Mixed Media

Look At These Crazy Wave Clouds!

| Tue Mar. 31, 2015 1:31 PM EDT

Look! In the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a cloud that looks like neither a bird or a plane! A wave! It looks like a wave!

High above South Carolina yesterday "wave clouds" rippled through the sky. They are bonkers!

Look at this video:

Now look at this one:

Weather.com has a whole gallery of crazy shots.

What is a wave cloud? WIRED explains:

These crazy clouds that look like a row of crashing waves are known as Kelvin-Helmholz waves. They form when two layers of air or liquid of different densities move past each other at different speeds, creating shearing at the boundary.

“It could be like oil and vinegar,” Chuang said. “In the ocean, the top is warm and the bottom is really cold. It’s like a thin layer of oil on a big puddle of water.”

When these two layers move past each other, a Kelvin-Helmholz instability is formed that is sort of like a wave. Parts of the boundary move up and parts move down. Because one layer is moving faster than the other, the shear causes the tops of the waves to move horizontally, forming what looks like an ocean wave crashing on the beach.

“It really is like breaking waves,” Chuang said. “A wave breaks when the water on top moves so much faster than the water below that it kind of piles up on itself.”

The world is a weird and beautiful place.

Advertise on MotherJones.com

The Largest Newspaper in Indiana Just Made One Hell of a Statement

| Mon Mar. 30, 2015 11:06 PM EDT

This is the front page of tomorrow's Indianapolis Star:

@markalesia/Twitter

Hell, yeah.

We are at a critical moment in Indiana's history.

And much is at stake.

Our image. Our reputation as a state that embraces people of diverse backgrounds and makes them feel welcome. And our efforts over many years to retool our economy, to attract talented workers and thriving businesses, and to improve the quality of life for millions of Hoosiers.

All of this is at risk because of a new law, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, that no matter its original intent already has done enormous harm to our state and potentially our economic future.

The consequences will only get worse if our state leaders delay in fixing the deep mess created.

Half steps will not be enough. Half steps will not undo the damage.

Go read the whole thing.

A Bunch of Idiots Took Selfies in Front of the East Village Fire in NYC—and Fox News Blamed Obama

| Mon Mar. 30, 2015 6:30 PM EDT

Back in February, President Obama recorded a short video of himself using a selfie stick—the elongated recording tool some critics warn is enabling a generation of self-absorbed millennials—with the obvious intention to promote Obamacare with a side of fun. The clip, recorded for Buzzfeed, instantly went viral and was largely well-received with a chuckle.

But according to one Fox News host today, Obama and his selfie stick-wielding video are to blame for encouraging ill advised photos such as the ones of New York City tourists snapping selfies in front of a large building fire.

Up in arms over the East Village selfies, "Outnumbered" host Harris Faulkner explained on Monday:

When the president does it, you've got a whole new generation now. I’m not just picking on the older adults and protecting the little kids.

But you’ve got a bar that’s moving now. That gold standard isn’t what it used to be. You’ve got on a weekend, we’re talking Islamic state, we’re talking all sorts of things, and you’ve got a president with a selfie stick that’s as tall as I am taking pictures of himself, 'Can’t get my hand in the cookie jar!'

The Obama bashing aside, Faulkner and her co-hosts join a chorus of haters who fundamentally misunderstand what it is for millennials to take selfies. While photos such as the ones taken over the weekend probably aren't the best idea, the outrage over selfies is ultimately misplaced. And considering Faulkner clearly enjoys a bit of selfie-taking herself, this is particularly annoying.

As we've argued before, anyone worried a mere selfie is destroying our youth should really just chill and take a moment to consider Rembrandt.

(h/t Raw Story)

Trevor Noah to Replace Jon Stewart as "Daily Show" Host

| Mon Mar. 30, 2015 8:51 AM EDT

Trevor Noah, who first debuted on "The Daily Show" as a correspondent in December, is to replace Jon Stewart as the show's new host. "You don’t believe it for the first few hours,” Noah told the New York Times ahead of Monday's official announcement from Dubai. "You need a stiff drink, and then unfortunately you’re in a place where you can’t really get alcohol."

The 31-year-old comedian from South Africa has only appeared on the show three times. In February, Stewart broke the news he would be exiting from the Comedy Central show after more than 15 years on air. The network confirmed the news in a statement below:

Trevor Noah has been selected to become the next host of the Emmy® and Peabody® Award-winning The Daily Show.

Noah joined The Daily Show in 2014 as a contributor. He made his U.S. television debut in 2012 on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and has also appeared on Late Show with David Letterman, becoming the first South African stand-up comedian to appear on either late night show. Noah has hosted numerous television shows including his own late night talk show in his native country, Tonight with Trevor Noah.

He was featured on the October 2014 cover of GQ South Africa and has been profiled in Rolling Stone, Newsweek and The Wall Street Journal, and by CNN and NPR’s Talk of the Nation, among others. He continues to tour all over the world and has performed in front of sold out crowds at the Hammersmith Apollo in London and the Sydney Opera House in Australia.

Watch Noah's first appearance on "The Daily Show."

Laura Marling Just Keeps Getting Better

| Mon Mar. 30, 2015 6:00 AM EDT

Laura Marling
Short Movie
Ribbon Music

With her clear, forthright voice and ringing acoustic guitar (not to mention enormous songwriting smarts), Britain's Laura Marling has always been a bit intimidating, and this stunning fifth album may be her strongest work yet. Short Movie is an extended meditation on the endless tug of war between the fear of loneliness and the desire to be free from the affections and expectations of others. "Is it still okay that I don't know how to be alone?" she asks in "False Hope," while "I Feel Your Love" finds her declaring, "You must let me go before I get old / I need to find someone who really wants to be mine," throwing cold water on romantic clichés with her usual blunt vigor. In "Don't Let Me Bring You Down," she exclaims, "Did you think I was fucking around?" Another cut, "Howl," finds her parting from a lover in far gentler fashion. Short Movie varies its textures with occasional drums and electric guitar, as well as lovely dashes of cello, but Marling's restless, relentlessly honest songs remain the main attraction. Despite superficial similarities to the young Joni Mitchell, she's her own amazing creation, and just keeps getting better.

