Benjamin Wallace-Wells • New York
In Colorado and beyond, a negotiated surrender in the war on drugs.
Cannabis is a highly persuadable plant. It thrives in Afghanistan; it grows beautifully in Mexico. It can prosper indoors or outdoors, in contained environments or expansive ones. Even on the essentials, like soil, light, and water, accommodations can be made. Cannabis in the wild will flower only once a year, early in the fall, but it can be tricked. Indoors, artificial light can be timed to mimic the patterns of the early sunsets of autumn, seducing the plant to bud; outside, the same effect is achieved by laying parabolic tarps, each shaped like the St. Louis arch, over the crop to obscure the sun. Nor does cannabis require expert botanists. There is a pattern that has been showing up in the criminal courts of Northern California in which a day laborer, often an illegal immigrant, is picked up for work, driven to tend a marijuana garden growing deep in Mendocino National Forest, and told that he is now in the employ of the Mexican Mafia. The guess, locally, is that the Mexican Mafia is not really involved, that this is just a ghost story to make sure the laborers stay put. But still, an untrained day laborer hired at Home Depot is all you need to manage a large crop. He'll do fine.
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James Fallows • The Atlantic
Is product manufacturing returning to the United States?
The heart of their argument is this: Through most of post-World War II history, the forces of globalization have made it harder and harder to keep manufacturing jobs in the United States. But the latest wave of technological innovation, communications systems, and production tools may now make it easier-especially to bring new products to market faster than the competition by designing, refining, and making them in the United States. At just the same time, social and economic changes in China are making the outsourcing business ever costlier and trickier for all but the most experienced firms.
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Calvin Trillin • New Yorker
A family's history in food and travel.
In Ecuador, I eventually did eat guinea pig. Given my experience with nutria in Louisiana some years before, in fact, I suppose that, if I hadn't been raised to prize modesty, I could describe myself as a man with relatively broad experience in rodent consumption. As I studied the mounds of various sizes of grasshoppers in the markets, though, I found myself with a question similar to the one that goes through my mind when I see someone in Chinatown reach into a barrel of live frogs and pull one out for inspection: What, exactly, does one look for in a grasshopper? I thought I might ease into grasshopper-eating, following the general rule that anything is edible if it's chopped up finely enough. That's apparently the route my granddaughters had taken.
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