Somebody Please Explain Why Diet Avocados Exist

We’re all familiar with this dilemma: You want to eat an avocado because they are delicious and supposedly full of “healthy fat” (whatever tf that is). You go to preemptively enter one into your calorie counter and realize, “Fuck, this is a lot of calories for something that is supposed to keep me skinny. But now that dilemma is a thing of the past thanks to Satan Spanish food company Isla Bonita, who just introduced the world to Frankenstein’s monster The Avocado Light, aka, diet avocados. Helloooo Nobel Committee? I think we’ve found your next Peace Prize.

So what is the Avocado Light? Is it the harbinger of the apocalypse, as foretold in the ? Maybe.

Here’s what we know: Not only do these avocados have only 70% of the fat content found in OG avocados, but they also ripen faster and turn brown slower, so you won’t have to deal with the avocado’s other biggest issue: the fact that they’re only edible within a 24 hour window. Before that window, hard as a rock. After that window, disgusting mush. There is no in between.

But before you head to Amazon and attempt to buy a life supply of these scientific marvels, slow your roll. Because America literally can’t have nice things right now, Isla Bonita is limiting distribution of these diet avocados to Spain. TBH, stocking up on diet avocados sounds like a good enough reason to plan a trip to Spain for me. Like, I’m doing it for my health. 

Read more:

Feeling Babies Kick Is A Thrill For Moms-To-Be, But It Almost Killed This Mother

For expectant mothers, one of the most precious moments between them and their unborn child is getting to feel them kick for the first time.

Feeling your child kick is the first real sign that there’s an actual human growing inside and while at times it can be uncomfortable, it’s a moment most mothers will ignore the discomfort to experience. But unfortunately for one mother in China, her tiny tyke kicked a little too hard, leaving mom in a life-or-death situation.

The woman, only identified as Zhang, was in her 35th week of pregnancy when she was rushed to the hospital after experiencing abdominal pain, as well as problems with her blood pressure, breathing, and pulse.

In the months prior to conceiving her child, Zhang underwent surgery to remove non-cancerous fibroids from her uterus.

After disclosing her previous medical history with her doctors, it was suggested that the woman undergo an ultrasound to ensure she wasnt suffering from a ruptured uterus.

In a matter of minutes, Zhang was rushed to an operating table, where doctors discovered that the unborn fetus legs were poking into her abdominal cavity.

According to doctors, the womans previous surgeries had left her with severe scar tissue that left the uterus wall more at risk of breaking.

Such a break is known as a rupture pregnancy and impacts less than 5 out of every 1,000 pregnancy women who have had previous Cesarian work.

Read more:

This 11-year-old Scout became a hero after grilling a senator on her policies.

The Boy Scouts of America have been all over the news lately, but in a recent video, it’s one of the group’s youngest members who’s making waves.

The video was taken earlier this month and features a Colorado state senator, Vicki Marble, holding a question-and-answer session at a Cub Scout den meeting. The senator likely had no idea just how tough the questions were going to be.

One of the scouts, 11-year-old Ames Mayfield, had come prepared to ask his elected official some serious policy questions.

Mayfield, respectfully armed with plenty of research, demanded the senator explain her stances on gun control and health care.

Referencing an earlier scandal in which Marble suggested a connection between cultural diets and disease — aptly named “chicken-gate” — Mayfield drilled the senator for her claims: “I was astonished that you blamed black people for poor health and poverty because of all the chicken and barbecue they eat.”

Marble deflected and blamed the media for fabricating the story and 11-year-old Mayfield for believing it.

According to the Cub Scouts’ own website, a true scout is “brave” and “helpful,” which makes what happened next even stranger.

Mayfield was kicked out of his Cub Scout den.

Mayfield and his mother, Lori, who posted the Q&A footage online, say they were stunned by the decision. For Lori’s part, she insists she didn’t put her son up to it.

“The only coaching I gave him was to be respectful,” she told the Denver Post. “Don’t be argumentative, preface things ‘with all due respect.’ I felt my son followed directions. He asked hard questions, but he was not disrespectful.”

Mayfield has received an outpouring of support from people on social media. Meanwhile, the Scouts say they’re looking for another den he can join.

Whether or not he rejoins remains to be seen.

Whether you agree with Senator Marble’s positions on these issues or not, it’s important to encourage young kids like Mayfield to take on an active role in challenging leadership, holding them accountable, and asking tough questions. That’s how a healthy democracy functions.

We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that our country was built on just this sort of debate, and we should teach kids to ask smart, respectful questions — not blind obedience.

Read more:

Our 2011 Contest Winner Is Slaying On The Voice Right Now! Find Out Why Charlie Puth’s Duet Partner ‘Disappeared’ From The Industry For So Long

Way to go, Emily Luther!

In case you don’t remember, Emily — along with a pal you may have heard of named Charlie Puth — got their start with an amazing YouTube cover that won our 2011 Can YOU Sing?? contest.

Video: Puth Realizes He Shouldn’t Have Covered Katy Perry’s Bon Appétit Mid-Performance!

Now Emily is back on another singing competition: The Voice!

Ch-ch-check out her smoky blind audition of Summertime that the coaches were fighting to get their hands on (below):

There’s a lot of measures of silence between 2011 and 2017. So why did Emily walk away for so long?

In an interview with GoLocalProv last week, she explained:

“It’s good to encourage young women or young men to be themselves, to be true to themselves. I had to figure that out the hard way…

I disappeared from the music scene for quite some time, there was a lot of mental health issues that I was going through when I was dealing with the negativity of the music industry.”

What negativity? Well, she doesn’t want to get into specifics, but she did later add on her Instagram that there was a Harvey Weinstein predator situation involved:

“This whole Harvey Weinstein thing hits so close to home. The music industry has the same craziness, that I was lucky enough to walk away from. It is so important that we continue to educate young people on what is ok and NOT ok for any man (powerful or not) to do. Thank you to those who are finally speaking their truth. It is not easy.”


We’re so upset to hear Emily’s first steps into the industry were so fraught. But we’re happy she’s finally back in the spotlight!

Ch-ch-check out Charlie in their winning cover of Adele‘s Someone Like You that started it all (below)!

If you’re as interested in following Emily’s journey as we are, find her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!

[Image via NBC/YouTube.]

Read more:

The wildly simple reason Trump joking about Pence’s anti-LGBTQ views is not OK.

In the Oct. 23 issue of The New Yorker, it was reported that President Donald Trump likes to joke about Vice President Mike Pence’s long history of anti-LGBTQ views.

In Jane Mayer’s exquisite story “The Danger of President Pence,” a source shared that Trump likes to remind Pence who’s in charge and frequently mocks his commitment to religion (Pence is an evangelical Christian). Specifically, he jokes about Pence’s need to limit the rights of women and LGBTQ people. Here’s the excerpt from Mayer’s story (emphasis mine):

“Two sources also recalled Trump needling Pence about his views on abortion and homosexuality. During a meeting with a legal scholar, Trump belittled Pence’s determination to overturn Roe v. Wade. The legal scholar had said that, if the Supreme Court did so, many states would likely legalize abortion on their own. ‘You see?’ Trump asked Pence. ‘You’ve wasted all this time and energy on it, and it’s not going to end abortion anyway.’ When the conversation turned to gay rights, Trump motioned toward Pence and joked, ‘Don’t ask that guy — he wants to hang them all!’

There’s nothing wrong with Pence being a man of faith. But when he hides behind it and uses it as justification for a series of policies and positions that threaten the livelihoods of many, many Americans, that’s dangerous. Furthermore, joking about someone hanging gay people wouldn’t be funny at a bus stop or in a locker room. To know Trump thought it would be appropriate to say in a meeting is the very definition of deplorable.

Photo by Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images.

To Trump, it seems that Pence’s backward, dangerous views on women’s health and LGBTQ people are not backward and dangerous, they’re punchlines.

But we are not punchlines.

We are human beings with dreams, goals, and families like everyone else. Yet, among two of the most powerful men in the country, one thinks gay couples cause “societal collapse” and the other apparently thinks that’s funny.

Photo by David McNew/Getty Images.

We’re not laughing.

We’re not here for your amusement. We’re not to be used as some sort of perverse bargaining chip.

Photo by Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images.

People around the world, and here at home, are dying because of their gender or sexuality.

Did President Trump laugh when parents in Chechnya were told to murder their gay children before the government did? Did he slap the table and get happy tears in his eyes when he learned at least 23 transgender people have been murdered in 2017?

Did Vice President Pence hear the news of seven people in Egypt being arrested and jailed for raising a pride flag at a concert and think, “Serves them right”?

People gather at a vigil for slain transgender woman Islan Nettles in New York in 2013. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

When the administration turns its back on transgender kids and makes it harder for victims of sexual assault to come forward, that’s not humorous. That’s not holy. It’s cruel and it’s unforgivable.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

No, we’re not laughing. We are mobilizing.

We are speaking out. We are fighting for the equal rights and considerations we deserve.

Any person or party who views our health, our bodies, our lives as something to laugh about or something to be “prayed away” or changed is not a person or party who deserves our support.

We’ll see who’s laughing next November.

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

Read more:

This is How Much The Friends Apartments Would Cost Today

Everything I’ve learned in life, I learned from . No, not my core group of Comm-majoring-drunk on-a-Wednesday-afternoon-losers—I’m talking about the six greatest people you will ever meet on the single greatest sitcom you will ever see (except for Ross and don’t @ me on that). Like, I’d never survive my 20s had I not learned that counting Mississippily when spray tanning results in borderline blackface, “meat sweats” are a legit medical condition, and being “on a break” apparently doesn’t mean I have a free pass at drunk-dialing my ex.

But out of everything, this is hands down the most valuable piece of info I’ve learned:

JK, that one I actually did learn from my own friends’ mistakes. But something I was forced to learn the hard way was that spending weekday afternoons in a coffeehouse bitching to my friends about being ghosted doesn’t result in me coming home to my comfy downtown loft with takeout (the ‘90s term for Seamless) every night. Not that shacking it in a studio apartment with three other people plotting ways to divvy up the remaining $12.35 balance on my debit card isn’t my definition of fun, but it’d be cool if someone gave me a heads up that life was gonna be this way, ya know? Anyway, I know your job’s a joke, you’re probably broke, and your love life… wellppp… but the friends would’ve been much worse off had their apartments been IRL-priced, so grab a bottle and chill the fuck out.

Joey & Chandler’s (& Rachel’s) Apartment

Address: 90 Bedford St., #19 New York NY
Rent: $4,200/month

I won’t discredit the size of Joey and Chandler’s apartment located across the hall from Monica’s, but I will discredit Joey’s acting career, which was comparable to gas station sushi. After being killed off early on, he went flat broke (as do most acting wannabes). Luckily, Joey had Chandler to save him from being a full-time dumpster diver, but Chandler was forced to provide for Joey and two farm animals on a transponster whatever-the-fuck-he-does’s salary for at least five seasons, which makes no sense.

A 2-bed/1-bath apartment in West Village that’s big enough to fit a foosball table and two Barcaloungers isn’t as shocking as the $4,200/month rent Chandler put down, which is like $2,850/month 18 years ago (yes, you’re old af), and that’s on the lower end of the spectrum, assuming the place hadn’t yet been tampered with during a game of “Hammer Darts” or “Extreme Fireball.” That rent also doesn’t include the utility bills and other shit Chandler had to pay for, like Joey’s health insurance and will to live, but honestly thank god for Joey, or Chan would prob still be half a virgin by now.

Ross’ (& Rachel’s) Apartment

Address: Somewhere across the street from Monica’s place
Rent: $4,500/month

If it wasn’t for Ross pulling the No. 1 fuckboy move and mixing up his hoes in different area codes almost marrying that British bitch with a scone up her ass, he’d still be living in a typical NYC shithole. Instead, he found an apartment with a bird’s-eye view of his sister’s and best friend’s sexcapades every night (EW). But out of every character’s living situation, the only believable one just so happens to be Ross’s, thanks to his career as a doctor paleontologist/college professor who sometimes fucks his students.

A 2-bed/1-bath, 700-square-foot apartment in the same West Village neighborhood as Monica averages to about $4,500/month, which would’ve been about $3,054/month back in ‘99. And considering Ross threw a bitch fit (when tf did he not?) about his fucking apothecary table that one time, I’d assume his bougie dino cave was equipped with an updated interior and (prob) fossilized foliage preserved in the wood flooring or some shit. Therefore, it’d likely be at the more expensive end of this rent spectrum.

Monica’s (& Rachel’s & Chandler’s & Phoebe’s) Apartment

Address: 90 Bedford St., #20 New York NY
Rent: $8,500+/month

Monica illegally subletting her grandma’s old apartment for 10+ years is the kind of savagery I strive to reach one day. But you seriously have to be a verified idiot to think that a ‘50s diner cook with flame-retardant boobs and a barista with waitressing skills as abominable as Blake Lively’s acting career would live comfortably in a 1,500-square-foot apartment, and not to mention while also feeding four other mooch-y parasite friends who apparently enter and eat and leave as they please.

She and Rachel were only paying $300/month living in their 2-bed/1-bath open floor plan apartment with a balcony that’s been rent controlled since apparently 600 B.C. Yeah, I said $300, like one pair of Khloé’s stupidly priced denim line, or a weekend bar tab. I already mentioned that 700(ish)-square-foot apartments in West Village average $4,200/month, so just double the rent for double the floor plan and maybe pop a Xanny immediately after.

Phoebe’s (& Rachel’s) Apartment

Address: 5 Morton St. # 14, New York, NY
Actual Rent: $3,400/month

First off, I’m calling bullshit on Phoebe and this whole freelance masseuse thing which, looking back, was def a fancy term for the upscale West Village prostitute, Regina Phalange. You heard it here first. This brings me to my next issue. Phoebe might’ve also inherited her 1-bed/1-bath apartment from her grandma, but I’d rather believe the blatant lie that is Trump’s latest tweet than believe that a freelance masseuse, who literally cancelled on and fucked over 90% of her clients every episode, made a comfortable living in Manhattan.

Her decent-sized 1-bed/1-bath pad, which was later turned into a 2-bed when Denise lived with her (K WHO TF WAS DENISE?!), was located four blocks from the rest of the friends’ apartments with an average monthly rent of $3,400 ($2,300 in the ‘90s), but there’s still no fucking way she’d be able to make rent while also doing this thing called LIVING. And do NOT even think about bringing the loose pocket change and occasional condom tips from Phoebe’s open mic days into this equation. #ItsNotSmellyCatsFault

Phoebe’s Rundown Buick LeSabre

Address: Probably some alleyway in Hunts Point
Rent: Stolen

Ok, so we never really saw Phoebe’s life pre-friends (or we did if you count watching ), but we do know that she lived a fucking badass/hard-knock life by living in a rundown Buick LeSabre on the streets of New York growing up. I mean, she mugged prepubescent goober Ross who collected rocks instead of Hot Wheels, and that in and of itself is iconic.

Based on the cost of gas to keep her car warm in the winter, the medical costs from getting Hepatitis after a pimp spit in her mouth, the shared funeral costs for her mom who killed herself, and the priceless cost of living to tell it all, Phoebe is a fucking legend and a probable alien, but mostly a complete mystery that I will dedicate the rest of my life to cracking the case on.

Read more:

Marijuana Might Increase Your Libido

Oh Mary J! According to new research, it might just be the reason why some people are having more sex.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that in 2015, marijuana was used by 11 million Americans aged 18-25. While some use the drug for recreational and medicinal purposes, a new study suggests it might also increase libido, contradicting some previous research.

Ever since the drug became legal in some states across the US, like Massachusetts and Washington DC, more research has been conducted to study its side effects.

According to a study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, involving 50,000 Americans aged 25-45, marijuana might not be the cause of negative sexual performance. 

Past research on cannabis and sex has varied. Some results suggest that the drug can cause erectile dysfunction – not exactly exciting for anyone who’s about to get into it.

Speaking about the study’s volunteers, author Dr Michael Eisenberg, from Stanford University Medical Center, said, “We reported how often they smoke – monthly, weekly or daily – and how many times they’ve had sex in the last month.”

“What we found was compared to never-users, those who reported daily use had about 20 percent more sex. So over the course of a year, they’re having sex maybe 20 more times.”

Women who used cannabis every day had sex on average 7.1 times a month, whilst for men this number was 6.9. Women who didn’t use marijuana at all had sex on average 6 times a month, whilst non-using men did so 5.6 times per month.

The clear difference between the two groups of men challenges past claims that the drug causes erectile dysfunction.

The researchers took into account factors like the participants’ use of other drugs, their religion, their age, and whether they had children, but found consistent results throughout. “It was pretty much every group we studied, this pattern persisted,” Eisenberg explained. “The more marijuana people smoked, the more they seemed to be having sex.” 

In terms of whether smoking marijuana can negatively impact sex, Eisenberg said; “We don’t want people to smoke to improve sexual function, but it probably doesn’t hurt things.”

Seems fair.

Read more:

Here’s What You Need To Know About Working Out After You Get A Tattoo

Getting a tattoo can obviously be a pretty painful process. It is, after all, an experience that includes puncturing your skin with an ink-filled needle to permanently alter its appearance. While God knows there are plenty of regrettable accounts of gettin’ inked, tattoos are, IMHO, undoubtedly cool (despite my own fear of getting one). But a lesser known fact about tattoos is the amount of tending to they take after you get one. Since the surface of your skin is irritated and inflamed, it’s necessary to keep it safe and away from anything that might make that worse. This definitely includes being cautious about working out after getting a tattoo. While you  safely do it, you’re going to want to be careful in considering the kind of exercise you do, and the way it might affect the area of skin you’ve recently decorated.

FYI, the general protocol after you get a tattoo goes something like this: You want to keep it totally bandaged for an hour after receiving it, then wash it with hot water and a very, very mild soap. Then pat it dry and apply a very mild lotion (there are special tattoo moisturizing products made for this exact situation).

This probably won’t come as much of a surprise, but you’ll want to continue the process of cleaning your new tattoo very frequently in order to protect your body from infections.

But when it comes to actually working out with your tattoo, you have to keep all of this in mind. Hot yoga, for example, might not be the best idea in the world because of all that sweat, and anything that causes a lot of friction near your tattoo (think your inner arm while you’re going for a run) is also something to be aware of. Swimming, and soaking in water of any kind is off-limits until you’re all healed up. And of course, as always, working out with your tattoo while in the sun is a major consideration as well. You want to limit sun exposure as much as possible, and keep that sucker nice and lathered with a gentle SPF.

For the most part, a tattoo only takes about a week or two to heal.

So it might be best to alter your normal workout routine just a little bit while your tattoo gets less inflamedand consider how much contact that part of the skin is getting, as well as how much stretching and sweating you’ll be doing. This should go without saying, but  clean your the tattoo thoroughly and gently immediately after you’re done exercising.

As far as the relationship between sweat and tattoos goes, a recent, interesting piece of research from a small study published in the summer of 2017 in the journal supports the idea that when you get inked, it actually does impact the organ of your skin in a pretty radical way — even if you just have a cute little infinity symbol on the inside of your wrist, or an adorable little kitty tattooed behind your ear.

The study found that tattooed skin isn’t as capable of sweating normally compared to skin that hasn’t been tattooed.

The researchers also found that the actual substance of the sweat coming from the tattooed area was substantially different: There was almost twice as much sodium in the sweat from the tattooed area. Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It  mean the body’s not releasing as many toxins as usual, but there’s not enough research to fully draw that conclusion.

The age of the tattoo (meaning the amount of time a person has had it on their body) also didn’t seem to have an impact on the composition of the sweat coming from that area — they were all extra salty. It’s thought that this is because the skin’s physiology is permanently changed after you get a tattoo. However, it’s worth noting here that the sweat in the study was chemically induced in the participants, rather than naturally caused by an actual hardcore workout.

Overall, there’s really not a whole lot of evidence that working out after getting a tattoo will cause too many problems, so you can put your worries at ease. Be sure to keep the area clean as a whistle, and once you’re all done healing, show that sh*t off at the gym like the badass you are.

Read more:

Donald Trump Rolls Back Rule Guaranteeing Birth Control Under Employer Health Insurance Twitter Reacts!

Donald Trump

is coming for your birth control.

It’s been almost exactly one year since Trump’s pussy-grabbing Access Hollywood tapes leaked — and fast forward to Friday, POTUS has now rolled back a mandate requiring employer health care plans to pay for birth control.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the action will allow companies and nonprofit groups to exclude coverage for contraception if it has a religious or moral objection. The rule will go into effect immediately.

Related: Trump Says Meeting With Military Commanders Is ‘The Calm Before The Storm’

There are so many problems with this — one being that “it is a huge loophole for any employer that does not want to provide birth control coverage to their employees,” according to Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reform professor Dania Palanker.

National Institute for Reproductive Health president Andrea Miller said in a statement:

“The roll back of the birth control mandate puts women’s health and lives at the mercy of their employers, insurance companies and schools. Without access to the full range of contraceptive options, women cannot ever be truly independent or equal in the United States of America. In particular, people of color, low-income individuals, youth, immigrants, rural residents, and LGBTQ populations will be disproportionately impacted by this new federal restriction on reproductive health care.”


Ch-ch-check out the reactions to the latest Trump embarrassment (below):

Hands off, Donald.

Read more:

Universities deplore McCarthyism as MP demands list of tutors lecturing on Brexit

Tory whip writes to every vice-chancellor to ask for syllabus and any online material

Academics are accusing a Tory MP and government whip of McCarthyite behaviour, after he wrote to all universities asking them to declare what they are teaching their students about Brexit and to provide a list of teachers names.

Chris Heaton-Harris, Conservative MP for Daventry and a staunch Eurosceptic, wrote to vice-chancellors at the start of this month asking for the names of any professors involved in teaching European affairs with particular reference to Brexit. Neatly ignoring the long tradition of academic freedom that universities consider crucial to their success, his letter asks for a copy of each universitys syllabus and any online lectures on Brexit.

