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  • Free Ride
  • Silicon Valley whiz kids like Tesla Motors’ Elon Musk rely on taxpayers to turbocharge their businesses. So why do they flip government the bird?
  • Let My Papers Go!
  • Publishers make big bucks selling access to taxpayer-funded research. Meet Michael Eisen, the renegade geneticist who aims to set it free.

My Own Private Internet
My Own Private Internet
All over the world, people have connected to DIY wireless networks to save some dough. Can they also block the NSA from stalking your digital life?
Where All the Dems Are Above Average
Where All the Dems Are Above Average
How Minnesota’s once-woebegone progressives got smart and teamed up to kick the GOP out of the Gopher State
Talk Dirt to Me
Talk Dirt to Me
Rotting radishes, squirming worms, messy plant residue: the ancient secret that could make industrial agriculture part of the global-warming solution
Revenge of the Swamp
Revenge of the Swamp
Drilling, toxic gas plumes, collapsing brine wells, and the sinkhole that’s eating Bayou Corne, Louisiana

As a public service, Mother Jones, which is a nonprofit magazine, will release the full contents of this issue online over the next several weeks. If you’d like your Mother Jones sooner—and you want to support independent investigative journalism—please subscribe now.



How to get a gun permit without really trying; Black-market bear paws ; The GOP’s high-performing hedge funder; For-profit colleges: Screw U?; Big debt on campus;

Mixed Media

A swashbuckling spinster novel from Elizabeth Gilbert; Documentaries, over easy; This Architectural Life; Musicals for the YouTube era; Book, film, and music reviews

Food + Health

Cover illustration by Tim O’Brien


1 Zohar Lazar, who illustrated this issue’s cover story (“Death by a Thousand Cuts“), is frequently featured in The New Yorker, the New York Times, and GQ.

Michael Mechanic (“Let My Papers Go!”) did lots of lab work to earn a master’s in cellular and developmental biology from Harvard; before photographing open-access innovator Michael Eisen, Andy Reynolds taught himself how to fold origami birds.

2 Dana Liebelson (“Hack to the Future”) likely broke the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act while investigating photo sites that leave kids’ private information vulnerable.

3 Clive Thompson (“My Own Private Internet“) is the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better.

MoJo food and agriculture correspondent Tom Philpott (“Talk Dirt to Me“) is a cofounder of Maverick Farms in North Carolina; photographer 4 Tristan Spinski was escorted around David Brandt’s farm by Yankee, the family Weimaraner.

When his car died in Louisiana swampland during Mardi Gras, illustrator 5 Bill Mayer (“Revenge of the Swamp“) called for a tow truck—and arranged for a voodoo ceremony.

After reading Eat, Pray, Love, 6 Maggie Caldwell (“Gather No Moss“) was inspired to try meditation while traveling in Varanasi, India. It didn’t work out.

Zohar Lazar
Clive Thompson Dana Liebelson
Tristan Spinski Bill Mayer
Maggie Caldwell