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Vox helps you cut through the noise and understand what's driving events in the headlines and in our lives, on everything from Taxes to Terrorism to Taylor Swift. Vox Video is Joe Posner, Joss Fong, Estelle Caswell, Johnny Harris, Phil Edwards, Carlos Waters, Gina Barton, Liz Scheltens, Christophe Haubursin, Carlos Maza, Coleman Lowndes, Dion Lee, Dean Peterson, Mac Schneider, Sam Ellis, Valerie Lapinski, Mona Lalwani, and the staff of Vox.com.

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1 year ago 424,841 views 13,009 likes
2,546 comments

This timeline shows confederate monuments are about racial conflict

A history of confederate monuments, in one timeline.

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Following clashes of violence surrounding protest against the removal of Robert E. Lee's statue in Charlottesville Virginia, America's debate over the legacy of confederate symbolism has reopened. The central questions: Are these monuments meant to commemorate the racial tension underlying the confederacy's secession? Or are they meant to serve as a simple marker of American history?

The Southern Poverty Law Center created this timeline to document the upwards of 1500 monuments constructed between the civil war and today. For a deeper look at the data, you can check out their comprehensive report, "Who's Heritage? Public symbols of the confederacy," available here: https://www.splcenter.org/20160421/whose-heritage-public-symbols-confederacy

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1 year ago 1,563,406 views 31,552 likes
2,891 comments

The rise and fall of the American fallout shelter

Whatever happened to fallout shelters? And would they have actually worked?

Watch Duck and Cover with us: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUcQ7hESI-M
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In this episode of Vox Almanac, Vox's Phil Edwards looks at the history behind one of the Cold War's more unusual legacies — the fallout shelter. Of course, any history of the fallout shelter has to include nuclear proliferation, civil defense, Presidential politics, and a turtle named Bert.

The video above serves as a condensed history of the Cold War’s fallout shelter fad, from the kookily cheerful propaganda videos to the hobbled Federal agencies that tried to administer Civil Defense. Yes, it includes the classic Cold War film Duck and Cover, in which a bomb-fearing turtle named Bert teaches kids that hiding under their desks could be sufficient protection from nuclear annihilation.
Any history of fallout shelter culture (and Cold War propaganda) becomes an indirect history of Cold War nuclear escalation, from Hiroshima-sized bombs to hydrogen behemoths. As the nuclear threat increased in magnitude, the absurdity of civil defense amped up simultaneously.
This video (and a day spend trawling the Internet Archive for darkly humorous videos) provides a more intimate portrait of Cold War paranoia as it was lived. Paired with Kenneth Rose’s comprehensive book about fallout shelter culture, it’s a look at daily life with the bomb — even when that daily life included the occasional jaunt to a thick-walled concrete bunker a few feet underground.

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1 year ago 1,115,337 views 16,454 likes
4,057 comments

The real reason streetcars are making a comeback

It’s mostly about economic development.

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Starting in the late 20th century, modern streetcar proposals started rippling across municipalities in the United States. They’re touted as infrastructure carrying benefits ranging from the social to economic and the environmental. But these projects often make appearances in the news as costly, blunder-filled experiments in public policy.

Cities are willing to bet big on this technology for its potential to develop the local economy. But there is some disagreement as to whether the streetcar is driving this progress, or if it is simply the result of planning *around* the streetcar.

If you're looking for more information on public transportation and urban planning, here are a few links:

This interactive map by Yonah Freemark and Steven Vance allows you to zoom in on all public transportation projects across North America. http://www.thetransportpolitic.com/transitexplorer/#6/38.617/-78.673

This paper by Randal O'Toole of the CATO institute looks closely at the policy winds that drives streetcar proposals. https://www.cato.org/publications/policy-analysis/desire-named-streetcar-how-federal-subsidies-encourage-wasteful-local-transit-systems

For more information on New York City's streetcar proposal, you can check out the Friends of the BQX website here: http://www.bqx.nyc.

For a view of local opinions on the BQX, you can check out this documentary. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8XmFjZOSSo&feature=youtu.be

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1 year ago 3,958,948 views 63,060 likes
2,891 comments

The tiny island in New York City that nobody is allowed to visit

There's a tiny island on the East River that you've probably never heard of, and you're not allowed to visit it.

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Most people have probably never heard of it but there is a tiny 100 by 200 foot island on the East River in New York City called U Thant Island. It’s right below Roosevelt Island and next to the United Nations headquarters and has more history per square foot than most places in Manhattan.

It’s origin dates back to the late 19th century when construction of an underground tunnel produced a tiny mound of rock that was originally named Belmont Island, after August Belmont Jr. who financed the construction project.

In the intervening years it was leased by a Buddhist spiritual group, crashed into by numerous vessels, and briefly occupied by a protesting artist.

2 years ago 1,415,832 views 24,903 likes
3,387 comments

The growing North Korean nuclear threat, explained [Updated]

North Korea has a new missile, and it can reach the US.

