Why Wrap?

Jacques Godbout ( The World of the Gift , 37 ) asks why we wrap presents only to discard the wrapping. It is a “potlatch” gesture, a gesture of excess, “an utterly gratuitous . . . . Continue Reading »


When American mothers objected to the Barbie doll, Matelle got to work to convince them that it was OK: “A shrewd ad campaign overcame maternal resistance by suggesting that daughters who . . . . Continue Reading »


A recent issue of the New Yorker had an intriguing profile of Paypal founder Peter Thiel. Thiel’s current obsession is education” “Thiel believes that education is the next bubble . . . . Continue Reading »

Tuning a week

We all know that the days of the week take their names from classical or Germanic gods. But why the order? The order of the week is not the order of the planets in the sky, which is, as we find in . . . . Continue Reading »