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Seriously, let it go
October 10, 2017

Standing for the national anthem may be instituted as a mandatory policy in the NFL, CNBC reported Tuesday. Per a league spokesman, team owners will discuss at a meeting next week a potential rule change mandating all players stand during the playing of the national anthem.

Late Monday night, Deadspin reported that sometime in the last three years, the NFL already quietly changed its rule concerning player conduct during the anthem. In 2014, the league's national anthem policy — tucked away in its obscure Policy Manual for Member Clubs — stipulated that "during the playing of the national anthem, players on the field should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking." The 2017 version of the manual includes the same conduct directives, but the consequences for failure to do so have changed, Deadspin notes:

The 2014 policy reads that failure to be on the field by the start of the national anthem may "result in disciplinary action from the League office." The version currently being promulgated by the NFL revises this to read "result in discipline, such as fines, suspensions, and/or the forfeiture of draft choice(s) for violation of the above, including first offenses."

That’s a pretty big change for two reasons: They've added a lot of punishment, and they've removed the language that punishment would come from the league office. We don't know when the change was made; its language did not appear on the web at all until two weeks ago, and questions sent to an NFL spokesperson have yet to be answered. [Deadspin]

It is unclear what punishments the league owners would consider for players who defy a new mandatory standing rule. Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016 to protest police brutality against people of color, though this season the protest has become embroiled in broader political turmoil. Kimberly Alters

May 26, 2016

Elephants, it turns out, really do seem to have exceptionally good memories. So good, in fact, that one elephant at a zoo outside of Seoul, South Korea, is able to recall five of the words his Korean trainers say to him most often — and then repeat them. The 26-year-old elephant, named Koshik, can quite literally emulate human speech, and there's video footage to prove it:

In case you aren't fluent in Korean, Koshik was having a conversation with his trainer in Korean there:

Koshik: "choah" (good)

Trainer: "choah choah annyong" (good good hello) [YouTube]

Koshik is able to say the Korean words for hello, sit down, lie down, good, and no. He does it by putting his trunk inside of his mouth, which The New York Times explains he then uses to "modulate the tone and pitch of the sounds his voice makes, a bit like a person putting his fingers in his mouth to whistle." Korean native speakers say that Koshik's pronunciation is so good that they can "readily understand and transcribe the imitations." Becca Stanek

May 18, 2016

All of Donald Trump's picks for potential nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court have reportedly one thing in common: They're white. And his list doesn't do much better in terms of gender diversity, either. Out of the 11 potential nominees the presumptive Republican nominee named Wednesday, only three are women. The other eight are men. You can read his full list of names here. Becca Stanek

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