Prof David Green, vice-chancellor of Worcester University, felt a chill down his spine when he read the sinister request: This letter just asking for information appears so innocent but is really so, so dangerous, he says. Here is the first step to the thought police, the political censor and newspeak, naturally justified as the will of the British people, a phrase to be found on Mr Heaton-Harriss website. Green will be replying to the MP but not be providing the information requested.

Heaton-Harriss letter

Prof Kevin Featherstone, head of the European Institute at the LSE, is also outraged: The letter reflects a past of a McCarthyite nature. It smacks of asking: are you or have you ever been in favour of remain? There is clearly an implied threat that universities will somehow be challenged for their bias. Featherstone says LSE academics had already feared Brexit censorship after the Electoral Commission made inquiries during last years referendum campaign about academics debates and research, following a complaint by Bernard Jenkin, another Tory MP. Jenkin filed a complaint when the LSE hosted an event at which the secretary general of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said there was no upside for the UK in Brexit. Jenkin, a board member of the Vote Leave campaign, also accused the LSEs Centre for Economic Performance of producing partisan research designed to convince the public to stay in the EU. The commission, whose job is to ensure fair campaigning, investigated and took no action against the university.

A spokesman for the LSE strenuously denies all allegations of political bias. The freedom for academics to study the major issues facing society, reach their own conclusions, and engage in public debate is essential for the health of our universities and the UKs world-leading research base, he says.

Featherstone says: I understand the LSE received calls from the Electoral Commission asking about speakers and the costs of events on an almost daily basis throughout the campaign period. He argues that both Heaton-Harriss letter and the Electoral Commissions investigation pose a threat to the role of universities as free intellectual spaces where academics can explore and question ideas without political interference. He says both developments risk plunging universities into dangerous new political waters.

The Electoral Commission says universities have nothing to fear from its inquiries. We produce guidance to help all non-party campaigners understand the rules on campaigning and we can advise universities in cases where they may be affected. These do not prevent campaigning or engagement in public debate, but provide the public with transparency about who is spending what in order to influence their vote.

Prof David Green, vice-chancellor of Worcester University: Here is the first step to the thought police, the political censor. Photograph: James Watkins

More than 80% of academics voted to remain, according to a YouGov survey [pdf] commissioned by the University and College Union in January. And within university departments focusing on European affairs, Brexiters are a rarity.

However, university experts on Brexit insist their personal views do not jaundice their teaching, and students are encouraged to question received assumptions and look at issues from all sides.

Julie Smith, director of the European Centre in the politics and international studies department at Cambridge University, says she told a lecture full of graduates about Heaton-Harriss letter last week. I told the students what my personal views were and emphasised that they were personal views. I voted to remain, but as an academic, my job is to impart knowledge, encourage debate and develop skills of analytical argument, not to impose doctrine.

Smith, who is also a Liberal Democrat peer, adds: If it is the case that a politician thinks he should interfere in the content of what universities are teaching and look at syllabi in order to see whether the correct line is being delivered, that is profoundly worrying.

Prof Piet Eeckhout, academic director of University College Londons European Institute, says it is unsurprising if most academics working on Europe are in favour of the EU. I have been teaching EU law for the last 25 years. The fact that I am sufficiently interested to spend all my days working on it obviously means I think EU law is a good thing.

Prof Kevin Featherstone, director of the European Institute at the LSE: The letter reflects a past of a McCarthyite nature

Pro-Brexit academics working in this area are also unhappy with the MPs behaviour. Lee Jones, reader in international politics at Queen Mary University of London, is one of the few openly pro-Brexit academics in his field. During the referendum campaign I said what I wanted and no one tried to shut me up, but I know colleagues elsewhere who have been blanked in the corridors because they voted to leave.

Yet Jones, too, is outraged by Heaton-Harriss investigation. It is really troubling that an MP thinks it is within his remit to start poking his nose into university teaching, he says. Universities are autonomous and politicians have no right to intimidate academics by scrutinising their courses. I have colleagues who are die-hard remainers. But I know what they teach and it is not propaganda.

Chris Bickerton, reader in modern European politics at Cambridge University, and a fellow leave voter agrees. He adds: In my institution there is strong support for academic freedom. I applied for promotion after the referendum and never did I worry that my views on Brexit would affect the results or my promotional prospects. Nor did I feel any institutional pressure to think one way or the other in the runup to the vote itself.

Heaton-Harris did not respond to requests for a comment.

Read more:

She Complained Of Pain But Doctors Sent Her Home. Now She Has No Full Limbs.

When Lindsey Hubley was pregnant with her son, Myles, she had likely kept in mind that his birth might come with complications.

But before the 33-year-old welcomed her little boy into the world on March 2, she would have never guessed that not only would she spend the first seven months of Myles’ life in the hospital, but she’d be doing it without any full limbs. Hubley is now suing the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and five doctors after everything she’s been through.

Two days after giving birth to Myles, Hubley was discharged from the hospital. However, she came back the next day with abdominal pain. According to her lawyer, she didn’t receive an examination and was diagnosed with constipation before being sent home again.

She was rushed to the hospital again the next day after experiencing more pain and discoloration on her body. She was eventually diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis, the flesh-eating disease.

Since then she’s had to have a total hysterectomy and amputations below both of her elbows and knees, making her a quadruple amputee. She’s also been through multiple surgeries and hasn’t been able to come home since Myles’ birth.

Hubley’s lawyer, Ray Wagner, says that negligence caused what happened to her. “Our allegations are that had she been properly assessed when she presented at the hospital … a substantial part of the damage, if not all of it, could have been prevented,” he said

Read more:

Nutritional Shake-Up: The FDA Now Recommends That Americans Eat A Bowl Of 200 Eggs On Their 30th Birthday And Then Never Eat Any Eggs Again

If you’re at all concerned about maintaining a healthy diet, there’s a new update you definitely need to hear! The Food and Drug Administration has just released a new set of nutritional guidelines recommending that Americans eat a bowl of 200 eggs once on their 30th birthday and then never eat eggs again.

Looks like health nuts are going to have to start adjusting their diets!

The FDA says its new egg-consumption guidelines maximize the nutritional benefits of eggs by concentrating all the eggs you’ll ever eat in your life into one terrifying, mountainous serving of eggs on the day that you turn 30 years old. The food safety organization specified that the eggs be served without salt or any other seasonings, and also that the eggs be consumed “as quickly as possible or as slowly as possible” in order to optimize the effects on your health.

“Eggs are high in protein and vitamin D, but also very high in cholesterol, so we strongly recommend that the average American eat a single serving of 200 eggs from a bowl as soon as the clock strikes midnight on their 30th birthday,” the FDA said in a nutritional guide published on its website. “Also, the 200 eggs in the bowl should be hard-boiled. While more studies are needed, the FDA currently believes that if any of your 200 birthday eggs are not hard-boiled, you will immediately die.”

The FDA further noted that the 200 number it recommends for your once-ever serving of birthday eggs isn’t a hard-and-fast rule. Depending on your height and weight, you might need to eat a few hundred more eggs. The most important thing from a nutritional standpoint is that when you turn 30, you eat hundreds of eggs all at once, and then don’t eat any more eggs for the rest of your life.

For anyone who wants a handy resource to help keep their egg consumption within the new recommended guidelines, here’s a useful chart straight from the FDA’s website:

Major props to the FDA for working hard to keep Americans healthy! Changing your diet is always a challenge, but if eating a single bowl of eggs on your 30th birthday and then never eating eggs again is the way to stay healthy, we’re pretty sure we’re up to the task!

Read more:

Ranking The Zodiac Signs By How Basic They Are



(June 22nd to July 22nd)

Cancers like what’s familiar, and the most basic things in life usually come back every year. Pumpkin spice, peppermint lattes, Shamrock Shakes, granted these things are all food related, but Cancers don’t stop there. They enjoy basic activities as well, like apple picking in the fall, carving pumpkins for Halloween, dying eggs in the spring (even if they don’t celebrate Easter). The Cancer doesn’t mind being predictable, they don’t mind being basic.


(April 20th to May 21st)

The Taurus is both materialistic and practical, which means they’re pretty basic. They like to look nice, and keep up to date on all the latest trends. The Taurus will google whether or not chokers are still in style, and they’ll go shopping for anything if social media says it’s trending. They don’t want their iPhone 7 after the iPhone 8 comes out, and they always update their apps. Gotta have the latest snapchat filters, duh.


(September 23rd to October 22nd)

A Libra likes to be agreeable which puts them in the top 3 for the most basic of zodiac signs. They like to go with the crowd rather than disagree with them. If their significant other wants to go pumpkin picking, they’re going to put on their comfy flannel and they’ll be sure to get a cute insta out of it, preferably a couple selfie in front of a giant farm tractor or friendly-looking scarecrow.


(December 22nd to January 20th)

The Capricorn likes to keep it traditional, and sometimes traditions are basic. They LOVE decorating their own christmas stockings every year, and watching Hocus Pocus on the night of Halloween, traditions mean everything to them, and they live to keep them going.


(August 23rd to September 22nd)

The Virgo loves their fresh pressed green juices with carrot, ginger, and kale. They believe in holistic approaches to healing, and are very health conscious. Their basic-ness revolves around cleanses and piYo.


(July 23rd to August 22nd)

The Leo lives for holidays and special events. They’ll use anything as an excuse to host a party. They’re the type to host a superbowl party stocked full of themed cocktails and appetizers without actually knowing who’s playing. The most basic thing about them is their absurd spirit around seasons and holidays.


(May 22nd to June 21st)

The Gemini likes to keep an open mind. The idea of going apple picking during the fall won’t completely disgust them, but it doesn’t thrill them either. The Gemini usually just goes along with whatever their friends want to do. They’re social, friendly, and always up for a good time, so if basic activities will put a smile on their face, so be it.


(March 21st to April 19th)

Aries likes to set trends, not follow them. They don’t really care if everyone’s hyped about pumpkin spice season. They’re the type to put cinnamon and almond milk in their coffee and say it’s the “new pumpkin spice latte.” They’re not followers, they’re leaders.


(January 21st to February 18th)

Aquarius is far too busy harvesting intellect to be doing basic things like drinking spiced apple cider at a pumpkin patch. They enjoy deep conversations, and don’t usually flock towards individuals who surround themselves with basic things.


(October 23rd to November 22nd)

The Scorpio cringes at the thought of anything basic. The Scorpio is authentic, and what everyone else is doing really doesn’t concern them. You won’t find any photos of pumpkin picking on a Scorpio’s instagram.


(November 23rd to December 21st)

Sagittarius isn’t basic because they’re far too busy exploring the world to know what’s basic and when. When it is pumpkin spice season here, they’re in another hemisphere where pumpkins aren’t even a thing. They decorate their home with souvenirs from their travels, and have stories to tell of all different cultures and places. Basic is the opposite of most Sags.


(February 19th to March 20th)

The Pisces usually likes things that no one else has heard of. When it comes to music, movies, books, or art, they only like what’s underground. Pisces don’t go to Starbucks, they go to their local coffee shop where they can support their fellow local artists and performers.

Read more:

How I Discovered (And Also Tamed) My Anxiety

Kipras Štreimikis

I was only 33. I was young, fit, and strong. But I felt like I was having a heart attack.

Almost as quickly as it had come in, the storm passed, just as I was getting ready to go to the emergency room.

It wasn’t a heart attack. I later learned that it was an anxiety attack (sometimes called a panic attack).

Apparently, the signs are similar, and many people end up in the emergency room due to anxiety attacks.

Who knew?

When Depression and Anxiety Overlap

I didn’t know, but I should have.

This was not my first experience with anxiety. It was my strongest episode, and it certainly got my attention, but it wasn’t my first rodeo.

“I guess I might have an anxiety disorder too,” I said to myself after I learned that it was an anxiety attack.

I had already been diagnosed with major depression years earlier, which is why I used the word “too.”

Along with my diagnosis of depression, I remember being told that anxiety and depression often go together, and that I might have an anxiety disorder on top of the depressive disorder.

But the word  wasn’t in my diagnosis, so I didn’t pay attention to that part.

(Actually, I’m also guilty of ignoring the depression part. Or rather hiding it — from myself as well as others.

Understanding Anxiety

It’s amazing how long humans can ignore their problems. I ignored my anxiety until I couldn’t, until I had an anxiety attack so severe it knocked me on my ass.

I was lucky. My first anxiety attack didn’t send me to the hospital.

The symptoms are so close to a heart attack that many people just go to the ER. And rightly so. You don’t want to mess around with chest pain and palpitations.

Going to the hospital during an anxiety attack sounds to me like just about the worst thing ever. The 10th circle of hell.

The emergency room causes anxiety for a normal person. Now imagine going through all those tests while having the worst anxiety of your life.

Seriously, people who endure that are badasses. They have my respect.

What Anxiety Feels Like

What’s it like to have an anxiety attack, even without the hospital?

For me, it’s a storm that rolls in suddenly, bringing palpitations, sweating, and chest pain. I sometimes hyperventilate as well.

But the worst part is that I lose my ability to think clearly. It’s like I can no longer trust my brain. Something isn’t working right in there.

This is my own experience with anxiety. Other people have different experiences. Common symptoms include: fatigue, sweating, restlessness, shortness of breath, a feeling of impending doom, insomnia, nausea, poor concentration, sensation of an abnormal heartbeat, or trembling.

The Anxiety Epidemic

Anxiety is the most common mental illness in the U.S., and anxiety disorders affect over 18% of the population ages 18 and older (source).

Holy Epidemic, Batman! That’s over 40 million people!

Half of those people also suffer from some form of depression.

I’m one of the millions of Americans who suffer from both depression and anxiety.

Although anxiety isn’t a top killer like depression, it’s still a serious problem, and not just for people with anxiety.

Get this. Anxiety disorders cost the U.S. over $40 billion every year (source).

Unfortunately, the epidemic is getting worse, not better.

The Roots of Anxiety

When it comes to understanding the roots of anxiety, I believe I’m in a unique position.

Okay, maybe not unique.  I’m not the only person on the planet with this combination of qualifications. But I’m still a rare bird, dammit.

I’m qualified because:

  1. I have years of personal experience battling anxiety.
  2. I’ve been helping people battle anxiety for years.
  3. I have years of training in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
  4. I have decades of experience with both sitting and standing meditation (more on that later).

My experience with anxiety, meditation, and qi has led me to make the following conclusion about anxiety:

Anxiety is caused by a Monkey Mind that has run amok. When the Monkey Mind runs amok, the qi (or vital energy) also runs amok. And when the qi runs amok, the human nervous system also runs amok.

For those who aren’t familiar with the term, the  is an ancient Zen term for describing the constant stream of internal dialogue in the human mind. The purpose of Zen, and indeed all forms of meditation, is to quiet the monkey mind.

In my tradition, the process of quieting the Monkey Mind is called , and it is the first phase of my 5-Phase Method.

Digging Up The Roots of Anxiety

If my statement about the roots of anxiety is true, then digging up the roots of the anxiety weeds should be simple, right?

To calm the nervous system, we need to calm the qi. And to calm the qi, we need to quiet the monkey mind.

Technically, it is simple. But simple ain’t always easy.

The solution to anxiety is meditation. Meditation gets to the roots of the problem — i.e. the Monkey Mind. In short, meditation gives you the ability to tame that annoying monkey in your head.

And when that happens, the qi flows smoothly, and your nervous system is not agitated.

But what is meditation?

In 21st century America, the word meditation means this:

Unfortunately, this definition is problematic for those of us with severe anxiety.

Moving Away from Sitting Meditation

Meditation is the solution — but not just the sitting kind.

Sitting meditation, done correctly and consistently, is a wonderful solution to anxiety. Perhaps even the ultimate solution. There’s even a growing body of science to back this up.

I recommend Dan Harris’ excellent book 10% Happier for a skeptic’s guide to sitting meditation. Harris is a news anchor who had an anxiety attack on live TV. He’s done some great work in spreading the information and interest about sitting meditation.

However, what Harris misses is that his own positive experience with sitting meditation is atypical for people with severe anxiety.

Asking someone with severe anxiety to start with sitting meditation is like asking a new violinist to start with the Brahms concerto.

(For those who don’t know, the Brahms violin concerto is really really really hard to play.)

This is a sink or swim approach. Some will swim, like Harris. But many will sink.

Many of you reading this know exactly what I’m talking about. You’ve tried sitting meditation, and you failed. It was torture.

No, not just torture. It was impossible.

Meditation Without All That Sitting Around

So what’s the solution for us?

Meditation is still the solution — but not the sitting kind.

For those of us with severe anxiety, the combination of flowing movement and gentle breathing gives us an anchor. It gives the Monkey Mind a banana to chew on.

It’s absolutely critical that the movement not induce anxiety. Unfortunately, the way qigong and tai chi are often taught is anxiety-inducing rather than anxiety relieving.

This is because people in the qigong and tai chi world constantly obsess about the form.

The external form is the least important aspect of internal arts like qigong and tai chi, so why obsess?

I give my students permission to butcher the external form of qigong and tai chi. More than permission. Sometimes, when a particular student is trying too hard, and I can see that she is obsessing about the form, I insist that she do it badly.

“That was an A-. Now show me a C+.”

The truth is you don’t even need movement. Watch my free class on anxiety to see how you can reduce anxiety with meditative techniques that have no visible movement.

But gentle, flowing movement is beautiful, and it is liberating for many people with anxiety.

Even a tiny amount of movement, combined with breathing, can make a huge difference. Watch this free class to discover a super-simple qigong exercise that you can do in less than 1 minute.

Taming That Anxiety

I still experience anxiety, but I am grateful to have tools to manage it.

And these tools work amazingly well.

It’s almost like popping a pill for me. If I feel my anxiety rising, I pop a qigong or tai chi pill. And it works every time.

I’m planning to do a 10-day sitting meditation retreat. In this retreat, I’ll be asked to sit for 8-10 hours per day. And there’s no talking either.

There is no way I could conceive of doing this kind of retreat if not for qigong and tai chi. I would not make it through day 1. Heck, I wouldn’t make it through hour 1.

My point is that you work your way up to (down to?) sitting meditation rather than starting with it.

It took me 20 years to fall in love with sitting meditation. But during that time, I had a beautiful affair with qigong and tai chi.

Read more:

Here Are Your Weekend Horoscopes For September 29th-October 1st

Well here we are. It’s the weekend, meaning you have another opportunity to make good terrible choices and enrich ruin your life. Should you black out and text your ex even though you know he’s on a Bumble date right now because you stalked him on Insta happened to run into him on the street? Should you finally convert that bitch you’ve been frenemies with into a full enemy by drunkenly confronting her at your mutual BFF’s birthday party? Okay, so the answer to that one is always yes. But as far as other moves you make this weekend, that will be determined, as always, by the stars. 


We’re all for you getting out there and getting some, Aries, but you also need to remember that you have friends. Friends who have been there for you before you were capable of picking guys up in bars and who will inevitably be there long after. They’ll be understanding of your incessant bailing, but only to an extent. Don’t get to the point where you’re prioritizing dick over friendship.


It’s time to put yourself out there, Taurus. You spent most of summer in a rut and pretending not to care, but it’s time to turn that shit around. This weekend you’re going to throw on some red lipstick, down a couple shots for courage, and then get your ass out to the bars. You look good, you feel good, and it’s about damn time someone else noticed it. Rather than hiding away in a corner with you friends, try placing yourself in the middle of the action and see what kind of attention you get. Because we all know any attention is good attention, right?


Are you tired, Gemini? Well, you fucking should be. Anyone who has been running around like you have this past week has absolutely no right to contain any more energy in their body. For the sake of everyone around you, it’s time to spend the weekend as relaxed as you possibly can. You’re not thinking about chores. You’re not thinking about work. You’re not thinking about exercise. Your only thought is, “How many naps can I efficiently fit into one day?” Come Monday, you can return to that insane lifestyle that you call “productive,” but until then, please calm the fuck down.


The lesson to learn this weekend is that not every action deserves a reaction, Cancer. Sure, it’s tempting to lose your fucking mind over the shitty stuff people do, but eventually you have to decide that your mental health it more important than letting those idiots know how fucking dumb they are. This weekend, take some time to practice restraint in this department. Believe me, you will be tested. A deep breath and quick mantra should do the trick. Try something like “not worth my time” or “where’s the vodka?”


It’s time to let loose, Leo. You’ve been suspiciously buttoned up for the past few weeks and, honestly, people are getting concerned. Your friends rely on you to be the life of the party, and your mellow behavior has everyone on edge. Re-assert yourself as the ultimate party friend and throw a rager this weekend. It’ll be a good chance to catch up with friends while simultaneously reminding them who the god damn queen is around here.


You’ve been blessed with some real success lately, Virgo, which is super exciting. For real, you’ve earned it. But what you need to realize is that your success is yours alone, which means it’s best to celebrate alone. Your friends are happy for you, obviously, but they don’t love the constant gloating. In this one event we’re recommending you be a gracious winner and shut the fuck up about how well you’re doing. Brag like hell to your parents, siblings, boyfriend, pet, whatever, but let your less successful friends relax, please.


You might find people second-guessing your motives and aspirations this weekend, Libra. Fuck those people. You know who you are and what you’re about, and this is a time for sticking to your guns. Sometimes people throw stones because they know their own glass house would crumble under scrutiny. Show them that you’re made of fucking iron and stand tall. Besides, let’s be real, it’s going to be a straight white dude who tries to come for you and nothing is more fun than letting them know that their opinions don’t matter anyway.


