- Say what? 12:30pm ET
Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) has doubled down on his controversial remarks about suicide, claiming that government assistance leads people to kill themselves.
"This suicide problem didn't exist until we got largesse from the government," Young said Wednesday at a senior center, according to Alaska Dispatch News. "When people had to work and had to provide and had to keep warm by putting participation in cutting wood and catching the fish and killing the animals, we didn't have the suicide problem."
The government has exacerbated the problem by "saying you are not worth anything but you are going to get something for nothing," he added.
While speaking at a high school earlier in the week, Young blamed a "lack of support" for suicide, stunning students and administrators still grieving the recent suicide of a classmate. Young's office later apologized, saying the lawmaker "should have taken a more sensitive approach."
- Photo Shoot 12:20pm ET
Board members for the Broken Bow Public Schools district in central Nebraska voted this week to allow students to brandish firearms in their senior class portraits so long as the pictures are "tasteful and appropriate," according to the Omaha World-Herald. What that constitutes will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, though the board offered some guidance; students are advised not to submit game-hunting photos "if the animal is in obvious distress."
"The board I believe felt they wanted to give students who are involved in those kinds of things the opportunity to take a senior picture with their hobby, with their sport, just like anybody with any other hobby or sport," Superintendent Mark Sievering told the World-Herald.
- ISIS 11:28am ET
If ISIS really wants to do the whole caliphate thing right, they're missing a couple things. Or rather, they're going to need to be missing a couple things.
So says a recent article co-authored for the Washington Post by two professors, one and anthropologist and one a urologist whose specialty is castration. The professors note that historically, Islamic caliphates were marked by heavily fortified capital cities filled with thousands of women (to show the caliph's dominance) and also thousands of eunuchs (to run the caliphate without availing themselves of the women).
ISIS, the terrorist organization whose stated goal is to establish a new caliphate in the Middle East, has none of these things. The professors conclude that "if the Islamic State doesn't build a deeply fortified city and start producing eunuch bureaucrats, it will never have the stability and endurance of historic caliphates."
- Discoveries 11:21am ET
The DNA of skulls from Hungary has allowed scientists to better understand the origins of human lactose tolerance.
In a study published this week in the journal Nature Communications, scientists analyzed the DNA of 13 people's remains from central Europe's Great Hungarian Plain. The bones at the site span from 5,700 B.C.E. to 800 B.C.E., and the ancient bones have shed new light on Europe's prehistory, LiveScience reports.
The researchers discovered that the ancient Europeans may have consumed dairy products for 4,000 years before developing lactose tolerance. Previously, archaeologists thought that ancient Europeans began consuming dairy only 7,500 years ago, during the Neolithic period.
"This means that these ancient Europeans would have had domesticated animals like cows, goats and sheep, but they would not yet have genetically developed a tolerance for drinking large quantities of milk from mammals," Ron Pinhasi, senior author of the study, told LiveScience.
The scientists are now studying additional human DNA from 13,000 years ago "to find out about genetic diversity that existed before and after the Ice Age," Pinhasi said.
- 2016 Watch 10:59am ET
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) cracked the door to a potential White House bid in an interview with People, offering a more nuanced answer than she has in the past when asked for the umpteenth time whether she plans to run in 2016.
"I don't think so," she said when asked if she was "on board" with fan-driven efforts to convince her to run. But, she added: "If there's any lesson I've learned in the last five years, it's don't be so sure about what lies ahead. There are amazing doors that could open."
It's a notable shift from Warren's previous declarations that she won't run for president. In June, she unequivocally told The Boston Globe, "I am not running for president. Do you want to put an exclamation point at the end of that?"
- panty raid 10:53am ET
If you had any worries about just how safe the Department of Homeland Security keeps America, worry no longer: DHS just raided a lingerie shop in Kansas City, Missouri, over custom underwear the agents said were in violation of copyright law. The offending garment celebrated the Kansas City Royals' progress in the World Series, reading, "Take the Crown," with the K and C highlighted and linked to imitate the team's logo.
"We just thought it was something funny we could do. But it was so scary," store owner Peregrine Honig told the Kansas City Star. She said she figured her hand-drawn design wouldn't violate any laws.
Fortunately for the rest of us, these panties can no longer endanger the safety of our homeland, as this hardened criminal signed a pledge not to break copyright laws again. --Bonnie Kristian
- Space sounds 10:43am ET
NASA has a fantastic new SoundCloud page that collects decades of audio from past and present missions into outer space. The collection includes everything from a clip of Apollo 13's infamous "Houston, we have a problem," transmission, to the lonely pings of unmanned craft spinning through space.
Here's a standout selection of haunting sounds from around the solar system:
Check out the entire collection here.
- the right man for the jobs 10:16am ET
After months of rumors and speculation, Aaron Sorkin has confirmed that Christian Bale will play the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs in his upcoming biopic.
"What we needed was the best actor," explained Sorkin in an interview with Bloomberg News, calling Bale "the best actor on the board, in a certain age range."
"He didn't have to audition," continued Sorkin. "It was a meeting. The role is an extremely difficult role. He has more words to say than most people have in three movies combined. There isn't a scene or a frame that he's not in. And there's a tremendous amount of language. So it's an extremely difficult part, and he's going to crush it."
This is the second Steve Jobs biopic in as many years, after Joshua Michael Stern's Jobs, which starred Ashton Kutcher in the title role.
- 2014 midterms 10:11am ET
Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) brushed off a question about whether he voted for President Obama by arguing that the inquiry was "irrelevant" to his candidacy.
"I did, but that's irrelevant," he told the Washington Examiner. "The president's not relevant. He's gone in two years."
Republicans have been trying to tie vulnerable Democratic candidates to the president and his agenda ahead of the midterms. Credit Begich for at least offering a straightforward answer, unlike Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, who earlier this month refused to say if she voted for Obama, citing the "sanctity of the ballot box."
- Watch this 9:54am ET
How can you possibly improve on an appearance from the President of the United States? Funny or Die's "Between Two Ferns" brings in Brad Pitt as a follow-up — and host Zach Galifianakis isn't thrilled about the downgrade. "Now I gotta go back to interviewing dumb actors. That's all I'm saying," he complains as the episode begins.
Galifiankis spends almost six minutes skewering Pitt in the new "Between Two Ferns" (with a short break for a surprise appearance from a special guest). But Galifiankis doesn't really get going until the end of the video, when he delves into Pitt's romantic past. Watch now, and see how hard you cringe. --Scott Meslow
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