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Fox News thinks pollution is good for the planet

Not that it's a HUGE surprise that Fox News has beliefs about the environment that are the opposite of true, but just FYI, they are now apparently telling viewers that pollution is good for forests. That means the REAL pollution is CLEAN AIR! It's like you environmentalists don't even WANT trees to grow.

Read more: Media, Pollution

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Media ignore climate change in reporting on wildfires

"The major television and print outlets largely ignored climate change in their coverage of wildfires in Colorado, New Mexico and other Western states," reports Media Matters in a new study. "All together, only 3 percent of the reports mentioned climate change, including 1.6 percent of television segments and 6 percent of text articles."

Media Matters graphic: "The Missing Climate Context"

Read more: Climate & Energy, Media

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The news pays almost 50 times more attention to Kardashians than to ocean acidification

It's probably not a huge surprise that ocean acidification, a carbon-induced chemical change that poses a huge threat to sea life, gets way less media coverage than the Kardashians, a family of prancing ninnies that poses a huge threat to intellectual life. But Media Matters has quantified just how much the coverage differs, and it's pretty sobering. Between January 1, 2011 and June 26, 2012, the Kardashians were mentioned 25 times more often than ocean acidification in newspapers, and a staggering 270 times more often on TV. In total, that's almost a 50-fold lead for shapely ladies over environmental threats. Although when you put it that way, it's not too surprising.

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We’ll be right back, after these quick falsehoods

This show looks boring.

From ThinkProgress:

According to a new analysis from the Annenberg Public Policy Center, 85 percent of spending on presidential ads by the top spending conservative 501(c)(4) organizations went toward spots labeled “deceptive” by fact checkers. Third-party 501(c)(4) groups, commonly referred to as political action committees, do not have to disclose their donors.

As of June 1st, no Democratic 501(c)(4) organizations had spent any money on the presidential race.

And who are these miscreants of misinformation? The American Energy Alliance, the Koch-linked Americans for Prosperity, and Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS, for starters. And the ads themselves have a common theme: energy. As ThinkProgress notes, "Bloomberg analysis found that 81 percent attack ads against President Obama were related to energy in the first quarter of this year."

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Newly discovered mushroom is actually a rubber vagina

Well here's a story that sounds like an urban legend: Villagers in China unearthed a mysterious plant that they thought might be some type of mushroom. It's described as "fleshy and meaty," with "something that looks like lips" at one end, and on the other end there's a hole with a shaft in between and ... look, you see where this is going. It's an artificial vag.

Read more: Media, Sex

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Flash mob proves conclusively that cars are the most annoying ever

Flash mob factory Improv Everywhere stages weird, transcendent little moments of cooperation, synchronicity, and pantslessness (they're the ones behind the No-Pants Subway Ride). But their latest effort, the Car Alarm Symphony, doesn't do much besides prove that parking lots, already a blight on the landscape, could always be worse.

Read more: Living, Media, Transportation

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Facebook will sell me to you, and you to me

Photo by Doran.

First Google turned links into money. Now Facebook is turning likes into money.

To flesh that out: A decade ago, Google found a way to profit from the preferences each of us expressed as we coded links on every home page and blog post we published. Today, Facebook is aiming to profit from the preferences each of us express as we click "like" buttons and peruse the activity streams that Facebook assembles from that activity.

Last week, a front-page New York Times story sounded an alarm about a phenomenon Facebook veterans have known for some time: Facebook now transmutes personal messages into advertisements, and lets companies and individuals pay to highlight their posts on personal pages. Procter & Gamble can pay to tell us about its toothpaste; you and I can tell each other about our lives and loves. And each message has a price tag.

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David Attenborough narrates video of a tortoise humping a shoe

You may remember the internet going mildly crazy for this video of a tortoise with sexual identity issues. (Not his identity, just the identity of his chosen mate, which is a Croc.) It had all the hallmarks of a blockbuster -- sexy sexy romance, dubious fashion choices, animals making adorable "enh!" noises. But what it didn't have was David Attenborough.

Well, that has finally been rectified.

Read more: Animals, Media

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Most climate communication only reaches partisans

There's a kind of folk myth out there that the profusion of media sources on the internet means that everyone is seeking out only sources that reinforce their preexisting beliefs -- that people are self-sorting into ideological "cocoons."

It turns out that this folk myth, like so many about the internet, is wrong. A recent political science study analyzed media consumption patterns and concluded the following:

To summarize, most individuals do not refuse to hear the other side. In fact, most people consume predominately non-partisan local TV newscasts, while tuning out news from partisan sources altogether. Of those who do turn to partisan sources, most Republicans and Democrats have virtually indistinguishable news diets. Contrary to recent claims, there is little evidence that the electorate is self-sorting into "ideologically like-minded information cocoons" at the level being described by scholars and political commentators.

These findings are interesting in their own right, but they also prompt a thought on the endless debate over climate communication. What seems most germane to me is not the somewhat surprising fact that partisans on both sides consume similar news media, but the familiar, predictable fact that "a majority of viewers consume little or no news," and those who do mostly consume network nightly news. Most people do not watch cable news, read political blogs, or peruse white papers.

But that's where climate change most often gets discussed. So here's a corollary: If you are explicitly discussing climate change in the media, you are most likely communicating in a venue frequented primarily by partisans who have already made up their minds about climate change. Your audience probably contains an abnormally high percentage of people who have strong opinions about climate communication.

An immense amount of time is spent analyzing the way people communicate about climate in these venues. I myself have spent a great many hours analyzing and arguing about it. But insofar as we are concerned about public opinion on climate, the action, it would seem, is elsewhere.

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New documentary is like ‘The Real World’ for farming

Photo by Ben Williams.

Filmmaker Hailey Wist's documentary The Garden Summer is the true story of five strangers picked to live on a farm, work together, and have their lives taped. Wist recruited four other good-looking 20-something suburbanites to spend the summer on an Arkansas farm, getting all their food (except booze, coffee, and cooking oil) either from their own garden or from within a 100-mile radius.

So what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real on a farm? Well, like the original MTV reprobates, they drink, get in arguments, and have romantic entanglements, sometimes with the same people. But they also learn about where their food comes from, and about wasting less and living simpler.