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Tag: vox

Why Americans suck at soccer (well, the men)

Why Americans suck at soccer (well, the men)

Andrew Helms and Matt Pentz wrote “Own Goal: The Inside Story of how the US Men’s National Team Missed The World Cup.” The actual own goal that doomed the US in 2018 becomes a metaphor for bad mismanagement, poor development, and infighting that doomed the US Men’s bid to qualify in the World Cup. That analysis and reporting is great and it hits at the big problems with American soccer today. But the US soccer problem goes back a lot…

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How job surveillance is changing trucking in America

How job surveillance is changing trucking in America

We work in a world filled with devices that can monitor us, locate us, and tell us what to do. That raises the question — who watches you work? And how does work change when you know someone’s watching you do it? There’s one industry that’s asking that question more than ever: trucking. Self driving semi trucks. Programmed to follow routes from GPS systems while the driver rests. Over time, automation will dramatically change work for the 3.5 million truck…

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The biggest corruption scandal in Latin America’s history

The biggest corruption scandal in Latin America’s history

This is Comperj. The biggest petrochemical complex in Brazil. It’s located in Itaboraí, a small city in the state of Rio de Janeiro. The multibillion dollar project launched in 2008 and the plan was to open in 2011. Thousands of Brazilians moved there to work. But it’s 2018, and Comperj never opened. Construction of the complex stopped in 2015, after it became a symbol of the largest corruption scandal in Brazil’s history — Operation Car Wash. Hundreds of prominent Brazilians…

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America’s cocaine habit fueled its migrant crisis

America’s cocaine habit fueled its migrant crisis

This is the US Coast Guard intercepting a shipment of cocaine. Here’s the same crew intercepting another one… and another one. This was all in the summer of 2018. They seized more than 9,000 kilos of cocaine that was headed to the US. That may sound like a lot but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. In 2017 the Coast Guard intercepted almost 227,000 kilos of cocaine, here. Along the eastern Pacific. That’s because the US is the largest…

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Why Route 66 became America’s most famous road

Why Route 66 became America’s most famous road

Why does Route 66 matter? “Hi. My name is Jean and I’m from France. And last year I went on a trip in the West Coast, and we passed by Route 66.” “Our trip was from LA to Chicago all the way, taking the mother road, haha.” “We would stop at all the museums on the way, we stopped at the one in Elk City, Oklahoma and we stood on top of the train.” “I’m Fabian from Germany. Last year,…

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The problem with America’s college entrance exam

The problem with America’s college entrance exam

These 50 cards represent every person who took the SAT college entrance exam in 2017. In America, this score — this ranking of students — is hugely important. Elite schools like Yale or Harvard select the large majority of their students from this pile — the top 1 percent of test takers. And it’s not just super elite schools. A public flagship state school, like the University of Georgia, admits most of its students from this pile. And even a…

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America’s creepy clown craze, explained

America’s creepy clown craze, explained

If you’re watching local news right now, it’s hard to avoid stories like this one: “A clown started chasing us up here.” “On Facebook they said there was killer clowns around here that were killing people.” We saw a man with all black on, clown mask on, and like a red wig. This wave of clown panic started in late August, when police in South Carolina received reports about a suspicious character dressed as a clown who was trying to…

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Why this chair is on so many album covers

Why this chair is on so many album covers

This is Drake’s dad pictured on the cover of his 2017 album More Life. This is French comedian Jacques Bodoin in 1969. This is country star Larry Gatlin in 1979 and soul artist Al Green in 1972. This is the British synthpop band, Heaven 17, in 1981. These artists work span decades, genres, and continents, but their album art had one thing in common. They were all sitting in the same exact chair. And it wasn’t just them, this chair…

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How America fails its whistleblowers

How America fails its whistleblowers

In the United States, around 3 million people work with classified information as part of their job. That includes people who work in the military, for government agencies like the CIA, or for private companies hired by those agencies. Let’s say you are one of those people. And you learn something that bothers you. Because this is your job, you know that the laws around classified information are serious. But let’s say the thing you learn is really bad. Maybe…

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The man who rigged America’s election maps

The man who rigged America’s election maps

But in North Carolina, the election results were really weird. These squares represent all the voters in North Carolina. They were voting for these 13 seats in Congress. About half voted for Republicans. And about 48 percent voted for Democrats. So you might think, of the 13 Congressional seats, maybe Democrats would’ve won 6 seats, and Republicans would’ve won 7. But no. Democrats only won 3 of 13 seats — way less than half. This imbalance was because North Carolina’s…

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