Editor's note

Yesterday afternoon, the Federal Communications Commission voted along partisan lines to reverse the Open Internet Order. That rule had codified the consumer-protection principle that internet service companies should not be allowed to play favorites when deciding how fast to transmit online data. Telecommunications scholars and advocates Sascha Meinrath at Penn State and Nathalia Foditsch at American University explain how the move puts the U.S. in opposition to a growing trend across the world of embracing regulation to limit corporate power over the internet.

Another piece of internet history disappears today, as AOL Instant Messenger is discontinued after 20 years. Communications scholar Nicholas Bowman from West Virginia University explains how the pioneering real-time text messaging system taught people the skills they needed to navigate the modern digital communications environment.

And this holiday season, as millions of families and friends come together, holiday feasts will be prepared and consumed. UConn’s Natalie Munro explains how feasting originated and became such an important part of family bonding.

Jeff Inglis

Science + Technology Editor

Top stories

Three of these smiling people undid U.S. consumer protections online. Federal Communications Commission

With FCC's net neutrality ruling, the US could lose its lead in online consumer protection

Sascha Meinrath, Pennsylvania State University; Nathalia Foditsch, American University

As the U.S. weakens its protections for internet users, it risks falling behind the rest of the world, which is embracing the importance of regulation to preserve an open internet.

The AOL Instant Messenger icon became so well known it was made into a plush toy. KW Reinsch

AIM brought instant messaging to the masses, teaching skills for modern communication

Nicholas Bowman, West Virginia University

As it closes down 20 years after launching, a look back at the key role AOL Instant Messenger played in preparing people for today's digital messaging methods.

LightField Studios/Shutterstock.com

An archaeological dig in Israel provides clues to how feasting became an important ritual

Natalie Munro, University of Connecticut

Ritual feasting emerged around the time humans were beginning to farm. It came to play an important role in societal bonding, much as it does today.

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Economy + Business

Environment + Energy

Science + Technology

  • Can math predict what you’ll do next?

    Daniel J. Denis, The University of Montana; Briana Young, The University of Montana

    Predicting human behavior is big business. But science may never be able to do so with perfect certainty.

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