Editors’ Picks

Picks

Naked in Japan

When one woman visits a Japanese bathhouse, she confronts the way childhood surgery shaped her perceptions of nudity, her beauty, and herself as a woman.

Your Real Biological Clock Is You’re Going to Die

At 47, Tom Scocca realizes most of us are living under the illusion that we have unlimited time, and are free plot out the different phases of our lives to our liking. He crunches some numbers and comes to the conclusion that sooner or later — and who knows which it will be — every one of us is a goner.

A Woman Becomes a Nightingale

An illustrated essay in which Carolita Johnson reviews the ugly history of rape being weaponized — and politicized — as a means of silencing women.

How a Booming City Can Be More Equitable

At a time when many U.S. cities are being revitalized — and rapidly gentrified — Barry Yeoman spotlights Durham, North Carolina, his home of 30 years, where activism, diversity- and egalitarianism-minded non-profits, and a community land trust are helping to keep the city inclusive and affordable for those who often get marginalized and pushed out instead.

Inside the Mind of a Voyeur

“Pete Forde was a good landlord and a great friend, or so his tenants thought. Then they discovered he was filming them in their most private moments.”

The Great Rikers Island Art Heist

Stained, neglected, nearly thrown away, a million-dollar Salvador Dalí painting spent forty years hanging around the Riker’s jail complex until someone decided to steal it.

Animal Attraction: The Ridiculous Realism of Bachelor in Paradise

To the ever-growing list of “reality TV tropes,” we can now add “confessing feelings to disinterested animals who happen to wander on-camera.”

Sex, Drugs and Mojitos: The Coffee Shop Story

Pot brownies, sex in the bathroom, celebrities in the VIP section, rapping wait staff — Coffee Shop had it all, and it was actually more of a bar-diner than coffee shop. It was also a family. As famous for its employees’ beautiful faces as for its food, this New York institution is closing this month, and people are ready to tell its inside story.

The Love Story that Upended the Texas Prison System

How Frances Jalet, one of the first women to graduate from Columbia Law School, and Fred Cruz, the first inmate to write a lawsuit on toilet paper that went all the way to the Supreme Court, teamed up to take on the Texas Department of Corrections for unconstitutional punishments and brutality.

The FBI of the National Park Service

“There’s a pervasive idea that crime doesn’t happen in our national parks, that these bucolic monuments to nature inspire visitors to be more noble, law-abiding versions of themselves. But parks are filled with people, and people commit crimes.” Enter the little-known Investigative Services Branch (ISB).

Grief Network

When pain and rage play out on — and are twisted by — Twitter.

Can I Get a “McGangbang?” On the Weird World of Secret Menus

One eater wanders through the fast food frontier, examining the culture of menu hacking, to undertand why restaurants honor special requests that defy their reliance on standardization.

STET

Sarah Gailey’s short story about a mother whose child was killed by a self-driving car takes full advantage of the web’s ability to play with layouts and links, telling a story that requires the reader to interact with the page as the tale unfolds bit by brutal bit.

Why You Can’t Stop Looking at Other People’s Screens

In an age when more than 80 percent of the American population carry portable screens, we can’t help but look over.

Safe Houses

Around the country, a network of women like Mily Treviño-Sauceda and Valentina are helping Latina farm-workers escape domestic violence and abuses at work, learn their rights, and connect with social services. They believe that if immigrants can’t confront violence at home, they can never combat workplace discrimination.

The People Who Moved To Chernobyl

“After what you witness in war, radiation is nothing. It was a miracle we survived.”

Is There Such a Thing as Ballet That Doesn’t Hurt Women?

It’s a beautiful but demanding art form that traditionally accepts only a narrow range of body types and movements, and normalizes physical injury and the devaluing of women’s bodies.

Horror Lives in the Body

“That fight-or-flight feeling, the body’s warning system, is what horror regularly exercises. It reminds you to stay alert because danger could present itself from the depths of any shadow, from behind any door, from the cab of any passing vehicle.”

What Stands In the Way of Native American Voters?

Thanks to historical disenfranchisement and discrimination, but also to a new state ID requirement — upheld by courts despite “all too real risk of grand-scale voter confusion” — thousands of Native Americans living in North Dakota won’t be able to vote this November.

Mold Eats World

As climate change chugs on and coastal cities endure hurricane flooding year after year, mold is flourishing in the hot, damp aftermath, bringing complaints of mold-induced illness. But, is mold really what’s making us sick? Even scientist Joan Bennett — who has dedicated her life to studying fungi — was unable to prove that the mold farm that invaded her home post-hurricane Katrina caused her headaches.