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Aeon, a Digital Publication that Features Long-Form In-Depth Essays Written by Industry Professionals
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Aeon's writers are industry experts, many of whom are involved with academia. Aeon is registered as a 501(c)(3) charity in the US. They cover tough topics with essays.
Charles Darwin's The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication was published in 1868, nine years after On the Origin of Species. Among a number of topics related to domestication and heredity, the book asked why tamed animals tend to have floppier ears, shorter snouts and lighter, blotchier skin than their wild counterparts – a set of traits he referred to as ‘domestication syndrome’. The question went unanswered during Darwin’s lifetime but, as this animation from NPR's Skunk Bear reveals, scientists might have recently discovered the answer hiding in the cellular makeup of domesticated animal embryos.
By Aeon Video
It’s been decades since I was a copyeditor, but I haven’t given up my long, trusting relationship with the Chicago Manual of Style. So when I learned that Chicago, along with the Associated Press (AP) had accepted the use of ‘they’ as a singular pronoun last year, I was ready to go along. Not eve...
By Stephanie Golden
In St Louis County in Missouri – and, indeed, across much of the United States – court fines and fees for minor traffic violations can quickly mount, leading to jail for those unable to pay. This is a crisis hidden in plain sight, with non-white communities disproportionately targeted for police stops. A Debtors’ Prison tells the story of two women, Samantha Jenkins and Meredith Walker, who became plaintiffs in a landmark $4.75 million illegal jailing case. Set in the hometown of Michael Brown, the African-American teenager killed in the notorious 2014 police shooting, this short documentary by Todd Chandler and Brett Story examines the inherent inhumanity of a punitive criminal justice system that places inordinate burdens on the poor.
By Aeon Video
Robo-bees and drone-seeded forests: can technology mend our broken relationship with the natural world?
By Henry Mance
Wealthy parents seem to have it made when it comes to raising their children. They can offer their kids the healthiest foods, the most attentive caregivers, the best teachers and the most enriching experiences, from international vacations to unpaid internships in competitive fields. Yet these p...
By Rachel Sherman
My anxiety has been lifelong but I would not wish it away. It has made me the philosopher – and person – that I am today
By Samir Chopra
According to the US writer, Rhodes Scholar and disability advocate Rachel Kolb, who was born with bilateral hearing loss, the word ‘lip-reading’ is a misnomer. It’s a means of communication replete with challenges, including but not limited to mumbling, accents, hairy faces and unusually shaped mouths. Even under the most ideal circumstances, with a clear view of someone’s lips in a one-on-one conversation, it can feel like ‘putting together a puzzle without all the pieces’. Based on Kolb’s essay ‘Seeing at the Speed of Sound’ (2013), this inventive short film from the US director David Terry Fine captures the precarious business of trying ‘to grasp, with one sense, information intended for another’.
By Aeon Video
By the 20th century, the idea that local peoples ought to have a say in the status of their territory came to be called national self-determination. Historians and legal scholars alike often describe this principle as triumphantly emerging from the calamity and destruction of the First World War....
By Edward Kolla
For Adorno, popular culture is not just bad art – it enslaves us to repetition and robs us of our aesthetic freedom
By Owen Hulatt
This highly acclaimed documentary by the filmmaker Laura Checkoway is the story of Edith Hill and Eddie Harrison, who, at ages 96 and 95, became in 2014 the oldest interracial newlyweds in the United States. But as Edith+Eddie unfolds, their loving partnership soon becomes threatened by family infighting and the US legal guardianship laws. Set in Virginia against a backdrop of rainy days and Sunday church services, the film explores love, ageing and family with a tenderness that sustains even as the couple’s heartwarming story transforms into something much darker. A 2018 Oscar® nominee, Edith+Eddie speaks urgently about the potential abuses of legal guardianship in the US, and raises broader questions about the treatment of the elderly in Western society.
By Aeon Video
The first decades of the 20th century saw a raft of psychological terms fall into popular usage. Freudian notions of ‘denial’ and ‘displacement’, ‘projection’ and ‘transference’, were the first to become part of everyday language; thanks to Alfred Adler, feelings of ‘inferiority’ and ‘superiority...
By Antonio Melechi
The financial world is a theatrical production, abundantly lubricated by that magical elixir of illusionists: confidence
By Matt Seybold
Shot inside the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, DC as it was undergoing repairs for earthquake damage, this mesmerising video captures the movement of light through the stained-glass windows of this neo-Gothic structure. By using time-lapse photography, the director Colin Winterbottom transforms the cathedral into a canvas for the brilliant colours of its many large and elaborate stained-glass displays. The video was displayed at Winterbottom’s exhibition Scaling Washington, which debuted at Washington, DC’s National Building Museum in 2015.
By Aeon Video
It was noon in early 1942 as Johann Grüner approached the ‘German House’ in the Polish town of Nowy Targ for lunch. As a mid-level Nazi bureaucrat in occupied Poland, he enjoyed the privileges of power and the opportunity for career advancement that came with duty in the East. The German House, a...
By Edward B Westermann
Agent Orange was widely used as part of the United States’ herbicidal warfare programme in the Vietnam War, deployed as a means of exposing the positions of Viet Cong and North Vietnamese soldiers through defoliation and destroying their crops. These attacks became emblematic of US military recklessness in its interventions in Southeast Asia, leaving massive environmental and humanitarian catastrophes in their wake. Some five decades later, the lasting impact of Agent Orange still reverberates throughout the region, as the chemical dioxin is increasingly believed to be responsible for a wide range of health problems across generations – a claim that the US government largely denies. The short documentary Chau, Beyond the Lines spans eight years in the life of a Vietnamese teenager named Chau, born with deformed limbs believed to be the result of intergenerational Agent Orange exposure, as he chases his dream of becoming an artist despite little encouragement from his caretakers and family. Impressive in its scope and humanity, the film by the US director Courtney Marsh was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject) in 2016.
By Aeon Video
Writing essays by a formula was meant to be a step on the way. Now it’s the stifling goal for student and scholar alike
By David Labaree
In the summer of 2017, a now infamous memo came to light. Written by James Damore, then an engineer at Google, it claimed that the under-representation of women in tech was partly caused by inherent biological differences between men and women. The memo didn’t offer any new evidence – on the cont...
By Jess Bier
Eighteenth-century Indian arms were as sophisticated as European. Then came the British Empire to drive industry backwards
By Priya Satia
The Hippodamia convergens (the convergent ladybug, or ladybird) beetle spends most of its life alone, feasting on aphids and other small, soft-bodied insects. But each year as the cold weather sets in, they migrate to hibernation hiding places – generally the same cozy spots. Their journey is made all the more impressive by the fact that the insects, which live only up to a year, have never been to the meet-up points before. Scientists believe that they find their way using pheromone trails left by previous generations. And, as this short video from the science documentary series Deep Look shows, when they assemble en masse to enter a state of diapause and eventually mate in the spring, it’s a natural wonder worth beholding. You can read more about this insect's lifecycle at KQED Science.
By Aeon Video
In a now classic experiment, the psychologists Richard E Nisbett and Timothy Wilson at the University of Michigan laid out a range of items, such as pairs of stockings, and asked people to select one. Participants consistently preferred the items on their most right-hand side. But when they were ...
By Lisa Bortolotti