Happy Friday. Do you enjoy filling out a March Madness bracket every year? An Alaskan nature preserve devised a bear-y (we had to) unusual alternative – Fat Bear Week, where voters on Facebook whittle down a 12-member bracket to determine the fattest bear on the preserve.
“You don’t need to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
– Martin Luther King Jr.
Politics + Social Media
Yesterday, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced that his company would no longer allow paid political advertising on the site. The finalized new policy will be released on November 15 and take effect on November 22.
What about Facebook? So far, Facebook has said that it will not limit, ban, or fact-check political advertising on its website, citing the importance of preserving free speech. The social network released its third-quarter earnings yesterday, posting higher-than-expected numbers. Last week, Mark Zuckerberg testified in front of Congress about his company’s planned cryptocurrency and fielded questions by House members on issues related to political advertising, as well as user privacy, content moderation, and diversity.
So what are people saying?
Facebook hands its microphone to lying politicians, Twitter takes it away
Questions about the rating system we use? Learn more
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Impeachment resolution passed
In a 232-196 vote, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a procedural resolution to lay out the process for the next phase of the ongoing impeachment inquiry. The vote fell almost completely along party lines, with just two Democrats voting against the resolution.
The Islamic State group confirmed the death of former leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and announced the name of his successor, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, in an audio recording yesterday. Al-Baghdadi was killed last week during a U.S. military raid.
The Chicago Teachers Union strike ended yesterday after 11 days of canceled classes. The union and the city came to a tentative agreement on a contract, which the city said is the most generous deal in history and the union said wasn’t perfect but met many demands.
China will open the country’s first public use 5G network today – three major state-owned wireless companies will facilitate the rollout in about 50 major cities, including Beijing and Shanghai. The network will be available via subscription to Chinese citizens with 5G-compatible smartphones – according to officials, the cheapest option will cost an equivalent of $18 for 30GB of data per month.
Tobacco giant Altria said Thursday it has written down its investment in Juul by more than a third, attributing the move to major changes in the e-vapor category. Altria invested $12.8 billion in Juul late last year for a 35% stake in the company.
A bankruptcy judge has approved the sale of Barneys New York to Authentic Brands Group, a move that – per the WSJ – will likely close almost all the luxury retailer’s remaining stores and license the Barneys name to Saks Fifth Avenue. The judge’s decision leaves a slim chance that a rival bidder could come forward before the sale finalizes at the end of today.
Medina Bardhi, a former top aide to WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann, is seeking class-action status in a lawsuit that alleges a pattern of discrimination against women at the office-sharing company, especially towards pregnant women. A WeWork spokesperson denied the claims in a released statement, saying the company will “vigorously defend itself against” the allegation.
It started with a simple misunderstanding: Lia Haile, who was just 9 years old at the time, was dropping off some donations at the local homeless shelter. A 3-year-old boy who was staying at the shelter assumed that, since it was his birthday, Lia must be bringing those things for him.
It was the first time it had occurred to Lia that some kids didn’t have the resources for birthday parties – so she decided to do something about it. Lia and her mom returned later armed with party supplies, but they didn’t stop there. After that first experience, she started a nonprofit called the Hopeful Hearts Club to bring personalized birthday parties to kids living in shelters.
Now Lia’s a high school sophomore, and her work has expanded well beyond birthday parties. Lia and her friends started a program in 2017 called Backpack Buddies to ensure that foster kids have what they need to start school, as well as soaps, toys, and books. This year, she started a summer school program for kids living in shelters or low-income housing. She can’t seem to tire of doing good – and we can’t wait to see what she does next!
Dan Pyatt and Kelly Hope became best friends at 11 years old, started dating at 18, and got married in their early thirties. Soon after that, Kelly became pregnant with their first child. Dan had been having regular health problems, but as a professional driver, he drove long hours in a London taxi and they’d assumed it was due to overwork.
Turned out, it was something much worse – Dan had an aggressive kidney disease with no known cure. He started taking medication, adjusted his lifestyle according to the doctor’s orders, and went about his life.
Nearly a decade later, things took a turn for the worse. Dan’s kidney function suddenly dropped to just 8 percent – he needed a transplant. And though Dan and Kelly had divorced five years earlier, she was there by his side. After a long search to find a compatible donor as Dan continued to get worse, Kelly told him she’d be tested herself. She was a match, and without another thought, donated her kidney to her ex-husband. While Kelly says they’re not getting back together, they’re closer than ever. “We might not be married now,” said Kelly, “but we’re still very much a family.” Dan said that whatever happens from now on she’ll always be his hero.
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Wake up and smell the roses… Israeli scientists have developed a handheld device that can “sniff” your food for hints of potentially deadly allergens in just 30 seconds.
Long in the tooth… a German doctor has been awarded an official Guinness World Record for pulling a verified 1.46-inch tooth from the mouth of a patient.
You have no power here… a collaboration of Chilean and MIT scientists have designed a system that provides cooling of more than 23 degrees Fahrenheit without using any electricity.
Knock on wood… Japanese researchers have built a prototype supercar using plant-based cellulose nanofiber that weighs 10 percent less than a car built with standard materials.