You’ve been living the high life these past few weeks, Scorpio. Actually though, the Kardashians are wincing. While I’m sure it’s been super enjoyable, it’s also worth remembering that the holidays are around the corner and you’re going to be dropping money like it’s your job. If only. This weekend, take a break from the nonstop spending and just chill out a bit. Your wallet will love it and you could use the time to yourself.


Feeling stuck, Sagittarius? That’s because you kind of are. Summer was fun, but it was all a bit redundant; you got into a tired routine and now it’s time to break it. This weekend, try something completely new and unknown. Go with friends, go with strangers, go by yourself—it doesn’t matter, just go. It’ll be a nice change of pace getting out of your comfort zone, and maybe this will give you the push to really kick-start fall. Go where the wind takes you—maybe you’ll find that you end up liking it there.


This is looking like a weekend full of turmoil, Capricorn. The good news: None of it is about you. The bad: It all concerns your friends, and you will be smack dab in the middle of it. There’s no easy way to navigate a situation like this, so the best move is to keep your head down and avoid everyone for as long as possible. You’re past the point in your life where you need to deal with other people’s petty bullshit. Let them sort it out and make your miraculous return in time for the make-up celebrations.


After a long week of dealing with utter nonsense, you’ve earned a reprieve, Aquarius. It’s time for a much-deserved, no-interruptions, no-questions-asked break. The only thing that matters this weekend is you and how content you are. Whatever it takes to get you into relaxation mode—do it. Curl up with a blanket, a book, a movie, some tea, someone—it’s up to you! All that matters is that the next 48 hours are as stress-free as humanly possible.


Feel like letting loose this weekend, Pisces? Too bad, you have shit to do. There is a time for going wild and a time for getting your life together, and while the former occurs way more often, this is a weekend for the latter. You may be annoyed in the moment, but the relief that will wash over you Sunday night will make it all worth the struggle.

Read more:

Trump: We cannot aid Puerto Rico ‘forever’

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump suggested Thursday that Puerto Rico is going to have to shoulder more responsibility for recovery efforts from Hurricane Maria, saying the federal government’s emergency responders can’t stay there “forever.”

His comments — in which he also blamed the beleaguered island for a financial crisis “largely of their own making” and infrastructure that was a “disaster” before the hurricane — come as Puerto Rico still reels from a lack of electricity, public health access and a rising death toll. The remarks quickly prompted cries from Democratic lawmakers, who argue that Puerto Rico still needs a lot of help, as well as the mayor of San Juan, who said they were “unbecoming” and appeared to come from a “hater in chief.”
Meanwhile, Texas and Florida — two states Trump won during last year’s presidential election — also were struck by severe hurricanes recently, but the President has made no public indication that the federal government is pulling back on its response there.
    The President wrote in two separate tweets, “‘Puerto Rico survived the Hurricanes, now a financial crisis looms largely of their own making.’ says Sharyl Attkisson. A total lack of……..accountability say the Governor. Electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes. Congress to decide how much to spend…”
    He continued in a third tweet: “We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!”
    Attkisson is a journalist who works for conservative Sinclair Broadcasting.
    White House chief of staff John Kelly said at the White House briefing Thursday that Trump’s tweet was “exactly accurate” because first responders “are not going to be there forever.”
    “The minute you go anywhere as a first responder, and this would apply certainly to the military, you will try really hard to work yourself out of a job,” he said. “There will be a period in which we hope sooner rather than later, the US military and (the Federal Emergency Management Agency), generally speaking, can withdraw because then the government and people of Puerto Rico are recovering sufficiently to start the process of rebuilding.”
    A FEMA official told CNN the agency has “no hard deadline” on when it plans to pull resources from the island.
    “It all will be determined by the conditions on the ground,” the official said.
    The official said once things are “stabilized” in Puerto Rico, FEMA will “pull back resources as appropriate,” adding that’s the “natural progression of a response to a disaster.”
    FEMA’s focus, the official said, is to “move from the response phase to recovery,” adding the recovery phase often takes years.

    Dire situation

    Trump’s tweets come three weeks after the hurricane first struck the island, which remains largely without power. The death toll from the storm has risen to 45, authorities have said, and at least 113 people remain unaccounted for, according to Karixia Ortiz, a spokeswoman for Puerto Rico’s Department of Public Safety.
    The recovery has moved slowly since Maria struck the US territory on September 20, leaving most of the island without basic services such as power and running water, according to residents, relief workers and local elected officials. Hospitals throughout the cash-strapped island of 3.4 million people have been running low on medicine and fuel, and residents and local elected officials have said they expect the death toll to rise.
    The water situation is so dire, the Environmental Protection Agency said in a news release Wednesday, that residents on the island have reportedly been trying to obtain water from Superfund sites — which are bodies of water contaminated by hazardous waste. The EPA advised against “tampering with sealed and locked wells or drinking from these wells, as it may be dangerous to people’s health.”
    Administration officials sought to downplay Trump’s comments Thursday morning.
    Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, testifying before the House financial services committee, said that he has “no intention” of abandoning recovery efforts in Puerto Rico.
    “They’re a very important part of who we are,” he said, later adding: “(Puerto Rico) should not be abandoned.”
    And White House press secretary Sarah Sanders reaffirmed federal support to the island.
    “Our job in any disaster affected location is to help the community respond and recover from that disaster. We continue to do so with the full force of the US government and its resources in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands and other affected areas,” she said. “Successful recoveries do not last forever; they should be as swift as possible to help people resume their normal lives.”
    Democrats, however, pounced on Trump’s tweets.
    “Puerto Ricans are Americans, and we don’t abandon each other. The federal government should stay in Puerto Rico as long as necessary,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, tweeted.
    Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeted, “Puerto Rico is still facing a humanitarian crisis. @realDonaldTrump seems more worried about blaming hurricane victims than helping them.”
    And San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, who has feuded publicly with the President over the federal response, said on Twitter that Trump was incapable of fulfilling the moral imperative to help the people of PR. Shame on you.!”
    Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said in a news conference Thursday that he called the White House looking for clarification on Trump’s tweets.
    “The law establishes that the aid we are getting from FEMA has to be established for the duration of emergency efforts,” he said. ‘It’s not a decision as is, it’s a law that all the resources must be available for Puerto Rico.”
    However Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pennsylvania, who is a member of the House foreign affairs committee, told CNN’s Chris Cuomo Thursday there’s only “so much” the US can do to help Puerto Rico.
    “I would then again say, ‘What is enough?’ What is the right amount to satisfy whoever says we’re not doing enough,” he said on “New Day.” “It’s regrettable and it’s sad for those people but there only is physically, humanly possible so much that any nation could do in the wake of devastation.”
    He continued: “I lived through it myself, a victim of floods on numerous occasions, had to clean it up, and I will tell you, nobody came to help us, we handled it ourselves.”

    House to vote on disaster relief

    Acting Department of Homeland Security Elaine Duke will make her second trip to the island on Thursday.
    House Speaker Paul Ryan will lead a bipartisan delegation visiting Puerto Rico on Friday, according to the speaker’s office.
    Ryan will travel to the island with House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen of New Jersey and Rep. Nita Lowey of New York, the top Democrat on the panel. Puerto Rico’s sole representative in Congress, Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon, and House GOP Conference Chairwoman Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers also will be part of the congressional delegation.
    The House of Representatives approved a $36.5 billion disaster aid package Thursday to help victims struggling to recover from a string of devastating hurricanes and wildfires. The measure now heads to the Senate, which returns from a weeklong recess next week.

    Read more:

    Hundreds of families block organ donation

    Media playback is unsupported on your device

    Media captionRachel wants to be an organ donor

    Organs from 505 registered donors could not be made available for transplant in the last five years because of objections from relatives.

    BBC 5 live found that almost a third of families blocked organ donation because they felt the process took “too long”.

    The law states that consent lies with the deceased, but in practice, relatives’ wishes are always respected.

    The NHS wants to reduce the number of “overrides” by encouraging prospective donors to talk to their relatives.

    In England, NHS figures showed that 457 people died last year whilst waiting for an organ transplant.

    Rachel, 17, from Stoke-on-Trent, wants to be an organ donor, but is concerned that her family do not support her wishes.

    She told 5 live: “I wasn’t aware when I signed up that your family had to be supportive of your decision. It seems like, well, what’s the point of signing up if it could be overruled anyway?

    “It does worry me because, if I died now, my mum does make the main decision. I hope I can trust her to make the right one.”

    When somebody dies who is on the Organ Donation Register, specialist nurses from NHS Blood and Transplant work with their family.

    If relatives object, nurses will encourage them to accept their loved one’s decision, and make it clear that they do not have the legal right to override it.

    However, in practice, if a family still refuses, the donation does not go ahead.

    ‘A shock’

    Ben Cole, a specialist nurse for organ donation working in the Midlands, said it was “frustrating” when families say no.

    “We understand that families are approached about donation at a very difficult time, and it can come as a shock to find out their relative had made the decision to donate.

    “I had one family whose son had joined the Organ Donor Register, but they found it hard to believe because he’d never spoken about it.

    “Another family said their dad would have ticked any box, and so weren’t convinced he’d signed up intentionally.

    “The relationship we build with a family at this time is so important, particularly as they can provide vital information about their relative before donation.

    “If they are strongly opposed to donation, we would not want to upset them further.”

    Other reasons relatives gave for refusing consent include that they thought “the patient had suffered enough”, they “didn’t want surgery to the body”, or the family were divided over the decision.

    Anthony Clarkson, assistant director of organ donation and transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “Although the number of blocked transplants is declining, a number of families each year feel unable to support their relative’s decision to be a donor.

    “As a result hundreds of opportunities for potentially life saving transplants are being missed every year.”

    Image copyright Jess Harris

    There are currently 6,406 people on the transplant waiting list across the UK.

    Jess Harris, 29, from London, needs a pancreas and a kidney. She thinks it’s a “crazy system” that gives families the final say.

    “Why isn’t it like your will? Why don’t they have to honour your wishes?” she told 5 live.

    “I don’t know why anyone would be against donating organs – one person can save up to eight lives and you’re not going to need them when you’re dead.”

    But Dr Rebecca Brown, a research fellow in practical ethics at the University of Oxford, supports families having the final say.

    She says: “There’s an implication that these families are selfish or unreasonable, but I don’t think that’s the case.

    “Losing a loved one, in sudden circumstances, is very traumatic and forcing them to go along with organ donation when it is something to which they feel strongly opposed, would be very distressing.

    “This is a relatively small number of families and going against their wishes would be frankly awful for them and would create all sorts of problems.”

    In 2016/17 the total number of deceased donors was 1,413. In the same year, families blocked the donations of 91 people who had signed the register.

    In December 2015, Wales adopted an opt-out system of organ donation, but families can still have the final say over their loved one’s donation. Last year, nine people in Wales who had signed up to the organ donation register were blocked from donating their organs.

    Prime Minister Theresa May has pledged to introduce presumed consent for organ donation in England and a consultation will be held before the end of the year.

    Related Topics

    Read more:

    Here Are Your Weekly Horoscopes For The Week Of October 9th

    Well, we survived a full moon last week and Mercury isn’t in retrograde or any shit like that this week, so unless you’re due for some sort of monster period or something, your week should be pretty smooth sailing no matter what sign you’re under. Something to note: Jupiter moves into Scorpio this week, which is great news for the water signs—Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces. Jupiter will stay there for, like, a year, so if you’ve been needing some good luck, this is your time to capitalize.


    Jupiter mobilizing this week is actually excellent news for you because it’s entering one of your most important houses: your money house. Since Jupiter posts up here for the next 12 months, this is your best year to go for that big job, promotion, or to make that big purchase. Big purchase as in an apartment, not like, a Birkin. I mean, get the bag if you want, but don’t expect it to really benefit your life in a major way.


    Jupiter slides out of your DMs this week. Wait, is it possible to slide out of someone’s DMs or only into them? IDK, but what I’m trying to say is Jupiter is directly opposite your sign starting this week. Jupiter not only controls what goes on with your money, but the planet is also tied to happiness or some shit. You would think it being opposite your sign would be a bad thing, but you’d be wrong in assuming that. The next year is one of prosperity and joy for you. You’re welcome.


    While most betches are trading bikinis for sweatpants this time of year, you’re actually going to be more focused on your fitness and overall health starting now-ish. Like, thanks Jupiter. Your fitness kick with actually help improve other aspects of your life. You know, because endorphins make you happy and happy people just don’t shoot their husbands. With more focus and energy, you’ll feel more fulfilled at work or with however you’ve chosen to spend your life. Overall, this is an excellent time for you to start working toward some results.


    Jupiter in Scorpio is, like, the total best for you. Just buckle the fuck up for a great year ahead, really. You’ve been grinding away for what seems like forever, and now that you’ve set up a really strong and decent foundation for yourself, it’s definitely time to reap those blessings. The year ahead promises adventure, romance, and travel opportunities. Things have felt kinda heavy in your life, but the next year is all about lightening the hell up and enjoying the shit out of being a Cancer betch.


    Your life always works better when you work your sign and the planets instead of against them. Normally, you’d scoff at the idea of settling down and letting your nesting instincts kick in, but like, this might actually be a really good year for you to start digging some roots in. It’s important you start laying some foundations for where you want to end up in life, or at least entertaining those kinds of thoughts. By no means do you need to get serious AF and get married and pop out a bunch of babies. Fuck that. No, just like, think about your dream future and work toward that.


    Let’s be real, Virgo, you are prone to some negative self-talk. It’s probably because you’re a really analytical and intelligent sign, so you’re more apt to contemplate and think deeply about your life choices—that can often mean you’re really critical of others and yourself, though. The next year is all about a more positive outlook. Like, no, you don’t have to start wearing a color that isn’t black. You’ll just be a little easier on yourself and a little more joyful from within. Ain’t nothing wrong with that.


    Not that you’ve ever had a hard time spending money on yourself, but with Jupiter entering your Earnings House, you’ll be more likely to invest in bigger ticket items. Say goodbye to Forever 21 polyester and hello to some J. Crew cotton blends! Over the next 12 months, you’ll be more likely to afford the finer things in life as money-making potential abounds. No more scrimping and saving every last penny so you can look like you have it made; this is the year where you’ll actually have it made. Nice.


    Obvi, the sign that benefits the most from Jupiter entering Scorpio is, well, Scorpio. Duh. In case you didn’t already know, you’re a water sign, and this next year is one where your fluidity in all situations will benefit you greatly. You’ll fit in in just about every situation as your ability to adapt will be at an all-time high. Also, you’ll just be overall more likable because everyone else can tell how #blessed you are during the next year and they want some of your luck to rub off on them. Beware of fake friends who want to just bask in your glow and not be a true ride or die.


    You’re the investigator of the zodiac, meaning if someone is lying or being shady, you’re most likely to find out. You’ve had some questions about something in your life and over the next 12 months, you’ll finally get your fucking answers. While you might be losing trust in one aspect of your life, you’ll be gaining some faith and understanding in another. Don’t go out and buy a bunch of crystals or some other bullshit; you’ll have all the clarity you need on your own.


    Jupiter is making you increasingly popular in the next year. Sure, normally you’re pretty social and have a tight-knit group of friends, but basically everyone you meet is going to want to be bffs with you this year. Don’t shun anyone new who wants to hang out with you; you’re actually looking at a window where new friendships will be mutually beneficial. Like, they get to hang out with you and you get to use whatever connections they have to offer. Of course, you can’t just use people for their cool party invites. C’mon, be a good person. It’s like, the rules of feminism.


    Jupiter travels right across the top of your chart like “YASSS BETCH”. Sort of like what happens when the Sun is at the top of your chart, when Jupiter is above you, you experience a big bump in the eyes of others. Anyone in a position of authority is more likely to see you through rose-colored glasses. Expect awards, compliments, promotions and maybe a few new romantic suitors in the year ahead. Life is not bad for the Aquarius betch this year.


    Jupiter means knowledge, power, wealth and happiness. In the next year, you’re building toward big awards and accolades. You’ll be #blessed, like all the other water signs, with the power of Jupiter ruling over you over the next 12 months. This of the next year as a time to, unfortunately, keep working hard. But the good news is you’re setting yourself up for one of the most successful years of your life: 2019. Big things are in store for you, Pisces betch! 

    Read more:

    Employers no longer have to cover birth control, orders Trump

    The Trump administration rolled back the federal mandate for employers to cover birth control in their health insurance plans on Friday, USA Today reports.

    Under the administration’s new rule, any employer or insurer that objects to covering birth control “based on its sincerely held religious beliefs” or “moral convictions” can forgo the federal Obama-era requirement that guaranteed cost-free birth control to 62 million women.

    According to the Trump administration, “it is necessary and appropriate to provide the expanded exemptions” because there’s no way to satisfy all religious objections to the mandate, and that there is no “compelling governmental interest” in having entities with religious objections fulfill the mandate. The mandate, therefore, places a “substantial burden” on an employers’ freedom of religion, it argues.

    The New York Times reports that the administration also argued that the Affordable Care Act doesn’t explicitly require contraceptive coverage, and said birth control could promote “risky sexual behavior,” as well as listed health risks associated with certain contraceptives.

    The rules apply to for-profit employers regardless of the size of ownership. Employers won’t need to notify the government of their exemption but must inform employees of their coverage change.

    The administration claims that the exemption won’t affect many women in the long run and that there are already “dozens of programs” subsidizing birth control. Women’s health advocates argue, however, that hundreds of thousands of women could possibly go without birth control coverage. Prior to the ACA mandate, one in three women struggled to pay for birth control, which can cost over $1,000 a year.

    “I think what the Trump administration is trying to do is effectively gut the rule without repealing it, because repealing it would be so unpopular,” Gretchen Borchelt, vice president for reproductive rights and health at the National Women’s Law Center, said in a statement. “They’re taking contraception coverage away from women without justification.”

    The National Women’s Law Center said it will sue the Trump administration and the ACLU has also indicated in the past that it will challenge the move.

    Read more:

    Chipotle Plummets After Storms, Hacker Attack Ravage Profit

    Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. fell as much as 11 percent in late trading after recent hurricanes and a hacker attack hammered earnings last quarter, adding obstacles to the burrito chain’s elusive comeback.

    Profit amounted to 69 cents a share last quarter, net of expenses tied to the data-security breach earlier this year and hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Analysts had estimated about $1.63 a share, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

    The results suggest that Chipotle’s turnaround effort remains slow going. The Denver-based company has been reeling since an E. coli outbreak struck in 2015, crushing its sales, profit and stock price. The chain had started to recover in the past year, but then a norovirus incident in Virginia — along with a video of mice at a Dallas location — sparked a fresh round of negative headlines.

    “There is a sense that Chipotle’s rebirth is running out of steam,” said Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail. “There is no single reason for the slowdown; rather, a number of factors have conspired in making this a somber quarter for the company.”

    Chief Executive Officer Steve Ells acknowledged that the latest results weren’t what he hoped for, but he believes the company’s revival is still on course.

    “We’re embracing the things we need to reach our full potential,” Ells said in an interview. “From a structure standpoint — and a feeling internally — the teams are ready.”

    Investors may still need more convincing. Chipotle shares fell as low as $290 in extended trading. The stock had slipped 14 percent to $324.30 this year through Tuesday’s close.

    “There were a lot of unusual items in the quarter,” Chief Financial Officer Jack Hartung said. In addition to the breach and the storms, higher avocado prices hurt results. These aren’t recurring costs, he said.

    But even when ignoring Chipotle’s one-time setbacks, its numbers were a bit worse than analysts had projected. Same-store sales grew 1 percent, missing the 1.2 percent estimate. Total revenue came in at $1.13 billion, short of the $1.14 billion projection.

    The company expects same-store sales to gain 6.5 percent this year. That’s below the 7.2 percent estimate compiled by Consensus Metrix.

    One bright spot was the rollout of queso last quarter. Sales gained 4 percent after the item was added to menus nationwide in September, Hartung said.

    Chipotle executives have been banking on queso to help the chain regain its allure. On the previous earnings call in July, company officials mentioned the new product roughly two dozen times. The cheese dip is the centerpiece of Chipotle’s attempts to win back customers with advertising.

    The company has said that customers have requested queso for years. It’s typically made with processed cheese, but Chipotle created a recipe that was designed to meet its natural-food standards.

    Some customers have complained on social media that the consistency is grainy. The criticism led Chief Marketing Officer Mark Crumpacker to implore employees to ignore the outcry in a companywide memo last month.

    Chipotle suffered through five straight quarters of same-store sales declines in the aftermath of 2015’s E. coli outbreak. The company’s stock had hit an all-time high of $757.77 earlier that year, but it’s now lost more than half of its value.

    The data breach, meanwhile, struck Chipotle’s payment systems in the spring. The company warned investors about the problem in April and said in May that it had successfully removed malicious software from its systems.

    The restaurant chain also has been reining in its growth ambitions. It’s now looking to open slightly fewer locations this year than the low end of its previous range of 195 to 210. And management expects to add a smaller number of restaurants in 2018.

    “The company has lost quite a lot of the momentum it built over the past six months,” GlobalData Retail’s Saunders said.

      Read more:

      Trump clears way for ObamaCare ‘alternatives’ in new executive order, goes around stalled Congress

      The White House announced Thursday that President Trump is taking executive action on health care as Congress stalls on efforts to overhaul ObamaCare, calling for a plan that could let employers band together and offer coverage across state lines.

      An executive order Trump plans to sign Thursday morning aims to offer “alternatives” to ObamaCare plans and increase competition to bring down costs.

      “The time has come to give Americans the freedom to purchase health insurance across state lines, which will create a truly competitive national marketplace that will bring costs way down and provide far better care,” Trump said in a statement.


      According to officials, Trump will direct the secretary of labor to consider expanding access to Association Health Plans, which could allow employers to form groups across state lines offering coverage. According to the White House, these plans could offer lower rates.

