Life as a Reverse Immigrant

Despite having been born and raised in Canada, when Andrea Yu moved to Hong Kong she was in a sense going home. Her mother had immigrated from Hong Kong thirty-three years before, making Yu one participant in a growing trend: second-generation reverse migration.

Author: Andrea Yu
Published: Sep 27, 2015
Length: 11 minutes (2,976 words)

Coming to America and Coming of Age

After escaping gang violence in Honduras and crossing the border as an unaccompanied minor, a 19-year-old must grapple with a new country, high school, and immigration court, all on his own.

Published: Sep 1, 2015
Length: 12 minutes (3,000 words)

Science, Meet Journalism. You Two Should Talk.

Why science and the media need each other.

Published: Jan 20, 2015
Length: 13 minutes (3,398 words)

A Return to the Dark

Women in Afghanistan fear what will happen when NATO troops leave:

There were no women among the eight candidates in Afghanistan’s April presidential elections, and just one — Dr. Habiba Sarobi, former governor of Bamiyan — on any of the slates (as second vice president). There were, however, two warlords running for president (and four as running mates) who are known for trampling on women’s rights.

“When you go from darkness to light you have to pass through shade,” says Sarobi. Yet many women say that things are already going backward, into the dark.

Published: May 24, 2014
Length: 15 minutes (3,804 words)

‘Still, God Helps You’

The story of William Mawwin, who was kidnapped in Sudan when he was six years old and sold into slavery. Mawwin eventually escaped, and, at 34, is going to college in the U.S.:

“In the morning I cook, bring his tea, black tea with milk, his bread. I cook the bread, too. I fold his bed. I cook his lunch, usually chicken. I do his laundry, using a bucket with water and soap. Lay his clothes in the sun to dry. Master would pray five times a day, he was really into the Quran. Then I start going to cattle camp, rotating with his youngest son, three months younger than me, the son he loved more than anything. When this son was around, I had to leave, go to cattle camp, get yelled at, beaten. One time, when I lost one of the cows, Ahmad, the fourth son, stabbed me, told me find the cow or he will kill me. After I find it, he still slaps me, beats me, gets really rough.

“For four years, I didn’t go anywhere. Master told me: Your parents did not want you, now I’m taking care of you. All this is going to be yours one day. I will find you a wife. These are your brothers. You are part of our family. This will be your special cow. So you feel motivated, work very hard. But it is psychological manipulation. Sweet talk. Mind control.”

Published: Aug 5, 2013
Length: 54 minutes (13,599 words)

Beyond the Brain

Rethinking schizophrenia as a brain disorder that requires medication, and recognizing that part of the cure is looking at the social factors that cause mental breakdowns:

“By the time I met her, Susan was a success story. She was a student at the local community college. She had her own apartment, and she kept it in reasonable shape. She did not drink, at least not much, and she did not use drugs, if you did not count marijuana. She was a big, imposing black woman who defended herself aggressively on the street, but she had not been jailed for years. All this was striking because Susan clearly met criteria for a diagnosis of schizophrenia, the most severe and debilitating of psychiatric disorders. She thought that people listened to her through the heating pipes in her apartment. She heard them muttering mean remarks. Sometimes she thought she was part of a government experiment that was beaming rays on black people, a kind of technological Tuskegee. She felt those rays pressing down so hard on her head that it hurt. Yet she had not been hospitalized since she got her own apartment, even though she took no medication and saw no psychiatrists. That apartment was the most effective antipsychotic she had ever taken.”

Published: Sep 6, 2012
Length: 16 minutes (4,055 words)

Man as Machine

The early days of robots. The Age of Enlightenment inspired inventors like Jacques de Vaucanson to create ever more realistic machines that mimicked human behavior:

“Vaucanson, however, was less a philosophical theorist than a practical, even greedy businessman. In 1739, as profits from the Flute Player’s performances began to decline, he added two new automatons to his exhibit. One was a pipe-and-drum player. The other—which was to make him, for a time, one of the most famous men in Europe—was a mechanical duck.

“And not merely a wind-up duck that flapped its wings and quacked and turned its head. If you held out a bit of food in your palm, the duck’s head would lower, its beak would fall open, and the automaton would actually gulp down the morsel. And then, some minutes later—Reader, I am not making this up—the duck would excrete it.”

Author: Max Byrd
Published: Feb 7, 2012
Length: 11 minutes (2,969 words)

Long Live the Industrial City

Beneath the well-chronicled narrative of garment industry decline I began to see another set of truths: that the garment industry is still New York City’s largest manufacturing sector by employment; that the production, service, and supply businesses that remain play a vital, if underappreciated, role in the larger fashion industry of New York; and that even with the emergence of instant communications and far-flung supply chains—not to mention the pressures exerted by landlords looking to convert industrial space into more profitable offices—there are still compelling reasons why this industrial network continues to cluster in midtown Manhattan.

Published: Apr 6, 2011
Length: 16 minutes (4,054 words)