Commentary

A woman reads a book to two young boys in a park

Study seeks to explain ‘Mandela Effect’ – the bizarre phenomenon of shared false memories

BY: and - September 26, 2022

Imagine the Monopoly Man. Is he wearing a monocle or not? If you pictured the character from the popular board game wearing one, you’d be wrong. In fact, he has never worn one. If you’re surprised by this, you’re not alone. Many people possess the same false memory of this character. This phenomenon takes place […]

A man sits on a set of stairs during a heat wave

America’s summer of heat, floods, and climate change: Welcome to the new abnormal

BY: - September 23, 2022

The summer of 2022 started with a historic flood in Montana, brought on by heavy rain and melting snow, that tore up roads and caused large areas of Yellowstone National Park to be evacuated. It ended with a record-breaking heat wave in California and much of the West that pushed the power grid to the […]

An illustration showing a crowd of gray shaded people with one person bright red

Conspiracy theories are dangerous even if very few people believe them

BY: - September 20, 2022

There is an open question among pundits and researchers: Do more Americans believe in conspiracy theories now than ever before? But as a scholar of conspiracy theories and their believers, I am concerned that focusing on how many Americans believe conspiracy theories can distract from their dangers. Even if most people dismiss conspiracy theories or […]

A gas burner

Is your gas stove bad for your health?

BY: - September 19, 2022

Cooks love their gadgets, from countertop slow cookers to instant-read thermometers. Now, there’s increasing interest in magnetic induction cooktops – surfaces that cook much faster than conventional stoves, without igniting a flame or heating an electric coil. Some of this attention is overdue: Induction has long been popular in Europe and Asia, and it is […]

Serena Williams: The power, and danger, of a single story

BY: and - September 15, 2022

Earlier this month, we joined with millions of other sports fans in watching Serena Williams play the final match of her dazzling tennis career at the U.S. Open. We ooh’d and ahh’d as she served up 11 aces to her opponent’s three, adding to her record stockpile of 4,131 aces since 2008 alone. We cowered […]

‘The past echoes in the present’: A review of ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’

BY: - September 12, 2022

The three two-hour episodes of “The U.S. and the Holocaust,” a documentary by Ken Burns, Lynn Novick, and Sarah Botstein, debut on PBS beginning Sept. 18. Toward the end of “The U.S. and the Holocaust,” Ken Burns’ new documentary, the audience hears the last entry in the wartime diary of Anne Frank: “It’s a wonder […]

Ken Burns at a podium

‘The number 6 million is impenetrable’: Burns discusses new film, ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’

BY: - September 9, 2022

“The U.S. and the Holocaust,” a three-episode film by Ken Burns, Lynn Novick, and Sarah Botstein, will debut on Sept. 18 on PBS. Burns and his partners and staff at Florentine Films work out of a production studio in Walpole, N.H. After watching the film, I interviewed Burns.  Our discussion has been shortened and lightly […]

Make clean and healthy lakes a priority at the polls

BY: - September 8, 2022

In New Hampshire, clean and healthy lakes are a way of life. But the lakes we all love are threatened more than ever before. There are a lot of exceptionally important issues to consider at the polls this fall, and I’m urging you not to forget about your favorite lakes at election time this November. […]

If you think you’re ready for college drop-off, think again

BY: - September 7, 2022

As the proud father of twins, all the joys of parenthood are multiplied by two. I remember when Alexis and Brady were born, I felt excited to be able to shop “both sides” of the toy store. All the milestones, all the moments, all the fun times two! Yes, they would fight like cats and […]

Low vaccine booster rates now a key factor in COVID-19 deaths – and racial disparities persist

BY: , , and - September 6, 2022

More than 450 people are dying of COVID-19 in the U.S. each day as of late August 2022. When COVID-19 vaccines first became available, public officials, community organizations and policymakers mobilized to get shots into arms. These efforts included significant investments in making vaccines accessible to Black, Hispanic, American Indian, and Alaska Native populations. These […]

On suicide: It’s no longer an unspeakable word 

BY: - September 2, 2022

Depending upon where you look, suicide is either the second or third leading cause of death in America. Suicide is highest among white males, followed by Native Americans, followed by Black males. Overall, suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in the United States, with a suicide occurring about every 11.5 minutes. Suicide is […]

A woman in a bed holds her head

Long COVID: Researchers zeroing in on self-targeted immune attacks that may lurk behind it

BY: - September 1, 2022

For almost three years, scientists have raced to understand the immune responses in patients who develop severe COVID-19, with an enormous effort aimed at defining where healthy immunity ends and destructive immunity begins. In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, much attention focused on reports of harmful inflammation and so-called cytokine storms – dangerous […]