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Utne Reader

Utne Reader

Summer 2019
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Since 1984, Utne Reader has been the vanguard of the alternative press, celebrating independent news and views from across the political spectrum. With ideas, trends and solutions you won’t see in the mainstream media for months or even years, those who want to know what’s happening next, read Utne Reader first.

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United States
Ogden Publications, Inc.
Back issues only

in this issue

2 min.
the new normal

AS I WRITE THIS, some recent storms helped make this month the wettest May on record in this area of Kansas. Just a few hundred yards from my desk is a swollen Kansas River—higher than it’s been in decades—and that’s just one of the many rivers, streams, and tributaries throughout the Midwest that have flooded farm land, washed out roads, and inundated homes. As if the rain wasn’t enough, the storms have been violent, too. Until a few days ago, one of my fantasies upon moving here 12 years ago was to see a tornado in person. Tornadoes have always occupied an awe-inspiring space in my subconscious, spinning in my dreams and influencing my art. But I came about as close as I ever want to get to experiencing one in waking…

3 min.

RESPONDING TO “WHAT WHITE SUPREMACISTS KNOW,” (SPRING 2019) Hard to read, hard to know but thanks for what you do!!! Annie via online comment The First Barbary War doesn’t belong in this article, any more than World War II does. Both of them were wars for the liberation of the captured and oppressed. The early 18th century governments of Algiers, Tripoli, Tunis, and Morocco were themselves pirates and slave-takers who had taken American citizens as slaves. JohnCowan via online comment There’s a lot to chew on here. It seems very accurate in a general way but the diversions into bias are highly visible to anyone with a mild grasp of history. For instance, Jefferson did not send the Marines to “invade” the Berber enclaves on the coast of North Africa. These Arabs had been capturing and otherwise…

12 min.
nowhere to hide: cyberstalking surges

In this ever more cyber-savvy world, a stalker can attach a device smaller than a dime to your car to find out where you go. They can peer at you when you think you’re alone by hiding a tiny “nanny cam” in your home or commandeering your webcam from a distance. They can hack into your iCloud account to track your email, “clone” your phone to get your calls when you do, and use malware to know what you type as you type. “Cameras have been found in pens, stuffed animals, smoke detectors, ceiling lights, behind light switches and elsewhere,” says Michele Minor Wolf, executive director of Victims’ Intervention Program (VIP) of Wayne and Pike Counties, in Pennsylvania. VIP assists victims of stalking as well as domestic violence, sexual abuse, human trafficking,…

20 min.
death in the alpine

On July 14, 2017, Peter Doro and Jake Lord joined the Friday afternoon stream of people leaving the sprawling cities of Colorado’s Front Range for the mountains. They planned to summit Capitol Peak, a soaring mass of granite 14,130 feet tall near Aspen on the state’s Western Slope. They reached Capitol Peak’s trailhead late in the day and set off on the 6.5-mile hike to the mountain’s base. The sun sank low, filling the sky with streaks of red, purple and orange, and a few cows meandered across the trail, which follows a creek through a sliver of valley that widens abruptly into a vast alpine basin. Capitol Lake lay before them, ringed by the high peaks of the Elk Range, a view so stunning that Doro felt as if…

6 min.
blood sisters

Walking in the New Hampshire woods, I mark my trail with eau de DEET. Chickadees twitter judgmentally in the hemlocks: “She’s wearing the CDC-recommended, permethrin-impregnated long sleeves and pants despite 80-degree heat,” I hear in their chirps. They’re right. I dress defensively to mitigate the risks of disease that a mosquito bite could transmit. Although malaria is now very rare in the U.S. (about 1,700 cases are diagnosed here each year, compared with 216 million cases worldwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and yellow fever is present only in Africa and South America, there are a number of serious mosquito-borne diseases to guard against here. West Nile virus has taken up residence in the Northeast, and cases of Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) in humans or animals…

30 min.
deep in time

Blaze of West Texas sun, July. In the Guadalupes, the highest mountains in the state, a hundred miles or so east of El Paso, I huff up a narrow trail toward a vertical wall of rock that towers against the blue. The place is dusty now, arid, part of the expansive Chihuahuan Desert, but it has a far-back watery history. The wall of rock is an ancient reef, one of the most well preserved from the Permian Period, around 250–300 million years ago, when West Texas was the west coast of Pangaea. I still have 2,000 feet to go, but when I finally reach the wall, called Capitan Reef, I will lean in to look at tiny fossils embedded into the surface of the white limestone. That’s what I’ve come here…