Magazine
Critical Mass
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December 10, 2018

The future of nuclear power is more uncertain than ever, so this issue includes two features that examine the forbidden power — its legacy and its possibilities. Meanwhile, we look at tunnels underneath the border wall; investigation errors for missing and murdered Indigenous women; a wayward pocket of Alaska yellow cedars; an interview with Democratic Rep. Raúl Grijalva, the soon-to-be majority head for the House Committee on Natural Resources; and more.

Feature

Is nuclear energy the key to saving the planet?
Is nuclear energy the key to saving the planet?
A new generation of environmentalists is learning to stop worrying and love atomic power.
There’s no easy fix for our nuclear past
There’s no easy fix for our nuclear past
At Washington’s Hanford nuclear site, failing infrastructure and make-do plans as the West prepares for a new round of radioactivity.

Current

In Oregon, a mysterious tree grove conjures a colder time
In Oregon, a mysterious tree grove conjures a colder time
Yellow cedars are suited to damp coastal Alaska. So what are they doing in the desert?
Rep. Raúl Grijalva intends to force a reckoning with climate change
Rep. Raúl Grijalva intends to force a reckoning with climate change
A Democratic spitfire takes the helm of the House Committee on Natural Resources.
Study of missing and murdered Indigenous women highlights police data failures
Study of missing and murdered Indigenous women highlights police data failures
Poor data collection by law enforcement creates a significant hurdle to understanding the crisis.
As the border wall grows, smuggling tunnels proliferate
As the border wall grows, smuggling tunnels proliferate
The Trump administration is ignoring a big question: How do you secure a border below ground?
Latest: BLM abandons plan to surgically sterilize wild horses
Latest: BLM abandons plan to surgically sterilize wild horses
The agency will focus on increasing adoption of horses and research other methods.
Latest: Top National Park Service climate official resigns
Latest: Top National Park Service climate official resigns
Marcy Rockman cites pressure from agency.

Editor's Note

Nuclear’s long odds
Nuclear’s long odds
Climate change is here, but nuclear power as a solution faces economical and historical challenges.

Essays

The arresting quiet of a crane migration in Washington
The arresting quiet of a crane migration in Washington
Sandhill cranes, cattle and the surprising benefits of their coexistence in the West.

Perspective

Is sporting a Patagonia fleece a political statement?
Is sporting a Patagonia fleece a political statement?
A reporter ponders the message the logo of an increasingly political company sends.

Book Reviews

Photos: the Borderlands free from stereotypes
Photos: the Borderlands free from stereotypes
Experience the banalities, triumphs and fragility of life on the U.S. - Mexican border.
Looking for love in all the wrong places
Looking for love in all the wrong places
A quest for connection unites a new collection of Western stories.

Heard Around the West

Batsh*t bafflegab?; flatearthers not on a ball; trolling the troll
Batsh*t bafflegab?; flatearthers not on a ball; trolling the troll
Mishaps and mayhem from around the region.

Dear Friends

A most welcome winter
A most welcome winter
Former editorial fellows receive recognition, and fact-checking curious visitors swing through the office.

Letters

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