The Ten Best Books About Food of 2018

The Ten Best Books About Food of 2018

You and I Eat the Same: On the Countless Ways Food and Cooking Connect Us to One Another In the opening pages of You and I Eat the Same, an impressive collection of essays and stories about how food connects...
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Why a New Robin Hood Arises Every Generation

Why a New Robin Hood Arises Every Generation

Folklore comes from the folk, which is why “robbing the rich to give to the poor” is a motif that has endured for centuries in the imagination of the people. When it comes to the redistribution of wealth in ballad...
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How Poetry Soothed a Nation in Mourning for John F. Kennedy

How Poetry Soothed a Nation in Mourning for John F. Kennedy

On that unsettling day 55 years ago this month, the nation began a pageant of tears. President John F. Kennedy was dead of an assassin’s bullet. Schoolchildren were stunned to see strict and intimidating teachers weeping in the hallways. A...
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Smithsonian Adds Arthur Jafa’s “Love is the Message, The Message is Death” to the Collections

Smithsonian Adds Arthur Jafa’s “Love is the Message, The Message is Death” to the Collections

Arthur Jafa’s 2016 video Love is the Message, The Message is Death is a striking seven-and-a-half-minute display of the power and perils of the African-American experience, all set to Kanye West’s hit Ultralight Beam. The piece made its Smithsonian debut.....
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The World’s First Synthesizer Was a 200-Ton Behemoth

The World’s First Synthesizer Was a 200-Ton Behemoth

In 1893, Thaddeus Cahill, a Washington-based, 115-pound hyper-metabolic child prodigy whose business instincts matched his scientific acumen, realized that tones generated from an electric dynamo could simulate all of the qualities of instruments such as violi...
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W.E.B. Du Bois’ Visionary Infographics Come Together for the First Time in Full Color

W.E.B. Du Bois’ Visionary Infographics Come Together for the First Time in Full Color

After three decades of emancipation, the gains made by African-Americans, those that existed at all, presented a decidedly mixed picture about the state of racial progress in the country. The political obstacles were voluminous, with the failure of Reconstruct...
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How the First LGBTQ Mariachi Became an Outlet for Advocacy

How the First LGBTQ Mariachi Became an Outlet for Advocacy

What social power does music have? Where does that power come from? Mariachi musicians Carlos Samaniego and Natalia Melendez found out the hard way—first through discrimination, ridicule and professional blackballing among their musician peers, then via the ...
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Stan Lee Helped Shape the Story of What It Is to Be American

Stan Lee Helped Shape the Story of What It Is to Be American

For Eric Jentsch, it was Black Bolt, the leader of a genetically altered race known as the Inhumans, who debuted in Marvel’s Fantastic Four in December 1965. As Black Bolt’s powerful voice could lay waste to his surroundings, the comic-book...
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A Letter to Stan Lee, Comic Book Legend, Written by One of His Biggest Fans

A Letter to Stan Lee, Comic Book Legend, Written by One of His Biggest Fans

Dear Stan, I knew the name and signature “Stan Lee” before I ever knew the name “Marvel.” Growing up in the 1950s, so many stories in so many comic books I read, even those I picked up in flea markets...
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Why Walking on Legos Hurts More Than Walking on Fire or Ice

Why Walking on Legos Hurts More Than Walking on Fire or Ice

In 2006, Scott Bell earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest-ever barefoot walk over hot coals—250 feet of glowing hot embers, at 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. Eight months later, he smashed that record with another...
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