Size matters
July 9, 2014

For those times when an XXS is just too baggy, J. Crew is now offering clothes in a size XXXS, or 000.

The pieces will will fit women with a 30.5" bust and 23" waist. Several bloggers think it reeks of vanity sizing — manipulating the number on the label so a buyer can feel good about wearing a smaller size. "J. Crew's vanity sizing has reached a whole new level of crazy," Erika Graham wrote on Racked. "What's next, negative numbers?"

J. Crew said creating this new size isn't about boosting someone's ego. "We are simply addressing the demand coming from Asia for smaller sizes than what we had carried," a spokeswoman said. "Our sizes typically run big and the Asia market tends to runs small. To further put into perspective, these sizes add up to the smallest possible percentage of our overall sizing assortment." She added that the company sells clothes up to a size 16 as well as lines for both petite and tall women. Catherine Garcia

In a galaxy far, far away
9:15 a.m. ET

Every year, Star Wars fans celebrate what's informally known as Star Wars Day by greeting each other with the phrase "May the Fourth be with you." It's a quaint old tradition, but this year, Vanity Fair is giving fans a very generous Star Wars Day gift: a new behind-the-scenes look at Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

The brief glimpse of Vanity Fair photographer Annie Leibovitz's visit to the set yields some intriguing new images, including shots of the new characters played by Daisy Ridley, Lupita Nyong'o, and Adam Driver, seen without his mask for the first time.

To look at the full portfolio of Leibovitz's Star Wars: Episode VII shoot, click over to Vanity Fair. Scott Meslow

This just in
8:59 a.m. ET

Bill Clinton has defended the Clinton Foundation's taking millions of dollars in foreign money — and not disclosing all of it while Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state.

"There is no doubt in my mind that we have never done anything knowingly inappropriate in terms of taking money to influence any kind of American government policy," Clinton told NBC News. "That just hasn't happened."

Clinton added that the foundation will "come as close as we can during [Hillary Clinton's] presidential campaign to following the rules we followed when she became secretary of state." After falling under scrutiny, the foundation recently announced it will only accept donations from six Western governments.

Clinton went as far as to suggest that he would consider stepping down as head of the foundation if Hillary Clinton is elected president. "I might if I were asked to do something in the public interest that I had an obligation to do. Or I might take less of an executive role," Clinton told NBC News. "But we'll cross that bridge when we come to it." Meghan DeMaria

This just in
8:13 a.m. ET
Win McNamee/Getty Images

In an interview on ABC's Good Morning America, Carly Fiorina formally announced that she will seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

"Yes, I am running for president," Fiorina told George Stephanopoulos. "I think I'm the best person for the job, because I understand how the economy actually works. I understand the world, who's in it, how the world works." She added that America's government has turned into "a giant, bloated, unaccountable, corrupt bureaucracy."

Fiorina, a former Hewlett-Packard executive, doesn't believe that the fact she's never held an elected office disqualifies her from being president. She said that while traveling America, she found that most people are "tired of the political class, and they believe that we need to return to a citizen government." Meghan DeMaria

campaign 2016
7:02 a.m. ET
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Retired pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson effectively announced his bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination on a local TV show on Sunday. He won't be the new candidate on the block for long: On Monday, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina will announce her candidacy, followed a day later by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. This will be Huckabee's second run for the GOP nomination, and the first bid by Carson and Fiorina.

Neither Carson nor Fiorina have ever held elected office, though Fiorina ran unsuccessfully for a U.S. Senate seat in California in 2010. Fiorina is expected to stake her campaign on her stint at HP — a notion many in Silicon Valley find odd, The Guardian notes — and on her gender being an asset in an expected contest with Democrat Hillary Clinton. Peter Weber

numbers might lie
6:36 a.m. ET

There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding where to raise your children, assuming you have a choice. According to new research from Harvard economists Raj Chetty and Nathaniel Hendren, your location has a sizable, measurable impact on how much your child will earn as an adult — and if they're right, that's great news for children in the western suburbs of Chicago and northern suburbs of Seattle, but bad news for kids in Baltimore and Charlotte, North Carolina.

Chetty and Hendren lay out their methodology, data, and rankings at their Equality of Opportunity site, but The New York Times has compiled it into a very handy interactive map. If you visit the story, and don't use a private-browsing page, The Times will take you directly to your county and show you an article based on where you live (you can change location by clicking on a map or searching for a different city.) You can control for income bracket and gender.

Because of the criteria they used, the upper middle part of the country, from Utah to Minnesota, looks pretty good, while the South (minus Texas and Oklahoma) looks pretty bad:

Check out your county at The New York Times. Peter Weber

That's Rich
4:33 a.m. ET

SkyMall may have had a near-death experience, but in-flight magazines are having something of a moment — and one, Rhapsody, is really turning heads. If you haven't heard of Rhapsody, it's probably because you don't fly first class or business class on United Airlines — but you've probably heard of some of the authors publishing original work in the magazine: Joyce Carol Oates, Anthony Doerr, Amy Bloom, Karen Russell, Rick Moody, Emma Straub, and about 25 other well-regarded literary fiction writers.

The New York Times noticed, and they profiled Rhapsody on Sunday, putting the newest A-list literary journal in context:

As airlines try to distinguish their high-end service with luxuries like private sleeping chambers, showers, butler service, and meals from five-star chefs, United Airlines is offering a loftier, more cerebral amenity to its first-class and business-class passengers: elegant prose by prominent novelists. There are no airport maps or disheartening lists of in-flight meal and entertainment options in Rhapsody. Instead, the magazine has published ruminative first-person travel accounts, cultural dispatches and probing essays about flight. [New York Times]

To hit the point home, The Times quotes United's Mark Krolick on what the airline gets out of hiring A-list writers: “The high-end leisure or business-class traveler has higher expectations, even in the entertainment we provide.” As for what the writers get out of it, it's a combination of a solid paycheck, free luxury travel, relatively free rein on what to write (no air disasters), and access to a well-heeled captive audience who might like to buy their books.

And while at least one writer laments to The Times that she wishes the magazine had a broader circulation than just wealthy fliers, it seems you can peruse Rhapsody's back issues online, for free. You're welcome, English majors. Peter Weber

the environment
4:01 a.m. ET

A ship carrying almost 200 tons of ammonium nitrate sank off the coast of Puntarenas, Costa Rica, on Saturday, causing the government to set up a 60-mile-long safety zone.

After the incident, people were told not to go swimming or fishing, but eventually a government spokesman said only small amounts of the chemical, used in the manufacturing of fertilizers and explosives, had been found in the water. Costa Rica's Emergency Commission said it was safe to bathe because the ammonium nitrate dissolved and was taken to sea on the tide, the BBC reports, but no one should fish for the next three days. Officials said they would launch an investigation into the sinking and chemical spill. Catherine Garcia

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