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July 17, 2014

Oversharing on Facebook can cost you your job, especially if you don't have your privacy settings right, but even something as mundane (and public) as your profile photo can hamper your career, according to a new study. The problem arises when young women choose sexy photos to represent themselves on Facebook and other social media. And the problem isn't (necessarily) ogling male coworkers.

"Adolescent girls and young adult women who post sexualized profile photos will likely be judged by their female peers as being less physically and socially attractive and as less competent," report researchers at Oregon State University-Cascades and U.C. Santa Cruz. This is important, the researchers add, because "social media is where the youth are," and young women get mixed messages about portraying themselves as sexy.

The study didn't exactly look at coworkers. The researchers created two Facebook accounts for a fictional woman named Amanda Johnson, the only difference between the accounts being the profile photos — sexy "Amanda" is on the left, non-sexy "Amanda" is on the right (these are the prom photo and senior high school portrait of a real woman who agreed to be used in the study, so we've partially obscured her face):

A group of about 120 female volunteers age 13 to 25 were randomly assigned to evaluate one of the two Amandas on three attributes: physical attractiveness (I think she is pretty), social attractiveness (I think she could be a friend of mine), and task competence (I have confidence in her ability to get a job done). Non-sexy Amanda scored higher in all three categories.

Elizabeth Daniels, the study's lead author, says she expected the lower competence scores, but was surprised that the women rated the sexy Facebook user less attractive. "Because there's so much pressure in the culture for women to be sexy, I actually expected that maybe she would be considered more attractive because she was sexualized," she told The Oregonian. "But that's not what I found."

"This is a clear indictment of sexy social media photos," Daniels added. The study, titled "The Price of Sexy," was published online in the journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture earlier this week. --Peter Weber

9:24 a.m. ET

Barack and Michelle Obama are celebrating their last Valentine's Day in the White House this weekend, and to mark the occasion the Obamas recited poems to each other on The Ellen Degeneres Show.

In the segment — which was taped Thursday but will air in full on Friday — Michelle Obama sends her husband a classic "roses are red, violets are blue" poem which Degeneres prompts Obama to respond to on her show. Surrounded by rose pedals and speaking over mood music, Obama got creative: "Somebody call the Situation Room because things are about to get hot," he said, adding, "I Obamacare about you more than you even know!"

Watch the wooing, below. Jeva Lange

8:35 a.m. ET
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Obama will designate three new national monuments in southern California's desert Friday, expanding federal protection to 1.8 million acres and making the southern California expanse the world's second largest wildlife preserve. The three new monuments, the Mojave Trails National Monument, Sand to Snow National Monument, and Castle Mountains National Monument, will connect three areas already under federal protection and 15 designated wilderness areas, The Hill reports.

Obama's designation of the land, which comes at the urging of California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, will double the amount of land he has set aside for conservation during his presidency. He has protected more acres of land and water than any other administration to date. "The effort to preserve the California desert has been a long one, and today is a major milestone," Feinstein said. "The California desert is a national treasure. This designation only reaffirms that fact."

Obama is traveling to Palm Springs, California, Friday to make an official announcement. Becca Stanek

8:00 a.m. ET
Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

Bernie Sanders is trailing Hillary Clinton by single digits, a Morning Consult survey released Friday has found. The poll discovered that following the New Hampshire primary, Sanders is now back only seven points nationally.

Clinton held 46 percent of support among Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters, with 39 percent of support going to Sanders. A number of respondents are still making up their minds, with 8 percent saying they'd rather vote for someone else and 7 percent saying they had no opinion, or didn't know who they were voting for.

Sanders has long had bragging rights to being the only candidate running who is viewed more favorably than not, and that hasn't changed. Additionally, among the Democratically inclined voters polled by Morning Consult, 78 percent viewed Sanders favorably to Clinton's 75 percent.

The survey was conducted on Feb. 10 and 11, polling 811 Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters. It has a margin of error of 3.4 percent. Jeva Lange

7:40 a.m. ET
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

On the campaign trail, Ted Cruz is a staunch opponent of the government collecting citizens' personal data. "When the focus of law enforcement and national security is on ordinary citizens rather than targeting the bad guy, we miss the bad guys while violating the constitutional rights of American citizens," Cruz said during a speech on national security at the Heritage Foundation in the weeks following the San Bernardino shooting.

