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  • 2014 Is on Pace to Be the Warmest Year Ever

    MoJo Blogs and Articles | Mother Jones
    Eric Holthaus
    19 Sep 2014 | 11:23 pm
    The story originally appeared in Slate and is republished here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. The Earth's oceans have never been this far beyond the bounds of normal. New data released Thursday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed that Earth's oceans reached a level last month not seen since humans have been keeping comprehensive records. Global ocean temperatures in August 2014 warmed to "the largest departure from average for any month on record" according to a NOAA statement. The previous record was set just two months ago, in June 2014. Records date…
  • 2014 Is on Pace to Be the Warmest Year Ever

    MoJo Articles | Mother Jones
    Eric Holthaus
    19 Sep 2014 | 11:23 pm
    The story originally appeared in Slate and is republished here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. The Earth's oceans have never been this far beyond the bounds of normal. New data released Thursday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed that Earth's oceans reached a level last month not seen since humans have been keeping comprehensive records. Global ocean temperatures in August 2014 warmed to "the largest departure from average for any month on record" according to a NOAA statement. The previous record was set just two months ago, in June 2014. Records date…
  • Friday Cat Blogging - 19 September 2014

    Kevin Drum Feed | Mother Jones
    Kevin Drum
    19 Sep 2014 | 11:47 am
    We have a very busy squirrel in our backyard. He is tireless in his quest to find pine cones and bury them in our garden. In fact, every time Marian goes out to do some gardening, she routinely digs up half a dozen pine cones. They're everywhere. But squirrels are squirrely little critters, and it's hard to catch them in the act. Yesterday, however, our local squirrel was zipping across our fence with a pine cone in its mouth, and stopped just long enough for me to acquire hard photographic evidence of his hardworking ways. If I were a squirrel, I'd spend my autumns just keeping an eye on…
  • We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for September 19, 2014

    Political Mojo | Mother Jones
    19 Sep 2014 | 6:42 am
    US Marines board the USS Germantown, an amphibious dock landing ship in the Philippine Sea. (US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Amanda R. Gray)
  • World Leaders Have Failed to Seriously Confront Climate Change. Could That Change Next Week?

    Blue Marble Feed | Mother Jones
    Tim McDonnell
    16 Sep 2014 | 11:14 am
    Break out your protest sign materials and take your polar bear costume to the dry cleaner, boys and girls: This coming weekend marks the kickoff of Climate Week NYC 2014, a flurry of meetings and protests about climate action. It all starts with the People's Climate March in Columbus Circle on Sunday. Organizers are already calling it the biggest climate march in history, with over 100,000 folks expected to turn up. But the week's main event is on Tuesday at the United Nations, where Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will preside over a confab of heads of state (including President Obama),…
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    MoJo Blogs and Articles | Mother Jones

  • 2014 Is on Pace to Be the Warmest Year Ever

    Eric Holthaus
    19 Sep 2014 | 11:23 pm
    The story originally appeared in Slate and is republished here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. The Earth's oceans have never been this far beyond the bounds of normal. New data released Thursday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed that Earth's oceans reached a level last month not seen since humans have been keeping comprehensive records. Global ocean temperatures in August 2014 warmed to "the largest departure from average for any month on record" according to a NOAA statement. The previous record was set just two months ago, in June 2014. Records date…
  • Friday Cat Blogging - 19 September 2014

    Kevin Drum
    19 Sep 2014 | 11:47 am
    We have a very busy squirrel in our backyard. He is tireless in his quest to find pine cones and bury them in our garden. In fact, every time Marian goes out to do some gardening, she routinely digs up half a dozen pine cones. They're everywhere. But squirrels are squirrely little critters, and it's hard to catch them in the act. Yesterday, however, our local squirrel was zipping across our fence with a pine cone in its mouth, and stopped just long enough for me to acquire hard photographic evidence of his hardworking ways. If I were a squirrel, I'd spend my autumns just keeping an eye on…
  • Thanks to Obamacare, Way Fewer Women Have To Pay Extra For Birth Control

