Farewell to Payless and its terrible, no good, very cheap, occasionally meaningful shoes

With Payless set to close all of its U.S. and Canada stores by the end of May, a former customer finds herself curiously missing a subpar, self-serve “ShoeSource” she hasn’t shopped at in years.

Source: The Outline
Published: Apr 23, 2019
Length: 9 minutes (2,251 words)

Welcome to the Witch Capital of Norway

Salem, Massachusetts sells its witch history very well, but Vardø, Norway has its eerie isolation and cold dark climate to sell its haunted past.

Source: The Outline
Published: Nov 19, 2018
Length: 7 minutes (1,815 words)

The million-dollar brownstone that no one owned

We know — or sort of vaguely grasp, or willfully ignore, or try to forget — the general story of the housing bubble. But what happened to “all the single mortgages that were bought, bundled, divided, sold, rebought, rebundled, redivided, resold, etc.” in the years leading up to the 2008 housing crisis? With the help of a Lawyer Friend (“LF”), Cole Hawes Louison digs into the twisted, bizarre story of how one particular brownstone with an “extraordinarily clouded” title turned into a million-dollar ATM.

Source: The Outline
Published: Aug 15, 2018
Length: 30 minutes (7,558 words)

Welcome to Hotel Millennial

Enjoy the bunk beds and the single bespoke clothes hanger.

Source: The Outline
Published: Aug 6, 2018
Length: 13 minutes (3,350 words)

How Prisons Are Poisoning Their Inmates

“Despite resistance from activist groups, state and federal prisons continue to be built in dangerous environments that imperil the health of inmates.”

Source: The Outline
Published: Jul 23, 2018
Length: 14 minutes (3,670 words)

One Man’s Mission to Bring Better Ramen to the Incarcerated

Instant ramen is one of the most popular items in prison commissaries, where food runs from awful to inedible, but the ramen is dangerously high in sodium. To save inmates from dietary issues and help the government save money on health care, one man has designed a low-sodium alternative. Time in prison showed him the way.

Source: The Outline
Published: Jun 29, 2018
Length: 9 minutes (2,361 words)

24 Hours At My Local Dunkin’ Donuts

In a bid to get to know the members of her community, Laura Yan spends 24 hours in the Nostrand Avenue branch of Dunkin’ Donuts in New York City.

Author: Laura Yan
Source: The Outline
Published: Jun 18, 2018
Length: 14 minutes (3,562 words)

My Dad Painted the Iconic Cover for Jethro Tull’s ‘Aqualung,’ and It’s Haunted Him Ever Since

With a handshake for a contract and a flat fee, a prominent realist painter created a problem that still bothers him at the end of his long successful career.


Source: The Outline
Published: May 10, 2018
Length: 18 minutes (4,648 words)

What Is My Dog?

Kelly Conaboy DNA-tests her rescue dog, Peter Parker in a bid to silence a know-it-all, loudmouth schnook at the dog park who thinks he can deduce Peter’s canine heritage at a glance. In Peter’s results, Conaboy gets a pleasant surprise.

Source: The Outline
Published: Mar 20, 2018
Length: 8 minutes (2,081 words)

The Universe Has Been Outsourced

The production of big-name, high-budget games increasingly relies on outsourcing (or “external development,” if you prefer) for the creation of 3D art, level design, and other game assets. Michael Thomsen visited one of the firms that provides this work, the Shanghai-headquartered Virtuos Ltd. Thomsen draws out the tension between the demand for such work and the possibility for exploitation it creates, as well as the role that changing profit margins in the video game industry play in exacerbating that tension.

Source: The Outline
Published: Feb 6, 2018
Length: 15 minutes (3,911 words)