Writer Ted Rall argues that, if debates are “graded on a curve,” the Republican candidate did better than the Democrat on Monday night; vegetarianism might be beneficial to the planet, but it could negatively impact the lives of millions if practiced worldwide; meanwhile, more affordable solar panels have changed investors’ minds about fossil fuels. These discoveries and more, below.
The Thrilla at Hofstra: How Trump Won the Debate
I know it runs counter to conventional wisdom – that’s so rare for me! – but I award the first 2016 presidential debate to Donald Trump.
The State of Vaccine Skepticism in Four Maps
Interactive graphic reveals data from a recent study on vaccine confidence around the world.
Music Confounds the Machines
Everyone’s talking about the great speech T Bone Burnett gave as the keynote address to AmericanaFest yesterday. If you missed it, here’s the transcript (posted with permission from the Americana Music Association):
Paris Really Is Going to Transform the Seine
A long-discussed plan to permanently ban cars from the river’s quayside gained approval Monday, after a tough debate.
Earth’s CO2 Passes the 400 PPM Threshold—Maybe Permanently
Carbon dioxide levels often hit lows in September, but now remain above a crucial benchmark.
World’s First Baby Born With New ‘3 Parent’ Technique
It’s a boy! A five-month-old boy is the first baby to be born using a new technique that incorporates DNA from three people, New Scientist can reveal.
Why Donald Trump Has Spent a Decade Hating on Rosie O’Donnell
Toward the end of Monday night’s presidential debate, Donald Trump released a torrent of incoherent words that seemed to revolve in some fashion around … Rosie O’Donnell?
What Would You Pay for an Empty Room?
A new app wants to “democratize” city spaces by offering private, well-designed rooms by the hour—but only elites can afford its rates.
What Would Happen If the World Suddenly Went Vegetarian?
Eliminating meat from our diets would bring a bounty of benefits to both our own health and the planet’s – but it could also harm millions of people.
Deciding What’s True: The Rise of Political Fact-Checking in American Journalism
In Deciding What’s True, Lucas Graves traces how media outlets’ internal fact-checking has morphed into something almost antithetical: the very public evaluation of factual assertions made by politicians and other news figures, writes Scott McLemee.
All of Our Astrological Signs Are Wrong, According to NASA
According to “the Astrotwins,” I’m due for some “upstart energy” on Friday “when the annual new moon in Libra kicks off a fresh six month earning cycle.”
Google Says Its New AI-Powered Translation Tool Scores Nearly Identically to Human Translators
Say hello to the new Google Translate.
A Family of Exploiters: Trump’s Children Made ‘the Help’ Buy From Their Own Lemonade Stand
Donald Trump’s admitted federal tax evasion, frequent refusal to pay those he hires, and many bankruptcies  have imparted a key singular message to his kids: Let the poor, common plebes deal with your money problems for you.
Bisexual People Face Invisibility, Isolation, and Shocking Rates of Discrimination and Violence
A new report previewed recently at the White House in a groundbreaking policy meeting found that while more than half of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community identifies as bisexual, bisexual people experience alarming rates of invisibility, societal rejection, violence, discrimination, and poor physical and mental health—often at rates higher than their lesbian and gay peers.
The Military Logic of Punishing Chelsea Manning’s Suicide Attempt
The state’s control over the body is paramount.
What’s the Purpose of the Bestseller?
‘The Bestseller Code’ reveals the well-known secrets of the formulaic novel.
Cheap Solar Is Here as Investors Turn Away From Oil and Gas
Bad news for carbon barons; good news for consumers. Why haven’t media noticed?
How Racial Disparity Does Not Help Make Sense of Patterns of Police Violence
Some readers will know that I’ve contended that, despite its proponents’ assertions, antiracism is not a different sort of egalitarian alternative to a class politics but is a class politics itself: the politics of a strain of the professional-managerial class whose worldview and material interests are rooted within a political economy of race and ascriptive identity-group relations.
On a regular basis, Truthdig brings you the news items and odds and ends that have found their way to Larry Gross, director of the USC Annenberg School for Communication.
A specialist in media and culture, art and communication, visual communication and media portrayals of minorities, Gross helped found the field of gay and lesbian studies.