    Tasneem Raja
    19 Sep 2014 | 11:38 am
    There's some good news for women who would rather not pay an arm and a leg to keep from getting pregnant. The Guttmacher Institute, which tracks reproductive health costs, has been periodically surveying a group of 1,800 privately insured women ages 18-39 about how much they pay out of pocket for various kinds of birth control. The first survey was in the fall of 2012, just before the Affordable Care Act required insurance plans to stop applying co-pays or deductibles to most contraceptives. At the time, only 15 percent of the women said they didn't have to pay anything over…
  • Quote of the Day: Nathan Deal Is Tired of Barack Obama's Treachery

    Kevin Drum
    19 Sep 2014 | 10:26 am
    From Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, apparently upset that his tax-fighting economic policies aren't yet producing a paradise on earth: It’s ironic that in a year in which Republican governors are leading some of the states that are making the most progress, that they almost, without exception, are classified as having a bump in their unemployment rates. Whereas states that are under Democrat governors’ control, they are all showing that their unemployment rate has dropped. And I don’t know how you account for that. Maybe there is some influence here that we don’t know…
  • When I Was 5, I, Um -- What Were We Just Talking About?

    Kevin Drum
    19 Sep 2014 | 10:06 am
    I remember approximately diddly-squat1 about my childhood. But why? Melissa Dahl explains the latest research to me today: The way parents tend to talk to their sons is different from the way they talk to their daughters. Mothers tend to introduce more snippets of new information in conversations with their young daughters than they do with their young sons, research has shown. And moms tend to ask more questions about girls’ emotions; with boys, on the other hand, they spend more time talking about what they should do with those feelings. This is at least partially a product of parents…
 
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    MoJo Articles | Mother Jones

  • 2014 Is on Pace to Be the Warmest Year Ever

    Eric Holthaus
    19 Sep 2014 | 11:23 pm
    The story originally appeared in Slate and is republished here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. The Earth's oceans have never been this far beyond the bounds of normal. New data released Thursday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed that Earth's oceans reached a level last month not seen since humans have been keeping comprehensive records. Global ocean temperatures in August 2014 warmed to "the largest departure from average for any month on record" according to a NOAA statement. The previous record was set just two months ago, in June 2014. Records date…
  • Thanks to Obamacare, Way Fewer Women Have To Pay Extra For Birth Control

    Tasneem Raja
    19 Sep 2014 | 11:38 am
    There's some good news for women who would rather not pay an arm and a leg to keep from getting pregnant. The Guttmacher Institute, which tracks reproductive health costs, has been periodically surveying a group of 1,800 privately insured women ages 18-39 about how much they pay out of pocket for various kinds of birth control. The first survey was in the fall of 2012, just before the Affordable Care Act required insurance plans to stop applying co-pays or deductibles to most contraceptives. At the time, only 15 percent of the women said they didn't have to pay anything over…
  • The Justice Department Claims This Defamation Case Will Reveal State Secrets—But Won't Say How

    Molly Redden
    19 Sep 2014 | 9:09 am
    In an unprecedented move, Attorney General Eric Holder has intervened in a defamation lawsuit, seeking to have the case thrown out on the grounds that it will reveal state secrets—without publicly explaining how it would do so. On Wednesday, a lawyer for the plaintiff in the case, a Greek business mogul accused of doing business with Iran, fired back at Holder in a letter to the court that essentially says: Prove it. Dismissal of the lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in 2013, would be highly unusual. Neither party in the suit is connected to the government, and the Justice…
  • These Stunning Photos of Greenland's "Dark Snow" Should Worry You

