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The Answers Issue
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The Second Age of Reason
Information overload will improve our lives

The Real Ice Bucket Challenge
What’s harder than dumping freezing water on your head? Repeating this kind of success

Detroit: America’s Emerging Market
How the city can teach us to reinvest the rest of the U.S. economy

A Battle of Two Veterans
In an edgy political year, a former Marine tests a longtime Democratic pol for a seat near Boston

Obama Goes to War (With Congress)
The President began bombing ISIS on his own, but only Congress can start a war

Scotland’s Disunited Kingdom
Voters face a referendum on independence from Britain

Apps Charging for Free Services Get Savvy—and Sleazy
Booking a reservation or finding a parking spot just got a whole lot easier and more expensive

Ferguson’s Next Chapter
Can a town turn a tragic moment into a lasting movement?

Tablets for Tots
Meet the uber-tablet made specially for kids and families

Stand Up for Your Health
All-day sitting hurts the body. Here’s a novel way to undo the damage

Patton Oswalt: Why I Quit Twitter—And Will Again
Maybe the next fashionable rebellion is to become “unlinked”—only reachable face-to-face

Wall Street Goes Green
Why is solar booming? Finance

Banker Who Predicted 2008 Meltdown Is Worried Again
Raghuram Rajan is seeing troubling sings

Spinning Classes: Coming Soon to a Living Room Near You
How Peloton makes it easy—and fun—to cycle at home

Jessica Chastain’s Triple Play
One of the year’s buzzier films is being released in three different versions

In Transparent, a Breasted Development
Jeffrey Tambor explores a radical new phase of life— and the series itself breaks away from TV tradition

XKCD: When Physics Is Funny
The man behind the web’s smartest comics takes his science project where it’s never been before: paper

The Kids are Alright in This Is Our Youth
Michael Cera isn’t the only stage rookie in the new Broadway play

Henri Matisse Cuts Loose
In old age, French master made some of his most vibrant work, the cut-paper collages coming to Manhattan

Maroon 5 Falls Off the Bandwagon
The group hasn’t been a rock outfit for many years—and that’s just fine with Adam Levine

Life Lessons From One of the World’s Oldest Men
Charlie White, who died at 109, was able to separate the things he could control from the things that he could not

Quake Alert
In California, a brief heads-up

Milestones

Richard Attenborough
Actor and director

Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol
American Ebola patients

All’s Fair in Love and …

World

Briefing

TIME nation

Detroit: America’s Emerging Market

How the city can teach us to reinvest the rest of the U.S. economy

In August, a year after I wrote a TIME cover story on Detroit’s bankruptcy, I visited Motown again. This time I found myself reporting on a remarkable economic resurgence that could become a model for other beleaguered American communities. Even as Detroit continues to struggle with blight and decline–more than 70,500 properties were foreclosed on in the past four years, and basic public services like streetlights and running water are still spotty in some areas–its downtown is booming, full of bustling restaurants, luxury lofts, edgy boutiques and newly renovated office buildings.

The city struck me as a template for much of the postcrisis U.S. economy–thriftier, more entrepreneurial and nimble. Many emerging-market cities, from Istanbul to Lagos to Mumbai, share similar characteristics, good and bad. The water might be off on Detroit’s perimeter, but migrants are flooding into its center, drawn by lower-cost housing and a creative-hive effect that’s spawned a host of new businesses.

Much of the resurgence has been led by Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert, who a few years back decided to relocate his company’s headquarters downtown, moving from the suburbs to take advantage of the city’s postcrisis “skyscraper sales,” as well as the growing desire of young workers to live in urban hubs. “If I wanted to attract kids from Harvard or Georgetown, there was no way it was going to happen in a suburb of Detroit, where you’re going to walk on asphalt 200 yards to your car in the middle of February and have no interaction with anyone in the world except who’s in your building,” says Gilbert, 52.

Since 2010, Gilbert has created 6,500 new jobs downtown, bought up tens of thousands of square feet of cheap real estate and brought in 100 new business and retail tenants, including hot firms like Twitter, as well as a bevy of professional-services firms. Lowe Campbell Ewald, one of General Motors’ advertising agencies, recently moved back downtown after years in the suburbs, citing better client-recruitment possibilities there. Companies of all types are catering to a growing number of young entrepreneurs who are making the most of cheap real estate (Quicken subsidizes rents and mortgages) and local talent (southern Michigan still has one of the nation’s highest concentrations of industrial-product designers) to create new businesses. For instance, there’s Chalkfly, a dotcom that sells office and school supplies online, and Shinola, the cult-hit watch company that advertises $600 timepieces as “made in Detroit.” Their success is already raising rents–per-square-foot rates have doubled in the past four years–and bringing in tony retail brands like Whole Foods.

