Editor's note

Most Americans with jobs work “at-will” – meaning that employers and employees are generally free to sever their relationship when they see fit. But nearly 20 percent of us are saddled with contracts barring a move to a competitor: that can keep wages down by limiting labor mobility. Colorado State management professor Raymond Hogler has come up with a way to rein in these restrictions, known as “noncompete clauses.”

Should we get rid of the penny? A bill in Congress would do just that on the grounds that minting the one-cent coins is a big waste of money. It cost 1.5 cents to make a penny in 2016, a loss that added up to almost $46 million. But surveys show most Americans wouldn’t be pleased if the government suddenly took their pennies away, even if they coins are practically useless. The Ohio State’s Jay Zagorsky explores the history of the penny, the long-simmering war to eliminate the coin and why we should keep it.

And finally political polarization in a place where you might not expect it: parents’ attitudes toward vaccinating their children. Vaccination has been one of the most fantastically successful public health initiatives in history, halting the spread of polio, measles and countless other childhood diseases but, as Charles Allan McCoy of the State University of New York at Plattsburgh explains, “the more political someone is, the more likely they are to believe that vaccines are unsafe.” And that applies to people on both sides of the political aisle.

Emily Schwartz Greco

Philanthropy and Nonprofits Editor

Top story

Jimmy John’s tried to stop its workers from toiling for other sandwich makers. AP Photo/David Goldman

How noncompete clauses clash with US labor laws

Raymond Hogler, Colorado State University

Nearly one in five employed Americans is bound by a contract restricting moves to rival companies. Here's one way to make those arrangements less common.

Economy + Business

Politics + Society

Health + Medicine

Arts + Culture

Science + Technology

  • How quantum mechanics can change computing

    Jonathan Katz, University of Maryland

    As companies make quantum computers available through their cloud services, take a look at what it means for computing to move beyond classical mechanics and into quantum physics.


  • We should serve kids food in school, not shame

    Sarah Riggs Stapleton, University of Oregon

    Students with unpaid meal debts have been experiencing some shaming policies at school. New rules are aimed at protecting these children, but the real solution may lie in free meals for all.

Environment + Energy

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Today’s quote

Access to food is a basic human need and should be considered a right – regardless of income. The best way to combat meal debt shame in U.S. public schools is to provide every student with free meals.


We should serve kids food in school, not shame

Sarah Riggs Stapleton

University of Oregon

Sarah Riggs Stapleton