Everybody hates Barbie. Except, presumably, the people snapping up one of Mattel's iconic dolls every three seconds around the world (according to Mattel). There are lots of knocks against Barbie — she's so indecisive she's held 150 careers since 1959! — but by far the biggest is her unrealistically proportioned body. If the large-breasted, thin-waisted doll were a real woman, she wouldn't have enough body fat to menstruate and probably couldn't even walk. Pittsburgh artist Nickolay Lamm is the latest dollmaker to try to unseat Barbie (or at least bring her down a notch) with a "normal" version.
Last August, Lamm created an "Average Barbie," reshaping Mattel's version to conform to the body measurement of a 19-year-old girl, according to CDC statistics. Now he's trying to commercialize the concept with Lammily, a sporty brunette. All he needs is about $95,000 in crowdsourced funds to make an initial batch of 5,000 Lammily dolls. Maybe he will succeed in toppling the statuesque Barbie where others have failed.
— TakePart (@TakePart) March 5, 2014
Look, I understand the concern about female body image. But try extending the "normal" Barbie premise to other areas of popular culture: What Ford F-150 could compete with a Transformer; what boy compares favorably with Harry Potter? Peter Weber
A Yale University dean has been put on leave over racially insensitive remarks she made in Yelp reviews. "If you are white trash, this is a perfect night out for you," June Chu wrote about a Japanese restaurant. In other posts, she noted "I am Asian" as proof of her culinary expertise, warned of "sketchy" crowds at a movie theater, and called the workers "morons" who serve "snack orders to the obese."
President Trump on Friday condemned the "merciless slaughter of Christians in Egypt" and urged "all who value life" to confront terrorists' "war against civilization." At least 26 people, including children, were killed Friday when eight gunmen dressed in military uniforms attacked a bus and a pickup truck carrying Coptic Christians. The Coptic Christians, a minority group that has long faced discrimination in Egypt, were traveling to St. Samuel Monastery in Egypt's Minya province, located south of Cairo.
"Civilization is at a precipice — and whether we climb or fall will be decided by our ability to join together to protect all faiths, all religions, and all innocent life," Trump said in the statement, pushing for everyone to unite "for the righteous purpose of crushing the evil organizations or terror, and exposing their depraved, twisted, and thuggish ideology." Becca Stanek
We've all been there — tossing and turning in sweat-soaked sheets, fan on full blast, wishing we could just fall asleep. A nearly decade-long study of 765,000 Americans, published Friday, found that as the world warms as a result of climate change, we are likely to get worse and worse night sleeps due to the difficulty of slumbering when it's hot out. "Elderly people, and people making less than $50,000 per year, seem especially affected by the trend," The Atlantic writes.
Basically, for thousands and thousands of years hot days would cool into comfortable nights as the sun's heat radiated back out into space in the evening. But now greenhouse gases reflect that heat back at the Earth, even at night, keeping us toasty if we don't have the a/c on full blast. "We know from a broad literature in the laboratory context that our sleep is regulated pretty heavily by our body temperature — and especially by our core body temperature," said Nick Obradovich, one of the study's authors.
Obradovich added that while the study focused on the U.S., it could be even harder for people in other parts of the world to power through the hot nights. "In Ghana, it's really hot and really humid, and there are no other options. You just suffer through the heat," he said.
Getting adequate sleep, of course, is important for good health. Deprivation has been linked to conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity, as well as shorter-term consequences like problems with mood and memory. Obradovich noted that older people tend to have higher mortality rates during heat waves, too, and part of the reason could be all the tossing and turning cutting into their sleep.
It may almost be June 2017, but 2016 presidential election rhetoric lives on. After Hillary Clinton took some jabs at President Trump during her commencement speech Friday at her alma mater, Wellesley College, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel released a statement swinging back. "Today's speech was a stark reminder why Hillary Clinton lost in 2016," McDaniel said in the statement. "Instead of lashing out with the same partisan talking points, Hillary Clinton would be wise to look inward, talk about why she lost, and expand the dwindling base of Democratic Party supporters — we won't hold our breath though."
Clinton didn't call Trump out by name in her speech, which she began by discussing former President Richard Nixon and what it was like living through his resignation. "We were furious about the past presidential election of a man whose presidency would eventually end in disgrace with his impeachment for obstruction of justice," Clinton said. She added that this happened "after firing the person running the investigation into him at the Department of Justice," a not-so-veiled allusion to Trump's recent firing of former FBI Director James Comey.
Clinton encouraged the graduates to remain hopeful despite the "full-fledged assault on truth and reason" and to reach out to people "hurt" by the Trump administration's newly introduced budget plan, which she called a "con." Becca Stanek
Singer Ariana Grande said Friday that she will be returning to Manchester for a benefit concert to help the victims of the Monday attack at her show that left 22 dead and dozens more injured.
"Our response to this violence must be to come closer together, to help each other, to love more, to sing louder, and to live more kindly and generously than we did before," said Grande, 23, in a statement. "I'll be returning to the incredibly brave city of Manchester to spend time with my fans and to have a benefit concert in honor of and to raise money for the victims and their families."
Grande added that while "there is nothing I or anyone can do to take away the pain you are feeling or to make this better … I extend my hand and heart and everything I possibly can give to you and yours, should you want or need my help in any way." Read her full statement below. Jeva Lange
— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) May 26, 2017
In case anyone needed another reason to be afraid of the slippery, slithery creatures that are snakes: They might hunt in packs. Well, at least one snake species might.
Vladimir Dinets, a scientist from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, recently observed the Cuban boa hunting fruit bats in caves — only to realize that if more than one snake was present, the snakes would engage in what seemed to be "coordinated hunting." "Snakes arriving to the hunting area were significantly more likely to position themselves in the part of the passage where other snakes were already present, forming a 'fence' across the passage and thus more effectively blocking the flight path of the prey, significantly increasing hunting efficiency," the study's abstract says.
In case the mental image of snakes hunting in a pack weren't reason enough to stay inside, the snakes did this group hunting while dangling from the top of the cave. "After sunset and before dawn, some of the boas entered the passage that connected the roosting chamber with the entrance chamber, and hunted by suspending themselves from the ceiling and grabbing passing bats," the study said.
This isn't the first time a group hunting effort among snakes has been observed, though it remains unclear if this is actually a widespread serpentine phenomenon or if there's really any purposeful coordination between the snakes. "It is possible that coordinated hunting is not uncommon among snakes, but it will take a lot of very patient field research to find out," Dinets said. Becca Stanek
When former FBI Director James Comey abruptly closed the investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server last summer, it was in response to a piece of Russian intelligence purporting that then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch had assured the Clinton campaign the investigation would not be vigorously pursued. Comey reportedly knew that the Russian intelligence was actually false, officials with knowledge of the situation told CNN.
Officials told The Washington Post Comey felt he had "little choice" but to close the investigation "because he feared that if ... the secret document leaked, the legitimacy of the entire case would be questioned."
CNN writes that "Comey's actions based on what he knew was Russian disinformation offer a stark example of the way Russian interference impacted the decisions of the highest-level U.S. officials during the 2016 campaign." Read more about how Comey treated the false information at CNN. Jeva Lange