The Original Sex Scandal

Sexual predators are having a hard time. Over 200 years ago, Alexander Hamilton anticipated them.

Sally Hemings

This summer, Sally Hemings of Monticello is getting her own room. Just steps from where Thomas Jefferson slept.

Sex and Darth Sidious

Carrie Fisher hated that bikini. But Darth Sidious should have been sexier than Jabba the Hutt.

XO in XY

A small army of human geneticists is unfolding the history of human mating from our sex chromosomes.


Fidel Castro has been laid to rest. His words, and his descendants, live on.

Small Hands

Sex in politics is as old as politics. And maybe as old as sex.

Beaver Island

Promiscuous absolutists have had their day after the people find ways to sail, ride or walk away.

Draymond vs The King

Aggression among apes involves a conspicuous target.

Happy Birthday Edward Gibbon

Gibbon was wrong about Roman emperors, and he was wrong about the Church. But he was right that democracy depends on the ability to run from a tyrant.

Ivan Denisovich vs Ants

Alexandr Solzhenitsyn admitted that Russians were occasionally like insects. But he didn't like it.

Humans vs Honeybees

Honeybees are truly social; humans are not. When, 75 years ago, Arthur Koestler wrote Darkness at Noon, the differences were obvious.

Santa and Saturnalia

I love holidays at the winter solstice. I love making the deadest, darkest time of the year light and green. I love Santa. But have an almost irresistible urge to put on a pileus.

Animal Farm

On George Orwell's latent Darwinism.

Lord of the Flies

More than 17 decades after it was ceded to the British in perpetuity—and just 17 years after the British handed it over to the People’s Republic of China—the forces of democracy, and opposing forces, are being played out in Hong Kong. 60 years ago, they played out in Lord of the Flies.

Beware the Beachmasters

Happy Labor Day; have fun on the beach. But remember that Charles Atlases--human and otherwise--do best where 97 pound weaklings are unable to run away.

Gaddafi vs Chaos

The US embassy in Libya was evacuated today. There are costs associated with anarchy. And there are costs associated with peace. Most have to do with politics, and sex.

When Men Ruled the World

Most of history is about patriarchs. But for thousands of years before history was written, women made a name for themselves; and that’s happening more often, now.

On Their Backs

This week, Hillary Clinton made news; every week, Hillary Clinton makes news. If the historical precedents are right, she might become president.
Easter and Estrus

Easter and Estrus

Etymologically, the word Easter evokes the Latin for gadfly, the Greek for mad frenzy, and old English and Sumerian fertility goddesses. These days, everybody gets an egg.

Take My Wife, Please!

Once upon a time, one of Henny Youngman's ancestors offered his wife to a pharaoh--and got compensated for it. Since then, history has repeated itself.

The Art of Courtly Love

Andreas Capellanus drew a line between “pure” love, which omitted the final solace, and what he called “mixed” love, the final act of Venus.


365 years ago, Charles I was led to a scaffold in London, and his head was cut off. That was the beginning of the end of unpopular government.

Crying Uncle

Last week, the KCNA announced the execution of Jang Song Thaek, who half-heartedly clapped when the supreme leader showed up. As usual, there are precedents for that.

Mimi Alford

On 22 November 1963, at around 12:30 CST, Mimi Alford was with her husband-to-be, Tony, and she started to cry. “There’s something I have to tell you,” she said.


521 years ago, Columbus boarded his carrack and headed west. The laborers, peasants and convicts on his ships were looking for gold, real estate, and the opposite sex.

Jeffrey Dickemann Came First

Jeffrey Dickemann was the “father” of Darwinian history. Before the study of the past was headed with capital letters, he shed light on the origin of man and his history.

The Fierce Anthropologist

Napoleon Chagnon has lived up to his name. He fought his way into the jungle; he fought off intellectuals. And he lived to write about them both in Noble Savages, his new memoir.

Dads Matter

A generation ago, it was all the rage in anthropology to say that fatherhood was what made us human. These days, grandmothers are all the rage. But fathers have always mattered.

Remembering Charles Darwin

Darwin, like his creator, had a passion for beetles. He was otherwise less than godlike; but his autobiography is a good read.

Deported For Being Too Handsome

Earlier this month, 3 men were kicked out of Saudi Arabia for being too handsome. There are Biblical precedents for that--and a few precedents in meerkats.