Mind the Gap

October 9, 2014

Mind the Gap

“According to calculations from the Equal Payback Project, American women are owed $29,811,746,430,000 (that’s U.S. dollars, also known as U.S. golden dollars with Sacagawea on them) due to the wage gap.

Working female Sarah Silverman is fund-raising for this exact amount. She promises that if this fund-raising goal is met, each woman in America will receive a check. If not, the money will go the National Women’s Law Center, which advocates for legal and structural changes to support professional women. They’re only trillions dollars away from removing this gap off the list of gaps facing women today.”

– “Sarah Silverman Is Fund-raising 29 Trillion Dollars,” Maggie Lange, New York Magazine

More:

“Sarah Silverman creates provocative new video on women’s salaries and ‘the $500,000 vagina tax,'” Siri Srinivas, The Guardian

“Everything you need to know about the gender wage gap,” Danielle Kurtzleben, Vox

“Pay Equity & Discrimination,” Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

 Video after the jump (NSFW, of course, it’s Sarah Silverman.)

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Perfect Pizza Through Science!

October 8, 2014

Perfect Pizza Through Science!

Researchers at the University of Auckland (in partnership with Fonterra, the world’s largest dairy products exporter) used a machine to measure the integral elements of possible pizza ingredients as precisely as possible, and then published a paper about it in the Journal of Food Science. … ‘Quantification of Pizza Baking Properties of Different Cheeses, and Their Correlation with Cheese Functionality.’”

“For cheese to brown, the paper explains, it needs to lose moisture first. For the moisture to evaporate, blisters need to form, because where they lift the surface of the cheese, free oil can run off and expose the surface to raw heat. And for a blister to form, steam needs to collect in a pocket and push up the cheese.”

“This is why mozzarella makes for good browning. First, it doesn’t have much free oil. Second, it is very elastic. Third, it contains a lot of moisture. So steam pockets form easily, which create healthy blisters, which quickly expose the surface to browning.”

– “Here is the recipe for perfectly browned pizza cheese as established by science,” Sonali Kohli, Quartz (links added)

More:

“Science Crowns Mozzarella The King Of Pizza Cheese,” Maanvi Singh, NPR

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Marriage Equality in Virginia. And 10 Other States.

October 7, 2014

Marriage Equality in Virginia. And 10 Other States.

The Supreme Court declined to reconsider federal appeals court rulings overturning bans on gay marriage in five states. Same-sex marriage is now legal in Virginia, Utah, Oklahoma, Indiana and Wisconsin. Six other states — Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming — bound by the same appellate rulings had stayed same-sex marriage pending the Supreme Court’s review, and should get with the program shortly. That means marriage equality is the law in 30 states and the District of Columbia.

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Enjoy It While It Lasts, White Folks ….

October 6, 2014

This week’s Saturday Night Live included a “public service announcement” (above) reminding white people that they won’t be in the majority for long, so they better enjoy the “final few years of white dominance” while they can.

On a less humorous note:

“Soon to become a minority in the US, whites express declining support for diversity, psychology study finds,” Stuart Wolpert, Phys.org

“Whites think discrimination against whites is a bigger problem than bias against blacks,” Michael A. Fletcher, Washington Post

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Paula Deen’s ‘Comeback’ Makes No Splash

October 5, 2014

Paula Deen's 'Comeback' Makes No Splash
Disgraced Food Network star Paula Deen rolled out her new online video network last week and no one noticed, despite her best efforts. Much of  the new “network” content consists of reruns of Ms. Deen’s old cable shows. The price of entry: $9.99 a month, $119.88 a year (not including butter).