      Those “association health plans” could be shielded from some state and federal insurance requirements. But responding to concerns, the White House said participating employers could not exclude any workers from the plan, or charge more to those in poor health.

      The order also calls on other federal agencies to consider expanding coverage in low-cost, short-term insurance plans not subject to ObamaCare rules. 

      It’s unlikely to reverse the trend of insurers exiting state markets. About half of U.S. counties will have only one ObamaCare insurer next year, although it appears that no counties will be left without a carrier as was initially feared. 

      The move comes after congressional Republicans repeatedly have been unable to pass legislation repealing or reforming the Affordable Care Act, which critics say has led to rising premiums and diminishing coverage options – in some cases forcing consumers to lose their previous plans and doctors. Trump’s executive order could clear the way for cheaper, more bare-bones insurance policies. 

      Trump’s order is likely to encounter opposition from medical associations, consumer groups and even insurers — the same coalition that has blocked congressional Republicans. They say it would raise costs for the sick, while the lower-premium coverage for healthy people would come with significant gaps. 

      Critics have argued that the plan will ultimately raise costs for the sick while the lower-premium coverage provided to healthy people would come with significant gaps.   

      Cori Uccello, a senior health fellow for the American Academy of Actuaries, told Fox News that an issue with AHPs is regulation.

      “There’s uncertainty of who is going to have oversight in terms of consumer protection. What redress does a consumer have, appeals processes, those kinds of things,” she said. 

      White House domestic policy director Andrew Bremberg told reporters during a conference call Thursday that the executive order is necessary because ObamaCare has caused “costs to skyrocket.”

      Bremberg acknowledged Trump’s order could affect tens of millions of Americans and said the administration also intends to take “additional actions” on health care in the months to come. 

      The administration is hopeful these actions could be implemented within six months, a senior administration official said, but it could take longer to finalize. 

      Fox News’ Kaitlyn Schallhorn and Serafin Gomez and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

      Read more:

      This Interactive Map Sums Up The Damage Caused By The Anti-Vaccination Movement

      Vaccinations are one of the of most incredible aspects of modern medicine. They can make previously lethal diseases disappear from society and save countless lives. There is, however, a chance that the vaccines work a little too well and our collective memory is too short to remember the devastating effects some of these diseases caused just a few short decades ago. Recently, for reasons that are not based on science or logic, many parents have outspokenly rejected vaccinating their children. Unfortunately, this has caused a reemergence of easily managed diseases.

      The Council on Foreign Relations has released an interactive map detailing the catastrophic outcome of these poor choices, which is now published on the Vaccines Work website.

      This interactive map gives a gut-wrenching tour of global outbreaks of measles, mumps, rubella, polio, and whooping cough from 2008-2017. These diseases – all of which are easily prevented by vaccines – can have dire consequences. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 146,000 people around the world will die from measles each year, mostly children.

      The United States has recently seen a drastic increase in whooping cough, which causes around 195,000 deaths per year. The majority of these deaths occur in impoverished regions with very little access to vaccines. In the case of developed areas like the US or UK, they shouldn’t be happening at all.

      But how did it all begin?

      In 1998, Andrew Wakefield released a paper claiming to have linked the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine to the onset of autism. No other scientist has ever been able to match Wakefield’s findings, and in the following years, it became known that Wakefield had a financial conflict of interest. In 2010, an ethics review board found that he had falsified the data in his report, causing an immediate retraction of his original paper and revocation of his medical license. Despite the fact most scientists opposed Wakefield’s “findings” from the start, many people – most quite conspicuously without medical backgrounds – were all too eager to jump on the anti-MMR bandwagon.

      Of course, absolutely nothing is without risk and there can be side effects from vaccines, but those are incredibly rare. Some people are unable to be vaccinated due to allergies or other medical conditions such as cancer. This makes it altogether more important for those who can get vaccinated to do so, creating a herd immunity for our most vulnerable members of society.

      The full version of the map is available on the Vaccines Work website. The map also documents attacks on health care workers, which have been increasing in recent years. These attacks are indicated on the map with red triangles. Additionally, these attacks correlate with an increased instance of disease, including a polio outbreak in Afghanistan. Socio-economic trends can also be seen, as incidences of measles and whooping cough are increasing in wealthier areas like the US and UK, while poorer areas indicate lacking adequate supplies, giving health officials a clear idea of where efforts need to be increased.

      Read more:

      Universal credit helpline charges scrapped

      Media playback is unsupported on your device

      Media caption‘It’s a lot of weeks to wait’

      People will be able to call the government’s universal credit helpline without being charged, within weeks.

      Prime Minister Theresa May said she had listened to criticism of the charges, which can be up to 55p a minute, and decided it was “right” to drop them.

      But she again rejected calls by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to “pause” the roll-out of the controversial benefit amid fears it is causing hardship.

      In a symbolic vote, MPs backed a pause after Tory MPs were told to abstain.

      The opposition won by 299 votes to 0 with one Conservative – Totnes MP Sarah Wollaston – defying her party by siding with Labour.

      The outcome is not binding on the government although Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said ministers must “act on the clearly expressed will of Parliament” and halt its roll out.

      Commons Speaker John Bercow advised ministers to take account of the vote and “show respect for the institution” by indicating what they intended to do.

      ‘Simpler system’

      Universal credit, which rolls six working-age benefits into a single payment, is designed to make the system simpler and ensure no-one faces a situation where they would be better off claiming benefits than working.

      But it has faced a backlash from Tory MPs, who fear payment delays risk pushing families into destitution.

      Explaining her decision to rebel, Dr Wollaston said the length of time people were waiting to be paid – in many cases more than six weeks – was a “fundamental flaw” that must be addressed.

      She told the BBC she wanted to “see a much stronger commitment” from government “that they’ll do that immediately”.

      At Prime Minister’s Questions earlier, Mr Corbyn said he was glad the PM had “bowed to Labour pressure” by scrapping the hotline charges.

      Media playback is unsupported on your device

      Media captionSpeaker: Don’t pretend you didn’t lose

      But he added: “The fundamental problems of universal credit remain – the six week wait, rising indebtedness, rent arrears and evictions.

      “Will the prime minister now pause universal credit and fix the problems before pressing ahead with the roll-out?”

      Mrs May prompted cheers from Labour MPs as she began her reply with “yes”, before urging them to “listen to the whole sentence I was going to make”.

      She said universal credit was “a simpler system”, that “encourages people to get into the workplace – it is a system that is working because more people are getting into work”.

      The universal credit hotline will become free to use “over the next month”, the government has said, and that would be followed by all DWP helplines by the end of the year.

      The government says it makes no money from the 0345 number. It is charged at local rate and is included as a free call in many landline and mobile phone packages but can cost some mobile phone users as much as 55p a minute.

      Universal Credit has been introduced in stages to different groups of claimants over the past four years, with about 610,000 people now receiving it.

      Almost a quarter of all claimants have had to wait more than six weeks to receive their first payment in full because of errors and problems evidencing claims.

      But the government recently approved a major extension of the programme to a further 45 job centres across the country, with another 50 to be added each month.

      Media playback is unsupported on your device

      Media captionThe PM appears to give a surprising initial answer when asked to pause the national rollout of universal credit.

      Labour’s Frank Field told MPs a food bank in his Birkenhead constituency needed to order five tonnes of extra food to deal with hardship caused by the roll-out of universal credit over Christmas.

      He asked Work and Pensions Secretary David Gauke if his constituents should ignore the food bank’s warnings, or give it extra donations as a result of the minister’s “inability to deliver a scheme that works”.

      ‘Pious loan shark’

      Mr Gauke had earlier accused Labour of attempting to wreck the new benefit rather than taking a constructive approach to reforming it.

      The SNP’s Mhairi Black said the offer of advance payments made matters worse for some claimants because they had to be paid back.

      She accused the government of acting like a “pious loan shark – except that instead of coming through your front door they are coming after your mental health, your physical well-being, your stability, your sense of security.”

      The Department for Work and Pensions says its latest data, from last month, indicates 81% of new claimants were paid in full and on time at the end of their first assessment while 89% received some payment.

      BBC Newsnight’s political editor Nick Watt said he understood ministers were giving “serious thought” to cutting the initial waiting period for payments from six to four weeks around the time of next month’s Budget.

      Related Topics

      Read more:

      Terminally ill man loses right-to-die case

      Image caption Noel Conway was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2014

      A terminally ill man has lost his High Court challenge against the law on assisted dying.

      Noel Conway, 67, from Shrewsbury, who has motor neurone disease, wanted a doctor to be allowed to prescribe a lethal dose when his health deteriorates.

      Currently any doctor helping him to die would face up to 14 years in prison.

      His lawyers had argued he faced a stark choice, which was unfair and the law needed to change.

      They said he could either bring about his own death while still physically able to do so, or await death with no control over how and when it came.

      He had previously said he wanted to say goodbye to loved ones “at the right time, not to be in a zombie-like condition suffering both physically and psychologically”.

      He argued that when he had less than six months to live and retained the mental capacity to make the decision, he wished to be able to enlist assistance from the medical profession to bring about a “peaceful and dignified” death.

      Parliamentary debate

      Mr Conway, who was not at London’s High Court on Thursday, wanted a declaration that the Suicide Act 1961, which lays out the law on assisted dying, is incompatible with Article eight of the European Convention on Human Rights, which relates to respect for private and family life, and Article 14, which protects from discrimination.

      But Lord Justice Sales, Mrs Justice Whipple and Mr Justice Garnham rejected his case.

      Image copyright NOEL CONWAY
      Image caption Before his illness Noel Conway was a keen skier, climber and cyclist

      It is not the first time the law has been challenged.

      A case brought by Tony Nicklinson – who was paralysed after a stroke – was dismissed in 2014 by the Supreme Court, which stated it was important that Parliament debated the issues before any decision was made by the courts.

      In 2015 MPs rejected proposals to allow assisted dying in England and Wales, in their first vote on the issue in almost 20 years.

      Supporters of the current legislation say it exists to protect the weak and vulnerable from being exploited or coerced.

      Mr Conway’s case is different from Mr Nicklinson’s in that he has a terminal illness and his legal team set out strict criteria and clear potential safeguards to protect vulnerable people from any abuse of the system.

      Related Topics

      Read more:

      3 Terrifying Pieces Of Anti-Woman Legislation You Need To Know About Right Now

      When I mention your body’s biggest enemy, you probably have something that came immediately to mind: your thighs, your arms, the pimple you got from dropping kettle corn into your mouth/all over your face so you could eat without sitting up for normal adult reasons. Or maybe you thought of the parade of fuckboys last few bros you banged who confirmed for you that some people just weren’t built to interact with the female body. This second guess is closer to what I’m actually talking about, because it similarly concerns a group of largely white men (if you’d like to fight me on your sexual history, feel free, I’m just taking a guess) who have no business with women’s bodies, and yet can’t leave them the fuck alone. Those people are called YOUR GOVERNMENT. (Mic drop, I am political.)

      In all honesty, I probably don’t have a single friend who would describe me as political; I don’t even feel like I ignore the news on purpose, it just kind of floats past me, like everything that was ever said in a high school history class. But because I’m a selfish bitch I care about my readers very much, when I hear about bullshit new measures that will negatively affect my body both on a daily basis and in times of need, I am going to listen the fuck up and urge you all to do the same. Here’s a rundown of the three scariest pieces of legislation aimed to limit women’s choices right now—and for those of you with any remaining doubts that I really do not usually care/write about politics, please know that I literally just Googled the word “legislation” to make sure I was using it correctly. Feels good.

      1. Remember When Obama Made Your Boss Pay for Your Birth Control? Yeah, That’s Over.

      In a continued bid to out-evil Satan, Trump made a fun little announcement last Friday: He’s shut down the Obama-era law requiring most employers to cover co-pay-free birth control, an amazing measure we definitely all took completely for granted. Now, in the nation of Gilead Trump’s America, employers will be able to cite “religious or moral objection” to covering birth control, and BAM: You can no longer afford brunch, because that budget has been re-allocated to your “not getting pregnant” fund. Oh, and regardless of your birth control type, this shit is not cheap: My employer insurance had a fun two-week blackout last month and I was charged $200 for a 30-day supply of my GENERIC birth control pill. So don’t even try to come at me with that “just pay out of pocket, mer mer mer, women want everything for free” shit, TYLER.

      Proposed Solution: If there is a guy you are regularly having sex with, and your birth control coverage is affected, ask him to pay for half. I know this doesn’t effect change on a policy level, but as a group, can women please stop accepting sole financial responsibility for preventing pregnancy? If the guy you’re fucking starts whining about the cost, just tell him there’s a 100% free alternative: You can stop having sex with him, forever.

      2. 20 Weeks Pregnant? Cool, You’re Having a Baby Now.

      Though this isn’t yet in immediate effect like the above measure, a bill recently passed through the House of Representatives criminalizing abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Never mind the fact that if our government hates abortions so much, they probably shouldn’t have repealed the access to free birth control, which conveniently yielded lower abortion rates than we had in 1973, when abortion was made legal nation-wide. Never mind the disgustingly insulting title for this bill of “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” which would perhaps have been more aptly titled “Pain-Capable and Very Much Born Adult Woman Punishment Act.” In this case, let’s focus on the fact that one of the bill’s co-sponsors, Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania, was literally texting his mistress to GET AN ABORTION while passing this bill through the House. Everything about this bill (and its relation to less-available birth control) is so alarmingly nonsensical that I’m almost ready to start buying into lizard-person theories. Given the one season I watched of , I feel like “handling” a mistress’ pregnancy is basically a rite of passage for most politicians—so why are they so fucking intent on making sure those abortions need to be illegal and unsafe? It’s definitely not a conspiracy to have more women die during the procedure, rendering them unable to talk about the affair, right? Wait…right?

      3. A Special-Edition Coverage Slash For Pre-Pregnant, Pregnant, And Post-Pregnant Women

      This bad boy, otherwise known as the Graham-Cassidy bill, is luckily having a lot of trouble getting passed, so there’s chance you won’t actually have to deal with this specifically. Which is good because I JUST spent two hours of my Monday at a Planned Parenthood phone bank defeating this nightmare of a bill that keeps popping back up like a zombie Whack-A-Mole, can I live for one week?? But honestly, every proposed healthcare reform bill this garbage-monster administration has spewed out has been pretty similarly shitty, so expect comparable measures if they manage to get anything through. This particular bill has gone ahead and banned women on Medicaid from visiting Planned Parenthood (straight up, I do not know what Medicaid is, but oh my god just allow women access to appropriate healthcare, our bodies are more complicated than yours and we fucking need it). Also, it’s restricted abortion coverage and maternity care in the same bill, so really (unless you’re a politician’s mistress!), these people would like to ensure that you get pregnant, stay pregnant, and bear the emotional, physical, and financial burden of that pregnancy all on your own. Just like how you got pregnant all on your own, without the help of any second party. Right.

      Basically, the only common thread of these new measures is that our government doesn’t give a shit about you or your body. There’s no ideological or economic background that makes any sense, much like when Dean started motorboating D-Lo in the pool, thus jeopardizing his supposed “deep emotional connection” with Kristina, and the lucrative fandom love that could have launched a thousand Instagram sponsorships. So, I encourage you to start thinking about our government the way you think about the fuckboys we deal with on a daily basis: Until they shape the fuck up, we’ll be heavily looking into alternative options. You don’t let fuckboys tell you what to do with your body, so let’s get them out of these government positions where they can literally charge you for going against their dumbass ideas on what your body has access to.


      Read more:

      The White House and Equifax Agree: Social Security Numbers Should Go

      The Trump administration is exploring ways to replace the use of Social Security numbers as the main method of assuring people’s identities in the wake of consumer credit agency Equifax Inc.’s massive data breach.

      The administration has called on federal departments and agencies to look into the vulnerabilities of employing the identifier tied to retirement benefits, as well as how to replace the existing system, according to Rob Joyce, special assistant to the president and White House cybersecurity coordinator.

      “I feel very strongly that the Social Security number has outlived its usefulness,” Joyce said Tuesday at a cyber conference in Washington organized by the Washington Post. “Every time we use the Social Security number, you put it at risk.”

      Joyce’s comments came as former Equifax CEO Richard Smith testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the first of four hearings this week on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers from both parties expressed outrage over the size of the breach as well as the company’s response and grilled Smith on the timeline of the incident, including when top executives learned about it.

      Smith said the rising number of hacks involving Social Security numbers have eroded its security value.

      “The concept of a Social Security number in this environment being private and secure — I think it’s time as a country to think beyond that,” Smith said. “What is a better way to identify consumers in our country in a very secure way? I think that way is something different than an SSN, a date of birth and a name.”

      Joyce said officials are looking into “what would be a better system” that utilizes the latest technologies, including a “modern cryptographic identifier,” such as public and private keys.

      Read more: Five Data-Security Ideas Brought Up During the Equifax Hearing

      ‘Flawed System’

      “It’s a flawed system that we can’t roll back that risk after we know we’ve had a compromise,” he said. “I personally know my Social Security number has been compromised at least four times in my lifetime. That’s just untenable.”

      Joseph Lorenzo Hall, chief technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology in Washington, said one possibility could be giving individuals a private key, essentially a long cryptographic number that’s embedded in a “physical token” that then requires users to verify that the number belongs to them. It could work like the chip in a credit card that requires the owner to enter a pin allowing use. He pointed to Estonia where they have deployed such cards that people use to validate their identity.

      “Your pin unlocks your ability to use that big number,” he said. The challenge is how to create the identifiers and how to distribute the keys. “It’s very promising” and “it’s possible to technically design something like this” but it could be expensive to design and disseminate such material to each American, he said. “This is a pretty big endeavor.”

      The administration is also participating in discussions Congress is having about the requirements of protecting personal data and breach notifications for companies.

      Avoiding Balkanization

      “It’s really clear, there needs to be a change, but we’ll have to look at the details of what’s being proposed,” Joyce said. In the response to the Equifax hack, though, he said, “we need to be careful of Balkanizing the regulations. It’s really hard on companies today” facing local, state and federal regulators as well as international rules, he added.

      The U.S. government began issuing Social Security numbers in 1936. Nearly 454 million different numbers have been issued, according to the Social Security Administration. Supplanting such an ingrained apparatus would not happen over night. The original intent was to track U.S. workers’ earning to determine their Social Security benefits. But the rise of computers, government agencies and companies found new uses for the number, which gradually grew into a national identifier.

      Over the decades, the Social Security number became valuable for what could be gained by stealing it, said Bruce Schneier, a fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. It was the only number available to identify a person and became the standard used for everything from confirming someone at the doctor’s office to school.

      Akin to Infrastructure

      “They appeared at an age when we didn’t have other numbers,” Schneier said in an interview. “Think of this as part of our aging infrastructure” from roads and bridges to communications. “Sooner or later we as a society need to fix our aging infrastructure.” 

      He pointed to India’s wide-scale rollout of the Aadhaar card, a unique number provided to citizens after collecting their biometric information — fingerprints and an iris scan — along with demographic details, to almost 1.2 billion people. In the U.S., a more secure system could be designed, “but magic math costs money,” he said.

      Making any changes to the current system, including replacing numbers entirely or restricting who can use them, would likely require an act of Congress, according to Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, which advocates for limiting the use of Social Security numbers. 

      Rewriting Laws

      “You’d need to change a lot of existing public law," Rotenberg said. “There would need to be extensive hearings and study about the consequences. It’s a complicated issue." 

      The government’s own record of protecting Social Security numbers has its blemishes. Medicare, the federal health-care program for senior citizens, has long used the numbers on identification cards recipients must carry. After years of criticism by the agency’s inspector general for the risks that creates, new cards with different numbers are currently being rolled out.

      The failure of the Social Security number is that there’s only one for each person, “once it’s compromised one time, you’re done,” Bob Stasio, a fellow at the Truman National Security Project and former chief of operations at the National Security Agency’s Cyber Operations Center.

      Public and private keys — long strings of code — could help validate identities. For instance, the government could issue each person a public key and private key. If people were to open a bank account, for instance, they could provide their public key — instead of a Social Security number — and the bank would send a message that could only be decrypted using their private key. If the private key gets compromised, the government could easily issue another one.

      Saved by Math

      Stasio also cited emerging blockchain technology as another potential tool. It could create a kind of digital DNA fingerprint that’s “mathematically impossible” to duplicate. In place of a Social Security number, each person could receive a blockchain hash — a kind of algorithm unique to an individual — that is stamped on every digital transaction or action.

      That type of technology “could be used as a much more efficient and mathematically sound method of transaction, identification and validation,” Stasio said.

      While lawmakers were unanimous in criticizing Equifax’s response to a breach that compromised information on 145.5 million U.S. consumers, they were divided on how to fix the underlying issue. Democrats on the panel have reintroduced legislation imposing requirements for when companies have to report data breaches, while Oregon Republican Greg Walden noted the company’s human errors, saying “you can’t fix stupid.”

      Smith said the Equifax employee responsible for communicating that the vulnerable software needed to be patched didn’t do so. That failure was compounded when a scan of the company’s systems didn’t find that the vulnerability still existed, the former CEO said.

      Joyce’s comments helped take some of the focus off Equifax’s blunders, analysts at Cowen Inc. said in a note Tuesday.

      The “White House may be indirectly coming to Equifax’s rescue,” they wrote. “This reduces the risk of business-model-busting legislation such as a requirement that consumers opt-in to a credit bureau collecting their data.”

        Read more:

        In A World Of Doubt, Im Not Afraid To Have Faith

        Allef Vinicius

        he asks, his eyes looking intently into mine.

        I look beyond him, to the cascading waves along the beach. This isn’t the first conversation I’ve had with someone about faith. This isn’t the first time I’ve been challenged, questioned, put in the (wonderful but difficult) place of explaining the unexplainable.

