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David Scharfenberg

Latest Articles


That sinking feeling

The shoreline at the Ocean Mist Bar is swiftly eroding. But the regulars are more than willing to follow the watering hole into the sea
It was a particularly violent storm. And a television news crew was filming the wind and rain on a small strip of beach in front of the Ocean Mist bar when the camera panned up to the deck.
By DAVID SCHARFENBERG  |  June 08, 2011

Beyond the moon shot

To the Heavens
Retired Congressman Patrick Kennedy has enjoyed a nice little boomlet of press coverage in recent weeks with his push to raise billions in private and public money over the next decade for brain research.
By DAVID SCHARFENBERG  |  June 08, 2011


The Big Think

Providence designer Seth Goldenberg convenes the best and brightest to tackle the "Epic Challenges" of our time. But who appointed them?
TED, PopTech, and other 21st-century innovation conferences — nerds giving speeches to rich guys — have done something rather remarkable: they've turned the public intellectual into popular entertainer.
By DAVID SCHARFENBERG  |  June 01, 2011


Segal weighs another race

Thinking It Over
David Segal hasn't decided whether he'll run for Congress. Far from it. But it is mulling season. And he is mulling.
By DAVID SCHARFENBERG  |  June 01, 2011

Netroots Nation eyes Providence (again)

Netroots Nation, an annual gathering of progressive bloggers, has become a sort of whistle stop on the lefty campaign calendar.
By DAVID SCHARFENBERG  |  June 01, 2011


Washington gets serious about cybersecurity

With Republicans in control of the House of Representatives, Democrats in control of the Senate, and both parties focusing on next year's election, there's a whole lot of nothing happening in Washington right now.
By DAVID SCHARFENBERG  |  May 25, 2011


Wikileaks' many cousins

The endless Wikileaks commentary has tended toward acerbic portraits of the organization's founder, Julian Assange, and earnest debates over journalistic ethics.
By DAVID SCHARFENBERG  |  May 18, 2011


The art of the Micro-Memoir at the Athenaeum

Story Time
It's a Thursday evening, downstairs at the Providence Athenaeum. Hardwood floors, white bookcases, a bit of sunlight still coming through the windows.
By DAVID SCHARFENBERG  |  May 12, 2011


The stunning demise of gay marriage

Two questions for advocates: What happened? What next?
This was supposed to be the year.
By DAVID SCHARFENBERG  |  May 04, 2011


Rhode Island's urban agenda

State of the City
If you care about Rhode Island's struggling cities, this is — to put it mildly — a rather important moment.
By DAVID SCHARFENBERG  |  May 04, 2011


Cicilline on the hot seat

But he's not cooked yet
It's been a brutal couple of months for Providence mayor-turned-freshman Congressman David Cicilline.
By DAVID SCHARFENBERG  |  April 27, 2011


Firehouse 13 gets a facelift

Rock Dept.
The walls of the Firehouse 13 cultural center are a deep red now, split by a long, white stripe on the northeast wall, with a bit of black below.
By DAVID SCHARFENBERG  |  April 20, 2011


The sudden return of an old killer: syphilis

Medical Dept.
Dr. Gail Skowron, chief of the division of infectious diseases at Roger Williams Medical Center, has worked in a small HIV clinic at the hospital for 21 years.
By DAVID SCHARFENBERG  |  April 20, 2011


Not tough enough?

While governors nationwide slash their way out of crisis, Chafee plays Mr. Nice Guy
Amid massive deficits and escalating pension problems, a certain tough guy chic has taken hold in State Houses across the country.
By DAVID SCHARFENBERG  |  April 13, 2011


The uncertain future of Rhode Island media

Breaking news or broken news?
The endless, anguished debate over how to deliver local news in the Age of the Internet has not reached anything like a satisfying conclusion.
By DAVID SCHARFENBERG  |  April 06, 2011


In an iPod world, Broadway goes vinyl

Records Department
Dave Lifrieri, owner of Analog Underground on Broadway, was in the eighth grade listening to Beatles and Led Zeppelin on vinyl when the CD player — and the inevitable avalanche of remasters — made their full arrival.
By DAVID SCHARFENBERG  |  March 30, 2011


Etips and the history of Rhode Island graffiti

Back to the tunnel
I meet Etips — at 30, an elder statesman in Rhode Island's graffiti scene — in front of Mill's Tavern on North Main Street in Providence.
By DAVID SCHARFENBERG  |  March 31, 2011


Rhode Island's ticking time bomb

A fun, easy-to-understand guide to the pension crisis that could destroy everything you care about (or not)
This is a story about the pension crisis that's tearing apart Providence and Central Falls and just might lay waste to the whole goddamn state.
By DAVID SCHARFENBERG  |  March 23, 2011


Tiny Showcase grapples with a market gone big

Print It
Jon Buonaccorsi stands alongside a large, rectangular table and plays with a series of flat, wooden pieces that, when assembled, make for an arty little pizza shop that might look sharp on your mantle.
By DAVID SCHARFENBERG  |  March 23, 2011


The ''Weak Evidence Effect''

That's It?
About one month before the mid-term elections last fall, 98 people from around the country — Democrats, Republicans, and independents — sat down at their computers to participate in a psychological experiment put together by three Brown University researchers.
By DAVID SCHARFENBERG  |  March 16, 2011
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