Editors’ Picks

Picks

Databodies in Codespace

As the bioengineering of people and cities converges, where do we locate the public sphere?

The $100 Laptop That Was Going to Change the World—Then It All Went Wrong

One Laptop Per Child was the vision of MIT Media Lab founder Nicholas Negroponte, who unveiled the small, green, affordable hand-cranked laptop in 2005. The marketing surrounding the laptop was would cost $100—except Negroponte quickly learned that was impossible.

The Moon Is Beautiful Tonight: On East Asian Narratives

Using Junichiro Tanizaki’s The Key, Jianan Qian examines the differences between how stories are structured and celebrated in Western and East Asian cultures.

Improbable Cause

Three healthy people died at 3635 Pitch Pine Crescent in Mississauga, Ontario, in less than four years. In this in-depth multi-media piece at the Toronto Star, Amy Dempsey unravels how a series of missteps and errors at every phase of the investigation nearly allowed one couple to get away with murder — three times.

The Delay

After two siblings got kidnapped on the Navajo reservation, jurisdictional issues and a structural breakdown of the Amber Alert system slowed the search. Trying to protect Indigenous children on tribal lands requires increased police training and federal funding, but funding often means compromising some tribal sovereignity.

The Great Chinese Dinosaur Boom

A gold rush of fossil-finding is turning China into the new epicenter of paleontology.

How the NRA Sells Guns in America Today

At The New Republic, “military veteran, big game hunter, and gun owner” Elliott Woods goes undercover at gun trade show to learn about how the NRA marketing machine has gone into high gear to combat what they’re calling the “Trump Slump.”

They Don’t Do Sadness

A feature on a teen production of the musical “Spring Awakening” in rehearsals at Barclay Performing Arts in West Boca Raton — near the city of Parkland — including some kids who attend Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and were present during the shooting. The show, about teens in 19th century Germany discovering their sexuality, provides these traumatized actors a way to explore and express their complicated emotions.

The Changeling

A personal essay in which How to Write an Autobiographical Novel author Alexander Chee considers how answering the question, “What are you?” turned him into a writer.

NHS SOS

Between ambulance delays, an aging population and a lack of beds, emergency medical care in England is on the brink of collapse. Compounding the issues is the fact that the country’s National Health Service is trying to reform its entire structure, and so far the transition is not a smooth one.

Pregnant, Uninsured, and Adrift

What happens when you live in the U.S., you get pregnant, and you’re uninsured? Bills. Big ones. Lots of them.

For the Child of Immigrants, the American Dream Can Be a Nightmare

“I have not inherited the cognitive dissonance necessary to unconditionally love something that hates you, and I am childless— I have dogs, not kids— so I don’t take consolation in the hope that my children will reap what I sow, that I will plant seeds that will bear fruit my children will eat. This all ends with me.”

Style is an Algorithm

No one is original anymore, not even you.

K.D. Lang Doesn’t Have to Indulge Your Constant Cravings

At the New York Times, Penelope Green profiles Canadian singer-songwriter K.D. Lang 25 years after the release of Lang’s album Ingénue. Green writes about how Lang has come to terms with her success, her “chapter in the history of the gay rights movement,” and about reaching middle age as an artist.

A Port In a Storm

When the village of Portpatrick, Scotland formed a trust to protect its harbor from further decay and outside ownership, a financial scandal forced the village to try a very different type of ownership model, a truly equitable one, called community shares. This model would be difficult in capitalist America.

Why My Grandmother Carried a Plastic Brain in Her Purse

Dara Bramson’s grandmother decided to donate her brain to science, so Bramson visited the donation center to help understand the importance of research and challenges to donations.

The Strike: Chemicals, Cancer, and the Fight for Health Care

Workers at Momentive Performance Materials had given their lives to the chemical plant. The strike was supposed to save what little they had left.

Never Solved, a College Dorm Fire Has Become One Man’s Obsession

The eight young Ph.D. students who died in a fire at Cornell University in 1967 have become the reason for one amateur detective to live. But why is William Fogle obsessed with other peoples’ tragedy?

Cashing in on Standing Rock

Veterans Stand for Standing Rock, a self-described “peaceful, unarmed militia,” was established in 2016 to help protect Indigenous opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline. High Country News finds that the $1.4 million they raised on GoFundMe during the confrontation was “at best, squandered and at worst, egregiously misspent.”

Real Museums of Memphis

In the wake of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. in Memphis, essayist and scholar Zandria F. Robinson wonders what has changed in the city in the intervening years and sheds a light on what hasn’t.