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Issue #54: January/February 2017



Radical Efforts to End Homelessness: Street Scribes

The story of the literary magazine whose authors are all homeless.


Radical Efforts to End Homelessness: Old, Sick, and on the Street

A sagging economy, a complex job market, and a lack of social programs have led to an increase in the number of elderly people living—and dying—on the streets.


Radical Efforts to End Homelessness: A Sober Utopia

In a remote corner of Colorado, a radical experiment is underway to rehabilitate the state's most downtrodden residents.

Culture Pages


Objects That Matter: White Picket Fence

In the 1940s, the mass-produced tract homes that formed Levittown, New York—one of America's first suburbs—specifically barred "any person other than members of the Caucasian race" in their leases.


Exit, Stage White

For American regional theaters, diversifying their audiences will mean the difference between life and death. But it's not simple or easy.


A Museum for Healing Broken Hearts

In Los Angeles, the Museum of Broken Relationships gathers its emotional collection from the public—and, in the process, invites civilians of all classes and backgrounds to heal.


Director Joshua Oppenheimer on Thinking Differently and Challenging Your Assumptions

We spoke to Joshua Oppenheimer about what he recommends reading, watching, and listening to.

Stand Your Ground:A History of America's Love Affair With Lethal Self-Defense.

What 'Stand Your Ground' Really Means

A new book traces the legal history of self-defense in America—and shows how laws for self-protection have been generally reserved for whites.


The Bones of St. Helena

Two cinematographers are capturing the secret history of a South Atlantic island full of the bones of Liberated Africans.

Teenage Suicide Notes: An Ethnography of Self-Harm.

An Ethnography of Self-Harm

What, exactly, does teen suicide tell us about America today?

The Fix


This Is Your Brain on Poverty: Breaking Down Barriers

A surprisingly small tweak to the college admissions process yields an impressive increase in the enrollment of low-income students.


This Is Your Brain on Poverty: What's in a Name?

Program designers are learning that the words they use really matter.


This Is Your Brain on Poverty: The Default Choice

Automatic enrollment in a non-profit food program keeps more kids from going hungry on the weekends.


This Is Your Brain on Poverty: Fewer Choices, More Graduates

Limiting the choices of community college students paradoxically leads to greater academic success.


This Is Your Brain on Poverty

How behavioral economics is opening a creative new front in the fight against inequality.

Field Notes


Field Notes: Working the Bricks in Myanmar

Mingaladon Township, Myanmar: Laborers in a brick factory, about an hour's drive from the new hotels and shopping malls of the city of Yangon, get by on $3 per day.


Field Notes: Casting About in an Overfished River

Assam, India: At sunset a fisherman casts his net on a tributary of the Brahmaputra River, where commercial overfishing has made it more difficult to operate.

The Tsar Bell.

Letter From Berkeley, California: The Tsar Bell

The largest bell in the world sits in a courtyard at the Kremlin as a 200-ton tourist attraction. It has never been heard—until now, using digital tools.

Lesotho mountain village.

Letter From Lesotho: Racism in the Diamond Mine

Desperate for work, the Basotho miners of the sovereign kingdom of Lesotho grudgingly accept the daily degradations of life among the white men.


Field Notes: Where Migrants Crossed the Rio Grande

Reynosa, Mexico: Fresh footprints of migrants dot the bed of a dried pond just south of Mission, Texas, near the Rio Grande.

Border crossing into Los Algodones from Andrade, California.

Letter From Los Algodones, Mexico: The City of Dentists

A trip to Los Algodones, the town just south of the border where it seems almost everybody is either a dentist or works for one.


Linda Black Elk

Subculture: Foragers

The latest in a series of miniature portraits of life on the fringes.


In the Picture: Ankle Deep in Okinawa, Japan

In every print issue, we fix our gaze on an everyday photograph and chase down facts about details in the frame.


Small Gifts, Stable Homes

How just a little bit of cash now can prevent homelessness later.

ITT Technical Institute campus in Canton, Michigan.

Since We Last Spoke: School's Out

Updates to stories from the Pacific Standard archive.


There's a Name for That: Jevons Paradox

The 19th-century British economist Stanley Jevons predicted—correctly—that the invention of more-efficient steam engines would lead to more coal getting burned.


ADHD Kids, Homeless Adults?

New research adds an unexpected predictor of homelessness to an already-lengthy list.


Since We Last Spoke: Sugarcoating the Story

Updates to stories from the Pacific Standard archive.


Smells Like Teen Spirit—for Justice

There's plenty of (scientific) reason to believe that teenagers aren't nearly as shallow as we often assume.


Solving the Student-Debt Crisis

Is there a bubble? Should we be worried about defaults? Your questions, answered.