Mixed Media

This Is the Most Heart-Wrenching News Photo of the Week

| Fri Jun. 5, 2015 2:58 PM EDT
Chinatopix/AP

This remarkable photo captures the grim reality setting in for the relatives of those aboard the Eastern Star cruiser, which capsized and sank Monday on China's Yangtze River: the vanishing chance that any more people will be found alive.

In the foreground, dozens of paramilitary policemen dressed in white overalls wait to recover bodies after the ship was lifted by cranes. For most of the week, the boat sat in the water with just its hull exposed, as passengers' families became increasingly desperate for answers from secretive government officials.

More than 100 bodies have been recovered, according to Chinese state media. There were only 14 survivors, a fraction of the 456 passengers, most of them elderly tourists.

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The American Media Is a Sexist Shitshow. Welcome, Caitlyn Jenner.

| Wed Jun. 3, 2015 4:30 PM EDT

Caitlyn Jenner's public debut on the cover of Vanity Fair on Monday has been largely greeted with applause for her bravery. But as others have pointed out, much of the media's praise was also paired with unending comments about Jenner's new physical attributes, including her "ample cleavage" and beautiful hair. This is particularly troublesome considering, as actress Laverne Cox wrote on her personal Tumblr soon after, Jenner's physical transformation is a far cry from what most in the trans community experience, many of whom don't have the medical access or financial support to undergo similar transformations.

Jon Stewart addressed exactly this on the Daily Show last night with a series of cringeworthy examples of the media repeatedly dropping comments about her beautiful new look.

"It's really heartening to see that everyone is willing to not only accept Caitlyn Jenner as a woman, but to waste no time in treating her like a woman," he said.

 

Stephen Colbert's New Video Shows Exactly Why We Need Him Back on Air Immediately

| Wed Jun. 3, 2015 3:41 PM EDT

Stephen Colbert emerged from darkness today to give fans a peek into what life's been like since leaving Comedy Central back in December. The result is a six-minute video in which he bids a wonderfully unhinged farewell to his facial hair, all while shedding the remains of it over a hot dog.

"CBS is making me shave it off because Tom Selleck's mustache has a non-compete clause," Colbert explains. "Don't get me wrong, Tom's a great guy. His mustache? Such a bitch!"

It might be best for CBS to bump up his September debut on The Late Show. The man clearly needs us, just as much as we need him.

You May Soon Be Able to Calculate How Many Calories Are in Your Food Porn

| Wed Jun. 3, 2015 11:00 AM EDT

Are you the kind of person who relishes publishing over-saturated photos of your dinner onto Instagram? If so, a new project, reportedly being developed by Google, may soon provide you with yet another interactive activity with your food—other than simply eating it. 

The Guardian reports the prospective project, coined "Im2Calories," aims to help users calculate the caloric makeup of food photos. Using an artificial-intelligence technology that would "analyze the depth of pixels in an image" it would then figure out "the size and shape" of our meals by subjecting that analysis to various algorithms. After all that? Voila! That caloric content of those perfectly manicured entrees. 

It's not perfect. Developers say that initially the technology may only be able to correctly measure the calories in a photo 30 percent of the time. But in a recent presentation, Google research scientist Kevin Murphy said that success rate is good enough to attract enough curious users to improve it over time.

Although a spokesperson for Google said the tool is still only in research mode, its potential creation could certainly help people keep tabs on their calorie intake. But is this really effective for losing weight? Research suggests such knowledge does little to impact a person's food choices.

This might not matter much to Instagram's crowded food wing, reflected in popular accounts such as You Did Not Eat That and You Wish You Ate This, which is likely to gobble up the calorie counting tool. Just look at the overnight success of Microsoft's age guessing app. And after all, there is only so much satisfaction the number of likes a perfectly manicured food post can provide a person.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter Resigns Amid Corruption Scandal

| Tue Jun. 2, 2015 1:13 PM EDT

FIFA President Sepp Blatter announced Tuesday that he will step down after 17 years at the head of soccer's international governing body, in the wake of a corruption probe that has rattled the sport. In a press conference, Blatter called for a special election to find his replacement, just days after he was elected to a fifth term.

Here's an excerpt of Blatter's resignation letter

I have been reflecting deeply about my presidency and about the forty years in which my life has been inextricably bound to FIFA and the great sport of football. I cherish FIFA more than anything and I want to do only what is best for FIFA and for football. I felt compelled to stand for re-election, as I believed that this was the best thing for the organization. That election is over but FIFA’s challenges are not. FIFA needs a profound overhaul. While I have a mandate from the membership of FIFA, I do not feel that I have a mandate from the entire world of football – the fans, the players, the clubs, the people who live, breathe and love football as much as we all do at FIFA. Therefore, I have decided to lay down my mandate at an extraordinary elective Congress. I will continue to exercise my functions as FIFA President until that election.

