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The lynch mobs of old Los Angeles

Think LA is violent now? It's nothing compared to the way it used to be: in 1854, fights and shootings claimed a life every day, on average. (Consider too that in those days, the population was only about 4,000; compare that with 3,694,820 in 2000.) In response to all the bloodshed, the level-headed citizens of Los Angeles decided to take matters into their own hands "“ vigilante-style -- by forming lynch mobs, which enjoyed widespread support through the 1870s. In fact, they were formally organized into what were euphemistically known as "vigilance committees," which were supplied with weapons, horses and equipment by local merchants and ranchers. But we think one story in particular illustrates the degree to which mob justice supplanted LA's court system:

"When the gambler Dave Brown murdered Pinckney Clifford in 1854, a lynch mob stormed the city jail. Mayor Stephen Collins Foster (no, not the songwriter) intervened and persuaded the crowd to allow the court to settle the matter, promising his angry audience that he would resign his mayoral office and personally lead a lynching party should the law fail to act. At the conclusion of the trial, District Court Judge Benjamin Hayes sentenced Brown to hang on January 12, 1855. But Brown's capable attorneys successfully petitioned the Supreme Court for a stay of execution until February 10. Mayor Foster, true to his promise, resigned his office the next day and formed a lynch mob which seized Brown and hung him from the crossbeam of a corral gateway just opposite the hall."

Needless to say, it's hard to imagine current mayor Antonio Villaragosa taking such action. So whatever you may think about the crime and punishment in Southern California, just remember: at least things ain't like they used to be.

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Perfect cookies are within your grasp. Just grab your measuring cups and get started. Special thanks to the Institute of Culinary Education.

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Netflix's Most-Binged Shows of 2017, Ranked
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Netflix might know your TV habits better than you do. Recently, the entertainment company's normally tight-lipped number-crunchers looked at user data collected between November 1, 2016 and November 1, 2017 to see which series people were powering through and which ones they were digesting more slowly. By analyzing members’ average daily viewing habits, they were able to determine which programs were more likely to be “binged” (or watched for more than two hours per day) and which were more often “savored” (or watched for less than two hours per day) by viewers.

They found that the highest number of Netflix bingers glutted themselves on the true crime parody American Vandal, followed by the Brazilian sci-fi series 3%, and the drama-mystery 13 Reasons Why. Other shows that had viewers glued to the couch in 2017 included Anne with an E, the Canadian series based on L. M. Montgomery's 1908 novel Anne of Green Gables, and the live-action Archie comics-inspired Riverdale.

In contrast, TV shows that viewers enjoyed more slowly included the Emmy-winning drama The Crown, followed by Big Mouth, Neo Yokio, A Series of Unfortunate Events, GLOW, Friends from College, and Ozark.

There's a dark side to this data, though: While the company isn't around to judge your sweatpants and the chip crumbs stuck to your couch, Netflix is privy to even your most embarrassing viewing habits. The company recently used this info to publicly call out a small group of users who turned their binges into full-fledged benders:

Oh, and if you're the one person in Antarctica binging Shameless, the streaming giant just outed you, too.

Netflix broke down their full findings in the infographic below and, Big Brother vibes aside, the data is pretty fascinating. It even includes survey data on which shows prompted viewers to “Netflix cheat” on their significant others and which shows were enjoyed by the entire family.

Netflix infographic "The Year in Bingeing"
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