Mixed Media

Ruth "Baby" Ginsburg Is Absolutely Crushing Halloween This Year

| Fri Oct. 31, 2014 11:48 AM EDT

For those in the need of any last minute Halloween inspiration, look no further than Ruth "Baby" Ginsburg, quite possibly the most adorable tribute to the badass Supreme Court Justice herself we've witnessed.

The perfectly oversized glasses! The dainty jabot. Just perfect.

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Book Review: Beijing Bastard

| Fri Oct. 31, 2014 5:30 AM EDT

Beijing Bastard

By Val Wang

GOTHAM BOOKS

In her drifter memoir of leaving home in order to find it, Chinese American author Val Wang struggles between head and heart as she tries to make a living—and a life—in Beijing, burdened by the expectations of her forebears yet buoyed by the spirit of youth. In the process, she shows us a China full of contradictions: at once glamorous and grungy, ancient and modern, ambitious and loafing.

Silly String Is Illegal Here—But Only on Halloween

| Fri Oct. 31, 2014 5:00 AM EDT

Halloween is finally here! It's time to celebrate macabre mischief, ghouls and gluttony, and of course, tricks and treats. But there's one scary alliterated substance you should steer clear of—especially if you are in Hollywood. On the streets of Tinseltown, getting caught with Silly String is considered a serious offense—but only on Halloween.

Signs have been posted across Hollywood Photo taken by Gil Riego

Generically called "aerosol string," Silly String is basically brightly colored plastic propelled from an aerosol can. Like confetti but for terrible people, its primary purpose is to annoy or to instantly reveal who the most obnoxious person at a party is. Both sticky and slimy, it is hard to clean up, is bad for the environment, and—surprise!—can be dangerous if you eat it.

As awful as Silly String is most days, it is apparently more awful on Halloween. That's why, in 2004, Los Angeles Councilman Tom LaBonge sponsored an ordinance to outlaw the stuff for one night only. City officials were sick of cleaning it up, and dealing with the brawls they said were provoked by Silly String sprayings. More than 100,000 people flock to Hollywood to celebrate Halloween and the Silly String remediation costs were said to exceed $200,000.

So, starting at midnight last night and extending until noon tomorrow, should you happen to cross the threshold into the LAPD's Hollywood Division's jurisdiction, you better not be packing any String.

Specifically:

No Person, as defined in Municipal Code Section 11.01(a), shall possess, use, sell or distribute Silly String at, within or upon any public or private property that is either within public view or accessible to the public, including, but not limited to, public or private streets, sidewalks, parking lots, commercial or residential buildings, places of business, or parks within the Hollywood Division during Halloween.

The ordinance comes with a pretty heavy set of un-silly sanctions. Just carrying a can of Silly String could get you charged with a misdemeanor, slapped with a $1,000 fine, and jailed for as long as 6 months. That's a stiffer penalty than you'll get for misdemeanor pot possession ($100 fine), breaking into a zoo enclosure ($250 fine), bicycling or hunting while drunk ($250 and $500, respectively). It's more on par with petty theft, and more severe mayhem like being disorderly while drunk or getting minors drunk.

So while you are free to spray away in most places today (litter ordinances permitting), why not do everyone a favor and take a hint from Hollywood? Just keep it in the can.

Watch Anita Sarkeesian Explain Gamergate's "Attacks on Women" and Convince Colbert He's a Feminist

| Thu Oct. 30, 2014 11:35 AM EDT

Anita Sarkeesian, the feminist critic at the center of the Gamergate controversy, appeared on The Colbert Report last night to explain the sexual harassment issues rampant in the gaming world and why women aren't going to just accept a "separate but equal" community.

"Women are perceived as threatening because we are asking for games to be more inclusive," Sarkeesian said. "We are asking for games to acknowledge that we exist and that we love games."

But as recent disturbing events have shown, many gamers are not pleased with Sarkeesian's work and have been launching extremely violent messages against her and her supporters via social media. Earlier this month, Sarkeesian was forced to cancel a speaking engagement after an anonymous email threatened to stage the "deadliest mass shooting in American history" if she spoke.

Speaking to Colbert on Wednesday, she went on to reject the defense that Gamergate is actually about ethics in video game journalism.

"That is sort of a compelling way to reframe the fact that this is actually an attack on women," she said."Ethics in journalism is not what's happening in any way. It's actually men going after women in really hostile, aggressive ways. That's what Gamergate is about. it's about terrorizing women for being involved in this industry."

