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The New Baby Boom

A generation of new babies is painting a picture of what the future of the British Empire will look like: "Today, the increase in British birth rates has ushered in another baby-centric age, one defined by three distinct aspects. More babies of different ethnicities are being born, challenging the very notion of an ethnic 'minority'. They are also part of a simultaneous parenting boom: people from an ever wider array of backgrounds can become parents of healthy babies. Finally, there is an intellectual boom: as scientists and policy makers – like their political forebears – seek to use our growing knowledge about how babies and their brains develop to improve education and curb inequality."
PUBLISHED: July 11, 2014
LENGTH: 20 minutes (5171 words)

Even The Most Progressive University In North America Doesn’t Know How To Handle Sexual Consent

When a tiny liberal arts college in Canada is rocked by sexual assault allegations, none of the students involved feel as if their issues and concerns were fairly addressed:

Helfand said the school educates students on consent during orientation (although multiple students said the “workshop” consisted of a brief PowerPoint on Canadian laws) and recently hired a visiting faculty member to consult on related training and education. He reiterated that Quest allows students to switch classes and residence rooms even if complaints are unsubstantiated.

“It’s simply not true” that Quest students don’t feel listened to, he said.

But the students whose claims were proven false say there’s no more evidence they could’ve provided. Worst of all, they said, was that the school treated them like liars. The police couldn’t press charges when Carrie and Sasha called them, but at least they were sympathetic.

“If I was going to make something up, I would have made it worse,” Carrie said.

PUBLISHED: June 22, 2014
LENGTH: 15 minutes (3980 words)

Betrayal in Charlie Rangel's Harlem

Rangel has been the face of the district for four decades. Then an ambitious preacher named Michael Walrond came along. Now they’re fighting over the future of America’s most symbolic black neighborhood.

At 11:30 a.m. sharp, Walrond, who normally preaches in jeans, arrived at St. John’s in a dark suit and tie, his bald head cleanly shaved. As the 30 or so people took their seats and the smell of waffles, bacon and salmon croquettes wafted in from the kitchen, Butts introduced his guest. Then, for 15 minutes, Walrond spoke about the various efforts he began at his church — an educational and wellness center, a program that feeds children before school, a food pantry that sought to serve 20,000 families a year — that he would like to expand, if elected to the House. He talked about his concerns with the local schools, particularly co-location, the disputed practice of housing several schools in one building. Then he threw open the floor to questions.

PUBLISHED: June 18, 2014
LENGTH: 17 minutes (4304 words)

The Courting of Marvin Clark

Inside the pursuit of a high school basketball star:

The day after Mr. Clark returned from Iowa State, Mr. Weber arranged floor seats for him and four of his teammates for the Wildcats’ game that night against Kansas, which was then ranked No. 1 in the country. When Kansas State pulled off an overtime upset, Mr. Clark was there to rush the floor with the fans.

Kansas State’s coaches brought him into the locker room to enjoy the celebration. One coach later texted, “That could be you on that floor next year!!”

PUBLISHED: June 1, 2014
LENGTH: 21 minutes (5402 words)

The Search for Psychology's Lost Boy

In 2009 the decades-old mystery of 'Little Albert' was finally solved. Or was it?

In the following scene, the rat returns. The baby cries, attempts to crawl away. The rabbit and the monkey also return, along with a different dog, and the baby cries each time—even without the loud noise. The once-placid infant is now a wailing wreck.

The grainy, black-and-white footage, filmed in 1919 and 1920, documents what has become a classic psychology experiment, described again and again in articles and books. The idea is that the baby was conditioned to be afraid, instilled with a phobia of all things furry.

PUBLISHED: June 1, 2014
LENGTH: 19 minutes (4990 words)

Project Wizard

Richard Nixon's brazen plan to redeem himself after Watergate:

Now Nixon’s preoccupation, even obsession, after being forced from office was to become a respected figure. It wasn’t for him to live out the rest of his life in disgrace. He was determined to become someone people listened to—a senior statesman, a sage. And the best way to be considered a sage, Nixon understood, was to establish one’s credentials as an expert in foreign policy, a man known to world leaders. Domestic policy didn’t cut it the same way: Lectures and articles on education or the environment didn’t attract the Brahmins and the business leaders Nixon wanted to attract, didn’t occupy nearly as much space on the stage. No splashy trips.

