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Cover: Illustration by Tim O'Brien
1 Gary Taubes ("Sweet Little Lies") has won three top awards from the National Association of Science Writers; coauthor 2 Cristin Kearns Couzens "drilled, filled, and billed" about 5,000 cavities in her six years as a dentist. Oil painter and late-night candy shopper 3 Chris Buzelli illustrated their story.
While reporting on pollution from rare-earth refining in Malaysia ("Killer App"), senior editor 4 Kiera Butler was accosted mid-interview by a persistent used-towel hawker. (Her trip was supported by the Society of Environmental Journalists.)
6 Jason Holley, who drew frack magnate Harold Hamm ("Drill, Baby, Drill"), was born near Texas oil country; after following Hamm's trail to North Dakota, Josh Harkinson filed an expense report claiming $40 for a round of drinks and a strip club cover charge.