The MATTER Archive

Nov 21, 2013 · 5 min read

We’re in the process of moving our back catalog to Medium. Some of the stories haven’t made it yet, so if you see a missing link, assume the story is in transit. They’ll all be here soon!

The Silencing of the Deaf
Sujata Gupta

How high-tech implants are being blamed for killing an entire subculture.
Published: April 2014
Reading time: 31 mins

When the Rivers Run Black

Rachel Cernansky

America’s largest industrial accident tore apart the town of Kingston, Tennessee. Five years later, has the industry learned anything?
Published: March 2014
Reading time: 21 mins

The itch nobody can scratch
Will Storr

This disease plagues thousands, but experts are in conflict over its origins, and whether it even exists.
Published: March 2014
Reading time: 30 mins

The man who destroyed America’s ego
Will Storr

A rebel psychologist challenges one of the 20th century’s biggest—and most dangerous—ideas
Published: February 2014
Reading time: 24 mins

Is the Internet good or bad? Yes.
Zeynep Tufekci

It’s time to rethink our nightmares about surveillance.
Published: February 2014
Reading time: 22 mins

What started the biggest population boom in history?
Alan Weisman

How Iran’s explosive expansion warns us about our overpopulated future —and shows us how to fix it.
Published: February 2014
Reading time: 35 minutes

Untested. Unregulated. Unsafe?
Andres Grippo

Chinese clinics are touting “miracle” stem cell cures—and they’re making millions off sick children.
Published: January 2014
Reading time: 18 minutes

Einstein’s Camera
Joshua Hammer

How renegade photographer Adam Magyar is hacking the concept of time.

Published: January 2014
Reading time: 23 minutes

The Boy Whose Brain Could Unlock Autism

Maia Szalavitz

Autism changed Henry Markram’s family. Now his Intense World theory could transform our understanding of the condition.

Published: December 2013
Reading time: 32 minutes

The Dream Catcher

Dorian Rolston

The researcher who pioneered the study of lucid dreaming faces a future in academic exile. Why?

Published: November 2013
Reading time: 23 minutes

Uncontrolled Substances

Mike Power

Forty years into the war on drugs, getting your own narcotics made to order is not only easier than ever—it can be totally legal, too. How do we know? Because we did it.

Published: October 2013
Reading time: 30 minutes


Virginia Hughes

Cheryl never felt at home when she was a child, but couldn’t understand why. Then science gave her an answer: A DNA test revealed that the man she called daddy was not her biological father.

Published: September 2013
Reading time: 40 minutes

Ring of Steel

James Bridle

How the secretive spread of networked surveillance helped turn Britain into one of the world’s most watched countries.

Published: August 2013
Reading time: 26 minutes

In the Name of the King

Jo Marchant

Many would like to probe Tutankhamun’s past, but it’s not just curiosity that drives them. The boy-king is one of the most famous faces in the world, and everyone from the Mormons to the Muslim Brotherhood wants to claim a piece of his DNA.

Published: July 2013
Reading time: 32 minutes

Never Say Die

Megan Scudellari

Fringe scientists have long sought to extend life, but now mainstream scientists have joined the hunt — and made astounding progress.

Published: June 2013
Reading time: 23 minutes

The Charisma Coach

Teresa Chin

Silicon Valley’s most powerful people are engineers—and faced with the need for magnetic personalities, they’re turning to a coach who says she can make them more likeable. Is there truly a way to hack charisma?

Published: May 2013
Reading time: 36 minutes

Bad Blood

Will Storr

The poisoning of Litvinenko was meant to be the perfect murder—but his assassins left a trail of evidence that led scientists straight to their door.

Published: April 2013
Reading time: 35 minutes

The Ghost in the Cell

Scott C. Johnson

How do violence and crime become ingrained in communities? Scientists now believe that trauma can leave a genetic fingerprint that passes down through the generations.

Published: March 2013
Reading time: 27 minutes


Phil McKenna

Bob Ackley spent his life working for some of America’s biggest gas companies. Now he’s blowing the whistle on a scandal that could turn energy policy on its head.

Published: February 2013
Reading time: 25 minutes


Danny Bradbury

A new kind of computer con has emerged that targets America’s poorest people and tricks them into repaying debts that don’t exist. What happens when a smart hacker takes them on?

Published: January 2013
Reading time: 20 minutes

Electric Shock

Cynthia Graber

The goals of regenerative medicine often feel like an impossibility. But biologist Michael Levin thinks an astonishing breakthrough may be within reach.

Published: December 2012
Reading time: 23 minutes

Do No Harm

Anil Ananthaswamy

For some people, the desire to rid themselves of a limb is a very real illness. Follow one sufferer as he turns his disturbing desires into reality.

Published: November 2012
Reading time: 30 minutes


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