Features - Pacific Standard

Features

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The Great, Chaotic Biochar Experiment

Australian plant ecologist Brenton Ladd wants to reengineer the notoriously nutrient-poor soils in the Amazon, and, in the process, save the world's trees. But first, he has to convince Peruvian farmers and non-profits—and occasionally, his own research team—that he's not just another gringo with a strange idea.

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Surviving Racism

A Native writer struggling against the ignorance of white culture finds that her stories are her lifeline, her wounds are her power, and though the scales have been weighted against her in almost every way, there are many reasons to survive.

Prisons have no incentive to pay inmates better—to the contrary. Unlike workers in the free market, who (theoretically, anyway) can weigh factors like pay, working conditions, and other benefits when deciding where to work, inmates do not have a choice between employers. If they need the money, or the experience, they must take or leave what the prison is offering.

The Death Penalty in America: A Lethal History

In colonial Virginia, authorities could hang settlers for a crime as small as stealing grapes or killing a neighbor's chicken. The penal code in America's first colony was, in fact, so harsh its governor eventually reduced the number of capital offenses out of fear that settlers would refuse to live there. Since then, the number and severity of crimes punishable by death in the United States have fluctuated; today, the death penalty is still legal in 31 states. Here are some of the critical turning points in the history of capital punishment in America.