Sep 09
Her eye on the news
‘One with the sky’

Twenty-seven-year-old Natalie Amrossi says she quit her Wall Street job to become a full time aerial photographer after her hobby Instagram “started to blow up” and major brands began asking her to take photos for their products. Amrossi, who worked 3 years at JP Morgan before she quit, has an Instagram following of 427,000 and says she makes six figures a year taking photos for companies such as Adidas, Bacardi, Cadillac, and Canon.

“Growing up, I always loved photography,” Amrossi told The New York Post. “I just never knew that I could make it a career.”

Amrossi, who now spends most of her working hours 8,000 feet in the air leaning out of a helicopter, said she happily quit her finance job once she realized she could make a living doing what she truly loved.

“When I hold a camera in my hand, it kind of becomes my superpower, where like, nothing else matters.” she added. “I become one with the sky.”

Watch video of Amrossi in action below.

Read the full story at The New York Post.


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'Hindu chauvinism'

A journalist known for being a harsh government critic was gunned down in her home this week by three unidentified suspects. The killing of Gauri Lankesh left her supporters shaken and many grasping for answers after a crime that was described as an assassination against a woman who was an outspoken opponent of Hindu majoritarianism.

In a column for The Daily O, journalist Shoma Chaudhury cuts straight to the heart of the aftermath and draws parallels between Lankesh’s slaying and the killings of three other dissidents, M Kalburgi, Govind Pansare and Narendra Dabholkar, in recent years. She worries that Lankesh’s killers, like the killers of the other three who were assassinated before her, won’t be brought to justice in this tumultuous time in India — or even identified as suspects.

And she gets right to the point about what is ailing Indian culture these days.

“It’s crucial, therefore, to say this even more unequivocally than ever before: India cannot afford Hindu chauvinism,” Chaudhury writes. “It does not need it. The Hindu gods do not need it. Hinduism does not need it. This civilization and culture has survived perfectly for millennia without pygmy armies to protect it with country pistols and political vitriol.”

Chaudhury paints a bleak portrait of the state of affairs in India right now — Lankesh’s slaying is “proof that violent bigotry and intolerance have already put a fatal tear into our national soul,” but that “bow[ing] to the tenets of good journalism” should be their north star — and their hope.

Read the full column at The Daily O.

‘They’re only girls’

In an interview for Firsts, a multimedia project from TIME magazine that features interviews with 46 “women who are changing the world,” Oprah Winfrey revealed that she once threatened to go on strike from her job as host of The Oprah Winfrey Show unless her boss gave her female producers raises commensurate with the show’s success.

Oprah, whose legendary talk show went on to become the highest-rated program of its kind after its premiere in 1986, said that as the show became a success and she began earning more, that she discovered her bosses had refused to increase her producers’ salaries.

“I went to my boss at the time and I said everybody needs a raise, and he said, ‘Why?’” Oprah recalled. “He actually said to me, ‘They’re only girls. They’re a bunch of girls — what do they need more money for?’ I go, ‘Well, either they’re going to get raises, or I’m going to sit down.’ I will not work unless they get paid. And so they did.”

Oprah also spoke at length about how it felt to be a TV talk host at a time when “there were no black people on a billboard, on television or in the media.”

Read the full story and see an excerpt of the interview at TIME magazine.


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Legal quandary

A California judge has ruled that a jury must decide whether a teenage girl who was declared brain-dead three years ago is still alive, after evidence showed that the girl’s body, which was maintained through life support, had managed to go through puberty.

More than three years ago, Jahi McMath was pronounced dead after surgeons at the Children’s Hospital in Oakland allegedly botched a routine tonsillectomy performed on the then 13-year-old. But Jahi’s mother, Latasha Spears Winkfield, who has endured a heartbreaking struggle over the last three years, noted that her daughter was still able to twitch her fingers — even though Jahi was technically brain dead, from Winkfield’s perspective, it seemed clear that her daughter was still alive.

Citing her Christian belief, Winkfield traveled to New Jersey, the only U.S. state that accommodates people who don’t recognize brain death as the legal end of life, in order to prevent California doctors from removing Jahi from life support. Jahi’s family, which was already seeking damages for the alleged malpractice, is now seeking a ruling to officially declare that she is alive — and to mandate that the hospital be made to pay for her future care.

While doctors representing the hospital have said that brain dead patients are capable of slight movements, a doctor who examines the girl every three months for the family has testified that she began menstruating while in New Jersey. After a ruling on Tuesday by Alameda County Judge Stephen Pulido, a jury will have to determine not only whether or not malpractice occurred, but whether or not Jahi should be considered dead or alive. For more on the story, watch the video below.

Read the full story at The Los Angeles Times.


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Giving back

Two weeks after Hurricane Harvey slammed into the southern coast of Texas and dumped record rains that led to devastating flooding, the inventors and entrepreneurs from Toyota’s Mothers of Invention program in association with Women in the World are stepping up to help those impacted most by the storm’s aftermath. The inventors behind clever products and ideas like Luminaid, DayOne Response and Well Aware are using the power of their products to help deliver relief to those who were in the flood zones in Texas and Louisiana and are now trying to put their lives back together.

For one of the Mothers of Invention, the storm hit very close to home. Well Aware is a nonprofit that funds and implements clean water solutions for impoverished communities in East Africa. and is based in Austin, Texas. It was founded by Sara Evans, and is lending its expertise in water analysis and filtration to assist another DayOne Response, another company featured in Mothers of Invention program, in implementing on-the-ground training with proper utilization of the water filtration bags. Well Aware is also providing more than 7,000 cans of drinking water to those in need.

DayOne Response is the brainchild of  inventors Tricia Compas-Markman and Amy Cagle and is a 2.5-gallon water filtration bag. In just 30 minutes, the bag is able to purify enough clean drinking water for a family of four to subsist on for up to two months.

Luminaid, a company that produces lightweight, solar-charged lanterns and portable phone charges is pitching in as well. Anna Stark and Andrea Sreshta, both of whom hail from Houston originally, are donating 3,000 phone charges and nearly 1,000 Luminaid lanterns to people in need.

Boxes of DayOne Response filtration bags that are headed for the Hurricane Harvey flood zone.

All three companies are geared toward helping people, and that ethos is being tapped into for what has turned out to be one of the worst natural disasters to strike the U.S. in recent years.

“The Toyota Mothers of Invention are not only innovative entrepreneurs but quick to aid those in need when an emergency situation strikes,” Tina Brown, the founder and CEO of Women in the World, set about their collective efforts. “They are so skilled in solving the world’s problems, so it’s no surprise to see them come together to assist in relief efforts.”

Below, watch a video from Sara Evans’ appearance at the Women in the World New York Summit back in April. Addressing communities that don’t have access to clean drinking water is “not an unsolvable problem,” Evans said at the time.


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