Editors’ Picks

Picks

The Ancient Potato of the Future

“The Four Corners potato has sustained Indigenous people in the American Southwest for 11,000 years; USDA is now studying its 8-year shelf life, and its resistance to disease, heat, and drought. The future of this remarkable little potato remains unwritten.”

“They Took Us Away From Each Other”: Lost Inside America’s Shadow Foster System

“It would take years before Molly and Heaven would learn that neither of them was ever in the foster system. Instead, caseworkers had diverted them to what some scholars call ‘hidden foster care’ or ‘shadow foster care,’ in which the legal protections of the formal system disappear.”

The Abortion I Didn’t Have

“I would never give my son back, for anything, but I would certainly give him a different mother.”

An Interview With Black Thought

“I think attention, or the lack thereof, during one’s career has the potential to make or break one’s journey. And during the times when there was less attention on me, it was just what I wanted and needed. But what happens when you have something that propels you from one level of celebrity to another is that it’s almost like you get to reinvent yourself.”

The Elephant in the Room

“A majority of Americans say they have a positive view of unions. When they vote for Republicans, as lots of union members do, they’re not voting that way because they want to disempower unions. They believe they’re voting to disempower the ‘freeloaders’ — a category that’s obviously inseparable, in the American context, from race. This is where the ugliness of the American conservative tradition comes in.”

“Who the Fuck Cares About Adam McKay?” (We Do, and With Good Reason)

“But success, as we’re obliged to say in the personal-profiles business, has come at a price—bouts of depression, a heart attack, a rotating cast of therapists, a tortured relationship with his mother, and a bitter breakup with his former creative partner Will Ferrell. As it turns out, every movie is the most personal movie Adam McKay’s ever made—until it’s over and he moves on to the most personal movie he’d ever made. On one level, it’s the nature of his art—locating the pulse of the zeitgeist and making entertainment from it before the zeitgeist moves on. And McKay is nothing if not a topical writer and director. But it begs a question: How does Adam McKay move on from a movie about the end of the world?”

Debt Demands a Body

“Debt was still a promise held by my body, and absent of the money, my body paid in other ways.” On living with debt in America.

The Migrant Workers Who Follow Climate Disasters

“A growing group of laborers is trailing hurricanes and wildfires the way farmworkers follow crops, contracting for big disaster-recovery firms, and facing exploitation, injury, and death.”

What Whale Barnacles Know

“Other than whale barnacles, nothing else reliably recorded the month-to-month movements of ancient whales, says Taylor. Bone tissue doesn’t care about the chemistry of the water it grew in; baleen does, but it’s hardly ever fossilized. But a well-preserved whale barnacle is the perfect time-traveling tracking device.”

The American Prison System’s War on Reading

“The carceral system is aiming to both further immiserate prisoners and set up corporations like Barnes & Noble to profit from them.”

The Great Escape

“If you call someone an “essential worker” for long enough, they start to believe it. They start to wonder whether they deserve more, given their essential nature. Gaining courage from social media, the most vulnerable people in America have started the closest thing we’ve seen in a century to a general strike.”

Escape from Kabul

“As the U.S. withdrew from Afghanistan in August, the Sadaat family was unsure if they’d ever make it back home to Texas.”

The Humble Beginnings of Today’s Culinary Delicacies

“Many of our most revered dishes were perfected by those in need, then co-opted by the affluent. Is that populism at play, or just the abuse of power?”

The Open-Source Investigators Trying to Bring Justice to Myanmar

“They’re using pioneering digital forensics to lay the groundwork for future crimes-against-humanity trials.”

Did My Uncle Drown or Was He Murdered?

“My family has always been suspicious of the circumstances surrounding Easter’s death. They just don’t add up. Easter, an island man accustomed to warm Caribbean waters, would not have risked his life by choosing to swim on a cool night in a dark, cold coastal lake.”

Migrant Crisis: The Channel Beaches That Host a Lethal Trade in Human Hope

“Everyone knows the risks. Many in the camps are glued to an app on their phones that predicts the weather conditions in the Channel each day. Waves over a metre high spell real danger. But few are deterred, and those that are find themselves confronted with a dilemma. The networks want to be paid, and there are reports of them threatening customers if they change their minds.”

Grateful to Witness

“We offer ourselves these moments of pure, collective joy, and then we go back so quickly to being ourselves. I wish it weren’t so.”

Hunting the Blues

“We came to this decision because we like whales. The more we learnt about them, the more we liked them, mixing thrilling scientific discoveries with new-minted mythologies about the wise and gentle giants of the deep. Humans had fallen in love with both the realities and the fantasies of whales, and so we decided to put the welfare of non-human species ahead of our own.”

‘Am I Even Fit To Be a Mom?’ Diaper Need Is An Invisible Part of Poverty in America

“Parents cannot use federal aid to pay for diapers, and are often forced to come up with other solutions, using maxi pads or towels to keep their children clean and dry. In rural America where aid is even harder to access, tiny diaper banks are the only lifeline.”

Ahmaud Arbery and the White Man’s Justice

“Running has long been associated with Black liberty. It’s a false promise.”