    Eric Holthaus
    19 Sep 2014 | 4:00 am
    Isn't ice supposed to be white? Jason Box   This story originally appeared in Slate and is republished here as part of our Climate Desk collaboration. Jason Box knows ice. That's why what's happened this year concerns him so much. Box just returned from a trip to Greenland. Right now, the ice there is…black: Dark ice is helping Greenland's glaciers retreat. Jason Box Crevasses criss-cross the Greenland ice sheet, allowing melt water to descend deep beneath the ice. Jason Box This year, Greenland's ice was the darkest it's ever been. Jason Box Box and his team are trying to…
  • "This American Life" Channels "True Detective" in a New Podcast

    Julia Lurie
    19 Sep 2014 | 3:45 am
    Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder, producers for the popular radio show This American Life, are about to launch their latest project, a weekly podcast called Serial, hosted by Koenig. Here’s the gist: Rather than having short stories on a theme, like TAL, Serial draws out a single story for an entire season. As This American Life host Ira Glass puts it, "We want to give you the same experience you get from a great HBO or Netflix series, where you get caught up with the characters and the thing unfolds week after week, but with a true story, and no pictures. Like House of Cards, but you can…
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    Kevin Drum Feed | Mother Jones

  • Friday Cat Blogging - 19 September 2014

    Kevin Drum
    19 Sep 2014 | 11:47 am
    We have a very busy squirrel in our backyard. He is tireless in his quest to find pine cones and bury them in our garden. In fact, every time Marian goes out to do some gardening, she routinely digs up half a dozen pine cones. They're everywhere. But squirrels are squirrely little critters, and it's hard to catch them in the act. Yesterday, however, our local squirrel was zipping across our fence with a pine cone in its mouth, and stopped just long enough for me to acquire hard photographic evidence of his hardworking ways. If I were a squirrel, I'd spend my autumns just keeping an eye on…
  • Quote of the Day: Nathan Deal Is Tired of Barack Obama's Treachery

    Kevin Drum
    19 Sep 2014 | 10:26 am
    From Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, apparently upset that his tax-fighting economic policies aren't yet producing a paradise on earth: It’s ironic that in a year in which Republican governors are leading some of the states that are making the most progress, that they almost, without exception, are classified as having a bump in their unemployment rates. Whereas states that are under Democrat governors’ control, they are all showing that their unemployment rate has dropped. And I don’t know how you account for that. Maybe there is some influence here that we don’t know…
  • When I Was 5, I, Um -- What Were We Just Talking About?

    Kevin Drum
    19 Sep 2014 | 10:06 am
    I remember approximately diddly-squat1 about my childhood. But why? Melissa Dahl explains the latest research to me today: The way parents tend to talk to their sons is different from the way they talk to their daughters. Mothers tend to introduce more snippets of new information in conversations with their young daughters than they do with their young sons, research has shown. And moms tend to ask more questions about girls’ emotions; with boys, on the other hand, they spend more time talking about what they should do with those feelings. This is at least partially a product of parents…
  • Republicans Really, Really Want to Send Ground Troops Into Iraq

    Kevin Drum
    19 Sep 2014 | 7:44 am
    I missed this NYT/CBS poll when it came out a couple of days ago, but a friend pointed it out to me this morning. I don't think much comment is necessary. It's pretty easy to see how the fight against ISIS is going to turn into a massive game of Munich-mongering and appeasement-baiting in short order. Yikes.
  • Obama Signs Order to Take Away Your Antibiotics

    Kevin Drum
    19 Sep 2014 | 7:30 am
    Here's the latest from the White House: The Obama administration on Thursday announced measures to tackle the growing threat of antibiotic resistance, outlining a national strategy that includes incentives for the development of new drugs, tighter stewardship of existing ones, and improvements in tracking the use of antibiotics and the microbes that are resistant to them. ....John P. Holdren, the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, told reporters that the new strategy — established by an executive order that President Obama signed on Thursday — was…
 
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    Political Mojo | Mother Jones

  • We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for September 19, 2014

    19 Sep 2014 | 6:42 am
    US Marines board the USS Germantown, an amphibious dock landing ship in the Philippine Sea. (US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Amanda R. Gray)
  • 10 Fascinating Articles From the CIA's Secret Employee Magazine

