Michael May is a freelance radio and print reporter based in Boston.
Michael May teaches radio documentary at the Salt Institute in Portland, ME and is a radio and print freelancer. Before that, he was the managing editor of the Texas Observer. For more than a decade, he reported from Austin, where he investigated an idiosyncratic FBI informant named Brandon Darby, heard Willie Nelson sing “Amazing Grace” a capella and discovered that a police“bait car” can snare good Samaritans. His stories ended up on This American Life, Studio 360, Marketplace, The Austin Chronicle and others. He has also worked as an editor for the national radio show Weekend America and a news reporter at the Austin NPR station KUT-FM. For his radio work, May has won a Third Coast Audio Festival Gold Award and a National Headliners Grand Award.
In the slums of Nairobi, Kenya is a project to get clean water to the poor run by a cooperative of women. These women address a more subtle type of conflict,that between the “haves and the have-nots,” a sort of ”urban water wars.”
On the border with South Sudan, is a Turkana village called Loblono, in Northern Kenya. These Turkana people have survived for centuries in one of the harshest landscapes on earth, the dry-as-a-bone desert that also stretches across South Sudan and Somalia. They live a nomadic lifestyle based on herding cattle, chasing the rain and the grasslands that sprout from the desert when it’s wet. The Turkana have always been in conflict with neighboring tribes, like the Poquot and the Taposas. But, in recent years, dwindling water supplies have exacerbated the conflict on this smallest of scales.
Water is the most precious resource for communities around the globe. Yet, surprisingly, aid projects to drill wells in Kenya often failed because people didn't maintain the wells. Now communities are taking responsibility for cooperatively managing their water and their success is leading them to tackle other problems, like education.
Scientists are always interested in how people are creative — and how they can be more creative. Can drugs or alcohol help? The answer, according to scientists, is it depends.
Epidemics have become a hot topic in gaming. In the online video game Pandemic 2, you play the virus, aiming to wipe out humanity. In The Great Flu, you control a world health organization and make decisions about face masks and airport closures.
Indian textile mills increasingly rely on young women and girls. Many workers sign contracts known as the Sumangali scheme. The mills withhold part of their paycheck and then give them a lump sum later. But if the workers leave they lose all of the money.