Arts + Culture – Articles, Analysis, Opinion

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Researchers studied whether subtly being exposed to different colors could change tipping behavior. Anutr Yossundara/Shutterstock.com

Want better tips? Go for gold

Studies show a weak relationship between tip amounts and quality of service. But the color gold seems to have a way of making diners feel wealthier – and more generous.
A self-portrait of George Platt Lynes from 1952. Gelatin silver print, 7-5/8 × 9 in. From the Collections of the Kinsey Institute, Indiana University. © Estate of George Platt Lynes.

The forgotten legacy of gay photographer George Platt Lynes

Lynes was a highly sought-after commercial and fashion photographer in the 1930s and 1940s. But he had to keep his most important body of work hidden away.
There seems be an attractive quality to things that are ostensibly unhealthy or dangerous. Alisusha/Shutterstock.com

What’s behind our appetite for self-destruction?

Edgar Allen Poe, Sigmund Freud and cognitive scientists have all wrestled with the human tendency to behave in ways that are irrational and self-defeating.
Sometimes the reaction doesn’t go as planned. Lily & Chloe Official/YouTube

The bizarre phenomenon of vacation surprise videos

With the surprise meticulously planned, all eyes – and lenses – turn to the kids. All they have to do is react as expected: overjoyed. So why don't they?
To feel a pang of pleasure at the misfortune of others is to be human. VixCompaNi/Shutterstock.com

Why does it feel good to see someone fail?

Schadenfreude seems to arise out of envy and a sense of justice. But some psychologists believe a darker impulse is at play.
Maria Meza, a 40-year-old migrant woman from Honduras, runs away from tear gas with her 5-year-old twin daughters in front of the border wall in Tijuana, Mexico. Kim Kyung Hoon/Reuters

Of the trillion photos taken in 2018, which were the most memorable?

Each day, readers are bombarded with shocking, inspiring and informative images. In their overwhelming volume, they can be easily forgotten. Nonetheless, some do rise to the top.
This undated score, written by Joseph Mohr and titled ‘Weynachts Lied’ (‘Christmas Carol’), is the earliest known surviving copy of ‘Silent Night.’ Salzburg Museum

The humble origins of ‘Silent Night’

Two hundred years ago, an Austrian priest teamed up with a schoolteacher to perform the first rendition of 'Silent Night.' Little did they know that it would one day be sung in over 300 languages.
Record companies released stereo demonstration albums that showcased how sound could move from left to right, creating a sense of movement. From the collection of Janet Borgerson and Jonathan Schroeder

How stereo was first sold to a skeptical public

Sixty years ago, stereo promised to forever change the way people listened to music. But how could record companies convince customers to buy a new record player, speakers and amplifier?
Texas Tribune reporter Jay Root interviews New Mexico State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn along Highway 652 near the Texas-New Mexico border. Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune/Courtesy of NewsMatch

How local journalism can upend the ‘fake news’ narrative

A recent survey found that Americans trust local media outlets far more than national ones.
For centuries, Pulter’s manuscript lay untouched at the University of Leeds’ Brotherton Library. University of Leeds Library, Brotherton Collection, MS Lt q 32

In the 1600s Hester Pulter wondered, ‘Why must I forever be confined?’ – now her poems are online for all to see

In a time when women were expected to be silent, no topic was off limits for Pulter, who penned verses about politics, science and loss. Her manuscript was just published in a free digital archive.
‘It’s really difficult to live as a rock musician in Bangladesh,“ says Samir Hafiz, a guitarist in the heavy metal band Warfaze. Facebook

Rock ‘n’ roll is dying in Bangladesh

For decades, Bangladesh had a very vibrant – and highly political – rock scene. But the genre is struggling to survive the country's crackdown on dissent and increasing Islamic conservatism.
‘Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor’ by William Halsall (1882). Pilgrim Hall Museum

Why the Pilgrims were actually able to survive

The Pilgrims repeatedly thanked God for their good fortune. But without two earlier developments, the entire undertaking at New Plymouth would have likely failed.
In the 1960s, the Temple established nine residential care facilities for the elderly and six homes for foster children in the Redwood Valley. Peoples Temple / Jonestown Gallery/flickr

Before the tragedy at Jonestown, the people of Peoples Temple had a dream

Throughout the movement's history, African Americans and whites lived, worked and protested side-by-side. It was one of the few long-term experiments in American interracial communalism.