Four decades of classic essays . . . with gratitude.

A photographer explores Mexico’s hopeful future and heavy past.

Students marked the centennial of the National Autonomous University of Mexico in the streets of Mexico City’s Zócalo district in 2010. The university’s more than 300,000 students are a precious resource in a country where the average citizen has only a little more than eight years of schooling. (Newscom)

The United States is luring many of Mexico’s best and brightest northward.

Petroleum and patriotism have long proved a heady mix in Mexican politics. “Serving the nation,” says this 1956 Pemex sign. (Getty Images)

In a year that brought an eruption of ambitious reform measures, the biggest of them all is the proposed overhaul of Mexico’s iconic national oil company.

Arrests of police officers and other officials are a disconcertingly common sight in Mexico. This former federal police officer was arrested in Mexico City earlier this year and charged with leading a gang that committed robberies and kidnappings. (Getty Images)

A new president is betting that seeking peace with the drug cartels is the key to a safer Mexico.

Two Predator drones rest in hangars at a base in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Even after the United States withdraws its last combat troops from Afghanistan next year, it will continue to operate drones in the country. (Getty Images)

Drones fly in the face of lessons taught to us by centuries of warfare.

A crowd-sourced project at the website Bostonography uses colored hexagons to map Boston residents’ perceptions of their neighborhood boundaries. Purple covers areas where more than 75 percent of respondents agree, aqua more than 50 percent, and green more than 25 percent. (Bostonography)

What place do neighborhoods have in modern cities?

A John Deere factory in Pune, India, is a visible sign of the offshoring of jobs. But many middle-paying U.S. jobs have been replaced by better-paid managerial, professional, and technical positions. (Scott Eells / Redux)

The great American job machine is sputtering, but it has not lost any of its underlying power.

A seventh grader at Samuel J. Green Charter School in New Orleans looks on in class. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the city’s school system was drastically restructured, with a new emphasis on charter schools geared toward college preparation. (Lee Celano / Reuters / Corbis)

Millions of young people will never attend four-year colleges. America must do more to equip them to secure good jobs and live fulfilling lives.

New tires travel like so many hangman’s nooses past a bank of recently installed automated curing presses at a tire factory in 1960. (Charles Rotkin / Corbis)

The automation crisis of the 1960s created a surge of alarm over technology’s job-killing effects. There is a lot we can learn from it.