    Dave Gilson, Michael Mechanic, Alex Park, and AJ Vicens
    19 Sep 2014 | 3:00 am
    In 2007, Jeffrey Scudder, a veteran information technology specialist at the Central Intelligence Agency, came across the archives of the agency's in-house magazine, Studies in Intelligence. The catch: They were classified. So Scudder filed a Freedom of Information Act request. And then things got messy. "I submitted a FOIA and it basically destroyed my entire career," he told the Washington Post. As a profile of Scudder in the Post explains: He was confronted by supervisors and accused of mishandling classified information while assembling his FOIA request. His house was raided by the FBI…
  • "NO." Scotland Will Not Leave the United Kingdom

    Ben Dreyfuss
    18 Sep 2014 | 9:32 pm
    David Cameron has been spared his worst fear: Being the Tory who lost England's hat. The Guardian has called the independence referendum and it appears that voters have declined to strike out on their own. Scotland will not leave the United Kingdom. "No" was the slight favorite heading into yesterday's vote, but that doesn't mean England isn't breathing a sigh of relief. A few months ago this result would have come as no surprise, but as the polls tightened over the last few weeks, storm clouds set in over Westminster, and the narrative seemed to suggest independence was in the wind. If…
  • Hillary Clinton Threads the Needle: Obama's Done Okay But Economic Benefits Need to Be "Broadly Shared"

    Patrick Caldwell
    18 Sep 2014 | 1:14 pm
    Hillary Clinton doesn't think much of her old employer. "Congress increasingly...is living in an evidence free zone," she said Thursday, "where what the reality is in the lives of Americans is so far from the minds of too many." Speaking on a panel about women and economics hosted by the Center for American Progress (a liberal think tank run by Clinton's ex-policy advisor Neera Tanden), Clinton gave a few hints of which domestic policy proposals could anchor her presumed 2016 presidential campaign. Speaking in non-partisan terms, Clinton slammed Congress for its lack of action on raising the…
  • This Restaurant Is Trying To Be The Worst One on Yelp

    Josh Harkinson
    18 Sep 2014 | 12:34 pm
    Botto Bistro wants to be the worst-reviewed restaurant on Yelp. Fed up with the site's alleged manipulation of consumer reviews, owners David Cerretini and Michele Massimo have been offering a 25 percent discount at their Bay Area Italian eatery for each excoriating Yelp review, the Richmond Standard reports. Here are some recent entries from Botto Bistro's Yelp page: Yelp has for years been accused of soliciting money from mom-and-pop restaurant owners in exchange for hiding negative customer reviews. In response to a lawsuit over the alleged practice, a court recently ruled that Yelp has…
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    Blue Marble Feed | Mother Jones

  • World Leaders Have Failed to Seriously Confront Climate Change. Could That Change Next Week?

    Tim McDonnell
    16 Sep 2014 | 11:14 am
    Break out your protest sign materials and take your polar bear costume to the dry cleaner, boys and girls: This coming weekend marks the kickoff of Climate Week NYC 2014, a flurry of meetings and protests about climate action. It all starts with the People's Climate March in Columbus Circle on Sunday. Organizers are already calling it the biggest climate march in history, with over 100,000 folks expected to turn up. But the week's main event is on Tuesday at the United Nations, where Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will preside over a confab of heads of state (including President Obama),…
  • BP Lashes Out at Journalists and "Opportunistic" Environmentalists

    Tim McDonnell
    4 Sep 2014 | 10:36 am
    News of this morning's federal court decision against BP broke as I was aboard a 40-foot oyster boat in the Louisiana delta, just off the coast of Empire, a suburb of New Orleans. The reaction: stunned silence. Then a bit of optimism. "This is huge," said John Tesvich, chair of the Louisiana Oyster Task Force, his industry's main lobby group in the state. "They are going to have to pay a lot more." Standing on his boat, the "Croatian Pride," en route to survey oyster farms, he added: "We want to see justice. We hope that this money goes to helping cure some of the environmental issues in this…
  • BP Was Just Found Grossly Negligent in the Gulf Oil Spill Disaster. Read the Full Ruling.

