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Cover photograph by Guy deBros.
In this issue
We don’t assign articles at random for The Magazine: we’re always looking for the spirit of discovery that brings something new to readers that you can’t find everywhere else on the Internet. We sometimes organize issues around themes, or find pieces that hang together, but we try to be, uh, delightfully eclectic.
And then, sometimes, strange things happen where due to no particular effort on our part, the stories that come together for an issue have a connection that we only see when we stand back for a moment. As in this issue. You can probably spot the same pattern we saw.
Nathan Meunier gets beaten about the head and shoulders for the story he filed about “Weekend Warriors.” He spent time with folks, part of a chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism, who like to don armor and engage in weekly bouts on a green in Bennington, Vermont. Just don’t call them LARPers. The pictures, taken by Nathan’s friend Guy deBros, are evocative; one appears on our cover.
Inexplicable blinding pain so intense that you want to vomit, and you spend your childhood with no diagnosis as to why? It’s rough. But managing editor Brittany Shoot found a light at the end of her tunnel — and that light didn’t stab her in the eyes. After years of regular bouts of pain that required her to lay in quiet, dark rooms, she has been able to be “Head’s Up.” The illustration for Brittany’s essay is by a favorite cartoonist, Ryan Pagelow, who creates the mordant and sweet Buni.
From one mystery to another, Chris Higgins takes a trip “Into the Labyrinth”: a former church in San Francisco that now houses the Internet Archive, a massive and massively growing collection of born-electronic and digitized history — and a set of terra-cotta figures. With the straightforward goal of archiving everything to be accessible digitally and immediately, the Archive’s task will only become more challenging over time.
If you’ve ever been lost in a maze of hallways and skybridges, trying to find an office or hospital room with little more than poorly labeled signs as a guide, you might assume that building designers conspire to prevent us from reaching our destination. Jessica L.H. Doyle says that’s not entirely true, as “Not All Who Wander Are Lost”: indeed, the science of wayfinding (or navigation) can put us on track. But despite decades of research, many institutions clearly don’t take wasted time and effort into account when they fail to show you the correct path forward.
We leave hospitals behind with Julian Smith, who is “Paging Dr. MacGyver” as he looks at medical innovation through the maker movement. The impact of easy prototyping with 3D printers, creating small embedded computers through the Arduino and other platforms, and using other tools now employed by makers have already been profound on reducing the cost of creating medical products that can work as a model in the developing world, as well as through the regulatory maze in countries like the United States.
Meanwhile, at Medium
We publish new work at the editorial site and publishing platform Medium through a partnership with them, too, where we experiment with a variety of long and short articles and essays, sometimes with a very different tenor than what we present in issue format.
Recent articles include:
“GOTY 2013: Badass Girls Need Not Apply”: Game developer Brianna Wu explains why women remain a small part of the voting for 2013’s best video game.
“Ramen Fever”: Matthew Amster-Burton went to Fukuoka to eat ramen, but a case of norovirus gave him a second family.
“Thinstagram”: Social-media sites allow pro-eating-disorder communities to thrive despite policies designed to thwart them, explains Scott Neumyer.
“Today, I Live in the Book”: A book contains its own reading hardware and it’s not going anywhere soon, grumpy old man and your faithful editor Glenn Fleishman writes as he examines an ebook-only library branch in a county in Texas.
“The idea: The story of a stupid girl in STEM”: Meg McGrath relates how a cruel teacher crushed her early interesting science, math, and programming, and how she’s taken back her own voice and interests.
“The Humble Corner Store”: The proprietors of bodegas, off-licenses, and the lot know us intimately, says Rosie J. Spinks.
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The Magazine is produced by a small but dedicated editorial staff.