This Is How Miserably the TSA Is Failing at Airport Security

| Tue Jun. 2, 2015 10:15 AM EDT

An undercover investigation lead by the Department of Homeland Security uncovered devastating holes in the Transportation Security Administration's security procedures, with investigators able to smuggle fake explosives and banned weapons 67 out of 70 times at some of the country's busiest airports.

"In one case, agents failed to detect a fake explosive taped to an agent's back, even after performing a pat down that was prompted after the agent set off the magnetometer alarm," ABC News reports.

The alarming 95 percent failure rate, during an investigation that spanned a decade, has lead to the reassignment of the agency's chief Melvin Carraway.

"The numbers in these reports never look good out of context but they are a critical element in the continual evolution of our aviation security," Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement. "We take these findings very seriously in our continued effort to test, measure, and enhance our capabilities and techniques as threats evolve."

Following the internal investigation, Johnson also ordered for more routine undercover investigations and mandatory retraining for all TSA officials.

The full Homeland Security report is slated to be released later this summer.

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Tracy Morgan Gives Emotional First Interview Since Fatal Car Crash

| Mon Jun. 1, 2015 3:33 PM EDT

On Monday, Tracy Morgan sat down with Matt Lauer for his first interview since the devastating six-car accident that left him in critical condition and killed one of his friends, James McNair, nearly one year ago.

"I can't believe I'm here," Morgan said "Just seeing the tragedy that happened—it just touches me."

When speaking about the loss of McNair, Morgan started to cry. "He was a loving man and he was a warm man. He was a good man. It’s just hard for me to see that he's gone. That's it." 

The accident involved a truck driven by a Walmart employee and set off a long legal battle that was settled just last month.

"Bones heal, but the loss of my friend will never heal," Morgan said. "I'm happy that Walmart stepped up to the plate. They took full responsibility."

Here Is Caitlyn Jenner's Stunning Vanity Fair Cover

| Mon Jun. 1, 2015 12:41 PM EDT

Caitlyn Jenner, the woman formerly known as Bruce Jenner of "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" fame, made her public debut on the cover of Vanity Fair on Monday. The beautiful portrait was shot by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz:

 

 

During a sit-down interview with Diane Sawyer back in April, the former Olympian opened up about her transition into becoming a woman. "My whole life has been getting me ready for this," Jenner said. 

"Caitlyn doesn't have any secrets. As soon as the Vanity Fair cover comes out, I'm free," she said in an exclusive new video for the magazine. 

The cover hits newsstands on June 9.

 

Watch John Oliver Issue a Scathing Takedown of FIFA's "Swiss Demon" President

| Mon Jun. 1, 2015 9:36 AM EDT

One very prominent name was missing among the several high-ranking FIFA officials indicted on corruption and bribery charges last week. That person, of course, was FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who as John Oliver described on the latest "Last Week Tonight," has "left a trail of devastation" under his watch as the organization's president.

"No decision Blatter has overseen is more questionable than the 2022 World Cup being awarded to Qatar, because not only will the conditions be terrible to play in, but the number of migrant workers that have died in Qatar since the cup was announced has been staggering," Oliver said.

Despite the new charges and Blatter's scandal-ridden reputation, he was actually reelected as president for a fifth term on Friday.

"To truly kill a snake, you must cut off its head, or in this case its asshole," Oliver explained. Without Blatter's indictment, the host says no truly significant reforms can be made for the world's favorite sport.

Watch Oliver make a plea to both U.S. officials and FIFA's long list of powerful sponsors to remove Blatter as president, once and for all:

UPDATE: Tuesday, June 2, 2015: Blatter has resigned. Oliver has sent the "one perfect tweet" of this news cycle.

Country-Folk Artist Eilen Jewell Sings About Love and Dusty Roads

| Mon Jun. 1, 2015 6:00 AM EDT

Eilen Jewell
Sundown Over Ghost Town
Signature Sounds

 

A cabaret artist masquerading as a country-folk performer, Idaho's Eilen Jewell sings with an unhurried elegance that evokes late-night intimacies and dusty roads with equal skill. (A Billie Holiday tribute album wouldn't be inappropriate.) Though her fifth album consists entirely of original songs, Sundown Over Ghost Town feels like a welcome return to a set of classics you've known forever, gently touching on desire, loneliness, and the longing for home. Paced by guitarist Jerry Miller and steel guitarist Jake Hoffman, Jewell's underrated band gracefully mixes breezy rockers and luminous ballads without straining for effect. Perfect for fans of Madeleine Peyroux.