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Courtesy of Gabriel Scheare, Luke Crowley, Lourdes Crowley, and Patrick White, Chile

The Seasteading Institute in California has an audacious mission: to establish floating societies that will “restore the environment, enrich the poor, cure the sick, and liberate humanity from politicians.”

Like in the 19th century, when many people left the cities of the Eastern US to gain independence by claiming a patch of land and working it — which was known as "homesteading" — "seasteaders" hope to create a new social, economic and political frontier on the ocean.

Is marijuana a secret weapon against the opioid epidemic?

Jul 9, 2017
Blair Gable/Reuters

As US Attorney General Jeff Sessions told a crowd of federal, state and local law enforcement in March, the country “is in the throes of a heroin and opioid epidemic.” According to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prescription opioid and heroin overdoses kill 91 Americans each day.

Michael Stravato

Houston, America’s fourth-largest city, with a metro population of more than 6 million, is at risk of major devastation and massive loss of life from storm surges if a big hurricane were to hit, according to an investigation by reporters from The Texas Tribune and ProPublica.

Jason Lutes/Drawn & Quarterly

The first time Jason Lutes visited Berlin, in 2000, he expected to see crowded tenements and gray cobblestone streets. Instead, through the windows of a speeding train, he saw green trees, brown spires, and blue skies. “My first thought was, oh my god, it's in color,” he says. “In all the photographs I'd ever looked at, it was in black and white.”

A Mathy Makeover For The Kilogram

Jul 8, 2017

The story behind 'Banned Grandmas' of Instagram

Jul 8, 2017
James Lawler Duggan/Reuters

“This is my lovely grandma. @realDonaldTrump does she look like a terrorist to you?”

Many took to social media last week to post comments like this one, after the Supreme Court reinstated part of President Donald Trump's travel ban.

The news out of Venezuela isn’t getting any better, with no resolution in sight to help the political and economic crisis. Meantime, food and medicine can still be hard to find, and street protests are now regular. This week also saw a group of government supporters attack opposition lawmakers with wooden sticks and metal bars, while national guardsmen stood by.

So, more Venezuelans are leaving, building communities elsewhere, including in places like Mexico City.

It’s wedding season in Britain and weddings in the British South Asian community are often loudest, most vibrant and biggest of all.

But what happens if your wedding is an elaborate lie?

In "My Big Fake Straight Wedding," BBC filmmaker Mobeen Azhar meets South Asian gay men and women who are entering into heterosexual marriages in order to hide their sexuality.  It’s an issue that’s prevalent in part of Britain’s Muslim, Sikh and Hindu diaspora.

The extended family structure and cultural practices in those communities mean that homosexuality remains taboo. 

Carlos Barria/Reuters

US President Donald Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin engaged in a "very robust exchange" over claims Moscow meddled in America's elections, during their first face-to-face talks Friday at a fractious G-20 summit marred by violent street protests.

From the outset of the blockbuster encounter, the US property tycoon fired the key question that has weighed on his presidency, pressing the ex-KGB agent "on more than one occasion" on the vote interference claims, said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was in the meeting.

What a manly week it’s been!

Abigail Leonard

On a mild summer evening in Tokyo, students at Meiji University stream out of class. Among them is Jamal, a 25-year-old Global Japanese Studies major. He's headed to sports rehab to treat a nagging soccer injury so he can finish out the season with his Division 2 team.

Injury aside, his prospects in Japan are better than in his native Syria, where, he says, connections to President Bashar al-Assad matter more than athletic ability, and even the national team is made up of players with connections to the ruling family.

Choi Seong-guk

The escape of around 30,000 North Korean defectors to South Korea might not seem like a storyline rife with laughter. But an online comic strip series created by a North Korean refugee, who now lives in Seoul, attempts to bring some humor to what is an often-harrowing journey and difficult resettlement.

After his own defection to South Korea in 2010, Choi Seong-guk, 37, realized that the two Koreas were no longer the same country — many cultural and linguistic differences have arisen during more than 70 years of division.

The US Department of Justice

You probably know the name Hobby Lobby.

It's the arts and crafts chain that challenged the provision in former President Barack Obama's health care law requiring employers to provide contraceptive coverage.

It won that case, based on religious grounds. Hobby Lobby says it's guided by its Christian beliefs.

When Christylez Bacon performs, he often mixes beatbox with music styles from around the globe, including bossa nova or traditional Irish tunes.

