Volunteer elves rally for Magic of Christmas in Calgary

More than 300 volunteer elves came together for the annual Magic of Christmas rally in Calgary on Saturday.
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Portrait of a Lady on Fire director Céline Sciamma on her ravishing romantic masterpiece
Héloïse and Marianne comfort each other with the rolling sea behind them. | Neon “Titanic is the hugest success, and it’s because it’s totally queer,” says the French filmmaker. Few movies have ever hit me as hard as Portrait of a Lady on Fire, the new film from French director Céline Sciamma. (Read my review here.) Sciamma’s unique talent for capturing the lives of women who are rarely placed at the center of cinematic stories might not seem to be a particularly strong fit for a period piece about an aristocratic woman dreading her impending marriage. But in the story of the budding romance between Héloïse (the aforementioned aristocrat) and Marianne (the woman who will paint her portrait), Sciamma found a way to talk about so much of the history that usually is left on the cutting room floor, of the women and queer people of the past who are too often pushed to the edges of the stories we tell about times long gone. The movie is quietly radical in its gender and class politics, but it’s also wholly approachable. At one point when we spoke, Sciamma said she thought a lot about the movie Titanic while making her own film, and it shows. This is a classic love story, but one that hides considerable political depths. It’s also quietly radical in the way it uses digital cameras to depict the past, allowing for the capturing of images in lower light levels than would have been possible with more traditional methods. Whole scenes are lit seemingly entirely by fireplaces or candles, and Sciamma’s camera crew had to invent new methods of lighting scenes just to get the images the director wanted. There’s lots to talk about with Portrait of a Lady on Fire, which is why I was so glad to speak with Sciamma when she visited Los Angeles (for the first time ever, she said) to attend the Golden Globes. (Portrait was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film there but lost to Parasite.) Our conversation ranged all over the map, from lighting rigs to Greek myths. It’s been lightly edited for length and clarity. Amy Sussman/Getty Images for BAFTA LA Céline Sciamma (center) attends the BAFTA Tea Party with Portrait of a Lady on Fire stars Adèle Haenel (left) and Noémie Merlant. Emily VanDerWerff This movie is so good at using the camera to relay the ways that women watch each other, or the way they look at things they want. I haven’t seen a movie capture that in quite the way this one does. How did you build that into the film at every level? Céline Sciamma I see [the movie] as a manifesto about the female gaze. I see this as such a strong opportunity to make new stuff, new images, new narratives. They are such powerful images, and they are so not seen. And you are in charge. You have a strong responsibility. But also, there are so many opportunities to be playful. To embody ideas that matter a lot to myself, but also to a lot of people. I see it as a really great dynamic for creating and also very fun visually. For instance, ask yourself the question of “how do you embody sorority?” The answer being, a long take, a wide shot, of three women in the kitchen with social hierarchy being totally turned around, with the aristocratic women cooking, whereas the maid is an artist and the artist is looking at the maid. And they’re silent. This is such a powerful image, and it’s so easy to make. People are telling me, “Oh, your film is a utopia.” And I’m like, “Yeah, but our utopias are not ideas we have in our minds. They’re not things we wish we were living. They’re rooted in our own experience.” I know about sorority, I know about an all-women world. It’s not a utopia. It’s part of my life. And that’s what I rely on to make these images. Emily VanDerWerff This movie is also about how the female gaze produces art and the way a woman who is an artist perceives the world. How true was that to your own experience as a woman artist? Céline Sciamma It is close. It’s also a portrait of women artists in general, because I did a lot of research on this period. I chose this moment of art history because there were hundreds of women painters at the time that had flourishing careers. We’re always being told about women’s progress and women’s opportunity — that we’re “getting there.” But it’s not true. It’s cycles. And we can see it today that we experience backlash also. And they did also, at the time. There was a strong female critic scene that we never hear about. And they were looking at women’s body of work more than their male colleagues were, for instance. The film is a love story, but it’s also about creating. That’s why I decided to depart from the biopic dynamic, which is always about this strong portrait of a strong woman and I think this is politically not good. It’s very liberal. It’s about, “Oh, you can make it in this hard world!” And strong women — what’s “strong”? I wanted to invent [a woman] to talk about [all women] and not have this heroic dynamic. It’s not about her body of work. It’s about an artist’s work, her questions, her difficulties, and her success within one frame. It’s not about a destiny. That was really important for me, to show somebody at work. Neon Here’s the lady on fire you’ve heard so much about. Emily VanDerWerff What do you think is powerful about examining the historical limitations placed on women and queer people? There are certainly lots of critics and artists who want to create narratives of empowerment, and those can be great. But I sometimes love stories like this, about the limitations that can be placed on us, even more. Héloïse’s mother can basically tell her who to marry, for example. Céline Sciamma Héloïse’s character is much more restrained, even though she is an aristocratic woman, than Marianne’s character. The tragedy of lesbian life is not the tragedy of lesbian representation. It’s not the same. Lesbians have been activists. They’ve had the opportunity to live their life more freely sometimes, than straight women, because they could avoid a lot of things, like getting married and having children. If you look at the suffragettes, for instance, lesbians were there. The tragedy is that we get erased from history. But we are activists and sometimes more in the position to be. They talk about that in the movie. Marianne [who can live more openly] seems to have more opportunity than Héloïse. These stories are really dangerous for patriarchy. That’s why the male gaze is obsessed with representing lesbians, for instance. It’s a way to control it. Our stories are powerful because they are dangerous. We are dangerous. So it’s a very good strategy to despise us — to undermine us — because it’s giving us less leverage for a very powerful political dynamic. The narrative of the film is based on equality among the love story, because there is no gender domination. Embodying equality in a love dialogue could be a wake-up call for a lot of persons. That’s why it’s so important to tell stories. It’s to represent us, so a lot of people feel seen. And the film is about that mutual gazing. But it politically involves much more than our stories. Emily VanDerWerff When you see the man sitting at the table late in the film, after having spent so long with only women, it’s such a shocking moment. Céline Sciamma Yeah, it’s a jump scare of patriarchy. Like, they look like that. We forget how they look. [laughs] Neon Sophie (left) and Marianne form an unlikely friendship. Emily VanDerWerff I’ve been wondering how you captured some of those shots in such low light. Was it shot digitally? Céline Sciamma Yeah. It was a very strong choice to shoot in digital, especially with a period piece. We tried 35 [millimeter film]. When we did the tryouts, my director of photography Claire Mathon and I wanted to shoot digital for one reason. We wanted to give back to these women from the past their hearts, their desire, the rush of blood to the cheek. It was a love story, of course, but it was also a movie about the rise of desire. We wanted to look at desire, which is something we rarely see because of the strong convention in cinema of love at first sight. We always agree that of course you’re going to totally fall in love. Digital was about the rush of blood. Like, can you feel this? We began with shooting the exteriors for eight days. I wanted it to be kind of gothic, so it’s colorful, but it’s more Brontë sisters, the gray and the rain. And it was super sunny [when we shot the exteriors]! Cinema is about welcoming things with enthusiasm, especially things that you don’t have power over. You have so much power over everything that sometimes it can be super disturbing that you don’t get what you expect, especially with period pieces where you design everything. And the fact that the sun came in, we were like, this is good news, and we have to bring back this light now to our castle in the Parisian periphery [where the interiors were shot]. The lighting was taking a lot of time, because the castle was very old, so we couldn’t put anything on the walls — no