Michael Mechanic

Michael Mechanic

Senior Editor

Michael landed at MoJo after six years as an award-winning features editor at the alt-weekly East Bay Express. He's written for numerous publications, including The Industry Standard, the Los Angeles Times, and Wired. He lives in Oakland, California, with his wife, two kids, four chickens, striped cat, and way too many musical instruments to master.

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Michael landed at MoJo after six years as an award-winning feature editor at the alt-weekly East Bay Express. He's written for numerous publications, including The Industry Standard, the Los Angeles Times, and Wired. He set out to be a scientist, and as an undergrad spent a year in an organic chemistry lab at UC-Berkeley, where he was a biochemistry major, trying to synthesize natural poisons found in the skin of certain tropical frogs. He later earned a masters degree in cellular and developmental biology from Harvard University and a second masters in journalism from UC-Berkeley. In 2009, he was a finalist for a National Magazine Award for public service, as one of five writers in MoJo's "Torture Hits Home" package. The father of two mostly charming kids and an only occasionally charming striped cat named Phelps, Michael lives in Oakland, California, where, after years of classical piano and raucous punk-rock drumming (and putting out more than a dozen CDs on his former DIY label, Bad Monkey Records), he has retired to old-time and traditional music, guitar finger-picking, and more recently fiddle and mandolin. He has four chickens—Lucia, Podge, Cat, and Weed Whacker—but what he really covets is a hedgehog.

In Classrooms, Climate Change Is the New Evolution

| Tue Jan. 17, 2012 9:31 PM EST

Over at Science magazine's ScienceInsider, Sarah Reardon reports on how the National Center for Science Education—a group dedicated to fighting the teaching of creationism in public schools—is expanding its mission in response to special-interest attacks on the teaching of climate science. The groups include the Heartland Institute, which has worked with the Koch Brothers to perpetuate the notion that climate change is a hoax, and which sends its "educational" materials to public-school teachers hoping to further its pro-business agenda. (Click here to check out the rest of our "Dirty Dozen of Climate-Change Denial.") From Reardon's dispatch:

"It's not like we're bored," says NCSE Director Eugenie Scott: Five state bills that would allow teaching intelligent design in schools have already surfaced in 2012. But after hearing an increasing number of anecdotes about K-12 teachers being challenged about how they taught climate science to their students, she says she began to see "parallels" between the two debates—namely, an ideological drive from pressure groups to "teach the controversy" where no scientific controversy exists.

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Book Review: 420 Characters

| Mon Dec. 5, 2011 6:00 AM EST

420 Characters

By Lou Beach

HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT

"It says 'shit,'" observes my six-year-old, spotting Jonathan Lethem's cover blurb: "Holy sh*t! These are great!" And they are. Rendered as Facebook updates in 420 characters or less, these thought-provoking vignettes from illustrator Lou Beach are funny, poetic, touching, sexy, twisted—scene-and-character sketches replete with bumpkins, criminals, angry teens, truckers, boozers, bimbos, animals, and sentient objects. Best savored one or two a day, like a New Yorker cartoon calendar.

Mitt Romney: "Stuff the Ice Chest"

| Thu Dec. 1, 2011 7:30 PM EST

This fun-with-Mitt Romney video is, hands down, the funniest thing I've watched in the past month. Enjoy:

VIDEOS: Mitt Romney's Campaign Finance Flip-Flop

| Tue Nov. 22, 2011 6:10 PM EST

Shortly after I tweeted something rather impolite, though not inaccurate, about Mitt Romney's appallingly dishonest new anti-Obama ad, I received a direct tweet from ex-congressman and former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer. The conservative Democrat turned Republican presidential candidate (although you'd hardly know it, given that Roemer was excluded from the GOP debates) wanted to point my attention to a couple of video clips showing Romney's er, evolving views on campaign-finance reform. 

The first one is pretty boilerplate: a young Senate candidate Romney taking swipes at Teddy Kennedy while calling big-money influence-peddling "wrong." But the second clip, wherein he tries to explain (or avoid explaining) to an old lady how it's okay that his PAC took $1 million from a shadowy shell company that was subsequently dissolved—well, it's just fun to watch Romney squirm. Have a look.

Here's Romney campaigning in Massachusetts in 1994:

And more recently, presumably in New England:

Oh, and if you're needing a laugh, here's a little holiday gift from ThinkProgress...

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