For more a deeper dive into the Gamergate controversy, check out our excellent explainer.

Correction: A previous version of this story erroneously quoted Sarkeesian in the headline. This has since been corrected. 

Let a White Man Walking Around NYC Show You Just How Glorious Life Can Be

| Thu Oct. 30, 2014 8:03 AM EDT

Think women are the only ones subjected to relentless, demeaning catcalling? You're wrong. The young white men in this world have it equally tough. After all, with so many unsolicited job offers, free Chipotle, and genuinely well-intentioned high-fives being forced onto men, how could anyone even suggest the notion of privilege these days? See what we mean below:

(h/t Funny or Die)

Book Review: Faster, Higher, Stronger

| Thu Oct. 30, 2014 5:30 AM EDT

Faster, Higher, Stronger

By Mark McClusky

HUDSON STREET PRESS

Speed-skating super-suits, motion-tracking cameras, the 10,000-hour rule—it's all covered in Mark McClusky's engrossing look into how athletes use science to avoid injury, train smarter, and shatter rec­ords. McClusky, the editor of Wired.com and a former Sports Illustrated reporter, digs into vaguely familiar terms like VO2 max and the oxygen deficit to suss out what separates champs from near-misses while introducing a roster of entertaining characters: a Soviet hammer-throw guru, a Wall Street analyst turned cycling star, and even a British physiologist pursuing hyperfitness back in the 1920s. The book has useful lessons for weekend warriors, but ultimately, McClusky writes, "the greatest athletes are born, and then made."

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Film Review: Life Itself

| Wed Oct. 29, 2014 5:31 PM EDT

Life Itself

KARTEMQUIN FILMS

There's a scene early in Life Itself when a hospitalized Roger Ebert, missing his lower jaw after multiple surgeries for thyroid cancer, needs his throat suctioned. The camera holds steady as Ebert winces through the procedure, but then an email box pops up on the screen. "great stuff!!!!!" types Ebert, no longer able to speak. "I'm happy we got a great thing that nobody ever sees: suction." Director Steve James (Hoop Dreams, The Interrupters) blends an intimate end-of-life story with Ebert's wide-ranging biography: precocious college newspaper editor, recovering drunk, screenwriter of the schlocky Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, friend and critic of Hollywood's biggest names. But for all of Ebert's exploits, it's the private moments James captures, like his increasingly brief email responses as cancer slowly wins out, that endure.

This review originally appeared in our September/October issue of Mother Jones. 

Book Review: The Secret History of Wonder Woman

| Wed Oct. 29, 2014 5:24 PM EDT

The Secret History of Wonder Woman

By Jill Lepore

Alfred A. Knopf

If Wonder Woman's status as a feminist icon was ever in question, Jill Lepore's deeply researched tribute puts that to rest. Lepore, a New Yorker staffer and Harvard historian, delivers a trove of private documents belonging to the character's creator, William Moulton Marston. Her discoveries shed light not just on Marston's notable life—Harvard scholar, failed lawyer, co-inventor of the polygraph—but on the rich history of women's rights and how it plays out in his colorful panels.

An Unmanned NASA Rocket Just Exploded After Liftoff

| Tue Oct. 28, 2014 5:39 PM EDT

NASA's Antares rocket was supposed to resupply the International Space Station but it exploded shortly after liftoff tonight.The rocket was unmanned, thank God.

Here's video from the live stream:

The rocket was owned by Orbital Sciences but was contracted by NASA to stock the space station. The company told the Associated Press that no one was believed to be hurt and the damage appeared to be limited to the facilities."

Watch a New York Woman Get Catcalled 108 Times in Less Than One Day

| Tue Oct. 28, 2014 2:47 PM EDT

In hopes to demonstrate the absolute awfulness that is catcalling, one woman recently took to the streets of Manhattan with a hidden camera to show just how humiliating, and downright horrifying, it can be to be just that–a woman.

"Hey beautiful."

"Smile."

"God bless you mami."

"Someone's acknowledging you for being beautiful. You should say thank you more."

These are just some of the 108 disgusting remarks that were directed towards Shoshana Roberts of the group Hollaback!, a nonprofit working towards shedding light on street harassment, as she silently walked about in no less than a T-shirt and jeans.

One man even attempts to grab her attention by walking alongside her for four straight minutes.

The powerful recording calls out catcalling for exactly what it is: pervasive, overwhelmingly tolerated, and constant. Someone please show this to Doree Lewak.