20 MORE PhDs Gave Us A Dumbed-Down Summary Of Their Thesis. #3 Is Amazing.


1. Some ants that live in forest soil move their nests around a lot. This might give an advantage to fast growing soil bacteria. Wait, no, it doesn’t, but it does increase fungal diversity. Everything is connected and ants are cool and important.

2. Not everyone uses mobile technology the same because not everyone moves around in the same ways. Sound obvious? Yeah well… here are some interesting stories about some folks in Thailand.

3. Sometimes stars explode in spectacular fashion, emitting more light in the span of time that you can hold your breath than the sun will put out over its entire 10 billion year life. So maybe you are wondering if these exploding stars emit more exotic particles, like neutrinos, too. Oh, who am I kidding, of course you weren’t wondering that, but we built a multi-million-dollar neutrino detector at the South Pole to look for these neutrinos anyway.

You will be shocked to learn that we didn’t find any.

As it turns out, though, not finding any neutrinos is *almost* as interesting as finding them, because there were some theories that predicted *lots* of neutrinos, and now we know those theories are wrong. But of course there are plenty of other theories that predict fewer neutrinos that we haven’t eliminated yet. We’ll get to those in the next decade or three — if you give us more money to build an even bigger neutrino detector.

This is totally not a scam, honest.

4. Political parties formed to simplify voting. After too many people voted, Progressives complicated voting. Now many fewer people vote.

5. Nationalism gets a bad rap but that’s because we’re doing it wrong. Read these four novels to know how to do it less wrong.

6. The good news is there is a free program that will make it more likely for underserved students to graduate high school, get accepted to college, and perhaps graduate. The bad news is, if it would truly help you, you probably won’t be offered admission to it.

7. Citizens ought to think critically about the Constitution without going too crazy on it–looking at you, Thomas Jefferson. It turns out that I’m the only one who cares, except my advisor.

8. Most people think that eighteenth-century writers didn’t care about medieval literature, but those people are wrong. Also, the Whigs and the Tories are like the Clovers and the Toros from the movie Bring It On.

9. Your job status won’t make you more hopeful about tomorrow.

10. People want to live forever and it causes political problems.

11. A bunch of English playwrights invented modernity by dressing up and pretending to be dead kings. Also, here’s some cool pictures I found that show how batshit crazy the Reformation was.

12. People have thought science was creepy since before science was even a thing, and 18th century writers who like creepy things playfully allude to this (but in a serious way). Here are some pictures of some obviously faked ghosts!

13. The most popular explanation for the Turn to the Future isn’t satisfying. Here’s another that also won’t be, but at least this one is aware of the problems.

14. Spy novels had a lot of bold opinions and predictions about World War I. All of them were wrong.

15. Lots of important people say interfaith dialogue can change the world. But the people who do it aren’t really the problem, so it doesn’t. But it sure is meaningful to the people who do it. It gives them hope and purpose.

16. Some writers thought if you replaced churches with books there would be more peace and freedom. They thought this for a really long time, then gave up.

17. We can make cells dance with little magnets! That might be useful for medicine… but that will take a lot more work.

18. Some people share the same political views. Some don’t.

19. Let’s look at a few super tiny Venus flytrap-like thingies in salty ice water.

20. An ancient Nubian kingdom almost took over Egypt, but lost, so you’ve never heard of them.