Advertise on MotherJones.com

Neil DeGrasse Tyson Blasts Florida's Alleged Ban on Discussing Climate Change

| Wed Mar. 25, 2015 11:38 AM EDT

Neil DeGrasse Tyson has now weighed in on Florida's alleged ban on using the words "climate change" and "global warming" in government communications. The astrophysicist-turned-TV-star told a Sarasota, Fla., crowd on Monday that he was astonished by the report, adding he thought "as a nation we were better than this."

"Now we have a time where people are cherry picking science," Tyson said, according to the Herald Tribune of Sarasota. "The science is not political. That's like repealing gravity because you gained 10 pounds last week."

Earlier this month, the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting published an explosive story alleging that Scott's administration had instituted an unwritten policy forbidding government employees from using "climate change," "global warming," and "sea level rise" in official communications. The governor has since denied the report, but several environmental groups have called for a probe into the alleged ban.

In his remarks Monday, Tyson said that while it may be easy to shame politicians for their climate change denial, it's ultimately the voters who are responsible.

"Debating facts takes time away from the conversation," Tyson said, according to the Bradenton Herald. "We should be talking about what we are going to do about this. I don't blame the politicians for a damn thing because we vote for the politician. I blame the electorate."

This isn't the first time Tyson has scolded voters for electing science-denying politicians. In a January interview with the Boston Globe, he said he used to get "bent out of shape" about elected officials like snowball-wielding Senator James Inhofe publicly claiming climate change is a hoax. But his views have since evolved.

"The real challenge to the educator is not beating politicians over the head, or lobbying them, or writing letters," he said. "It's improving the educational system that shapes the people who elect such representatives in the first place."

Robot-Building 6-Year-Old Girls Talking Tech With Obama Is the Best Thing You'll See All Week

| Tue Mar. 24, 2015 7:56 PM EDT

On Monday, President Obama made his annual rounds at the White House Science Fair. The event is a breeding ground for adorable interactions with kid-nerds (See 2012's marshmallow-shooting air cannon), but his chat yesterday with five cape-wearing Girl Scouts from Oklahoma was especially magical.

The 6-year-olds from Tulsa's Girl Scout Troup 411 were the youngest inventors selected to present at this year's fair. Inspired by conversations with a librarian and one of the girls' grandmas, they built a mechanical Lego contraption that can turn pages, to help patients with mobility issues read books.

The group of first graders and kindergartners explain to Obama that the device is a "prototype" that they came up with in a "brainstorming session." One of the girls asks Obama if he's ever had his own brainstorming session.

"I have had a couple brainstorming sessions," replies an amused Obama. "But I didn't come up with anything this good!"

Another girls asks what he came up with:

"I mean, I came up with things like, you know, health care. It turned out ok, but it started off with some prototypes," the president says.

And then they all go in for a group hug. GOLD.

Suzanne Dodson, the coach of the Lego team and the mom of one of the scouts, told Tulsa World that she's glad the girls are getting such positive attention for their project: "It really is a problem with girls, when they get to middle school, they lose confidence in their own ability to succeed in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math)" she said. "Having this experience at young age really gives them a confidence boost."

Let John Oliver Explain How Petty Municipal Fines Destroy the Lives of Our Most Vulnerable

| Mon Mar. 23, 2015 9:39 AM EDT

As demonstrated by the Justice Department's damning investigation into the Ferguson Police Department, police officials often rely on slapping hefty municipal fines to fund government. Such practices are rampant in towns across the country.

On the latest Last Week Tonight, John Oliver took on the issue with an in-depth report explaining how a petty traffic violation—a ticket some people can simply shrug off as a nuisance—can actually wreck the lives of society's most vulnerable citizens, and sometimes even land people in jail.

"Most Americans drive to work," he explained. "If you can't do that, you've got a problem. In New Jersey, a survey of low-income drivers who had their license suspended found that 64 percent had lost their jobs as a result, which doesn't help anyone. You need them to pay their fine but you're taking away their means of paying it. That's the most self-defeating idea since gay conversion camp!"

While Oliver says he's not advocating for minor offenses to go without punishment, people should have the "right to fuck up once in a while without completely destroying our lives."

Watch below:

 

Courtney Barnett's Debut LP Captures the Absorbing Minutiae of Everyday Life

| Mon Mar. 23, 2015 6:00 AM EDT

Courtney Barnett
Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit
Mom + Pop

Although this beguiling opus is being billed as Australian Courtney Barnett's debut LP, she previously produced an album's worth of material in the form of two EPs, a highlight being "Avant Gardener," her engagingly offhand account of an asthma attack. She follows that tune's deceptively ingenious template on Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, which blends agreeably slackerish vocals, ramshackle yet catchy guitar pop, and understated songs devoted to capturing the absorbing minutiae of everyday life.

From "Elevator Operator" to "Nobody Really Cares If You Don't Go to the Party" to "An Illustration of Loneliness (Sleepless in NY)," Barnett's characters turn the act of "just idling insignificantly" into a search for deeper meaning, often seesawing between self-loathing and self-respect. And while epiphanies prove elusive, her good-hearted, empathic portraits are unfailingly memorable.