April 7, 2013

An Idaho high school science teacher is being investigated by the state's professional standards commission for using the word "vagina" in a 10th grade biology class. Parents sparked the investigation by complaining that veteran teacher Tim McDaniel discussed women's private parts in a lesson on reproduction. "I don't teach anything the textbook doesn't mention," said a puzzled McDaniel. 

  Samantha Rollins

11:56 a.m. ET
Graeme Robertson/Getty Images

William Shakespeare is no longer getting all the credit for the saga of Henry VI. Oxford University Press has announced it's going to list writer Christopher Marlowe's name alongside Shakespeare's on the title page for each of the three Henry VI plays in upcoming editions of the works.

The decision followed new "textual analysis and the use of computerized tools to examine the scripts" by 23 international scholars, whose research determined rivals Marlowe and Shakespeare more than just influenced one another's work, BBC reported. "We have been able to verify Marlowe's presence in those three plays strongly and clearly enough," Gary Taylor of Florida State University told The Guardian. Marlowe, who was once mistakenly thought to actually be Shakespeare, has been suspected of being involved in the creation of the Henry VI plays since the 18th century, but this marks the first time he's getting a share of the credit.

The research further revealed that these three plays might not be the only ones Shakespeare got some help on; now, researchers say the Henry VI trio may be among "as many as 17 plays that ... contain writing by other people, sometimes several hands," The Guardian reported.

That's close to two-fifths of Shakespeare's plays, of which there are 44 in total, that the Bard may not have written entirely alone. But as Shakespeare — or any of his potential co-writers — put it: "What's in a name?" Becca Stanek

11:24 a.m. ET

The Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project had intended to find out how quickly water levels rose in the Black Sea after the last Ice Age, but the team ended up discovering a whole lot more than they had bargained for, Quartz reports. While examining the seabeds, the scientists found dozens and dozens of previously undiscovered shipwrecks — 41 in all.

"The wrecks are a complete bonus, but a fascinating discovery, found during the course of our extensive geophysical surveys," the project's principal investigator, Jon Adams, said in a statement.

Many of the shipwrecks were in spectacular condition due to the low oxygen levels that exist nearly 500 feet below the surface. "Certainly no one has achieved models of this completeness on shipwrecks at these depths," Adams said.

Many of the ships date back to the Byzantine and Ottoman empires. The researchers are using photographs to build 3D models of their finds and hope to learn more about "the maritime interconnectivity of Black Sea coastal communities and manifest ways of life and seafaring that stretch back into prehistory." Jeva Lange

11:06 a.m. ET

If you're looking to rack up thousands and thousands of air miles in one fell swoop, you might consider Air India's nonstop flight from Delhi to San Francisco — now 870 miles longer, since the route has changed to fly across the Pacific, rather than across the Atlantic. By changing the route, the flight is now the longest in the world at 9,506 miles, surpassing Emirates' Dubai-Auckland route, which had been the former record holder.

But Air India didn't change their route just to get the title — by flying over the Pacific, the Boeing-777 200ER planes knock two hours off the flight time by taking advantage of the Jet Stream. Unfortunately, you're still on a plane for a total of 14-and-a-half hours.

"The aircraft took off from Delhi at 4 a.m. on Sunday [Oct. 16] morning. We were in that date until Japan. After that, we crossed the International Date Line and were in Oct. 15. By the time we landed in San Francisco, it was 6:30 a.m. on Oct. 16," one of the pilots told The Telegraph.

Air India won't hold the record long, though — an even lengthier flight has been proposed by Singapore Airlines, a Singapore-New York route that would run 10,252 miles and last 19 hours. Pack a good book. Jeva Lange

10:28 a.m. ET
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Of all the possible controversies to have arisen during Hillary Clinton's presidential run, it is somewhat surprising that her health became one of the biggest — the subject was even front-and-center in a Donald Trump campaign ad. But how exactly Clinton's "peculiar travel habits" and "lengthy naps" morphed out of seemingly regular ol' travel and naps is another story, and one that was carefully crafted on social media using the same kind of thinking that generates viral memes.

