“I was naive. To me, it was little trinkets sold in market stalls, the occasional tusk. But then I realized—it was all connected. That’s when I said, ‘I need to document this as far as I can push it.’ ”

- Photographer Patrick Brown on why he’s driven to document the illegal animal trade. See more images from his new book, ‘Trading to Extinction,’ in our full story.

All photographs by Patrick Brown/Panos Pictures


Who doesn’t love almonds? Salted and roasted with just enough olive oil to make them glisten, they’re a perfect snack. Plus, they’re low in saturated fats, high in fibre and packed with protein. No wonder demand is on the rise—from emerging markets in China to Canada, where we rate as one of the highest per-capita consumers. Once a treat for special occasions, they’re sold at Whole Foods and 7-Eleven, raw or roasted or processed into milks and butters.
But now, a growing movement is asking: Is it nuts to eat almonds? Native to the Middle East and Asia, almonds are today the product of intense monoculture in California’s Central Valley, where more than 80 per cent of the world’s supply is harvested. In the past 10 years alone, the crop has doubled to almost two billion pounds; the landmass devoted to almonds now accounts for nearly 323,700 hectares. Both are being blamed by some environmentalists for contributing to no fewer than three current crises: the killing of huge colonies of honeybees, the deaths in droves of wild salmon, and record-breaking droughts.

Excerpted from our full story, Is it nuts to eat almonds? High-res

Who doesn’t love almonds? Salted and roasted with just enough olive oil to make them glisten, they’re a perfect snack. Plus, they’re low in saturated fats, high in fibre and packed with protein. No wonder demand is on the rise—from emerging markets in China to Canada, where we rate as one of the highest per-capita consumers. Once a treat for special occasions, they’re sold at Whole Foods and 7-Eleven, raw or roasted or processed into milks and butters.

But now, a growing movement is asking: Is it nuts to eat almonds? Native to the Middle East and Asia, almonds are today the product of intense monoculture in California’s Central Valley, where more than 80 per cent of the world’s supply is harvested. In the past 10 years alone, the crop has doubled to almost two billion pounds; the landmass devoted to almonds now accounts for nearly 323,700 hectares. Both are being blamed by some environmentalists for contributing to no fewer than three current crises: the killing of huge colonies of honeybees, the deaths in droves of wild salmon, and record-breaking droughts.

Excerpted from our full story, Is it nuts to eat almonds?

Every decision you make requires resources. Neurons are living cells with metabolisms. When they work, they need to replenish themselves with glucose, and that’s not in unlimited supply in the brain. So, whether you make a tiny decision or a big one, you’re using up those resources. The amount of choice we have in a place like a grocery store can be overwhelming. And, later in the day, when you have to make some important decision at work, or about your pension, you’ve depleted those neural resources selecting a gluten-free cereal.

Neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin on how information overload contributes to decision fatigue. Read our full story on Levitin and his new book ‘The Organized Mind.


If the world feels like it’s getting more complicated, that’s because it is—in ways both large and small, and with discombobulating speed.
In 1976, the average supermarket stocked 9,000 different items. Today, its shelves are packed with 40,000. The spread of TV, video and computers—at work, at home and in our pockets—means that the average person now takes in the information equivalent of 175 newspapers each and every day, a fivefold increase since 1986. The amount of science produced over the past two decades surpasses all of the theories, experiments and discoveries ever created in the preceding 100,000 years. The flood of knowledge, choice and distractions never slows.
“We are faced with an unprecedented amount of information to remember and objects to keep track of,” writes Daniel J. Levitin in his new book, The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload. Yet, “in this age of iPods and thumb drives, when your smartphone can record video, browse 200 million websites, and tell you how many calories are in that cranberry scone, most of us are still trying to keep track of things using the systems that were put in place in a pre-computerized era.”

- Excerpted from our full story, Why we need to clear our cluttered minds. High-res

If the world feels like it’s getting more complicated, that’s because it is—in ways both large and small, and with discombobulating speed.

In 1976, the average supermarket stocked 9,000 different items. Today, its shelves are packed with 40,000. The spread of TV, video and computers—at work, at home and in our pockets—means that the average person now takes in the information equivalent of 175 newspapers each and every day, a fivefold increase since 1986. The amount of science produced over the past two decades surpasses all of the theories, experiments and discoveries ever created in the preceding 100,000 years. The flood of knowledge, choice and distractions never slows.

“We are faced with an unprecedented amount of information to remember and objects to keep track of,” writes Daniel J. Levitin in his new book, The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload. Yet, “in this age of iPods and thumb drives, when your smartphone can record video, browse 200 million websites, and tell you how many calories are in that cranberry scone, most of us are still trying to keep track of things using the systems that were put in place in a pre-computerized era.”

- Excerpted from our full story, Why we need to clear our cluttered minds.


It’s a new day in the neighbourhood all across the Western world. More than 30 per cent of Canadians now say they feel disconnected from their neighbours, while half of Americans admit they don’t know the names of theirs. An Australian sociologist investigating community responses in the wake of the 2011 floods in Queensland found relations in “a precarious balance”; neighbours were hesitant to intrude even in emergencies—leading the scholar to conclude that “we are less likely than ever to know” our neighbours. Quite right, too: A recent poll of 2,000 Britons found a third declaring they couldn’t pick their near neighbours out of a police lineup.
Yet it’s hardly surprising, given how lengthy working days, long commutes and having both parents in the labour force have combined with the way we raise our children to create suburban neighbourhoods that are empty more than half the day, with scarcely a neighbour to encounter, let alone recognize, trust or befriend. But, however powerful the economic and social forces behind the disappearing neighbour—and however positive many of its results—according to reams of new research, the transformation is also poisoning our politics and, quite literally, killing us.

- Excerpted from The end of neighbours. Read the full story at macleans.ca.

Photo illustration by Levi Nicholson. High-res

It’s a new day in the neighbourhood all across the Western world. More than 30 per cent of Canadians now say they feel disconnected from their neighbours, while half of Americans admit they don’t know the names of theirs. An Australian sociologist investigating community responses in the wake of the 2011 floods in Queensland found relations in “a precarious balance”; neighbours were hesitant to intrude even in emergencies—leading the scholar to conclude that “we are less likely than ever to know” our neighbours. Quite right, too: A recent poll of 2,000 Britons found a third declaring they couldn’t pick their near neighbours out of a police lineup.

Yet it’s hardly surprising, given how lengthy working days, long commutes and having both parents in the labour force have combined with the way we raise our children to create suburban neighbourhoods that are empty more than half the day, with scarcely a neighbour to encounter, let alone recognize, trust or befriend. But, however powerful the economic and social forces behind the disappearing neighbour—and however positive many of its results—according to reams of new research, the transformation is also poisoning our politics and, quite literally, killing us.

- Excerpted from The end of neighbours. Read the full story at macleans.ca.

Photo illustration by Levi Nicholson.