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America’s Confusing Patchwork of Abortion Laws: Mapping State Rules and Rates

Includes interactive map and chart

On Thursday, the 42nd anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe vs. Wade decision to legalize abortion nationwide, House Republicans had intended to vote on a proposal banning abortions at the 20-week post-conception period. But rather than approving the so-called “fetal pain” measure, the House swapped it for a watered down bill that would weaken insurance coverage for the procedure. It was a last minute switch was made after a small group of mostly female Republican lawmakers came out strongly opposing the more restrictive measure.

All of which begs the question: what are current abortion laws? Continue reading

See How America Reacted on Twitter During Obama’s State of the Union Address

whitehouse.gov

whitehouse.gov

President Obama on Tuesday gave his sixth State of the Union address, delivering it, for the first time, to a Republican-controlled joint session of Congress. With an estimated 30 million people watching, Obama laid out a far-reaching vision for his final two years in office, emphasizing economic opportunities for middle and  lower-income Americans. Among other appeals, he called on Congress to impose new taxes and fees on the highest income earners, increase tax credits for education and childcare and make community college free for most students.
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A Half-Century After the March on Washington, Would King Be Satisfied?

Includes interactive charts

“What good is having the right to sit at a lunch counter if you can’t afford to buy a hamburger?”

— Martin Luther King, Jr.

[Jump to charts showing where race gap has narrowed or widened]

In late August 1963, on the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, a quarter million demonstrators converged on the National Mall in the nation’s capital to partake in what would become one of the largest human rights demonstrations in United States history.

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Despite Hottest Year on Record, Congress’ 170 Climate Deniers Aren’t Breaking A Sweat

Frozen toes and polar vortexes aside, 2014 was the hottest year on record globally, according to recently released data from the Japan Meteorological Agency. In fact, 14 of the 15 hottest years on record have occurred since 2000. Bottom line: climate change is happening; it’s as real as gravity. And among scientists studying the issue, an overwhelming majority have confirmed that human activity is what’s driving the warmth.

But 131 representatives and 39 senators in the recently convened 114th Congress — more than half of all congressional Republicans (including eight from California) — aren’t buying it, according to an analysis by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a liberal-leaning advocacy group. Continue reading

How Many Bay Area Police Officers Live Where They Work (And How Much Does that Matter)?

The deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice, all unarmed black males killed in 2014 by white police officers, prompted public scrutiny of police departments around the country and sparked deep-seeded racial tensions in many communities.

In the wake of these incidents, there’s been greater focus on the racial make-up of local police forces, particularly in cities where large minority communities are patrolled by predominately white forces. Continue reading

Preview: What Different Stages of California’s High-Speed Rail Will Look Like [Interactive Map]

Even the Golden Gate Bridge, that most hallowed of local landmarks, had its naysayers.

Photographer Ansel Adams worried the bridge would despoil the pristine view (he later made peace with it). Ferry companies lobbied hard to kill the project. And even the Commonwealth Club of California passed a resolution, stating the timing was “inopportune,” according to historian Kevin Starr.

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7 Billion and Counting: How Our World Got So Crowded So Fast [Videos]

Roughly 1 billion people lived on our planet in 1800. And that was a pretty major deal, considering it took all of human history — at least 50,000 years — to reach that.

But today, just a little more than 200 years after, our population is at 7.2 billion and growing.

So what happened? How’d our population get so big? And how much room is left before we reach maximum capacity? Continue reading

What’s the Fastest Way to Board A Plane? (hint: probably not how you’re doing it now)

Rejoice! The holiday travel (and shopping) season has finally come to a close.

If you braved the friendly skies at some point in the last two weeks and found yourself a tad frustrated by the glacial pace of the boarding process, there’s a decent chance you’re not alone. It’s pretty easy to notice the obvious inefficiencies in the boarding methods of different commercial airlines.

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News That Moved: The Biggest Stories of 2014

Another year, another year-in-review article.

In the sea that is breaking news, 2014 was a tsunami. A multitude of tumultuous events shook the world this year (sometimes literally). And although it’d be silly to attempt to quantify the “most important” stories,  it is worth looking at the topics that American audiences were most drawn to and that seemed to have the greatest impact. As a gauge, these are the results from the Associated Press’ annual poll of U.S. editors and an independent survey of Twitter’s biggest news-related trending topics.

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Shopping Math: Percentages and Discounts Explained in Three Animated Videos

Includes animated videos

Happen to be doing some frantic, last minute holiday shopping this weekend? If so, you’ll likely find yourself inadvertently diving head-first into a big stew of math.

Take that $130 pair of shoes you’ve been eyeing. Let’s say Macy’s just marked it down 20%. And on top of that, you’ve got a coupon for 10% off your entire purchase. So, you’re looking at a sweet discount of 10% off 20% off $130.

So … how much are those shoes going to cost you?

From sports to the news, to — most importantly — shopping, percentages are hard to avoid. To help make sense of it all, animator-explainer extraordinaire Josh Kurz breaks down the basic math of everyday percentage conundrums (including the answer to the above question) — in three animated acts.

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