MoJo Blogs and Articles | Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/rss/blogs_and_articles/sites/all/modules/patched/service_links/images/www.knightarmco.com/blog http://www.motherjones.com/files/motherjonesLogo_google_206X40.png Mother Jones logo http://www.motherjones.com en New Document Cache Shows the Real Roots of ISIS Are as Much Secular as Religious http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/04/new-document-cache-shows-real-roots-isis-are-much-secular-religious <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><em>Spiegel </em>has quite a fascinating report this week about the origins and growth of ISIS. It's a great counterpoint to <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2015/02/what-isis-really-wants/384980/" target="_blank">Graeme Wood's <em>Atlantic</em> piece</a> from February that focused on the Islamic and theological roots of ISIS and the territorial ambitions of its self-appointed caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.</p> <p>But it turns out that this is far from the whole story. According to Christopher Reuter, a recently discovered cache of documents shows that the founding architect of ISIS was actually Haji Bakr, the pseudonym of Samir Abd Muhammad al-Khlifawi, a former colonel in the intelligence service of Saddam Hussein's air defense force. Bakr, who lost his job and his power in 2003 when Paul Bremer made the decision to disband the Iraqi army, was the real mastermind behind ISIS. In dozens of detailed pages written in 2012, he laid out an organizational plan for the kind of <a href="http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/islamic-state-files-show-structure-of-islamist-terror-group-a-1029274.html" target="_blank">pervasive, brutally efficient spy state he knew best:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>It seemed as if George Orwell had been the model for this spawn of paranoid surveillance. But it was much simpler than that. Bakr was merely modifying what he had learned in the past: Saddam Hussein's omnipresent security apparatus, in which no one, not even generals in the intelligence service, could be certain they weren't being spied on.</p> <p>....There is a simple reason why there is no mention in Bakr's writings of prophecies relating to the establishment of an Islamic State allegedly ordained by God: He believed that fanatical religious convictions alone were not enough to achieve victory. But he did believe that the faith of others could be exploited. In 2010, Bakr and a small group of former Iraqi intelligence officers made Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the emir and later "caliph," the official leader of the Islamic State. They reasoned that Baghdadi, an educated cleric, would give the group a religious face.</p> </blockquote> <p>So the roots of ISIS are purely pragmatic: Bakr wanted to build an organization that could retake Iraq, and he calculated that this could best be done by combining the secular mechanisms of Saddam Hussein with the religious fanaticism of an Al Qaeda. The whole piece is well worth a read.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Iraq Tue, 21 Apr 2015 20:28:18 +0000 Kevin Drum 273996 at http://www.motherjones.com Detroit Just Had the Single Largest Tax Foreclosure in American History http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/04/low-income-black-and-elderly-residents-detroit-isnt-city-rise-one-under-siege <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><em>This <a href="http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175983/" target="_blank">story</a><a href="http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175983/" target="_blank"> </a>first appeared on the </em><a href="http://www.tomdispatch.com/" target="_blank">TomDispatch</a><em> website.</em></p> <p><a href="http://www.tomdispatch.com" target="_blank"><span class="inline inline-left"><img alt="" class="image image-preview" height="33" src="http://motherjones.com/files/images/tdispatch-notch.jpg" title="" width="100"></span></a></p> <p>Unlike so many industrial innovations, the revolving door was not developed in Detroit. It took its first spin in Philadelphia in 1888, the brainchild of Theophilus Van Kannel, the soon-to-be founder of the Van Kannel Revolving Door Company<em>. </em>Its purpose was twofold: to better insulate buildings from the cold and to allow greater numbers of people easier entry at any given time.</p> <p>On March 31st at the Wayne Country Treasurer's Office, that Victorian-era invention was accomplishing neither objective. Then again, no door in the history of architecture&mdash;rotating or otherwise&mdash;could have accommodated the latest perversity Detroit officials were inflicting on city residents: the <a href="http://voiceofdetroit.net/2015/03/29/unprecedented-katrina-of-tax-foreclosures-to-hit-detroit-wayne-county-march-31/">potential eviction</a> of tens of thousands, possibly as many as 100,000 people, all at precisely the same time.