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January 12, 2018

"The president had another preposterous day today," Jimmy Kimmel sighed on Thursday's Kimmel Live. First he tweeted out one data point from a poll that was otherwise brutal for him, then he rejected a bipartisan deal for DACA immigrants. But it was the reason he rejected the DACA deal — it restored protections for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, and Africa — that caused the biggest splash. "Before I share specifically what he said," Kimmel began, "I would like you to keep in mind this is an actual quote from the actual president of the United States."

"Listen, I'm sure the fact the countries he described as 'shitholes' are mostly populated by people of color, and the immigrants he wants from Norway are not, is a coincidence," Kimmel deadpanned. "Because if it wasn't, it would mean we voted for a racist, like a real one, and we'd have to get pitchforks and chase him out of the White House." The White House didn't even bother denying Trump's comment. "It really is unfathomable — you just can't believe that this is the guy running our country," Kimmel said. "The only silver lining, and this is a small silver lining," was watching Wolf Blitzer say "s-hole" all day.

On The Daily Show, Trevor Noah said he'd planned to do a positive segment on Trump and the Koreas, but Trump just had to do something Trump. "Guys, I don't know how to break this to you, but I think the president might be racist," Noah said. "Personally, as someone from South Shithole, I'm offended, Mr. President." The whole comment is bad, but the part that "really put it over the line for me is Norway," he added. "When he said where he wanted immigrants to come from, he didn't just name a white country, he named the whitest country." He had a theory on how Trump picked Norway, too. Watch below. Peter Weber

3:38 p.m. ET
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As Spock once said, "In critical moments, men sometimes see exactly what they wish to see." But a new scientific discovery may be more than just wishful interpretation.

Researchers have discovered a planet that matches the description of Planet Vulcan, Spock's home planet, that Star Trek's original creator Gene Roddenberry gave almost 20 years ago. Of course, it's not the exact same planet from the fictional franchise, but it is a real-life rock with very Vulcan-like properties.

In collaboration with astronomers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Roddenberry declared back in 1991 that if Vulcan really existed, it would likely orbit the real-life star 40 Eridani A, Science reported. Because 40 Eridani A is a few billion years old, Roddenberry theorized that a planet orbiting that star would have had enough time to develop a civilization as advanced as the Vulcans. 40 Eridani A is an orange dwarf about 16 light years away from Earth, and it is sometimes visible in the night sky.

Now, the Dharma Planet Survey, which is a widespread effort to catalogue planets in star systems near to our own, has found a planet orbiting 40 Eridani A — right where Vulcan would be. The planet, officially dubbed HD 26965b, is about twice the size of Earth and has a year that lasts only 42 days, Space explained.

The Dharma Planet Survey's findings are due to be published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society in October. Read more about our new "Planet Vulcan" at Space. Shivani Ishwar

3:12 p.m. ET
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Facebook may offer users unlimited gender options, but choosing anything other than "male" may have cost them a job.

That's what three female Facebook users found when looking for work on the social network, a new complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Tuesday alleges. The complaint is backed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Communication Workers of America and could be the first step toward a lawsuit against Facebook.

Screenshots attached to the EEOC complaint show how Facebook lets advertisers target their messages to "single dads," "soccer moms," and a variety of other gender-based interests. The female complainants also attached screenshots showing, when they clicked "Why am I seeing this?" on an ad, that the employers "wanted to reach men ages 21 to 50" or another specific demographic. The complaint specifically cites 10 employers found to have tailored their ads to a certain age and gender. Meanwhile, gender-based ads were outlawed in newspapers decades ago, the ACLU noted in a blog post.

Past investigations found advertisers could tailor ads to people of a specific race or sexual orientation, and Facebook subsequently shut down those targeting options. Still, gender- and age-based targeting persists, the ACLU maintains. And if this EEOC complaint doesn't convince Facebook to clean up its gender-biased act, USA Today suggests the company could face a lawsuit. Kathryn Krawczyk

2:50 p.m. ET
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Some Republicans have been growing anxious that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) might be in danger of losing his re-election campaign to rising Democratic star Rep. Beto O'Rourke. But a new poll of the Texas Senate race may ease their concerns.

Quinnipiac University found in a poll released Tuesday that among likely voters in the race, Cruz leads O'Rourke 54 percent to 45 percent. Previous polls had shown O'Rourke closing in on the incumbent senator, with Cruz having a perilously small 1-point advantage in an Emerson poll conducted in August. But as ABC News reporter Adam Kelsey points out, Emerson polled all registered voters while Tuesday's Quinnipiac survey is among likely voters specifically. Quinnipiac additionally found that 93 percent of respondents had already made up their minds about the election.

Per Real Clear Politics, Cruz's 9-point lead in the Quinnipiac poll is his best showing since June, when he scored a 10-point advantage over his Democratic opponent in a survey from CBS News/YouGov.

