why
May 27, 2020

Jerry Falwell Jr. is conceding to Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's (D) coronavirus-fighting demands with a mask that's almost certain to backfire.

Northam's recent order mandating everyone in the state wear a mask when they're in public has seemingly made Falwell pretty mad about preserving public health. So on Wednesday, the Liberty University president and influential conservative figure, revealed he'd ordered a mask printed with the blackface photo found on Northam's college yearbook page — something anyone who sees Falwell wearing the mask will likely not know.

It's been more than a year since it was revealed Northam's 1984 yearbook page featured a photo of a person in blackface standing beside a person in KKK robes. While Northam said he had worn blackface before, he maintained that he wasn't either of the men in the photo, and a three-month investigation couldn't prove it was or wasn't him. That photo is on Falwell's new mask, though without any context or explanation, those unfamiliar with Northam's scandal will likely just think Falwell is wearing a racist photo.

The News & Advance, a Virginia paper, asked Northam if he had anything to say to Falwell, and spokesperson responded that "the office of the governor will not dignify that tweet with a response." Kathryn Krawczyk

March 28, 2017

The next time you spot a spider and are headed for it with a shoe, ask yourself if you really want to be squishing a critter that could theoretically band together with all of its arachnid brethren and wipe out the entire human race in a single year.

No, this isn't a scene from Tarantula — it's a new study published in Science of Nature, which found that the world's spiders consume between 400 million and 800 million tons of prey every year. The total adult human biomass on Earth is estimated to be 278 million tons. You do the math.

Part of the spider's power is that it is everywhere. Everywhere. A recent study of homes in North Carolina, for example, found that 100 percent contained spiders, with 68 percent of bathrooms and 75 percent of bedrooms housing an eight-legged buddy or two, The Washington Post reports. If you piled all the spiders in the world on a scale, the terrifying swarm would weigh the equivalent of 478 Titanic ocean liners, or about 25 million tons.

To read more about how the researchers calculated the weight of the global spider population's annual diet, visit The Washington Post or read the study here. As for that spider you've run into, consider gently setting a cup over your arachnid overlord and escorting it outside. Jeva Lange

February 22, 2017

President Trump is the proud owner of 3,643 website domain names. Some, like TrumpEmpire.com, TrumpBuilding.com, and TrumpOrganization.com, make sense for a former real estate mogul to purchase. Others, like TrumpFraud.org, TrumpScam.com, TrumpNetworkPonziScheme.com, I'mBeingSuedByTheDonald.com, and DonaldTrumpSucks.com, are purchases perhaps intended to avoid potentially damaging content being published under embarrassing URLs. But then there are some Trump domain purchases that defy explanation, like TrumpArmy.com and TrumpRussia.com.

Visiting those websites doesn't provide any answers either. Like most of Trump's registered domains, all that pops up is a GoDaddy template, indicating the domain name is purchased and paid for, but inactive. In the past, Trump has purchased domain names shortly before they became relevant, like when he purchased VoteAgainstTrump.com in 2012, when he was contemplating a presidential run. Shortly before announcing his presidential campaign in June 2015, he bought the domains MakeAmericaGreatAgain.vote and MakeAmericaGreatAgain.us.

Trump Organization spokeswoman Amanda Miller told CNN that Trump's purchases are a way to protect "corporate identity" and "intellectual property," and noted "the use of 'negative' domain names is a serious issue facing all large companies around the world." She did not, however, shed light on why Trump registered the domain TrumpRussia.com despite his repeated claims he owns "nothing in Russia," or why he may have purchased a domain referring to his "Army" long before he became America's commander-in-chief. Becca Stanek

October 5, 2015

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

See More Speed Reads