Adrienne LaFrance


Pompeii and the Ancient Origins of Blaming the Victim

People have sought moral explanations for natural disasters since antiquity.


Self-Driving Cars Could Save 300,000 Lives Per Decade in the U.S.

Automation on the roads could be the great public-health achievement of the 21st century.

Eric Thayer / Reuters

A Brief History of Levees

Manmade embankments are an ancient technology, modeled from nature.

Noah Berger / REUTERS

Is Anywhere on Earth Safe From Climate Change?

Relocating to a landlocked city isn’t enough.

Jennifer Morrow / Flickr

When You Give a Tree an Email Address

The city of Melbourne assigned trees email addresses so citizens could report problems. Instead, people wrote thousands of love letters to their favorite trees.


A View From Space So Clear You Can See the Cars Moving

Surreal views of Boston, London, and Barcelona from an ultra-high-definition camera aboard the International Space Station.


How Airbags Are Supposed to Work

A volatile chemical compound is being used as propellant in airbags made by Takata, the company behind the massive auto recall in the United States. Should it be?

Flickr/Brad Hammonds

Are Taxis Safer Than Uber?

Many major cities don't keep comprehensive data about assaults against passengers—and even FBI-led background checks have limitations.

Reuters/Damir Sagolj

The Ghost of Earthquakes Past

Mega-quakes trigger massive temblors for years after they first hit.

Flickr/Gulan Bollsay

The Slow, Agonizing Death of the MetroCard

New York's long-heralded swipe-free subway payment system may not arrive until 2022.

Steve Cadman/Flickr

Big Data Can Peer Into Your Soul Based on Your Zip Code

Software company Esri's database files Americans into 67 different consumer groups—with eerie accuracy.

Stephen Lam/Reuters

Is There a Better Way to Measure Earthquakes?

The logarithmic magnitude scale is confusing to many, but it's here to stay. 

U.S. Geological Survey

How Man-Made Earthquakes Are Changing the Seismic Landscape

Scientists say fracking is part of why Oklahoma now rivals California in quake activity.

Francois Lenoir/Reuters

The Robots Are Coming, but Are They Coming for Our Jobs?

Experts are split on whether artificial intelligence will boost—or decimate—the economy.

ChameleonsEye/Shutterstock/Robinson Meyer

The Evolution of Slang

For a century and a half, The New York Times has been earnestly—and hilariously—defining the evolving language of cities. 

Library of Congress

How the Bicycle Paved the Way for Women's Rights

The technology craze of the 1890s meant fashion freedom and transportation independence.


Why Do We Love Manhattanhenge So Much?

Where nature meets the grid, we find an ancient way of connecting with the cosmos. 


An Acid-Spewing ATM That Protects Itself From Thieves

How scientists turned a beetle's unusual defense mechanism into technology.


The Site of a 1950s Plane Crash Just Became a National Landmark

But the Park Service won't tell you how to get there.