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Numbers don't lie
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

superheroics
9:18 a.m. ET

With countless adventures and decades of back story to adapt, Hollywood was never going to going to make enough Wolverine movies to capture everything X-Men fans want to see. But if you've been waiting for a blockbuster adaptation of Old Man Logan or one of those weird Patch side stories, now's your chance to make your voice heard: Hugh Jackman wants to know what X-Men fans want to see him do as Wolverine before he hangs up the claws for good.

The poll started last night, but Jackman promised to read "as many as [he] can," so there's no reason not to weigh in now. I hope you'll join me in casting a vote for Wolverine getting ripped in half by the Hulk. Scott Meslow

Blast from the past
8:50 a.m. ET

These extraordinary horses might even give American Pharaoh something to be jealous of.

Every summer, the people of Fukushima prefecture honor their ancient Samurai and equine traditions during the Soma Nomaoi festival, which began over 1,000 years ago. The three-day festival reenacts Edo Period (roughly 1603-1869) battles — safely, of course! — without losing any of the vibrant, stampeding thrill of bygone days. Check it out. Jeva Lange

Four more years?
8:28 a.m. ET
Saul Loeb AFP / Getty Images

President Obama thinks he's a "pretty good president." Good enough that he says if he ran for a third term, he believes he could win. But, as he acknowledged in a Tuesday address at the African Union headquarters, a third term just isn't an option.

"I love my work, but under our Constitution, I cannot run again. I can't run again. I actually think I'm a pretty good president. I think if I ran, I could win. But I can't. So there's a lot that I'd like to do to keep America moving, but the law is the law, and no one person is above the law, not even the president." [Obama]

Now, Obama obviously isn't actually considering a third term as president. Rather, he used this hypothetical to prove a point to African leaders about the importance of stepping down from office when their terms ended. Recently in Burundi, President Pierre Nkurunziza was elected to a third term despite the constitutional limit of two terms.

Obama called on the African Union to curb this overreach of power and ensure that African leaders stick to the law. Obama also said he just doesn't understand why leaders don't step down when it's their turn to do so. "Frankly," Obama told the African Union, "I’m looking forward to life after being president." Becca Stanek

This just in
7:55 a.m. ET
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

President Obama pledged to help raise 50 million Africans out of poverty during his Tuesday address at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia — the equivalent of 5 percent of Africa's population. His speech marked the first time that a sitting American president has addressed the African Union.

"Many Africans are crowded into shantytowns without power or running water — a level of poverty that's an assault on human dignity," Obama said.

Obama also called for African leaders to ensure free and fair democracies and elections in their nations, and to step down when their terms come to an end. He also pressured those in power to put an end to the discrimination of women in education.

"No one would put out a football team and just play half the team," Obama said. "The same is true when it comes to giving everyone an education. You can't leave half the team off." Jeva Lange

Math is hard
7:41 a.m. ET
Scott Olson / Getty Images

Donald Trump loves to brag that he's worth more than $10 billion. But the math begs to differ. The GOP presidential frontrunner's actual net worth is 29 percent of the figure Trump has been boasting, the Bloomberg Billionaires Index reports, totaling $2.9 billion. That figure is pulled from an analysis by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index of Trump's 92-page personal financial disclosure, which went public last week.

Despite Trump's $7 billion miscalculation, he definitely still has a lot of dough. Bloomberg reports that Trump's portfolio is "dominated by skyscrapers and golf courses." Trump owns some prime real estate in Manhattan, resorts including Doral and Mar-A-Lago in Florida, and golf courses in Scotland and Ireland.

A Trump spokeswoman declined to comment to Bloomberg on the wealth calculation discrepancies. Becca Stanek

BFFs?
7:35 a.m. ET
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

It's always good to have the comedians on your side — and it looks as if President Obama went out of the way to assure that he did. In recent years, The Daily Show host Jon Stewart made at least two secret visits to the White House to meet with Obama, both times at the president's specific request, Politico reports.

"The White House itself was quite interested in at least explaining its side of the story to Jon Stewart, up to and including the president," former Obama White House chief economic adviser Austan Goolsbee said. Obama summoned Stewart to his office in October 2011, during the debt ceiling crisis, and again in February 2014, before threatening Russia not to make any further moves on Ukraine. Obama has appeared on Stewart's show seven times.

"I can't say that because Jon Stewart was unhappy policy changed. But I can say that he had forceful arguments, they were arguments that we knew would be heard and deserved to be answered," David Axelrod, another former Obama aide, told Politico. Jeva Lange

ISIS
6:35 a.m. ET
Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

On Tuesday, ambassadors from all 28 NATO member nations gathered in Brussels for a rare emergency meeting called by Turkey, invoking Article 4 of the NATO charter, which allows members to consult with NATO allies when their security or territory are threatened. "Turkey requested the meeting after the recent terrorist attacks, and also to inform allies of the measures it is taking," said Carmen Romero, deputy NATO spokeswoman, citing a deadly attack on a Turkish border town last week that Ankara blames on Islamic State. "This meeting is a signal of strong solidarity with Turkey."

In a press conference before NATO's North Atlantic Council met behind closed doors, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg extended his sympathy to the Turks for the recent terrorist attacks, saying "terrorism in all its forms" can never be justified. In Ankara on Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan explained that Turkey is asking its NATO partners for support not just in its post-attack strikes on ISIS, but also its attacks on Kurdish separatist groups in Iraq and Syria.

That makes things tricky for NATO and its most powerful member, the U.S. On Monday, the Syrian Kurdish defense forces that the U.S. has been working with to fight ISIS said that Turkey has been shelling them. These Kurdish forces have proved the most effective and successful U.S. ally against ISIS, but Ankara — which says it isn't targeting the group, only Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) separatists — "is worried about growing Kurdish influence along its border with Syria and an emboldened Kurdish minority seeking more autonomy at home," The Wall Street Journal reports.

Turkey's Hurriyet Daily News, which says that Turkey is NATO's "only Muslim member and one of its most powerful," notes the tensions that creates within NATO. Ankara "is likely to face questions at the NATO meeting over its decision to lump its campaigns against the Kurds and ISIL together into a broad 'war on terror,'" the paper says. "Turkey's military action against the Kurds have raised doubts over its priorities, namely whether it is more interested in limiting Kurdish capabilities in Syria and Iraq than tackling ISIL." Peter Weber

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