Hello, Neighbor: Astronomers have discovered a possibly habitable planet orbiting our closest neighboring star, Proxima Centauri. The planet, known as Proxima Centauri b, is orbiting its star at a distance that could let it harbor liquid water. Scientists are now racing to figure out whether it really does hold life; thanks to the new probes and telescopes now being built, the answer could come with in our lifetimes.
Choosing Sides: Turkish forces, under the protection of U.S. aircraft, crossed the Syrian border today, aiming to drive ISIS—and Syrian Kurdish rebels—out of the region around the border city of Jarabulus. While the U.S. supports the Kurdish rebels, who are also fighting ISIS, Turkey sees them as a threat. As U.S.-Turkey relations are reaching their lowest point in decades, Vice President Biden has promised the U.S. will drop their support for the Kurds if they don’t withdraw.
The whole thing was warm and wonderful and ooey and gooey and an extremely far cry from the old days of The Voice’s ideological predecessor, American Idol. What The Voice is similar to, though, … is The Great British Baking Show, whose judges offer encouragement to their contestants even, and especially, when they fail. And The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, where one of the most common claims among the star singletons is, “I’m trying to do the right thing.” And Project Runway and Dancing with the Stars and America’s Next Top Model and The Biggest Loser and RuPaul’s Drag Race—competition-based reality shows that, episode by episode, opt for supportiveness over sadism.
Sure, television’s versions of “reality” can sometimes be as cruel as reality itself; these days, though, many of the non-scripted shows on offer are finding ways to celebrate, and commercialize, kindness. Welcome to the era of empathy TV.
Read on here, as Garber contrasts that niceness with the increased violence among the prestige dramas of TV’s golden age.
What Do You Know?
1. In American prisons, ____________ are increasingly being used as currency, according to a new study.
But when it comes to teens and young adults, I think we are still tiptoeing around the elephant in the room: booze. I’m about as politically correct a person as you can imagine, but I refuse to pretend that there is nothing a woman can do to make rape less likely. Staying in control of one’s faculties may not prevent all attacks, but it will make them less likely to happen. Rapists choose their victims for their vulnerability, and a woman fully aware of her own surroundings is safer than one who is drunk—not absolutely safe, but certainly safer.
Read more here. Do you agree or disagree, particularly as a parent or college student who’s recently had this kind of talk? Tell us your own experience via email@example.com. And read an interview with a nurse who works with sexual-assault survivors here.
On this day in 1891—125 years ago—Thomas Edison patented the motion-picture camera. As Annie Nathan Meyer wrote in our January 1914 issue:
The eye-deep of the movies cannot be surpassed. I remember clearly my first performance—even in those pioneer days which crackled and spluttered and flashed their way across my bewildered eyes,—how I enjoyed the shaking of the lazy, fat shoulders of a huge driver who was guiding a team of horses across the tracks. I cannot help how this confession sounds even if by my frankness the reader no longer thinks me worthy of addressing him in this matter at all—for the truth will out, that I really found the literalness of the picture highly amusing.