lighting, nothing. So it was all coming from the outside. You know, this big structure with a lot of light involved. So every scene was very smoothly lit [to mimic the look of the bright sun]. Sometimes it’s painful, because you have less time with the actors and you dedicate a lot of time to the light. In cinema, the time you devote says a lot. And every shot was very, very precisely lit. Emily VanDerWerff Greta Gerwig gave an interview where she said that before she shot Little Women, Steven Spielberg told her that if you’re making a movie set in the 1800s, it really needs to be shot on film. Normally, I’d agree with that, but I think your film captures how it would feel to be in a room where there’s only the one light source, a fireplace or candle or something. How did you create that world where there might be only the one light source over in the corner or the wall, and it’s dark everywhere else? Céline Sciamma You had to be very inventive. Period pieces are all about choosing what you’re going to do with the candles. And a character walking with a candle took so much [light] around. Sometimes the actors, they couldn’t move. They were surrounded with rope lights that were invented by the camera crew. You invent your own way of lighting things, which is a lesson you can learn from Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon,where he actually invented optics to find the right candle lighting. I entered the room, and I was amazed. It was really like a fantasy world with a lot of rope lights everywhere. And it’s pretty radical in a way, because it’s not naturalistic, yet it feels so true. Emily VanDerWerff The movie’s class politics are interesting, too. Even though Marianne has a little bit more freedom than Héloïse, they both have more freedom than Sophie, the maid. How did you want to talk about class in the middle of all of these other sociopolitical dynamics? Céline Sciamma It’s two levels. It’s trying to embody how sorority can abolish social hierarchy but within a collective, small group with a kind of friendship. But that doesn’t mean that we’re naive. Sophie’s basically more stuck than any of them. But it’s also about the narrative and how the story never portrays her as the servant. She’s never in the frame if she doesn’t have something to say or a stake for herself. She’s never an extra. She disappears from the movie for a long time, and then she comes back when she has her own journey, which is a way to treat her as a whole character, but not by taking the step of showing the oppression and being oppressive with the character and by making her perform what’s expected from a maid in cinema. Does she know about their love story? We’ll never know. This is a decision that the film makes that is not a betrayal to the reality of the maid but that actually embodies her as a full human. That’s how cinema can bring more equality without being in a fantasy. Emily VanDerWerff In talking about how this movie depicts sorority and lesbians being at the forefront of political revolutions, I’m reminded that Sophie has an abortion in this movie. It feels like such a necessary part of the story, but if you really think about it, it’s not as central as the love story. What made it so important to put in the film? Céline Sciamma It’s a two-step scene. Because there’s an abortion scene, and the three women then represent the abortion by painting it. And, I always thought about that in this two-step thing, which some people find disturbing. There’s this French author named Annie Ernaux, and she wrote a book about her own abortion, and in this book, she says there is no museum in the world where there is a frame called “The Abortion.” It’s an everyday thing, but it’s never represented. And why? When you’re looking at something that hasn’t been represented much, you’re filling a void. But it has to belong to this film. It’s not about making an abortion scene. It’s about making the abortion scene of that film and the fact that there’s a child on the bed consoling [Sophie as she goes through the abortion]. It’s the grammar of the film, which is a lot about people consoling each other. Those three things were really important to me in the process of making this scene. And also telling the audience that abortion is not about not liking kids. It’s about having the kids you want, when you want. Emily VanDerWerff When they create the painting of the abortion, it’s almost as if they all wordlessly agree it has to be done. I’ve seen a few people saying, however, that they felt like Sophie wasn’t asked how she felt about Marianne recreating this moment for a painting, and that’s maybe uncomfortable for her. What made that moment so potent for you? Céline Sciamma That scene is about the collaborative dynamic in the film. I really wanted Héloïse [the model] to have the input [on the painter]. “Look,” she says to the painter. “You should look.” She knows. What I wanted to embody in that scene is the input, the idea, the intellectual process of representing the abortion belongs to the model. I really wanted to talk about this model-painter dynamic in a different way, because, you know, that was the only opportunity women had to be in workshops of the painter was to be models. There were very few opportunities to be artists because they didn’t get the education. And I really wanted to show that dynamic because these characters have ceased that dynamic. They weren’t silent, naked, inspiring women just because they’re beautiful in the room. They were very active, and they put all their brains into this. And that’s also what I wanted to show. And also, the movie is fully about consent and how consent is also super erotic and super sexy. Sophie, even though she went through this, she’s being asked what she wants. And each time they touch each other, they never touch each other without asking first. We tried to make it very mutual. Neon Marianne and Héloïse delight in their newfound love. Emily VanDerWerff What about the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, which Marianne, Héloïse, and Sophie have very different opinions on, makes it such a good grounding point for the film? Céline Sciamma The film represents a lot of mythologies about the model and the artist. Orpheus and Eurydice is a myth that has been looked at by feminists a lot, because it’s basically about how the male gaze can kill you. This tradition of looking at Orpheus and Eurydice like that and trying to see the point of Eurydice was, for me, a way to play with this myth. I wanted those women to have strong intellectual conversations and perspectives, and I really crafted that scene where they talk about Orpheus and Eurydice as a “Netflix and chill” scene. You know? They get to talk about it, and each one has their own perspective. We look at myth as something from the past that can give us lessons. Myth is not about the lessons. It’s not about the morality of it. It’s about the tension. And I wanted to embody that: the tension and the question. Emily VanDerWerff We’ve talked a lot about the power of gaze, of being able to see someone. But what’s the power of being seen, of Héloïse and Marianne finally seeing each other? Céline Sciamma It’s super hard to answer this question! [Being seen] makes you kind of fragile. Maybe that’s why people are so afraid. Maybe that’s why there are so many power dynamics in love stories. I think it’s about being totally fragile. It’s like the shot-reverse shot dynamic at the moment when the painter realizes that she’s being looked at, when Héloïse says “Well, if you’re looking at me, who am I looking at?” Suddenly, there’s a wide shot of her behind the canvas and she seems so fragile and lonely. But it definitely makes her shift and makes her a better lover and a better artist. Emily VanDerWerff I have been thinking about love stories where it feels like the two lovers actually see each other, and they almost always end tragically, like we can’t believe that could be a sustainable dynamic in some way. Céline Sciamma Yeah. For instance, Titanic. Titanic is the hugest success, and it’s because it’s totally queer. Leonardo DiCaprio was totally androgynous at the time. DiCaprio and Kate Winslet were both not known — not stars — so there was no power dynamic between them. Like, if you look at the sex scene in Titanic, she’s on top. He’s the one who’s being totally fragile and insecure. I think it was a huge success because it’s a love story with equality and with emancipation. I think the movies are in dialogue. I thought a lot about Titanic because it’s also the present of a love story and the memory of a love story. A successful love story should not be about eternal possession. No, it should be about emancipation. And it is an emancipation story, because maybe [Kate Winslet’s character in Titanic] lost this love, but we see her being free and riding horses and wearing pants. It’s all about emancipation. The success of a love story is not about how long it lasts. It’s not about ending your life together. Him dying is tragic, but it’s not the end of the story. In equality, there is emancipation. Portrait of a Lady on Fire is in theaters now. It will expand throughout the country in the weeks to come. The Criterion Collection will release it on DVD and Blu-ray later this year.
