Lei Wang

Lei Wang

Editorial Fellow

Lei (Kanglei) Wang has been a science reporter in Hong Kong, a well-being researcher at a psychology center, and an international background checker. She is interested in the why’s behind human actions: the psychological backstories of both great crimes and great charity. You can contact her at lwang@motherjones.com.

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Watch Stephen Colbert Give Great, And Completely Unironic, Advice to Teen Girls

| Fri Aug. 1, 2014 8:05 PM EDT

Stephen Colbert's wife of two decades, Evelyn McGee-Colbert, once told Oprah she didn't like his TV alter-ego—someone she calls "that other guy." In this video, as he offers advice to teenage girls wearing a plaid button-down and thick-framed hipster glasses, he's definitely left the other guy behind.

When Loretta, 14, asks why some guys are jerks, he says to confront them (they may just be trying, badly, to get her attention), but also:

For this kind of thing to stop, boys have to be educated. Does our society educate boys to be misogynistic? It probably doesn't value girls and women as much as it should, and boys probably see that as a signal that they can get away with things like devaluing women.

For Maria, 19, who asks how you can tell when someone likes you, he ends up defining love: when someone thinks "your happiness is more important than their happiness." And cookies. "Cookies are also a really good sign that somebody likes you."

The video is part of the girl-positive Rookie Magazine's series "Ask a Grown Man." Earlier last year, Rookie's fashionista founder, then 16-year-old Tavi Gevinson, was the youngest person ever to appear on The Colbert Report, where she gave the self-proclaimed "pear-shaped" Colbert style suggestions and called him a "Cool Dad" (capitals hers).

At the time, Colbert—a father of three, including 18-year-old Madeleine—wasn't thinking of dispensing sage advice for Rookie. Instead he proposed a dad-inspired magazine project in which he would veto pictures of teen girls' skin-baring outfits in a column called "You're Not Wearing That."

Thailand's New Military Government Is Secretly Vacuuming Up Facebook Data

| Wed Jul. 9, 2014 6:00 AM EDT

Despite all the ways Facebook has flouted privacy standards—like how it recently experimented with 700,000 users' emotions by manipulating the positive and negative content of their newsfeeds—the company hasn't yet provided personal data to oppressive governments. But that didn't deter the Thai junta. When Facebook refused to help Thailand's newly installed military government access users' personal information, the junta created a misleading Facebook application to capture its citizens' names and email addresses. 

The military government posted that they were collecting this data to "handle more witnesses which can lead to more prosecutions and will make the online society more clean."

As you might remember, back in May, after months of anti-government protests, Thailand's military staged a coup. Once in power, the military suspended the constitution, installed a 10 p.m. curfew, banned gatherings of more than five people, and attempted to suppress dissidents—including any of the estimated 28 million Thai users on Facebook, a third of the country's population. On May 29, the new government tried to have a meeting with social-media companies, including Facebook, to discuss censoring Thailand's anti-coup dissent, but none of them showed up.

But the Thai junta didn't take this as a sign to give up on tapping into the power of social media. Instead, as the Electronic Frontier Foundation reports, the junta placed a Facebook login button to track users on more than 200 of the government's restricted websites, like the webpage of Human Rights Watch.

What Does "Natural" Mean?

| Wed Jun. 18, 2014 6:00 AM EDT

Last year, according to Nielsen, foods labeled "natural" generated $43 billion in sales. That's more than five times the figure for foods carrying an "organic" label ($8.9 billion). A new Consumer Reports survey of 1,000 people found that two-thirds of respondents believed  that a "natural" label meant that a food contained:

  • No artificial materials during processing
  • No pesticides
  • No artificial ingredients
  • No GMOs

More than half of those surveyed said that they specifically looked for a "natural" label on their foods.

There's just one problem: There are no real federal regulations around the word "natural."