The question now is how to spread the prosperity. The answer starts with better public transportation. Motown has always been a disaster in this respect. It used to be that nobody wanted to go downtown; now nobody wants to leave. The M-1 Rail, a new public-private streetcar due to be completed in 2016, aims to link neighborhoods. GM, Penske, Quicken and other firms are contributing the majority of its $140 million cost, and the rail will be donated back to the city within a few years. Studies show that a similar project in Portland, Ore., has generated six times its cost in economic development. In the past few months, officials from New Orleans and Miami have visited Detroit to study the project.

Reinventing Detroit’s manufacturing sector is the next step. That means connecting the dots between the public and private sectors, businesses and universities, and large and small firms. Detroit’s old industrial model was top-down: the Big Three dictated terms to thousands of suppliers, who did what they were told. The new model will be more collaborative. Many of the innovations in high-tech materials, telematics and sensors are happening on campuses or at startups, with the aid of groups like the Michigan Economic Development Corp. The University of Michigan has become a test bed for driverless cars. A new federally funded $148 million high-tech manufacturing institute just opened in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood.

One could imagine the automakers playing a key role in this resurgence by investing more broadly in local innovation, via their own venture-capital arms. Ford, which acquired a local digital-radio technology startup last fall, is beginning to do just that. It would provide a much needed injection of cash into the city’s innovation economy and offer the automakers a new line of business.

Ultimately, it will take all that and more to ensure that Detroit’s downtown rebirth grows into a boom that is more broadly shared.

TIME nation

Obama Goes to War (With Congress)

The President began bombing ISIS on his own, but only Congress can start a war

Earlier this summer, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine found himself in the Grand Foyer of the White House playing the foreign policy–hypothetical game with President Obama. Over drinks with some Senate Democrats, the President mentioned Kaine’s article that day in the Washington Post demanding a congressional vote to authorize any new military action against the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), the armed extremist group overtaking large chunks of Iraq.

The Law Professor in Chief, who campaigned for office promising to rein in executive power, proposed some scenarios. “He’d say, ‘Here’s the situation. Do you think I have executive authority to act?'” Among the possibilities Kaine recalls: What if there is an imminent threat to a U.S. embassy? “We generally agreed on most of them,” says Kaine. But not all.

Two months later, those debates are no longer hypothetical. Since Aug. 8, Obama has unilaterally ordered more than 100 bombing runs on ISIS targets in northern Iraq, citing his authority under Article II of the Constitution to protect U.S. lives and offer humanitarian aid. Hundreds of military advisers have been dispatched to Iraq, along with shipments of lethal equipment to proxy forces in the region. Through it all, the White House has maintained that Obama has no plans to seek permission from Congress, which returns from recess on Sept. 8.

The Constitution gives the President the power to defend the country as Commander in Chief, but it delegates the power to declare war to Congress. Kaine is one of several Senators who believe Obama has stretched his powers about as far as they can go. “I am worried about the consequences of Congress basically saying the President can decide unilaterally which organizations to launch air strikes against,” says Kaine.

The Obama Administration, meanwhile, has been signaling that the conflict with ISIS is likely to expand before it contracts. U.S. officials worry about what they believe are hundreds of ISIS fighters with Western passports who could attack Europe or the U.S. if they return to their homelands. General Martin Dempsey, who chairs the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters that defeating ISIS will require action by U.S. or other forces on both sides of the Iraq-Syria border. Days later, Pentagon sources leaked news of new U.S. surveillance flights over Syria to better map out ISIS positions, a possible prerequisite to expanded bombing efforts. “Rooting out a cancer like [ISIS] won’t be easy and it won’t be quick,” Obama said on Aug. 26. Though the White House insists no decisions have been made for an expanded campaign against ISIS, no one denies that preparations are under way.

The ironies of the situation are striking. A President who helped build his national profile by opposing the war in Iraq now must decide whether to force a vote on a similar military adventure just weeks before midterm elections. But the commander who deferred to Congress rather than launch air strikes on Syria last year may not be able to attract the votes on Capitol Hill that he has in the past claimed to need. “I believe our democracy is stronger when the President acts with the support of Congress,” Obama said one year ago. “And I believe America acts more effectively abroad when we stand together.”

There are plenty of reasons for the White House to avoid a bitter debate over a new war in the Middle East. Obama’s attempts to get approval from Congress for the last round of Syria strikes failed to muster the required votes, and it divided his own party, upsetting many on the left. He has also spent some of his second term celebrating what he described as the coming end to the war on terror, a goal that seems increasingly distant. Congressional leadership on both sides is skittish about a vote. “Neither he nor the Congress wants to have this dance now,” says Jack Goldsmith, who led the Office of Legal Counsel for President George W. Bush. “That’s really what is going on.”