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Mike Bloomberg has a plan to clean up electricity and it doesn’t need Congress
Like everything in stock art world, natural gas power plants are beautiful at sunset. | Shutterstock Bloomberg would supercharge the EPA to get rid of coal and block new natural gas. This piece was originally published on December 17 and has been lightly updated. Billionaire Michael Bloomberg is a problematic presidential candidate for all sorts of reasons. Progressives are irritated that he is attempting to brute-force his way into the Democratic primary by spending more on ad campaigns than the rest of the primary field combined. Then there’s his lamentable record on civil liberties and race relations. And the fact that he was a Republican as New York City mayor, he endorsed George W. Bush’s 2004 reelection, and he has given money to and hosted fundraisers for Republicans as recently as 2018. When it comes to climate change, however, Bloomberg’s record is almost entirely positive. He was instrumental in standing up and funding the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, which has been one of the most ruthlessly effective activist campaigns of my lifetime. Recently, the Associated Press, in a “fact check,” rebutted the notion that Bloomberg is single-handedly responsible for all recent coal-plant closures — and it’s true, market forces helped, as did government policy. But everyone who has paid attention to the power sector knows that the kind of activist pressure he has supported frequently makes the difference at the margin. More recently, Bloomberg pledged $500 million to an expanded Beyond Carbon campaign, which will shoot for a 100 percent clean-energy economy, taking on not only coal but also natural gas, the next key battle in US decarbonization. This fact has not received enough attention — if Bloomberg brings the same discipline and credibility to the anti-natural gas fight that he brought to the anti-coal fight, it could help shift the national landscape. Which brings us to the Bloomberg presidential campaign’s first policy proposal on climate change, released in December. (In January, he released a second plan to make buildings zero carbon by 2025.) The first plan is worth noting for just this reason: It explicitly targets natural gas. We’ll also replace existing gas plants – and stop the construction of new ones. This is critical to stopping the worst effects of climate change because gas is now a bigger source of climate pollution than coal, and emissions from gas are growing.— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) December 13, 2019 The premise of Bloomberg’s campaign is that he is an experienced, level-headed executive, ready to run things with a steady hand. In keeping with that theme, his plan for clean electricity — which targets 80 percent greenhouse gas emission reductions in the power sector by 2028 “moving toward 100% as soon as possible thereafter” — focuses entirely on executive powers. It presumes no legislative help. It contains only achievable promises, consistent with what can be done by a president, acting alone, within a president’s term. That is somewhat in contrast to the sweeping, speculative plans from the other candidates, and likely to make the plan unpopular among activists, but it is nonetheless a good perspective into what any Democratic president could do if Congress goes the wrong way. Let’s take a look. Bloomberg would supercharge the EPA to get rid of coal and block new natural gas There are several pieces to the plan, including financial support for clean energy technologies, removing fossil fuel subsidies from the tax code, a moratorium on new fossil fuel leases on public land, restoring scientific integrity at the EPA, and putting frontline communities and environmental justice at the heart of federal planning. But the two pieces I want to focus on have to do with coal and natural gas. Specifically, Bloomberg promises to shut down the remaining 251 US coal plants and replace them with clean energy. And he promises to “stop the rush to build all proposed gas plants.” Coal plants will be shut down by “increasingly stringent emissions and pollution limits.” Elsewhere, he promises to restore and strengthen all the rules that Trump has been rolling back, so presumably those limits will include tightened regulations on mercury and air toxics, coal ash, SO2 and NOx, and other air and water pollutants. But the centerpiece, according to campaign advisers, will be a version 2.0 of Obama’s Clean Power Plan (which Trump has also rolled back), targeting 80 percent power-sector carbon reductions by 2028, as well as sharp reductions in local pollutants like SO2 and NOx. As part of our Beyond Coal campaign, we’ve closed more than half of the coal plants in the country - even with President Trump working against us. We’ve set a goal of retiring all of them and replacing coal with clean energy sources.— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) December 13, 2019 A new CPP that stringent, focused primarily on public health, would wipe out coal power plants. But it would also hit natural gas plants. In addition, to head off the current incoming rush of new natural gas plants, Bloomberg’s EPA would issue a draft New Source Performance Standard (something else Obama did that Trump rolled back), which would require all new power plants to use the best available technology — namely, carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) — to reduce GHG emissions (along with NOx, etc.). That would, at a stroke, cancel 99 percent of those new natural gas plants. (Who knows, maybe a plant or two will figure out how to make CCS feasible.) And because of a quirk of the Clean Air Act, a draft New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) has the force of law as soon as it is issued, but it can’t be challenged in court until it is finalized, which is one reason industry loathes the NSPS provision. (Coal baron Robert Murray took this to the Supreme Court and lost.) Companies will have to begin aligning their future plans around the NSPS the moment a draft is issued. There are also other tools in the executive toolbox with which to go after natural gas, including national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for NOx, soot, and ozone, but it is mainly the combination of the CPP2.0 and the NSPS that would take out coal and natural gas. This is a targeted approach, going after the polluters in the sector, putting public health out front. It lacks a certain inspiration factor, but it has the considerable virtue of being something that a president — at least a president willing to hire good people and invest political capital — has a high probability of being able to accomplish. All executive actions will face court challenge Of course any new rules from a Bloomberg EPA would immediately face legal challenge, many of them would end up in the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court shows every sign of being hostile to environmental and climate change rules. There is a decent chance a Roberts Court would kill some or all of any activist EPA’s efforts. However, there are some countervailing considerations. First, what the hell else is a president going to do? While Congress mucks around, or just as likely does nothing, a president has to act on the priorities that got him or her elected. Using the powers of the presidency entails court review. The rules can be thoughtful and legally solid, but there’s ultimately not much the president can do if federal or Supreme Court judges choose to act as a partisan enforcers. (There’s no word on whether Bloomberg would support more radical measures like packing the Supreme Court or the federal courts.) Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images Not a hopeful alliance for climate hawks. Second, if there’s one thing to learn from Obama’s experience, it’s that deliberate, careful sequencing gets you nowhere. Obama didn’t pull the trigger on EPA carbon regulationsuntil it was beyond clear that there would be no climate change legislation. Many carbon-related rules didn’t have time to go into effect or be upheld in court. In retrospect, Obama should have done what Trump has done: blitzed. Do everything at once. Overwhelm the capacity of opponents to focus. For Bloomberg, that could mean a whole suite of new agency rules, all at once, alongside whatever may be going on legislatively. The Supreme Court simply doesn’t have the capacity to hear more than a fraction of the resulting lawsuits, and in federal courts, despite the hack judges McConnell is churning out, the legal defenders of Obama regulations have racked up a solid record. Campaign advisers also note that rules premised on public health have a longer and more robust record than carbon-focused rules. Third, even as cases wind their way through the courts, companies will be realigning around the new targets. That’s what happened around Obama’s CPP, and although that rule ultimately never received a decisive court judgment, companies began shifting their business plans in response. Consequently, next year the US will reach the initial CPP goal — 32 percent power-sector carbon reductions from 2005 levels by 2030 — a decade early. The same would happen in response to a CPP2.0 targeting 80 percent reductions by 2028, issued early in the next president’s term. By 2024, or whenever the case finally reached the Supreme Court, companies will have realigned around the new direction (which will be reinforced by renewed international climate efforts). What to take away from Bloomberg’s plan I don’t personally think much of the idea of Bloomberg as president and I don’t think he has much of a shot anyway — he failed to qualify for the next debates — but on climate policy, perhaps uniquely among policy issues (save gun control), it is worth listening to what he proposes. He is an unconventional face for an environmental campaign and has, for better or worse, brought attention and credibility to the fight against fossil fuels among audiences environmentalists can’t always reach. Having followed politics for years, I am intensely skeptical of claims that executive experience is any special preparation for the presidency. (Both George W. Bush and Donald Trump promised to “run the government like a business,” so ...) But Bloomberg’s executive experience really does seem to have helped the Beyond Coal campaign. As its leaders were the first to say, Bloomberg helped focus the campaign relentlessly on data and accountability, imposing a discipline that is, ahem, not always present in the nonprofit advocacy world. And it paid off — almost 300 plants, more than half the US fleet, have shut down. “In God we trust, everyone else bring data.” @MikeBloomberg #Bloomberg2020— N.C. for Mike (@NCforMike) December 15, 2019 The Bloomberg plan promises “incentives for innovations in data and technology to monitor and analyze sources of pollution, enabling stronger enforcement against polluters.” This suggests he wants to bring that same data-focused accountability back to the EPA. If he, or any president, can do that successfully, it would make a huge difference. Bloomberg has more climate policy on the way. The campaign has also pledged to target 50 percent economy-wide emission reductions by 2030, a more ambitious goal that will certainly require some help from Congress, especially in hard-to-reach sectors like industry and agriculture, but it hasn’t released any policy details on that stuff yet. Still, a practical but ambitious plan to use the EPA — to prevent a rush to natural gas plants, to drive coal underground for good, and to accelerate a clean-energy transition in the power sector — should be on the agenda of any new Democratic president. And it should get underway on day one, whatever broader legislative efforts may unfold alongside it.
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Everywhere basic income has been tried, in one map
Grace receives $22 a month as part of a 12-year universal basic income study run by the charity GiveDirectly that began in October 2016 in Western Kenya. | Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images Which countries have experimented with basic income — and what were the results? After hundreds of years, basic income seems to be finally catching on. The general idea — that the government should give every citizen a regular infusion of free money with no strings attached — has been around since the 16th century. But it’s experienced a remarkable resurgence over the past few years, moving from the fringes into the mainstream. Advocates ranging from tech billionaire Mark Zuckerberg to libertarian economist Milton Friedman have endorsed it. Andrew Yang popularized it on the Democratic debate stage. And around the world, countries are running pilot programs to test it. Scott Olson/Getty Images Andrew Yang campaigning in Manchester, New Hampshire, on February 8, 2020. Yang touted a universal basic income during his presidential campaign. With a few exceptions — Kenya, where a big experiment in universal basic income (UBI) is underway; Iran, which has a nationwide unconditional cash transfer program; and Alaska, which gives an annual dividend to everyone in the state — basic incomeprograms are offering money to small groups of a few hundred or a few thousand people, not an entire polity. In other words, they offer a basic income, but not a universal basic income. These small-scale trials are necessary because governments want to have a good sense of what the effects will be before they start shelling out many billions or trillionsof dollars. Proponents of basic income argue it’s the best way to end poverty: Just give everyone money! Some also say it’ll help society cope with a coming era of automation-induced joblessness. And the evidence so far suggests that getting a basic income tends to boost happiness, health, school attendance, and trust in social institutions, while reducing crime. But critics worry that it will disincentivize work, cheating economies out of productivity and cheating individuals out of the sense of meaning that work can bring. Plus, they say, it’s just plain unaffordable for the government to pay every citizen enough to live on regardless of whether they work. The evidence so far does not support these critiques, as you’ll see. Below are all the places that are trying or have tried some version of basic income. You’ll find that only unconditionalcash transfers are included here. Some 130 countries, from Mexico to Italy to Uganda, have instituted conditionalcash transfers, which may require recipients to send their kids to school or go for health checkups. Although these programs have proven beneficial in some cases, they’re not the subject of this piece. Note that most of the basic income projects here are funded by governments, but a few are funded by private donors. Scroll down for details on how each place gave out or is giving out free money — and what behavioral effects it seems to have on the recipients. Christina Animashaun/Vox United States The US has tried a few basic income experiments, but most have been short-lived small-scale trials. Alaska is an exception. Since 1982, the state has given each citizen an annual check just for being alive, effectively wiping out extreme poverty. The money — which can range from around $2,000 per person when oil prices are high to $1,000 in cheaper gas years — comes from the Alaska Permanent Fund, a state-owned investment fund financed by oil revenues. Economists investigated whether the payment was leading people to work less and found that “the dividend had no effect on employment” overall. (It has, apparently, had an effect on fertility, encouraging families to have more kids. It’s also had some unexpected effects onthe state’s politics.) Mark Thiessen/AP Katherine Hayes demonstrates urging Alaska lawmakers to fund a full oil wealth fund