        The water strikes against the sand at a furious pace. I watch the foam lick the shore then get swallowed back into the ocean again, cyclical, powerful.

        The thing is, I can’t prove, with absolute experienced certainty, that the Bible stories are true. I can’t go back in time and walk alongside the prophets, the disciples, the people who lived during Jesus’ time and watch Him heal the sick and give sight to the blind. I can’t determine, for certain, whether Jonah was swallowed by the whale or if Moses really did stand before a burning bush. I can’t act like I’ve seen what I haven’t.

        But, yet, I still know.

        I know that I am surrounded by millions upon millions of people—imperfect, beautiful people with different genetic makeups and thoughts and feelings and hearts. I know that there is an ocean, a tide, a sun, a moon, a galaxy, science, atoms and cells. And even if we try to use science, even if we try to go back and explain how particles shifted together to create incredible things—I have to wonder where those particles came from?

        Where did those tiny pieces of life begin if not created by a God?

        And then I think of the miracles I’ve seen, of the incredible faith the people in my life have shown. I think of the near-accidents I’ve avoided, the people I’ve prayed for and alongside who suddenly gained health and healing that was impossible. I think of the stories that have survived generations and generations, filling people with truth and light. I think of the way a perfect being was sacrificed, and how, here we are, thousands upon thousands of years later, standing firm in these promises of a life beyond this earthly one.

        No, I can’t stand here and say I’ve touched God. But I’ve touched a hand in prayer that made a current run through my skin. I’ve felt the presence of the Lord’s spirit while singing in church. I’ve watched people come together in love and joy. I’ve seen forgiveness and hope.

        I’ve watched prayers get answered. I’ve listened to the faith of the Biblical times and how wild and radical they were to believe what was so out of the norm for their time. I’ve had encouragement when I’ve lost all hope and confidence when I could barely lift my head.

        I’ve been reborn into a world that is far less hopeless, far less evil because of my faith.

        And in a world so filled with sin and pain, desperation and loneliness, escapism and fear, I am not afraid to believe in something bigger than me. Something beautiful and life-changing and fulfilling and

        In a world of doubt, I am not afraid to believe. I am not afraid to stand firm on the hope my Father has given me. I am not afraid to trust that He is with me, with us, wherever we wander.

        In a world of doubt, I am not afraid to listen. To His truth, to the sermons that preach His goodness, to the stories of the Bible that tell of miracle after miracle, giving me hope.

        It’s so easy to believe in the things you can see, in the tangible, in what lies right in front of your face. But true faith is trusting in what you cannot see, in reaching forward for the things just outside of your grasp.

        True faith is choosing to accept that there are things you might not understand, might not be able to witness, or go back in time and experience, but that doesn’t make them any less real.

        And so I will stand firm in the stories I’ve heard, in the experiences I’ve had, in the truth that has defined who I am and what I stand for, no matter what uncertainty tries to creep into my mind.

        This is not a blind faith, but an obedient faith. And for my Father, my Savior, my Healer, I will stand and not waver.

        There are far too many things of this world that are impermanent, that are broken, that are flawed and hopeless. My God is not one of them.

        Read more:

        You Are Less Likely To Die Within A Month Of Surgery If Your Surgeon Is A Woman, Study Finds

        The percentage of female surgeons has been steadily growing over the past 50 years across most of the developed world. This is not only great for equality, but also because if you have a female surgeon, you are less likely to die within a month of your operation.

        A large-scale study found that patients who had been operated on by a female surgeon were a whopping 12 percent less likely to die during the following 30 days of recovery.

        The researchers, from the University of Toronto, looked at 104,630 patients who had surgery between 2007 and 2015. Patients were matched to eliminate variables such as other conditions, age, sex, and income. Surgeons were also matched in terms of age and experience, as well as the number of surgeries they perform and the hospital they work at.

        With all these variables accounted for, the researchers found that female surgeons were better at keeping their patients alive during the 30 days following an operation.

        Despite female medical practitioners being just as competent as men, sexism against female doctors, surgeons, and anesthetists continues around the world. This man, as the Telegraph reports, refused to be operated on when he discovered his anesthetist was a woman.

        Dr Raj Satkunasivam, who led the study, said that the difference could be because of the way women deliver care.

        “Women and men practice medicine differently, although little research exists on the differences in learning styles, acquisition of skills, or outcomes for female and male surgeons,” the authors wrote.

        “We don’t know the mechanism that underlies better outcomes for patients treated by female surgeons, although it might be related to delivery of care that is more congruent with guidelines, more patient-centered, and involves superior communication.”

        The research, published in the British Medical Journal, also found that fewer patients treated by female surgeons were readmitted to hospital within that timeframe, or had other complications, however, these differences were not found to be statistically significant. 

        So if you have a choice of surgeon, should you opt for a woman?

        “Surgery is a specialty that continues to struggle with unconscious bias among patients and health professionals, and gender inequality persists,” The Royal College of Surgeons responded in an editorial.

        “This study helps to combat […] lingering biases by confirming the safety, skill, and expertise of women surgeons relative to their male colleagues.”

        However, they stress that “with so many critical factors to consider, trying to find out why there is a very small difference in short-term clinical outcomes between male and female surgeons is unlikely to prove worthwhile.”

        “Nor are we convinced that the sex of the surgeon will emerge as an important determinant of a good outcome for patients having surgery.”

        Read more:

        5 Shocking Things Nobody Tells You About Getting Tattoos

        When you think of all the issues associated with getting a tattoo, like being the absolute raddest and having all of the sex, you have to wonder: Why aren’t you getting a tattoo right now? But besides the obvious reasons you shouldn’t get a heart with your mom’s name in it tattooed right above your genitals, there are plenty you’ve probably never thought of. For example …


        Nobody Knows What’s In Tattoo Ink

        You’d think that, because it’s something you shoot into your body with a needle, people are really on the ball when it comes to making tattoo ink as safe as possible. But as inks aren’t classed as foods, drugs, or administrations, the FDA pays little to no attention when it comes to regulating them. They’re classified as a “cosmetic” product … even though it’s one that you can inject into your eyeballs. So what exactly is in tattoo ink, then? You know, except for meat?

        Aside from the fact that we don’t know what happens to tattoo ink in the long term, the people who manufacture it make it nearly impossible to even find out what’s in their concoctions. However, when placed under a microscope, some inks have been found to contain heavy metals, microbes, and a boatload of carcinogens — all of which pose unacceptable health risks. And forget about cancer (never thought we’d say that); if your tattoo contains iron oxide, which used to be a fairly common ingredient in red inks, getting an MRI could cause your body to go into full meltdown. That’s because the magnetic field generated by the machine can cause these elements to generate an electrical current and basically fry your skin.

        Moriel NessAiver
        When your dragon art gets a little too real.

        If all this talk of microbes and cancer is making your tattooed skin crawl, here’s the kicker: Because ink manufacturers won’t tell us what’s in their product, it makes removing those tattoos an extra-big pain in the ass, or wherever else you got them. If doctors knew the composition and chemical makeup of each ink, they could identify and calibrate a treatment that stands a good chance of working without putting a patient into a pain-induced coma. Without that information, however, they’re just winging it with lasers, which is much less fun than it sounds.

        So what does it take to get The Man involved? Oh, they’re waiting for enough people to contract dangerous infections. As the FDA doesn’t mandate testing on tattoo ink, only a bona fide outbreak has can force them to take action. When an outbreak of nontuberculous mycobacterium (a cousin of actual tuberculosis) started afflicting tattoo owners in 2012, the infection was eventually traced back to a non-sterile ink manufacturer and the FDA finally stepped in. All it took was dozens of people oozing blood out of their skin for a few months.


        Your Tattoo Could Totally Get You Sued For Copyright Infringement

        Whether it’s hoverboards, teacup pigs, or white supremacy, people love copying trends they see on TV. So when we see our favorite fictional characters or real celebs sporting cool tattoos, some will of course want to get in on that action. But not even your skin is immune to the laws of intellectual property, and getting a pop culture tattoo might just land you a real tricky cease-and-desist order.

        We’ll explain this using one of the most famous tattoos in pop culture: Mike Tyson’s temple of flame in The Hangover. When The Hangover Part II homaged his appearance by having one of the main characters drunkenly get a similar face tattoo, it got Warner Bros. sued by Victor Whitmill, the artist responsible for the original. He alleged that by reproducing the tat and including it on posters and other marketing materials without his permission, Warner Bros. committed copyright infringement. The studio tried to claim the second tattoo was a parody, showing off how stupid the original was (making it symbolic of the whole Hangover franchise), but the judge disagreed and Warner was forced to settle out of court.

        Warner Bros. Pictures
        Their real punishment was having to admit involvement in The Hangover Part II.

        It’s an issue that’s coming up more and more in video games as well. When the popular basketball game NBA 2K created its virtual avatars, it also added their many tattoos, leading to a group (or inkling) of tattoo artists suing the makers of the game for duplicating their artwork. Their lawsuit only failed because they filed for copyright after the game’s release, not because it was dumb, but they still managed to claim damages for loss of income. In another case, when a tattoo on MMA fighter Carlos Condit appeared in UFC Undisputed, the artist responsible filed suit on the same grounds of copyright infringement.

        So remember, if you ever muster the courage to get that The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo tattoo on your back, make sure to leave some room for the copyright symbol right above the butt crack.


        Recovering From Getting A Tattoo Can Take A Long Time

        You know why tattoos are commonly associated with hard-smoking, hard-drinking bikers instead of, say, vape-smoking, microbrew-sipping tech workers? Because they hurt like hell to get. It’s analogous to plunging your arm into a sewing machine and asking a meth head to turn your torture into heart-shaped scar. But at least when it’s over, it’s over, right? Unfortunately, for some tattoo-havers, the real pain is only starting.

        One in ten people will spend four months recovering from the medical side effects of getting a tattoo. In a survey of 300 inkbros and inkgals, 10 percent admitted to suffering from adverse reactions long after their new body art should have healed over. This could range from long-term redness to painful blisters to a nagging sense of having made a terrible mistake that will last forever.

        Oh, and there’s one other teeny-tiny medical side effect: You might be making it harder to get diagnosed with cancer. In 2013, a German man was undergoing tattoo removal when a suspicious-looking mole was discovered hiding inside his artwork. He had it examined by doctors … who diagnosed him with Stage 2 melanoma. Over a dozen tattoo-related untreated cancer cases have been recorded in the last few years alone, which means plenty more death lumps are still hiding inside infinity symbols and ironic Bart Simpson tattoos. And now, with the current trend of armpit tattoos, doctors are getting worried about the increased risk not just of a lack of diagnosis, but also misdiagnosis as well. To the naked eye, there’s little difference between a metastasized lymph node and one that has simply been colored in by a tattoo, which could lead to an unnecessary increase in biopsies and traumatizing a bunch of people by telling them they might have cancer. All in all, you’re not making it easier for doctors to save your life by giving half of your body cancer camouflage.


        Your Skin Will Rub Off Tattoos

        Despite what your boring parents and teachers used to say, tattoos aren’t permanent at all. Unlike lawns or babies, you can’t expect a tattoo to take care of itself. But the hard truth is that no matter what you do, those knuckle tats saying “hate” and “kids” are going to fade faster than your chances of getting a job teaching kindergarten.

        You could be the kindest, gentlest person to your tattoo, but before you know it, you’ll be spending tons to get it retouched because it will start to look like crap. This is especially true if you had your tattoo printed on an area of your body that’s frequently moving, such as your hands, wrists, neck, or if you’re like us, rippling sack of python-esque biceps. That’s because the action of your skin moving and creasing will erode the tattoo faster. Think of it as a piece of paper constantly crumpling and uncrumpling. Actually, best not to think of your body that way.

        via Bored Panda
        Try not to think about what kind of rubbing wore that down in a year and a half.

        If you don’t want to speed up this process, you have to do one other thing: Stay out of the sun. Forever. A sunburn causes your skin to shed like crazy, causing the ink to fade, feather, or blot much faster than it normally would. To make it even worse, seeing as you’ve just painted your skin unnaturally dark, tattooed skin is extra sensitive to sunburn, absorbing sunlight more easily and causing swelling, itching, or even blisters. But don’t worry, this only happens with obscure colors like yellow, red, blue, and black.


        There Are Tons Of Things That Make Tattoos Harder to Remove

        It’s all gone horribly wrong. Your relationship has fallen apart, the band has broken up, your favorite brand hired Kylie Jenner. Whatever the reason, you need this tattoo removed now. That’s fine. Merely pop down to the nearest laser surgery clinic and remove the mistake of mistakes while reading a dated US Magazine. Except that that kinda doesn’t work if you’ve lived your life in any way whatsoever.

        Do you smoke? Yes? Throw in a leather jacket and you must be the coolest motherfucker in town. And there’s even more good news: You get to hold onto that feeling of coolness for a lot longer than you planned to. The chance of your tattoo being removed inside of ten laser sessions (a pretty standard treatment length) is reduced by 70 percent in smokers. That’s because smoking inhibits the immune system, the main way in which tattoo ink is allowed to break down and be flushed from the body.

        Is your tattoo full of bright colors? Congratulations on completing art school / rehab. Unfortunately, choosing literally any other color than black or red means more of that painful laser surgery we mentioned. When it comes to inks like yellow, blue, and green, the chance of their removal inside of ten sessions was reduced to a measly 20 percent because, instead of disintegrating when lasered, these bad boys change hue and refuse to take the hint that you want them off your body.

        You don’t smoke and your tattoo is just black? You must be either straight edge or a sailor from the ’60s. Better hope it’s the former, though, because the older a tattoo, the harder it is to get rid of. Over time, the ink sinks deeper into the body. Just three years in, and laser therapy only has a 47 percent success rate, whilst tattoos over six years old are so hard to get rid of that you’d think they have squatters’ rights.

        And here’s where it gets ironic: If you listened to society and got a discreet tattoo on your ankle or foot that no one (including prospective employers) could pitch a fit about, your chances of removing it inside of ten sessions are even worse. As it turns out, those discreet locations are far away from the main bad-stuff-removal routes of your body, which means they take longer to break down.

        So to summarize: If you’re thinking of getting a tattoo and want the option of removing it quickly, all you need to do is not smoke, get it on your face or neck, make it black and red, and pay extra attention to your skin. That way, you’ll never have any regret getting a tatt-

        -oh, fuck.

        Adam Wears is on Twitter and Facebook. He also has a newsletter about depressing history, but that’s only for the coolest kids.

        Instead of getting a tattoo, try putting together this 1,329-piece Millennium Falcon Lego set. Seriously, it even comes with the little dudes.

        If you loved this article and want more like it, please support our site with a visit to our Contribution Page.

        Also check out 4 Secrets From The Guys Giving You Tattoos and The 7 Most Regrettable Tattoos Ever Received.

        Subscribe to our YouTube channel, and check out If Music Festivals Were Honest, and watch other videos you won’t see on the site!

        Follow our new Pictofacts Facebook page, and we’ll follow you everywhere.

        Get intimate with our new podcast Cracked Gets Personal. Subscribe for fascinating episodes like Murdered Sex Dolls And Porn Suitcases: What Garbagemen See and I Was a Sex Slave in the Modern U.S., available wherever you get your podcasts.

        Read more:

        This Is Why The Me Too Movement Is So Damn Important

        Unsplash / Tom the Photographer

        The “Me Too” movement exploded on social media earlier this week. So I should not have been surprised when, eventually, some of my Facebook “friends” began to express exasperation or irritation with the trending posts. Thankfully, there were only a few, but even so, it was upsetting. One of them even had the audacity to say, “I don’t understand the ‘me too’ thing beyond it being a cry for attention. Why do these women feel the need to draw attention to themselves? We get it.”

        It doesn’t seem like people “get it.” So, since it seems to be impossible to just take us for our word, I decided to respond to anyone who thinks like that old buddy of mine. Why do we feel the need to draw attention to this? Well…

        Because there are dozens of apps designed for women to download on their smartphones that will secretly call for help with one touch. Because those apps are necessary. 

        Because there is a product out there called GoGuarded, designed for women to wear while exercising outside alone. It’s a ring with a serrated plastic blade so that defense can be accessed at a second’s notice. Because that product is necessary.

        Because women-only gyms exist so women have a place where they can feel comfortable working out without the fear and humiliation of being leered at or judged.

        Because most of the women I know carry pepper spray on their key chains.

        Because none of the men I know carry pepper spray on their key chains.

        Because most of the women on my friends list have typed “me too” on their statuses in the last 72 hours.

        Because another percentage of women I know have chosen not to write those words on their statuses.

        Because when I go on vacation with my family and my brother and I both express a desire to go check out the local pub scene, my parents say, “okay” to him and “make sure you stay with your brother” to me.

        Because pads and tampons are tax exempt in seven states, but Rogaine is tax exempt in eight states and Viagra is tax exempt in 49 states. Because that kind of communicates that sex well into old age is more important than a woman’s hygiene and health.

        Because Elliot Rodger dumped a latte on two women in 2011 because they did not smile at him. Because three years later, he shot 20 people at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Because right before he shot all those people, he released a video manifesto in which he says, “You girls have never been attracted to me. I don’t know why you girls aren’t attracted to me but I will punish you for it. It’s an injustice, a crime…I don’t know what you don’t see in me. I’m the perfect guy and yet you throw yourselves at these obnoxious men instead of me, the supreme gentleman.” Because Elliot Rodger believed he was entitled to a woman’s affection and because he is not the only man who has believed that….even if those other men didn’t commit a mass shooting as a result.

        Because one in six American women will be victims of rape in their lifetime.

        Because it happens to men too. Because many men feel pressured to stay silent because this kind of thing is not supposed to happen to men.

        Because most of the time, harassment and assaults are not isolated incidents; they’re a part of a woman’s daily culture.

        Because this movement has been referred to as a “political bandwagon.” Because the fact that many women from both ends of the political spectrum posting about this still doesn’t make it anything more than a “political bandwagon.”

        Because I have been mocked for my weight by strange men I don’t know.

        Because I have been sexualized for my weight by men I don’t know…and one time by a man I DID know who said, “I’m a chubby chaser, so you better watch out.”

        Because when an ex forced himself on me, I felt like I couldn’t tell anyone because they wouldn’t believe me. Because we were in a relationship so it didn’t count.

        Because I have dozens more examples.

        Because my kind, loving fiancé, who treats me with care and respect, will experience the occasional freak out or rejection due to triggers I didn’t even know were there.

        Because the men who love us will suffer too. 

        Because no matter where I am, I never feel confident saying “yes” when AAA Roadside Assistance asks if I am in a safe location.

        Because the “me too” movement is still dependent on the victims taking action and not the perpetrators.

        Because we elected a president who bragged about sexually assaulting women.

        Because, as scummy as that is, the powers that be still decided that wasn’t reason enough to disqualify his candidacy. Because he is not the first politician to be accused of doing so without consequence.

        Because none of those men were held accountable.

        Because Casey Affleck won the Oscar for his incredible performance in “Manchester by the Sea.” Because allegations of assault weren’t enough to take him out of the running. Because we have to “separate the art from the artist”…when the artist is a white man, at least.

        Because the large number of my friends posting “me too” may make me sad and angry, but it does not surprise me in the least.

        Because of the people questioning the validity of this movement.

        Let me know if you need more examples.

        Read more:

        Miles Teller Masturbation Video Allegedly Leaks Online!

        A video allegedly of

        The War Dogs actor’s face supposedly can’t be seen in the video, but it still doesn’t make it any less of a violation of a privacy if it really is the 30-year-old.

        As we’ve previously reported, celebs like Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus, and more have been at the center of nude photo leaks and hacks!

        We can only hope Miles’ video gets taken down!

        [Image via Nicky Nelson/WENN.]

        Read more:

        Facing poverty, academics turn to sex work and sleeping in cars

        Adjunct professors in America face low pay and long hours without the security of full-time faculty. Some, on the brink of homelessness, take desperate measures

        There is nothing she would rather do than teach. But after supplementing her career with tutoring and proofreading, the university lecturer decided to go to remarkable lengths to make her career financially viable.

        She first opted for her side gig during a particularly rough patch, several years ago, when her course load was suddenly cut in half and her income plunged, putting her on the brink of eviction. In my mind I was like, Ive had one-night stands, how bad can it be? she said. And it wasnt that bad.

        The wry but weary-sounding middle-aged woman, who lives in a large US city and asked to remain anonymous to protect her reputation, is an adjunct instructor, meaning she is not a full-time faculty member at any one institution and strings together a living by teaching individual courses, in her case at multiple colleges.


        I feel committed to being the person whos there to help millennials, the next generation, go on to become critical thinkers, she said. And Im really good at it, and I really like it. And its heartbreaking to me it doesnt pay what I feel it should.

        Sex work is one of the more unusual ways that adjuncts have avoided living in poverty, and perhaps even homelessness. A quarter of part-time college academics (many of whom are adjuncts, though its not uncommon for adjuncts to work 40 hours a week or more) are said to be enrolled in public assistance programs such as Medicaid.

        They resort to food banks and Goodwill, and there is even an adjuncts cookbook that shows how to turn items like beef scraps, chicken bones and orange peel into meals. And then there are those who are either on the streets or teetering on the edge of losing stable housing. The Guardian has spoken to several such academics, including an adjunct living in a shack north of Miami, and another sleeping in her car in Silicon Valley.

        The adjunct who turned to sex work makes several thousand dollars per course, and teaches about six per semester. She estimates that she puts in 60 hours a week. But she struggles to make ends meet after paying $1,500 in monthly rent and with student loans that, including interest, amount to a few hundred thousand dollars. Her income from teaching comes to $40,000 a year. Thats significantly more than most adjuncts: a 2014 survey found that the median income for adjuncts is only $22,041 a year, whereas for full-time faculty it is $47,500.

