Jaeah is a former reporter at Mother Jones. Her writings have appeared in The Atlantic, the Guardian, Wired, Christian Science Monitor,Global Post,Huffington Post,Talking Points Memo, and Grist. She tweets at @jaeahjlee.
Tim Murphy, Ben Breedlove, Jaeah Lee, Tasneem Raja, and Brett BrownellAug. 22, 2013 6:00 AM
On Wednesday, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a 2011 FISA Court ruling striking down a top-secret National Security Agency online-surveillance program. The court, whose opinions are normally classified, found that the agency had accessed as many as 56,000 electronic communications (such as emails) from American citizens and foreign nationals over a three-year period by tapping into fiber-optic cables.
The ruling is 86 pages long, but don't expect to read all of it: It's so heavily redacted that large portions of the text look like some sort of cubist Rorschach test. As a result, much of the declassified ruling's contents will still be unknown to the general public.
But don't let that stop you! Below, you can take your best guess at what the redacted opinions should say with our NSA Choose-Your-Own-[Redacted] Mad Libs:
The new language proposed by the government would allow the FBI to
The Government has advised the Court that this change was prompted by the fact that the
Nevertheless, the current procedures require the FBI to
The change is intended to eliminate the requirement of
Find out if you and your family could get by on a McDonald's paycheck.
Jaeah Lee, Ben Breedlove, and Mikela ClemmonsAug. 1, 2013 6:00 AM
Chief among the demands made by the hundreds of fast-food workers who walked out of their jobs this week: A raise to a "livable" wage of $15 an hour. Currently, the median hourly wage for the cooks, cashiers, and crew who deliver your value meals is $8.94, according to a new report from the National Employment Law Project. That's hardly enough to get by in most cities.
And while $15 might sound like a big jump, it's still not enough to meet living wage standards in many areas. Many fast-food workers are parents raising children, which significantly boosts their day-to-day expenses. And many are part-timers; on average they work about 24.5 hours per week.
How would you and your family fare on a typical fast-food paycheck? How much does it really take to make ends meet in your city or state? Use this calculator to get a better sense of what fast-food workers are up against.
In order to make $___ a year, the typical fast-food worker has to work __ hours a week.
A household like yours in ___,___ needs to earn $__ annually to make a secure yet modest living. A fast-food worker working full time would have to earn $__ an hour to make that much.
The average fast-food employee works less than 25 hours a week. To make a living wage in ___,___ at current median wages, s/he would have to work __ hours a week.
In __ hours, McDonald's serves __ customers and makes $__. That's about __ Big Macs.
My father spent his life in this newsroom. Now I'm witness to how the business has forever changed.
Will Steacy , Brett Brownell, and Jaeah LeeJuly/August 2013
In July 2012, after enduring bankruptcy, plummeting circulation, staff buyouts, and waves of layoffs, the Philadelphia Inquirermoved out of the "Tower of Truth," the landmark building it had occupied since 1925. Photographer Will Steacy, the descendant of five generations of newspapermen—his father was laid off in 2011 after 29 years at the Inquirer—captured the newsroom before and after it downsized for the post-print era. Steacy went through volumes of family archives and recently recorded the following conversations with his father about the family's experiences in the newspaper business.
Click the arrows below to listen to audio clips and browse images.
The Tower of Truth
The home of the Philadelphia Inquirer for more than 80 years.
The Family Business
Will's father reminisces about Will's grandfather John, who was also a newspaper editor.
Will's father describes his first newspaper job.
First Big Story
Will's father and grandfather had similar "big breaks."
Tools of the Trade
Will's father describes paste pots, typewriters, and computers throughout the decades.
An interactive look at the more than 140 roads around the world named after the former president of South Africa.
Dave Gilson and Jaeah LeeJul. 18, 2013 3:05 AM
According to the Nelson Mandela Centre for Memory, no fewer than 120 streets, roads, boulevards, avenues, bridges, and highways have been named after the first democratically elected president of South Africa, who turns 95 today. A thorough search turned up more than 140, including 50 in South Africa and 10 in the United States. Click on any icon for the full name and location of a Mandela-inspired roadway; zoom in to see the a street map.
This map include streets that carry Mandela's birth name, Rolihlahla, and clan name, Madiba. More streets named after Mandela are probably out there; if you know of one that's not on this map, leave a comment.
Major earthquakes thousands of miles away can trigger reflex quakes in areas where fluids have been injected into the ground from fracking and other industrial operations, according to a study published in the journal Science on Thursday.
Previous studies, covered in a recent Mother Jones feature from Michael Behar, have shown that injecting fluids into the ground can increase the seismicity of a region. This latest study shows that earthquakes can tip off smaller quakes in far-away areas where fluid has been pumped underground.
Fracking waste fluids "kind of act as a pressurized cushion," said a lead author on the study.
The scientists looked at three big quakes: the Tohuku-oki earthquake in Japan in 2011 (magnitude 9), the Maule in Chile in 2011 (an 8.8 magnitude), and the Sumatra in Indonesia in 2012 (an 8.6). They found that, as much as 20 months later, those major quakes triggered smaller ones in places in the Midwestern US where fluids have been pumped underground for energy extraction.
"[The fluids] kind of act as a pressurized cushion," lead author Nicholas van der Elst of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University explained to Mother Jones. "They make it easier for the fault to slide."
The finding is not entirely surprising, said van der Elst. Scientists have known for a long time that areas with naturally high subsurface fluid pressures—places like Yellowstone, for example—can see an uptick in seismic activity after a major earthquake even very far away. But this is the first time they've found a link between remote quakes and seismic activity in places where human activity has increased the fluid pressure via underground injections.
"It happens in places where fluid pressures are naturally high, so we're not so surprised it happens in places where fluid pressures are artificially high," he said.
The study looked specifically at Prague, Oklahoma, which features prominently in Behar's piece. The study links the increased tremors in Prague, which has a number of injection wells nearby, to Chile's February 27, 2010, quake. The study also found that big quakes in Japan and Indonesia triggered quakes in areas of western Texas and southern Colorado with many injection wells. The study is "additional evidence that fluids really are driving the increase in earthquakes at these sites," said van der Elst.
Animated GIF: fracked Up?
Drillers inject high-pressure fluids into a hydraulic fracturing well, making slight fissures in the shale that release natural gas. The wastewater that flows back up with the gas is then transported to disposal wells, where it is injected deep into porous rock. Scientists now believe that the pressure and lubrication of that wastewater can cause faults to slip and unleash an earthquake.