How Did We Get To 11 Million Unauthorized Immigrants?

by ROBERT SIEGEL and SELENA SIMMONS-DUFFIN from NPR An estimated 11 million immigrants live and work in the United States illegally. Their fate is one of the big policy questions facing the country. The story of how that population grew so large is a long one that’s mostly about Mexico, and full of unintended consequences. Prior to the…

From The BBC: The Invention of Heterosexuality

By Brandon Ambrosino from BBC The 1901 Dorland’s Medical Dictionary defined heterosexuality as an “abnormal or perverted appetite toward the opposite sex.” More than two decades later, in 1923, Merriam Webster’s dictionary similarly defined it as “morbid sexual passion for one of the opposite sex.” It wasn’t until 1934 that heterosexuality was graced with the…

The Very Short History of Food Stamp Fraud in America

by Emelyn Rude from Time.com The reform of the United States’ approximately $1 trillion in welfare programs is a perpetual subject for lawmakers to debate, but few federal welfare initiatives regularly undergo as much scrutiny from would-be reformers as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps. Stories of possible misuse of the…

Debunking a Myth: The Irish Were Not Slaves, Too

by Liam Stack from NYT It has shown up on Irish trivia Facebook pages, in Scientific American magazine, and on white nationalist message boards: the little-known story of the Irish slaves who built America, who are sometimes said to have outnumbered and been treated worse than slaves from Africa. But it’s not true. Historians say…

Looking Back: Americans Don’t Trust Their Institutions Anymore

By Clare Malone from FiveThirtyEight We live in interesting times, but I’ve often wondered what it would have been like to be alive for the dawn of politics, for our first encounters with one another when we started to make rules that would help hunting and trading and fishing and fornicating and building happen smoothly.…