Nautilus

We Are All Princes, Paupers, and Part of the Human Family

I recently discovered that my 10-times-great-grandfather bought a good chunk of Brooklyn from the Lenape Indians. He was one of the first Dutch landowners on this continent, a man who had run a laundry bleaching business in Holland but had traveled under the auspices of the Dutch West India Company to become a farmer in the New World. The deed in question, written in Dutch in 1636, is the first record of any land being sold on Long Island.

Pretty neat, right? But as I realized almost immediately, this isn’t much of a distinction. According to a genealogy site maintained by a distant

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Nautilus

Nautilus10 min read
Why Red Means Red in Almost Every Language: The confounding consistency of color categories.
When Paul Kay, then an anthropology graduate student at Harvard University, arrived in Tahiti in 1959 to study island life, he expected to have a hard time learning the local words for colors. His field had long espoused a theory called linguistic re
Nautilus15 min readTech
Reason Won’t Save Us: It’s time to accept the limits of how we think.
In wondering what can be done to steer civilization away from the abyss, I confess to being increasingly puzzled by the central enigma of contemporary cognitive psychology: To what degree are we consciously capable of changing our minds? I don’t mean
Nautilus6 min read
The Problem with the Frozen Poop Knife Study
When, some weeks ago, I was first contacted by an online scientific publication asking me to review a submission on the subject of “shit knives”, I initially thought it was a hoax or some kind of practical joke. I had in mind the deliberately nonsens