The Unfair $23 Billion Tobacco Verdict

Sandip Roy

But the catch is Johnson died at the age of 36. So for much of his life he must have known full well the dangers of smoking. From 1966, packets in the US warned smoking may be hazardous to health. From 1970 it became a more definitive "The Surgeon General Has Determined that Cigarette Smoking is Dangerous to Your Health". That Johnson could not quit his addiction is a different matter. But the verdict is clearly less about Johnson’s tragedy as it is about teaching cigarette companies a lesson for peddling a vice. 

Invasion of the Italian Futurists

Sandra Bertrand

Judging by their 1909 manifesto, the Italian Futurists were a violent lot.  They called for nothing less than the destruction of museums, libraries and feminism.  They intended to “glorify war, the only hygiene of the world,” and to “sing to the love of danger.”  If their manifestos fell a little flat, their creative endeavors were all-encompassing, reconstructing painting, sculpture, architecture, fashion and even performance to such an extent that we would never look at the world in quite the same way again.

California Agriculture Is at Risk of Greatest Water Loss To Date

Kat Kerlin

The study found that the drought — the third most severe on record — is responsible for the greatest water loss ever seen in California agriculture, with river water for Central Valley farms reduced by roughly one-third. Groundwater pumping is expected to replace most river water losses, with some areas more than doubling their pumping rate over the previous year, the study said. More than 80 percent of this replacement pumping occurs in the San Joaquin Valley and Tulare Basin.

‘Transendence,’ ‘Heaven Is for Real’ Arrive on Home Video

The themes in “Transcendence” are every bit as complicated and engaging as those in Nolan’s movies. Unfortunately, the execution is less convincing. The focus is on Will and Evelyn Caster (Johnny Depp and Rebecca Hall), a power couple working on the most advanced artificial intelligence system in the world. Despite their ties to technology, Will and Evelyn are down to earth. 

High Rents Force New York Chinatown Retailers to Seek Out Other Locations

Rong Xiaoqing

Just a few blocks north of Chen’s crammed shop is a different world. Ten or so spacious storefronts are completely empty, with “for rent” banners on the awnings covered in dust. Some of them have been left like that for more than a year, as new tenants can’t afford the increased rents after former tenants are pushed out. Thanks to skyrocketing rents in recent years, this eerie contrast – shops crammed into tiny spaces next door to vacancies of spacious storefronts -- has become a fixed image in Chinatown. 

Facebook and the Powers of Media Manipulation

Marty Kaplan

The average Facebook user sees only 20 percent of the 1,500 stories per day that could have shown up in their news feed.  The posts you receive are determined by algorithms whose bottom line is Facebook’s bottom line.  The company is constantly adjusting all kinds of dials, quietly looking for the optimal mix to make us spend more of our time and money on Facebook.  Of course the more we’re on Facebook, the more information they have about us to fine-tune their formulas for picking ads to show us.  

The Life and Times of Paul Bowles: The Man Inside the Cage

Sandra Bertrand

It seems in many ways that Paul Bowles led a charmed life.  The new sounds of jazz had been forbidden in an inordinately strict household—though his mother’s reading of Edgar Allen Poe became an inspiration for his later stories.  A closeted homosexual and a fatalist at heart, he had tossed a coin:  heads he would take his own life, tails he would head for the City of Light.  His early musical talents caught the ear of composer Aaron Copland, his traveling companion for his first trip to Tangier.  But it was in Paris that Gertrude Stein discovered her “Freddie.”  

Should Women Have Paid Menstrual Leave?

Stephanie Stark

A handful of East Asian countries seem to think so. Women in Taiwan get three paid days off per year for menstrual leave. Indonesian women are given two days per month. In South Korea, they are awarded back pay if they do not take their allotted days. The Philippines order “mandatory menstruation leave” to female private and government employees, and provide half pay for those who are menopausal and pregnant. And last year in Russia, a lawmaker attempted to pass two days off monthly for women during their menstruation cycle, claiming women’s memories and efficiency at work are deterred.

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