March 11, 2016

It was a night full of praise and gentle ribbing as President Obama welcomed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the White House for a state dinner Thursday night.

Obama said Trudeau's visit — the first official state visit by a Canadian leader in almost two decades — has been "a celebration of the values that we share," and he touted "the great alliance between the United States and Canada." It was a big night for Justin Bieber, with both Obama and Trudeau making cracks about the singer — first, Obama said in the U.S., Trudeau "may be the most popular Canadian named Justin," with Trudeau later saying, "Leave it to a Canadian to reach international fame with a song called 'Sorry.'"

Obama also got laughs when he brought up the current political climate. "Where else could a boy born in Calgary grow up to run for the president of the United States?" he said, referring to Canadian-born Ted Cruz. "Where else would we see a community like Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, welcoming Americans if the election does not go their way? And to the great credit of their people, Canadians from British Columbia to New Brunswick have, so far, rejected the idea of building a wall to keep out your southern neighbors. We appreciate that."

Trudeau, whose father Pierre Trudeau was prime minister from 1968 to 1979 and 1980 to 1984, thanked the Obamas for their hospitality, and noted that their daughters, Malia and Sasha, were at their first state dinner. "The memories for me of being a kid and not being old enough to attend these kinds of events with my father almost makes me wish I had gone through my teenage years as a child of a world leader — but not quite," he quipped. Trudeau also said the U.S. and Canada are "more like siblings. We have shared parentage, but we took different paths in our later years. We became the stay-at-home type, and you grew up to be a little more rebellious." He ended his toast to Obama with a wish: "May the special connection between our two countries continue to flourish in the years to come, and may my gray hair come in at a much slower rate than yours has." Catherine Garcia

2:49 p.m. ET

Conservative commentator and writer S.E. Cupp really, really wanted to root for the Republican nominee. But "after … witnessing some real progress in our outreach to women in the ensuing years, I did not expect an egomaniacal arsonist to come along and set all that ablaze," she writes in a new op-ed for The New York Times, "The Lonely Life of a Republican Woman."

Cupp decries the fact that Donald Trump has taken her party "back to the Dark Ages — or at least the 1950s," claiming that it is increasingly difficult for women Republicans to justify remaining with the right, even when it might be in their best interest in the long run:

Democrats' lofty language about empowering women sounds great (and way better than Mr. Trump's), but President Obama's economy has done just the opposite. By many metrics, women (and men) are worse off. The poverty rate is higher than it was in 2007. Real median household income is down. More Americans are dependent on the government for assistance. Homeownership is down. Student debt has skyrocketed, along with the national debt. We now know that Obamacare is becoming unaffordable.

None of this is empowering, not for working women, mothers, small-business owners or students. Whether you're a veteran or a millennial, it's hard to argue that big government has solved your problems efficiently, if at all.

But before we can make that case to women, Republicans will have to earn the right to be heard at all. That will require emptying the party of Mr. Trump's enablers. Who knows how long that will take, but in the meantime, women would frankly have to have been lobotomized to believe anything the Republican Party tells them. [The New York Times]

Read Cupp's tough love takedown at The New York Times. Jeva Lange

2:38 p.m. ET
Welgos/Getty Images

Paleontologists have uncovered countless dinosaur bones, but what they have yet to find is a dinosaur brain — that is, until now. Researchers recently realized what they thought was a run-of-the-mill skull fossil actually may contain a chunk of fossilized dinosaur brain tissue. Scientists think the brain tissue came from a "large leaf-eating dinosaur, possibly from a species similar to the iguanodon," which roamed the Earth some 130 million years ago, Mashable reports.

The brain tissue, which looks like a nondescript brown rock at first glance, was found by an amateur fossil hunter in Sussex in 2004. Scientists believe the dinosaur's head fell into a swamp when it died, which prevented the brain tissue from decaying like soft tissue usually does. Instead, The Independent explained, the brain was essentially "pickled by the highly acidic and low-oxygen water."

Still, some scientists aren't convinced this is the real deal. Lawrence Witmer, a paleontologist from Ohio University, stressed that brain tissue is "one of the first things that decomposes after an animal dies." He told NPR he thinks what researchers have discovered is "part of the protective outer covering of the brain."

However, researchers insist they've spotted what appear to be blood vessels, which, Vox noted, is "the tell-tale sign this was indeed part of a brain." "They're incontrovertible, they can't be anything else," said Alexander Liu, a co-author of the research. "They have the right diameters, they branch in the right way, they're hollow, and they are in the right places." Becca Stanek

2:28 p.m. ET

Apple on Thursday revealed its thinnest and lightest MacBook Pros ever, previewing two versions of the laptop computer at its October 2016 keynote. The smaller version will feature a 13-inch screen and weigh 3 pounds, while the larger version will measure 15 inches and weigh 4 pounds.