This video is an update to a previous version, published on April 26, 2017

Additional links:

https://missilethreat.csis.org/country/dprk/

http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/16/opinions/north-korea-military-parade-explained/

http://38north.org/2015/02/jlewis020515/
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1 year ago 818,931 views 19,479 likes
3,076 comments

Trump’s plan to cut his own taxes

The proposed budgets in Congress will make Trump even richer.

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Read the cartoonsplainer here: https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/4/26/15324846/trump-pass-through-cartoon

The Trump Organization is the 48th-largest private company in the US, and brought in $9.5 billion in revenue in 2016. But the Trump Organization doesn't pay taxes like a big corporation. It's a special kind of entity called a "pass-through" business.

The designation was originally for small-business owners to bypass corporate taxes and only pay the individual tax rate. Now huge corporations are also taking advantage.

1 year ago 974,961 views 19,665 likes
3,145 comments

Medicaid, explained: why it’s worse to be sick in some states than others

Where you live could mean the difference between life and death.

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Matthew is a Medicaid recipient with a life threatening illness. He is one of 70 million Americans who depends on this program. Medicaid was passed in the mid-1960s after decades of fights over the role of government in medical care. FDR and Truman fought for healthcare, but Johnson wound up passing this landmark legislation. Around this same time, developed nations around the world passed universal health programs. The US got Medicaid.

1 year ago 357,925 views 8,963 likes
993 comments

Lyme disease is spreading. Blame ticks — and climate change

Nature fanaTICKS beware; cases of Lyme disease are on the rise.

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Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the US; and climate change is helping it to spread even more. Animals such as deer, mice, squirrels, other critters in wooded area can be hosts to the bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, that causes Lyme disease in humans. When ticks feed off these hosts, the ticks become infected with it. And the bacteria can then be transmitted to humans via tick bites. There are numerous ways to prevent tick bites, but the best protection is vigilance. Whether you're going hiking, camping, or just a stroll in the woods, check for ticks that may have become attached. The sooner the tick is removed, the lesser your chances of being infected with Lyme disease.

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2 years ago 6,426,570 views 102,266 likes
16,619 comments

The Middle East’s cold war, explained

How two feuding countries are tearing apart the Middle East.

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The Saudis and Iranians have never actually declared war on each other. Instead, they fight indirectly by supporting opposing sides in other countries and inciting conflicts. This is known as proxy warfare.
And it’s had a devastating effect on the region. Countries, especially poor ones, can’t function if there are larger countries pulling strings within their borders.

And that’s exactly what's happening in the Middle East. The Saudi-Iranian rivalry has become a fight over influence, and the whole region is a battlefield.

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2 years ago 379,115 views 10,182 likes
778 comments

Why a Haitian graffiti artist is protesting foreign aid

I spoke with a Haitian graffiti artist about the unintended consequences of longterm disaster relief funding.

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Haiti experienced a devastating earthquake in 2010. Seven years later, over 10,000 nonprofit organizations and $6 billion dollars of aid funding have been funneled into the country. Although there's still a desperate need for basic services such as food, healthcare, education, and shelter, questions have arisen about whether this continuous aid has become a crutch for the Haitian government. Similarly, Haitians themselves are awaking to the notion of self-determination in their country.

Vox Borders is a new international series focused on telling the human stories that emerge from lines on the map. Johnny will travel to six border locations to produce a final set of documentaries. While he travels he'll release dispatches on YouTube and Facebook documenting his experiences. Learn more: http://www.vox.com/borders

Vox.com is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out http://www.vox.com to get up to speed on everything from Kurdistan to the Kim Kardashian app.

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2 years ago 229,537 views 4,908 likes
384 comments

How tap dancing was made in America

Imported from immigrants, but assembled in America.

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Tap dancing originated in America. It's a mix of several dance styles—Irish jigging, British clogging, and the percussive steps from African dance. Tap dancing can be traced back to Five Points, now known as Chinatown in New York city. Tap dance also has its roots in minstrel shows, where it was viewed as American comedy. In the 70s, tap dancing legends, Jane Goldberg and Brenda Bufalino took tap from the bright show tune lights of Broadway back to a place of self expression.

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2 years ago 3,214,513 views 98,992 likes
5,003 comments

The surprising pattern behind color names around the world

Why so many languages invented words for colors in the same order.

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In 1969, two Berkeley researchers, Paul Kay and Brent Berlin, published a book on a pretty groundbreaking idea: that every culture in history, when they developed their languages, invented words for colors in the exact same order. They claimed to know this based off of a simple color identification test, where 20 respondents identified 330 colored chips by name. If a language had six words, they were always black, white, red, green, yellow, and blue. If it had four terms, they were always black, white, red, and then either green or yellow. If it had only three, they were always black, white, and red , and so on. The theory was revolutionary — and it shaped our understanding of how color terminologies emerge.

