Skip to main content


For posts before June 2012, please follow these links to our archives.

Useful Enemies

Christopher de Bellaigue The Guardian
This book examines the influence Islam had on European political thought between the 15th to the 18th centuries, as well as the complex relations between the Ottoman Empire and emergent modern Europe during that era.

Why Scientists Want to Engineer Spicy Tomatoes

Brigit Katz Smithsonian Magazine
Tomatoes may be a source of capsaicin, a beneficial compound that gives peppers their heat
Tomatoes are closely related to peppers—the two plants diverged 19 million years ago—and so have all the genes necessary to produce capsaicinoids.

Path to Migration

Joseph Zaccardi A Wolf Stands in Water
“When a thought from the past fires the soul,” writes the poet Joseph Zaccardi of a wartime memory, “time is no more.” And yet it clings to the present.

No Waverers Allowed: Looking Back on The Northern Ireland "Troubles."

Clair Wills London Review of Books
The reprinting of a classic book on the Northern Irish "Troubles" of 50 years ago is the occasion for a relook at warring nationalisms, armed violence and ethnic oppression that divided a population, leaving capital and British imperialism unscathed.