Almost half of Americans classified as poor earn an income that’s 50 percent below the poverty line; the Internet is adding to the destruction of the creative class, musician David Byrne argues; and North Dakota has suffered one of the worst onshore oil spills in recent history, courtesy of fracking. These discoveries and more below.

On a regular basis, Truthdig brings you the news items and odds and ends that have found their way to Larry Gross, director of the USC Annenberg School for Communication. A specialist in media and culture, art and communication, visual communication and media portrayals of minorities, Gross helped found the field of gay and lesbian studies.

Deep Poverty As the Wall Street Journal explains, “Forty-four percent of America’s poor are considered to be in ‘deep poverty’—defined as an income 50% or more below the government’s official poverty line.”

Why Did BBC Let Simon Schama Make ‘Moral Case for Israel’ Unchallenged? After the screening of [Simon Schama’s] sweeping five-piece [series] The Story of the Jews on prime time in Britain last month, no one will be able to say for at least another decade that the BBC has an inherent bias against Israel.

David Byrne: ‘The Internet Will Suck All Creative Content Out of the World’ The boom in digital streaming may generate profits for record labels and free content for consumers, but it spells disaster for today’s artists across the creative industries.

Self-Publishing Boom Sees 59% Increase in DIY Titles Romance and literary fiction have helped drive the number of US books self-published in hard copy up to 234,931, an increase of 59% compared to 2011.

How the VCR Brought Film’s Artistry Home Pre-VHS recorder, the canon was about reputation, not experience.

The Way We Mourn Now Could this code be the new way to remember the dead?

Don’t Be Afraid to Be Uncool “I was never cool in school,” Darren Jessee sang on Ben Folds Five’s “Underground,” a 1995 song that satirized prep years and mohawked scenesters with double-edged glee.

Save the World, Help the NSA? A New America study ponders privacy for new Internet users in an “age of tracking.”

4 Reasons Right-Wing Christians Salivate for the End Times While there’s much about the Christian right that’s difficult for the rest of us to understand, the preoccupation with the “end times” is close to the top of the list.

Over 865,200 Gallons Of Fracked Oil Spill In ND, Public In Dark For Days Over 20,600 barrels of oil fracked from the Bakken Shale has spilled from a Tesoro Logistics pipeline in Tioga, North Dakota in one of the biggest onshore oil spills in recent U.S. history.

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