Bill Cheng writes about what it is like to be an A.B.C.: an American-Born Chinese. Read about his struggles to belong and feelings of being an outsider.
Folktales show us a lot about who we once were and still are. Check out these descriptions of nine classic characters from American folklore: Paul Bunyan, John Henry, Sally Ann Thunder, Johnny Appleseed, Mike Fink, Pecos Bill, Geronimo, and Old Stormalong. Why were they so famous? Why are they still famous today?
Have you ever heard of an adrenaline rush? This article by Josh Clark describes how a rush of adrenaline, brought on by a fearful situation, can give someone “superhuman” strength.
President Theodore Roosevelt was brash, daring, and adventurous. He was also deeply committed to the cause of preserving America’s forests and wilderness. Explore the links in this American Experience website to learn more about what nature did for “TR” and what he did for nature.
“Video games are a waste of time!” How many times have you heard that? One game designer thinks the contrary—that games and the skills they develop in gamers could be the key to solving some of the biggest challenges facing the real world.
In this essay, writer George Monbiot explores the current state of humanity—and finds that it centers not on our devotion to technology, but instead on our loss of bonds with others.
The European conquest of the Americas in the 1500s was brief and decisive. The established civilizations on this side of the Atlantic Ocean lacked the weaponry of the invaders. More significantly, they lacked immunity to the deadly germs that accompanied the Europeans.
Freedom of speech includes both rights and responsibilities. Find out how the First Amendment applies to students at this non-profit site.
The writer of this article asserts that the risk level of exploration has greatly declined in the 21st century. Exploration is no longer physically demanding. The article presents the idea that perhaps we should redirect our focus of what to explore and how. Consider the new forms exploration might take.
Have you ever seen an optical illusion? Read this article to explore some amazing optical illusions, and find out what they can reveal about how our brains work.
Writer Samantha Cole weighs the pros and cons of staying in your comfort zone, the premise of Meghan Daums’s book, The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion.
The struggle for liberty is at the heart of the United States’ founding. Learn more about what led to the American Revolution and how it was won by exploring this interactive site.
Feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, who wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Woman in 1792, advocated for the education of women.
Public figures often tout their constitutional freedom of speech to defend their statements. As with any right, though, the freedom of speech includes certain guidelines and limits. The United States Courts spell out what the law says about this essential American right.
How do desert plants survive their harsh climate? This article by Mark A. Dimmitt, Director of Natural History at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, explains the strategies plants use to keep the desert blooming.
Nearly every nation on earth—except for the United States—primarily uses the metric system for all weights and measures. With its clear base-10 relationships among measurements, the metric system is easy to use. So why does the United States still mainly use the far more complicated customary measures? How Stuff Works explores the American resistance to change.
Your eyes are able to perceive many wavelengths of light as colors. But not all light is visible to the human eye. Here’s a closer look at some of what you can’t see—infrared light.
Paul Salopek is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who is retracing our ancestors’ migration out of Africa on foot. This epic journey began in Ethiopia in 2013 and will end this year at the tip of South America. Explore the walk and some of the latest stories from the journey.
In a rapidly-changing digital world, traditional cultural institutions like symphonies and museums are struggling to remain relevant. Find out how some are trying to keep up.
Where did Shakespeare get his ideas? This essay by Amanda Mabillard analyzes the sources and motivations underlying Shakespeare’s writing of The Tragedy of Macbeth.