Read more on the research mentioned in this video:

Cook, Kay, and Regier on the World Color Survey: goo.gl/MTUi9C
Stephen C. Levinson on Yele color terms: goo.gl/CYDfvw
John A. Lucy on Hanunó'o color terms: goo.gl/okcyC3
Loreto, Mukherjee, and Tria on color naming population simulations: goo.gl/rALO1S

To learn more about how your language's color words can affect the way you think, check out this video lecture: goo.gl/WxYi1q

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2 years ago 6,932,815 views 86,730 likes
3,678 comments

The hidden oil patterns on bowling lanes

Every bowling lane has a hidden oil pattern. In this episode of Vox Almanac, Phil Edwards finds out what that means. Follow Phil Edwards and Vox Almanac on Facebook for more: https://www.facebook.com/philedwardsinc1/

Every lane has a pattern. In this episode of Vox Almanac, Phil Edwards explores how they change the game.

Bowling isn’t just about a great ball and good form — if you want to understand the sport, you have to understand the lane.

Every bowling lane, including the one in your neighborhood alley, is coated with an oil pattern to protect the wood. But these patterns aren’t just for protection — the way in which oil is applied to the lane can affect the speed and direction of your ball.

These patterns are so important that recreational bowlers and professional bowlers bowl on vastly different patterns — the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) even classifies the patterns it uses in tournaments.

Phil Edwards met with professional bowler Parker Bohn III at his childhood bowling alley, Howell Lanes in Howell, New Jersey. He guided Phli through the complex strategy a pro bowler uses when encountering different oil patterns. Not only do they have to assess which pattern is in use, but they also have to judge how that pattern changes as the oil shifts and slides over the day. Knowing how to play a specific lane can be the difference between a title and second place.

But these patterns aren’t just for the pros — they’re relevant to recreational bowlers as well. Watch the video to see how you can use these patterns to step up your game.

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1 year ago 4,794,293 views 131,997 likes
2,788 comments

The sound illusion that makes Dunkirk so intense

Why Christopher Nolan is obsessed with Shepard tones.

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Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk is a nerve-wracking movie. Three separate storylines tell the tale of the famed World War II evacuation in a intense two hours of film. A lot of that feeling has to do with how the film's score uses Shepard tones — layered sound waves that simulate a constant ascent in tone — to create a sensation of building tension. They're a personal favorite trick of Nolan's: he's based sound effects and entire soundtracks with other composers on the auditory illusion. In Dunkirk, composer Hans Zimmer crafted his soundtrack around the effect — and it's an auditory masterpiece.

Read Nolan's interview with Business Insider on the music of Dunkirk: https://goo.gl/SV4Qpb

Shepard tone imagery from EnjoyPA on freesound.org: https://goo.gl/37Hd2P

Shepard tone sound effect from Alexander on orangefreesounds.com: https://goo.gl/NnUe7B

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2 years ago 1,465,905 views 35,034 likes
2,780 comments

How dead is the Great Barrier Reef?

Coral bleaching is the biggest threat to the Great Barrier Reef. But it's too early for obituaries.
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Sources:
https://www.eposters.net/pdfs/the-2014-2016-global-coral-bleaching-event-preliminary-comparisons-between-thermal-stress-and.pdf
http://www.globalcoralbleaching.org/
http://catlinseaviewsurvey.com/gallery
https://www.coralcoe.org.au/media-releases/two-thirds-of-great-barrier-reef-hit-by-back-to-back-mass-coral-bleaching
https://www.coris.noaa.gov/activities/reef_managers_guide/reef_managers_guide.pdf
https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms12093
http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0114321
https://www.nature.com/articles/srep39666
https://www.flickr.com/search/?user_id=61021753%40N02&view_all=1&text=coral
NBC 1970 https://archive.org/details/greatbarrierreef
Guillaume Debever https://vimeo.com/82607901
Martin Lalonde https://vimeo.com/119572437

Australia's Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system in the world and the only living structure visible from space. Although ecosystem managers in Australia have worked hard to preserve the reefs, the past couple of decades have brought a new threat that can't be solved by any one country alone: human-induced global warming. Rising ocean temperatures have caused mass coral bleaching in coral reefs around the world, in every tropical ocean from the Caribbean to the South Pacific. This is now considered to be the biggest threat that coral reefs face, and they face many, including overfishing, pollution, storm damage, and invasive species.

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1 year ago 480,470 views 17,305 likes
414 comments

How to solve problems like a designer

The design process for problem-solving, in 4 steps.

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Many thanks to Tim Brown and TED for this interview we recorded at TED 2017.

IDEO is an international design company founded in 1991. In the beginning, IDEO designed products—the first notebook-style computer, hard drives, even the next generation (of its time) PalmPilots. Most notably, in 1980, the firm was tasked by Steve Jobs to design a more affordable mouse for the Apple Lisa computer. By 2001, IDEO stepped away from designing products and pivoted to designing experiences. The process to solving problems, whether they be simple or complex, encompass these four steps: observing, ideamaking, prototyping, and testing. Tim Brown, CEO and president of the company, explains how human-centered design (and this four-step process) is a major key in how IDEO approaches complex challenges.

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