In accordance with the Wizard plan, the former president first would write another memoir (because statesmen wrote memoirs), both to make money and to give his own version of events. Money wasn’t a new preoccupation but now Nixon feared expensive trials (until the pardon) and had just paid a heap in back taxes rather than risk impeachmment on the matter. Nixon’s book sold astonishingly well. To get some questions behind him and make still more money, Nixon also struck a lucrative deal for a series of interviews with the British talk-show host David Frost, which aired in 1977. Nixon was paid a whopping $600,000 for signing and was to earn from each sale of the interviews, an odd arrangement. On Watergate, which the deal held to one of the four sessions, Nixon wasn’t nearly as revealing as the play and movie Frost/Nixon had it, but interest in him was sufficiently strong and he said just enough—“I let down my country”—to draw great interest and line his pockets.

PUBLISHED: May 15, 2014
LENGTH: 11 minutes (2919 words)

The Revolt of the Cities

During the past 20 years, immigrants and young people have transformed the demographics of urban America. Now, they’re transforming its politics and mapping the future of liberalism.

Pittsburgh is the perfect urban laboratory,” says Bill Peduto, the city’s new mayor. “We’re small enough to be able to do things and large enough for people to take notice.” More than its size, however, it’s Pittsburgh’s new government—Peduto and the five like-minded progressives who now constitute a majority on its city council—that is turning the city into a laboratory of democracy. In his first hundred days as mayor, Peduto has sought funding to establish universal pre-K education and partnered with a Swedish sustainable-technology fund to build four major developments with low carbon footprints and abundant affordable housing. Even before he became mayor, while still a council member, he steered to passage ordinances that mandated prevailing wages for employees on any project that received city funding and required local hiring for the jobs in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ new arena. He authored the city’s responsible-banking law, which directed government funds to those banks that lent in poor neighborhoods and away from those that didn’t.

PUBLISHED: April 29, 2014
LENGTH: 17 minutes (4402 words)

Debunking the Bunk Police

An anonymous underground group is trying to make drug-testing kits widely available—everywhere from Coachella to the Phish tour. Can a $20 kit save lives?

We knew of the Bunk Police from Saratoga Springs, and also because they’d maintained a constant presence on the Phish tour all summer. They had been at other festivals, from the more mainstream Coachella, Bonaroo, and Wakarusa, to obscure electronic gatherings like Lightning in a Bottle and Firefly. The anonymous organization, run by volunteers, preaches harm reduction through education about misrepresented substances. The kits vary depending on the kind of drug you’re testing, but in principle they’re all the same: you dissolve a minuscule amount of your substance in the chemicals provided in your kit (one is good for about 50-100 tests), and depending upon the color change, you know what drug you’re dealing with. The test kits are essentially the same as what a cop would use if he were trying to test someone’s drugs. The Bunk Police sell kits for $20 apiece to drug users so that they can increase their safety and call out fraudulent (or simply ignorant) dealers.

PUBLISHED: April 10, 2014
LENGTH: 15 minutes (3830 words)

Just Who Is Herman Curtis Malone?

Curtis Malone created a D.C. youth basketball empire. Turns out, he was a drug dealer, too:

The Malone these by-the-book high achievers know is, well, one of them. Over three decades, he guided hundreds — some say thousands — of teenage boys toward higher education, especially those whose skills on the basketball court set them apart from their peers. The athletically gifted youngsters often landed on the Amateur Athletic Union basketball team Malone founded with his friend Troy Weaver in 1993, D.C. Assault.Malone built a winning team, which attracted more talent, which meant more wins. Charismatic and driven, Malone grew D.C. Assault into one of the top AAU boys’ basketball programs in the United States with nine teams.

PUBLISHED: March 27, 2014
LENGTH: 13 minutes (3425 words)