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War and drugs: Together since forever

Alcohol-drenched medieval battlefields. Opium-laced imperialism. Modern-day narco-terrorism. There’s a lot of history between armed conflict and psychoactive substances.

Archaeology of the 99%

The vast majority of people in antiquity were too poor to leave many artifacts behind. But archaeologists have learned how to look beyond the temples and palaces.

Sex strategies of the evolutionary kind

For women, a short-term fling may involve a quest for good genes or just a good time. It’s a puzzle for the researchers looking at how people choose mates.

If it pleases the Prosecution

The immense powers of prosecutors throughout the US mean that the scales are tipped against defendants — and justice itself, says a legal expert

A blizzard of “sustainability” labels

Earth-friendly certifications and standards abound for products like coffee, chocolate and palm oil. But do the programs work?

Short-circuiting the suicide cascade

Psychologists are seeking better ways to cut the link between dire thoughts and fatal action. Among their strategies: individualized plans for pulling back from the brink, and limiting access to deadly means, especially guns.

The dappled dilemma facing vitiligo science

Even as scientists celebrate progress in the lab, a stigma-busting movement asserts that those with the autoimmune skin condition are more in need of acceptance than medicine

Grim relics

Archaeology of the Nazi era is about digging for truth through science. Reinhard Bernbeck discusses the origins and ethics of this approach.

The quest for autism’s causes, and what it reveals about all of us

The more researchers look, the more multifaceted the risk factors appear — and the more we learn about how the brain works and develops

A deeper understanding of the Grand Canyon

After 100 years as a national park and eons as a geological wonder, the American icon continues to reveal layers of its past and of the landscape ahead

The inheritance enigma

Retirement is a time for spending, not saving. And yet many people hold on to their wealth. Understanding why, and where that money ends up, is of increasing importance as the US population ages. 

A deliberate fix for democracy

Take a group of random citizens, give them the facts and let thoughtful discussion unfold

The power of brands, conscious and unconscious

Economists explore the complex forces that shape what ends up in your shopping cart and how that might change in the online marketplace 

The human factor in clean water

There are many cheap and effective ways to provide safe water to the world’s poor regions. But projects often fail due to inadequate planning, maintenance or persuasive power.

Genetics extends the long arm of the law

In an evolving branch of forensic science, genealogists help solve crimes, sometimes identifying suspects with the DNA of distant relatives they’ve never met. As cold cases yield, concerns about privacy issues persist.

What we talk about when we talk about food

From identity to national politics, gastronomical conversations can reflect who we are, and who we are not

Fighting crime with statistics

Taking advantage of “natural experiments,” researchers analyze data to look at what works

A “subprime” crisis in housing? Think again.

Economist Antoinette Schoar and colleagues found that middle-class homebuyers had more to do with 2008’s real estate crash than the less-wealthy consumers usually blamed for it.