The Big Money

Thanks to huge casino profits, the youth of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians receive a payment they call “The Big Money” at age 18 after graduating from high school. Payments — which were as small as $600 when the program started in 1996 — are now into six figures.

Source: Topic
Published: Feb 5, 2019
Length: 13 minutes (3,369 words)

The Mysterious Life (and Death) of Africa’s Oldest Trees

Baobab trees are as integral a part of the Botswana ecosytem as they are a part of local culture. Unfortunately, the scientists who discovered that ancient baobabs are dying have no clear explanation why.

Author: Jaime Lowe
Source: Topic
Published: Jan 7, 2019
Length: 23 minutes (5,763 words)

Life Lessons From the School of Phish

Jen Doll dives into the world of the band Phish and their followers, known as “phans.” She discovers a hippy-esque subculture of “you do you” people dedicated not only to a band renowned for live jams, but a shared appreciation for uninhibited drug consumption, joyful escapism, and making new Phish-following-friends at every show.

Author: Jen Doll
Source: Topic
Published: Dec 4, 2018
Length: 28 minutes (7,064 words)

The Two Faces of Lummie Jenkins

Like cowboys in westerns, sheriffs were icons in the 20th century. They were the law. No matter what white residents in Alabaman’s Wilcox County say, so-called good ol’ boy Sherriff Lummie Jenkins used his power to violently suppress black voters and battle the Civil Rights movement. He’s no icon.

Source: Topic
Published: Nov 26, 2018
Length: 20 minutes (5,131 words)

Mold Eats World

As climate change chugs on and coastal cities endure hurricane flooding year after year, mold is flourishing in the hot, damp aftermath, bringing complaints of mold-induced illness. But, is mold really what’s making us sick? Even scientist Joan Bennett — who has dedicated her life to studying fungi — was unable to prove that the mold farm that invaded her home post-hurricane Katrina caused her headaches.

Source: Topic
Published: Oct 12, 2018
Length: 15 minutes (3,982 words)

The Elevator-Phobes of a Vertical City

New York City has more elevators than Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, and Washington combined — and every day, dozens of people acutely afraid of riding them need to find their way up and down the skyline.

Source: Topic
Published: Oct 2, 2018
Length: 10 minutes (2,672 words)

The Real Cost of Working in the House of Mouse

The employees spreading joy and maintaining animatronics at Disneyland can’t pay their basic bills.

Source: Topic
Published: Sep 28, 2018
Length: 25 minutes (6,409 words)

Hollywood’s New Golden Age

A feature on Channel 22, the television station at Hollywood’s Motion Picture Country Home, which keeps retired and disabled residents who formerly worked in film and television occupied with making new shows and movies.

Source: Topic
Published: Sep 5, 2018
Length: 16 minutes (4,247 words)

American Beauties

“The life of a plastic bag is really an endless series of entanglements.”

Source: Topic
Published: Aug 1, 2018
Length: 10 minutes (2,728 words)

Japan’s Vegetable-Eating Men

Recent cultural and policy shifts in Japan have made a previously hard-to-find species far more common: the stay-at-home dad.

Source: Topic
Published: Jun 29, 2018
Length: 13 minutes (3,312 words)