Many people on the Left have for decades considered Republican politics anathema. But as the twenty-first century advances into ever-more perilous territory, Republicans are clinging to political and ideological stances which simply defy common sense, logic, reality and efficacy. Bearing in mind the existential nature of the problems facing the…


Why Government Needs to be Better Than the People

The truth is, Democracy is not God-given. Neither is it inevitable, “normal” or required.

Democracy is, like all other human ideas, just that — an idea. And as such, its value can rise and fall. Strangely, perhaps, many well-known Ancient Greeks…


How Humans Adapt: Plague, Government, and the Rise of Science

Throughout ancient history rapacious diseases have repeatedly devastated populations — in many cases proving that bacteria and viruses are far more of a threat than human violence or malfeasance. But throughout history the human response to pandemics evolved, as we…


How Learning Some Basic Math Will Help You Look Smarter: A true Story (sorta)

Excerpted from Look Smart: How To Appear Intelligent (When You’re Not).

Let’s face it; before mathematics, everything we knew came from religious texts. It didn’t matter if you were Mayan, Muslim, or Manichean, you had a…


Bad Men, Great Artists: How to Reconcile one with the Other

Pablo Picasso was an awesome artist. No one really argues about that. …


The Value of Corporate History

Businessmen pose on a Westinghouse generator

Everything has a history, simply because everything exists in time (except of course Monty Python which is timeless).

Starting with nations, which are the best-known kind of histories, we drill down to regions, states, cites and towns. …


The place to begin this story is about 570 CE, with the birth of Muhammad, in Mecca.

At the time Mecca was a site of ritual pilgrimage for people from all over Arabia, largely nomadic tribes. The people of Mecca were involved in trade, especially the long-distance caravan trade to…


Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, Isfahan, Iran

Islam, like other religions, has multiple schisms, factions and parties within it. Just like Christianity, there are divergent views. In the Islamic world the largest of these splits is that between Sunni and Shi’ite. …


A Secret History of You.

I wrote elsewhere on Medium (What is History For?) that just as towns or countries have historians and histories, just so individuals have histories, and are their own historians.

What does this mean?

It means that narratives about ourselves circulate, within our family, within our…


Annie Spratt

In social situations people generally don’t have enough time to draw well-informed conclusions about your intelligence. What they are left with after a five or ten minute conversation at a party or over a casual encounter with coffee, is an impression. …

Adrian V. Cole

Writer of fiction & non fiction. Author of “The Thinking Past: Questions and Problems in World History to 1750,” and the ebook Look Smart! www.adrianvcole.com

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