</p> <p>Little wonder that it seemed as if everyone was getting stuck in the rotating doors of that Wayne County office building on the last day residents could pay their past-due property taxes or enter a payment plan to do so. Those who didn't, the city warned, would lose their homes to tax foreclosure, the process by which a local government repossesses a house because of unpaid property taxes.</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/politics/2015/04/low-income-black-and-elderly-residents-detroit-isnt-city-rise-one-under-siege"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> Politics Civil Liberties Income Inequality Race and Ethnicity Tom Dispatch Detroit Tue, 21 Apr 2015 20:01:22 +0000 Laura Gottesdiener 273991 at http://www.motherjones.com Scott Walker May Have Just Scored 2016's Biggest Sugar Daddies http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/04/koch-brothers-scott-walker-2016 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Charles and David Koch have already made it clear that they plan to do everything in their power to prevent Hillary Clinton (or, in case she stumbles, any other Democrat) from winning the presidency. The moguls hope to garner <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/01/koch-brothers-889-million-2016-elections" target="_blank">$889 million for the 2016 election</a> from their networks, much of it bound to be channeled through their favorite Dark Money organizations. At one single summit in late January they managed to <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/02/koch-retreat-donors-249-million-2016" target="_blank">raise $249 million</a> from friends and allies.</p> <p>And now, it looks like the Koch brothers may have landed on their standardbearer for all that spending. As the <em>New York Times</em> <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2015/04/20/koch-brothers-signal-support-for-scott-walker/" target="_blank">reported</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>On Monday, at a fund-raising event in Manhattan for the New York State Republican Party, David Koch told donors that he and his brother, who oversee one of the biggest private political organizations in the country, believed that Mr. Walker would be the Republican nominee.</p> <p>"When the primaries are over and Scott Walker gets the nomination," Mr. Koch told the crowd, the billionaire brothers would support him, according to a spokeswoman. The remark drew laughter and applause from the audience of fellow donors and Republican activists, who had come to hear Mr. Walker speak earlier at the event, held at the Union League Club.</p> </blockquote> <p>If the Kochs do decide to back Scott Walker, according to the <em>Times</em>, the money would come from them personally, rather than their network of affiliated groups. But with a <a href="http://www.forbes.com/billionaires/" target="_blank">combined net worth</a> of over $85 billion, Charles and David could set up a vehicle that would outspend nearly anyone while barely tapping into their bank accounts. Seeing the brothers get behind Walker isn't terribly surprising. The pair <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2011/02/wisconsin-scott-walker-koch-brothers" target="_blank">invested</a> heavily in his initial gubernatorial campaign and have <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/01/koch-network-scott-walker-recall-election-wisconsin" target="_blank">aided him</a> in his subsequent elections.</p> <p>Not so fast, though, <em>Politico</em>'s Mike Allen <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2015/04/koch-brothers-will-offer-audition-to-jeb-bush-117177.html?hp=c1_3" target="_blank">cautioned</a> this morning. Despite David Koch's remarks, he provided <em>Politico</em> a statement disavowing any endorsement. As Allen wrote, the brothers say they are undecided and still plan to hold "auditions" at their summer donor conference. In addition to Walker, the lineup of people under consideration reportedly includes Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and, most surprisingly, Jeb Bush.</p> <p>Whoever ends up gaining the Kochs' support would have unparalleled fundraising might, and would have to be considered a favorite for the Republican nomination. And their ascent would be the latest example of the power of the ultrarich in the age of the super PAC: Winning broad support from small donors doesn't matter when the affections of two individuals willing to spend astronomically could upend the entire campaign.