You might think these styles and beatbox wouldn't mix, but Bacon says they do. There are similarities. For example, he combines beatbox with classical Hindustani music.

"This music from the 12th century has a lot in common with modern music as far as how it swings, how it regulates the energy," he says. "So many things in common."

Axel Schmidt/Reuters

US President Donald Trump may have felt embraced during his visit to Poland. But his policies and rhetoric — particularly on climate change and free trade — have created a rift between the US and some of its other, traditional European allies.

That rift has given China, a country looking to position itself as a defender of multilateralism and global free trade, a unique opportunity to step in to fill that void.

Courtesy of Paul Gottinger and Mahsa Abbasi

It started with a tweet.

Paul Gottinger, an American journalist, posted it online and Mahsa Abbasi, an Iranian food scientist, commented on it.

The interaction led to the two meeting up in Istanbul and later, getting engaged.

Gottinger and Abbasi plan to live in the United States. But in order for Abbasi to come here, she needs to get a K-1 or fiancé(e) visa. She applied for one about a year ago.

It's been a long process, they say. They've had to meet in a third country — usually Turkey or Armenia.

Climate change is coming to your coffee cup

Jul 6, 2017
<a href="">Malcom Manners</a>/<a href="">CC BY 2.0</a>

When it comes to coffee, Ethiopia is sacred ground.

It’s the home of Coffea arabica — one of the most popular species of coffee bean. And in Ethiopia, coffee is a major part of the economy: It makes up about a quarter of the country’s export earnings, and around 15 million farmers make a living farming the crop.

Courtesy of&nbsp;Victoria Jabara Williams/Facebook

Haifa Jabara moved her family to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to escape a civil war. She thought she’d find peace in the United States. But last summer, her son was shot and killed

Prosecutors are calling the killing a hate crime. But the Jabara family isn’t sure the designation will make much of a difference.

“We escaped a country of violence,” says Haifa’s adult daughter, Victoria Jabara, who goes by Vicky. “And then, 30 years later, it ended in violence.”

Amir Cohen/Reuters

Andrew Green, a journalist for Foreign Policy magazine, remembers when he first met Afie Semene.

“I met Afie Semene in the capital of Uganda. It was the tail end of his journey,” he says.

Semene was depressed, living in the shadows and eaten up with resentment toward the Israeli government — which, he said, lied to him.

Princeton economist Atif Mian only tweets a few times a month, and most if it is the kind of dry policy stuff you'd expect from a man whose area of specialization is finance and debt, mixed with the occasional foray into politics.

It's smart, but not necessarily viral material.

He hit Twitter gold this week, though, when he made a simple observation about the recent Nobel Laureates that resonated far and wide: Six people living in the US have won the prize in the sciences this year, and all six are immigrants.

The case for Trump negotiating with North Korea

Jul 5, 2017
Reuters via KCNA

North Korea has a working intercontinental missile that can hit US soil. It will only be a matter of time before the regime of Kim Jong-un can miniaturize a nuclear warhead to put in it. So, the question is what should the US do about it?

No one is suggesting Kim would randomly try to nuke America. “However ruthless and brutal Kim Jong-un is to his own people,” says Joseph Cirincione, “he’s not suicidal.”

Ukrainian musician Zhenya Topov teaches handpan now but remembers how mysterious the instrument seemed the first time he saw it. 

"I was very much, like, what is that thing?" he said.

Topov decided he needed it in his life, and he bought one. He became a traveling busker, playing handpan on the streets of Europe. A few years later, he had become good enough, and handpan internationally well-known enough, that he started giving workshops at a fashionably falling-apart artist collective in Berlin.

David Gray/Reuters&nbsp;

President Donald Trump is selling his energy policies as an end to job-killing regulations and a boost to the US energy industry.

But around the world, many people from developing countries view the changes to the US climate policy differently. 

“I know that there is this new policy, that it’s this 'America First,'” says Anote Tong, former president of the Pacific island nation of Kiribati.

“But [that] doesn’t mean that you destroy our home by putting America first.”

Jason Margolis

The semiarid Mexican city of Monterrey has two major challenges with water: either there is not enough of it, or there's far too much.

Improving and fixing the area’s infrastructure could cost billions. But a US environmental organization has a far cheaper solution, and it’s getting rival corporations — like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo — to come together to pay for it.