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Listen to “From bicycles to “pedal steel” guitars: One maker’s quirky frontiers”

Ross Shafer made his mark creating a popular brand of mountain bikes, called Salsa, and a line of small but crucial bicycle parts that no one had brought to the market before. Now he’s making what might be the world’s most beautiful “pedal steel guitar.” Could Shafer’s relentless eclecticism offer a model for a second…

Food Shift

In an era of chronic drought, could desert crops become the new sustainable dinner?

By CHRISTOPHER D. COOK

Listen to “The Revival of Nero’s Wine”

Throughout history vintners used clay vessels to age their wine, until the French discovered the marvels of the oak barrel. Now—for fun, for distinctly different flavors, and to save some fine old trees—a few wineries are giving clay a second chance, Roman style.

Listen to “Food Shift”

California, where much of our nation’s food is produced, is facing a historic drought — again. It’s become a familiar refrain, year after year, and the growing climate crisis is only expected to make things worse. Our food system has to change, and a few forward-thinking farmers are adopting some ancient, low-water agricultural techniques for…

Tomorrow’s Library

In a simple, residential neighborhood in San Francisco sits a former church for Christian Scientists. The building’s white exterior and massive columns give it a stately, antiquated look. But behind its doors sit stacks of servers, which contain billions upon billions of web pages, media, and other delights. This is the Internet Archive. In today’s…

Shrine and the Art of Resilience

Pandemic, political strife, poverty, war. In times of extreme upheaval—global or personal—can the act of art-making ease suffering and strengthen resilience? photo by Melati Citrawireja The first time I met the outsider artist known as Shrine, he was leaving for Tanzania in an hour and hadn’t packed. It was late November of 2018, and we…

Listen to “The California Mirage”

The blind spots in the American West’s approach to managing water are on full display in Ventura County, a coastal region of Central California that holds the most lucrative farmland in the state.

The Vegetable Detective

A molecular biologist is finding what could be dangerous levels of heavy metals in plants like kale, often called the “queen” of the vegetable kingdom. And they’ve shown up the most in organic varieties.

Story by TODD OPPENHEIMER
Photography by CLAIRE BLOOMBERG

Listen to “The Vegetable Detective”

It’s 2015, and in the health and wellness world, the Kale Craze is in full swing — people are eating, roasting, blending, and juicing it. But one molecular biologist in Marin County stumbles upon evidence that this queen of greens might be hiding toxic levels of certain heavy metals. And it’s even worse in organic…

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