        We take a kind of vow of poverty

        Recent reports have revealed the extent of poverty among professors, but the issue is longstanding. Several years ago, it was thrust into the headlines in dramatic fashion when Mary-Faith Cerasoli, an adjunct professor of Romance languages in her 50s, revealed she was homeless and protested outside the New York state education department.

        We take a kind of vow of poverty to continue practicing our profession, Debra Leigh Scott, who is working on a documentary about adjuncts, said in an email. We do it because we are dedicated to scholarship, to learning, to our students and to our disciplines.

        Adjuncting has grown as funding for public universities has fallen by more than a quarterbetween 1990 and 2009. Private institutions also recognize the allure of part-time professors: generally they are cheaper than full-time staff, dont receive benefits or support for their personal research, and their hours can be carefully limited so they do not teach enough to qualify for health insurance.

        This is why adjuncts have been called the fast-food workers of the academic world: among labor experts adjuncting is defined as precarious employment, a growing category that includes temping and sharing-economy gigs such as driving for Uber. An American Sociological Association taskforce focusing on precarious academic jobs, meanwhile, has suggested that faculty employment is no longer a stable middle-class career.

        Adjunct English professor Ellen James-Penney and her husband live in a car with their two dogs. They have developed a system. Keep nothing on the dash, nothing on the floor you cant look like youre homeless, you cant dress like youre homeless. Photograph: Talia Herman for the Guardian

        The struggle to stay in housing can take many forms, and a second job is one way adjuncts seek to buoy their finances. The professor who turned to sex work said it helps her keep her toehold in the rental market.

        This is something I chose to do, she said, adding that for her it is preferable to, say, a six-hour shift at a bar after teaching all day. I dont want it to come across as, Oh, I had no other choice, this is how hard my life is.

        Advertising online, she makes about $200 an hour for sex work. She sees clients only a handful of times during the semester, and more often during the summer, when classes end and she receives no income.

        Im terrified that a student is going to come walking in, she said. And the financial concerns have not ceased. I constantly have tension in my neck from gritting my teeth all night.

        To keep their homes, some adjuncts are forced to compromise on their living space.

        Caprice Lawless, 65, a teacher of English composition and a campaigner for better working conditions for adjuncts, resides in an 1100 sq ft brick house near Boulder, Colorado. She bought it following a divorce two decades ago. But because her $18,000 income from teaching almost full time is so meager, she has remortgaged the property several times, and has had to rent her home to three other female housemates.

        I live paycheck to paycheck and Im deeply in debt, she said, including from car repairs and a hospitalization for food poisoning.

        Like every other adjunct, she says, she opted for the role thinking it would be a path to full-time work. She is so dependent on her job to maintain her living situation that when her mother died this summer, she didnt take time off in part because she has no bereavement leave. She turned up for work at 8am the next day, taught in a blur and, despite the cane she has used since a hip replacement, fell over in the parking lot.

        If she were to lose her home her only hope, she says, would be government-subsidized housing.

        Most of my colleagues are unjustifiably ashamed, she said. They take this personally, as if theyve failed, and Im always telling them, you havent failed, the system has failed you.

        A precarious situation

        Even more desperate are those adjuncts in substandard living spaces who cannot afford to fix them. Mindy Percival, 61, a lecturer with a doctorate from Columbia, teaches history at a state college in Florida and, in her words, lives in a shack which is in the woods in middle of nowhere.

        Lecturer Mindy Percivals mobile home in Stuart, Florida. Her oven, shower and water heater dont work. Photograph: Courtesy of Mindy Percival

        The mobile home she inhabits, located in the town of Stuart, north of Miami, was donated to her about eight years ago. It looks tidyon the outside, but inside there are holes in the floor and the paneling is peeling off the walls. She has no washing machine, and the oven, shower and water heater dont work. Im on the verge of homelessness, constantly on the verge, she said.

        Percival once had a tenure-track job but left to care for her elderly mother, not expecting it would be impossible to find a similar position. Now, two weeks after being paid, I might have a can with $5 in change in it. Her 18-year-old car broke down after Hurricane Irma, and she is driven to school by a former student, paying $20 a day for gas.

        I am trying to get out so terribly hard, she said.

        Homelessness is a genuine prospect for adjuncts. When Ellen Tara James-Penney finishes work, teaching English composition and critical thinking at San Jose State University in Silicon Valley, her husband, Jim, picks her up. They have dinner and drive to a local church, where Jim pitches a tent by the car and sleeps there with one of their rescue dogs. In the car, James-Penney puts the car seats down and sleeps with another dog. She grades papers using a headlamp.

        Over the years, she said, they have developed a system. Keep nothing on the dash, nothing on the floor you cant look like youre homeless, you cant dress like youre homeless. Dont park anywhere too long so the cops dont stop you.

        James-Penney, 54, has struggled with homelessness since 2007, when she began studying for her bachelors degree. Jim, 64, used to be a trucker but cannot work owing to a herniated disk. Ellen made $28,000 last year, a chunk of which goes to debt repayments. The remainder is not enough to afford Silicon Valley rent.

        At night, instead of a toilet they must use cups or plastic bags and baby wipes. To get clean, they find restrooms and we have what we call the sink-shower, James-Penney said. The couple keep their belongings in the back of the car and a roof container. All the while they deal with the consequences of ageing James-Penney has osteoporosis in a space too small to even stand up.

        James-Penney does not hide her situation from her class. If her students complain about the homeless people who can sometimes be seen on campus, she will say:Youre looking at someone who is homeless.

        That generally stops any kind of sound in the room, she says. I tell them, your parents could very well be one paycheck away, one illness away, from homelessness, so it is not something to be ashamed of.

        Ellen James-Penney teaching an English class at San Jose State University in California. She tells her students, youre looking at someone who is homeless. Photograph: Talia Herman for the Guardian

        I hung on to the dream

        Many adjuncts are seeking to change their lot by unionizing, and have done so at dozens of schools in recent years. They are notching successes; some have seen annual pay increases of about 5% to almost 20%, according to Julie Schmid, executive director of the American Association of University Professors.

        Schools are often opposed to such efforts and say unions will result in higher costs for students. And for certain adjuncts, any gains will come too late.

        Mary-Faith Cerasoli, 56, the homeless adjunct who captured the publics attention with her protest in New York three years ago, said that in the aftermath little changed in termsof her living situation. Two generous people, a retiree and then a nurse, offered her temporary accommodation, but she subsequently ended up in a tent pitched at a campground and, after that, a broken sailboat docked in the Hudson river.

        But there was, however, one shift. All the moving around made it hard for her to make teaching commitments, and in any case the pay remained terrible, so she gave it up. She currently lives in a subsidized room in a shared house in a wealthy county north of New York.

        For Rebecca Snow, 51, another adjunct who quit teaching after a succession of appalling living situations, there is a sense of having been freed, even though finances continue to be stressful.

        Author Rebecca Snow, now retired from adjuncting, has moved to a small apartment just north of Spokane, Washington. Photograph: Rajah Bose for the Guardian

        She began teaching English composition at a community college in the Denver area in 2005, but the poor conditions of the homes she could afford meant she had to move every year or two. She left one place because of bedbugs, another when raw sewage flowed into her bathtub and the landlord failed to properly fix the pipes.

        Sometimes her teenage son would have to stay with her ex-husband when she couldnt provide a stable home. Snow even published a poem about adjuncts housing difficulties.

        In the end she left the profession when the housing and job insecurity became too much, and her bills too daunting. Today she lives in a quiet apartment above the garage of a friends home, located 15 miles outside Spokane, Washington. She has a view of a lake and forested hills and, with one novel under her belt, is working on a second.

        Teaching was the fantasy, she said, but life on the brink of homelessness was the reality.

        I realized I hung on to the dream for too long.

        • Do you have an experience of homelessness to share with the Guardian? Get in touch

        Read more:

        This anti-bullying PSA acts out online comments in real life. It’s an uncomfortable watch.

        Bullying is just as wrong when it happens online as it is in person. So why does one seem to be so much more acceptable than the other?

        A new anti-bullying campaign and PSA called “In Real Life,” spearheaded by Monica Lewinsky, takes actual insults people have said online and brings them into the physical world. While actors portray the bullies and their victims in the video, the reactions of unsuspecting onlookers are genuine.

        A collection of actual insults people posted online that were acted out in person as part of the In Real Life PSA. Screenshot from In Real Life/YouTube.

        The PSA opens with a pleasant scene that quickly turns jarring. Two men are sitting together in a coffee shop, when a stranger walks up to their table. “Gay people are sick, and you should just kill yourselves!” he tells them.

        This kind of interaction is not something you see that often in the real world (though it does happen). On the internet, however, that type of comment from a stranger isn’t just normal, it’s actually kind of tame.

        Later in the video, a woman gets screamed at for being a “fat bitch” and a Muslim woman gets called a “terrorist.” In all of the scenarios, bystanders — who were not involved in the social experiment — look on with horror.

        Screenshot from In Real Life/YouTube.

        A number of studies show why people who wouldn’t bully someone to their face feel emboldened to do it online.

        Anonymity, the ability to say or do whatever you want with little or no consequence for your actions, plays a role, but it’s far from the only reason people engage in cyberbullying. The performative nature of online harassment also encourages others to pile on the target, whether they have a stake in the conversation or not. Mob mentality dictates that the more people go in on the target, the less any single person might feel responsible for negative outcomes. More than anything else, though, the barrier of the internet between bully and victim creates an empathy gap.

        On the internet, regular people — your neighbors, coworkers, friends, acquaintances, and even family members — are all susceptible to becoming bullies, making it that much more important to think critically about the effects of our actions and behaviors online.

        Screenshot from In Real Life/YouTube.

        Online harassment is so much more than being “just the way the internet is.”

        “One thing people don’t necessarily realize about being threatened or dog-piled online is how much it can undermine your real-world sense of safety,” author Sady Doyle explains in a Twitter direct message. Doyle has experienced escalating bullying and harassment online for years, especially during the 2016 election season, in response to her writing on Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

        Threats of physical violence and stalking across online platforms became normal to Doyle. Once an influential Twitter user took aim at her, to win that account’s approval, their followers would engage in a game of one-upmanship harassment. Doyle began to worry more and more about how it would end. Scheduled book readings brought on a new sort of anxiety, as she feared that any of her online tormentors would be able to easily confront her in person. Thankfully, it never happened.

        “I think that lost sense of safety is really what the impact is,” she writes. “There’s mental health stuff, obviously — anyone with a tendency to depression, which I have, will internalize certain mean comments and play them back in a low moment — but it’s mostly the realization that there are people out there that want to hurt you, or your loved ones, and that you can’t necessarily recognize those people on sight, that is so damaging.”

        People shouldn’t have to live in fear, and that’s why campaigns like “In Real Life” are so important.

        “It’s a stark and shocking mirror to people to rethink how we behave online versus the ways that we would behave in person,” Lewinsky told People magazine about the project.

        Saying that while “there are probably hundreds of thousands, if not millions” of insults that have been written about her online and in print, personal confrontations were much, much less common. “When you are with someone, when you see someone face to face, you are reminded of their humanity.”

        Lewinsky’s powerful 2015 TED Talk on “The Price of Shame” helped establish her as a major voice in anti-bullying activism. Photo by Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez/AFP/Getty Images.

        Unlike Doyle, you probably don’t have to worry about online harassers showing up at scheduled appearances, and unlike Lewinsky, you probably aren’t an internationally known political lightning rod of the late ’90s. Even so, the lessons contained in this video — not to say things online that you wouldn’t say to someone’s face, to remember that real people are on the receiving end of every online comment, and more — are applicable to all of us. Online bullying isn’t the exact same thing as the physical playground-style bullying we’ve heard about all of our lives, but its effects on the target’s sense of well-being is every bit as real.

        Whether you’ve been the bully, the bullied, or just a bystander, there are lessons we can learn from this powerful PSA, which you can watch below.

        Read more:

        Congrats, Critiques, & Conspiracy Theories! Twitter Reacts To The Kylie Jenner Pregnancy News!

        OMG we can barely believe the news!

        In case you hadn’t heard, word on the street is that

        This news is so shocking to us we don’t even know how to feel yet. But Twitter does!

        See the excited, the cynical, and the conspiracy theories (is Kylie really just Kim Kardashian West‘s surrogate?? LOLz!) as social media reacts to the 20-year-old’s reported bun in the oven (below)!

        Read more:

        How America has silently accepted the rage of white men

        (CNN)In the wake of one of the worst massacres in modern American history, our government’s highest leaders will be silent about why things like this keep happening. “Warmest condolences” will be tweeted to families of those who lost their lives, minutes of mourning will pass and murmurs of mental health issues and lone-wolf actors will taper into silence. Taming homegrown terror and tightening gun control will be dismissed as inappropriate or unnecessary politicizing of a tragedy and quickly become secondary to more pressing issues on the administration’s agenda. America has been here before.

        In fact, America has been here 273 times in 2017 alone, according to the Gun Violence Archive, which compiles deaths and injuries from shooting incidents and defines a mass shooting as any incident where four or more people are wounded or killed. According to their tally, there have also been 11,698 deaths as a result of gun violence so far this year. Between 2001 and 2014, 440,095 deaths by firearms occurred on US soil, while deaths by terrorism during those years numbered 3,412. Today, America faces approximately one mass shooting per day on average.
        Mass shootings are a violent epidemic that have been met with fatal passivity for far too long. If mass shootings were perpetrated mostly by brown bodies, this would quickly be reframed and reformed as an immigration issue. If thousands died at the hands of black men, it would be used to excuse police brutality, minimize the Black Lives Matter movement and exacerbate the “raging black man” stereotype. If mass shooters identified as Muslim, it would quickly become terrorism and catalyze defense and security expenditures.
          But this is a white man’s problem. According to an analysis by Mother Jones, out of 62 cases between 1982 and 2012 (a time period that would not include the actions of Dylann Roof or Stephen Paddock, among others), 44 of the killers were white men and only one was a woman. Since 1982, mass shootings in the United States have been committed by white men who are often labeled “lone wolves” or “psychologically impaired.” As a result, the government that would otherwise be mobilizing its institutions to bring about reform remains a stalwart of the Second Amendment and mass shootings’ greatest ally. An over-affinity for guns among white men, dangerous against any other backdrop, gets defended as patriotism by many conservatives or even as white pride by those on the alt-right.
          In fact, according to a 2014 poll conducted by Fox News, nearly seven in 10 Republicans believed that gun ownership is patriotic. If espoused by other groups, this sentiment and this number might be considered threatening. Instead, it is welcomed in a way that many believe gives tacit encouragement to potential mass shooters.

          Join us on Twitter and Facebook

          Make no mistake: this is war culture that has dressed up as Uncle Sam and embedded itself into the American psyche. Any other path — let’s say, for example, abortion or foreign-born terror — that led to the destruction of life on this level would be attacked as violently opposed to American values. But because this culture is embraced by the race and party that controls the government, it continues to be celebrated and defended in the spirit of love of country.

          Read more:

          Read this and you may never eat chicken again

          Most meat animals are raised with the assistance of daily doses of antibiotics. By 2050, antibiotic resistance will cause a staggering 10 million deaths a year

          Every year I spend some time in a tiny apartment in Paris, seven stories above the mayors offices for the 11th arrondissement. The Place de la Bastille the spot where the French revolution sparked political change that transformed the world is a 10-minute walk down a narrow street that threads between student nightclubs and Chinese fabric wholesalers.

          Twice a week, hundreds of Parisians crowd down it, heading to the march de la Bastille, stretched out along the center island of the Boulevard Richard Lenoir.

          Blocks before you reach the market, you can hear it: a low hum of argument and chatter, punctuated by dollies thumping over the curbstones and vendors shouting deals. But even before you hear it, you can smell it: the funk of bruised cabbage leaves underfoot, the sharp sweetness of fruit sliced open for samples, the iodine tang of seaweed propping up rafts of scallops in broad rose-colored shells.

          Threaded through them is one aroma that I wait for. Burnished and herbal, salty and slightly burned, it has so much heft that it feels physical, like an arm slid around your shoulders to urge you to move a little faster. It leads to a tented booth in the middle of the market and a line of customers that wraps around the tent poles and trails down the market alley, tangling with the crowd in front of the flower seller.

          In the middle of the booth is a closet-size metal cabinet, propped up on iron wheels and bricks. Inside the cabinet, flattened chickens are speared on rotisserie bars that have been turning since before dawn. Every few minutes, one of the workers detaches a bar, slides off its dripping bronze contents, slips the chickens into flat foil-lined bags, and hands them to the customers who have persisted to the head of the line.

          I can barely wait to get my chicken home.

          Chickens roam in an outdoor enclosure of a chicken farm in Vielle-Soubiran, south-western France. Photograph: Iroz Gaizka/AFP/Getty Images

          The skin of a poulet crapaudine named because its spatchcocked outline resembles a crapaud, a toad shatters like mica; the flesh underneath, basted for hours by the birds dripping on to it from above, is pillowy but springy, imbued to the bone with pepper and thyme.

          The first time I ate it, I was stunned into happy silence, too intoxicated by the experience to process why it felt so new. The second time, I was delighted again and then, afterward, sulky and sad.

          I had eaten chicken all my life: in my grandmothers kitchen in Brooklyn, in my parents house in Houston, in a college dining hall, friends apartments, restaurants and fast food places, trendy bars in cities and old-school joints on back roads in the south. I thought I roasted a chicken pretty well myself. But none of them were ever like this, mineral and lush and direct.

          I thought of the chickens Id grown up eating. They tasted like whatever the cook added to them: canned soup in my grandmothers fricassee, her party dish; soy sauce and sesame in the stir fries my college housemate brought from her aunts restaurant; lemon juice when my mother worried about my fathers blood pressure and banned salt from the house.

          This French chicken tasted like muscle and blood and exercise and the outdoors. It tasted like something that it was too easy to pretend it was not: like an animal, like a living thing. We have made it easy not to think about what chickens were before we find them on our plates or pluck them from supermarket cold cases.

          I live, most of the time, less than an hours drive from Gainesville, Georgia, the self-described poultry capital of the world, where the modern chicken industry was born. Georgia raises 1.4bn broilers a year, making it the single biggest contributor to the almost 9bn birds raised each year in the United States; if it were an independent country, it would rank in chicken production somewhere near China and Brazil.

          Yet you could drive around for hours without ever knowing you were in the heart of chicken country unless you happened to get behind a truck heaped with crates of birds on their way from the remote solid-walled barns they are raised in to the gated slaughter plants where they are turned into meat. That first French market chicken opened my eyes to how invisible chickens had been for me, and after that, my job began to show me what that invisibility had masked.

          My house is less than two miles from the front gate of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the federal agency that sends disease detectives racing to outbreaks all over the world. For more than a decade, one of my obsessions as a journalist has been following them on their investigations and in long late-night conversations in the United States and Asia and Africa, with physicians and veterinarians and epidemiologists, I learned that the chickens that had surprised me and the epidemics that fascinated me were more closely linked than I had ever realized.

          I discovered that the reason American chicken tastes so different from those I ate everywhere else was that in the United States, we breed for everything but flavor: for abundance, for consistency, for speed. Many things made that transformation possible.

          But as I came to understand, the single biggest influence was that, consistently over decades, we have been feeding chickens, and almost every other meat animal, routine doses of antibiotics on almost every day of their lives.

          Caged battery hens in a chicken farm in Catania, Sicily. Photograph: Fabrizio Villa/AFP/Getty Images

          Antibiotics do not create blandness, but they created the conditions that allowed chicken to be bland, allowing us to turn a skittish, active backyard bird into a fast-growing, slow-moving, docile block of protein, as muscle-bound and top-heavy as a bodybuilder in a kids cartoon. At this moment, most meat animals, across most of the planet, are raised with the assistance of doses of antibiotics on most days of their lives: 63,151 tons of antibiotics per year, about 126m pounds.

          Farmers began using the drugs because antibiotics allowed animals to convert feed to tasty muscle more efficiently; when that result made it irresistible to pack more livestock into barns, antibiotics protected animals against the likelihood of disease. Those discoveries, which began with chickens, created what we choose to call industrialized agriculture, a poultry historian living in Georgia proudly wrote in 1971.

          Chicken prices fell so low that it became the meat that Americans eat more than any other and the meat most likely to transmit food-borne illness, and also antibiotic resistance, the greatest slow-brewing health crisis of our time.

          For most people, antibiotic resistance is a hidden epidemic unless they have the misfortune to contract an infection themselves or have a family member or friend unlucky enough to become infected.

          Drug-resistant infections have no celebrity spokespeople, negligible political support and few patients organizations advocating for them. If we think of resistant infections, we imagine them as something rare, occurring to people unlike us, whoever we are: people who are in nursing homes at the end of their lives, or dealing with the drain of chronic illness, or in intensive-care units after terrible trauma. But resistant infections are a vast and common problem that occur in every part of daily life: to children in daycare, athletes playing sports, teens going for piercings, people getting healthy in the gym.

          And though common, resistant bacteria are a grave threat and getting worse.

          They are responsible for at least 700,000 deaths around the world each year: 23,000 in the United States, 25,000 in Europe, more than 63,000 babies in India. Beyond those deaths, bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics cause millions of illnesses 2m annually just in the United States and cost billions in healthcare spending, lost wages and lost national productivity.

          It is predicted that by 2050, antibiotic resistance will cost the world $100tn and will cause a staggering 10m deaths per year.

          Disease organisms have been developing defenses against the antibiotics meant to kill them for as long as antibiotics have existed. Penicillin arrived in the 1940s, and resistance to it swept the world in the 1950s.