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum 2016 Elections Dark Money Elections Money in Politics Scott Walker The Right Tue, 21 Apr 2015 19:53:53 +0000 Patrick Caldwell 273981 at http://www.motherjones.com Tales From City of Hope #2: Chemo Has Started http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/04/tales-city-hope-2-chemo-has-started <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_ice_chips.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">It is 10:43 am PDT on April 21, 2015. It is Day -2 (Day 0 is Thursday, when the actual stem cell transfusion takes place) and my final round of chemotherapy has officially started. Oddly enough, it only lasts about half an hour. The rest of my 8-hour stay in the hospital today is taken up with prep and about 4-6 hours of IV fluids.</p> <p>Right now I am manically chewing on ice chips. Apparently they have discovered that this constricts the blood flow to the mouth and therefore reduces the amount of Melphalan that makes it into your mouth and gums. This is pretty effective at minimizing mouth sores, so I'm sucking on ice chips for all I'm worth. The photographic evidence, along with all the usual machines that go ping, is on the right.</p> <p><strong>UPDATE:</strong> Keeping up the ice chip routine gets old pretty quick. But worth it if it keeps the mouth sores at bay.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 21 Apr 2015 18:10:12 +0000 Kevin Drum 273976 at http://www.motherjones.com Chart of the Day: Obamacare Is Popular! http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/04/chart-day-obamacare-popular <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Guess what? Obamacare's popularity has been rising slowly but steadily for the past two years, and in April it hit a milestone. <a href="http://kff.org/health-reform/poll-finding/kaiser-health-tracking-poll-april-2015/" target="_blank">According to Kaiser,</a> it is now more popular than unpopular. Not by much, but at least it's making progress.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_kaiser_obamacare_april_2015.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 5px 15px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Health Care Tue, 21 Apr 2015 16:22:18 +0000 Kevin Drum 273966 at http://www.motherjones.com Former Walker Aide Blasts Walker for Immigration Flip-Flop http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/04/former-walker-aide-blasts-walker-immigration-flip-flop <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Liz Mair, the <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2015/03/18/digital-strategist-for-scott-walker-resigns-amid-controversy-over-iowa-comments/" target="_blank">GOP operative who resigned from Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's campaign-in-waiting</a> after a day on the job, is in campaign mode again&mdash;and this time, she's targeting her former boss. On Tuesday morning, Mair sent an email detailing Walker's "Olympic-quality flip-flop" on the issue of immigration.</p> <p>On Monday, <a href="http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/04/20/scott-walker-lays-out-pro-american-worker-stance-on-immigration/" target="_blank"><em>Breitbart</em> reported that Walker is the only declared or likely GOP candidate</a> so far to support rolling back legal immigration to the United States, including for highly skilled workers. In her email, Mair pointed out that, historically, Walker has hardly been an immigration hardliner: In 2013, <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2013/02/scott-walker-supports-path-to-citizenship-87960.html" target="_blank">he vocally supported expanding legal immigration</a>, and as recently as March, <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/walker-backs-path-to-citizenship-at-private-new-hampshire-dinner-1427390295" target="_blank">he said he was in favor</a> of giving undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship. She suggested that Walker's back-tracking could make him an easy target for strong GOP rivals.</p> <p>Mair, who served on Walker's recall campaign in 2012, resigned from the governor's PAC in March in the wake of a kerfuffle over several tweets in which <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-03-18/scott-walker-s-consultant-debacle-says-plenty-about-the-fight-for-iowa" target="_blank">she criticized Iowa and its outsized political importance</a>. Mair told <em>Mother Jones</em> she did not call out Walker in service of a client. She said she is "in the camp of people who see immigration as a benefit, who believe we should be welcoming to immigrants and make legal immigration easier, and who favor comprehensive immigration reform in some form&hellip;I've also long been highly critical of flip-floppery."