Editor's note

White nationalists are having their moment, and many Americans across the political spectrum are alarmed. Should this resurgent movement be ignored? Feared? Fought?

What about made fun of?

Penn State’s Kevin Hagopian looks to Charlie Chaplin for answers. A dedicated anti-fascist, Chaplin lampooned Adolf Hitler in his 1940 film “The Great Dictator,” which became the third highest-grossing movie in the United States that year. Hitler even watched it, and while we can only speculate over how he reacted to it, we do know that he ordered it screened a second time.

“Ridicule,” Chaplin once wrote, “is an act of defiance.”

Nick Lehr

Editor, Arts and Culture

Top story

Charlie Chaplin’s character Adenoid Hynkel was a not-so-subtle nod to Adolf Hitler. Wikimedia Commons

For a primer on how to make fun of Nazis, look to Charlie Chaplin

Kevin Hagopian, Pennsylvania State University

Chaplin's 1940 film 'The Great Dictator' mocks Hitler’s absurdity and overweening vanity, while highlighting Germany's psychological captivity to a political fraud.

Economy + Business

The penny may be worthless, but let's keep it anyway

Jay L. Zagorsky, The Ohio State University

It may cost more to make a penny than a penny’s worth, but a penny saved may be more than a penny earned.

UAW's loss at Nissan auto plant masks genuine progress for organized labor

Harley Shaiken, University of California, Berkeley

Although workers at a Nissan auto plant in Mississippi rejected a proposal to join the United Auto Workers Union, organized labor has reason to be optimistic about its future.

Health + Medicine

Why lowering nicotine in cigarettes could change the course of health

Michael P. Eriksen, Georgia State University

FDA Director Scott Gottlieb has proposed discussions about drastically cutting nicotine levels in cigarettes. This could result in some of the biggest health gains in history.

The best shot at overcoming vaccination standoffs? Having doctors listen to – not shun – reluctant parents

Mary Politi, PhD, Washington University in St Louis

A recent study suggests that shunning parents who are reluctant to vaccinate their kids isn't the best strategy. A better strategy might be old-fashioned, but it works.

Can you pass this smell test?

Steven D. Munger, University of Florida

Our senses of taste and smell are linked to one another in ways that experts are continuing to explore. See if you can answer some questions for which experts have discovered some surprising answers.

Some nerves: How loud noise may change hearing

Matthew Xu-Friedman, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York

Noise is common, but we don't fully know what that means for our hearing. A recent study suggests how overstimulation of the auditory nerve may be too much for it to handle.


We should serve kids food in school, not shame

Sarah Riggs Stapleton, University of Oregon

Students with unpaid meal debts have been experiencing some shaming policies at school. New rules are aimed at protecting these children, but the real solution may lie in free meals for all.

Why students need better protection from loan fraud

Richard Fossey, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Students across the country have been defrauded by for-profit schools. Fine print in their enrollment contracts has stopped them from bringing their cases to court, but new rules could help.

Colleges need affirmative action – but it can be expanded

Eboni Nelson, University of South Carolina

Race-conscious admissions policies are still the best way to achieve diversity on campus. Yet, some race-neutral methods could help colleges improve diversity – and stand up to legal scrutiny.

Environment + Energy

Here's a better vision for the US-Mexico border: Make the Rio Grande grand again

Gabriel Diaz Montemayor, University of Texas at Austin

Instead of building a wall on the US-Mexico border, a landscape architect calls for restoring the Rio Grande and turning its course into an international park – an idea first proposed in the 1930s.

Why is climate change's 2 degrees Celsius of warming limit so important?

David Titley, Pennsylvania State University

More and more research shows that we are likely to pass the 2 degree Celsius temperature limit much of the world has agreed on. Where did that limit come from, and what if we miss it?

Arts + Culture

Dissecting Conor McGregor's steep odds in boxing showdown

Bill Zimmerman, Pennsylvania State University

McGregor and Floyd Mayweather Jr. will both cash in, but does a boxing novice stand a chance against a legend?

Over the years, Americans have become increasingly exposed to extremism

James E. Hawdon, Virginia Tech

Given recent events, you might have had an inkling that extremist views have been resonating. Researchers from the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention have the hard data to back it up.

Science + Technology

Will CRISPR fears fade with familiarity?

Patricia Stapleton, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Americans have moved on from worrying about ‘test-tube babies’ – but there are still ethical challenges to resolve as reproductive technologies continue to advance.

Postpartum depression can affect dads – and their hormones may be to blame

Darby Saxbe, University of Southern California – Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Having a newborn can be rough, whether you're a mom or a dad. New research ties men's testosterone to their postpartum depression – with some surprising upsides for their partners.

Politics + Society

Warning signs of mass violence – in the US?

Max Pensky, Binghamton University, State University of New York; Nadia Rubaii, Binghamton University, State University of New York

Two genocide and mass atrocity prevention scholars argue Trump's response to the Charlottesville attack is a red flag.

African-Americans fighting fascism and racism, from WWII to Charlottesville

Matthew Delmont, Arizona State University

What WWII-era African-American protests reveal about the historical relationship between Nazism and white supremacy in the United States.

Arpaio pardon could encourage more civil rights violations

Steven Mulroy, University of Memphis

Pardoning a man who has illegally used racial profiling to round up Latinos could send a message to law enforcement that aggressive tactics are OK by the president.

Afghanistan is now officially James Mattis’ war

Simon Reich, Rutgers University Newark

Donald Trump's speech on "principled realism" in Afghanistan contained few surprises. Now, under the aegis of DOD chief Mattis it is the latest stage in America’s "forever war."

Today’s quote

Rather than spending billions of dollars on a border wall, here is an alternative vision: regenerating the Rio Grande, which forms more than half of the border, to form the core of a binational park that showcases our spectacular shared landscape.


Here's a better vision for the US-Mexico border: Make the Rio Grande grand again

Gabriel Diaz Montemayor

University of Texas at Austin

Gabriel Diaz Montemayor