A Black Beauty Turns 30

Mattel introduced Barbie in 1959 and gave her an African-American friend (Christie) in 1968, but the official, Afro-sporting Black Barbie wasn’t unveiled until 1980. Her arrival sparked a desegregation movement that changed the Barbie landscape forever: Hispanic Barbie made her debut later that year, followed by Oriental Barbie in 1981.

To commemorate Black Barbie’s 30th birthday, Mattel has released a special-edition African American Heritage Barbie, who comes dressed in the same ’80s-inspired Barbie doll pink outfit as the original. Each commemorative doll also comes with an additional outfit (a white tuxedo with gold sequins), a change of shoes and three collector’s cards. And just like the original, a pink Afro pick is also included.

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Neon Green

Neon Green

When land and resource economist Josef Marlow was preparing a study about Las Vegas earlier this year, the title of his report, “Growth and Sustainability in the Las Vegas Valley,” had his colleagues in the Tucson, Ariz., office of the nonprofit Sonoran Institute shaking their heads. “People were asking whether it was an oxymoron,” he says. It’s a fair question, even for those of us who live here. His answer? “On the surface it looks like one of the most unsustainable places on the planet. But there’s a lot of stuff under the surface.”