    James West
    4 Sep 2014 | 8:49 am
    In a blunt ruling handed down on Thursday, a federal judge in New Orleans found that the biggest oil spill in US history, the 2010 Gulf of Mexico disaster, was caused by BP's "willful misconduct" and "gross negligence." On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, killing 11 people and spilling millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf over the next several months. According to Bloomberg, the plaintiffs in the lawsuit include "the federal government, five Gulf of Mexico states, banks, restaurants, fishermen and a host of others." The case also includes two other…
  • 5 Terrifying Facts From the Leaked UN Climate Report

    James West
    28 Aug 2014 | 11:08 am
    How many synonyms for "grim" can I pack into one article? I had to consult the thesaurus: ghastly, horrid, awful, shocking, grisly, gruesome. This week, a big report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was leaked before publication, and it confirmed, yet again, the grim—dire, frightful—reality the we face if we don't slash our global greenhouse gas emissions, and slash them fast. This "Synthesis Report," to be released in November following a UN conference in Copenhagen, is still subject to revision. It is intended to summarize three…
  • Earthquake Warning Systems Exist. But California Won't Pay for One.

    Alex Park
    26 Aug 2014 | 3:00 am
    As Bay Area residents clean their streets and homes after the biggest earthquake to hit California in 25 years rocked Napa Valley this weekend, scientists are pushing lawmakers to fund a statewide system that could warn citizens about earthquakes seconds before they hit. California already has a system, called ShakeAlert, that uses a network of sensors around the state to detect earthquakes just before they happen. The system—a collaboration between the University of California-Berkeley, Caltech, the US Geological Survey (USGS), and various state offices—detects a nondestructive…
 
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    Politics | Mother Jones

  • Thanks to Obamacare, Way Fewer Women Have To Pay Extra For Birth Control

    Tasneem Raja
    19 Sep 2014 | 11:38 am
    There's some good news for women who would rather not pay an arm and a leg to keep from getting pregnant. The Guttmacher Institute, which tracks reproductive health costs, has been periodically surveying a group of 1,800 privately insured women ages 18-39 about how much they pay out of pocket for various kinds of birth control. The first survey was in the fall of 2012, just before the Affordable Care Act required insurance plans to stop applying co-pays or deductibles to most contraceptives. At the time, only 15 percent of the women said they didn't have to pay anything over…
  • The Justice Department Claims This Defamation Case Will Reveal State Secrets—But Won't Say How

    Molly Redden
    19 Sep 2014 | 9:09 am
    In an unprecedented move, Attorney General Eric Holder has intervened in a defamation lawsuit, seeking to have the case thrown out on the grounds that it will reveal state secrets—without publicly explaining how it would do so. On Wednesday, a lawyer for the plaintiff in the case, a Greek business mogul accused of doing business with Iran, fired back at Holder in a letter to the court that essentially says: Prove it. Dismissal of the lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in 2013, would be highly unusual. Neither party in the suit is connected to the government, and the Justice…
  • 10 Fascinating Articles From the CIA's Secret Employee Magazine

    Dave Gilson, Michael Mechanic, Alex Park, and AJ Vicens
    19 Sep 2014 | 3:00 am
    In 2007, Jeffrey Scudder, a veteran information technology specialist at the Central Intelligence Agency, came across the archives of the agency's in-house magazine, Studies in Intelligence. The catch: They were classified. So Scudder filed a Freedom of Information Act request. And then things got messy. "I submitted a FOIA and it basically destroyed my entire career," he told the Washington Post. As a profile of Scudder in the Post explains: He was confronted by supervisors and accused of mishandling classified information while assembling his FOIA request. His house was raided by the FBI…
  • Why the US Government's Counter-Terrorism Tweeters Are Finding it Tough to Fight ISIS Online