One of the major architects is Mark Cernovich, an influential alt-right Twitter user who clarified "I'm not a pure troll" to The New Yorker. "Pure trolls are amoral. I use trolling tactics to build my brand," he explained. And in doing so, Cernovich has also built the political conversation:

"There are a million things wrong with Hillary," Cernovich told me. "She's a documented liar. She's massively corrupt. She wants to let in more so-called refugees, which makes her an existential threat to the West." (He calls the Syrian refugee crisis a "media lie.") "But I was looking at the conversation online — what was getting through to people and what wasn't — and none of that was sticking. It's too complex. I thought that the health stuff would be more visceral, more resonant from a persuasion standpoint, and so I pushed that."

On September 11th, Clinton fainted after attending a memorial service at Ground Zero. Cernovich wrote a post called "Complete Timeline of Hillary's Health #HillarysHealth," which included such data points as "peculiar travel habits" and "lengthy naps." It got two hundred and forty thousand page views — less than a marquee Huffington Post story, but impressive for a blog with no advertising budget. More important, #HillarysHealth became a national trending topic on Twitter. That day, Chris Cillizza, a centrist pundit at the Washington Post, wrote an article titled "Hillary Clinton's Health Just Became a Real Issue in This Campaign." Scott Greer, a deputy editor of the Daily Caller, tweeted, "Cernovich memed #SickHillary into reality. Never doubt the power of memes." [The New Yorker]

Read more about how one tiny troll can influence the entire presidential race at The New Yorker. Jeva Lange

10:17 a.m. ET

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has drastically changed his tune about President Obama now that he's fighting to hang onto his seat in Congress. After years of calling for the president's impeachment and engaging in birtherism theories, Issa decided to make his latest campaign mailer about how "pleased" he is that Obama "has signed into law the Survivors' Bill of Rights — legislation that I cosponsored to protect the victims of sexual assault." And, as the icing on the cake, the mailer featured a picture of Obama — the man Issa called "one of the most corrupt presidents in modern time" — sitting at his desk in the Oval Office.

Obama was not having it. At a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraising dinner Sunday night, he called out Issa's attempts at a fair-weather friendship, and went so far as to say Issa was "Trump before Trump." "Now that is the definition of chutzpah," Obama said, hitting Issa's decision to send out flyers "touting his cooperation with me" because "his poll numbers are bad" as woefully transparent. "That," Obama added, "is shameless." Becca Stanek

9:34 a.m. ET
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

One of the biggest mysteries of the 2016 election has finally been solved. That word Donald Trump has repeatedly used on the campaign trail that starts with "big" and ends somewhat imperceptibly is "big league" — not "bigly," as some of us might have heard.

The New York Times got linguists to conduct a voice analysis and end the debate over what Trump is actually saying once and for all. Turns out, "big league" has been a favorite phrase of Trump's since the '90s. He's used it on an episode of The Apprentice, on a television interview with CNN's Larry King, and in an appearance with NBC's Meet the Press.

But, linguists found, there's good reason for the confusion over whether Trump has been saying "bigly" or "big league." The New York Times reported "big league" is typically used as an "adjective or figurative noun," but Trump has been using it as an adverb. "It's some combination of a lot of people not knowing the phrase 'big league' then also the fact that it's an unusual place to use that phrase in a sentence," said Susan Lin, a professor of linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley. "So people are parsing it as an adverb, which would be 'bigly.'"

Head over to The New York Times to read more on what linguists uncovered about Trump's vocabulary. Becca Stanek

8:33 a.m. ET

Donald Trump has made the expulsion of undocumented immigrants a major part of his campaign, but just a few short years ago he had a radically different opinion on the matter, CNN has discovered.

Trump explained that he didn't believe in deporting immigrants in a June 2012 interview with CNBC's Squawk Box: "You have people in this country for 20 years, they've done a great job, they've done wonderfully, they've gone to school, they've gotten good marks, they're productive — now we're supposed to send them out of the country, I don't believe in that, Michelle, and you understand that. I don't believe in a lot things that are being said," Trump said.

The comments don't do much to clarify how Trump actually does feel — by June 2015 he was claiming Mexicans were "rapists." "And some, I assume, are good people," Trump added. Compare the dramatic flip-flop, below. Jeva Lange

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