Sweeping out the Plains

Text and photos by Jack Coffman and George Anthan In 1890, the federal Census Bureau announced that the nation’s frontier was closed. It’s opening up again. The great wave of population, which swept homesteaders onto the Northern Great Plains with the promise of

Lives in Looting

How professional grave-robbers are destroying the past At 23, Robin is a huaquero, a professional grave-robber who has been digging up pre-Hispanic burial mounds known as huacas in his native Peru almost every night since his early teens. He and his buddies loot

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When Conflict Focuses on Citizenship

War is all about taking sides – unless, of course, you can’t because you belong on both sides. That’s the sort of conflict that citizenship laws were intended to avoid. But that’s how Haider Thamir, a citizen of both Iraq and the United

Brother’s Keeper: One Family, Two Suicides

On the afternoon of Saturday, May 4, 2001, the cast of the Monadnock Regional High School production of “Ordinary People” gathered in the school auditorium in Swanzey, N.H., for its first dress rehearsal. Opening night was only four days away, and the mood

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Classmates: Portraits of a Chinese Generation

Song Liming lost his virginity on a chilly day in February 1982 to an Italian temptress named Antonella in Building 10 of the Foreign Students Dormitory at Nanjing University, while Antonella’s ex-, an avuncular German named Uli, was knocking on the door outside.

Beyond Stereotypes: Globalization’s Winners and Losers

To discuss the winners and losers in globalization in developing nations such as India, most people reach for a cliché. “The rich get richer and the poor get poorer” is a widely held misnomer about globalization. Well-documented declines in poverty in poorer countries

Secret Land Swaps That Taxpayers Help Finance II

Across the West, a handful of environmental groups are persuading Congress to bestow wilderness protection on their favorite stretch of country by trading away public land. Such deals are the only way to protect the last unspoiled territory from development in the face

Aquaculture Moves Offshore

The white spires of the Algonquin Hotel towered above the coastal town of St. Andrews, New Brunswick, the center of aquaculture development in Canada’s maritime provinces. Government officials and aquaculture industry representatives from Canada, Norway, and the U.S. met at the Algonquin to

The Work of a Pullman Porter

A Pullman porter was, before anything, a man who made beds. Or, as they said, made down beds, since the most taxing part was popping the upper berth from the ceiling. The lower was formed by folding down opposing seats, fastening curtains, affixing

The Mystery of Cancer in Alaska

Jennifer Probert poses in her home Tuesday evening, August 19, 2003. Probert has been compiling informal cancer statistics from Tok. (for Diana’s cancer series) Eric Engman/News-Miner Jennifer Probert has been wondering for several years now why she knows so many people with cancer.

The Cultural Broker in Refugee Resettlement

For Carol Russo, it all began in April 1975. Sitting in her living room, surrounded by her husband’s deer trophies and pictures of family, she watched the television news. Desperate Vietnamese trying to board overcrowded American helicopters. Thousands of refugees massed on the

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The Fake Crisis over Lawsuits: Who’s Paying to Keep the Myths Alive?

Over the past two years, the average media consumer would be under the impression that the nation is awash with lawsuits, greedy trial lawyers and out of control juries eager to punish corporate America with million-dollar verdicts. The airwaves and newspapers have been

On The Americana Road Again

As a photographer and writer I have spent nearly 30 years crisscrossing the continental United States in search of unique and typical examples of roadside and Main Street architecture and design. In traveling over 100,000 miles in a long series of marathon automobile

Disease: Shrimp Aquaculture’s Biggest Problem

A mass of gulls hung like kites in the clear air above a shrimp farm in Sonora, Mexico. The birds indicated a situation familiar in every country where shrimp are grown. “Birds are the first sign of disease,” said Jose Reyna, a technical

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America’s “Give While You Live” Philanthropist

“I can testify that it is nearly always easier to make $1,000,000 honestly than it is to dispose of it wisely.” Julius Rosenwald, 1929 Listen to a National Public Radio broadcast and chances are you’ll hear programs supported by the Ford Foundation or

Secret Land Swaps Taxpayers Help Finance I

Fred Ruskin wants thousand of acres of national forest land in Northern Arizona to build a shopping center, subdivisions and other developments that assure his family’s financial fortunes. Most of it is desert scrub where cattle graze and people horseback ride, target practice,

Gateways of India’s Globalization

Globalization is hardly a new force affecting India. To think so is to ignore a diverse and pluralistic long-standing civilization that was shaped by a long list of “invading” (globalizing) cultures that became what we now know as India. The previous globalizers of

Choosing Servility To Staff America’s Trains

He was a black man in a white jacket and sable hat. He only recently had stepped out of the cotton fields, and now was stepping onto one of the locomotives that had symbolized freedom to slavehands like him. He lit the candles

Murdering Women For Entertainment

In the last decade alone, movie-makers have raped, murdered and mutilated more women than all the serial killers combined. Worse yet, they went about it and continue to do so with the same sadistic enthusiasm as the monsters they pretend to revile. Directors

The Curse of Cancer

Kevin Webster couldn’t go outside to play in the snow, his favorite thing to do. A fever and lung congestion kept the active two-year old inside. Cathy Webster, who admits she is overprotective, thought it was just a routine January cold as her