TIME Behind the Photos

See the World’s Largest Solar Plants From Above

Photographer Jamey Stillings takes us to some of the most impressive man-made wonders of the world

The Desert Sunlight Solar Farm in California’s Mojave Desert is the world’s largest solar plant with eight million panels producing 550 megawatts of power — or enough to supply 160,000 homes.

For the latest issue of TIME, we commissioned Jamey Stillings to photograph the plant. “I’ve had a long-term interest in the intersection of nature and human activity,” he says. “How we connect to nature; how we decide to use and modify nature for what we want to do.”

A little over four years ago, Stillings decided to marry that photographic interest with an environmental perspective, looking at the development of our species and society as we slowly move away from fossil fuels. “From a historic standpoint in the United States, we remember building the Hoover Dam, we remember building the Empire State Building. The photographs of that become our visual memories; they become part of our collective consciousness.”

With his photographs of renewable energy plant sites, Stillings is looking toward the future. “I’m interested in being involved both with the contemporary conversation and also acknowledging the fact that, not too far down the road, we’re going to start having a historical perspective on them. They will mean something different to us 10 years from now, 50 years from now and 100 years from now.”

And while Stillings wants to keep his focus on renewable energies — to produce a global study of their development — he’s considering documenting fossil fuel as well. “I want to create a visual counterpoint,” he says, “to show, for example, the differences in the environmental impact of five sq. mi. of solar panels and that of five sq. mi. of coal mining.”

Jamey Stillings is a photographer based in Santa Fe, N.M. His monograph The Evolution of Ivanpah Solar will be published by Steidl in 2015.

TIME Music

Watch the First Video from Best Coast’s Upcoming Album California Nights

Bring on the summer

Californian duo Best Coast have dropped the first video for their upcoming third album California Nights.

The single of the same name has a grown-up but still dreamy sound, matched in the video by trippy, summery landscapes.

California Nights is the band’s first major label debut after a move to Harvest Records, reports Rolling Stone. Along with the video, Best Coast unveiled the track listing and the dates of an upcoming U.S. tour that will run from March to June.

California Nights will be out on May 5.

[Rolling Stone]

TIME

Measles Outbreak in U.S. Tops 150 Cases

A single dose of MMR for Measles, Mumps, and Rubella at Kaiser Permanente East Medical offices on Feb. 3, 2015 in Denver, CO.
Joe Amon—Denver Post via Getty Images A single dose of MMR for Measles, Mumps, and Rubella at Kaiser Permanente East Medical offices on Feb. 3, 2015 in Denver, CO.

Most people with the disease are not vaccinated

The number of measles cases in the U.S. has reached 154, according to new numbers released Monday.

Between Jan. 1 to Feb. 20, more than 150 cases in 17 different states have been reported to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC). The majority of these cases are tied to an outbreak linked to Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim, Calif.

Some have blamed the latest outbreak on parents who don’t vaccinate their children for measles — or anti-vaxxers — and the CDC reports that the majority of people who got measles were unvaccinated. Travelers from other parts of the world where the disease is still prevalent could also be bringing it into the U.S., the CDC said.

There are currently three simultaneous outbreaks of the virus, the largest connected to Disneyland and the other two in Illinois and Nevada. In 2014, the U.S. experienced a major outbreak of measles that totaled 383 cases and was primarily spreading among an unvaccinated Amish community in Ohio.

Two doses of the measles vaccine (MMR) are nearly 100% effective at preventing the disease, which is highly contagious. The CDC recommends all children get their first dose of the vaccine at ages 12 through 15 months and the second dose at ages 4 to 6.

TIME Labor

Ships Queue off California as Dock Labor Dispute Intensifies

Port Labor
Nick Ut—AP This Feb. 9 file photo the Yang Ming Masculinity, YMMS cargo ship anchored off the Long Beach Harbor waits to be unloaded due to a labor dispute in Long Beach, Calif.

Los Angeles and Long Beach ports account for 40% of America's incoming cargo

Ports on the West Coast will partially shut for four days amid an ongoing dispute between operators and workers.

The ports will see reduced activity on Thursday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday as terminal operators and shipping lines accuse workers of deliberately slowing operations, the LA Times reports. The workers would be eligible for overtime pay on Thursday and Monday, which are holidays, and it’s unclear whether a continued slowdown or even a total closure will follow.