check, known locally as the PFD or Permanent Fund Dividend, on July 8, 2019, in Wasilla, Alaska. Another long-running program is the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Casino Dividend in North Carolina. Since 1997, revenue from a casino on tribal land has been given to every tribal member, no strings attached. Each person gets on average somewhere between $4,000 and $6,000 per year. Economists found that it doesn’t make them work less. It does lead to improved education and mental health, and decreased addiction and crime. Between 1968 and 1974, the US experimented with giving cash to around 7,500 people in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Iowa, North Carolina, Seattle, Denver, and Gary, Indiana. The money proved beneficial to recipients but did modestly reduce the hours they worked; Dylan Matthews has explained for Vox why we shouldn’t make too much of that slight reduction. What about current projects? Stockton, California, is in the midst of an 18-month experiment: It’s giving $500 per month to 125 people. The money comes from individual and foundation philanthropy, with the initial $1 million in funding coming from the Economic Security Project. The first batch of data shows the recipients are mostly spending the money on food, clothes, and utility bills. Y Combinator, which previously ran a small trial in Oakland, California, is now planning to start a new trial elsewhere in the US. Canada Between 1974 and 1979, Canada ran a randomized controlled trial in the province of Manitoba, choosing one farming town, Dauphin, as a “saturation site” where every family was eligible to participate in a basic income experiment. The basic income seemed to benefit residents’ physical and mental health — there was a decline in doctor visits and an 8.5 percent reduction in the rate of hospitalization — and high school graduation rates improved, too. Nevertheless, the project, known as “Mincome” andfunded jointly by the provincial and federal governments, was canceled after four years when a more conservative party came into power. Four decades later, another Canadian province, Ontario, was willing to try again. In 2017, the Liberal government launched a basic income pilot project in three cities: Hamilton, Lindsay, and Thunder Bay. It was supposed to help 4,000 low-income people and last for three years. Rob Gillies/AP Jodi Dean with her daughter Madison in Hamilton, Ontario, on November 21, 2017. Dean, a Canadian mother of three, received her first basic income check one month prior. She said the extra money gave her family “the breathing room to not have to stress to put food on the table.” But then a new Progressive Conservative government came into power, led by Ontario Premier Doug Ford. In 2018, they canceled the project after hearing from staff that it disincentivized participants from finding work. However, the pilot had only been active a short time, not long enough to gather the data required to support that claim. A handful of participants have since filed a class action lawsuit against the government. Brazil Brazil has been experimenting with cash transfers to poor families since the 1990s, and it now runs the massive Bolsa Familia program, which gives millions of people cash transfers. This isn’t a UBI since the transfers are conditional — recipients are expected to keep their children in school and visit health clinics. But the massive program has formed the backdrop for Brazilian experiments in unconditional cash transfers. From 2008 to 2014, a Brazilian nonprofit called the ReCivitas Institute administered a basic income — funded by private donors — in the village of Quatinga Velho. One hundred residents received 30 reais (about $8) per month. This year, around 52,000 people in the Brazilian city of Maricá are receiving a basic income under a new program called the Renda Basica de Cidadania (Citizens’ Basic Income). Each will receive 130 reais per month (around $35), which is expected to lift many above the poverty line. Because the money is coming out of the city budget, mostly from oil royalties, this program has the potential to stick around for a long time; it currently has no end date. Finland In 2017, the Finnish government decided to see what would happen if it chose 2,000 unemployed citizens at random and gave them a check of 560 euros ($635) every month for two years. Participants were assured they’d keep receiving the money if they got a job. As it turned out, the income didn’t help them get jobs, but it did make them feel happier and less stressed. The recipients also reported that they felt more trust toward other people and social institutions — from political parties to the police to the courts — than they did before getting a basic income. Finland ended the trial in 2018. Germany In 2014, the nonprofitMein-Grundeinkommen used crowdfunding to set up a basic income raffle. By the end of 2019, it had awarded almost 500 basic incomes to people all over the world who’d submitted their names. Each got about $1,100 per month for a year. According to FastCompany, 80 percent of recipients said the income made them less anxious, more than half said it enabled them to continue their education, and 35 percent said they now feel more motivated at work. In 2019, the nonprofit Sanktionsfrei kicked off another basic income project funded entirely by private donors. For three years, 250 randomly chosen people in Germany will receive unconditional transfers of up to $466 per month, while 250 others act as a control group. The Netherlands In 2017, Utrechtand a few surrounding cities kicked off a basic income experiment with 250 recipients as part of a randomized controlled trial. Some recipients got the money (around $1,050 per month) unconditionally, while others had to do volunteer work. The researchers’ aim is to figure out which way of delivering the financial assistance works best. Results are expected to be made public this May. Iran In 2011, Iran rolled out a nationwide unconditional cash transfer program to compensate for the phase-out of subsidies on bread, water, electricity, heating, and fuel. The government gave out sizable monthly payments to each family: 29 percent of the median household income on average. The program was later dialed back as some Iranians came to believe it was disincentivizing people to work. Yet economists found that “the program did not affect labor supply in any appreciable way.” The program is still running, and it’s the only such program in the world to run nationwide. Kenya The largest and longest UBI experiment in the world is taking place in Kenya, where the charity GiveDirectly is making payments to more than 20,000 people spread out across 245 rural villages. As part of this randomized controlled trial, which started in 2016, recipients receive roughly 75 cents per adult per day, delivered monthly for 12 years. Some preliminary results will be available later this year. In the meantime, we’ve already seen that in another GiveDirectly program in Kenya, cash transfers have stimulated the economy and benefited not only the recipients themselves but also people in nearby villages. AFP via Getty Images Samson, 72, at his home in the Bondo region of Kenya, on October 3, 2018. Samson receives $22 a month from the American NGO GiveDirectly. Namibia Between 2008 and 2009, all residents below the age of 60 living in the Otjivero-Omitararegion of Namibia received a basic income: 100 Namibian dollars ($6.75) per person per month, no strings attached, regardless of their socioeconomic status. Funding came from private donors in Namibia and around the world. As a result, child malnutrition dropped and school enrollment rates went up, while poverty-related crime (like theft) fell, according to reports from BIEN and the Center for Public Impact. However, a lack of alignment with the national government meant that the pilot project was never rolled out nationwide. India Between 2011 and 2012, a pilot project in the