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The man-made world is horribly designed. But copying nature helps.
Biomimicry is the idea that big challenges in design, engineering, and sustainability have often been solved before through 3.8 billion years of evolution on earth. We just have to go out and find them — just like engineer and birdwatcher Eiji Nakatsu redesigned Japan’s Shinkansen train system based on the aerodynamics of three species of birds. Check the link in our bio to watch the full video. #Biomimicry
We recently analyzed the past two years of transcripts from Sean Hannity’s daily show, Hannity — and found a program that peddles conspiracy theories more than any other in the US.
The Fox News host often mirrors the language of online conspiracy forums; recently, for example, he legitimized the claim that the sexual assault allegations against Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore are part of liberal media’s effort to concoct evidence that he’s a pedophile. These occurrences have only gotten more frequent since his friend and fellow conspiracy theorist Donald Trump became president. (Note that, just because a show appears on this list, doesn't mean it peddled conspiracy theories. For example, if the president tweets out a conspiracy theory and the program covers it, then the show would make an appearance here. That said, there's only so much you can talk about a conspiracy theory before you cross the line into legitimizing it.) Check the link in our bio to read Alvin Chang’s full analysis of the biggest star at the most influential news network in America. #FoxNews #Hannity #Media
Australians have voiced their opinion on same-sex marriage — and they are overwhelmingly in favor of it.
In a historic national survey this week, 61.6% of Australian voters said yes, same-sex marriage should be legalized in their country (with a turnout of 79.5% nationwide). In the image above, Australians celebrate the results at Melbourne’s State Library of Victoria.
The decision is now in the hands of Australia’s government, which opted to survey the population before the parliament took up its own vote on the issue. They promise a vote before Christmas — and if it passes, Australia would become the 25th country to legalize same-sex marriage in at least some jurisdictions. #MarriageEquality
Refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants have for decades left Africa and the Middle East for Europe in search of safety. But unbearably large numbers fail to survive the journey. Thanks to the German daily newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, we now have the best estimate to date of just how many have died making the trek in the past 24 years. And that number continues to grow: Nearly 3,000 have perished this year alone.
The paper published the details of every death last week in a special insert; they called it “the List.” Read all about it — and see the list itself — via the link in our bio. #RefugeeCrisis
Attorney General Jeff Sessions gave sworn testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday — and he had some explaining to do.
You see, he already testified in January that he “was not aware of” any Trump campaign communications with the Russian government, and that he “did not have communications with the Russians.” He also testified last month that he was “not aware of” any Trump campaign surrogates who had communications with the Russians, adding, “I don’t believe it happened.” But recent revelations tell a very different story.
So this time around, Sessions seems to have learned from his previous stumbles: His responses were vague; he repeatedly used the phrase “I don’t recall,” and offered the more limited denial that he knew anything about conversations with Russians related to “interference” with the elections. Watch a snippet of the exchange above — and check the link in our bio for a full explainer. #JeffSessions #Russia #Trump
Exciting news for those who haven’t heard: Vox is launching a daily news explainer podcast — and we just hired our host. Say hello to veteran podcaster Sean Rameswaram. You can expect to hear a lot more from him when we launch in early 2018.
Before this, Sean was a reporter for RadioLab’s More Perfect, a podcast about the Supreme Court, and Public Radio International’s Studio 360. Sean brings a decade of audio experience and breadth of interests to Vox, and we are beyond thrilled to have him join the team.
Following last week’s revelations about Louis C.K., many questioned whether it was okay to retain their fondness for the comedian’s past work. But as Caroline Framke writes on our site today, that’s not the question we should be asking. • “Yes, it’s true that a lot of great art will now forever be marred by disturbing subtext concerning its creators — subtext that might hinder your enjoyment of it,” she writes. “But what about the people they targeted, whose resulting trauma affected their chances or ability to advance their careers and pursue their dreams? What about the great art we lost?” •
Some sexual abusers made great art. But countless more of their victims never had the chance to. Read Framke’s full essay via the link in our bio.
Politics this week was on two distinct tracks. Tuesday's election had disastrous results for Republicans — most notably in Virginia. And explosive new allegations against the GOP’s candidate in an upcoming Alabama Senate race at least raise the prospect of a dramatic upset by Democrats in a deep-red state.
Congressional Republicans, meanwhile, pushed ahead with their plans to enact a large tax cut primarily focused on helping business owners and inheritors of large, multimillion-dollar estates. House and Senate GOP leadership have each unveiled different pieces of legislation with that same primary goal. Overall prospects for the project remain uncertain, but forward progress continues.
Here’s what you need to know.