More:

“The Future of Cheesecake Will Not Be Televised: Paula Deen Moves Online,” Felix Gillette, Businessweek

“Paula Deen Documentary and $10 Reruns Coming to New Network,” Khushbu Shah, Eater

“Paula Deen Is Still Apologetic and Very Confused,” Daniela Galarza

“The Leftovers,” Taffy Brodesser-Akner, Medium

“Steve Harvey Recruits Paula Deen to Teach Culinary Arts,” Natelege Whaley, BET News

“What’s Really Behind That Crazy New Paula Deen/Steve Harvey Partnership,” Holly Eagleson, Takepart

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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Accordion Tribe

October 3, 2014

Accordion Tribe
Accordion Tribean international accordion group featuring Bratko Bibič (Slovenia), Lars Hollmer (Sweden), Maria Kalaniemi(Finland), Guy Klucevsek (USA/Slovenia) and Otto Lechner (Austria), performed and recorded from 1996 to 2010. Stefan Schwietert made a film about them in 2004.

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Power Struggle: Electric Utilities Fight Solar Advocates

October 1, 2014

Power Struggle: Electric Utilities Fight Solar Advocates

“As solar technology gets dramatically cheaper, tens of thousands of Americans are putting photovoltaic panels up on their roofs, generating their own power. At the same time, 43 states and Washington DC have ‘net metering’ laws that allow solar-powered households to sell their excess electricity back to the grid at retail prices.

That’s a genuine problem for utilities. All these solar households are now buying less and less electricity, but the utilities still have to manage the costs of connecting them to the grid. Indeed, a new study from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory argues that, without policy changes, this trend could soon put utilities in dire financial straits. If rooftop solar were to grab 10 percent of the market over the next decade, utility earnings could decline as much as 41 percent.

To avoid that fate, many utilities are now pushing for reforms that would at least slow the breakneck growth of rooftop solar — say, by scaling back those ‘net metering’ laws. And that’s opened up a war with many fronts.”

– “Solar power is growing so fast that older energy companies are trying to stop it,” Brad Plumer, Vox

More:

“Solar Advocates Fight Utilities Over Grid Access,” Jeff Brady, NPR

“Taxes, fees: the worldwide battle between utilities and solar,” Tracy Rucinski and Byron Kaye, Reuters

“Old Energy’ Utilities See Rising Threat from Solar,” Taegan Goddard, Wonk Wire

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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The Umbrella Revolution

September 30, 2014

The Umbrella Revolution

Student protesters in Hong Kong’s Central District have been protecting themselves with umbrellas and plastic sheets. It’s raining tear gas and pepper spray.

Hong Kong was returned to Chinese sovereignty in 1997 with the promise of “One Country, Two Systems,” a pledge that HK citizens could choose their own leaders by 2017. Beijing has reneged on this, hence the pro-democracy protests and the umbrellas. But don’t try to email, text, post, or tweet the word “umbrella” in the city today or you’ll get in trouble with Chinese authorities.

Some Hong Kong protesters put down their umbrellas to meet police with the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” gesture they learned from Ferguson’s protesters, but they wear surgical masks and goggles because it doesn’t stop the pepper spray.

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Backyard Chickens Spread Salmonella

September 29, 2014

Backyard Chickens Spread Salmonella

Backyard chickens rule the roost at local regulation hearings, and designer coops and exotic chickens are the new status symbols. The media and Web may abound with pictures of cute kids cuddling hens, but pet family fowls are not an unmixed blessing:

“As of September 23, 2014, a total of 344 persons infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Infantis, Salmonella Newport, or Salmonella Hadar have been reported from 42 states and Puerto Rico.

31% of ill persons have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported.

Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback findings have linked this outbreak of human Salmonella infections to contact with chicks, ducklings, and other live poultry from Mt. Healthy Hatcheries in Ohio.

78% of ill people reported contact with live poultry in the week before their illness began.”

– “Multistate Outbreak of Human Salmonella Infections Linked to Live Poultry in Backyard Flocks,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

More:

“Backyard Chickens: Cute, Trendy Spreaders Of Salmonella,” Nancy Shute, NPR

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Image from the National Nursery Book

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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How to Write a Joke

September 28, 2014

How to write a joke: Jerry Seinfeld explained it to the New York Times.

Related:

“Jerry Seinfeld Intends to Die Standing Up,” Jonah Weiner, New York Times Magazine

________________

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Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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