Now You Know
March 26, 2014

Admit it: You've probably peed in the pool at least once. It's convenient, nobody knows, and chlorine kills all the gross stuff in urine anyway... right?

Wrong! Peeing in the pool is now not only gross and lazy, but a study from the American Chemical Society's Journal of Environmental and Science Technology reports that it can also be a potential health hazard. When you pee in the pool, said Lindsay Abrams at Salon, your urine combines with chlorine to form toxic concoctions such as trichloramine and cyanogen chloride — the stuff that's been used in chemical warfare. It's no surprise that when these chemicals are released into the water and air, they can wreak havoc on your lungs, heart, and nervous system.

So, if this hasn't scared you off from the pool, at least keep it clean next time you go for a swim. Kaitlin Roberts

2016 election
11:23 a.m. ET
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Jeb Bush is polling at 4 percent among Republican voters, according to the latest survey from Pew. While his handlers say that the campaign is built for the long haul, and political scientists will tell you that the laws of political gravity will ultimately drag down renegade candidates like Donald Trump, we've also seen how low poll numbers sparked a death spiral in dried-up funds and plummeting enthusiasm for the likes of Scott Walker and Rick Perry.

So a rattled Bush campaign is reportedly contemplating bringing out a big gun to woo disaffected conservative voters: George W. Bush, who is still popular with the party's base, even as he remains a divisive figure with the voting public at large. The New York Times reports that the decision to campaign with the former president is "an agonizing one for the campaign":

While dispatching George Bush to a state like South Carolina could shore up his brother's standing with conservatives, and remind voters there of a political family they still admire, it could also underscore the impression that Jeb Bush is simply a legacy candidate at a time when voters are itching for change.

What is more, given the former president's unpopularity among many in the broader electorate, joint appearances by the brothers could provide irresistible footage for Democratic attacks against Jeb Bush if he wins the Republican nomination. The continued instability in the Middle East, in particular, could remind voters of George Bush's decision to invade Iraq and make joint images of the Bush brothers potent fodder for the opposition. [The New York Times]

Then again, if Jeb Bush were to cling more tightly to his brother, he couldn't do worse than his competitors, who for the most part have embraced George W. Bush's legacy on issues of national security and taxes. Appearing with the former president on stage would just make the connection explicit. Ryu Spaeth

11:17 a.m. ET

The Transformers franchise has made clear it's determined to solider on without Shia LaBeouf, even as Age of Extinction, its fourth installment, tanked in the U.S. In case you're still jonesin' for some live-action machinery mayhem, there are apparently four more films in the works, Entertainment Weekly reports.

"Stay tuned, Transformers 5 is on its way, and 6 and 7 and 8," Hasbro president Stephen Davis said, adding that the toy company recently joined Paramount, franchise director Michael Bay, and others in plotting out a 10-year trajectory for the series.

Bay actually hasn't confirmed he'll direct the Mark Wahlberg-starring fifth installment, set to shoot in early 2016. But if three more movies really do see the light of day afterward, that means Transformers has ample opportunity to rack up some more hard-earned Razzies. Julie Kliegman

Supreme Court
10:36 a.m. ET

Analysis of Supreme Court justices' voting habits from FiveThirtyEight finds that the older a SCOTUS judge becomes, the further to the left his or her voting record will drift:


This is especially the case for justices nominated by Republican presidents: While Democratic nominees become more liberal as well, the transformation is more significant for GOP picks. The trend holds true for the current justices, though in his short tenure, Justice Samuel Alito has actually moved slightly to the right.

As for why this happens, FiveThirtyEight posits no less than seven theories, the most convincing of which may be research that suggests (contrary to popular wisdom) that it's fairly common for people to become less strictly conservative with age. Bonnie Kristian

I'll drink to that
10:22 a.m. ET
Adam Berry/Getty Images

A bipartisan group of senators and representatives have partnered to introduce the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (S.1562) to simplify and lower taxes and regulations on the production of beer and other alcoholic beverages in America.

The bill would reduce excise taxes from $7 to $3.50 per barrel on the first 60,000 barrels of beers from the smallest breweries, and reduce it from $18 to $16 for the first 6 million barrels from bigger outfits. Other proposed changes include expanding the list of allowable ingredients in hard cider and making it easier for breweries to collaborate without paying extra taxes. Home hobby distillation, which is currently subject to a dubious legal situation, would also be decriminalized on a small scale should the bill pass.

Not surprisingly, the craft brewing industry is supportive of the legislation. This "could drive the industry to greater heights," said Wisconsin brewer Fish Hamilton. "Really, this is something that the cost is minimal, the benefit is substantial and, again, I think it is something that has long been needed." Bonnie Kristian

This just in
10:03 a.m. ET

A missing cargo ship carrying 33 crewmen reportedly sunk during Hurricane Joaquin, NBC News reports. El Faro, which vanished Thursday in the Bermuda Triangle, had 28 Americans on board.

A 225-square-mile debris field was discovered over the weekend, including a life ring from El Faro, but no lifeboats have been found. The ship was expected to have been facing 20- to 30-foot waves; a distress call indicated that the ship had lost power and was taking on water. The 735-foot cargo ship was en route to San Juan, Puerto Rico, from Jacksonville, Florida, when it lost contact during the height of the hurricane. Jeva Lange

This just in
9:54 a.m. ET
USAF/Getty Images

The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan said Monday that Afghan forces had called for the deadly Saturday morning airstrikes that hit a Doctors Without Borders hospital, ABC News reports.

The Kunduz hospital, reportedly the only advanced facility in the region, closed Sunday after the strikes killed at least 22 people and damaged the building. U.S. forces have repeatedly targeted Kunduz since the Taliban took control of the city last week.

"If errors were committed, we will acknowledge them," Gen. John Campbell said.

The U.S. military is investigating the incident, but the non-governmental organization called for an independent review and accused the U.S. of committing a war crime. Doctors Without Borders has also disputed the claim from Afghan officials that Taliban fighters were using the hospital as a base. Julie Kliegman

Clinton Emails
9:43 a.m. ET

As Hillary Clinton sees it, she's made history for releasing her emails. In a town hall meeting hosted by NBC's Today show Monday morning, the former secretary of state and Democratic presidential candidate not only defended her use of a private email server — she gave herself a pat on the back for her transparency throughout the ordeal.

"I have gone further than anybody that I'm aware of in American history," Clinton said, referring to her release of emails. "Now it's not a long history since we haven't had emails that long — as long as we've had them, I've gone longer and farther to be as transparent as possible. Nobody else has done that."

Clinton also once again emphasized the fact that her use of a private server was allowed, and that "every government official gets to decide what is personal and work-related." The only thing she's embarrassed about in this whole email snafu, she says, is that "the emails are so boring." Watch Clinton's full response below. Becca Stanek

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