• Essay

    The Minnesota Invention That Rescued a Boy With a Hole in His Heart

    In 1955, Two Researchers Created the Heart-Lung Machine That Would Save Millions of Children’s Lives

    by Irwin Speizer

    Stephen Joseph Brabeck was born in 1950 with a hole in his heart. To survive into adolescence would have been considered exceptionally fortunate at the time.
      But Brabeck was lucky; in 1955 he underwent experimental open-heart surgery ...

  • The Takeaway

    Why Hawaiian Pidgin English Is Thriving Today

    Continuously Evolving, the Language Gives Its Diverse Speakers a Common History and Shared Values

    by Kianoosh Hashemzadeh

    The origins of the Hawaiian pidgin language reflect the history and diversity of the islands. First used in the mid-19th century by the sugarcane laborers who spoke Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, and English and needed a way to communicate with one another, today, the language is …

New at Zócalo

In the Green Room

George Washington University Assistant Professor Nicole Ivy

She and I Used to Sing Ethel Merman Before Class

Nicole Ivy is an assistant professor of American studies at The George Washington University and a professional futurist. She also formerly served as the director of inclusion for the American Alliance of Museums. Before participating in a Zócalo/Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County event, “Is the Digital Age Making Museums Obsolete?,” Ivy spoke with Zócalo in the green room about the museum she most admires, Philadelphia, and her most influential teachers.
  Q: What was the last book you read?
  A:The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin. I don’t usually read books twice unless I have to, but this is a book that I have returned to. I’m such an Afro-Futurism geek.
  Q: What does it mean to be a futurist?
  A: It means that you help people tell stories about the kinds of worlds they want. I think that’s a good short answer.
  Q: What do you miss most about Philadelphia?
  A: The grittiness. The fact it has all the amenities of an urban place—it’s an urban place—but ...


San Diego Has California’s Greatest Urban Park, but It’s Falling Apart

Balboa Park Has a Zoo and a Model Train Museum, What It Needs Is Leadership

by Joe Mathews

  If I had a free Sunday and could spend it anywhere in California, I’d head for Balboa Park in San Diego.
  The Golden State has some grand urban parks, from San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park to Los Angeles’s Griffith Park to lesser-known beauties like Bidwell Park in Chico. But no other public space in our state offers as many different experiences with as much sunny spectacle as Balboa Park. And the park could become even better if San Diego and the rest of California could figure out how to better support it.
  Millions of people across our state and around the world have visited Balboa Park without even realizing it—because they were there only to see our planet’s greatest zoo, which is in the park. But the zoo is only one of a long list of things that makes the place special.
  Balboa Park, at nearly 1,200 acres, is bigger ...

Connecting California Joe Mathews


  • by Ruth Dickey

    Our house leaned and pitched in strong winds. The tin roof ...

  • by Rogelio Juarez

    Sundays my father made us chorizo
    we still begged to skip …

  • by Alan Michael Parker

    Soon I’ll need assurances, a shower, coffee, pills.
    In the fuzz of …