The union representing the workers denies the allegations and blames the shipping companies for the port congestion that has delayed shipments from Asia. Los Angeles and Long Beach ports are the country’s busiest, accounting for roughly 40 percent of incoming container cargo according to the Times.

The nine-month labor dispute, which has left workers without a contract since July, has repeatedly slowed operations and prompted concerns recently of a lockout of dockworkers.

Read more at the LA Times.

TIME energy

The California Desert Is Now Home to the World’s Largest Solar-Power Plant

U.S. Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell, left, tours the more than six square miles of the plant during the power-on ceremony at Desert Sunlight Solar Farm in Desert Center, Calif., Feb. 9, 2015.
Terry Pierson—The Press Enterprise/AP U.S. Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell, left, tours the plant during the power-on ceremony at Desert Sunlight Solar Farm in Desert Center, Calif., on Feb. 9, 2015

It could pave the way for more large-scale renewable-energy plants

The world’s largest solar-power plant officially opened in the Riverside County desert, in California, on Monday.

The 550-megawatt Desert Sunlight Solar Farm will produce enough energy to power 160,000 California homes, reports USA Today.

Governor Jerry Brown has called on the state to increase its renewable-energy use to 50% of the total by 2030, up from 33% by 2020.

Desert Sunlight was built using a $1.5 billion federal loan-guarantee program from the U.S. Department of Energy, who says the project is expected to make a profit of $5 billion to $6 billion.

[USA Today]

TIME Crime

‘Hot Mug Shot Guy’ Sentenced to Two Years in Prison

Jeremy Meeks Booking Photo
Stockton Police Department—Getty Images In this handout photo provided by the Stockton Police Department, Jeremy Meeks is seen in a police booking photo after his arrest on felony weapon charges June 18, 2014 in Stockton, California.

Jeremy Meeks was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm

The man who became known for his attractive mug shot last summer has been convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm and sentenced to serve 27 months in prison.

Jeremy Meeks made the rounds on the Internet last summer after the Stockton, Calif. Police Department posted his attractive mug shot on Facebook, surprisingly gaining him many admirers. He even landed a modeling contract, though he’ll be unlikely to book many shoots while behind bars.

In addition to his two-year sentence, Meeks was ordered to take part in the 500-Hour Bureau of Prisons Substance Abuse Treatment Program.

[CBS]

TIME weather

California Gets Heavy Rains But Not Enough to End Drought

San Francisco can expect 6 inches of rain this weekend

While the East Coast has been saturated with snow in recent weeks, California has continued to struggle with serious drought—for the first time in 165 years, San Francisco saw absolutely no precipitation in January. But now the Bay area is getting inundated with heavy rains that have been predicted to last from Thursday through Monday.

Though Northern California will get more rain than it has seen in a long time this weekend, NBC reports it won’t be enough to combat the drought that has left reservoir levels extremely low. To solve the state’s problems, Californians will need conditions that require a lot more umbrella use.

[NBC]

TIME Crime

The 911 Call in Marion ‘Suge’ Knight’s Murder Case Has Been Released

Marion "Suge" Knight appears in a court during his arraignment, Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015 in Compton, Calif.
Paul Buck—AP Marion "Suge" Knight appears in a court during his arraignment, Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015 in Compton, Calif.

The 49-year-old rap mogul has pleaded not guilty to murder charges

A 911 recording made by a witness to a hit-and-run incident involving rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight has been released.

The call was made on Jan. 29, after Knight’s pickup truck hit two men in a parking lot in Compton, Calif., and sped off, the Associated Press reports.

“The car ran over two guys, there was fighting and then he just pulled back and pulled forward and run ’em over,” a woman told the emergency responders. “Two guys are laying down.”

Knight has been charged with killing his friend Terry Carter and attempting to kill Cle “Bone” Sloan.

Prosecutors allege Knight intentionally struck the two men with his car after a confrontation in a different part of Los Angeles.

But Knight’s attorneys say he was attacked by four people as he pulled into the lot after Carter had invited him for a meeting.

The 49-year-old pleaded not guilty to murder, attempted murder and hit-and-run charges on Tuesday.

[AP]

TIME society

How Growing Carrots Almost Got Me Arrested

carrots-table
Getty Images

Zocalo Public Square is a not-for-profit Ideas Exchange that blends live events and humanities journalism.

All I wanted was healthy food options and organic fruits and vegetables for my family, my neighbors, and myself

In 2003, long before a warrant was issued for my arrest for the crime of planting vegetables, I remember going to a store in South Central L.A. and picking up some tomatoes. The stickers on them read: “Coated with shellac.” That’s when it really hit me.