          Tetracycline arrived in 1948, and resistance was nibbling at its effectiveness before the 1950s ended. Erythromycin was discovered in 1952, and erythromycin resistance arrived in 1955. Methicillin, a lab-synthesized relative of penicillin, was developed in 1960 specifically to counter penicillin resistance, yet within a year, staph bacteria developed defenses against it as well, earning the bug the name MRSA, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

          After MRSA, there were the ESBLs, extended-spectrum beta-lactamases, which defeated not only penicillin and its relatives but also a large family of antibiotics called cephalosporins. And after cephalosporins were undermined, new antibiotics were achieved and lost in turn.

          Each time pharmaceutical chemistry produced a new class of antibiotics, with a new molecular shape and a new mode of action, bacteria adapted. In fact, as the decades passed, they seemed to adapt faster than before. Their persistence threatened to inaugurate a post-antibiotic era, in which surgery could be too dangerous to attempt and ordinary health problems scrapes, tooth extractions, broken limbs could pose a deadly risk.

          For a long time, it was assumed that the extraordinary unspooling of antibiotic resistance around the world was due only to misuse of the drugs in medicine: to parents begging for the drugs even though their children had viral illnesses that antibiotics could not help; physicians prescribing antibiotics without checking to see whether the drug they chose was a good match; people stopping their prescriptions halfway through the prescribed course because they felt better, or saving some pills for friends without health insurance, or buying antibiotics over the counter, in the many countries where they are available that way and dosing themselves.

          But from the earliest days of the antibiotic era, the drugs have had another, parallel use: in animals that are grown to become food.

          Eighty percent of the antibiotics sold in the United States and more than half of those sold around the world are used in animals, not in humans. Animals destined to be meat routinely receive antibiotics in their feed and water, and most of those drugs are not given to treat diseases, which is how we use them in people.

          Instead, antibiotics are given to make food animals put on weight more quickly than they would otherwise, or to protect food animals from illnesses that the crowded conditions of livestock production make them vulnerable to. And nearly two-thirds of the antibiotics that are used for those purposes are compounds that are also used against human illness which means that when resistance against the farm use of those drugs arises, it undermines the drugs usefulness in human medicine as well.

          Caged chickens in San Diego, California. California voters passed a new animal welfare law in 2008 to require that the states egg-laying hens be given room to move. Photograph: Christian Science Monitor/Getty Images

          Resistance is a defensive adaptation, an evolutionary strategy that allows bacteria to protect themselves against antibiotics power to kill them. It is created by subtle genetic changes that allow organisms to counter antibiotics attacks on them, altering their cell walls to keep drug molecules from attaching or penetrating, or forming tiny pumps that eject the drugs after they have entered the cell.

          What slows the emergence of resistance is using an antibiotic conservatively: at the right dose, for the right length of time, for an organism that will be vulnerable to the drug, and not for any other reason. Most antibiotic use in agriculture violates those rules.

          Resistant bacteria are the result.

          Antibiotic resistance is like climate change: it is an overwhelming threat, created over decades by millions of individual decisions and reinforced by the actions of industries.

          It is also like climate change in that the industrialized west and the emerging economies of the global south are at odds. One quadrant of the globe already enjoyed the cheap protein of factory farming and now regrets it; the other would like not to forgo its chance. And it is additionally like climate change because any action taken in hopes of ameliorating the problem feels inadequate, like buying a fluorescent lightbulb while watching a polar bear drown.

          But that it seems difficult does not mean it is not possible. The willingness to relinquish antibiotics of farmers in the Netherlands, as well as Perdue Farms and other companies in the United States, proves that industrial-scale production can be achieved without growth promoters or preventive antibiotic use. The stability of Masadour and Lou and White Oak Pastures shows that medium-sized and small farms can secure a place in a remixed meat economy.

          Whole Foods pivot to slower-growing chicken birds that share some of the genetics preserved by Frank Reese illustrates that removing antibiotics and choosing birds that do not need them returns biodiversity to poultry production. All of those achievements are signposts, pointing to where chicken, and cattle and hogs and farmed fish after them, need to go: to a mode of production where antibiotics are used as infrequently as possible to care for sick animals, but not to fatten or protect them.

          That is the way antibiotics are now used in human medicine, and it is the only way that the utility of antibiotics and the risk of resistance can be adequately balanced.

          Excerpted from Big Chicken by Maryn McKenna published by National Geographic on 12 September 2017. Available wherever books are sold.

          Plucked! The Truth About Chicken by Maryn McKenna is published in the UK by Little, Brown and is now available in eBook @14.99, and is published in Trade Format @14.99 on 1 February 2018.

          Read more:

          People are in love with the ‘ICU Grandpa’ who cuddles babies at an Atlanta hospital.

          On a recent morning, a woman walked into the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and saw a stranger holding her baby.

          The stranger was an older, bespectacled man. He was sitting in a chair and draped in a thin medical smock, gently rocking her infant son, Logan.

          Logan had been in the NICU for six weeks after being born prematurely and needed around-the-clock care. His mom was there to hold him as often as she could be, but as she was making her way to the hospital that morning, the man, David Deutchman, was happy to step in.

          They call him the “ICU Grandpa.” And he’s been offering snuggles as an official volunteer at the hospital for 12 years.

          In a now super-viral Facebook post, the hospital wrote that Deutchman has a very specific cuddling schedule: on Tuesdays he visits the older babies and kids in the PICU (pediatric intensive care unit), and on Thursdays he visits with the newborns in the NICU.

          Logan’s mom isn’t the only one who’s met the hospital “legend” — the social media post, which has been shared over 47,000 times, is overflowing with comments from parents who’ve been touched by his kindness and generosity.

          You can read the entire thing below:

          They call him the ICU Grandpa. On Tuesdays, he visits the PICU to hold babies whose parents can’t be with them that day….

          Posted by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta on Wednesday, September 27, 2017

          For young kids, and newborns especially, human contact and warmth is an essential part of survival.

          It’s been scientifically demonstrated that newborns with access to food and shelter but no love or bonding, are unlikely to thrive. For this reason, volunteer cuddlers are common at hospitals around the country.

          We won’t hold it against you if Deutchman isn’t immediately what came to mind when you heard “volunteer cuddler.” He says his guy friends don’t really get it either.

          “I tell them, ‘I hold babies. Sometimes I get puked on, I get peed on. It’s great,'” he says in a video put together by Children’s Healthcare. But he says that “they just don’t get it, the kind of reward you can get from holding a baby like this.”

          That’s the kind of attitude that’s made Deutchman an overnight Internet sensation.

          Rock on, ICU Grandpa. Rock on.

          The ICU Grandpa of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

          By now, you’ve probably heard about our ICU Grandpa. Here’s a look at the hospital legend doing what he does best.

          Posted by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta on Friday, September 29, 2017

          Read more:

          Apple and GE announce deep partnership

          While Apple has had its share of enterprise partners in recent years including IBM, Cisco and SAP, today’s announcement that it will be working directly with GE feels a bit different with the two companies more closely intertwined than in previous deals.

          Apple and GE have committed to build a set of development tools and to develop apps together using Apple’s design sensibility and deep understanding of iOS, but the deal doesn’t stop there. Apple’s sales team will also push the GE Predix platform with its industrial customers when it makes sense, and GE has committed to standardizing on the iPhone and iPad for its 330,000 employees, while offering the Mac as a computer choice. All of this adds up to a level of cooperation we have not seen in Apple’s previous enterprise partnerships.

          For starters, the two companies announced an iOS software development kit (SDK) for GE’s Predix platform, which is a set of cloud services designed to help industrial customers track the health of the huge industrial equipment GE sells and services. It can help predict failures before they happen and bring down this expensive equipment such as jet engines, wind turbines and train locomotives.

          The key here is that the new SDK gives both external developers and those inside GE the ability to build native apps on top of the Predix platform, allowing them to take advantage of the full Apple ecosystem whether that’s iBeacons, the internal gyroscope sensor inside iPhone or even augmented reality in the latest iPhones.

          To prime that software development pump, GE has built a new Applications Performance Management case management app built on top of Predix. Using this tool, customers can see the health of their industrial equipment on an iPad and collaborate more easily, sharing information like last action taken, notes and photos; all designed to provide the data to make decisions in real time.

          Susan Prescott, VP for apps, markets and services at Apple was clearly charged by the possibilities that this partnership brings. “For the first time, we’re unlocking incredible new potential for industrial workers by giving them access to native apps that tap the functionality of iOS devices in exciting ways. Now employees can make better informed decisions through the native capabilities of the apps right at their fingertips,” Prescott told TechCrunch.

          She offers some examples of how this could work: “A technician can now use the iPhone’s built-in camera to capture a thermal image of a piece of equipment to diagnose an issue or iBeacons and built-in location services can push critical information to a nearby worker’s iPhone or iPad in real time to help quickly flag an issue. We’re essentially closing the feedback loop between the employee in the industrial environment and the analytics and data that’s stored in the cloud,” she said.

          Surely GE, an industrial company that was launched by Thomas Edison in 1888 couldn’t be more different than Apple, a computer company launched almost a 100 years later in 1976, but there is more in common than you might imagine.

          There are the strong charismatic and demanding founders in Steve Jobs and Edison. There was also an internal mission to change the world with technology. GE has done it with giant industrial equipment like wind turbines and airplane engines, while Apple has gone smaller with phones, computers and watches.

          In recent years, GE has been making a hard push to modernize and this partnership is clearly part of that.

          The SDK and the APM app will be available for download on October 26th as part of GE’s Mind + Machines conference.

          Read more:

          Heres what happens when you cut out just 10% of meat from your diet

          Vegetarians and vegans in the UK are up in arms against an alternative health food brand after it promoted full-fat milk on Instagram. 

          Rude Health is a London-based company that prides itself of selling natural ingredients-only muesli, granola, almond and coconut milks with no artificial ingredients and nothing refined. 

          For this reason, it’s incredibly popular not only among lactose-intolerant and health-conscious people, but also among vegetarians and vegans. 

          However, their latest Instagram post, featuring a gif of a guy throwing stones in a river, seems to suggest Rude Health’s ethos about food is pivoting in a different direction. 

          The post, which has the motto “You’re in Rude Health when…you skim stones, not milk,” reads:

          “We may be dairy alternative producers but that doesn’t mean we are against dairy. Quite the opposite. We are for good quality, proper milk…we’re talking whole milk. Full fat milk. We don’t use skimmed milk powder in any of our foods. Nature has provided us with an ingredients that is the perfect balance of protein, good fats and natural sugars (lactose). Why mess with it? When they take cream out of milk, they remove most of the texture and all of the joy. We are not skimmed milk people, we live life to the full, with full fat dairy products.”

          Even from the first line — “we’re not against milk” — the post has a whiff of a PR move or publicity stunt. It’s unclear if the company is planning to release dairy products, but it’s certainly advocating them. 

          Safe to say the vegan community on Instagram and Twitter wasn’t happy, to say the least: 

          Some people and shops said they’d be boycotting Rude Health from now on: 

          But that is not all. 

          What really enraged Rude Health customers is an anti-vegetarian and anti-vegan rant from co-founder Camilla Barnard. 

          In a blog post dated 26 September, which resurfaced now after the full-fat milk saga, Barnard hits out against those two regimes saying they promise “to save you from cancer and early death and save the animals while you’re at it” if you fall for “What the Health, Okja and other popaganda films masquerading as documentaries on Netflix.”

          Her words have been interpreted as an inexplicable and sanctimonious way to alienate Rude Health’s main customer base:

          People had a lot of feelings about it: 

          And the boycott movement seems to be growing:

          Camilla Barnard and Nick Barnard told Mashable that the company is not against vegetarianism or veganism or other food or lifestyle choices but it is concerned about “anxiety around food and anxiety around eating or not eating certain foods or food groups.”

          “For those who know us only for our dairy-free drinks, which happen to be vegan as well as dairy-free, it may seem strange that Rude Health does not promote itself as a vegan company,” they said in a statement. 

          “Our range is about quality and choice and our focus is on flavour, responsible sourcing and the enjoyment of food, so much so, that we tend to rant about it from time to time, be that on social media, on our website, or in a field in North Wales.

          We worry about people feeling confused or guilty about the food they eat. We rave about eating as a social activity and about reconnecting with food, through education. We rave about choice. 

          At Rude Health we believe food is more than a way to simply nourish us; it should be a pleasurable, social and thoughtful part of our lives. We eat to live and live to eat and embrace all foods as long as they are sustainably produced and as unrefined as possible. What we really want is for everyone to be in rude health. How each and every one of us achieves this goal is truly personal and very individual.”

          Read more:

          People Are Saying Kylie Is Kim Kardashian’s Surrogate, Here’s What We Know

          As soon as it was announced that Kylie Jenner was reportedly pregnant with Travis Scott’s baby, the internet was quite literally set on fire — which is coincidentally what Jenner said in her Instagram caption in her first picture post that featured Travis Scott. Well, she said, “It’s lit,” but same thing, right? Now that we’re all trying to slowly digest Kylie Jenner’s reported pregnancy news at 5 p.m. on a Friday (the Kardashians never sleep, people!), the internet is slowly, of course, coming up with new conspiracy theories. The latest question people are asking is, is Kylie Kim’s surrogate?

          It’s no secret that Kim Kardashian and husband Kanye West have been trying to have a third child. The couple already has a daughter, North West, who is 4, and son Saint, who is about 22 months old. Kim was very open with her struggles she experienced while being pregnant on her show,  and even explored the option of a surrogate on the show’s most recent season. There have been reports that Kim has found a surrogate, but the star has diffused questions about the situation. This was presumably done so the surrogacy could be shown and discussed on the next season of , but fans are saying the surrogate is Kylie.

          This is probably one of the wildest rumors to already come out of the Kylie and Travis Scott pregnancy rumors, but Twitter is standing by its beliefs and really going for this one. Elite Daily has reached out to both Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner on the matter of Kylie’s alleged pregnancy, but did not hear back at the time of publication.

          Twitter Immediately Started Asking The Question

          Kim has been very vocal about her doctor’s warning that having a third child herself would not be a safe option for her. She said in an episode of ,

          If the two doctors that I trust have told me it wouldn’t be safe for me to get pregnant again, I have to listen to that. But because I don’t know anyone that has been a surrogate or used one, I didn’t really think about that as an option for me.

          Some People Think The Kylie Pregnancy Announcement Is All Part Of A Larger Scheme

          Others Tweet The Conspiracy Theory And Then Wonder Why They Even Care

          Literally, Demi-Leigh, you are all of us. Why do we care about literally anything and everything the Kardashian-Jenners do? Why is Donald Trump president? Why are we talking about nuclear warfare in 2017? Honestly, this isn’t the first thing to not make sense this year. We’re here for you, Demi-Leigh.

          Others Are Using This Moment To Fat Shame Kanye, Which Is Not OK

          New photos emerged of the rapper today, and Twitter has been shaming his “dad bod.” This joke definitely crosses the line. It has been public knowledge that West has reportedly gone through a lot of mental health issues this year, and his appearance and assumptions about how he’s doing should never be commented on.

          The Kardashian-Jenners Have Experienced A Lot, And Fans Think This Theory Is Just Adding To It

          No Matter What’s Going On Here, We Can All Agree Twitter Needs Answers

          Cue the Kris Jenner memes, y’all! A reminder to you, Twitter, that the sources confirming Kylie Jenner’s reported pregnancy are all saying explicitly that it’s with Travis Scott’s baby. Maybe if it was just being reported that Kylie Jenner was pregnant — period — then I might be more inclined to speculate myself.

          But that’s what the internet does. It has extremely random thoughts and then widely publishes them for all the world to see.

          Others Are Saying Kim’s Surrogacy News Is A Fake Story In The First Place

          Kim Kardashian has not confirmed that she has a surrogate… at all. Every report on this is all speculation. This Twitter user provided a friendly reminder that assuming makes an ass out of “u” and “me,” people. So let’s just wait for more news, and wish the Kardashian-Jenners the best, regardless of what’s really going on.

          If you disagree, I guess you can just tweet about it.

          Read more:

          California Bans The Sale Of Dogs From Puppy Mills

          A new law has been signed in California to ban pet stores from selling animals that come from puppy mills. It’s the first law of its kind in the US and ensures that pet stores work alongside shelters, rescue homes, and humane breeders if they want to sell animals.

          Governor of California Jerry Brown announced last Friday that by January 1, 2019, anyone found selling dogs, cats, and rabbits from mills could face a fine up to $500.

          There have been several horror stories about puppy mills in America. In fact, earlier this year it was reported that 105 dogs were rescued from an illegal kennel just outside Charlotte in North Carolina, where an unlicensed breeder named Patricia Yates had been breeding dogs for years. She was later charged with 12 counts of animal cruelty. Puppy mills like Yates’ have been described as “the secret shame of the pet industry”. 

          Puppy mills have always been controversial due to the terrible conditions the animals are kept in, their lack of care for the animals’ health, and the irresponsible breeding that takes place within them. 

          President and CEO of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Matt Bershadker, told Business Insider, “This landmark law breaks the puppy mill supply chain that pushes puppies into California pet stores and has allowed unscrupulous breeders to profit from abusive practices.”

          “By signing this groundbreaking bill, California has set an important, humane precedent for other states to follow,” added Gregory Castle, CEO of Best Friends Animal Society. “We commend Governor Brown’s signing of this lifesaving legislation to codify statewide what cities across California have already done to help put an end to the cruelty of pet mills.”

          Although some stores claim to only sell puppies from independent and licensed breeders, there are a large number of pet stores in the US still supplying customers with puppies, and even kittens, from mills.

          Animals in these mills are usually kept in overcrowded conditions, with very little food and water. They can also suffer from serious problems, like mental instability or aggression, as a result of their traumatic early lives.



          Read more:

          Trump Officials Dispute the Benefits of Birth Control to Justify Rules

          When the Trump administration elected to stop requiring many employers to offer birth-control coverage in their health plans, it devoted nine of its new rule’s 163 pages to questioning the links between contraception and preventing unplanned pregnancies.

          In the rule released Friday, officials attacked a 2011 report that recommended mandatory birth-control coverage to help women avoid unintended pregnancies. That report, requested by the Department of Health and Human Services, was done by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine — then the Institute of Medicine — an expert group that serves as the nation’s scientific adviser.

          “The rates of, and reasons for, unintended pregnancy are notoriously difficult to measure,” according to the Trump administration’s interim final rule. “In particular, association and causality can be hard to disentangle.”

          Multiple studies have found that access or use of contraception reduced unintended pregnancies. 

          Claims in the report that link increased contraceptive use by unmarried women and teens to decreases in unintended pregnancies “rely on association rather than causation,” according to the rule. The rule references another study that found increased access to contraception decreased teen pregnancies short-term but led to an increase in the long run.

          “We know that safe contraception — and contraception is incredibly safe — leads to a reduction in pregnancies,” said Michele Bratcher Goodwin, director of the Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy at the University of California, Irvine, School of Law. “This has been data that we’ve had for decades.”

          Riskier Behavior

          The rules were released as part of a broader package of protections for religious freedom that the administration announced Friday.

          The government also said imposing a coverage mandate could “affect risky sexual behavior in a negative way” though it didn’t point to any particular studies to support its point. A 2014 study by the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found providing no-cost contraception did not lead to riskier sexual behavior.

          The rule asserts that positive health effects associated with birth control “might also be partially offset by an association with negative health effects.” The rule connects the claim of negative health effects to a call by the National Institutes of Health in 2013 for the development of new contraceptives that stated current options can have “many undesirable side effects.” 

          The rule also describes an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality review that found oral contraceptives increased users’ risk of breast cancer and vascular events, making the drugs’ use in preventing ovarian cancer uncertain.

          Federal officials used all of these assertions to determine the government “need not take a position on these empirical questions.”

          “Our review is sufficient to lead us to conclude that significantly more uncertainty and ambiguity exists in the record than the Departments previously acknowledged.”

            Read more:

            In Eric Ries new book, he tells companies to turn every unit into a cash-strapped startup

            All companies are startups until they aren’t. Many struggle to find their way back, too. It’s not the days of constrained resources or terrible pay or the heart-stopping uncertainty that they’re missing, of course. Instead, the problem is that it’s a lot harder to implement change at an “established” organization, particularly one that’s making money. Yet the smartest companies know change is crucial. As journalist Alan Deutschman wrote a dozen years ago, including in a book of the same title: “Change or die.”

            Because that’s easier said than done, CEOs are always seeking out new ideas. Enter the brand-new book of engineer and entrepreneur Eric Ries, whose last tome, The Lean Startup, became an instant best-seller when it was first published in 2011.

            In his latest effort, The Startup Way, Ries says the way to stay on top can be traced to two things: treating employees like customers, and treating business units like startups — replete with their own constrained budgets, and even their own boards. Ries offers fairly concrete suggestions regarding how to implement both, too. “A lot of people write manifestos and basically say, ‘Do what I say,’” says Ries. “I try to get away from that. The details matter a lot.”

            We caught up with Ries earlier today to learn more about the book, which will be available to buy beginning Tuesday.

            TC: You established a name for yourself with The Lean Startup, which basically told founders to get a minimally viable product into the market, then fix it. Can founders still do that in an age where big companies are getting bigger and moving faster to either copy products, or else acquire their teams?

            ER:  People said that years ago about Microsoft, too, that it was going to dominate the internet with its monopoly power. Disruption still brings new power players to the fore. But today, because Facebook and Amazon and Google are so good at what they do, startups do need to up their game. There was a time when you had one innovation that you could ride for decades. That’s over. Continuous reinvention is crucial now. Otherwise, you’re toast.

            TC: What about the giant financing rounds of today, even at the seed stage — do they signal the death of the so-called lean startup? 

            ER: “Lean” never referred to the size of a round. It’s about lean manufacturing and using resources more effectively. Also, huge rounds are really for the privileged few. I’m in Columbus right now, and [local startups] aren’t experiencing the jumbo seed round.

