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FROM THIS EPISODE

A troubling trend is happening in California: low income Californians get expensive traffic tickets they can’t afford to pay, they get caught in a vicious cycle of violations and fines, often leading to lost driver’s licenses and even lost jobs. Have we been too hard on almonds? They’re an $11 billion business in California, but have suffered a lot of criticism during the drought for being water hungry crops. We rundown the new movies coming out this week, including a new Nicholas Sparks adaptation and a smart sci-fi thriller about artificial intelligence. And, speaking of artificial intelligence in movies, we talk to a researcher to help us sort fact from fiction.

Banner Image: traffic ticket issued by police officer

Traffic Debt 14 MIN, 39 SEC

A troubling trend is happening in California: traffic tickets are funding the court system. A new study by a coalition of legal aid and civil rights groups finds that low income Californians are the most affected. They get caught in a vicious cycle of violations and fines, often leading to lost licenses. This makes it harder to keep or find employment.

Guests:
Everette Cain, 28-year old from South LA, who has more than $4,000 in ticket fines and court fees from just 3 citations. His licence is currently suspended.
Theresa Zhen, A New Way of Life Reentry Project

More:
Not Just a Ferguson Problem - How Traffic Courts Drive Inequality in California

Almonds 8 MIN, 57 SEC

Almonds are an $11 billion business in California, but they’ve come under scrutiny for being water intensive to grow. They’ve become like the Hummer during times of high gas prices: a symbol of waste or extravagance that might not make sense during drought conditions. But have almonds been unfairly-maligned? Is the fault not in almonds, but ourselves, or rather, other water issues?

Guests:
Alissa Walker, Curbed (@awalkerinLA)
Mark Hertsgaard, Nation magazine (@markhertsgaard)

More:
Seriously, Stop Demonizing Almonds by: Alissa Walker
How Growers Gamed California’s Drought - by Mark Hertsgaard

Movies 14 MIN

Our Friday round-up of movies finds a strange mix of choices. A new movie, based on a book by Nicholas Sparks, delivers a similar setup to one of his more famous works, “The Notebook.” It’s called The Longest Ride. It’s a love story divided between the present and the 1940’s. There’s also the directorial debut of actor Ryan Gosling, called “Lost River.” It’s an indie film about a single mother, played by Christina Hendricks, who runs up against the criminal underworld, while her son discovers a secret underwater town. And the best reviewed film of the bunch is “Ex Machina,” an intelligent sci-fi thriller about artificial intelligence, from the writer of 28 Days Later.


Guests:
Devin Faraci, Badass Digest (@devincf)
Amy Nicholson, Film Critic (@theamynicholson)

Artificial Intelligence 8 MIN, 56 SEC

Filmmakers have always been fascinated by artificial intelligence. These sentient man-made beings range from the cold and sinister -- think HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey -- to the warm and intimate -- like Samantha, the operating system in Her. But AI is a growing business that’s pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. With the release of the new movie Ex Machina, we try to separate fact from science fiction.

Guests:
Yigal Arens, Information Sciences Institute (@yarens1)

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