</p> <p>Here's an excerpt from her email:</p> <blockquote> <p>In fulfilling my professional duties as constructed today, as opposed to on March 16, I wanted to flag the below Olympic-quality flip-flop on immigration policy to you. Apologies if this seems crass to some of you, but I would not be meeting certain responsibilities if I did not shoot this email out.</p> <p>Yesterday, it was reported that Scott Walker has now adopted the immigration position of Sen. Jeff Sessions and has been taking instruction from Sessions on the issue of immigration. Notably, Sessions wants to further restrict legal immigration including high-skilled immigration, a position that is at odds with the traditional GOP anti-amnesty stance taken by virtually all presidential candidates, and which also puts him at odds with conservative policy experts and economists&hellip;this new positioning seems to represent a full 180 degree turn from where Walker has been on immigration historically, which is to say in the very pro-immigration and even pro-comprehensive reform camp&hellip;</p> <p>Setting aside the substance of the policy, as the 2008 election demonstrated, it is really difficult in the age of Google to execute full policy reversals without earning a reputation as an untrustworthy, "say anything to win," substance-and-guts-free politician. Even in 2012, when Republicans nominated Mitt Romney, his reputation for policy, er, flexibility was a significant negative for him and one that diminished enthusiasm for the candidate, probably adversely impacting his performance in that race.</p> </blockquote></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Scott Walker Top Stories Tue, 21 Apr 2015 14:54:37 +0000 Sam Brodey 273961 at http://www.motherjones.com Cruz Campaign Accuses Paul and Rubio of Wimping Out on Gun Rights After Newtown http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/04/cruz-paul-rubio-gun-rights <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>With the gaggle of GOP 2016 presidential contenders growing, the Republican wannabes have largely refrained from assailing one another and have instead focused their wrath on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. But now Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has launched one of the first R-on-R attacks, and he has done so regarding an issue of primal importance to the Republican voting base: guns.</p> <p>A few days ago, Cruz's presidential campaign zapped out an email hitting up conservatives for donations. The solicitation showed Cruz, the tea party favorite, wearing a bright orange hunting vest, with a shotgun on his shoulder, and its message was stark: Send me money so I can support your Second Amendment rights, which "serve as the ultimate check against government tyranny." Cruz warned that he was "under attack from the left-wing media and even Republicans who want to label me as an extremist&mdash;all for supporting a fundamental right." And then he took a shot at the other GOP 2016 contestants: "I'm the only candidate running for President who not only believes in the Constitutional right to keep and bear arms&mdash;but has the record of fighting for it, tooth and nail."</p> <p>The only Republican 2016er who's a proven crusader for gun rights? That was quite the claim&mdash;and a dig at everyone else in the crowded field, particularly the other GOPers who are competing for tea party and conservative voters. After all, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has declared himself a champion of gun rights. He has long <a href="http://www.nagr.org/UN_lp_survey2.aspx" target="_blank">supported</a> the National Association for Gun Rights&mdash;a group that hypes itself as the <em>conservative</em> <a href="http://www.nagr.org/UN_lp_survey2.aspx" target="_blank">alternative</a> to the NRA. Rand Paul often signs email solicitations for this outfit, such as one that asserted that President Barack Obama and the United Nations were plotting to "CONFISCATE and DESTROY ALL 'unauthorized' civilian firearms.'" (Paul was not invited to the NRA's recent convention&mdash;because, NGAR president Dudley Brown <a href="http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2015/04/09/why-rand-paul-is-unwelcome-at-nra-gun-rights-convention/" target="_blank">claimed</a>, "Paul is more pro-gun that the NRA.") Paul has repeatedly moved to <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/mike-debonis/wp/2014/07/09/rand-paul-again-targets-d-c-gun-laws-with-senate-amendment/" target="_blank">eviscerate</a> the gun laws of Washington, DC. And prior to becoming a senator, he <a href="http://www.barefootandprogressive.com/2010/04/a-closer-look-at-rand-pauls-militia-friends.html" target="_blank">campaigned</a> at a gun rights rally with armed militia members who noted that guns could be used to prevent "progressive socialists" from thwarting Second Amendment and other rights. That is, Paul has established a rather die-hard stance on guns.