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The Best ‘Pacific Standard’ Stories of 2016

As curated by our editors.
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This year brought quite a bit of change at Pacific Standard. We moved to Medium, redesigned the magazine, and continued to expand our robust daily news coverage—all with a full-time editorial staff of only 12 people.

That’s takes a lot of effort, but it’s also an extremely gratifying process, the best reward being the work itself. From our look at the people behind a safe-injection facility in Canada, to the tragic story of the Australian serviceman who flew halfway around the world to die alone on the side of a mountain, to an enlightening interview with Ralph Nader, we’re pushing hard to bring you the most innovative and impactful ideas of the day.

What follows are our picks for the year’s best Pacific Standard stories. Curating this was somewhat of an exercise in futility: Between the magazine and the website, there’s way too much to fit on a 15-item list. So click around and explore the site too; I guarantee you’ll find something that piques your interest.


Like many people with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, Thorpe suffered from anasognosia: the inability to grasp the true nature or extent of his own illness.

“These guys have an incredible responsibility, and we as citizens need to remind them of that responsibility.”

“The fact of the matter is, women are twice punished. We are punished once for being women, and then again for not being able to work because we were women.”

“Being a ‘man of action,’ McKay would try to move through his depression. He would not stop until he was out of the manic mood or otherwise incapacitated.”

By the 19th century, the search for the Northwest Passage had become an obsession in Britain. Expeditions ventured out for years at a time, and the survivors returned with horror stories of scurvy and starvation, madness and death.

Justice means confronting power. It means getting controversial.

I began to think the restaurant was less a symbol of sushi egalitarianism and more a symbol of a neighborhood in the midst of demographic change.

Like the Kotex sanitary napkin before it, the tampon took off because it made working women’s lives easier.

“This is the best, most beautiful sign in all of Miskolc! We will win by a landslide with just this sign alone!”

You have turned over all your decision-making, even on the smallest level, to a set of professionals with an established protocol. That’s the deal: You do what they say, they save your life.

“They made me feel like a person, and that I was cared for even though I was lost.”

“This is the nexus of climate, humans, and geology, and it is all happening right here.”

“They’re treating us like we’re at war, like we’re in Iraq right now. We’re in the United States of America. We’re in Indian country. And it’s not right.”

If the shipping industry were a country, it would be the sixth-largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world.

Month after month, sitting on an army camp stool in Iraq, he came to realize that the question was no longer whether he would transition, but how.