How Cesarean Births Became a ‘Global Epidemic’

Reliance on New Obstetric Technology and Lawsuit-Averse Doctors Made Traditional Birth Seem More Risky Than C-Sections

Almost one in three births in the United States today is by cesarean section—a dramatic change from a century ago when physicians avoided the surgery whenever possible. Doctors remained so wary of the surgery’s effects that even in the early 1970s, fewer than one in 20 births was by cesarean section. By 1987, though, cesareans accounted for one in four births in the United States. Since then, the frequency of the surgery has surged worldwide. A recent issue of the medical journal The Lancet condemned this “global epidemic” of unnecessary …

Why Isn’t Lake Champlain ‘Great’?

Despite Its Geological Kinship With Superior, Erie, and Ontario, the Narrow Body of Water Between New York and Vermont Gets Mocked by Midwesterners

“The term ‘Great Lakes’ includes Lake Champlain.”

These seven words, quietly slipped into an appropriations bill by Vermont’s U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy in 1998, briefly elevated the national status of a …

Do Genes Really Determine Your Hobbies, Relationships, and Voting Habits?

Science and Pop Culture Make DNA Seem All-Important, But Nurture Still Matters as Much as Nature

Over the past 25 years, we’ve become surprisingly comfortable with the idea that genes play a large role in our lives. When DNA is in the mix, people assume that …

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 …

How Crop Circles Saved the Great Plains

In the 1940s, Farmer Frank Zybach Invented Center Pivot Irrigation and Brought the Dust Bowl Back to Life

If you live in the Great Plains, sooner or later you’ll get a question about those “crop circles” that can be observed from airplane windows during flights over the region. …

Closed-Circuit TV Is Revolutionizing Our Understanding of Human Behavior

While Researchers Used to Rely on Interviews and Experiments, Raw Video Reveals Subtle, Previously Hidden Reactions

In a 2012 YouTube video of an attempted robbery in California, a strange scene unfolds.

Two robbers enter the Circle T Market in Riverbank. One carries a large assault rifle, an …