West World

The booming state-of-the-art oil fields of West Texas’ Permian Basin are reshaping the energy industry and, some say, changing the global balance of power. Many young Houstonians, facing danger and hardship to make bank, are helping lead the way.

Kyle Mize spends most of his shift watching intently as big lengths of heavy pipe work their way up toward him. Things can go horribly wrong when you’re “80 feet up in the stick,” as they say, at the top of an oil-drilling rig, on the flat and mostly featureless Permian Basin, deep in the heart of West Texas. It’s daunting, dangerous work. He’s careful.

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Business+Innovation

Fifty Shades of Courage

Hurricane Harvey may have been the most equal-opportunity disaster — and the most multicultural disaster response — ever.

On the night of Thursday Aug. 17, someone poured white paint on a bronze bust of Martin Luther King Jr. in the predominantly African-American and economically challenged Sunnyside district. The following evening, someone poured red paint on a statue of Christopher Columbus in Montrose. These acts of vandalism, for which nobody has claimed responsibility, were surely local skirmishes in the ongoing nationwide battle over monuments and symbols from the American past.

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Fight Club

We might barely notice them, as they go about their lives like the rest of us. The pretty blonde hairstylist, the mild-mannered machinist, the petite single mother. But early in the morning, in the stolen hours, and by night, in the gathering places of a world most of us know little about, their secret is revealed. These are the brutally powerful — and often surprisingly contemplative — brawlers and grapplers of Houston’s vast, fast-growing fight scene. Are you ready to step into the ring?

Phoebe Rourke

IT’S A COLD WINTER NIGHT, and Karla Hernandez, a diminutive émigré from Mexico, is waiting in the dark. She’s lithe, even tiny, at 5-foot-1, with dark tresses she dyes in various, sometimes fanciful shades — scarlet red with blonde undertones this evening. She bangs her gloves together when she hears her name called. Her coaches gather round and they start the long walk to the cage.

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