What Do Truckers Have to Do With Country Music, Food Prices, and Politics?

Since the first trucks began carrying freight in the early 1900's, the U.S. trucking industry has had an influence on politics, food prices, and even music.

FREAK Shots: Who Wins for Best Recession Cover?

Since the recession was made official, and even before, magazine covers brought out a host of recession-related imagery: downward-slanting arrows, roller coasters, and even (groan) the passé bear or bull. Back in October, Vanessa Voltolina, writing for Folio magazine’s blog, asked BusinessWeek‘s art director Andrew Horton what makes a good or bad recession cover. “There […]

Who Survives a Plane Crash?

When a jetliner made a water landing on the Hudson River last week and all 155 passengers survived, Levitt wrote that maybe airplane safety briefings aren't entirely useless after all.

What's the Point of an Apology?

In the last few years, institutions have been issuing more apologies, according to an Economist article. And lately there have been calls for quite a few more (from institutions and individuals), including Wall Street to American citizens and Bernard Madoff to the people he allegedly swindled (rather than just his co-op neighbors). But aside from […]

The Tennessee Coal-Ash Spill, in Pictures

I was stirring the syrup for a pecan pie when the phone rang. My friend Brenda Boozer called to tell me there had been a massive environmental disaster close to home, and could I possibly get away to take photographs?

FREAK Shots: The Upside of Cooking Dangerously

Turkey fryers are fixtures at southern holiday parties. As I watched my friend’s husband gleefully fry his turkey in a big vat of boiling oil this Christmas, I became a bit concerned for his and my safety … and rightly so. Underwriters Laboratories has refused to put its label of approval on turkey fryers out […]

Where Life Revolves Around Your Cellphone, the Factory Floor, and Forged Diplomas: A Q&A With the Author of Factory Girls

Chinese cities today have more than 130 million migrant workers, most of whom have relocated from more rural parts of China, writes Leslie Chang in her recent book Factory Girls: "Together they represent the largest migration in human history -- three times the number of people who emigrated to America from Europe over a century."

FREAK Shots: I’m Just Here for the Horses and Gin

I spent my Thanksgiving at the New Orleans Fair Grounds Racetrack in a gaudy hat, betting on horses. A U.S.A. Today photographer snapped this photo of me: Photo: Sean Gardner/U.S.A. Today By the time I left the track, I had spent $20 on bets, made back $33 in winnings, bought lunch for $5, and had […]

Waste Happens: A Q&A With the Author of The Big Necessity

Photo: Felicity Paxton I’ve never thought much about my toilet. (Though we’ve discussed toilets on this blog here, here, and here.) It usually does its job; sometimes it needs a little help from the plunger. Rose George‘s new book The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters not only got […]

The Presidents Ranked and Graded: A Q&A With the Author of The Leaders We Deserved

Alvin Felzenberg Alvin Felzenberg, author of The Leaders We Deserved (and a Few We Didn’t), wasn’t satisfied with how vaguely, in his opinion, success and failure are defined in presidential evaluations. So he attempted his own ranking system (which we’ve mentioned before on this blog), grading U.S. presidents based on three criteria: character, vision, and […]