</p> <p>Yet that did not stop Cruz from depicting himself as the only true and tested advocate for gun rights in the Republican's 2016 gang. So what does the Paul campaign think of this Cruz attack? Paul campaign officials would not comment on the record. "We'll pass for now," spokesman Sergio Gor said&mdash;a suggestion that the Paul did not want to mix it up with Cruz at this point.</p> <p>The same sentiment was not evident when I asked the Cruz campaign how Cruz could justify this implied assault on Rand Paul. Rick Tyler, a well-known conservative consultant working for Cruz, responded with a detailed email that essentially accused Paul and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), another GOP 2016 candidate, of wimping out at a key moment for the gun rights crowd:</p> <blockquote> <p>[F]rom April 11-18, 2013 in the shadow of Newtown, CT, when the Democrats were lined up to hammer Republicans, Paul and Rubio never came to the floor to stand up for the Second Amendment when the Toomey-Manchin gun bill [which would have required background checks on all commercial gun sales] was being considered. On&nbsp;April 17, Cruz came to the floor promoting a bill (Grassley-Cruz) he&nbsp;co-authored which was the conservative alternative to Toomey-Manchin [and which did not expand background checks and made it easier to purchase and transport guns against state lines]. It got 52 votes including 9 from Democrats but failed the&nbsp;cloture&nbsp;vote. During that time Cruz and Lee were very&nbsp;aggressive in defending the Second Amendment including gathering stories for the Congressional Record of Americans who used a firearm in self-defense.</p> </blockquote> <p>With this note, the Cruz campaign, rather than retreat from a political fight over who's best on gun rights, made its assault on Paul and Rubio explicit, asserting that both Paul and Rubio failed the gun rights movement in its hour of need.</p> <p>And once again, Paul's campaign did not engage, declining to answer questions about Tyler's amplification of the original criticism. Rubio's campaign also did not respond to a request for comment.</p> <p>Paul has insisted in the past that after the Newtown gun massacre, he quickly took steps to prevent any gun safety bills from advancing in the wake of that tragedy. On April 10, 2013, he <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/10/opinion/paul-gun-control/" target="_blank">wrote</a> on CNN's website, "Along with Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas, I circulated a letter promising to 'oppose any legislation that would infringe on the American people's constitutional right to bear arms, or on their ability to exercise this right without being subjected to government surveillance.'"</p> <p>Following the Newtown tragedy, Paul considered Cruz an ally in the battle to beat back gun safety legislation. These days, Cruz is not returning the favor and looking to turn Paul and Rubio into targets in order to best them among a critical GOP constituency. The question is, how long will this remain a one-way fight?</p></body></html> Politics 2016 Elections Guns Rand Paul Ted Cruz The Right Top Stories Tue, 21 Apr 2015 14:29:53 +0000 David Corn 273956 at http://www.motherjones.com Tired of Remembering Passwords? Try Swallowing Them Instead. http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/04/swallowing-passwords-biometric-paypal-leblanc <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Chances are you're bad at passwords. Most of us are. A <a href="http://www.slideshare.net/jcleblanc/kill-all-passwords" target="_blank">recent statistic offered up by Jonathan LeBlanc</a>, the global head of developer advocacy at PayPal, suggests that nearly 10 percent of people have a password consisting of 123456, 12345678, or, simply, "password."</p> <p>LeBlanc has some bold thoughts on improving this state of affairs. As he told <a href="http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2015/04/17/paypal-wants-you-to-inject-your-username-and-eat-your-password/" target="_blank">the <em>Wall Street Journal</em></a> last week, "embeddable, injectable, and ingestible devices" are the next step companies will use to identify consumers for "mobile payments and other sensitive online interactions."</p> <p>From the <em>Journal: </em></p> <blockquote> <p>While there are more advanced methods to increase login security, like location verification, identifying people by their habits like the way they type in their passwords, fingerprints and other biometric identifiers, these can lead to false negative results, where valid users can't log in to their online services, and false positives, where invalid users can log in.