Issue #59: October 2017

Features

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Tragedy of the Common

The extinction crisis extends far beyond rare and endangered species.

Madness

The Touch of Madness

Culture profoundly shapes our ideas about mental illness, which is something psychologist Nev Jones knows all too well.

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The Girl Gangs of El Salvador

Joining a gang seemed like the best way to evade violence for women in El Salvador, but in many cases it only put them more squarely in danger.

Culture Pages

Stephanie Allain.

Producer Stephanie Allain Makes Movies That Truly Reflect the American Populace

We spoke to Stephanie Allain about what she recommends reading, watching, and listening to.

Artist Rafa Esparza.

Mexican Artist Rafa Esparza's Physical Representation of Immigrant Nostalgia

Rafa Esparza's adobe installations serve as a backdrop for the work of others, but they also tell Esparza's own story—and that of his immigrant parents.

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Objects That Matter: Vinyl

A 2016 survey found that 48 percent of record buyers don't actually play their purchases, suggesting that, for many, vinyl is more aesthetic collectible than functional art.

Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century.

Have Recreational Vehicles Killed the American Dream?

In her new book, journalist Jessica Bruder argues that, in post-2008 America, the nostalgic vision of RVs and other "wheel estate" is incomplete.

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The Radical Street Art of Havana's Youth

Their generation is more connected to the outside world than ever, but their art reflects a struggle to see a future in their own country.

Shortchanged: Height Discrimination and Strategies for Social Change.

Height Discrimination and Strategies for Social Change

In her new book, lawyer Tanya Osensky argues that constantly monitoring height is a symptom and driver of a pervasive "heightism" that unjustly frames tallness as powerful and shortness as weak.

The Far Away Brothers: Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life.

Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life

Journalist Lauren Markham's new book tells the story of twin teenage brothers who migrate from gang-ridden El Salvador to Oakland, California.

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You've Got Braille

India's first English-language lifestyle magazine in Braille is bringing quizzes, fashion stories, and inspirational profiles to the biggest blind population in the world.

The Fix

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How to Undrain an Actual Swamp

Why big, boring bureaucracy is the best tool for restoring wetlands around the Bay Area.

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Breaking the Cycle of Poverty, Two Generations at a Time

New anti-poverty programs, focused on helping children and parents both, are succeeding where others have failed.

Field Notes

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Field Notes: Selling Dried Fruit in Yemen

Sanaa, Yemen: Despite political unrest during the early months of protest during the Arab Spring, a Yemeni man keeps his shop open, selling nuts and dried fruit.

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Letter From Portland, Oregon: In Search of a Greener Future for the Weed Industry

Will the environmental impact of cannabis balloon as legalization sweeps across the country?

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Letter From Gansu Province, China: The Strange Business of Subsidized Yak Insurance

In central China's Gansu Province, nomads can buy insurance policies for their sheep and yaks.

A doctor and nurse stitch a man's finger in Al-Shifa Hospital, one of the largest medical complexes in the Gaza Strip.

Field Notes: Patient Care in the Gaza Strip

Gaza City, Gaza Strip: A doctor and nurse stitch a man's finger in Al-Shifa Hospital.

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Letter From Ventimiglia, Italy: The African Refugees Waiting for Rescue on Italy's Mediterranean Coast

Waiting wasn't a misery the Africans expected on Europe's shore. At least a hundred of the migrants felt so desperate that they tried to swim to France.

In April, children watch a dust devil whip up sand as it travels across the desert landscape near the town of Huth, about 50 miles north of Yemen's capital.

Field Notes: A Dust Devil Whirls in Huth, Yemen

Huth, Yemen: In April, children watch a dust devil whip up sand as it travels across the desert landscape near the town of Huth, about 50 miles north of Yemen's capital.

Benghazi, Libya: On the outskirts of the city, a man stands in a government building that was burned by the opposition in February of 2011, at the beginning of a revolution against the 41-year regime of Muammar Gaddafi.

Field Notes: The Burnt Remains of a Government Building in Benghazi

Benghazi, Libya: On the outskirts of the city, a man stands in a government building that was burned by the opposition in February of 2011, at the beginning of a revolution against the 41-year regime of Muammar Gaddafi.

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There's a Name for That: Norman Doors

Injuries and deaths from Norman doors are often later chalked up to human error, designer Don Norman says. But the error is not the user's. It's the designer's.

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The History of School Lunches

American school-lunch policy has always been at the mercy of broader ideological trends, from patriotic militarism to corporate neoliberalism.

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The Cognitive Benefits of Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding may not make bright kids brighter, but it apparently does benefit the kids who could most use a boost.