When we talk about the opioid epidemic, we tend to hear about one particular narrative — a story about big pharma and dirty doctors pushing dangerous, addictive drugs. And yes, that’s part of it. But there’s a bigger story here about how we classify pain and the need for doctors to take their patients seriously.
Search "The Impact" on Apple Podcasts to listen to the full version.
This is how it’s going to work under Danica Roem. Last night, she beat 13-term incumbent Robert G. Marshall, a man who authored a bill to stop transgender people from using the bathroom that corresponds with their gender and once called himself Virginia’s “chief homophobe”, for a seat in Virginia’s House of Delegates. When asked about her opponent at her victory party, this was her response.
Roem, 32, won a surprise victory in the Democratic primary in June. Throughout the race, Marshall refused to debate her or appear at the same events. It made her historic victory as Virginia’s first openly transgender lawmaker extra sweet.
In her victory speech, Roem said she promised to focus on local issues, including Virginia’s infrastructure and passing Medicaid expansion in the state.
"This is the important stuff,” she said. “We can’t get lost in discrimination. We can’t get lost in B.S. We can’t get lost tearing each other down.”
The city of Longyearben, located on the island of Svalbard, is home to just over 2,000 residents. Situated in the Arctic Circle, settlements on Svalbard are hubs of tourism, scientific research, and international cooperation - for now.
The second Vox Borders documentary, by @johnnywharris, investigates the geopolitical landscape of the Arctic, and how different countries, Russia in particular, are maneuvering to advance their interests in the region.
There are massive policy obstacles to bringing a single-payer health care system — in which one government plan covers all citizens — to the United States. But there’s an even bigger philosophical obstacle: Americans haven’t decided whether health insurance is a right. We haven’t made up our minds that the government ought to guarantee this to begin with.
Bernie Sanders recently introduced a bill in the Senate that would create this kind of system, much like Canada’s. So he visited our northern neighbor to find out how it’s working — and learned some hard truths. Visit the link in our bio for Sarah Kliff’s full report. #healthcare
This week was so busy that when the president announced his pick to fill arguably the second most important job in the whole executive branch — chair of the Federal Reserve — people barely paid attention. The other big political story was the race between the Republican Party’s major tax bill and the rising tide of scandal that is threatening to engulf the Trump administration. Here’s what you need to know.
The American Psychological Association asked Americans in a recent poll, “How stressed are you about the future of the country?” The answer was pretty bleak.
The sentiment transcended generations: A majority of baby boomers, Gen X-ers, millennials, and adults over the age of 72 felt it. That means generations who have lived through World War II, the Vietnam War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the September 11 terrorist attacks all said, on average, that right now is the lowest point in US history they can remember.
Do you agree? Let us know in the comments — and check the link in our bio for more info on the study.
It sounds like the setup to a Nicolas Cage movie: on Thursday, the journal Nature published news that a team of physicists and engineers discovered a previously unknown “void” in the Great Pyramid at Giza in Egypt — and they did it with the help of cosmic rays created at the edge of space. *Whoa.* This is a huge finding; no major structure has been discovered inside the Khufu pyramid since the Middle Ages. Read all about it — and see how scientists setup the cosmic ray machine — via the link in our bio.
Is Paul Ryan a courageous politician?
Trust us: you don’t want to miss the discussion of that question, Russia indictments, and more on this week’s episode of #TheWeeds — our wonkiest policy podcast hosted by Ezra Klein, Sarah Kliff, and Matthew Yglesias. Type “The Weeds” on Apple Podcasts to listen to the full version.
Conservative media’s attack on special counsel Robert Mueller was in the works far before indictments were brought against Trump campaign officials this week. They’ve focused heavily on Hillary Clinton and the FBI, and often question Mueller’s credibility in carrying forward these inquiries — trying to plant doubt in viewers’ minds.
We analyzed the past week of Fox News transcripts, measuring them against those cable news rivals CNN and MSNBC — and what we found was striking. Visit the link in our bio to read Alvin Chang’s full analysis. #Mueller #Russia #FoxNews
Not all borders can be drawn on a map.
For the third episode of #VoxBorders, @johnnywharris reports from Japan: In the 20th century, thousands of North Koreans were brought to Japan to serve as laborers and, worse, “comfort women” — a euphemism for sex slaves. Some ended up returning to their homeland, but many stayed. Today, these people are born in Japan, speak Japanese, but are not Japanese citizens. They still venerate their heritage, and have strong ties to the regime in North Korea. But rising nationalism is putting their community at odds with right-wing elements of Japanese society. And so far the main victims are children. Visit our YouTube channel to watch the full documentary.
President Trump finally declared a public health emergency over the opioid epidemic — a drug overdose crisis that kills tens of thousands of Americans each year. “It is time to liberate our communities from this scourge of drug addiction,” he said.
