Kiera Butler

Kiera Butler

Senior Editor

Kiera answers your green questions every week in her Econundrums column. She was a hypochondriac even before she started researching germ warfare.

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Kiera has written about the environment, arts and culture, and more for Columbia Journalism Review, Orion, Audubon, OnEarth, Plenty, and the Utne Reader. She lives in Berkeley and recently planted 30 onions in her backyard.

Yearning for Better Coverage of Polygamists

| Tue Jul. 22, 2008 12:30 PM PDT

yfz200.jpgToday the New York Times teased a Sunday magazine feature on the young women of the the Yearning for Zion Ranch—the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints' (FLDS) Texas compund that was raided in April.

Times photographer Stephanie Sinclair, the teaser says, "was given rare and intimate access to some of the young women who have found themselves at the center of the often-bilious battle between the state of Texas and the F.L.D.S." The result is an eye-catching essay of 16 photographs.

Contrast is really what makes these photos work so well artistically. The juxtaposition of the pastel prairie-style dresses against a run-of-the-mill suburban ranch house lends an appealingly surreal quality, reminiscent of the uncanniness of Diane Arbus' work and the magic realism of Gregory Crewdson's. But what are those strange-looking ladies really like?

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Beijing Spectators Risk Heart Attacks

| Mon Jul. 21, 2008 12:40 PM PDT

beijing200.jpgResearchers at Northwestern University warn that pollution in Beijing is so extreme that it could trigger cardiac arrest and strokes in spectators and athletes.

Advice from the docs:

Stay indoors during traffic rush-hour periods. "Indoor air pollution levels are always much lower than outdoor, so staying inside will limit your exposure," Budinger said. He cautioned that Beijing's definition of mild pollution would be a pollution alert day in the U.S.

So that's all good advice for the millions who will be descending upon Beijing for a few weeks, but what about the people who actually live there?

Oh yeah, them: The 750,000 Chinese people that die prematurely from pollution every year—and that the Chinese government doesn't want you to know about. Are they just supposed to stay inside all day every day?

For a good overview of some of the emergency measures Beijing officials have taken to prepare for the Olympics, go here. Hope they keep it up after the party ends. For everyone's sake.


Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

New Documentary: American Teen

| Wed Jul. 16, 2008 2:04 PM PDT

On the off chance that you haven't had your fill of this genre, in August you'll have the opportunity to see yet another set of jocks, popular girls, and band geeks prance around the screen in a new documentary called American Teen, directed by Nanette Burstein (The Kid Stays in the Picture).

Three MoJo staffers attended the San Francisco sneak preview on Monday. Read our discussion here.

Lab Equipment Slow Jam

| Fri Jul. 11, 2008 1:40 PM PDT

In case you haven't had your fill of goofy-commercials-turned-Internet-sensations, man, do I have one for you.

So pretend you're a scientist. Which would make you want to buy a piece of lab equipment more? This slogan:


With our new Plug'n'Prep® concept for the epMotion pipetting system, automate virtually any nucleic acid purification kit with protocols from your favorite kit provider—just load the deck and press start!

Or this:

Yeah, I thought so. This excellent slow jam is a real ad created by a lab-tools manufacturer called Eppendorf. The product in question, epMotion, is some kind of automatic pipette system. Or so the lyrics seem to suggest:

Pipetting all those well-plates, baby, sends your thumbs into overdrive And spending long nights in the lab makes it hard for your love to thrive
What you need is automation, girl, something easy as 1 2 3 So put down that pipette, honey, I got something that will set you free

H/T Mental Floss.

Image and video courtesy of Eppendorf.

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