Sign in

GEN
What matters now. A publication from Medium about politics, power, and culture.

Great Escape

In GEN. More on Medium.

Great Escape

You use your phone too much. Here’s how to stop the cycle.

You, like most people, probably use your phone too much. People spend an average of four hours a day staring at their handheld screen, according to the time-tracking app Moment, and that doesn’t include time spent using their phones to do other things, like listen to podcasts or take calls. Engage in any activity for that long and it changes your brain. Those changes may be positive if we are talking about, say, meditation. Less so if it’s time spent staring at your phone.

For the past three years, I have been conducting research and writing a book about our…


Great Escape

Not all doomsday survivalists are macho men with bunkers and chainsaws. Meet the women preparing for the worst.

Jennifer had already taken the necessary precautions the night Hurricane Maria came barreling through the Caribbean. The 46-year-old stay-at-home mom, who lives on two acres of land with her husband and four children atop a mountain in Manati, Puerto Rico, was ready to make use of the filter she’d purchased for sterilizing rainwater in case the taps ran dry. And she didn’t have to worry about food, because her pantry was already stocked with two-and-a-half years’ worth: giant buckets of lentils, flour, and rice; shelves lined with mason jars of fruits and vegetables she had grown and canned herself.

What…


Great Escape

The verdict so far? Mixed.

Last year, Angie Thomas, author of the bestselling young adult novel The Hate U Give, moved to suburban Jackson, Mississippi, with her mother. Her reasons were twofold. One, the book — which follows the political awakening of a black, 16-year-old girl who witnesses the murder of her unarmed friend at the hands of a police officer — gave her the means to do so. And, two, Thomas wanted to get away — get a little space, peace and quiet, and a greater degree of safety than her old neighborhood could not offer.

Thomas didn’t just move to the suburbs. She…


Great Escape

Inside the race to save endangered wildlife in Hawaii amid the growing threat of climate-related storms

Water and ice are two common staples in most hurricane preparedness kits. Fungus is not.

In the face of advancing hurricane winds of 125 miles per hour, the Snail Extinction Prevention Program (SEPP) in Hawaii evacuated its field lab on Aug. 23. They placed 80 terrariums housing 2,000 rare Hawaiian snails in cardboard file boxes and transported them from a marsh on the northeast side of O`ahu to a downtown Honolulu office building. …


Great Escape

A photographer’s journey through the streets of Taipei, full of scooters and longing

I arrived in the evening, waiting for the moment to see you.


Great Escape

There may be no escape from my mental illness, but acceptance is a start

Summer’s over, school’s about to begin again, and I see from Instagram everyone I know is in Maine for a last hurrah. My feed is a symphony of shiplap and lobster, fog and boulders, L.L.Bean and familial smiles. The posts flutter past my eyes like Tibetan prayer flags, small squares of happiness, hashtagged. I’d love to escape to Maine as well, with my wife and two young sons. But, for a variety of reasons, we can’t. …


Great Escape

The short answer is no, but all hope is not lost

That quote attributed to Andy Warhol — “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes” — may be true. But in the internet age, it should come with the caveat that you’ll have to pay for it with at least 15 minutes of hell. Forty percent of U.S. adults have been harassed or abused online, according to Pew Research Center statistics, and two-thirds have seen it happen to someone else. More than 60 percent consider it to be a “major problem.” Presumably the rest have yet to be harassed.

Online abuse can take many forms. Maybe you’re a…


Great Escape

Years of deterrence tactics have not prevented Central American immigrants from coming to the U.S. But they have to deal with the consequences of past deportations.

On the day Carlos’ stepfather died, the television was playing its usual parade of police sirens and dead bodies. It’s part of the daily buzz in Tegucigalpa, the congested capital of Honduras. Carlos was paying little attention, but when he received a panicked call from his mother, he took a closer look at the image on the screen of a man with a prosthetic foot, laying facedown in the grass. It was his stepfather, Santos.

Santos, a 37-year-old bus driver, had lost the front of his left foot the first time he tried to leave Honduras, back in 2012. He…


Great Escape

There was no chisel involved, no rope of bedsheets. But with the help of a willing accomplice, I found a way out.

A few years ago, I escaped from prison. I’d been fantasizing about it for years, but the precipitating factor was a fight between two fellow inmates that left one in the hospital and the other in solitary confinement.

It was 8 p.m. Slim, a tall, skinny dude, had been gossiping with a friend. “Yeah, son, I’ma holla at you later, boy,” he yelled down the tier as the conversation wrapped up. “That shit was crazy!”

I was standing in my doorway, just keeping a quiet watch on my surroundings, when another inmate, Shaolin, rose from his bed and made his…


Great Escape

I live out all the lives I’ll never live through the meals I’ll probably never eat

It has been 10 minutes, and still, I can’t decide between the chicken or the shrimp laksa. I’m craving seafood, but suspect the shrimp come with their head and shells on, and I’m not sure I can deal with the added labor. There are extras to consider, too — toppings of charred aubergine, crispy fried tofu or half a soft boiled egg. I want all three, but not at once. And do I have the rice noodles or the egg, and is it weird to ask for both?

At this point, the waiter should be circling impatiently, eager to get…

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store