Cancer-linked Chemicals Manufactured by 3M Are Turning Up in Drinking Water

Studies have shown that 3M-made “per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (or PFAS, pronounced ‘PEE-fas’)” found in Teflon, Scotchgard, and fire-fighting foam have been linked to a weakened immune response and cancer. The chemicals contaminate the ground water around the 3M plant in Cotton Grove, Minnesota creating an “underground plume” of pollution that’s 100 square miles in size. The biggest problem? 3M knew of the dangers and has been covering it up for decades.

Published: Nov 2, 2018
Length: 23 minutes (5,908 words)

The Unsolved Murder of an Unusual Billionaire

Everyone in Canadian high society knew the Shermans, who owned a lucrative generic drug company and were some of the country’s most active philanthropists. But Barry Sherman also sued a lot of people, battled his cousins, made questionable business relationships, didn’t use a bodyguard, and kept their one home security camera off.

Published: Oct 24, 2018
Length: 26 minutes (6,568 words)

Dying Alone in Japan: The Industry Devoted to What’s Left Behind

Companies that deal with the belongings left behind after you die are in demand in Japan, “where each year more people die with no one to mourn them.”

Published: Jul 17, 2018
Length: 10 minutes (2,731 words)

The New Startup South

Greenville, South Carolina has discovered a way to revitalize its postindustrial spaces: by incubating start-ups and joining the knowledge economy. Can other mid-size Southern cities do the same?

Published: Jun 21, 2018
Length: 7 minutes (1,800 words)

The Legend of Nintendo

How can a perennial blockbuster like Nintendo fall down for more than a century, innovate continuously from that prone position, and rise up, as if on cue, to master the art of fairytale comebacks time and time again? Felix Gillette tries to crack the code behind the gaming giant’s success, which remains as mysterious and unlikely as lucking into a banana bunch in the depths of an abandoned mineshaft.

Published: Jun 21, 2018
Length: 13 minutes (3,349 words)

The Gambler Who Cracked the Horse-Racing Code

Bill Benter did the impossible: He wrote an algorithm that couldn’t lose at the track. Close to a billion dollars later, he tells his story for the first time.

Published: May 3, 2018
Length: 25 minutes (6,447 words)

Japan’s Prisons Are a Haven for Elderly Women

Elderly Japanese women — many of whom live lonely lives even in the company of husbands and children — are turning to petty theft and are thriving in prison, a place where they find the companionship and security lacking in their lives on the outside.

Published: Mar 16, 2018
Length: 6 minutes (1,639 words)

How Defective Guns Became the Only Product That Can’t Be Recalled

Unlike with thousands of other consumer products, no government entity in the U.S. has the power to police defective firearms or ammunition. Taurus has sold nearly a million handguns that can potentially fire even if no one pulls the trigger. After the accidental death of their son, one family is seeking justice.

Published: Feb 28, 2018
Length: 16 minutes (4,100 words)

Americans Will Struggle to Grow Old at Home

Most Americans want to live at home in their old age, but our current home-based health care system won’t be able to adequately serve their growing numbers.

Published: Feb 9, 2018
Length: 16 minutes (4,115 words)

The Fall of Travis Kalanick Was a Lot Weirder and Darker Than You Thought

A behind-the-scenes account of how Travis Kalanick was ousted from Uber as chief executive officer.

Published: Jan 18, 2018
Length: 16 minutes (4,000 words)