This is a big deal
April 3, 2014

Randall Munroe, creator of the webcomic xkcd, is famous for doing some of the most intricate and creative pieces of art on the web. There are the maps of the internet, c. 2007 and 2010. There's a beautiful infographic of the ideological evolution of Congress. There's the seemingly endless click and drag world. There's "Time," a far future story that unfolded slowly, with new frames that were posted every 30 minutes for months.

Now he's got a fresh one, and while I won't spoil it, you might call it a click-your-own-adventure that's maybe demonstrating a principle of chaos theory? Whatever you call it, it's awesome. Check it out. Ryan Cooper

lgbt rights
11:27 a.m. ET
Leigh Vogel/Getty Images

Vice President Joe Biden said transgender people should be able to serve openly in the military, a stance that goes beyond anything the Obama administration has said before, The Associated Press reports.

"It's simple," Biden said at the Human Rights Campaign gala Saturday night. "All Americans are qualified to serve, should be able to serve."

In July, Defense Secretary Ash Carter ordered a review of the policy banning transgender people from service.

Biden is known for supporting LGBT rights more vocally than other prominent Democrats. In 2012, he backed same-sex marriage before President Obama and Hillary Clinton did.

The vice president, who is still deciding whether to enter the 2016 race, also used the keynote as a chance to slam his would-be Republican opponents.

After noting how far the U.S. has come in supporting LGBT rights, Biden added a wry caveat: "There's homophobes still left — most of them are running for president." Julie Kliegman

School Shootings
10:56 a.m. ET

Republican frontrunner Donald Trump doesn't believe stricter gun control would result in fewer mass shootings, he said Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press. In fact, he thinks more guns could be the answer to stop gunmen like Christopher Harper-Mercer, who fatally shot nine people at an Oregon community college Thursday.

"I can make the case that if there were guns in that room other than his, fewer people would've died, fewer people would've been so horribly injured," he told Chuck Todd.

Both on NBC and in a similar interview on ABC's This Week, Trump blamed gun violence on mental illness.

"No matter how you cut it, you have people that are mentally ill, and they have problems and they're going to slip through the cracks," he told ABC's George Stephanopoulos.

In fact, only 4 percent of U.S. violence can be linked to people diagnosed with mental illness, according to a 2015 American Journal of Public Health report debunking the exaggerated role some believe mental illness plays in mass shootings.

Watch Trump's Meet the Press comments below and check out his This Week interview here. Julie Kliegman

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 (as played by SNL vet Darrell Hammond) 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

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