ideas | Stephen Kinzer

The CIA chemist who sought the secrets of mind control

Sidney Gottlieb may be the most powerful unknown American of the 20th century.


Rich parents’ guide to the best colleges

Ideas | David Scharfenberg

How Donald Trump just might save the Republican Party — and the country

All eyes are on the daily eruptions in the White House — but a promising new, Trump-era conservatism is taking shape in his shadow.

Cal Brown stands with her husband Michael Brown, Sr. during a memorial program for Michael Brown, Jr. Friday, Aug. 9, 2019 in Ferguson, Mo. On the fifth anniversary of Michael Brown's death in Ferguson, his father is urging the top St. Louis County prosecutor to reopen the investigation into the white police officer who fatally shot the black and unarmed 18-year-old. (Robert Cohen/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)


Big Data: More than 1,100 lives

Up until 2015, social scientists and researchers had very little information on these deaths.

Ideas | Paula A. Johnson

Speaking with the enemy 101

Our nation has long looked to colleges and universities to serve a range of public goods. But at this historical moment, they also need to equip students to talk across difference.

Mood | Ideas

Rediscovering the joys of swimming in a pond

In a summer punctuated by alerts from the Sharktivity app, the Cape’s 1,000 lakes and ponds offer freedom and peace of mind.

A protestor uses a shield to cover himself as he faced policemen in Hong Kong on Aug. 31.

Ideas | Jonathan Kaufman

Are Hong Kong protests a preview of China’s uncertain future?

How long will a growing, educated and cosmopolitan Chinese middle class be satisfied with one-party rule, censorship, surveillance and a lack of government accountability?

Ideas | A.J.B. Lane

NFL fever: A seasonal malady

Are you suffering from critically unresolved pigskin devotion?

Ideas | David Scharfenberg

Boston’s middle class is getting crushed — does anyone care?

A wave of white-collar unionization offers real hope for righting an economy that tilts to the 1 percent. So why are so many blue-state lawmakers and universities standing in the way?


Tweets of the Week: Bedbugs at the New York Times, nuking hurricanes, and Doritos

A look back at the week in 280 characters.

3d render illustration DNA structure in blue background.

Ideas | Viviane Callier

How gender makes a difference in disease

Many diseases affect one sex disproportionately, but the question has always been why.

Ideas | Beth Wolfensberger Singer

Chutes and Ladders: College move-in day edition

A game in honor of the yearly flood of families moving students into local dorms.

Pro-Choice protesters hold a March For Reproductive Freedom rally in front of the State Capital in Montgomery, Alabama May 19,2019. - The state of Alabama passed a near-total abortian ban on May 14, 2019, one of the nation's most restrictive bans on abortions in decades. (Photo by Seth HERALD / AFP)SETH HERALD/AFP/Getty Images


Big Data: Majority of Americans support abortion rights

Despite the debate and ongoing tension over abortion, the majority of Americans still think it should be legal in all or most cases, according to the Pew Research Center.

Illustration of the first American Labor parade held in New York City on September 5, 1882 as it appeared in Frank Leslie's Weekly Illustrated Newspaper's September 16, 1882 issue.

Ideas | Tiffany Shlain

The case for a tech Shabbat in a too-connected world

It’s time to reconsider what Labor Day actually means to us — what we define as work and as rest in our 24/7 always-on, always-available culture. We need to take a hard look at the boundaries we have let slide and some boundaries we might need to bring back.