state of Madhya Pradesh gave a basic income to some 6,000 Indians. The project, coordinated by the Self-Employed Women’s Association and funded by Unicef, included two studies. In the first study, every man, woman, and child in eight villages received a monthly payment: 200 rupees ($2.80) for adults and 100 rupees for each child (paid to the guardian). After one year, the payments increased to 300 and 150 rupees, respectively. Meanwhile, 12 similar villages received no basic income, acting as a control group. In the second study, one tribal village received an income of 300 rupees per adult and 150 rupees per child for the entire trial. Another tribal village acted as a control. The results: Receiving a basic income led to improved sanitation, nutrition, and school attendance. EyesWideOpen/Getty Images An Indian family walk by a barber shop in Orchha, Madhya Pradesh, India, on February 1, 2012. China In 2011, following years of budget surpluses and under pressure to help poor and elderly people, Hong Kong tried out a program called Scheme $6,000. All adults with a valid Hong Kong permanent identity card— some 6 million people— were eligible to receivea one-time giveaway of HK$6,000 ($772) each. The public had a host of complaints about the program — for example, that administrative costs were eating up too much of the money that could go to citizens — and it only lasted one year. However, it was briefly revived in 2018 thanks to another budget surplus and round of pressure to help the needy. Macao, an autonomous region on the south coast of China, has been experimenting with basic income since 2008, when it began giving small but unconditional transfers to all residents —around 700,000 people — as part of a Wealth Partaking Scheme. Each year, local residents get around 9,000 patacas ($1,128) and nonpermanent residents get around 5,400 patacas ($672). Unfortunately, critics say these sums are too paltry to make a real dent in poverty. Sign up for the Future Perfect newsletter and we’ll send you a roundup of ideas and solutions for tackling the world’s biggest challenges — and how to get better at doing good. Future Perfect is funded in part by individual contributions, grants, and sponsorships. Learn more here.
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The Unfortunate Persistence of Single-Sex Wedding Parties
Every weekday at 7:40 a.m., the hosts of a program called The Anna & Raven Show give early-rising commuters in Connecticut and New York the opportunity to weigh in on a local couple’s dispute in a recurring segment called “Couple’s Court.” “Couple’s Court” is precisely the kind of thing that’s irresistible to the hopelessly nosy—and a few weeks ago, on a Monday morning, an engaged couple named Adam and Kat phoned into the show with a dilemma that’s become familiar to many in recent years. Adam, who counts a woman he’s known for years among his best friends, had recently asked Kat to invite his female friend to be a bridesmaid in their wedding.Kat, who wasn’t close with this friend of Adam’s and had planned to include only her family members and best friend in her side of the bridal party, was reluctant. She encouraged Adam to invite the friend to join his own half of the wedding party, including her among the groomsmen. The problem was, he was equally reluctant. “Traditionally, people don’t do that,” Adam said on the show, and he noted that adding a woman into the mix on his side would complicate other, traditionally guy-specific activities such as the bachelor party. Still, he said of his female friend, “She’s way too close to me for her to just be sitting [with the other guests] at the wedding.”The two hosts (and many callers) sided with Kat, encouraging Adam to include his friend as a “groomsmaid.” (“I think your answer’s a little outdated,” one of the show’s hosts said to Adam.) But as close platonic friendships between men and women seem to have become more common in the past few decades, so has the dilemma of how exactly to honor a friend or family member of a different gender within the context of a wedding party. Engaged brides and grooms seek advice about whether it’s acceptable for a bride to include her male best friend among her bridesmaids or for a groom to invite close female friends to his bachelor party. Women post on social media about feeling left out because their male best friends have excluded them from their wedding party on the grounds of gender. And yet, according to new data provided by the wedding-planning website The Knot, fewer than four out of every 10 marrying couples in 2019 had mixed-gender wedding parties. That figure exposes an unfortunate incongruity between custom and reality: In a time when mixed-gender friendships are believed to be thriving, many wedding parties remain divided by gender in the name of tradition.Lots of wedding traditions are packaged and sold to brides—and grooms, but, realistically, mostly to brides—as ancient rites of passage, when really they’ve existed for less than 200 years. (See: diamond engagement rings, introduced by an ad campaign in the early 20th century, and white gowns, popularized by Queen Victoria in 1840.) But wedding attendants in single-sex groups actually do seem to date back to antiquity. At least one of the tradition’s competing origin stories dates all the way back to biblical times: At the wedding of Jacob to Leah and Rachel, so the story goes, each bride brought her own maid. Meanwhile, in ancient Rome, marriages needed at least 10 witnesses, which meant the bride and groom would each arrive with a small posse in tow.Most of these origin stories, however, come from times in history when women and men were not usually assumed to have meaningful platonic friendships. Last year, Rebecca Adams, a sociology professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, told me when I spoke to her for a story about exes who stay friends after breaking up that for much of modern history, men and women simply weren’t assumed to have much in common. Generally speaking, women’s roles were at home tending the house and children and men’s roles were outside the home in civic society, so the social lives of men and women took place in radically different spheres. But when women began to pursue higher education and work alongside men in the mid-20th century, things changed: Men and women had common experiences to bond over or commiserate about, and, in short order, they began to enjoy platonic friendships.Little hard data exist on how many close friendships are between adults of different genders, but Adams and other researchers believe that in the past few generations, men and women have enjoyed more close friendships, with less outside suspicion. In 2014, for instance, the then-director of Stony Brook University’s Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities, Michael Kimmel, said he’d been asking his students for 25 years whether they had a good friend of the opposite sex. At first only about 10 percent said yes, but by the mid-2010s, almost everyone did. Similarly, Judith Kegan Gardiner, a friendship researcher and professor emerita at the University of Illinois at Chicago, wrote to me in an email that “from what I can see (principally of white, middle-class people), adult cross-sex friendships are growing more common and becoming more casually accepted, [and] attract less suspicion of inevitably sexual behavior.”