Portrait of an American company with billions in profits, and questions about how much it should be sharing that wealth with its own workforce:
"Oberhelman’s activism has also made him a target of criticism from those who say Caterpillar is thriving at its workers’ expense. Last year, as the company racked up a record $66 billion in sales, generating $5.7 billion in profits, it repeatedly landed in the news for clashing with production employees. In January 2012, Caterpillar locked out union workers at a locomotive factory in Ontario after they rejected a pay cut of about 50 percent; the company shuttered the plant and moved production to Muncie, Ind., where workers accepted lower wages. Last May, Caterpillar took a hard line during negotiations with employees at its Joliet (Ill.) hydraulic-parts factory, insisting on cuts to health care and other benefits. After striking for three months, employees caved at the end of the summer. Senior workers’ wages were frozen for six years. Caterpillar is currently battling union workers at its Milwaukee plant."
PUBLISHED: May 21, 2013
LENGTH: 11 minutes (2909 words)
A profile of a woman who participates in and builds props for cosplayers—fans who dress up as their favorite fictional characters:
"The first time Tysk worked with wood was to ramp up the unique-factor of one of her own costumes. Cid Highwind from the Square Enix classic Final Fantasy 7 is not an uncommon character to find in the cosplay wild; his outfit is simple, the character is iconic among JRPG fans and the game itself is one of the most popular of all time. Tysk wanted to dress up as Cid, and was determined to make herself stand out from other Cid cosplayers. So she suited up, grabbed some wood and paint and clay, and made herself the character's trademark spear.
"Once she knew she could successfully make props, she decided to share her new skills by making weapons for her friends. Over the span of a few months, she shaped hunks of wood and plastic into daggers, swords, claws and even a realistic chainsaw."
PUBLISHED: May 7, 2013
LENGTH: 14 minutes (3616 words)
On the man known as 'H.M.', whose brain was caught in "permanent present tense" and whose story is documented in a new book by neuroscientist Suzanne Corkin:
"Memory creates our identity, but it also exposes the illusion of a coherent self: a memory is not a thing but an act that alters and rearranges even as it retrieves. Although some of its operations can be trained to an astonishing pitch, most take place autonomously, beyond the reach of the conscious mind. As we age, it distorts and foreshortens: present experience becomes harder to impress on the mind, and the long-forgotten past seems to draw closer; University Challenge gets easier, remembering what you came downstairs for gets harder. Yet if we were somehow to freeze our memory at the youthful peak of its powers, around our late twenties, we would not create a polished version of ourselves analogous to a youthful body, but an early, scrappy draft composed of childhood memories and school-learning, barely recognisable to our older selves."
PUBLISHED: May 20, 2013
LENGTH: 10 minutes (2577 words)