Editor's note

Since 1970, the United States has untaken a massive – but virtually unnoticed – public works project by more than tripling its number of prisons. Roughly 70 percent have been built in rural communities. It’s a trend that will be hard to turn around, writes Texas A+M sociologist John Eason, and that may have profound consequences on efforts to end mass incarceration.

President Trump has called climate change a hoax and pledged to boost coal, oil and natural gas production. One policy that Trump may target is calculating the social damage caused by carbon pollution — a practice that federal agencies initiated, in response to a court order, during the Obama administration. Harvard Kennedy School economist Joseph Aldy, who helped develop the first estimate of the social cost of carbon, explains what it represents and how it informs environmental policy decisions.

The Republican House proposal for health care continues to capture attention nationwide, with opponents growing by the day. Georgia State University health insurance expert Bill Custer explains that the incentives are so weak that the individual insurance market could collapse in some states, while Megan Foster Friedman, a health policy analyst at the University of Michigan, details precisely how the poor could be affected.

Emily Costello

Senior Editor, Politics + Society

Top story

The federal prison in Forrest City, Arkansas. AP Photo/Danny Johnston

Why prison building will continue booming in rural America

John M. Eason, Texas A&M University

The number of prisons in the US swelled between 1970 and 2000, from 511 to nearly 1,663. Here's the story of why one town in Arkansas welcomed a correction facility.

Health + Medicine

Ethics + Religion

Ash Wednesday 2017 was not the first time that glitter has been used to show support for LGBTQ rights. There is a notable history of the use of glitter to express moral outrage and show resistance.

Anya M. Galli Robertson

University of Maryland

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Anya M. Galli Robertson

Environment + Energy

Science + Technology

  • 3.14 essential reads about π for Pi Day

    Jeff Inglis, The Conversation

    It's March 14, the day we irrationally celebrate the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. Here's a roundup from our archive of what we know about pi.

Arts + Culture

  • Will Eisner and the evolution of the graphic novel

    Jean-Matthieu Méon, Université de Lorraine

    This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of graphic-novel pioneer Will Eisner, with a starring role at a festival in France and an exhibition at New York's Museum of Illustration.

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