[Read: The widespread suspicion of opposite-sex friendships]Miriam Kirmayer, a clinical psychologist and friendship researcher based in Montreal, often works with young adults, and she told me that their cross-gender friendships come up regularly. Given the life stage young adults are in, their uncertainties about how to honor adult friendships and close family relationships in wedding contexts without excluding anyone or hurting feelings also come up. Kirmayer isn’t surprised to see that the clash between the old tradition of gender-segregated wedding parties and the new ubiquity of mixed-gender friendships is creating stressful situations.Asking someone to stand up with you on the day you get married, Kirmayer says, is one of the few codified ways to publicly commemorate or honor close adult friendships. But because the number of spots in a wedding party is often limited to just a handful, choosing to include one friend often means choosing to exclude another. Single-sex wedding parties can already cause hurt feelings, “and because having mixed-gender bridal parties perhaps isn’t as common, that would create even more room for conflict,” Kirmayer told me. She understands why some couples might hesitate to deviate from the norm. “It could be seen as choosing somebody else over the person that you were, you know, ‘supposed’ to.” (The old, crude adages about where exactly on the loyalty list your “chicks” or your “bros” belong would seem to apply here.)That said, prioritizing the tradition of single-sex wedding parties over just asking your closest friends or family members to be wedding attendants can be equally hurtful, especially to those who find themselves without a role in the wedding because of their gender. Situations like Kat and Adam’s, according to Kirmayer, raise the question of whether the exclusion of a dear friend from a wedding party in the name of tradition comes from a place of anxiety or fear. In those cases, she told me, she would advise the bride or groom to consider what they’re worried about, and what the worst that could happen might be.“Sometimes identifying the worst-case scenario is helpful because when we say it out loud, we realize, ‘Okay, this maybe isn’t as likely as we’re assuming,’” she said. “And it also allows us the opportunity to ask ourselves, if somebody is disappointed, if somebody is upset, or if we feel judged in some way, how we would cope.”Disapproval from onlookers is certainly a realistic possibility; weddings are, after all, often places where several generations and their individual social norms converge. But weddings have also come to be recognized as statements about a couple’s unique personality and value system: For the same reason that some couples have begun to opt for mixed-gender wedding parties, others have opted to, for example, have their wedding festivities in an ever-expanding variety of venues, venturing away from the traditional church ceremony and hotel reception. The selection of the particular friends and relatives who stand up with a couple on their wedding day can provide a way for the couple to express their own distinctive values—and to take a moment on the day that celebrates their relationship to honor the other relationships that complement and support it. The genders of those friends and family members should take a backseat.
Donating $10 billion isn’t the best way for Jeff Bezos to fight climate change
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has a net worth of $130 billion. He’s donating $10 billion to the fight against climate change. | Pradeep Gaur/Mint via Getty Images Amazon is a mega-polluter. Cleaning house at the company should be the CEO’s top priority. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and the richest person on the planet, has announced that he’ll donate $10 billion of his own money to fight climate change. That raises two questions: Is philanthropy really the best way for Bezos to pursue that goal? And even if it is, how will he make sure he’s choosing recipients who will make effective use of the new funding? “I want to work alongside others both to amplify known ways and to explore new ways of fighting the devastating impact of climate change on this planet we all share,” Bezos wrote in his Instagram announcement on Monday. “This global initiative will fund scientists, activists, NGOs — any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world.” That sounds good, and donating $10 billion to address the climate emergency is certainly a commendable action, although it’s worth noting that figure represents less than 8 percent of Bezos’s total net worth of $130 billion. But the devil is, as they say, in the details. And Bezos’s announcement is very short on those. Some climate groups are far more effective than others, so depending on where exactly Bezos puts his money, he could have a vastly beneficial effect on the planet — or very little effect at all. There is, however, something Bezos could do right now that would be guaranteed to have a vastly beneficial effect on our climate: He could clean house at his company. Amazon is a mega-polluter, and although Bezos has lately pledged to decrease its carbon footprint in response to pressure from inside and outside the company, there’s a whole lot more he could do. The most effective actions Bezos could take to help the climate arguably have nothing to do with charity. He could make Amazon cut its carbon emissions much more quickly and stop working with oil and gas companies that use its technology to locate new fossil fuel deposits. That may not be as eye-catching as announcing a $10 billion gifton social media, but it would be a surefire win for the environment, whereas Bezos’s donations may or may not prove effective. How Bezos could make Amazon more climate-friendly In his announcement, Bezos wrote that his new Bezos Earth Fund will begin issuing grants this summer. He also said things like “climate change is the biggest threat to our planet” and “Earth is the one thing we all have in common — let’s protect it, together.⁣⁣⁣” What he did not mention is that his company is itself a big threat to the climate; it emitted more than 44 million metric tons of carbon in 2018 alone. That’s almost as much as a small country likeSwitzerland, Denmark, or Norway emits in a year. Nor did he mention that hundreds of his own workers, going by the name Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, have been pushing the company to improve even though Amazon has reportedly threatened to fire them if they continue to speak out. These employee activists were less than impressed with Bezos’s announcement on Monday. “We applaud Jeff Bezos’ philanthropy, but one hand cannot give what the other is taking away,” the group said in a statement. “The people of Earth need to know: When is Amazon going to stop helping oil & gas companies ravage Earth with still more oil and gas wells? When is Amazon going to stop funding climate-denying think tanks like the Competitive Enterprise Institute and climate-delaying policy?” In addition to harming the environment through its fuel-guzzling delivery vehicles and its copious plastic packaging, Amazon has also sponsored the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a think tank that promotes climate change denial. And through Amazon Web Services, the company continues to court oil and gas companies that use its technology to locate new fossil fuel deposits. Of course, if Amazon Web Services were to cut ties with these companies, they would probably go to one of Amazon’s competitors, like Microsoft. But the planet would probably still benefit. For one thing, a move like this on Amazon’s part could shift industry norms, putting pressure on its competitors to cut ties with oil and gas companies, too. But even if that doesn’t happen, it’s worth noting that Microsoft already has more ambitious climate targets than Amazon does. Greenpeace called out Bezos in a tweet on Monday, writing, “Why is Amazon providing advanced computing technologies to the oil and gas industry so it can discover and drill more oil, more efficiently? Jeff Bezos — if you want a climate safe future that OIL MUST STAY IN THE GROUND.” Last year, a Greenpeace investigation also found that Amazon data centers in Virginia, where the bulk of the company’s cloud infrastructure is located, are powered by only 12 percent renewable energy. To Amazon’s credit, the company has pledged to use 100 percent renewable energy by 2030 and to become carbon-neutral by 2040. To that end, it’s ordered 100,000 electric