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Pacific Standard, January/February 2017 Table of Contents

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Pacific Standard, January/February 2017.

Pacific Standard, January/February 2017.


A Sober Utopia
In a remote corner of Colorado, a radical experiment is underway to rehabilitate the state’s most downtrodden residents.
By Will McGrath

Mobile Homes
Seattle’s tent cities fill a niche and a need.
Photographs by Eirik Johnson

Why Grandpa Is Homeless
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.
By Rachel Nuwer

Street Scribes
The story of the literary magazine whose authors are all homeless.
By James Parker

Sidebar: Calmness vs. Chaos
By Garret Jordan

Sidebar: Short, Sweet, Written on the Back of a Receipt
By Margaret Miranda

Sidebar: Keeping Clothes Clean
By Ricardo

Gimme Shelter
The state of homelessness in the United States.
Compiled by Michael R. Fitzgerald


Letter From the Editor: The Year Ahead
By Nicholas Jackson

Seven Things You Would Have Learned If You Read

The Conversation

Since We Last Spoke: Sugarcoating the Story
By Francie Diep

Since We Last Spoke: School’s Out
By Dwyer Gunn

Since We Last Spoke: The Drug War’s New Front
By Kate Wheeling

The Small Stuff: There’s a Name for That: Jevons Paradox
By Peter C. Baker

The Small Stuff: Quick Study: Small Gifts, Stable Homes
By Tom Jacobs

The Small Stuff: Research Gone Wild: Smells Like Teen Spirit—for Justice
By Katie Kilkenny

The Small Stuff: Overheard

The Small Stuff: Quick Study: ADHD Kids, Homeless Adults?
By Tom Jacobs

Know It All: Solving the Student-Debt Crisis
Is there a bubble? Should we be worried about defaults? Your questions, answered.
By Malcolm Harris

Subculture: Foragers
Linda Black Elk, ethnobotanist, Buffalo Creek, South Dakota
As Told to Julie Morse

In the Picture: Ankle Deep
Okinawa, Japan


Reynosa, Mexico
Photo by Kirsten Luce

City of Dentists
By Jessi Phillips

Racism in the Diamond Mine
By Will McGrath

Mingaladon Township, Myanmar
Photo by Andre Malerba

Assam, India
Photo by Arati Kumar-Rao

The Tsar Bell
By Zachary Slobig


This Is Your Brain on Poverty
How behavioral economics is opening a creative new front in the fight against inequality.
By Karen Weese

Sidebar: Fewer Choices, More Graduates
Limiting the choices of community college students paradoxically leads to greater academic success.
By Karen Weese

Sidebar: The Default Choice
Automatic enrollment in a non-profit food program keeps more kids from going hungry on the weekends.
By Karen Weese

Sidebar: What’s in a Name?
Program designers are learning that the words they use really matter.
By Karen Weese

Sidebar: Breaking Down Barriers
A surprisingly small tweak to the college admissions process yields an impressive increase in the enrollment of low-income students.
By Karen Weese

The back cover of the January/February 2017 issue of Pacific Standard.

The back cover of the January/February 2017 issue of Pacific Standard.


Culture Features: The Bones of St. Helena
Two cinematographers are capturing the secret history of a South Atlantic island full of the bones of Liberated Africans.
By Diane Selkirk

Scenes: 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.
By Tom Jacobs

Pacific Standard Picks: Beware the Slenderman
By Kristina Kutateli

Scenes: 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.
By Katie Kilkenny

Guest Programmer: Joshua Oppenheimer
As Told to Katie Kilkenny

Shelf Help: Never Caught: Ona Judge, the Washingtons, and the Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave
By Peter C. Baker

Book Reviews: 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.
By Peter C. Baker

Shelf Help: Teenage Suicide Notes: An Ethnography of Self-Harm
By Peter C. Baker

One Last Thing: White Picket Fence
By Madeleine Thomas