Latest Ideas headlines

50 Words: Driving down Hancock . . .

An ongoing series of stories about Boston in 50 words.

Cartoon | Beth Wolfensberger Singer

A different take on the haunted house

Beth Wolfensberger Singer’s take on the news.

Cartoon | Sage Stossel

In the spirit of the season

Sage Stossel’s take on the news.

Ideas | Q&A

Will robots kill our jobs? What an MIT report tells us about the future of work

We’re on the brink of a technological revolution. But will that result in benefits spread across society or just for a few?

Big Data: A big milestone in quantum computing?

Google says it’s achievement is revolutionary. Competitors aren’t as kind.

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren showed her support for striking Chicago school teachers on Tuesday. The Democratic presidential race seems to be boiling down to a single question.

Ideas | David Scharfenberg

Will ‘Medicare for All’ destroy Elizabeth Warren’s campaign?

The Democratic presidential race seems to be boiling down to a single question.

50 Words: South End, 1985

An ongoing series of stories about Boston in 50 words.

Harriet Tubman (left) posed for a photograph with a group of slaves she helped escape. Climate change is imperiling a number of important African American historical sites.

Ideas | Rona Kobell

Climate change is wiping out Harriet Tubman’s homeland, and we’re doing little about it

America’s racialized topography means African-American historical sites are especially vulnerable to climate change; the fact that we’re willing to lose these places speaks volumes.

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.

Big Data: The tenure of a Supreme Court justice

How long does a justice on the high court serve, on average?

50 Words: Boston City Hall . . .

An ongoing series of stories about Boston in 50 words.

A new biography of the planner responsible for empowering Boston’s redevelopment agency, Ed Logue (above), challenges a long-held, simple narrative.

Ideas | Courtney Humphries

Ed Logue and the birth of modern Boston

A new biography of the man who remade the city in the 1960s challenges popular tropes about the evils of urban renewal.

Cartoon | A.J.B. Lane

Leave it to Hunter

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

TOPSHOT - A woman covers her face as she stands along the side of a road on the outskirts of the town of Tal Tamr near the Syrian Kurdish town of Ras al-Ain along the border with Turkey in the northeastern Hassakeh province on October 16, 2019, with the smoke plumes of tire fires billowing in the background to decrease visibility for Turkish warplanes that are part of operation


Condemning Trump on Syria? It’s ‘buffet outrage’

Much of the criticism is a hypocritical blend of anti-Trump fanaticism and frustration over the emerging reality that we have lost the Syrian war.

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.