delivery vehicles (from a startup that Amazon invested millions in last year). But it could be working faster to clean up its act, and, crucially, it could stop working with oil and gas companies that are actively harming the climate. How Bezos could effectively use donations to help the climate Bezos’s decision to donate $10 billion comes at a time when many are debating whether billionaire philanthropy is actually a good way to improve the world, or whether it’s a gambit that mostly enables the ultrarich to burnish their images and exert influence. Whether you like it or not, billionaire philanthropy exists. And if it’s going to keep existing, then we’d probably do well to figure out how donors’ resources can most effectively tackle our world’s biggest problems, including climate change. When I interviewed a range of experts on how billionaires can best spend their money to help the climate, some, as you might expect, mentioned research and development for clean energy technologies. Groups like Founders Pledge, Giving Green, and ImpactMatters, which conduct rigorous research to find the most effective charities, have identified some of the best organizations in this space. But other experts have pointed out that we already have a fair amount of good tech that can help us mitigate global warming. What we don’t have is political will. They say it’s most effective for billionaires to focus on the social and political conditions that would enable the tech to take root — for example, by building a robust climate activist movement or by getting Democrats elected to Congress and to the presidency. “We’ve got some solutions available already, but we’re not deploying at anything like the speed we need — that’s the ongoing power of the fossil fuel industry at work,” Bill McKibben, the author of The End of Nature and co-founder of, told me. “The only way to break that power and change the politics of climate is to build a countervailing power. Our job — and it’s the key job — is to change the zeitgeist, people’s sense of what’s normal and natural and obvious. If we do that, all else will follow.” McKibben pointed out that you don’t even need $1 billion, never mind $10 billion, to do this. “Look at the amount of good Greta Thunberg and her young colleagues have done while barely spending a nickel.” Alan Robock, an environmental science professor at Rutgers University, agreed. “I always say it’s more important to change your leaders than to change your lightbulbs. We need government action, both in regulations and in incentives,” he told me. “The problem is the selfish fossil fuel industry, which has captured the Republican Party and the White House. So I would spend my billion dollars getting Democrats elected to Congress and the presidency. They would then enact the policies we need.” Again, getting climate-friendly politicians into positions of power — Democrats or, for that matter, Republicans with a positive environmental agenda — would probably cost less than $10 billion. And it would likely be a very effective use of Bezos’s money. On the other hand, it would potentially open him up to the critique that he’s undermining democracy by directing his massive private assets to exert public influence. Critics of billionaire philanthropy might say Bezos is doing everything he can to diminish the tax contribution he makes to zero, then declaring himself willing to solve a public problem in the manner and time of his own choosing, and then taking a further tax break for creating a new charitable entity. As the political theorist Rob Reich has argued, “the citizens of the United States are collectively subsidizing, through foregone tax collection, the giving preferences of the wealthy.” Tamara Toles O’Laughlin, the North America director of, told me, “If I were a billionaire, I would first and foremost expect a hefty tax on my gross income that would allow the majority of Americans to live healthy and safe lives. One of the first places this financing should go is toward the Green New Deal.” It was unclear from Bezos’s announcement whether any of his donation could go to political campaigns, and Amazon declined to answer Vox’s questions on the matter. However, the Instagram post did say that activists will be among the recipients. In theory, the grantees could range from the well-established to the fledgling Extinction Rebellion, an activist movement that uses nonviolent civil disobedience to demand governments do more to stave off mass extinction. There’s evidence that focusing on movement-building is essential in the climate fight. For instance, Harvard political scientist Erica Chenoweth has argued that if you want to achieve systemic social change, you need to mobilize roughly3.5 percent of the population, a finding that helped inspire Extinction Rebellion. That’s not an impossible proportion of people to get into the streets — particularly if the activists doing the work get funded. It makes sense to fund activists and not only big research institutes or nonprofit organizations. Sometimes an organization has all the donations it knows what to do with, and more money won’t enable it to do more of what it’s good at. This factor, which experts call “room for funding,” will be important for Bezos to consider given that the sum he’s looking to spend is unusually large. Sign up for the Future Perfect newsletter and we’ll send you a roundup of ideas and solutions for tackling the world’s biggest challenges — and how to get better at doing good. Future Perfect is funded in part by individual contributions, grants, and sponsorships. Learn more here.
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The 100,000 photographs, negatives and transparencies capture life on the streets of Harlem from 1963 to now.
Man with forehead tattoo saying 'crime pays' back in jail again after police chase
A man with a huge tattoo on his forehead that says “crime pays” has found himself locked up behind bars again after leading police on a short police chase.
Fired Bloomberg worker claims company lied to her, coerced her into signing NDA
Michael Bloomberg's company is facing a lawsuit from a woman claiming she was subjected to a hostile and discriminatory work environment when she returned from cancer treatment -- and was ultimately fired and pressured to sign a nondisclosure agreement days after she was hospitalized for mental illness.
Which candidate is the favorite among Latino voters? Nevada could shed some light.
The Nevada caucuses will be the first real test of which presidential candidate is getting the most support from Latino voters.
Lime CEO: We made a lot of mistakes and we've learned from them
Lime CEO Brad Bao admits his company has had its fair share of missteps on its way to building the world's largest scooter-sharing company. But the company has learned a lot of lessons, too.
Philadelphia comic book shop fosters inclusive "geek space"
Ariell Johnson is known to be the first black female owner of a comic book shop in the East Coast. After studying accounting in college, she decided to channel her entrepreneurial spirit into building Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse, an inclusive space for her community in North Philadelphia.
China expels three Wall Street Journal reporters over ‘racist’ opinion piece
China announced Wednesday that it has revoked the press credentials of three Wall Street Journal reporters and ordered them out of the country because of what Beijing deemed to be a racist headline in an opinion piece.
Murder of 7-year-old girl in Mexico fuels anger and protests over brutal killings
A young girl, known only as Fátima, was last seen being picked up from school by an unidentified woman in Mexico City on February 11.
Reddit Down: Website Investigates 'High Volume of Errors' as Outage Hits U.S. and Europe
DownDetector, which tracks website outages, recorded a sharp spike in problems today, with a live map showing mounting connection issues in the U.S. and Europe.