Queen Arsem-O’Malley focuses on grassroots labor organizing, youth-led social movements, anti-carceral feminism, and critiques of mainstream media.

Coal Ash May Be Making Pennsylvania Inmates Sick, and Now They’re Fighting to Shut Their Prison Down,” by Raven Rakia. VICE, May 5, 2015.

In an incredible investigation at the intersection of environmental justice and prison advocacy, Raven Rakia details the combination of the dire health consequences of coal ash and the sometimes-fatal negligence of a Pennsylvania prison.

Avi Asher-Schapiro focuses on US foreign policy, politics in the Middle East and South America, and technology issues.

The Detail in Seymour Hersh’s Bin Laden Story That Rings True,” by Carlotta Gall. New York Times Magazine, May 12, 2015.

Seymour Hersh’s recent expose in the London Review of Books on the killing of Osama Bin Laden has many calling him a conspiracy theorist. But veteran New York TimesAfPak correspondent Carlotta Gall comes to Hersh’s defense on several key points, confirming that, at the very least, the government version of events rests on a series of half-truths.

Cole Delbyck focuses on LGBT politics, East Asia, and representational issues in film and television.

I Was Born Homosexual. I Chose to Be Gay,” by J. Bryan Lowder. Slate, May 12, 2015.

What can I say about this powerful and challenging essay on the schism between homosexuality and gayness? Effortlessly pulling from sources ranging from RuPaul and Oscar Wilde to Foucault and Edmund White, Lowder takes a temperature test of what it means to be gay in and outside the bedroom in 2015. I particularly appreciated his attempt to define gayness, something he breaks down into four key concepts—cruising, drag, queenliness, and family.

Khadija Elgarguri focuses on MENA issues including women’s rights, the relationship between foreign policy and cultural change, and women’s roles in protest movements in the region.

Vatican to Recognize Palestinian State in New Treaty,” by Gaia Pianigiani and Rick Gladstone. The New York Times, May 13, 2015.

In a “symbolic step,” the Vatican submitted for approval a treaty that recognizes Palestine as a state. While this “powerful signal of legitimacy” to stateless Palestinians is momentous, what’s particularly interesting is the response by Israeli officials, who stated that the Vatican’s move “does not advance the peace process.” Israel’s “disappointed” response signals that a two-state solution does not factor favorably into its peace process equation, which likely contributes to the process’s “long-paralyzed” status.

Benjamin Hattem focuses on Israel/Palestine and the broader Middle East, as well as economic inequality, homelessness, and the prison system.

The Disturbing Reason Higher Education Lobbying Groups Are Supporting For-Profit Colleges,” by Alec MacGillis. Pacific Standard, May 12, 2015.

The higher education lobby is trying to halt regulation of for-profit colleges in the hopes of deregulating their own federal funding and Pell grants. It’s another reminder that, as the author puts it, “the higher education lobby represents an industry as self-interested as any other.”

James F. Kelly focuses on labor, economic inequality, world politics and intellectual history.

Shell oil rig arriving Thursday is just the start of the Arctic drilling fleet,” by Coral Garnick and Hal Bernton. The Seattle Times, May 13, 2015.

The Obama administration rarely passes up an opportunity to mock the Republican Party’s climate skepticism—Vice President Joe Biden recently compared denying the reality of human-induced climate changed to “denying gravity.” With the announcement this week that Shell has been given conditional approval to drill in the Arctic, many are left wondering whose interests the White House has in mind.

Ava Kofman focuses on technology, popular science and media culture.

Eight Big Ideas from Seven on Seven,” by Michael Connor. Rhizome, May 4, 2015.

This article rounds up the cool projects from Rhizome’s Seven on Seven conference, which pairs seven artists with seven technologists to collaborate on projects. This year’s theme was “Empathy and Disgust.” The keynote featured algorithm-goddess Kate Crawford interviewing counter-surveillance hero Laura Poitras: lots of <3.

Abigail Savitch-Lew focuses on urban policy, labor and race.

You’ve Heard What’s Wrong in Freddie Gray’s Neighborhood. Here’s One Local’s Vision for Turning That Around,” by Mary Hansen. Yes Magazine, May 11, 2015.

Blaize Connelly-Duggan, the director of an alcohol recovery center in the neighborhood where Freddie Gray grew up, dreams of community-driven development—restaurants and tourist destinations constructed and owned by current residents, with white people visiting as customers, but not generating displacement. His desire for resources to buy that burned-down CVS and make it a community-owned organic food store seems practical and modest enough; will the new mayor pay attention to locals like Connelly-Duggan as they address the demands of protesters?

Hilary Weaver focuses on reproductive rights, feminism and related political, health and education issues.

Nellie Bly’s Lessons in Writing What You Want To,” by Alice Gregory. The New Yorker, May 14, 2014.

May 5 marked what would have been journalist pioneer Nellie Bly’s 161st birthday. This piece, featured in The New Yorker last year, reminds journalists and journalistic hopefuls of a trailblazing woman who helped establish some of the founding principles for investigative journalism.