Sep/Oct 2014

sounds-back

Sounds Like the Blues

At a music-licensing firm, any situation can become nostalgic, romantic, or adventurous, given the right background sounds.

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In the Picture: A Plot of Land for Every American Indian Family

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

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The Heist: How Visitors Stole a National Monument

Fossil Cycad National Monument was home to one of the world’s greatest collections of fossilized cycadeoids—until visitors carried them all away.

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Zombies in the Quad: The Trouble With Elite Education

William Deresiewicz's new book, Excellent Sheep, is in part, he says, a letter to his younger, more privileged self.

greenhouse-gas-emissions

Carbon Taxes Really Do Work

A new study shows that taxing carbon dioxide emissions could actually work to reduce greenhouse gases without any negative effects on employment and revenues.

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What It's Like to Be Voluntarily Homeless

The latest entry in a series of interviews about subculture in America.

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An Archaeologist Excavates a Tie-Dyed Modern Stereotype

What California’s senior state archaeologist discovered in the ruins of a hippie commune.

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What Color Is Your Pygmy Goat?

The fierce battle over genetic purity, writ small. Very small.

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How America Can Finally Learn to Deal With Its Impulses

The ability to delay gratification has been held up as the one character trait to rule them all—the key to academic success, financial security, and social well-being. But willpower isn't the answer. The new, emotional science of self-regulation.

big-government

Big Government, Happy Citizens?

You may like to talk about how much happier you'd be if the government didn't interfere with your life, but that's not what the research shows.

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Unreal Estate: The Art of Scrubbing All Identity From a Home

In a slow market, anxious sellers may hire a home stager to draw attention to their property, ultimately adding to the surging cost of real estate.

nih-aerial

Who Funded That?

This list includes studies cited in our pages that received funding from a source other than the researchers’ home institutions. Only principal or corresponding authors are listed.

money-friends

Silicon Valley's Embrace of Multi-Level Marketing

In a culture that increasingly valorizes start-ups and social entrepreneurship, and an economy that keeps ordinary people always on the lookout for the next gig, it makes sense that multi-level marketing firms have found a warm reception. But how different are they from their predecessors—and how are they the same?

The Grandparent Scam

Every day, phones are ringing in homes across the country. Maybe yours. On the line: organized teams of con artists trying to bilk you out of thousands of dollars by impersonating your loved ones. One especially lucrative scam targets the supposedly vulnerable demographic of grandparents. A journalist and grandmother sets out to discover who's calling—and the real reason why the "grandparent scam" works so damn well.

empty-classroom

The Downside of Giving Every Student a Laptop

A new study looks at the effects of access to a home computer on the test scores of middle school students.

robots-lie

How Should We Program Computers to Deceive?

Placebo buttons in elevators and at crosswalks that don't actually do anything are just the beginning. One computer scientist has collected hundreds of examples of technology designed to trick people, for better and for worse.

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The Rise of Biblical Counseling

For millions of Christians, biblical counselors have replaced psychologists. Some think it's time to reverse course.

middle-school

Why Middle School Doesn't Have to Suck

Some people suspect the troubles of middle school are a matter of age. Middle schoolers, they think, are simply too moody, pimply, and cliquish to be easily educable. But these five studies might convince you otherwise.

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Introducing the New Issue of 'Pacific Standard'

The science of self-control, the rise of biblical counseling, why middle school doesn't have to suck, and more in our September/October 2014 print issue.