How the cult of self-optimization was born on the factory floor—with a manager’s stopwatch in hand.
By Nikil Saval
An intellectual crisis in the age of TED talks and Freakonomics.
By Jerry Adler
Most scientists oppose Russ George’s efforts to fix the world’s climate. But who’s going to do something about it?
Is culture just a side effect of the struggle to avoid disease?
How to be an old-fashioned explorer—intrepid, obsessive, khaki-clad—without conquering anything. The secret life of Keith Muscutt.
By Robert Anasi
From 1960s Korea, through Brazil, to today’s Los Angeles: Inside the world that brought you Forever 21—and those skinny jeans in your closet.
“Ignore the barrage of violent threats and harassing messages that confront you online every day.” That’s what women are told. But these relentless messages are an assault on women’s careers, their psychological bandwidth, and their freedom to live online. We have been thinking about Internet harassment all wrong.
By Amanda Hess
How did toast become the latest artisanal food craze? Ask a trivial question, get a profound, heartbreaking answer.
By John Gravois
After the last presidential election, wide-eyed pundits hailed a brave new era of political campaigning, crediting Obama’s victory to his team’s wizardry with data. The hype was premature. Here’s what the story of 2012 really means for the future of politics.
Meet Dave Ramsey, the most important personal finance guru in America. Millions of people follow his biblically inspired advice. It goes like this: 1. Purge yourself of debt; 2. Live on cash; 3. Pretend economic trends don’t affect you; 4. Blame yourself when they do.
By Helaine Olen
As CEO of Intrade, John Delaney harnessed the wisdom of the crowds, with often freakishly prescient results. Technocratic dreamers were ecstatic about the company’s ability to predict the future, and maybe even reshape society. Today Delaney’s company has collapsed and his body is entombed atop Mount Everest. A tale of bravado, bluster, and efficient markets.
By Graeme Wood
Fifty years ago 180,000 whales disappeared from the oceans without a trace, and researchers are still trying to make sense of why. Inside the most irrational environmental crime of the century.
Your DNA is not a blueprint. Day by day, week by week, your genes are in a conversation with your surroundings. Your neighbors, your family, your feelings of loneliness: They don’t just get under your skin, they get into the control rooms of your cells. Inside the new social science of genetics.
By David Dobbs
A new professional class of movers and shakers—people who serve overlapping roles in government, business, and media with smiling finesse—is controlling the flow of power and money in America. The anthropologist Janine Wedel is bent on making us understand just how dangerous this new normal can be.
The San Pasqual Academy argues we should let foster teenagers create their own tribe.
Worries about post-traumatic stress have become a stock part of the media narrative surrounding tragedies like Boston and Newtown. And resilience is supposedly the best we can hope for in the face of adversity. But what if there’s a third option? The story of one mass shooting, and the surprising tug of post-traumatic growth.
By Mark Obbie
It was a dark time in a long, drawn-out war. Afghanistan was festering with resentment. The Pentagon brass were desperate. It was the kind of last-ditch moment when authorities start throwing an era’s weirdest ideas at its most hopeless bureaucratic mistakes.
Worries about oil and gas hog the airwaves. But copper is also essential to keep the world running: It threads through your house, your computer, your eco-correct hybrid car. And it’s getting just as difficult, expensive, and environmentally menacing as oil to extract. We have entered the era of tough ore.
A healthy, inexpensive, environmentally friendly solution for housing millions of retiring baby boomers is staring us in the face. We just know it by a dirty name.
Most of us have a friend, a relative, or a neighbor who seems to pack his or her home with unnecessary stuff. Researchers are just beginning to understand why.
By Bonnie Tsui
About a decade ago, Washington State embarked on an early social experiment to educate people about the impacts of stress on children. The results are starting to show.
It will be if Robert Lustig has anything to say about it.
Joe Henrich and his colleagues are shaking the foundations of psychology and economics—and hoping to change the way social scientists think about human behavior and culture.
Rapidly advancing technologies are opening up astonishing sources of oil and gas all over the world. We are entering a new era of fossil fuels that is reshaping global economics and politics—and the planet.
By Vince Beiser
While the rest of the rich world stumbled from crisis to crisis, Australia’s economy has steadily grown. Is the nation just blessed by geography—or have its leaders figured out something we haven’t?
Advocates and scientists have tied the Earth’s fate to that of the polar bear. But what happens if this lumbering giant proves more resilient than the rest of us?
By Zac Unger
The psychologist Jeremy Bailenson’s quest to prepare us for the coming virtual world
By Bonnie Tsui
How an equation cooked up by Mussolini’s numbers guy came to define how we think about inequality—from Occupy Wall Street to the World Bank to the billionaires at Davos—and why it’s time to find a new way of looking at the numbers.
Forced to go it alone into space, China has reaped the benefits of building an aerospace industry from the ground up. Now that the future of America’s program looks most uncertain, China may be poised to slingshot ahead.
By David Axe
Steven Angel uses drumming to teach literacy. Across L.A., juvenile-detention centers, schools, and libraries have fallen in love with his program. But scientists say there’s no reason to believe it should work.
By Gabriel Kahn
How the science of recall is finally helping us to learn other languages.
By Bonnie Tsui
How legal wrangling over the chemicals used in lethal injection could shut down capital punishment.
By Nick Welsh
California’s Jerry Brown—now pragmatic, but still profane—is banking on a last-gasp proposal known as Proposition 30 to save the biggest economy in the nation.
By Marc Cooper
A long list of politicians and a whole industry of fix-it professionals have failed to restore California to its former glory. Did Nicolas Berggruen—Paris-born, art collector, global investor—and his Think Long committee, know how to rebuild the Golden State? And if so, Why didn’t anyone listen?
By Joe Mathews
In 1896, William Randolph Hearst unleashed his pit-bull ace reporter, Ambrose Bierce, in the nation’s capital to expose the Railroad robber baron’s grip on California’s Legislature. Reforms happened. The state was returned to its people. Trouble is, some of those fixes are bringing California to its knees.
Can medical care motivate Indonesian villagers to protect the rain forest?
How scientists are fighting malaria and dengue fever by turning disease-carrying bugs into their own worst enemies.
By Linda Marsa
To train future soldiers, the Department of Defense is using new technologies and centuries-old techniques, like yoga and meditation, to hone their minds, help them make better decisions on the battlefield, and prevent trauma.
The staggering, often surprising, scope of stuff being bought and sold across the Pacific.
By Matt Skenazy
Plenty of followers swear by meditation to cure a long list of ails. But how does it work? Neuroscientist Clifford Saron, of the University of California, Davis, and a Who’s Who of peers, are spending millions to find out.
The Claremont School of Theology, founded 126 years ago to create Methodist ministers, has plans to train rabbis and imams alongside its Christian preachers. The alliance, Claremont administrators say, will create the nation’s first Islamic seminary, awarding the country’s first graduate degrees in Muslim leadership. But the idea has agitated people inside and outside the institution.
Research shows that men benefit from talk therapy just as much, if not more, than women. Yet most men still won’t go.
Is an unassuming group of Chinese bloggers who are obsessed with military hardware doing the Pentagon’s work? Or Beijing’s?
By David Axe
How a 1920s law meant to protect investors was manipulated to protect big banks and investment firms—until now.
By David Skeel
The nations that ring the Pacific have half the world’s consumers, half the world’s trade, and half the global GDP. No wonder the administration is quietly shifting its policies westward.
Dr. Jay Shubrook is flipping conventional insulin treatment upside-down—with startling results.
A graphic look at the Western United States’ half-century of rising fortunes.