The machines will come with an updated keyboard with a "touch bar," which will feature a Retina display that responds to taps and adapts to whatever software is being used; if Safari is running, for example, the bar will display browser bookmarks and search and back buttons. Apple's voice control app, Siri, will also have a dedicated key. The computers ship with four Thunderbolt 3 ports that support USB-C, and any of the ports can double as a charging port.

"The Mac is more than a product to us," CEO Tim Cook said. "It's a testament to everything we do and everything that created Apple." The laptops start at $1,499 for a 13-inch and from $2,399 for a 15-inch. Pre-orders start today, with shipping beginning in two to three weeks. The Verge has all the specs and details on their live blog, which you can visit here. Jeva Lange

12:38 p.m. ET

Twitter announced Thursday that it will be discontinuing the mobile app for Vine, its short-form video-sharing service that has existed since 2013. The announcement follows reports earlier Thursday that Twitter would be reducing its global workforce by 9 percent, even as the troubled company's third-quarter earnings exceeded analysts' expectations.

"Nothing is happening to the apps, website, or your Vines today," the company said in a statement posted to Medium. "We value you, your Vines, and are going to do this the right way. You'll be able to access and download your Vines. We'll be keeping the website online because we think it's important to still be able to watch all the incredible Vines that have been made. You will be notified before we make any changes to the app or website." Vine has over 200 million monthly users and 1.5 billion "loops." Jeva Lange

11:57 a.m. ET

In further evidence Donald Trump is a self-proclaimed expert on every topic under the sun, the GOP nominee offered Wednesday to give Defense Secretary Ash Carter some advice on how to best defend the nation. During an interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos, the host reminded Trump that Carter had said Trump doesn't "know a damn thing about military strategy." Trump's response? "I'll teach him a couple of things."

Trump then launched into an explanation of how the military offensive to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul from the Islamic State should've been handled. "I've been hearing about Mosul now for three months. 'We're going to attack, we're going to attack,'" Trump said. "Why do they have to talk about it?"

Instead, the businessman advised, the military should have prioritized secrecy. "Don't talk about it," Trump said. "Element of surprise. General George Patton."

Listen to the rest of Trump's advice to Carter, a former physicist and Harvard professor who has been working on national security issues since the '90s, below. Becca Stanek

11:08 a.m. ET
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Though first lady Michelle Obama has already stumped for Hillary Clinton many a time, the two women will appear on the same stage for the first time this campaign Thursday at a rally Thursday in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The Clinton campaign has already hailed Obama as its "not-so-secret weapon," and the speeches the first lady has made so far have been some of the most memorable of this election, dating back to her address at the summer's Democratic National Convention.

"She has exceeded our expectations in terms of how many events she has been able to do, willing to do. Her team keeps surprising us with additional availability and we can't, from our vantage point, we can't get her out there enough. She's been an absolute rock star," Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon said earlier this week.

On Thursday, Obama will "get the drum beating on early voting," a Clinton spokesperson said. President Obama lost North Carolina in 2012; Clinton is an average of 5.4 points ahead in the four-way matchup, with just 12 days to go until Election Day. Donald Trump's campaign has also been active this week in the state, which, aside from the 2008 election, has historically voted Republican. Becca Stanek

11:05 a.m. ET

Archaeologists and restorers working in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of Jerusalem have pulled back the marble cover on what is traditionally considered to be the tomb of Jesus Christ, National Geographic reports. By removing the covering, which is believed to have been placed on the tomb around 1555 A.D. or earlier, scientists have exposed the "burial bed," where Christ is believed to have been laid after being crucified in A.D. 30 or 33.

"The marble covering of the tomb has been pulled back, and we were surprised by the amount of fill material beneath it," Fredrik Hiebert, the archaeologist-in-residence at the National Geographic Society, said. "It will be a long scientific analysis, but we will finally be able to see the original rock surface on which, according to tradition, the body of Christ was laid."

Researchers plan to study the surface in order to better understand the original shape of the tomb. "The techniques we're using to document this unique monument will enable the world to study our findings as if they themselves were in the tomb of Christ," Chief Scientific Supervisor Professor Antonia Moropoulou said.

Watch the big reveal below, and read more about the restoration and research at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre at National Geographic. Jeva Lange

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