There was a complete lack of healthy food in my community. Growing up in South Central L.A., we had restaurants where you could sit down. But some time in the late ’70s or early ’80s, those places shut down and were replaced by fast food joints. Later, when I was raising my kids, I used to drive damn near an hour round-trip to places like Culver City to find fruits and vegetables that hadn’t been grown with pesticides.

I wanted to change all of that. I wanted to rid the streets of trash. And I wanted healthy food options and organic fruits and vegetables for my family, my neighbors, and myself.

So, in 2010, I planted towering sunflowers, kale, and pomegranates in the 10-foot-wide, 150-foot-long parkway in front of my house—the space between the curb and the sidewalk.

That same year, I founded a group with like-minded people who wanted to grow and share their own food and show others how to do it. It’s our responsibility—if we want to change our neighborhoods, it has to come from within.

We started planting gardens around the neighborhood and in peoples’ yards for free. But I learned the drawbacks. When people get something—like food in their garden—without having to do the work themselves, they don’t assign such things the same value. Unfortunately, we found that a lot of the gardens we planted weren’t being maintained.

Then, in May 2011, I got a citation to remove my garden from the city’s Bureau of Street Services—it said that, since the city has jurisdiction over parkways, I had two options: clear the “overgrown vegetation” or purchase a $400 permit. I didn’t do either, of course. The citation turned into a warrant. I got an arrest warrant for beautifying my street—a warrant for planting a carrot!

My first thought was: Bring it. There was no healthy food in the neighborhood—and those parkways were the only land where people could grow food. Plus no one was being cited for the discarded old toilets, couches and used condoms on the street—but I got a citation for bringing nature, beauty, pride, art, and a sense of peace and calm to the neighborhood. It just made no sense.

But the police never came for me. The warrant was suspended. Over the summer, LA Times columnist Steve Lopez got interested and wrote about the garden. There was a petition started in support. Then Councilman Herb Wesson got involved. In 2013, the L.A. City Council voted to change the law—it is now legal to grow food on your parkway in Los Angeles.

There has been a shift in the paradigm. Now the city is encouraging more green spaces and there are plans to utilize its 26 square miles of vacant lots to benefit underserved communities—to turn them into green space and urban farms.

The last few years have been incredible. I’ve had the opportunity to travel to the world to speak publicly, including a talk I gave in 2013 at a big TED conference that has more than two million views to date.

The message is getting out. People across L.A. (and around the world) are planting gardens at home, in schools and businesses.

These days, I’m focusing on raising funds for the Ron Finley Project, a plan to acquire an acre of land in South Central L.A. behind the city’s oldest operating library and turn it into an urban garden oasis. When it’s done, the Vermont Square library garden will consist of a greenhouse, a café in a shipping container, and a community garden where people can grow, exchange, and sell their food at a bi-weekly food stand. We’ll also offer classes and a program to use the thousands of pounds of fruit from people’s yards that go to waste each year.

Once we’re done transforming South Central L.A., the next move is to transform the world.

Ron Finley, who was raised in South Central, started a horticultural revolution. Ron spends most of his time working on changing an unjust food system by showing people the art of growing their own food. His message is simple: “Change your food, change your life!” He wrote this for Thinking L.A., a partnership of UCLA and Zocalo Public Square.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Infectious Disease

California Lawmakers Move to End Exemptions for Measles Vaccine

Carmen Lopez, Charles Goodman
Damian Dovarganes—AP Pediatrician Dr. Charles Goodman talks with Carmen Lopez, who is holding her 18-month-old son Daniel after being vaccinated with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, at his practice in Northridge, Calif., on Jan. 29, 2015

More than a hundred people have been infected in a recent measles outbreak.

Lawmakers in California have moved to end parents’ right to exempt their children from school vaccinations based on personal beliefs.

The state senators said Thursday that they planned to introduce the legislation to make California the 33rd state to bar the exemption, Reuters reports.

More than 100 people have been infected with the measles in a recent outbreak partially linked to Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim, Calif. Most of those infected were unvaccinated.

“The high number of unvaccinated students is jeopardizing public health not only in schools but in the broader community,” state Senator Ben Allen said in a written statement. He is co-sponsoring the legislation along with fellow Democrat Richard Pan. “We need to take steps to keep our schools safe and our students healthy.”

[Reuters]

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