Why Termites Are Giving Humans a Lot to Chew On

The Industrious "Underbug" Isn't Just Chomping Our Houses. It's Furnishing Clues About the Future of Technology, Energy, and Warfare.

Apart from mosquitoes and cockroaches, termites may be the least beloved insects rambling around our planet. But they’re also among the most underappreciated of creepy-crawlies—and their example can tell us a thing or two about how to create biofuels, train robots, and harness artificial intelligence.

Author and journalist Lisa Margonelli made her best case for the lowly and unsightly, yet ubiquitous and highly successful arthropods at a Zócalo discussion titled “What Can Termites Teach Us About the Future of Technology?”

Margonelli, deputy editor at Zócalo Public Square, is an unabashed fan …

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Only You Can Defeat Vladimir Putin

Russian Interference With America Is Profound and Systematic, So the Best Self-Defense Is We, the People

Vladimir Putin has done a masterful job of sowing hatred and confusion in the West. By tampering with elections, hijacking social media platforms, and cranking out reams of bogus conspiracy …

Women Rocked the Ancient World—But Ruling It Was Harder

Nefertiti, Cleopatra, and Hatshepsut Commanded Empires and Flipped Gender Roles While Pushing Against the Patriarchy

Cleopatra shattered the glass ceiling of power in ancient Egypt. Boudica, the fearsome first-century Celtic Iceni queen, “leaned in” by leading a bloody uprising against the occupying Roman army.

But …

Why America Keeps Battling to Live Up to the 14th Amendment

From Its Post-Civil War Origins to Today's Immigration Debates, the Constitutional Guarantee of Equal Protection and 'Birthright Citizenship' Has Been Bitterly Contested

The first clause of the 14th Amendment is a scant 28 words long. Yet when the amendment was adopted on July 9, 1868, it advanced the crucial task of turning …

When Racist Language Spreads, Immigrants Suffer—and the Social Fabric Frays

The Recurring Backlash Against U.S. Newcomers Triggers Threats to Health, Safety, and the Rule of Law

If immigrant children are exposed to racist hate speech, how will it affect their mental and physical health? If elected officials indulge in immigrant-bashing rhetoric, could they embolden white supremacists …

Helping the Environment Is Nice. Helping Yourself Is OK, Too.

A UCLA Economist Argues That More People Will Embrace 'Green' Consumption If They Get a Personal Benefit

Homo sapiens are hardwired to consume, a habit that’s taking a heavy—and potentially catastrophic—environmental toll. But pleading with people to stop driving gas-guzzling SUVs or eating red meat may not …