Blood Brother

Sarah Smarsh writes about how rich drug companies buy plasma from the poor and working poor — literally feeding their wealth with one of the few renewable resources the poor have to sell — their blood.

Source: VQR
Published: Aug 31, 2017
Length: 7 minutes (1,883 words)

Telemetry

After a heart attack (perhaps two heart attacks), Jeff Sharlet searches for meaning in his own mortality, “This brilliant darkness, with which I am coming to terms.”

Source: VQR
Published: Jul 1, 2017
Length: 8 minutes (2,022 words)

A Kingdom for a Horse: Kokpar and the Future of Kazakhstan

“[N]owhere in this region is the contrast between the contemporary and the ancient higher than in Kazakhstan. And nowhere is the interplay between the two more starkly embodied than in professional Kazakh kokpar.”

Author: Will Boast
Source: VQR
Published: Jul 3, 2017
Length: 20 minutes (5,100 words)

They Call It Canaan

In the aftermath of disaster, as new communities thousands-strong coalesce in the countryside around Port-au-Prince, Haitians ask: what makes a city?

Source: VQR
Published: Apr 3, 2017
Length: 29 minutes (7,451 words)

Here Be Dragons: Finding the Blank Spaces in a Well-Mapped World

Maps are how we orient ourselves, and how we donate a place’s value — and by extension, the value of that place’s inhabitance. What does that means for the place still left un-mapped?

Source: VQR
Published: Jan 2, 2017
Length: 23 minutes (5,925 words)

Fine Dining

One New Orleans man reflects on the many unflattering racial layers of life of his city. “There are four of us. Four African Americans out of 280. One from a class of the early eighties. Two from the nineties. And me representing the 2000s.”

Source: VQR
Published: Oct 1, 2016
Length: 16 minutes (4,211 words)

Prince of Peace

San Salvador’s upstart mayor, Nayib Bukele, has promised a new way forward for a city besieged by decades of violence. His biggest obstacle, however, may not be the city’s gangs, but the city’s idea of itself.

Source: VQR
Published: Oct 5, 2016
Length: 25 minutes (6,425 words)

Citizen Canine, Comrade Cow

Thousands of us live and work with companion or service animals — but is it morally acceptable to be breeding animals for human use at all?

Source: VQR
Published: Jul 5, 2016
Length: 21 minutes (5,446 words)

Night Moves

On the efforts to preserve darkness, a fast-disappearing element in America’s heavily light-polluted skies.

Source: VQR
Published: Jul 5, 2016
Length: 28 minutes (7,010 words)

Cost of Living: Escaping the Maze of Medical Debt

A suicide survivor, the five-figure medical debt that followed her out of the hospital, and her own experience in patient care and hospital billing. What costs are actually necessary?

Source: VQR
Published: Mar 31, 2016
Length: 14 minutes (3,623 words)