How the Pickup Truck Carried the American South Into the Future

From 'Rusty Rattletraps' to 'Big Black Jacked-Up' Rides, the Iconic Vehicles Symbolize Blue-Collar Identity While Flaunting Bourgeois Prosperity

The pickup truck’s rise from its crude, makeshift origins to the almost luxury-item status it enjoys today amounts to a Horatio Alger tale with a technological twist, providing a striking allegory of cherished national legends of progress and upward mobility.

In the early 20th century, a number of Americans, seeking a more expeditious means of hauling material that could not be crammed into or strapped atop the traditional motorcar, took their tinsnips to the family flivver, affixing a large box or old wagon bed to the rear of the chassis. …

How the Industrial Age Fuels Our Belief in UFOs

Fears of Zeppelins, Rockets, and Drones Have Replaced the "Celestial Wonders" of Ancient Times

In 1896, newspapers throughout the United States began reporting accounts of mysterious airships flying overhead. Descriptions varied, but witnesses frequently invoked the century’s great technological achievements. Some sources reported dirigibles …

Emojis Don’t Give Meaning to Our Deepest Feelings

We Need More Than Smiley and Frowny Faces to Avoid Misunderstandings

It’s been 35 years since Scott Fahlman, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University, urged users of an online bulletin board to add two character sequences to their messages: ‘:-)’ …

What the “Crowd-Work” Economy Taught Me About Community

The Perks and Pitfalls of Digital-Era Piece Work

If you’ve never heard of Amazon Mechanical Turk, my workplace of the last 11 years, you’re not alone. Most people know about Amazon—the massive conglomerate where you can do everything …

Why We Should Fear Emotionally Manipulative Robots

Artificial Intelligence Is Learning How to Exploit Human Psychology for Profit

“Keep going straight here!”

“Err, that’s not what the app is telling me to do.”

“Yes, but it’s faster this way. The app is taking you to the beltway. Traffic is terrible …

California Can Reconceive the Arts by Offering More Choices and Ways to Participate

Demographic and Technological Shifts Could Let Arts in the Golden State Better Serve Communities

California is undergoing massive changes in technology, demography, the nature of work and, thus, in leisure activity. So is its cultural sector, with consequences for how Californians experience art and …