In the meantime, the White House has been searching for a legal justification for a protracted military campaign that doesn’t involve going to Congress. A 2002 congressional authorization to use force in Iraq remains on the books, but the White House announced in July that the document “is no longer used” and should be repealed. That leaves the 2001 congressional authorization to pursue those responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks, which a White House spokesperson says the Administration is “currently reviewing” to see if it applies to ISIS.

But Obama allies like Kaine, who otherwise supports Obama’s ISIS campaign, say that document clearly doesn’t cover ISIS, which did not exist in 2001. Far from being a partner of al-Qaeda, ISIS has emerged as a rival in the region. And in 2001, Congress rejected a White House request for broader authorization to allow military force against threats unconnected to al-Qaeda.

A third option–perhaps the most likely outcome–is for Obama to declare that his constitutional powers allow him to continue the conflict without Congress. A Vietnam-era law requires the President to seek congressional authorization for hostilities within 60 days of their launch, or begin military drawdowns; that deadline would expire after Oct. 7. But Obama never sought such authorization for the bombing campaign that toppled Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Instead, his lawyers argued that the limited nature of U.S. support for air strikes on Libya did not amount to “hostilities” under the law.

In the end, the greatest risk for Obama in avoiding Congress may be to his legacy. No court is likely to force him to stop military action, and Congress is unlikely to unite around a demand for a vote. But Obama has repeatedly promised the American people a more democratic approach to warfare. As so often happens in the Oval Office, the President must now decide whether to pay a political price to uphold his public vows.

–WITH REPORTING BY JAY NEWTON-SMALL AND ZEKE MILLER/WASHINGTON

TIME Education

What it Really Takes for Schools to Go Digital

Margaret Ramirez—The Hechinger Report Students work on MacBook Air laptops in science class at East Iredell Middle School in Statesville, N.C. on May 19, 2014.

President Obama hailed Mooresville, N.C., as a model for the future of public education. But a neighboring district offers a more accurate picture of the challenges most schools face in bridging the tech divide

As a hazy morning sun rises over this rural North Carolina farming community, middle school students settle into their seats and lift their MacBooks, each face illuminated by an electronic glow.

A seventh-grade Social Studies class is rapt by videos about the toll of World War II, while nearby, sixth-graders work through online math drills, testing their knowledge of ratios and percents at a rapid clip. Across the hallway, English and Language Arts teacher Lori Meyer marvels at how much her eighth graders enjoyed doing their final project: a research paper and iMovie on the 1960s.

“This is the first time in my 12 years of teaching that students said writing the research paper was their favorite assignment,” Meyer says, “and I know it was due to the laptops.”

North Iredell Middle School, about 60 miles north of Charlotte, leaped into the digital learning age in March when it gave each of its more than 650 students MacBook Air computers. The gear is part of a $20-million federally funded plan by the Iredell-Statesville Schools District to issue MacBooks to some 11,300 students across nine middle schools and seven high schools. The grant, part of the federal Race to the Top program, is intended to convert the district to a hybrid approach fusing traditional teaching with digital instruction, a concept known as blended learning that has captured national attention.

“This is about changing the way we instruct students,” says Patrick Abele, executive director of the federal Race to the Top District grant. “It’s not just about technology…This is about having teachers be highly effective and highly engaged with students to close academic gaps.”

Iredell-Statesville didn’t have to look far to see the potential. The neighboring Mooresville Graded School District has been hailed as a national model for the future of technology-aided public education since it made the digital jump in 2009. Last year, President Obama chose the district as the site of his announcement of a new federal program to connect nearly all American schools to high-speed Internet during which he praised Mooresville’s digital classrooms.

Yet while the district’s academic improvement since the digital switch has been substantial, it is not a particularly representative model for the rest of the nation. Mooresville is a relatively small district of eight schools and 6,000 students. Just next door, Iredell-Statesville – with 36 schools and nearly 21,000 students – offers a more realistic portrait of the potential and challenges for larger school districts attempting to navigate the digital conversion.

Iredell-Statesville pulls students from a bucolic cross-section of NASCAR country, a mix of kids from of suburban enclaves and rural farm communities. It’s predominantly white, though not entirely — nearly 69 percent of students identify as white, 14 percent as black and 11 percent as Latino, according to the district’s most recent enrollment figures. And it is not wealthy. Nearly half of students are eligible for free- or reduced-price lunch, a measure of poverty.

