At the risk of stating the obvious, it’s been a big year for news. (Okay, maybe understating the obvious.) The U.S. presidential election, one of the biggest stories in years, unfolded over the course of 2016, and dominated much of public discourse. Add that to widespread police killings, to the Zika epidemic, to Syria, and it seems like, for readers of news, internet overwhelm reached a new level this year. There’s always too much to read, which means some great stories, for whatever reason, just don’t take off.
But through all that’s happening in the world, we believe in the power of science, technology, and health stories to help us understand the world, and to help us understand ourselves. So, we’re recommending some of our favorite overlooked articles we wrote this year. We hope these “second helpings” find a little room on your holiday reading plate.
And because we’re not immune, yes, some of them are about Donald Trump.
As LED technology makes it cheaper to illuminate buildings, cities are becoming experimental spaces for an ancient form of visual communication—and not always for the better.
Adrienne LaFrance | January 25
“The danger of infusing light with political meaning is, of course—who decides what the message is?” Tillett told me. “Lighting of buildings in particular, but public lighting in general, can have a strong coercive power. We are creatures drawn to light, and if you choose to broadcast your political message or advertise on the top of or on the face of a building, we will look at it, even if we would prefer to look away.”
The U.S. government can predict food insecurity before it occurs. But the warnings aren’t always heeded.