Profiles in Courage

Watch mini-documentaries about the Brave Thinkers featured in this issue and submit your own nominations

What’s Your Problem?

Mourning in Chicago

A funeral home’s business is growing, for all the wrong reasons.

A Hundred Miles on the Erie Canal

Cruising across upstate New York, at five miles per hour

The California Experiment

Busted budgets, failing schools, overcrowded prisons, gridlocked government—California no longer beckons as America’s promised land. Except, that is, in one area: creating a new energy economy. But is its path one the rest of the nation can follow?

The Story Behind the Story

With journalists being laid off in droves, ideologues have stepped forward to provide the “reporting” that feeds the 24-hour news cycle. The collapse of journalism means that the quest for information has been superseded by the quest for ammunition. A case-study of our post-journalistic age.

In Case of Emergency

FEMA’s new administrator has a message for Americans: get in touch with your survival instinct.

What’s Your Problem?

What's Your Problem?

Greening With Envy

How knowing your neighbor’s electric bill can help you to cut yours


Riding motorbikes without a helmet, flying planes while half asleep—not to mention discussing books he’d never read and using words he didn’t understand—William F. Buckley courted adventure in all that he did. Here, the conservative godfather’s onetime protégé and longtime nemesis fondly recalls their friendship—and argues that Buckley was not the snob many thought him to be.

15 Ways to Fix the World

Leaving Home

Sandra Tsing Loh reports on her divorce from inside her new 10 x 10 foot U-Haul storage trailer

What's Your Problem?

Dog Bites Bug

How man’s best friend can help him evict his nastiest bedmate

Quick Study

What Makes Us Happy?

Is there a formula—some mix of love, work, and psychological adaptation—for a good life? For 72 years, researchers at Harvard have been examining this question, following 268 men who entered college in the late 1930s through war, career, marriage and divorce, parenthood and grandparenthood, and old age. Here, for the first time, a journalist gains access to the archive of one of the most comprehensive longitudinal studies in history. Its contents, as much literature as science, offer profound insight into the human condition—and into the brilliant, complex mind of the study’s longtime director, George Vaillant.

“The Power of Adaptation”

Historian Donald Cole reflects on his life, career, and experiences as a member of the Grant Study.

“I Haven’t Been Unhappy in My Life”

Former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee reflects on his education, career, and experiences as a member of the Grant Study.

What's Your Problem?

Yosemite's Rock Stars

Fifty years ago, climbers conquered the “unclimbable” El Capitan; today climbers and visitors are still seduced by Yosemite granite.

Quick Study

Pursuit of Happiness

Dr. George Vaillant, director of the 72-year study, explains what makes people strive for fame and why dirty laundry can symbolize a perfect life.


Veteran rock climber Wayne Merry shares photos and stories from the first-ever ascent of Yosemite's El Capitan in the late 1950s.

The Case Against Breast-Feeding

In certain overachieving circles, breast-feeding is no longer a choice—it’s a no-exceptions requirement, the ultimate badge of responsible parenting. Yet the actual health benefits of breast-feeding are surprisingly thin, far thinner than most popular literature indicates. Is breast-feeding right for every family? Or is it this generation’s vacuum cleaner—an instrument of misery that mostly just keeps women down?


Where Time Comes From

The clocks that coordinate your cellphone, GPS, and more


Computer Vision Syndrome and You

Save your eyes. Take breaks.


What Happens in 60 Seconds

Quantifying human activity around the world



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