National

Here Comes the Neighborhood

Conventional suburbs are overbuilt and out of favor. In cities and suburbs alike, walkable neighborhoods linked by train are the future. Here’s how a new network of privately funded rail lines can make that future come to pass more quickly and cheaply—and help reinvigorate housing and the economy.

Ghosts of New York

At the turn of the last century, New York City was home to a remarkable flowering of architectural creativity. All across the city, immigrant craftsmen, mostly anonymous, created exuberant works of art out of terra cotta and the humble stone of tenements and rowhouses—art that ennobled the public and enlivened the streets in a vibrant new way. Now, as a very different era dawns in New York, the only major public collection of this work is about to be scattered to private bidders around the world.

Tomorrowland

In the city of the future, bridges will talk to engineers, roads will control cars, and parking spots will find you. In some places, it’s already here.

Beating Obesity

By 2015, four out of 10 Americans may be obese. Until last year, the author was one of them. The way he lost one-third of his weight isn’t for everyone. But unless America stops cheering The Biggest Loser and starts getting serious about preventing obesity, the country risks being overwhelmed by chronic disease and ballooning health costs. Will first lady Michelle Obama’s new plan to fight childhood obesity work, or is it just another false start in the country’s long and so far unsuccessful war against fat?

The Wrong Man

In the fall of 2001, a nation reeling from the horror of 9/11 was rocked by a series of deadly anthrax attacks. As the pressure to find a culprit mounted, the FBI, abetted by the media, found one. The wrong one. This is the story of how federal authorities blew the biggest anti-terror investigation of the past decade—and nearly destroyed an innocent man. Here, for the first time, the falsely accused, Dr. Steven J. Hatfill, speaks out about his ordeal.

Who Owns the First Amendment?

Journalists think they do. They’re wrong.

Letting Go of My Father

His elderly father insisted that he could manage by himself. But he couldn’t. The author found himself utterly unprepared for one of life’s near certainties—the decline of a parent. Millions of middle-aged Americans, he discovered, are silently struggling to cope with a crisis that needs to be plucked from the realm of the personal and brought into full public view.

Sex-Offender City

Florida’s sex criminals are crowding into a handful of neighborhoods.

Exile in Greenville

What happens when a NASCAR race and an environmental conference converge

The Happiness Index

Letters to the editor

How America Can Rise Again

Is America going to hell? After a year of economic calamity that many fear has sent us into irreversible decline, the author finds reassurance in the peculiarly American cycle of crisis and renewal, and in the continuing strength of the forces that have made the country great: our university system, our receptiveness to immigration, our culture of innovation. In most significant ways, the U.S. remains the envy of the world. But here’s the alarming problem: our governing system is old and broken and dysfunctional. Fixing it—without resorting to a constitutional convention or a coup—is the key to securing the nation’s future.

The Listener

For four hours every night, on holidays and weekends, George Noory is the voice in the darkness for millions of Americans. His show, Coast to Coast AM, has perfected a charged and conspiratorial worldview that now pervades American media. It’s quite possibly the oddest show ever to cross our airwaves. And it may change the radio business forever.

What Makes a Great Teacher?

For years, the secrets to great teaching have seemed more like alchemy than science, a mix of motivational mumbo jumbo and misty-eyed tales of inspiration and dedication. But for more than a decade, one organization has been tracking hundreds of thousands of kids, and looking at why some teachers can move them three grade levels ahead in a year and others can’t. Now, as the Obama administration offers states more than $4 billion to identify and cultivate effective teachers, Teach for America is ready to release its data.

Ground War

Army’s best option for finally beating Navy

The Great Guinea Hen Massacre

Good intentions collide with dumb birds on a small farm in Pennsylvania.

How Einstein Divided America's Jews

In 1921, Albert Einstein’s first trip to America triggered the kind of mass hysteria that would greet the Beatles four decades later. But as newly published documents show, it also tore a sharp rift between European Zionists and some of their fellow Jews across the Atlantic, men like Louis D. Brandeis and Felix Frankfurter, who felt that the best way for Jews to get ahead was to assimilate, not agitate for a Jewish homeland.

Did Christianity Cause the Crash?

America’s mainstream religious denominations used to teach the faithful that they would be rewarded in the afterlife. But over the past generation, a different strain of Christian faith has proliferated—one that promises to make believers rich in the here and now. Known as the prosperity gospel, and claiming tens of millions of adherents, it fosters risk-taking and intense material optimism. It pumped air into the housing bubble. And one year into the worst downturn since the Depression, it’s still going strong.

Brave Thinkers

The Snatchback

If your ex-spouse has run off and taken your children abroad, and the international legal system is failing to bring them back, what are you to do? One option is to call Gus Zamora, a former Army ranger who will, for a hefty fee, get your children back. Operating in a moral gray area beyond the reach of any clear-cut legal jurisdiction, Zamora claims to have returned 54 children to left-behind parents. Here’s the story of number 55.

The Boar War

A wild menace invades Houston.

Wipeout

Guam’s surfers fret about the impact of a $15 billion defense buildup on their island.

What’s Your Problem?

Witness to an Abduction

Nadya Labi, author of the November 2009 story “Snatchback,” explains how she ended up following a trained kidnapper around the globe

Witness to an Abduction

Labi’s sound recording of the actual snatchback in Costa Rica (with transcript)

Video

Where Time Comes From

The clocks that coordinate your cellphone, GPS, and more

Video

Computer Vision Syndrome and You

Save your eyes. Take breaks.

Video

What Happens in 60 Seconds

Quantifying human activity around the world

Writers

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