Nobody Knows What Lies Beneath New York City

Satellites can map the earth’s surface, but the world underneath cities is the last cartographic frontier. One team is mapping New York City’s subsurface infrastructure in 3-D to improve safety, streamline growth, and allow New York to lead the world to becoming a “smart city.”

Published: Aug 10, 2017
Length: 14 minutes (3,683 words)

How a Journalist Uncovered the True Identity of Jihadi John

Souad Mekhennet’s thrilling tale of late-night rendezvous, burner phones, and secret codes — and her quest to reveal the man in black. Excerpted from I Was Told to Come Alone: My Journey Behind the Lines of Jihad.

Source: Longreads
Published: Aug 16, 2017
Length: 20 minutes (5,112 words)

In the future, your body won’t be buried…you’ll dissolve

For humans over the centuries, our dead have been embalmed, buried, and cremated. Now, a process called alkaline hydrolysis — using a machine called the Resomator — is being called a more environmental, less expensive, and attractive alternative.

Source: Wired UK
Published: Aug 15, 2017
Length: 17 minutes (4,276 words)

Instagram’s Kevin Systrom Wants to Clean Up the Internet

The photo sharing service has built tools and algorithms to remove offensive comments for its 700 million users with the hope that it will reduce the amount of toxicity they experience online.

Source: Wired
Published: Aug 14, 2017
Length: 17 minutes (4,363 words)

Trump’s Generals Can Save the World from War—And Stop the Crazy

“The president has no prior experience in politics or national security. Combine that with the widespread respect all three generals bring with them, not to mention their reputations for seriousness and intelligence, and it means they possess something that Donald Trump the dealmaker understands well: leverage—leverage over him.”

Source: Newsweek
Published: Aug 12, 2017
Length: 13 minutes (3,408 words)

You Are a Jigsaw Puzzle with Missing Food-Shaped Pieces

A personal essay in which Lindsay Hunter, author of the novel Eat Only When You’re Hungry, unpacks the factors and childhood experiences informing her complicated relationship to food, eating, and body image.

Source: Longreads
Published: Aug 15, 2017
Length: 12 minutes (3,035 words)

Beat the Clock

“Halls of fame and records and medals and posters belong to fans. Athletes do not mythologize the body in this way. What they do is navigate decay.”

Source: n+1
Published: Jul 25, 2017
Length: 12 minutes (3,217 words)

What My Father’s Death Taught Me about Poetry

Matthew Zapruder examines his relationship with poetry and with his father. Despite being two men with great facility for precise language, they were unable to use it to bridge the distance between them. In likening poems to people, Zapruder posits that the most beautiful thing about the poems most important to him is that their gravity and meaning cannot fully be articulated.

Source: The Walrus
Published: Jul 25, 2017
Length: 15 minutes (3,879 words)

Why We Fell for Clean Eating

On the rise of orthorexia — “an obsession with consuming only foods that are pure and perfect” — and the burgeoning industry that feeds it.

Author: Bee Wilson
Source: The Guardian
Published: Aug 11, 2017
Length: 23 minutes (5,947 words)

Forever Yesterday: Peering Inside My Mom’s Fading Mind

A personal essay in which writer Kevin Sampsell struggles to understand and accept the ravages of Alzheimer’s on his elderly mother’s memory — and quality of life.

Source: Longreads
Published: Aug 11, 2017
Length: 15 minutes (3,752 words)