To understand how America’s crisis got to this point, there’s one simple explanation: It’s much easier in America to get high than it is to get help. It started in the 1990s with a savvy pharmaceutical industry and many doctors exhausted by dealing with difficult-to-treat pain patients. Today, the US absolutely dwarfs any other country in terms of opioid prescriptions.
Click the link in our bio to read more about the roots of America’s epidemic — and what Trump’s declaration does (and doesn’t do) to help. #opioids
A month after Hurricane Maria, 79% of Puerto Rico still doesn’t have electricity.
It could be this way for months. And it doesn’t just mean inconvenience for hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans; it’s also greatly slowing the US relief effort, and preventing other parts of the island’s infrastructure — like cellphone towers and sewage systems — from coming back online.
What’s it like to live under those conditions? Vox’s Yochi Dreazen recently visited to find out. Above is a snapshot of what he saw — but don’t miss his full report behind the link in our bio. #PuertoRico #HurricaneMaria
On Tuesday, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) — one of President Trump’s most prominent Republican critics in the chamber — surprisingly confirmed that he will not run for reelection in 2018. He cited the party’s changing tide toward Trump: “None of these appalling features of our current politics should ever be regarded as normal,” he said in a fiery speech on the Senate Floor, met with a standing ovation.
But the Flake-Trump feud is hardly new. Read all about it — and see the full text of the senator’s speech — via the link in our bio. #Trump #JeffFlake
Who owns the Arctic?
As melting ice opens this previously inaccessible part of our globe, the race is on to plant a stake — and Russia is making its Arctic ambitions clear. In the second episode of #VoxBorders, @JohnnyWHarris explains how the race for Arctic domination is playing out in Svalbard, one of the northernmost inhabited parts of the globe. Catch the full video on our Youtube channel. #Arctic #Russia
This week closed with a cacophonous battle over President Trump’s phone call to the grieving widow of a dead Special Forces soldier, launching the now-customary mix of shifting stories and ferocious accusations of “fake news” from the White House.
But while Trump threw Washington into a tizzy, policymaking continued. Here’s what you need to know.
There’s a messy fight brewing at YouTube: the video platform has to appeal to advertisers to make money, but some of its most extreme content creators are launching tough debate around censorship and free speech on the internet. Carlos Maza (@gaywonk) explains the battle in the latest episode of #Strikethrough — you can catch the full version of the video via the link in our bio. #YouTube #vlogging
Last year, a 3-year-old girl named Elodie Fowler slid into an MRI machine at a children’s hospital in Palo Alto. Doctors wanted to better understand a rare genetic condition that was causing swelling along the right side of her body and problems processing food. The scan took 30 minutes, but months later her parents were shocked by the bill: $23,795.47.
The health care prices in the United States are exorbitant, and often secret — and they’re hurting American families. Check the link in our bio to read a special report from Vox’s Sarah Kliff about this uniquely American problem. #healthcare
#Somalia is reeling from what officials say is the deadliest single attack ever to hit the impoverished and war-battered African country: on Saturday, a massive truck bomb killed over 320 people and wounded 300 more at a busy intersection in the capital, Mogadishu. Just a few hours later, a second explosion rocked the suburb of Medina, setting dozens of vehicles on fire.
The government has accused al-Shabaab, the al-Qaeda-linked jihadist group that has been waging a bloody insurgency in the country for more than a decade. Read more about the incident via the link in our bio.
Haiti and the Dominican Republic may share an island — but they’re drastically different worlds. Haitian babies are 2.5 times more likely to die in infancy than Dominican babies, and Haitians in general are likely to be 10 times poorer than Dominicans.
For the first episode of our six-part documentary series, #VoxBorders, reporter @JohnnyWHarris traced the history of how this drastic divide came to be. Visit our YouTube channel to watch the full version of the video — and stay tuned for new episodes every Tuesday.
For the latest episode of Vox Pop’s Earworm, Estelle Caswell spoke with two experts about musical repetition, delving into the science behind these patterns and exploring the many ways our brains react to them. And what she found is there’s a reason why we really, really, really, like repetition in songs — just think of Beyoncé’s “Formation,” Vince Staples’ “Yeah Right,” or Carly Rae Jepsen’s “I Really Like You.”
Visit the link in our bio to watch the full video — and to see Estelle’s awesome playlist of repetitive tunes. #music #beyonce #vincestaples #ladygaga
Governments draw borders. Governments manage borders. But humans live them.
In our newest series, #VoxBorders, @JohnnyWHarris takes you to the communities at the front lines of international relations, where the decisions made in capital cities play out on a human scale. Stay turned for the first documentary, premiering on October 17th.