The achievement gaps among black, Latino and limited-English students are significant, says Melanie Taylor, associate superintendent of curriculum and instruction. In 2012-2013, only 47 percent of black students and 50 percent of Latino students in grades four through eight scored proficient on math and reading end-of-grade tests, compared to 78 percent of white students. In that same year, only 13 percent of black students and 22 percent of Latino students in 11th grade scored above average on the ACT, compared to 53 percent of white students.

Digital resources had been scant. The school lacked the money to truly integrate technology into the classroom and the early efforts were hampered by painfully slow school Internet connections.

But that began to change in December 2012, when the district was awarded the $20 million Race to the Top grant by the Department of Education. By June 2013, the district had hired 15 full-time blended learning coaches to train and support teachers in the transition to digital and personalized instruction. Parents were required to pay a $20 technology usage fee for each student receiving a laptop. In September, the fee will rise to $50, though low-income families can request a hardship fee waiver. District officials called their program IMPACT, short for Innovative Methods for Personalizing Academics, Complemented by Technology.

The first step for teachers was understanding the concept. Last September, before any MacBooks were handed out, the blended learning coaches began training teachers on how to form small groups or “stations” in the classroom, and creating digital lesson plans tailored for each student.

“A lot of it was understanding what blended learning is,” says Erin Walle, a blended learning coach at North Iredell Middle School. “It’s understanding that this is personalized learning. It’s not just putting a student in front of a computer. I think that was the fear.”

Not everyone was on board. In February, about a month before the laptop distribution, East Iredell Middle School Principal Jimmy Elliott held a parent meeting on the laptop plan and was caught off guard when some said they were against it.

“There are games, videos, music and other things on there and I didn’t want him abusing it,” says Sissy Shew, whose grandson attends East Iredell.

Elliott says he was able to allay most concerns by explaining that teachers used filters to block certain sites in class and would instruct parents on how to do the same at home. But he wishes he had made a stronger case at the outset.

“If I could go back, I would do a better job of educating parents as to what benefit or how much benefit these devices can have in the classroom,” Elliott says. “Because we saw immediate change in the way our kids were engaged. I mean, it was immediate.”

Some teachers, especially those with more experience, also struggled with the changes and questioned why technology was being “mandated” by the district, according to school officials.

“The learning curve is significant for some teachers depending on their comfort level with technology,” says Meyer, the English and Language Arts teacher. “But in the end, it makes teaching easier. I enjoy the creativity it brings into my classroom.”

Across the four middle schools where students have been given laptops, blended learning takes on several different forms.

On recent morning at Mt. Mourne International Baccalaureate Middle School, Spanish teacher Victoria Principe divides her class into three groups. One conjugates verbs online, using the site conjuguemos.com; another busily types as they translate a handout on Costa Rica, and Principe sits with a smaller group engaged in Spanish conversation.

At East Iredell Middle School, Michell Fandino, 13, is a digital learning success story. For Michell, whose parents immigrated to North Carolina from Colombia, math was a weakness and she was close to failing in June. But, after about two months with her new laptop, the chatty seventh grader with long dark hair smiles widely and says she is now getting “A’s.”

The secret? Michell said the digital drills on the MobyMax math program allowed her to review problems independently — in class and at home — until she understood them.

“The laptop makes it fun, so it makes you want to work more,” she says. “The teacher can’t just keep going back for you, she has to keep on going with the whole class. So, with the laptop, I keep working until I get it.”

East Iredell seventh grader Andrew Johnson says the ease of emailing assignments has helped boost his average.

“I would always lose my homework,” he says. “With the laptop, there’s no way to lose it…I feel more organized because I know everything is right there.”

Those sorts of responses are why district officials are figuring out ways to keep the program up and running after the federal spigot runs dry. Iredell district leaders estimate the technology expenses will amount to approximately 8% of their $175 million budget, or about $14 million, and Superintendent Brady Johnson says discussions are underway on how to sustain the technology budget after the Race to the Top grant ends in June 2016.

“Everyone in the school district realizes that we are now a technology rich district and to maintain that, sacrifices have to be made,” Johnson says.

It’s still too soon to say if the laptop program will be worth those sacrifices. In Iredell, the real test comes this fall when the remaining 12 schools receive their laptops. Still, many educators are convinced a change has already occurred. For some students, the simple act of having their own laptop has led to a deeper sense of ownership over their assignments and education, says East Iredell science teacher Angela Trusler.

Before East Iredell seventh grader Iyana James received her laptop, she said she never used her home computer for school. Asked how having her own computer has helped her in school, Iyana starts to answer, then has a better idea.

“For science class, I did a PowerPoint on Newton’s Law,” she says. “Can I show you that?”

This story was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news outlet at Teachers College, Columbia University. This story is part of a Hechinger series examining the digital divide in American schools. Read more about how technology is changing education.

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