July 22, 2014

Two new studies looking at the beef industry show that it might be better for the environment to try white meat instead.

A study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says that in the United States, it takes 28 times as much land and 11 times as much water to raise cattle for beef than it does equivalent portions of pork and poultry. A cattle farm also produces at least five times as much gas into the atmosphere. "For people, the obvious answer is: whenever possible, replace beef with something else," Gidon Eshel, a geophysicist and lead author of the study, told the Los Angeles Times. "If you really need it to be from animal sources, that's still OK.... As long as it's not beef, you have always made a significant step forward, because beef is so much more intensive than the rest."

The beef industry disagrees. "The fact is the U.S. beef industry produces beef with lower greenhouse gas emissions than any other country," Kim Stackhouse-Lawson, director of sustainability research for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, said in a statement. That is true, according to a second study released Monday in the journal Climatic Change: Greenhouse gas emissions from livestock in developed countries (including the U.S.) have decreased 23 percent since 1970. Globally, however, those emissions have increased 51 percent, and have more than doubled in developing countries.

This study looked at livestock in 237 countries, and estimated that beef cattle produced more than 50 percent of methane and nitrous oxide emissions. Dairy cattle came in second, with 17 percent; sheep ranked third, with 9 percent; and buffalo were in fourth place, with 7 percent. Pigs only accounted for 5 percent, and goats, 4 percent. The largest increases were in the Congo, Oman, and the Central African Republic. "More and more of the developing world is adopting the bad habits of the developed world," Ken Caldeira, ecologist and co-author of the study, told the Times. Catherine Garcia

the new boehner
9:32 a.m. ET
Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) formally announced his bid for House speaker in a Fox News Sunday interview.

He'll be up against Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who is favored to take over when John Boehner steps down Oct. 30.

"The American people want a fresh face and a fresh new person," Chaffetz said.

Chaffetz, who chairs the House Oversight Committee, told Politico he would treat the position as a facilitator.

"I'm not here to be a dictator, but to empower members to do what they see fit," he said. "I want the process to work its way through the body." Julie Kliegman

she's probably still a robot though
8:29 a.m. ET

In her latest attempt to convince voters she isn't a humorless robot, Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton took to Saturday Night Live to poke fun at herself.

Clinton played Val, an ordinary bartender, to Kate McKinnon's Clinton, who was feeling down on her 2016 chances. The two acknowledged Clinton took a long time to oppose the Keystone Pipeline and support same-sex marriage.

When McKinnon mentioned Trump, the real politician mustered a surprisingly decent Donald voice and said, "Isn't he the one that's like, 'Ugh, you're all losers.'"

To further hit home that she's a good sport, Clinton even tweeted praise of McKinnon's performance:

And for his part, Trump retweeted a supporter who slammed Clinton's performance but complimented Taran Killam's ruthless impression of him, showcased in Saturday's cold open.

Even former President Bill Clinton dropped by to kick off the show's 41st season. Watch it all unfold below. Julie Kliegman

military matters
7:49 a.m. ET

Doctors Without Borders closed its northern Afghanistan hospital Sunday, one day after being hit in airstrikes possibly carried out by U.S. forces, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The organization evacuated its foreign staff after at least 12 staff members and seven patients were killed in the assault that partially destroyed the Kunduz building. It also denied that Taliban fighters were behind the attack.

Th hospital, in the town overtaken by Taliban forces Monday, was reportedly the only facility in the area equipped to treat serious injuries.

The U.S. military is conducting an investigation into the incident. President Obama offered his "deepest condolences" to the victims in a statement late Saturday. Julie Kliegman

October 3, 2015
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton called on the military to upgrade the service records of LGBT veterans who were kicked out of the military for their sexuality under "don't ask, don't tell" and even before its 1993 enactment, The Washington Post reports.

"They were given less than honorable discharges," Clinton said Saturday in a speech to the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT rights organization. "I can't think of a better way to thank those men and women for their service than by upgrading their service records."

Clinton thanked the crowd for helping her change her mind on same-sex marriage, and vowed to never treat support from LGBT voters as a "political bargaining chip."

The former secretary of state forfeited the HRC keynote speech to Vice President Joe Biden, opting instead to appear on Saturday Night Live. Julie Kliegman

it's so fluffy I want to die
October 3, 2015

It's a phenomenon called "cute aggression." I've got it bad and you probably do to.

Seeing something cute can bring out a type of verbal and physical aggression in some people, according to a recent study. Maybe you've felt this way — you see a photo of a puppy or watch a video of a baby giggling and you can't help but grit your teeth, ball your hands into fists, and scream out, "Ahhhh, I can't even handle it!" Whatever you're looking at is so adorable it actually drives you crazy.

The feeling is similar to a loss of control. Researchers have two theories for it. One reason such cute photos drive us wild is because we can't reach out and give into that natural care instinct — it's just a photo, after all.

The more interesting theory is that such cuteness is too much of a good thing, and we're overwhelmed. To regulate those emotions, we give the positive feeling a bit of negativity. This happens in other ways, too, like if you're so happy you cry.

If you want to hear more about "cute aggression," as well as the other interesting and surprising facts that I learned this week, listen to this episode of "This week I learned" below. And, If you like what you hear, you can subscribe to The Week's podcasts on iTunes, SoundCloud, and Stitcher. —Lauren Hansen

no. 2
October 3, 2015

The South Florida Museum is arguably celebrating National Fossil Day in the best way possible Saturday — by unveiling a giant fossilized poop exhibit. In fact, it's Guinness-certified as the world's largest fossilized poop exhibit, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

More than 1,000 "prized nuggets," as education director Jeff Rodgers likes to call them, are on display in the Bradenton museum. One sample, dubbed "Precious," is thought to be from an ancient crocodile.

"Twenty-million-year-old crocodilian coprolites, spirals of fossilized fish poop, bags of mineralized frog feces!" Rodgers said. "That is a good day at work."

Please take a moment to honor the witness and two paleontology specialists who, according to a museum statement, had to inspect each specimen "to determine if it was a true poop fossil or just a wannabe fossilized poop." Julie Kliegman

This doesn't look good
October 3, 2015
Elsa/Getty Images

The University of Louisville and the NCAA are investigating claims that a former director of basketball operations paid escorts to have sex with new recruits.

In Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen, a book released Friday, author Katrina Powell alleged she was repeatedly hired by Andre McGee to provide strippers and prostitutes for basketball recruits' campus visits for 22 parties between 2010 and 2014. Powell claimed she earned more than $10,000 for the service, which involved herself, three of her daughters, and other women allegedly participating in sex acts with players, who are reportedly named in the book.

McGee, who left Louisville in 2014, is now an assistant coach at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The school put him on paid administrative leave Friday pending review. He has not admitted to any wrongdoing, ESPN reports. Meanwhile, the publishing company said it hired investigators and a Pulitzer-winning journalist to vet Powell's claims.

"To say I'm disheartened, disappointed would be the biggest understatement I've made as a coach," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said in a news conference. Julie Kliegman

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