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My story on rage-bait chefs for The Verge got a shout out in the Quartz weekly brief newsletter
China’s online tutoring crackdown punishes parents trapped in a merciless system
In January, four of China’s biggest online tutoring platforms made an embarrassing gaffe. They aired ads all featuring the same actress to promote their new online courses.
This is the year Hong Kong began speaking the Communist Party’s authoritarian language
Words, beyond their basic function of communication, signal intent and outline ways of thinking. But in an age of “alternative facts,” we know too well that words can obscure as much as they clarify. Words can also be weapons. As the sociologist Celine-Marie Pascale puts it, “Authoritarian governments weaponize language …
African workers in Lebanon are stuck and unpaid by Kafala system worsened by Covid
The future for Yemi, a Nigerian former student, was laid out in a contract written in Arabic which she signed in an office in Lagos in June 2019 to enable a recruitment agency bring her to work in Lebanon.
Life expectancy in the United States, mapped by neighborhood
There is perhaps no better measure of a place’s quality of life than how long its residents are expected to live. Life expectancy reflects a neighborhood’s safety, the quality of its health care, its environment, and the wealth and mental health of the people who live there. With that in …
The economics of streaming is making songs shorter
Popular music is shrinking. From 2013 to 2018, the average song on the Billboard Hot 100 fell from 3 minutes and 50 seconds to about 3 minutes and 30 seconds. Six percent of hit songs were 2 minutes 30 seconds or shorter in 2018, up from just 1% five years …
Economists still can’t decide whether the minimum wage is a good thing
The job market, according to elementary economics, is like any other market. It works best if wages are set by supply and demand, not by any other factor, like government rules. Just as the government doesn’t set a minimum price for shirts or avocados, so they should not be telling …
"Football Manager" has a racism problem
Football Manager is one of the most popular sports video games in the world. The 2019 version was a chart-topping hit in the UK, where the game is most widely played. Previous versions of the game have consistently sold more than a million copies each. Football Manager allows fans to …
What do we call Hong Kong’s nameless “2019 protests” in 2020?
As Hong Kong’s protest movement passed the six-month mark and the year drew to a close, the question of what name to give a movement that began in June 2019 becomes a vexed one for editors and reporters, academics, and commentators.
The fight against Nigeria’s northeast terrorism is also a battle against climate change
Boko Haram, poverty and lack of prospects force many Nigerians to flee – especially in the Lake Chad area. Climate change is driving the crisis further.
Singin' About A Revolution
The soundtrack of this year's Hong Kong protests marks a somber turn from the Umbrella Movement
To understand America, don’t separate Republicans and Democrats statistically
Americans are fixated with the Republican-Democrat divide. But Republicans are a significantly smaller group.
What’s so special about Beto?
O'Rourke's whole campaign against Ted Cruz in Texas is about subverting the stereotypes that have polarized America.
Meet your next-door, English-speaking, home-owner undocumented immigrant
More than 60% of undocumented immigrants have been living in the US for 10 years or more.
Why Trump’s math on immigration is all wrong, in 7 charts
The rising numbers of people caught at the border are a sign of a bureaucratic crisis, not an immigration "invasion."
The definitive 21st-century guide to the fight in Venezuela
The "good guys" are not necessarily those who are democratically elected. Post Cold War dictatorships have donned new clothes.
The latest refugee crisis is not happening anywhere near a war zone
Venezuela is not at war, yet it’s starting to look like Syria based on the exodus of people fleeing the country.
Video: Over 1,000 Frida Kahlos celebrated the late Mexican artist’s birthday
Who knew a unibrow could be such a popular look?
Illegal immigration into the US is collapsing
Genaro López's plan was to cross the Rio Grande and to find work in an American farm. He was caught and deported, but he is thankful for that. He now lives in Monterrey, Mexico, an industrial hub some 150 miles from the US border. He earns less than what he …
A Cuban man built the world’s tallest bike, but can’t afford to ride it
Seemingly simple tasks, like buying a bicycle chain, are still incredibly difficult to achieve on the island.
A new party wants to break Bosnia’s political deadlock using computer science
A fledgling political movement called Platforma za progres, Bosnian for “Platform for Progress,” is trying to fix Bosnia and Herzegovina’s political deadlock using computer modeling and data analytics, a toolbox that decision-makers around the world are increasingly experimenting with.
Photos: Colombia’s “lost city of marijuana”
As Colombia's civil war draws near its end, pot farmers in poor regions are afraid of losing their livelihoods.
If you want to get to Cuba “before it changes,” you’re already too late
That's a good thing: It's a much friendlier and happier place than 15 years ago.
If you want to make money in Cuba, join a band
If Jorge Guevara worked as a doctor in the US, he’d likely have a six-figure salary. But this is Cuba, and as a drummer hammering out tropical standards for sunburned tourists in the resort town of Varadero, Guevara earns several times more than he once made practicing medicine. “In Cuba, …
Welcome to the new Cuba, where dog baths cost what some state workers make in a whole paycheck
Newly affluent Cubans want middle-class services, from pet grooming to tattoo removal.
A conspiracy theory about sex and gender is being peddled around the world by the far right
From France to Mexico, conservatives are using the same coded words to fight progress.
Here’s a way the US could get a better deal out of Nafta without changing it
There are two ways of looking at Laredo, Texas, a border city at the southern edge of the US. One is as barren outpost of the US economy, condemned by geographic misfortune to a marginal existence. The other is as part of one of the most dynamic economies in North …
Donald Trump believes manufacturing equals prosperity. Our data analysis proves him wrong
We collected years of data for every state and province in North America, and the conclusion is clear: US president Donald Trump’s belief that manufacturing equals prosperity doesn’t hold up.
Globalization tore through my city and this is how we survived
While Monterrey has proved to be a master at racking up NAFTA winnings, it's been pretty incompetent at administering them.