Power Hungry

Reducing emissions, increasing consumption: Can Yale have it all?

On a golden day in October in New Haven, Connecticut, in a tall, old red-brick building on Yale’s immaculate campus, natural gas combusts at 1,200 degrees. “Maybe hotter,” says Tom Starr, the manager of Yale’s Central Power Plant. Starr leads me up a few metal steps and opens a hand-sized hatch on the side of a huge, green, insulated-steel box to reveal a little window. Inside, the space explodes with outlandish purple and yellow flames. We’re looking at the burner that provides fuel to the. . . Read more
Amy Fish
A Light Touch

Award-winning filmmaker teaches Yalies to let go.

Film, says Laura Poitras, “takes over your whole world.” Poitras is young-looking, with pretty, thick-lashed brown eyes. She gestures delicately with her long, pale fingers, speaking softly and lifting her voice to curl statements into questions: “I think we should just talk about ideas?” She is fond of saying “like” and “totally,” and there is something girlish about the way she forms her l’s—lightly, with the very tip of her tongue. She is hardly the picture of a war-zone reporter. Yet she is now working. . . Read more
Amy Fish
The Van Vechten Files

The scrapbooks of Carl Van Vechten, luminary of the twentieth-century New York arts scene and notorious provocateur.

“This is it.” Cut out of newsprint like a ransom note, the words sprawl across the top of the page. Below lies a large black and white photograph of a young, pale-skinned man wearing nothing but a garland. His lips shine; his pelvis thrusts forward in bold display. There’s no getting around the focus of the picture: The penis, standing proud at center stage. I furtively scan the Beinecke reading room: Has anyone looked up from his medieval manuscripts? The coast is clear. I look. . . Read more
Amy Fish
Criminal Negligence

Immigrants struggle to find health care.

Four years ago, a newly-arrived immigrant miscarried in the bathroom stall of St. Raphael’s emergency room. “It came—a big piece of meat with blood—and I was so scared,” she recalls. “And I said, ‘You know what, I think I’m losing my baby right now.’” She spoke little English. Uninsured, she had been made to wait, pregnant and bleeding, for several hours at a New Haven clinic, then for another hour at St. Raphael’s. “Just take Motrin,” she remembers the doctors saying as they sent her home after. . . Read more
Amy Fish