</p> <p>Mr. Leblanc pointed to more accurate methods of identity verification, like thin silicon chips which can be embedded into the skin. The wireless chips can contain ECG sensors that monitor the heart&rsquo;s unique electrical activity, and communicate the data via wireless antennae to "wearable computer tattoos."</p> <p>Ingestible capsules that can detect glucose levels and other unique internal features can use a person's body as a way to identify them and beam that data out.</p> </blockquote> <p>To be fair, LeBlanc told the paper that these specific technologies aren't necessarily things that PayPal is planning, but he's been raising the possibility in <a href="http://www.slideshare.net/jcleblanc/kill-all-passwords" target="_blank">a presentation he's been giving</a>, and has said the online dealbroker is "definitely looking at the identity field" as a means of allowing users a more secure way to identify themselves.</p> <p>You don't have to be a "<a href="http://www.end-times-prophecy.org/mark-of-beast-rfid-technology.html" target="_blank">mark of the beast</a>" person or a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z19V6sm17wg" target="_blank">conspiracy theorist</a> to have concerns. Indeed, what could possibly go wrong with a little implanted device that reads your vein patterns or your heart's unique activity or blood glucose levels just so you can seamlessly buy that cup of Starbucks? Wouldn't an insurance company love to use that information to decide that you had one too many donuts&mdash;so it won't be covering that bypass surgery after all?</p> <p>As the <em>Wall Street Journal</em> cautiously notes, "Mr. Leblanc admits that there's still a ways to go before cultural norms catch up with ingestible and injectable ID devices."</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tech Tue, 21 Apr 2015 13:25:05 +0000 AJ Vicens 273951 at http://www.motherjones.com Feminist Yelp, a Date-Rape Game, and Other Killer Apps From a Global Women's Hackathon http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/04/sex-offender-maps-date-rape-video-game-sex-ed-global-fund-women-insight-hackathon <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>What if there was a platform that was kind of like Yelp, but with a feminist twist&mdash;where you could rate businesses (specifically bars, clubs, and restaurants) according to how their staff and patrons treat women? That's the idea behind a mobile app dreamed up by a group of young female coders in Brazil. The women, ages 18 through 22, came up with it in February during an international hackathon organized by the Global Fund for Women. Tentatively named <a href="http://ignite.globalfundforwomen.org/gallery/naomecalo" target="_blank">N&atilde;o Me Calo (I Will Not Shut Up)</a>, it was chosen this week as the hackthon's winning idea. Through the Global Fund's partnerships with the tech industry, the team will get funds and mentoring to make their app a reality over the next six months or so.</p> <p>N&atilde;o Me Calo is a simple concept: Users will identify businesses where they've encountered physical and verbal abuse or harassment from employees or patrons. The app's ranking system will call out the worst offenders and encourage app users to spend their money elsewhere. With any luck, the business owners will then take steps to alleviate the problem. "It provides a way to leverage existing technology, sort of like Foursquare and Yelp, platforms that allow you to check into public spaces in major cities, with an additional piece of information that probably isn't being collected right now," said Michaela Leslie-Rule, the Global Fund producer who coordinated the hackathon. "Our hope is that this would be available to women and girls globally."</p> <p>The event, which included girls as young as 11, brought together dozens of coders in New York City; Oakland, California; Porto Alegre, Brazil; Tapei, Taiwan; and Trivandrum, India. They spent 24 hours designing and building tools to create safe physical and virtual spaces for women and girls. Here are some of the other ideas that came out of the event:</p> <p><strong>Perv Radar: </strong>Coders in Tapei designed a map-and-alerts website that would track sexual harassment incidents by location. Their <a href="http://ignite.globalfundforwomen.org/gallery/pygirls-taiwan-girls%E2%80%99-secret-talk" target="_blank">Pervert Map</a> would show exactly where run-ins have occurred, with an anonymous comment feature that would allow users to log details about the incidents, as well as markers to identify safe zones like police stations. For a walkthrough, check out <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHC5Fbbosnc&amp;feature=youtu.be" target="_blank">this video</a>.