The Quinnipiac poll was conducted by speaking to 807 likely voters over the phone from Sept. 11 - 17. It has a margin of error of 4.1 percentage points. Read the full results here. Brendan Morrow

2:04 p.m. ET
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During the opening monologue of the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards on Monday, comedian Colin Jost quipped that the audience watching at home consisted of merely "hundreds" of people. He was exaggerating — but not by as much as host network NBC would have hoped.

Per Nielsen, the company that measures television ratings, approximately 10.2 million people watched the 2018 Emmys, Deadline reports. That's over 1 million fewer viewers than watched in 2017, when 11.4 million people tuned in, per Variety. Indeed, 10.2 million is yet another new low for the television awards show; the 2016 ceremony drew what was then the smallest audience of all time with 11.3 million viewers, Variety reports, but that seems downright massive compared to 2018's dismal showing.

Lest one assume the ratings drop was simply because the show was on a Monday this year rather than a Sunday, the Emmys were also held on a Monday in 2014 — and that show scored 15.6 million viewers, Deadline reported at the time.

Instead, television ratings have just been in steady decline across the board as consumers cut cable and grow disinterested in live events like awards shows. But as The Wrap points out, there's a silver lining: By dropping about 11 percent, this year's Emmys at least didn't see as sharp a ratings dip as the 2018 Oscars, which experienced a decline of 16 percent in 2018. So that's something. Brendan Morrow

1:30 p.m. ET
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For companies looking for flexible office space in Manhattan, WeWork just seems to work.

The coworking company now officially occupies the most space in Manhattan, The Wall Street Journal reports, surpassing JPMorgan Chase for the record. WeWork now rents 5.3 million square feet throughout the borough, edging out JPMorgan Chase's occupation of 5.2 million square feet — a development that reveals how flexible leases are undermining traditional real estate.

Because WeWork rents out large office blocks and divides them up among tenants, it can offer smaller spaces and shorter leases than a normal landlord. These flexible plans, paired with attractive amenities like lounges and beer on tap, originally attracted small startups. But even big firms such as Amazon and Verizon have hopped on the coworking train, driving WeWork's recent growth, the Journal points out.

This freedom comes with a price. Square footage in a coworking spot often costs double or triple what a traditional office does, and flex-space companies pack about three desks into the space typical offices usually reserve for one, the Journal says.

Still, growing interest in flex-space spots has led WeWork and its peers to dominate 9.7 percent of new Manhattan leases so far in 2018. The same companies only made up 3.3 percent of leases in 2017, per the Journal. WeWork has grown even more dramatically than its coworking peers, boosting its total space around the world from 19.5 million square feet in 2017 to 36.4 million so far in 2018. And with larger companies starting to pour in, the Journal expects WeWork and pals to start slinging a lot more cucumber water in the next few years.

Read more about WeWork's rise at The Wall Street Journal. Kathryn Krawczyk

12:59 p.m. ET
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Tesla CEO Elon Musk is not having a great week.

Shortly after being hit with a lawsuit by the Thai cave diver who he accused of being a pedophile, Musk's company is now facing a Justice Department investigation, Bloomberg reports. This is over Musk's now infamous tweet from August in which he said that he was "considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured." The New York Times subsequently reported that despite what Musk said, he actually had not secured funding and that his tweet was more of a "flip remark."

That remark resulted in Tesla receiving a subpoena from the Securities and Exchange Commission, which had already been investigating the company over concerns that Musk had misled investors, per the Times. Musk announced at the end of August that Tesla would stay public after all.

CNBC reports that immediately following Bloomberg's report of the Justice Department probe Tuesday, Tesla stock dropped, just as it did after Musk conducted a bizarre earnings call in May, got subpoenaed by the SEC in August, and smoked pot with Joe Rogan in September. Brendan Morrow

12:07 p.m. ET
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Just like the president lamented to reporter Bob Woodward ahead of the publication of his book Fear, Trump has "another bad book coming out."

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is writing a tell-all book, The Washington Post reported Tuesday. It will provide a "candid account of his career and an impassioned defense of the FBI's agents," his publisher said. Trump has frequently criticized McCabe, and he retroactively revoked his security clearance last month. McCabe was fired from the FBI in March just 26 hours before he could retire and receive a pension, reports the Post. The bureau's inspector general accused him of disclosing information to the media and lying about it.

"I wrote this book because the president's attacks on me symbolize his destructive effect on the country as a whole," McCabe said in a statement of his book, The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump. The book will be published by St. Martin's Press and will come out on Dec. 4.

McCabe further said Trump is "undermining America's safety and security," adding that his book would illuminate the "clear and present danger" Trump poses to the country through a firsthand account of his time working directly with the president and other top administration officials. Read more at The Washington Post. Summer Meza

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