How Spanish, not English, was nearly the world's language

The reason has to do with how the wind was blowing in a particular part of the world in August of 1588. It's that specific.

Want to know the reason much of North America speaks English and not Spanish? It all boils down to a single day in the English Channel in August of 1588, says Yale University history professor John Lewis Gaddis. The Spanish Armada was cleverly chased out of British waters by a rag-tag British fleet that set old ships on fire and pointed them right at the anchored Spanish fleet, causing the Spaniards to cut anchor and flee. Because of the way the wind was blowing, the Spanish ships had to sail all the way around the British Isles (about 2,000 nautical miles) to get home and were soundly defeated. That led, John posits, to the rise of the British empire. John's latest book is the fascinating On Grand Strategy.

New report shows democracy is in decline everywhere—including the United States

Have you been feeling like democracy is in trouble lately? According to this report, you're right. 

A woman confronts riot police during a protest in Caracas on December 28, 2017. (Photo: Getty Images)

We've discussed before how young people are losing their faith in democracy. The problems of democratic government are many, and the failure to resolve them can lead to a decline in the trust people have for public institutions, political apathy, tribalism, and worse. While democracy offers us many good things, it is highly dependent on popular support to function.

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Artist rendition of a Neanderthal man.

Though the care for and concern about teeth has a long history, the modern practice of dentistry has its roots in the 18th century, and quickly developed the century after that. No Neanderthal had a dental plan, and we should be thankful. That’s because a recent study of Neanderthal teeth gives us a glimpse of what life was like tens of thousands of years ago. The results, published in the journal Nature, give us unique insights into, as the authors put it, our “closed known, extinct hominin relatives.”

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Parents in Spain Are Raging Against the Homework Machine

Spain and the US have very similar compulsory school hours and homework requirements. There's a good argument for rallying against this trend.

Homework has been around since… well, since schools first existed, and I remember doing a ton of it myself as a kid. I also remember refusing to do my homework, sitting on the back steps, watching geese fly over, wanting to be out bird-hunting with Dad, Mom in the kitchen, yelling “Get in the house and do your homework!”

For families with precious fewer hours each day to spend time as a family, homework can be a drag. A big one

Before parents in Spain called for a "Homework Strike," The Spanish organization CEAPA (Confederación Española de Asociaciones de Padres y Madres del Alumnado) surveyed parents about homework, and 82% of those who responded believed that their children received too much of it; just over 50% of them believed it harmed family life.

If you consider the amount of compulsory hours students are required to be at school, the United States is right up there with Spain so it's likely there would be a similar frustration with homework in this country. And in fact, there is.

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