    Jenna McLaughlin
    19 Sep 2014 | 3:00 am
    In its ascent, ISIS—the murderous extremist group controlling territory in Syria and Iraq that President Barack Obama has declared war on—has wielded a powerful weapon: social media. Its extensive online presence, which ranges from the posting of lolcat-like photos to videos of violent beheadings, has extended the organization's reach and boosted recruitment efforts that have fueled its rapid growth. And the State Department has mounted an initiative to beat back the Internet propaganda of the self-proclaimed Islamic State, which is also known as ISIS or ISIL. But a senior State…
  • "NO." Scotland Will Not Leave the United Kingdom

    Ben Dreyfuss
    18 Sep 2014 | 9:32 pm
    David Cameron has been spared his worst fear: Being the Tory who lost England's hat. The Guardian has called the independence referendum and it appears that voters have declined to strike out on their own. Scotland will not leave the United Kingdom. "No" was the slight favorite heading into yesterday's vote, but that doesn't mean England isn't breathing a sigh of relief. A few months ago this result would have come as no surprise, but as the polls tightened over the last few weeks, storm clouds set in over Westminster, and the narrative seemed to suggest independence was in the wind. If…
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    Environment | Mother Jones

  • 2014 Is on Pace to Be the Warmest Year Ever

    Eric Holthaus
    19 Sep 2014 | 11:23 pm
    The story originally appeared in Slate and is republished here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. The Earth's oceans have never been this far beyond the bounds of normal. New data released Thursday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed that Earth's oceans reached a level last month not seen since humans have been keeping comprehensive records. Global ocean temperatures in August 2014 warmed to "the largest departure from average for any month on record" according to a NOAA statement. The previous record was set just two months ago, in June 2014. Records date…
  • These Stunning Photos of Greenland's "Dark Snow" Should Worry You

    Eric Holthaus
    19 Sep 2014 | 4:00 am
    Isn't ice supposed to be white? Jason Box   This story originally appeared in Slate and is republished here as part of our Climate Desk collaboration. Jason Box knows ice. That's why what's happened this year concerns him so much. Box just returned from a trip to Greenland. Right now, the ice there is…black: Dark ice is helping Greenland's glaciers retreat. Jason Box Crevasses criss-cross the Greenland ice sheet, allowing melt water to descend deep beneath the ice. Jason Box This year, Greenland's ice was the darkest it's ever been. Jason Box Box and his team are trying to…
  • Why I’m Marching Against Climate Change

    Rebecca Solnit
    19 Sep 2014 | 3:30 am
    This story first appeared on the TomDispatch website. There have undoubtedly been stable periods in human history, but you and your parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents never lived through one, and neither will any children or grandchildren you may have or come to have. Everything has been changing continuously, profoundly—from the role of women to the nature of agriculture. For the past couple of hundred years, change has been accelerating in both magnificent and nightmarish ways. Yet when we argue for change, notably changing our ways in response to climate change, we're…
  • Gore: Fracking Won't Solve Our Climate Crisis

    Tim McDonnell
    18 Sep 2014 | 8:57 am
    Few figures in the climate change debate are as polarizing as former Vice President Al Gore. His fans and his enemies are equally rabid, and his 2006 film An Inconvenient Truth is still probably the most-referenced document on climate change in history. In the last few years, Gore's global warming work has mostly been channeled into a nonprofit he oversees called the Climate Reality Project, which organizes rallies and educational events. This week, that group held its annual "24 Hours of Reality" marathon of live-streamed videos and appearances by Gore and other celebrities to raise funds…
  • Deep Inside the Wild World of China's Fracking Boom

