The Miseducation of Big Tech

One of the biggest puzzles about our current predicament with fake news and the weaponisation of social media is why the folks who built this technology are so taken aback by what has happened. Exhibit A is the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, whose political education I recently chronicled. But he’s not alone. In fact I’d say … Continued

The Most Painted Woman in the World

She is known as ‘the most painted woman in the world’: around 225 artists have captured the captivating likeness of Suzy Solidor, including Tamara de Lempicka, Jean Cocteau, Francis Bacon, Man Ray and Francis Picabia. A French cabaret star, she was a major mainstream recording artist in the 1930s – even though she sang really … Continued

A Brief History of Black Friday

Black Friday is one of those days that has grown into its own monster, seemingly all by itself. Something that some people may want to call a “Hallmark holiday,” or a very clever marketing gimmick, was also used to help recover a broken economy. Yes, Black Friday is a day you either love or hate. Some people stay … Continued

What the Trumps and Kardashians Have Done to Us

There are those who have fame thrust upon them, and those who thrust themselves upon fame like an invasion force. It is the latter troupe of shameless, relentless thrusters that occupies us here, the Trump and Kardashian clanships. Until fairly recently, family dynasties — whatever skeletons they may have had in their closets — thrived … Continued

How Not To Become Famous

Two years ago, when I was working on a book about technology and higher education, I drew the assignment of drafting the chapter on social media because my co-author didn’t tweet and had never been on Facebook. My experience with Facebook lasted only a few months, but I have tweeted since 2010. Whether you tweet or … Continued

What They Really Ate at the First Thanksgiving Dinner

Most Americans probably don’t realize that we have a very limited understanding of the first Thanksgiving, which took place in 1621 in Massachusetts. Indeed, few of our present-day traditions resemble what happened almost 400 years ago, and there’s only one original account of the feast. As an anthropologist who specializes in reconstructing past diets, I can … Continued

The Invention of Thanksgiving

When you think of the history of Thanksgiving, you’d be hard-pressed not to picture funny Pilgrim hats and stereotyped Native Americans. These days, most of us know that the sanitized story we learned in grade school bears little resemblance to the real history of the Plymouth colony. But it might still come as a surprise to hear … Continued

Where Does the Turkey’s Tail Go?

Intensive livestock farming is a huge global industry that serves up millions of tons of beef, pork and poultry every year. When I asked one producer recently to name something his industry thinks about that consumers don’t, he replied, “Beaks and butts.” This was his shorthand for animal parts that consumers – especially in wealthy … Continued

Movies that Inspire Gratitude on Thanksgiving

Gratitude is an important character strength and life skill for kids’ success and happiness, but it’s more than just saying “thank you.” All of the films on this list can teach kids the value of being aware of and thankful for the good things in their lives — and of taking the time to return kindness. … Continued

How to be a Perfect Thanksgiving Guest

The deepest form of vicarious pleasure, if not the noblest, is the kind we feel when most of our joy in someone else’s achievement comes from not having done any of the work ourselves. This is the happiness of thinking about a friend’s newborn baby when you get into bed for a full night’s rest; … Continued