But when it comes to collecting information for the sake of his campaign, Cruz, the son of mathematicians and data processing programmers, is not quite as committed. The Associated Press reported Thursday that Cruz's "Cruz Crew" campaign app was used to gather detailed information from supporters' phones, including their personal movements and the names and contact information of their friends.

"Analytics gives the campaign a roadmap for everything we do. [Cruz] has an acute understanding of our work and continually pushes me on it," the campaign's data and digital director Chris Wilson told the AP. However, while many campaigns siphon some data about their supporters, Cruz's goes the furthest of anyone in the race and doesn't give the user the option of using the app without giving up their personal data.

Cruz's campaign has argued there is a difference between the government collecting data and a campaign doing the same. "It's not like we're giving it to the NSA," a paid field representative said. Cruz's campaign spokeswoman Alice Stewart agreed.

"Why wouldn't we want to use every tool available to us to win?" she said. Jeva Lange

5:12 a.m. ET

On Thursday's Late Show, Stephen Colbert shared some "shocking news" — at least it might be shocking if you haven't read the news this week. "J.K. Rowling has announced that there will be a new Harry Potter book... ish." The book, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, is actually the script for an upcoming play, and it takes place 19 years after the last book, when Harry is trying to juggle his job at the Ministry of Magic with being a father.

"That really sounds depressing," Colbert said. "I love that we're going to get something else about that world, but let's all admit that Harry Potter's life peaked when he was 17." He's no longer Quidditch captain or "big chosen one on campus," but just some guy. "Who are his enemies even going to be? Phil from accounting?" Colbert asked. "It might as well be called Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Prostate." If that's not downer enough, watch and see Colbert predict the futures of Holden Caulfield and the Narnia kids. Peter Weber

2:16 a.m. ET

When actor Richard Dreyfuss was spotted attending a Ted Cruz campaign event, the blowback was pretty fierce. People decided that Dreyfuss, "a beloved actor, needed to be kicked out of Hollywood," Megyn Kelly summarized at the beginning of an interview with Dreyfuss and his son Harry on Thursday's Kelly File. Harry Dreyfuss had written an online post slamming his father's online critics, accusing them of "attacking my dad for his curiosity," he explained. Then Kelly turned to the actor himself.

Dreyfuss comes from a long line of socialists, Kelly said. "Were you surprised by the backlash?" No, Dreyfuss said, explaining that his other son, Ben Dreyfuss, an editor at Mother Jones, "always warned me never to read comments on the internet, because they were from people who were dropped on their head." He went to the Cruz event out of curiosity, Dreyfuss said, because he wanted to "hear whether or not there'd be a difference between what I was hearing through the TV camera and live. And what was disappointing was that there was no difference. They sounded equally, kind of, silly."

Kelly said that Dreyfuss sounded like Glenn Beck, because they both love the Constitution. That prompted a civics lesson from Dreyfuss, who runs a nonprofit dedicated to raising civic awareness among school children. "If anyone tells me that America is exceptional, my response is, if you don't defend that statement and prove it, I'll hit you right in the mouth," he said. "Because people don't think that it needs defending, and it does." Watch below. Peter Weber

2:06 a.m. ET

A man who injured four people in a machete attack inside a Columbus, Ohio, restaurant Thursday evening was shot and killed by police following a vehicle pursuit.

Columbus Police Sgt. Rich Weiner said the assailant had a conversation with an employee of Nazareth Restaurant and Deli, then came back 30 minutes later and started attacking a couple in a booth. "Some of the patrons there started throwing chairs at him, just trying to get him out of there," Weiner told The Associated Press. "There was no rhyme or reason as to who he was going after."

The man eventually ran out of the restaurant and led police on a short chase. After he pulled over and got out of his car, officers tried to use a stun gun against him, but were unsuccessful. The man had the machete and another knife in his hand, and after he lunged across his car's hood at officers, he was shot and killed. The man's name has not been released, and the victims are all expected to recover. So far, there's no motive, and Weiner said "there's nothing that leads us to believe that this is anything but a random attack." Catherine Garcia

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