Skip to main content

‘Pacific Standard,’ May/June 2016

To get Pacific Standard in print or digital formats, subscribe now.


Pacific Standard, May/June 2016. (Illustration: Comrade)


Cruising Through the End of the World
What does an evolving tourism industry mean for the people of the Northwest Passage?
By Eva Holland

Suffocating the Ocean
Oxygen-depleted oceans have predicted many mass extinctions in Earth’s past, including the worst one of all 252 million years ago. Are hypoxic dead zones from California to Namibia a harbinger of the next extinction?
By Moises Velazquez-Manoff

When climate change causes Californians to migrate north to Oregon and Washington
By Jeremy Miller

Special Insert: A Pacific Standard Guide to the Future of Fresh Water
Amid population booms and more extreme weather, we see that rising demands—not supply shortages—will be the main driver of water stress.

Plus: Troubled Water: A Map of Tomorrow’s Thirsty Future
A survey of regional water crises: community stress and political standoffs.

Plus: Solving the Fresh Water Crisis
Why business and policy solutions will depend on cities — and on women.


The Flood Keeper
As Los Angeles re-thinks the pathetic concrete riverbed at its core, one hydrologist is asking developers to remember the spectacular floods of its past.
By Willy Blackmore

The Race to Save Cuba’s Coral Reefs
Given the dual threats of climate change and increased tourism, conservationists are attempting to gather all the data they can before it’s too late.
By Kyle Deas

Unknown, Unregulated, Undrinkable
A probable human carcinogen has been found in water systems throughout California. Farm towns are fighting the state and chemical companies for remediation.
By Madeleine Thomas

The Water Sommelier
Can Martin Riese teach us how to value water by charging big prices in high-end restaurants?
By Ryan O’Hanlon


A Brief History of Drowning
Drowning has been a common cause of death since the Middle Ages. How do we prevent it when humans were likely never meant to swim? Plus: How to recognize a drowning person.
By James McWilliams

The Bionic Woman of Good Science
How an ecologist of tidal communities became a global diplomat for the ocean.
By Bonnie Tsui


A River’s Tale
Tracing the mighty Indus from sea to source.
By Saba Imtiaz

The Last Gasp
The world of competitive freediving is pushing athletes to more extreme depths—where collapsed lungs, ruptured eardrums, and even death can claim them.
By Bonnie Tsui

The Magic and the Mystery of Water
Water doesn’t just sustain life and literature; it also takes them away.
By Jason G. Goldman



Research Spotlight: Colin Kelley
Construction manager turned climate scientist
By Kate Wheeling

There’s a Name for That: Skeumorph
By Peter C. Baker

Research Gone Wild: The Yogurt Wars
By Pacific Standard Staff

Quick Study: Debt Doesn’t Always Hurt Kids
By Tom Jacobs

Subculture: Smith Island Watermen
Captain Grant Corbin Sr., 67
By Elena Gooray

In the Picture: Something Fishy
By Pacific Standard Staff

Quick Study: Gun Control: A Feminist Issue
By Tom Jacobs

Five Studies: Solving the Fresh Water Crisis at Home
From Wichita to Windhoek, municipalities and water utilities are focused on three crucial strategies: recharging, recycling, and reverse osmosis.
By Tim Heffernan

Life in the Data: Praying for Rain
What does it mean for churches that water, such an important religious symbol, is disappearing before our eyes?
By Laura Turner