Editor's note

Many contemporary writers hold a dim view of Donald Trump. But what would those of the past think? UC Irvine’s Jeffrey Wasserstrom takes readers to Mark Twain’s America – a period in history that bore some striking similarities to today. According to Wasserstrom, there’s a side of Trump that would have captivated Twain. But with Twain also calling bullies of Chinese immigrants the “scum of the population,” we can probably guess his view of Trump the politician.

March 5 is Selection Sunday, when the NCAA will name the college basketball teams competing in March Madness. For non-sports fans we have an alternative: March Mammal Madness, which features simulated battles between pairs of animals. Biologists script the matches to reflect each species’ size, temperament and ecological niche — and the fur starts flying on March 6.

Nick Lehr

Editor, Arts and Culture

Main story

Twain was an opinionated, prolific commentator on the personalities and political issues of his day. Terry Ballard/flickr

What would Mark Twain think of Donald Trump?

Jeffrey Wasserstrom, University of California, Irvine

He probably would have been amused by – and maybe even befriended – Trump the entertainer. Trump the president? Not so much.

Economy + Business


Health + Medicine

Environment + Energy

  • Climate change's signature was writ large on Australia's crazy summer of 2017

    Andrew King, University of Melbourne; David Karoly, University of Melbourne; Geert Jan van Oldenborgh, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute ; Matthew Hale, UNSW; Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick, UNSW

    New South Wales has just had its hottest summer on record – an event that was made 50 times more likely by humans' impact on the climate.

  • Why farmers and ranchers think the EPA Clean Water Rule goes too far

    Reagan Waskom, Colorado State University; David J. Cooper, Colorado State University

    President Trump signed an executive order to roll back the 2015 Clean Water Rule. Two water experts explain why the rule alarms farmers and ranchers concerned about over-regulation.

  • March Mammal Madness tournament shows the power of 'performance science'

    Katie Hinde, Arizona State University; Chris Anderson, Dominican University; Josh Drew, Columbia University

    March Mammal Madness, a tournament of imaginary contests between pairs of mammals, makes science irreverent and fun. The event has thousands of fans and is used in hundreds of classrooms.

Ethics + Religion

  • Who are the Sufis and why does ISIS see them as threatening?

    Peter Gottschalk, Wesleyan University

    Around the world, Muslims and non-Muslims celebrate Sufi saints and gather together for worship in their shrines, offering an example of pluralism. But groups such as IS oppose this.

  • Does empathy have limits?

    C. Daryl Cameron, Pennsylvania State University; Michael Inzlicht, University of Toronto; William A. Cunningham, University of Toronto

    Research shows empathy itself does not have any limits. If it appears limited, it is because of people's goals, values and choices.

Arts + Culture

  • Japan's gender-bending history

    Jennifer Robertson, University of Michigan

    In Japanese popular culture, new trends come and go. But the Japanese have toyed with gender norms for generations.

  • Can the black press stay relevant?

    Bill Celis, University of Southern California, Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism

    From the treatment of black World War II veterans to Emmett Till's murder, the black press helped lay the groundwork for the civil rights movement. What role can it play today?

Science + Technology

  • Reprintable paper becomes a reality

    Yadong Yin, University of California, Riverside

    Coating paper with an inexpensive thin film can allow users to print and erase a physical page as many as 80 times. That reduces both the cost and the environmental effects of paper use.

  • Tooth be told: Millions of years of evolutionary history mark those molars

    Debbie Guatelli-Steinberg, The Ohio State University

    Anthropologists gather clues about how our ancient ancestors lived from their teeth. What will future anthropologists make of us based on the fossilized pearly whites we'll leave behind?

Some people who voice falsehoods appear incapable of distinguishing real from unreal, or truth from fiction, yet are sincerely convinced their worldview is absolutely correct.

Ronald W. Pies

Tufts University

Read more

Ronald W. Pies

Politics + Society

  • Are Puerto Ricans really American citizens?

    Charles R. Venator-Santiago, University of Connecticut

    Over the years, Puerto Ricans have in fact been granted three different types of U.S. citizenship, but questions about their rights and equal treatment as citizens still remain.

  • The Democratic Party is facing a demographic crisis

    Musa al-Gharbi, Columbia University

    As America becomes more diverse, many think it will also become more progressive. But one analysis of demographic trends points to gains for Republicans.


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