    —A Multimedia Production by Jaeah Lee and James West
    18 Sep 2014 | 3:00 am
    A Multimedia Production by Jaeah Lee and James West | Thurs Sep. 18, 2014 6:00 AM ET On a hazy morning last September, 144 American and Chinese government officials and high-ranking oil executives filed into a vaulted meeting room in a cloistered campus in south Xi'an, a city famous for its terra-cotta warriors and lethal smog. The Communist Party built this compound, called the Shaanxi Guesthouse, in 1958. It was part of the lead-up to Chairman Mao's Great Leap Forward, in which, to surpass the industrial achievements of the West, the government built steelworks, coal mines, power stations,…
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    Culture | Mother Jones

  • "This American Life" Channels "True Detective" in a New Podcast

    Julia Lurie
    19 Sep 2014 | 3:45 am
    Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder, producers for the popular radio show This American Life, are about to launch their latest project, a weekly podcast called Serial, hosted by Koenig. Here’s the gist: Rather than having short stories on a theme, like TAL, Serial draws out a single story for an entire season. As This American Life host Ira Glass puts it, "We want to give you the same experience you get from a great HBO or Netflix series, where you get caught up with the characters and the thing unfolds week after week, but with a true story, and no pictures. Like House of Cards, but you can…
  • Why Facebook, Google, and the NSA Want Computers That Learn Like Humans

    Dana Liebelson
    19 Sep 2014 | 3:00 am
    Illustration: Quickhoney In June 2012, a Google supercomputer made an artificial-intelligence breakthrough: It learned that the internet loves cats. But here's the remarkable part: It had never been told what a cat looks like. Researchers working on the Google Brain project in the company's X lab fed 10 million random, unlabeled images from YouTube into their massive network and instructed it to recognize the basic elements of a picture and how they fit together. Left to their own devices, the Brain's 16,000 central processing units noticed that a lot of the images shared similar…
  • Great Photos of High Life and Low Life in the American Desert

    Mark Murrmann
    16 Sep 2014 | 12:41 am
    Three recent photo books offer very different perspectives on life in the American desert. Vacancy: The Gateway to Death Valley (Kehrer), by Pamela Littky, documents scenes in Beatty, Nevada, and Baker, California. In The Good Life: Palm Springs (Kehrer) Nancy Baron delivers on its title, giving a taste of the upper-crust desert lifestyle. Vacancy–a little shabby and weathered, yet resilient—represents what some would consider real life. It's an honest look at two hardscrabble desert towns separated by Death Valley. Vacancy isn't without it's oddly still moments. Even the…
  • Lia Ices' Newfound Urgency

    Jon Young
    15 Sep 2014 | 3:00 am
    Lia IcesIces Jagjaguwar After displaying her mastery of mesmerizing dream-pop on 2011's Grown Unknown, Lia Ices adds a shot of energy to the mix on this charming third album. Though recorded piecemeal at studios around the country, Ices feels focused and cohesive, with the leadoff track "Tell Me" setting the tempo, setting a typically lush melody to a thumping party beat. Ices is still happily indebted to Kate Bush—witness the meditative seven-minute "Waves"—but jaunty songs like "Higher" show she has the confidence to play around with her sound and not settle for ambient-music…
  • Contact: Meet Dawes, the Hardest-Working Band in America

    Jacob Blickenstaff
    15 Sep 2014 | 3:00 am
    From left, Wylie Gelber, Griffin Goldsmith, Taylor Goldsmith, and Tay Strathairn. Jacob Blickenstaff More From CONTACT: Liam Bailey Thomas Bartlett and Martin Hayes Aaron Freeman Puss n Boots Ben Watt Joe Henry Jolie Holland Rodney Crowell Benmont Tench Taylor Goldsmith is Dawes' primary songwriter, singer, and spokesman, but the band—which includes Taylor's brother Griffin, Wylie Gelber, and Tay Strathairn—operates as one. They are among the few younger bands vying for the type of longevity, cohesiveness, and consistency exemplified by the likes of Tom Petty and the…
 
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