Through the Spectrum

A change in the language doctors use to define autism could affect hundreds of thousands of children.

Jack Winegardner, one of the children who would be affected by changes to the definition of autism. It is Valentine’s Day in Jack’s first-grade class. A few at a time, his classmates get up to hand out their valentines, effortlessly matching names with the faces of their classmates until, empty-handed, they dart back to their seats. Jack glances down at the name on the top of his stack and wanders the maze of desks, staring intently, not at the children’s faces, but at the brown. . . Read more
Miriam Lauter
This Could Get Heavy

Learning to lift; learning to live.

First, a chronology of my athletic career: 1997: At the age of five, I set out to become a professional wrestler and superhero. Though I dominate the 37-pound circuit for a while, I develop no powers. Also, I discover professional wrestlers fake it. 1998: Tee-ball is much harder than it looks. 1999-2006: I sit inside my house and read, avoiding sunlight if possible. 2007-2009: For three years, I try to make the varsity soccer team and be a coordinated person girls will like. Alas, no.. . . Read more
Aaron Gertler
Pillow Talk

The recent debate over Sex Week stands in for the discussion no one’s having about educating—and sleeping with—the Facebook generation.

In the debate about sexual culture at Yale, everyone agrees that “intolerance,” “rape culture,” and “objectification” are bad, while “intimacy,” “respect,” and “love” are good. Both sides also agree that something is wrong with their school’s sexual culture here. So the indignant, supercilious tone of editorial on both sides isn’t a result of a difference in goals, but of a disagreement about what the problem is. After news of the Department of Education’s Title IX investigation broke last spring, President Levin hosted a series of. . . Read more
Nicholas Geiser
Cheeseboy and the Golden Sandwiches

Cheeseboy is a young and rapidly expanding company that operates “quick-service restaurants” specializing in grilled cheese. It is also the nickname of the company’s cheese-crazy founder and president, Michael Inwald SOM ’10.

The Connecticut Post Mall in Milford is not a remarkable place. It is not beautiful. It is grey and flat and illumined by cold fluorescent lights. I stepped off an escalator, crossed that sorriest of American public spaces—the food court—and approached the Cheeseboy counter. When a beaming young employee appeared and said, with real enthusiasm, “Have you ever been here before?” I suddenly felt everything was going to be all right. He shepherded me through my order—American cheese on Italian bread with tomato and bacon—rolled. . . Read more
Alec Joyner
Pressed Specimens

Botanists are currently engaged in the colossal task of preserving fragile, sometimes centuries-old leaves in online databases where scientists worldwide can access and analyze them.

While Horatio Fenn was studying at the Yale College Medical Institute in 1822, he created a book containing over seven hundred pressed plant specimens he found in and around New Haven. Fenn’s book is now in the Yale Herbarium at 21 Sachem Street, where the university’s plant specimens are kept. The pages are yellowing, but the specimens themselves look surprisingly well preserved. Patrick Sweeney, collections manager at the Yale Herbarium, is plucking pages from the spine of Fenn’s book and carefully turning them to prevent. . . Read more
Mitchell Murdock
Getting Warmer

Robert Mendelsohn, a climate change economist at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, accuses scientists of being alarmist in their public statements about global warming.

For Robert Mendelsohn, a climate change economist at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, efficiency is key. I asked him about the School of Forestry’s community tree-planting initiatives, and while he acknowledged the value of green space in a city, he couldn’t help pointing out the project’s potential negative outcomes. He noted that leaves from the trees would fall on the streets, requiring more clean-up by the city and more taxpayer dollars. Environmentalists consider Mendelsohn a menace. Mendelsohn considers himself a moderate who. . . Read more
Yvette Borja

Kanani Lee’s lab studies a little-known layer near the planet’s core, about 1,800 miles beneath the surface and 257 times deeper than the deepest place on the ocean floor.

For Kanani Lee, a geophysicist working at Yale, the key to reconstructing the earth’s history is high pressure. Her lab is known as the X-cubed lab, which stands for “Exploring Extremes Experimentally.” The lab studies a little-known layer near the planet’s core, about 1,800 miles beneath the surface and 257 times deeper than the deepest place on the ocean floor. At that depth, the temperature is about forty times hotter than a Finnish sauna. The pressure there is about twenty times that required to make. . . Read more
Rae Ellen Bichell
Stopping the Presses

The New Haven Register is closing its press this month. In the future, the paper will be printed in Hartford.

1981. The New Haven Register moved from a small office on Orange and Audobon to 40 Sargent Drive, a former shirt factory. Busloads of people came to tour the new state-of-the-art Goss Metroliner printing presses. New Haven was the industry showroom. Rockwell International, the company that manufactured Goss Metroliners, featured the Register’s pressmen on the cover of its 1982 catalogue with the headline “Winning Team in New Haven.” In the picture, you can see the men’s reflections in the gleaming floors. Today, the floors are. . . Read more
Victoria Sanchez
Fear of Needles

New Haven proved that syringe exchange programs prevent the spread of HIV. Why won’t Congress pay for them?

From two to three o’clock on Tuesday afternoons, the New Haven syringe exchange van parks on the corner of Grand Avenue and Ferry Street in Fair Haven. It’s here that George Bucheli, HIV counselor and educator, takes dirty syringes from intravenous drug users and provides them with sterile ones in return. “This stop’s been hopping lately,” Bucheli told me. “We’ve been getting a lot of young male clients. Young. I mean like 19, 20 years old, Latino, white. From other places, too—East Haven, Waterbury, Branford.”. . . Read more
Helen Knight
A Fine Kettle of Fish

The Maritime Aquarium in South Norwalk turned the tide for a depressed neighborhood.

At the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, Connecticut, a work crew is preparing a large, empty room for new shark tanks and sea urchin habitats with state-of-the-art filtration systems. They’ve been told to be unobtrusive, so the workers speak softly and crane operators silently ease thousand-pound slabs of concrete into position. Several hundred people still visit the aquarium each day, and the sounds of heavy machinery in the background wouldn’t be ideal for a leisurely family outing. “We spent the last decade expanding our educational programming. . . Read more
Cathy Huang