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.
‘This Place, This Moment, Unplanned’: On Surviving a Heart Attack
Jeff Sharlet on how recovering from a life-threatening event takes place moment by moment.
The Re-Kazakhification of Kazakhstan, On Horseback
After years of Soviet control, the country looks to the cultural foundations of its nomadic past.
The Birth of a City, In Fits and Starts
Communities in Haiti are building their own post-earthquake infrastructure without the help of the government.
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?
Practical Cartography: I Am Mapped, Therefore I Am
Lois Parshley’s wide-ranging, fascinating story on mapping the unmapped — from black holes, to the bottom of the sea, to the populations of the Congo and Haiti — looks at not just the science of map-making, but the morality.
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?
What Separated Los Angeles from Its River?
In the early twentieth century, a booming Los Angeles was separated from the river in three decisive steps. First, an aqueduct was built more than 200 miles north to water to the city from the Sierra Nevada—a move mythologized in the movie Chinatown. Then, the city took control of all water rights on the river. Finally, the […]
Author Porochista Khakpour on New Age Treatments for Lyme Disease, and ‘Mind Over Matter’
As someone who’s twice been diagnosed with Lyme Disease, I’ve read an awful lot about it. The more I read, the more confused I am; for every long, boring article about antibiotic treatments, there are two or three about widely varying alternative cures. The Last Illusion author Porochista Khakpour has been living with Lyme for […]
The Top 5 Longreads of the Week
Our favorite stories of the week.