Ben Dreyfuss

Engagement Editor

Ben Dreyfuss is the engagement editor at Mother Jones.

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Study Confirms What Your Mother Always Says About Your Father

| Fri Dec. 12, 2014 11:10 AM EST

One day he's going to die doing something stupid:

A 20 year study of the Darwin Awards, an annual review of the most foolish ways people have died, found almost 90 per cent were 'won' by males.

Of the 318 valid cases remaining, 282 (88.7 per cent) were awarded to males and just 36 to females, a gender difference entirely consistent with male idiot theory (MIT) that states men are idiots and idiots do stupid things.

Writing in the Christmas edition of the British Medical Journal, the researchers say it is puzzling that men are willing to take such unnecessary risks - simply as a rite of passage, in pursuit of male social esteem or solely in exchange for "bragging rights".

The study is tongue in cheek but to be honest it's not even really surprising. We're awful. I'm a man. I come from a long line of men. (My father was a man. His father was a man...) Some of my best friends are men! But men are awful. Women are awful, too, but, you know, less awful.

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These Photos of Flooding in San Francisco Are Insane

| Thu Dec. 11, 2014 2:02 PM EST

A huge rain storm is battering Northern California right now. The photos are bonkers.

(Disclaimer: These are all from social media so maybe some are fake because some people get off making fake weather photos whenever these things happen, but they all look pretty legit to me.)

Watch This Dog React to Its Favorite Song Coming On

| Sun Dec. 7, 2014 5:15 PM EST

Here is a video of a dog sleeping in the back of a car while the driver plays Charli XCX's wonderful "Boom Clap." Then the driver switches to Frozen's "Let It Go" and the dog wakes up and starts singing along. Then Charlie XCX comes back on and it goes back to sleep.

This dog has terrible taste in music. Charli XCX is objectively better than Frozen. If this dog were a music critic, I'd fire it. But it's not a music critic. It's a dog. And all things considered, this is a spirited performance for a dog.

(via BuzzFeed)

Jon Stewart Explains What Is "So Utterly Depressing" About the Eric Garner Grand Jury

| Thu Dec. 4, 2014 3:38 PM EST

Last night, Jon Stewart began the Daily Show by dropping the comedy and expressing in very human terms the frustration and disbelief everyone (or (well, not everyone) is feeling after a Staten Island grand jury's failure to indict the NYPD officer who put Eric Garner in a lethal chokehold on film."If comedy is tragedy plus time I need more fucking time—but I would settle for less fucking tragedy, to be honest with you. What is so utterly depressing is that none of the ambiguities that existed in the Ferguson case exist in the Staten Island case. And yet the outcome is exactly the same." Stewart says. "We are definitely not living in a post-racial society and I can imagine there are a lot of people out there wondering how much of a society we're living in at all." Pretty much.

 

Grand Jury Doesn't Indict Staten Island Cop in Death of Eric Garner

| Wed Dec. 3, 2014 3:47 PM EST

Update 12/3/2014: Attorney General Eric Holder reportedly told New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio the Department of Justice will conduct a federal investigation into Eric Garner's death, following a grand jury's decision not to indict NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo. 

A Staten Island grand jury has declined to indict NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner.

The "no-bill" decision comes despite the fact that Pantaleo was caught on camera putting Garner in a chokehold during his July 17 arrest.

Cell-phone video of Garner’s July 17 arrest shows Pantaleo wrestling him to the sidewalk on Bay Street, with the white cop’s arms wrapped around the neck of the black suspect.

On the ground, Garner was heard repeatedly yelling “I can’t breathe!” as Pantaleo and other cops held him down and handcuffed him.

The Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Garner’s death a homicide caused by “compression of neck (chokehold), compression of chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police.”

Police union leaders denied that Pantaleo used a chokehold — which is banned by the NYPD — and blasted the autopsy as part of a “political” witch hunt.

The fact that this video exists, that the cop saw it being recorded, that the grand jury watched it and then still declined to indict, should chasten anyone who thinks body cams will be a cure-all for police abuse.

Read about the science of implicit prejudices and what we can do to better train police.

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