Hannah Levintova

Hannah Levintova

Assistant Editor

Hannah came to Mother Jones after stints at NPR and the Washington Monthly. A proud New Englander, she enjoys tea, good books, and cold weather.

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Saving Detroit, One Bagel at a Time

| Wed Jun. 15, 2011 4:05 PM EDT
Dan Newman (left) and his brother Ben in their home kitchen.

Detroit residents (and brothers) Ben and Dan Newman are working to improve the city's economic future—and their own. Their recession-busting kryptonite? Bagels.

The Newman pair launched the Detroit Institute of Bagels out of their home kitchen this year after completing an M.A. in Urban Planning and a B.A. in Business. Now, the DIB brothers want to expand. So, last week DIB launched an online "Save the Bagels" campaign to raise some of the $25 thousand in seed money they need to make their bagel store a reality. "I've always wanted to help others start food businesses in Detroit," Ben says. "I thought that the best way to do that is to start my own, to go through the process." 

DIB is just the most recent enterprise in a line of Detroit-based projects. Local entrepreneurship has grown so popular that Open City Detroit—a forum for aspiring and current business owners in the city—runs courses like "Designing a Uniquely Detroit Business Image," or "Legal Fun, with a Detroit Twist." Four non-bagel ventures:

And those are just a drop in the urban bucket.

The Newman brothers hope that DIB will further Detroit's evolving entrepreneurial tradition. Intrigued? Check out their video below to learn more.

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Human Breast Milk From Cows?

| Wed Jun. 15, 2011 1:30 PM EDT

By now, the virtues of breastfeeding your baby are well known: Breast milk protects against obesity, allergies, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), and bad teeth, among other health problems.

Sometimes, though, for a variety of reasons, women can't breastfeed. But a couple of scientists in Argentina just may have solved that problem—by genetically engineering a cow to produce human milk.

To achieve this strange feat, a team from the Institute for Biotechnology Research, the National Institute of Agribusiness Technology, and the National University of San Martin harvested human genes carrying two proteins that are present in human milk, but virtually non-existent in cow's milk. They then used the cells to create a genetically modified calf embryo, which they implanted in an adult cow. The calf was born in April, and was named Rosita. (The Telegraph reports that the calf was nearly named after Cristina Kirchner, President of Argentina. Kirchner politely declined the honor, however, asking "What woman would like to have a cow named after her?" Wise words). 

California Budget Crisis: Solve It Yourself

| Fri Jun. 10, 2011 2:14 PM EDT

In recent months, several media outlets and nonprofits have launched online budgeting tools that put us lay folk up to the task of balancing the government's checkbook.

In November, the New York Times introduced its "You Fix the Budget" tool, a simulator that lets online readers tackle the federal budget. MinnPost, the Los Angeles Times, and Cleveland's Plain Dealer have launched similar initiatives for state budgeting, sending users a-hacking at expenditures and upping taxes via checkboxes and sliding cursors. (If only making fiscal policy was actually this straightforward.)

Yesterday, Next10—a California nonprofit—unveiled the revised version of its own budget simulator. While the organization has hosted the online tool for the past seven years, revising it annually to reflect the state's current legislature proposals, this year's scorched-earth budget battle makes it especially timely. With K-12 and higher education, health care, and a wide range of social programs on the line, concerned voters can pick and choose through a variety of options toward a balanced budget. Check it out. Nifty, no?

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