Vaughn Smith lives in Maryland. He’s 46 years old. He also learns languages with the seeming ease of a run around the block — including endangered indigenous tongues like Salish. In this fascinating profile that’s part ridealong and part science dive, Jessica Contrera takes you inside the life (and brain) of a man with a very particular set of skills.
When I introduced him to Richard Simcott, who organizes an international conference for polyglots, Vaughn switched between 10 languages as they spoke, telling stories in Welsh, Bulgarian, Serbian, Norwegian and more.
Because for Vaughn, every language is really a story about the people it connected him to.
In this heartbreaking portrait of one American family, Eli Saslow offers a look at “backwards mobility” and the country’s collapsing middle class.
It had been almost a month since Dave, 39, found his father lying unresponsive in bed next to his cellphone and a bill from a collections agency, having died of a heart attack at age 70, and ever since then Dave had been trying to make sense of what his father had left behind. He’d read through his father’s credit card statements and then talked to a banker, who concluded that the final estate of David Ramsey Sr. was of “inconsequential value.”
“For the former detainees of America’s war on terror, stigma, poverty and continuing persecution present formidable obstacles to resettlement.”
Inside the struggles and heartaches of FEMA’s massive COVID funeral assistance program.
“An Internet mob wanted to rescue a 13-year-old girl. Instead, they terrified her, derailed real trafficking investigations, and incited ‘save the children’ violence.”
“Laurel Haught moved out of her own home to escape her unvaccinated daughter. Now they are facing a funeral, the coming holidays and the divide splitting many American families.”
In short: Pretty much.
The children will never recover from what happened inside a D.C. apartment. The owner of the illegal gun faces far less serious consequences.
“As climate disasters increase, a last-gasp FEMA camp for wildfire survivors tests the government’s obligation to the displaced.”
“After more than a year of allowing most homeless camps to remain intact so as not to displace people during the pandemic, cities across the country are now beginning to confront another public health crisis unfolding on their streets.”