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The LA City Council has banned e-cigarettes wherever regular cigarettes are banned. But are e-cigs as dangerous? And what are vape lounges all about? In Ecuador, a judge ruled yesterday that a previous $9.5B settlement against Chevron was based on fraud. We get the details on a fascinating story. Zooniverse.org now has one million citizen scientists working on real science projects online. We talk to one of the founders about how crowdsourcing science has become such a big thing. And speaking of crowdsourcing, in less than five years, Kickstarter has raised $1B for start-up projects. And a sequel is coming out this weekend to the sword and sandal movie 300, but how historically accurate is it? And should we care?

Banner Image: A female model demonstrating use of an electronic cigarette; Credit: Michael Dorausch

E-Cigarettes 8 MIN, 39 SEC

The LA City Council voted unanimously yesterday to ban e-cigarettes wherever regular cigarettes are banned. That means no more ‘vaping’ at workplaces, restaurants, bars and other public spaces. And LA’s not the only one -- New York and Chicago already have similar restrictions. But while local lawmakers are sounding the alarms, there’s a lot we still don’t know about e-cigarettes. Could they be a safer alternative to the real thing? Or are they just a gateway vice?

Emily Anne McDonald, UC San Francisco

The Mad Brand Vapes with The Joel Stein 7 MIN, 40 SEC

Vape Lounges are one of the only public places where people in L.A. will still be able to use their e-cigarettes. Madeleine wanted to see what goes on inside a Vape Lounge, so she called up Time Magazine’s Joel Stein to see if he would try vaping for the first time. They met up at the L.A. Vapor Lounge in Hollywood and talked with James Madina, one of the lounge’s employees, and Rocky Hensel, who owns the place.

Joel Stein, Columnist, Time Magazine and author of 'Man Made: A Stupid Quest for Masculinity' (@thejoelstein)

Chevron and the Amazon 9 MIN, 9 SEC

A judge ruled yesterday that a $9.5 billion settlement against oil giant Chevron in Ecuador was a fraud. Villagers in Ecuador and environmentalists say Texaco - now owned by Chevron - polluted their corner of the Amazon for decades. But according to the ruling, the lawyer representing the farmers and fishermen in Ecuador bribed judges and committed fraud relating to the case.

Christie Smythe, Bloomberg News (@ChristieSmythe)

Crowdsourcing Citizen Science 6 MIN, 51 SEC

7 years ago, Kevin Schawinski, a young astronomy researcher at Oxford, met up with his colleague Chris Lintott at a local pub. Schawinski had started the tedious task of looking through images of a million galaxies that he needed to classify. He’d just spent the whole week doing this and had completed just 50-thousand of them. He told his friend Chris he wasn’t looking forward to spending months going through the rest. The solution they came up with was Galaxy Zoo, a way for anyone to go online and work on real science.

Kevin Schawinski, Galaxy Zoo (@kevinschawinski)

Kickstarter Reaches $1 Billion 7 MIN, 51 SEC

This week, Kickstarter excitedly announced it’s handled a billion dollars in pledges for start-up projects. Not all projects were funded and not all funded projects were successful. But it’s still a lot of money. There’s no doubt that Kickstarter and other sites like Indiegogo and Crowdfunder are getting people to support projects they might never have heard of five years ago. But crowd-funding is still new - the question is: will it always be about finding money for pet projects - or will it really change the way people invest?

Gordon Burtch, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota

The Movie '300' 7 MIN, 37 SEC

The sword and sandal epic 300  was released in 2006. The movie made nearly half a billion dollars worldwide. Not surprisingly, there’s a sequel coming out this weekend. It’s called: 300: Rise of an Empire. 300 is the story of a small army of Greeks -- 300 Spartans actually, or so the myth goes -- who attempted to stop an invading army of Persians back in 480 BC. Of course, the movie isn’t historically accurate. But our producer Matt Holzman wanted to know: what did they get right in the movie, and does it matter?

Matt Holzman, Producer, 'The Document' and 'First Take' (@KCRW_Matt)

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