            I will say that one commonality that Silicon Valley has with corporate innovation is that we often overfund things, which can be just as lethal as underfunding them.

            TC: How did you move from advocating for lean startups to writing this new book? 

            ER: When a lot of small early founders heard about the lean startup, they were excited about minimal viable products and about pivoting and learning, but they didn’t pay close attention to more boring parts like management and the need to do continuous innovation. In some cases, as these companies passed 100 employees, or even 1,000, they’d ask me to come help teach lean startups to people who work for them. You go from the person who is making innovation decisions, to supporting entrepreneurs who work for you, and they might not be as good as you or you’d be working for them.

            These were my friends and I was happy to help them. At the same time, big companies were asking how they could recapture their innovative DNA and I realized how similar these issues are and thought it was worth exploring.

            TC: Obviously, the need to innovate continuously isn’t a new concept. How is your advice to companies different? Is this about pulling in opinions and ideas from a more diverse group of people, either internally or externally?

            ER: I’m a big believer in that thesis — diversity. But in this book, I tend to focus on structural changes: who gets promoted, how we make product decisions, the general accountability layer of a company. [In other words] how do you figure out who is doing a good job and who isn’t? Because there’s a lot of B.S. at the higher levels otherwise that distorts the decisions that are made and consequently makes it hard to attract top talent.

            TC: Give us some concrete examples. Who in Silicon Valley was doing this wrong and figured it out?

            ER: I talk in the book about Twilio and Dropbox and Airbnb; they all had to go through a metamorphosis to empower their internal innovators.

            Dropbox, for example, had some failures and was willing to admit that some products didn’t work. Some of its product development was happening internally and some externally, but it doesn’t matter if you plant in the wrong soil. But it has since developed a much better process that looks closer to entrepreneurship.

            TC: By doing what differently?

            ER: You first have to look at whether you’re treating the people who work for you like entrepreneurs or something different; if you’re expecting your product managers to achieve instantaneous success, that’s not [the standard] to which you were held in the early stages of your company.

            Along the same lines, if you aren’t [giving teams] clear, metered funding, how are they going to have that scarcity? It’s that mindset, that hunger, that let’s you say “no,” [to delaying product launches]. [Companies have to fight] that entitlement funding because the more money you have, the less you want to expose yourself to risk.

            TC: Interesting idea. How else do you recommend that companies treat their teams like startups?

            ER: We also talk about creating a growth board.

            Right now, most corporate employees exist in a matrix management structure, reporting to different people and having lots of different managers who have veto power over what they do. But each time a middle manager checks in, he or she exerts a gravitation influence, and most product mangers who I meet with say they spend 50 percent of their time defending their existing budget against middle manager inquiries. That’s a massive tax on most product teams.

            So we treat [these units] like a startup and create a board of [say] five execs who they report to infrequently. That way, if any middle manager has a concern, [the head of that unit] can say, “Talk to the board.”  It’s like at [ venture firm] Andreessen Horowitz. It has something like 150 employees [yet] not every person who works there gets to call a portfolio company founder. Not every limited partner who has invested in Andreessen Horowitz gets to call its founders. There are well-defined processes in place so that founders [aren’t fielding calls all day.]

            TC: Of course, the downside to that is that VCs often don’t know when things go off the rails at startups. How do you convince executives that they aren’t running that risk by giving these teams so much autonomy?

            ER: It only works if you do limited liability experiments. Often asking, “What’s the worst that could happen?” is like a death sentence, but you have to think through the possible downsides to mitigate them. So you only let 100 people buy the product [at the outset] and add in extra provisions and securities to ensure they have a great experience and you’re smart about the liabilities.

            TC: Say that works. What happens to the already oft-maligned middle managers of the world? 

            ER: There haven’t been any layoffs at the companies I’ve worked with. Companies still have to run their core business; there’s plenty for [middle managers to do] Most are horrifically overworked. Others become reborn as entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial coaches. Intuit and GE have a whole program for coaching and mentoring, and that becomes part of [managers’] job description.

            This all culminates in preparing a new org chart, one that treats entrepreneurship like a corporate function that’s owned and managed. Right now, if you ask [many executives], “Who is in charge of the next big innovation,” they’ll sometimes say that everyone is in charge of it. Can you imagine if they said that everyone is in charge of marketing or finance or HR? Entrepreneurship is no different. Someone should have operational responsibility for it.

            TC: Do you run into much resistance when you talk with CEOs about empowering employees in this way? It’s easy to imagine that some feel threatened, even as they know their companies need to keep innovating.

            ER: What distinguishes really good CEOs is that they care about their legacy, and they’re committed to the long-term health of their organization.

            But you’re right. Most CEO are not serious about change because it requires senior managers to change their behavior. You know how corporate bosses can be. This is not always a very welcome method. I’ve been kicked out of plenty of boardrooms.

            Read more:

            Facebook acquires anonymous teen compliment app tbh, will let it run

            Facebook wants tbh to be its next Instagram. Today, Facebook announced it’s acquiring positivity-focused polling startup tbh and will allow it to operate somewhat independently with its own brand.

            tbh had scored 5 million downloads and 2.5 million daily active users in the past nine weeks with its app that lets people anonymously answer kind-hearted multiple-choice questions about friends who then receive the poll results as compliments. You see questions like “Best to bring to a party?,” “Their perseverance is admirable?” and “Could see becoming a poet?” with your uploaded contacts on the app as answer choices.

            tbh has racked up more than 1 billion poll answers since officially launching in limited states in August, mostly from teens and high school students, and spent weeks topping the free app charts. When we profiled tbh last month in the company’s first big interview, co-creator Nikita Bier told us, “If we’re improving the mental health of millions of teens, that’s a success to us.”

            Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but TechCrunch has heard the price paid was less than $100 million and won’t require any regulatory approval. As part of the deal, tbh’s four co-creators — Bier, Erik Hazzard, Kyle Zaragoza and Nicolas Ducdodon — will join Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters while continuing to grow their app with Facebook’s cash, engineering, anti-spam, moderation and localization resources.

            However, the tbh founders will become formal Facebook employees, with Facebook email addresses, opposed to running more independently like Instagram and WhatsApp, which have their own buildings and emails.

            The tbh team wrote in an announcement post that “When we met with Facebook, we realized that we shared many of the same core values about connecting people through positive interactions. Most of all, we were compelled by the ways they could help us realize our vision and bring it to more people.”

            In a statement to TechCrunch, Facebook wrote: “tbh and Facebook share a common goal — of building community and enabling people to share in ways that bring us closer together. We’re impressed by the way tbh is doing this by using polling and messaging, and with Facebook’s resources tbh can continue to expand and build positive experiences.”

            It’s interesting that Facebook opted to acquire tbh rather than clone it, since it has been aggressively copying other hit teen apps like Houseparty recently. While Facebook’s Snapchat clone Instagram Stories has achieved massive popularity, other knock-offs it has made haven’t fared as well.

            With tbh’s strong brand name, distinctive design and explosive early traction, Facebook seems to have decided it was better to team-up than face-off.

            [Correction: tbh has 2.5 million daily active users, not 4 million as we originally published after Bier implied as much in a tweet he deleted after this article was published.]

            From 14 failures to Facebook

            Bier originally started tbh parent company Midnight Labs back in 2010. The app studio tried a slew of products, including a personal finance app, a college chat app and a personality test. Eventually the company took a small seed round in 2013 from investors, including Greylock via partner Josh Elman, Bee Partners and Indicator Ventures. But nothing took off, and Midnight Labs was running out of money.

            With just 60 days of cash left, the company decided to build something at the intersection of the positivity it saw lacking in anonymous apps like Secret and Yik Yak, and the honesty teens craved as seen in the TBH trend where social network users request candid feedback from their friends: tbh was born. “We shipped it to one school in Georgia. Forty percent of the school downloaded it the first day,” said Bier.

            The biggest problem quickly became how to keep users engaged with the app; tbh already limits you to answering a few questions at a time, so you beg for more. Its first big feature release came this week with the addition of direct messaging. This lets you message someone who chose you as an answer, and they have the option of revealing their identity to you.

            But trying to simultaneously keep the servers online, write new questions and build the next sticky feature was a tall task for such a small team.

            Now tbh will have Facebook to help it scale while keeping existing users entertained. The app will remain free to download on iOS and Android, and the brand will remain the same.

            Having the backup from Facebook should let Bier and his team breathe a little easier. There’s a lot of advantages to joining forces with Facebook:

            • Cash – Instead of raising another round in hopes of keeping its momentum alive, tbh will have deep pockets to draw from in order chase its mission of making teens happier.
            • Engineering – Scaling to 2.5 million daily users with just four co-creators and some contractors is insanely hard work. If the app keeps crashing, users will disappear. Now tbh will have Facebook’s enormous, elite engineering team behind it.
            • Anti-spam – As tbh revs up its new direct messaging feature, it will have Facebook to assist it in weeding out spam with the technologies it’s been developing for over a decade.
            • Localization – tbh hasn’t even expanded to every state in the U.S. yet. With Facebook’s help, it can allow more locations on board, and, as it goes international, it will be able to adopt new languages and cultures more quickly.
            • Content moderation – tbh has promised to only allow poll questions where the friend you pick will feel good about being chosen. That will be easier with more brains coming up with questions, more eyes reviewing them for misuse and a diverse team to write the right questions for different places.

            These resources have helped Instagram grow well over 10X its size, to 800 million users, since Facebook bought it in 2012, while WhatsApp has grown from 450 million to 1.3 billion users since Facebook acquired it in 2014.

            But rather than waiting and watching until tbh climbed to be worth nearly $1 billion like Instagram or $19 billion like WhatsApp, Facebook swooped in early. The last thing it needed was tbh ending up being bought by Snapchat.

            “Nikita and his team have figured out a lot about how teens are using products. This is one of the few that’s gotten this kind of adoption, and that should be celebrated,” tbh investor Josh Elman says. “Hopefully this shows that there’s still room to get lots of people adopting new mobile experiences.”

            Before tbh, most social media was about competing for likes or glorifying your offline life. But those little dopamine-inducing notifications had little true connection on the other side, and it’s easy to think you’re uncool when everyone else seems to be having so much fun. Indeed, tbh filled the gap between being “liked” and actually feeling appreciated.

            “We think the next milestone is thinking about social platforms in terms of love and positivity,” Bier told me. “We think that’s what’s been missing from social products since the inception of the internet.”

            For more on tbh, read our interview with its co-founder about its creation and mission.

            Read more:

            The Shirk Report Volume 443


            Welcome to the Shirk Report where you will find 20 funny images, 10 interesting articles and 5 entertaining videos from the last 7 days of sifting. Most images found on Reddit; articles from Facebook, Twitter, and email; videos come from everywhere. Any suggestions? Send a note to

            20 IMAGES

            I’ve squandered my life
            This new caption changes everything
            “Forget about the saw Jim we got it”
            When the Crossfit gym is closed for the day
            Today you become a man
            No Reward
            Reminds me of Thesaurus, the wordy dinosaur
            This guy’s pockets are tiny jeans
            That shirt is perfect
            Please do not season the birds
            I’m a simple man
            When your cat is disappointed with your life choices
            This would have been a great boomerang
            Guy gets into release party with a receipt
            When Mom says you can’t play until you’ve hung the laundry
            When Dad’s your hero
            Faceswapping parents with their babies will always be acceptable
            Until next week

            10 ARTICLES

            Against the Travel Neck Pillow
            How Norms Change
            Almost 90% of edible tomatoes thrown away based on appearance – research
            “Making It” at Rolling Stone
            How Steve Kerr revolutionized the Golden State Warriors’ offense on a charcuterie board
            The Inside of Every iPhone Ever
            Elephants mourn. Dogs love. Why do we deny the feelings of other species?
            The world’s first “negative emissions†plant has begun operation—turning carbon dioxide into stone
            Is Tribalism a Natural Malfunction?
            The science of spying: how the CIA secretly recruits academics

            5 VIDEOS + meatballed


            Read more:

            Blizzard takes legal action against ‘Overwatch’ copycat

            Image: blizzard entertainment

            There’s a Chinese mobile game called Heroes of Warfare, which takes as much inspiration as possible from Blizzard Entertainment’s hit game Overwatch. A little too much inspiration for Blizzard’s liking.

            Blizzard and its Chinese partner NetEase are suing Heroes of Warfare‘s creators, 4399, for infringing on its intellectual property, Japanese news site PC Watch reported today. Blizzard claims that 4399’s Heroes of Warfare and another game that’s already been shut down is too similar to Overwatch, and is calling for a take down.

            Just take a look through this gameplay video of Heroes of Warfare and you’ll see what Blizzard is getting at:

            Many of the playable characters in Heroes of Warfare look and play similarly to the heroes in Overwatch, the maps are nearly identical to Overwatch maps, and the heads-up display showing scores, kills, and health is basically the same as Overwatch‘s.

            As is common practice for intellectual property infringement lawsuits, Blizzard is asking for 4399 to cease production of its copycat games, for monetary compensation for damages, and that Heroes of Warfare be removed from iOS and Android app stores.

            This isn’t the first time a game developer has copied Overwatch‘s aesthetics and gameplay approaches. A different Chinese mobile game called Hero Mission did the exact same thing earlier this year. In fact, Hero Mission and Heroes of Warfare are pretty hard to tell apart.

            Also, sidenote to all game developers ripping off existing games: Try to come up with better, less-generic names than Heroes of Warfare. What does that even mean?

            H/T Kotaku

            Every editorial product is independently selected by Mashable journalists. If you buy something featured, we may earn an affiliate commission which helps support our journalism.

            Read more:

            Trump to Puerto Rico: Show us the money

            Image: Getty Images

            With Puerto Rico in a worsening humanitarian crisis, President Donald Trump continues to hold the U.S. territory’s debt over its head.

            It is difficult to fathom just how irresponsible and entirely beside the point Puerto Rico’s debt is when it comes to its current situation. Puerto Ricans are Americans, just like the people in parts of Texas and Florida that the government is helping after two other major hurricanes this season. 

            Yet on Friday, Trump doubled down on holding disaster aid hostage to the U.S. territory’s debts, which total about $70 billion..

            “Ultimately, the government of Puerto Rico will have to work with us to determine how this massive rebuilding effort, [which] will end up being the biggest ever, will be funded and organized, and what we will do with the tremendous amount of existing debt already on the island,” Trump said in a speech on Friday.

            The fact that Puerto Rico is an island is, in the eyes of Trump, Puerto Rico’s fault.

            Trump also observed the Puerto Rico is an island and that this geography therefore makes recovery difficult. Trump’s comments have consistently painted Puerto Rico as a foreign place with foreign people, rather than a home to more Americans than about 20 fully-fledged states. 

            The president also seemed to be comfortable putting the shipping industry’s interests first. He was slow to suspend the Jones Act, which mandates that anything shipped to Puerto Rico be on U.S. owned and operated vessels. This makes shipping between the U.S. and Puerto Rico very expensive, which raises the costs of goods for island residents. 

            Trump wasn’t exactly secretive about this, saying on Wednesday: “We have a lot of shippers and a lot of people that work in the shipping industry that don’t want the Jones Act lifted.”

            As Americans have begun to fully realize the depth of the devastation in Puerto Rico, the Trump administration has been coming under greater pressure to act. Comparisons have already been made to George W. Bush’s slow response to Hurricane Katrina. 

            Trump, naturally, hasn’t taken that well. His response so far has bounced between criticizing Puerto Rico and blatantly lying about how his response has been perceived in Puerto Rico. 

            Puerto Rico’s governor has tried to set the record straight on that, but Trump supporters are likely only to have heard the president’s claims. The websites of Drudge Report, Breitbart, Infowars, and Fox News barely had a mention of Puerto Rico as of Friday midday.

            Trump is correct in stating that Puerto Rico has a problem with its debt. It’s a problem that has been around for years and has only gotten worse. It’s electric utility company is in a particularly tough spot, having owed $9 billion before the storm hit. 

            The notion, however, that the island’s debt has anything to do with what the government should be doing to help Puerto Ricans in need is the kind of double standard that has added fuel to a growing fire — that Trump is a racist whose true colors are starting to show. 

            His handling of the recent NFL controversy has particularly stood out, most notably when he said that owners were afraid of their players.

            This is classic Trump. Admitting that he and his administration have bungled the response to the Puerto Rico crises would be to show weakness. Instead, Trump is embracing his go to move of whataboutism. What about Puerto Rico’s debt? What about it’s infrastructure? What about the fact that it’s an island? What about the fact that it’s name isn’t even in English? 

            Meanwhile, aid to Puerto Rico is still stuck on docks, unable to get to the people who sorely need it. There’s no “big water” stopping it. Just a pitiful lack of effective disaster relief coordination. 

            That’s not the main issue for Trump, though. He wants Puerto Rico to show him the money. 

            Read more:

            Lady Gaga Postpones ‘Joanne’ World Tour With Emotional Post About Her Health

            Lady Gaga announced she’s postponing the rest of the  in an emotional Instagram post. Early this morning, Sept. 18, Gaga took to Instagram to explain her current health struggles and why the tour needs to pause for a bit. An accompanying press release says she will be taking seven weeks off to focus on her health. So why did Lady Gaga postpone her ? Her Instagram post says,

            I have always been honest about my physical and mental health struggles. Searching for years to get to the bottom of them. It is complicated and difficult to explain, and we are trying to figure it out. As I get stronger and when I feel ready, I will tell my story in more depth, and plan to take this on strongly so I can not only raise awareness, but expand research for others who suffer as I do, so I can help make a difference. I use the word “suffer” not for pity, or attention, and have been disappointed to see people online suggest that I’m being dramatic, making this up, or playing the victim to get out of touring. If you knew me, you would know this couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m a fighter. I use the word suffer not only because trauma and chronic pain have changed my life, but because they are keeping me from living a normal life. They are also keeping me from what I love the most in the world: performing for my fans. I am looking forward to touring again soon, but I have to be with my doctors right now so I can be strong and perform for you all for the next 60 years or more. I love you so much.

            Even though it’s undoubtedly disappointing for fans who had tickets to these upcoming shows, Gaga does need to put her health first. The singer revealed last week on Twitter that she has fibromyalgia, a chronic pain disorder that causes pain and tenderness in the muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Although she does not mention the fibromyalgia in her post from this morning, she does refer to suffering from “severe pain” in the post. Based on her tweet from last week, fibromyalgia is likely what she is referring to.

            In the trailer for the upcoming documentary about her life and career, , footage showed her in a doctor’s office, and she seemed to be in a lot of pain. She revealed last week that she was being treated for fibromyalgia in the trailer. Gaga said in a tweet from Sept. 12, “In our documentary the #chronicillness #chronicpain I deal w/ is #Fibromyaliga I wish to help raise awareness & connect people who have it.”

            Gaga has been really vocal about her health struggles since the  trailer was released. Before she postponed the entire , she canceled and rescheduled  her performance in the Rock in Rio event three days ago, telling fans that she was hospitalized for “severe pain.” Her Instagram from Sept. 15 said,

            I was taken to the hospital, it is not simply hip pain or wear and tear from the road, I am in severe pain. But am in good hands w/ the very best doctors. Please don’t forget my love for you. Remember years ago when I tattooed Rio on my neck, the tattoo was written by children in the favelas. RIO You hold a special place in my heart I love you.

            She wrote another note to her fans in Rio saying,

            Brazil, I’m devastated that I’m not well enough to come to Rock In Rio. I would do anything 4 u but I have to take care of my body right now. I ask for your grace and understanding, and promise that I will come back and perform for you soon. I’m so sorry, and I love you so much.

            The  will hit the road again in early 2018.

            Read more:

            Trump’s New Obamacare Killer to Cost Uncle Sam $194 Billion

            President Donald Trump is halting some Obamacare subsidies. A big money saver for taxpayers, right? Wrong. The move could actually force the government to dole out almost $200 billion more on health insurance over the next decade.

            Here’s why: The insurer payouts Trump cut off aren’t the only government funds financing the program. Consumers also can get help with their insurance premiums. When the insurer subsidies are discontinued, those premiums are pushed higher — and because the consumer subsidies are far bigger than those given to insurers, that’s a costly trade.

            More than eight in ten individuals who buy Obamacare plans get help paying their premiums directly from the federal government. Those subsidies effectively cap how much people have to pay for insurance as a percentage of their income. 

            Even if premiums climb, people who receive those benefits won’t pay more out of their own pockets. The subsidies are available to people making as much as four times the federal poverty level, or just over $97,000 for a family of four.

            That means that those most likely to be hurt by the president’s action aren’t low-income people who will still get help with their costs. Instead, consumers who make too much money to qualify for subsidies will now have to pay a much higher price for their health plans.

            It all adds up to a hefty bill for taxpayers for as long as the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that ending the cost-sharing payments would increase the U.S. fiscal shortfall by $194 billion over the next decade as subsidy outlays jump.

              Read more:

              Joe Biden supports Julia Louis-Dreyfus after her breast cancer announcement like only a veep could

              The "veeps" got this.
              Image: HBO/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

              After Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ breast cancer diagnosis announcement Thursday, former Vice President Joe Biden voiced his support to the acclaimed actress who has played a fictional vice president on HBO’s Veep.

              Biden assured Louis-Dreyfus that he was there for her during her cancer fight. “We Veeps stick together,” he wrote. He included a photo from a 2014 spot the two did together before the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in 2014. Aviators are obviously involved.

              Louis-Dreyfus, who plays vice president-turned-president (briefly) Selina Meyer on the show, had produced a spoof video in character with the then-real-life veep. The two had an adventurous day in the White House and bumped into Michelle Obama, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, and called former Speaker of the House John Boehner.

              Julia liked Joe’s tweet, and posted her own response shortly after.

              Like Biden tweeted, we’re with you, Julia.

              Read more: