Before the Hashtag, There Was the Octothorpe

If you want to follow conversation threads relating to this show on social media—whether Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, Tumblr—you know to look for the hashtag: #99pi. In our current digital age, the hashtag identifies movements, events, happenings, brands—topics of all kinds. The "#" didn't always have this… » 12/18/14 1:10pm 12/18/14 1:10pm

The Factories That Churn Out America's Most Iconic Trophies

There's a little trophy shop called Aardvark Laser Engraving down the street from our office in Oakland. It's small but bustling, and its windows are stuffed to the brim with awards made of all kinds of materials and in any shape you can imagine: chalices, orbs, golfers, gavels, apples, and plaques. Plenty of plaques.… » 12/04/14 3:00pm 12/04/14 3:00pm

This Mysterious NYC Castle Was Actually America's First Cancer Hospital

On the southwest corner of Central Park West and 106th Street in New York City, there's an enormous castle. It takes up the whole east end of the block, with its red brick cylindrical turrets topped with gleaming silver cones. The stained glass windows and intricate stonework make the building look like something out… » 9/19/14 5:30pm 9/19/14 5:30pm

The Stubborn "Nail Houses" That Refuse to Get Demolished

In 1914, the government of New York City took ownership of a Manhattan apartment building belonging to one David Hess. The city used a legal power called eminent domain, allowing governments to seize private property for public use—in this case they wanted to expand the subway system. Hess fought them and lost, and… » 9/05/14 3:34pm 9/05/14 3:34pm

The City Pipes and Stairways That Get Left Behind and Lead to Nowhere

Cities, like living things, evolve slowly over time. Buildings and structures get added and renovated and removed, and in this process, bits and pieces that get left behind. Vestiges. Just as humans have tailbones and whales have pelvic bones, cities have doors that open into a limb-breaking drop, segments of fences… » 8/27/14 1:40pm 8/27/14 1:40pm

Cover Story: The Fascinating Anatomy of a Magazine Cover

You know the saying: you can't judge a book by its cover. With magazines, it's pretty much the opposite. The cover of a magazine is the unified identity for a whole host of ideas, authors, and designers who have created the eclectic array of stories and articles and materials within each issue. And, some would argue,… » 2/18/14 12:00pm 2/18/14 12:00pm