</p> <p><strong>Red Alert: </strong>In Oakland, coders <a href="http://app.emaze.com/@AOZZITIR/presentation-name#1" target="_blank">proposed an Android app</a> to prevent kidnappings. It would come with a discrete GPS sensor you could attach to the underside of a bracelet or a bag zipper. In threatening situations, a woman could touch the sensor for five seconds to activate "red mode," notifying preset emergency contacts and the authorities. The app would pinpoint her coordinates on a tracking map, with a history page to show her previous locations, as well as provide a list of hospitals and police stations in the area.</p> <p><strong>Anti-Gamergate: </strong>In New York City, one team came up with a video game that puts players in the shoes of a woman in a date-rape situation on a college campus to confront tricky questions around sexual consent. (Check out this similar idea by <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/media/2015/04/video-game-shows-what-sexual-harassment-feels" target="_blank">game designer Nina Freeman</a>.) Another team in the Big Apple created a 3-D animated game that requires players to help an avatar find its way through a maze of obstacles in the quest for reproductive health care. In India, coders proposed an online game about self-defense.</p> <p><strong>Talk It Out: </strong>Sex ed is in a sorry state in much of the United States, <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/01/condoms-sex-ed-video-how-to-put-on-a-sock" target="_blank">as this Mississippi teacher knows</a>. But in India, it's not even part of the curriculum in most schools, and talking openly about sex is <a href="http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2015/01/30/indsex/" target="_blank">pretty much taboo</a>. Coders in Trivandrum created a website with a chat function that lets girls ask counselors about sexually transmitted infections, harassment, and sex. Back in Oakland, a team proposed an online chat room app to facilitate conversations about bullying and other forms of abuse. Another team in Brazil thought up a social network that would link women who want to learn a specific skill with other women who can teach it to them, with the goal of broadening job opportunities.</p></body></html> Mixed Media Race and Ethnicity Tech Top Stories Tue, 21 Apr 2015 13:00:07 +0000 Samantha Michaels 273151 at http://www.motherjones.com 17 Everyday Items That Use a Whole Lot of Water http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/04/blue-jeans-cars-microchips-water-use <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>If you live in the West, particularly in California, where Gov. Jerry Brown has ordered a 25 percent mandatory reduction in household water use, you may have started taking shorter showers. Perhaps a spiky array of cacti now dwells where your lawn used to be. Maybe you've even stopped <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/02/wheres-californias-water-going" target="_blank">drinking almond milk.</a></p> <p>But even those of us who don't live in California are thinking more about how muc water our lifestyles require&mdash;after all, much of the country is now <a href="http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/" target="_blank">in drought</a>, and climate models project that dry spells will become <a href="http://www.climatehotmap.org/global-warming-effects/drought.html" target="_blank">more and more common</a> all over the world in the years to come. A few years back, we crunched the numbers on the water footprints of a few common items:</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Water_use_cards_IVY-01.png"></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Water_use_cards_IVY-02.png"></div> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Water_use_cards_IVY-03.png"></div> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Water_use_cards_IVY-04.png"></div> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Water_use_cards_IVY-05.png"></div> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Water_use_cards_IVY-06.png"></div> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Water_use_cards_IVY-07.png"></div> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Water_use_cards_IVY-08.png"></div> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Water_use_cards_IVY-09.png"></div> <p><em>Icon credits (via Noun Project):Microchip&mdash;Rabee Balakrishnan; Apple&mdash;Ava Rowell; Beer&mdash;Fabian Sanabria; Wine&mdash;Philippe Berthelon Bravo; Can&mdash;Blaise Sewell; Coffee&mdash;Okan Benn; OJ&mdash;Blaise Sewell; Diaper&mdash;Isabel Foo; Chicken&mdash;Ana Maria Lora Macias; Cheese&mdash;Elliott Snyder; Hamburger&mdash;Pei Wen (Winnie) Kwang; T-shirt&mdash;Sergi Delgado; Paper&mdash;Evan Udelsman; Beef&mdash;Jon Testa; Jeans&mdash;Pranav Mote;</em></p></body></html> Blue Marble Charts Food and Ag drought Tue, 21 Apr 2015 10:45:07 +0000 Gabrielle Canon 273936 at http://www.motherjones.com