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The Utter Inadequacy of America’s Efforts to Desegregate Schools

April 15, 2019 My best friend in kindergarten, Eddie Linton, did not live in one of the spacious houses on the hill in the Boston suburb where I grew up in the 1980s and 1990s, Belmont, which is best known for its stellar schools and abundance of Harvard professors. Eddie, who is black,...

Your AirPods Will Die Soon

March 21, 2019 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Two years ago, Desmond Hughes heard so many of his favorite podcasters extolling AirPods, Apple’s tiny, futuristic $170 wireless headphones, that he decided they were worth the splurge. He quickly became a convert. Hughes is still listening to podcasters talk about their AirPods, but now they’re complaining. The battery can...

Is This The End of Recycling?

March 5, 2019 After decades of earnest public-information campaigns, Americans are finally recycling. Airports, malls, schools, and office buildings across the country have bins for plastic bottles and aluminum cans and newspapers. In some cities, you can be fined if inspectors discover you haven’t recycled appropriately. But now, much of that carefully sorted...

The End of the American Chinatown

February 4, 2019 LOS ANGELES—As a new immigrant to the United States, Li Zhong Huang knew there was only one place he wanted to live: the Chinatown neighborhood of Los Angeles, where he could be surrounded by language, food, and people from his home province of Guangdong. In 2001, he found an apartment...

When Elon Musk Tunnels Under Your Home

November 15, 2018 Vicky Warren feels like she’s been attacked from all sides lately. Across the street from her rental apartment in the working-class Los Angeles County city of Hawthorne, noisy planes take off and land at all hours, diverted to the local municipal airport from wealthier Santa Monica, where neighbor complaints have...

The Homeless Can’t Escape San Francisco’s Smoke-Ridden Air

November 14, 2018 The deadliest fire in California’s history continues to burn, and San Francisco is filled with smoke and ash. On Tuesday, for the fifth day in a row, air throughout Northern California contained high amounts of fine-particulate-matter pollution, and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District warned that the air was...

Tech Billionaires’ Obligation to the Cities Around Them

November 5, 2018 For decades, technology entrepreneurs have established their headquarters in the San Francisco Bay Area, created products that changed the way we live, and reaped millions doing so. But at the same time, the cities around these companies have become harder and harder to live in. Housing prices and homelessness are...

Tech Billionaires’ Obligation to the Cities Around Them

November 5, 2018 FROM NEXTGOV arrow For decades, technology entrepreneurs have established their headquarters in the San Francisco Bay Area, created products that changed the way we live, and reaped millions doing so. But at the same time, the cities around these companies have become harder and harder to live in. Housing prices and homelessness are...

The Amazon Selling Machine

October 28, 2018 FROM NEXTGOV arrow What if there were a company that knew what you wanted to buy before you did? What if it made shopping recommendations that tapped into your deepest desires? Better yet, what if it then made buying completely seamless? Would you ever stop shopping? Amazon shareholders may like the answers to...

The Online Gig Economy’s ‘Race to the Bottom’

September 2, 2018 FROM NEXTGOV arrow You can buy almost any thing you want online—toothpaste, books, plastic devices that allow you to lick your cat. On digital work platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer.com, you can also buy nearly any service—often from someone halfway around the world, sometimes for just a few bucks. On Fiverr, one...