Personalized e-learning -- this time, it's real: Khan Academy's 2,400 videos, on topics from history to calculus, allow students to learn at their own pace, which is often quite fast: "Once they’re answering questions without making mistakes, Khan's site automatically recommends new topics." One fifth grader is teaching himself trigonometry (with occasional help from his in-person teachers). (Wired)
Systematic rape of men during wartime: It's more common than you'd think. Will Storr travels to Uganda, where he discovers one reason it's kept secret: "Survivors are at risk of arrest by police, as they are likely to assume that they're gay -- a crime in this country and in 38 of the 53 African nations." (The Guardian)
World War II-era bombs are still at large, and still dangerous: "In Brandenburg alone, the area surrounding Berlin that I visited ... around 350 tons of unexploded munitions are destroyed annually, including grenades, mortars, artillery shells, mines and aerial bombs. Some are found in fields, others in residential areas near homes and schools built after the war." How do bomb squads find the unexploded bombs? Using aerial reconnaissance photos taken by Allied pilots in the Second World War. (Bloomberg)
Not your usual profile of a writer's home office: Thriller writer Stuart Woods says he gets into "certain grooves"; he owns three identical homes and "has decorated each one nearly identically, attiring them almost exclusively in Ralph Lauren furnishings, including leather chairs, tweed curtains, sofas and beds. Each one of the four yellow labs he's owned has been named Fred, each replaced by a new Fred upon death." (The Wall Street Journal)
Cosmopolitan, from 1896 to 1976: Retronaut collects Cosmo covers spanning nearly a century, starting in the days when the magazine consisted almost entirely of short stories and novels. See also: the Big Apple in widescreen from 1902 to 1913. (Retronaut)
[Image: The May, 1896 issue of Cosmopolitan, via Retronaut.]
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Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.
Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.
Guest blogger Elizabeth Manus is a writer living in New York City. She has been a book review editor at the Boston Phoenix, and a columnist for The New York Observer and Metro.
Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.
Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."
Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.
Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.