Home News Roundup News Roundup: December 19, 2014

News Roundup: December 19, 2014


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Constitutional Facepalms

Barrett Brown, a journalist from Dallas known for his work with the hacker group Anonymous to expose disturbing details from the secretive world of U.S. intelligence contractors, was expected to be sentenced this week in a controversial federal case that his supporters call politically motivated persecution. His sentencing has been postponed to January. [BoingBoing]

In this week’s edition of lawmakers with disturbingly little comprehension of Constitutional law, a state legislator in Missouri has proposed legislation that would require women seeking abortions to obtain notarized consent from a male partner except in cases of “legitimate rape.” Spousal notification requirements were ruled unconstitutional in 1992. [Mother Jones]

This Week in Activism

Samuel L. Jackson is calling on all the celebrities who dumped buckets of ice on their heads earlier this year to record videos singing a protest song inspired by the killing of Eric Garner. [Upworthy]

Student anti-rape activists at Columbia University who were fined for “clean-up fees” after leaving symbolic mattresses at the University President’s house presented their payment this week: a giant check written on yet another mattress, hauled across campus to the President’s office. [Jezebel]

Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of New York, DC, Oakland, San Francisco, and cities across the country last weekend, in continued objections to police brutality. [USA Today]


Sony has abandoned plans for a Christmas Day release of “The Interview” after the studio was successfully attacked by North Korean hackers. [PBS] Some theaters initially announced plans to show “Team America: World Police” in its place on Christmas, but Paramount subsequently denied access to that film. [Hollywood Reporter]

The South Dakota Department of Transportation has pulled its “Think Before You Jerk” campaign over some vaguely stated concerns about it being a double entendre. [Washington Post]

Permafrost levels in Alaska are continuing to recede (retract?) at dramatic rates, which is increasingly causing infrastructure concerns across the state. [Alaska Public Media]

Uncomfortable Business Developments

Following the freefall of Russia’s currency, the country’s entire stock market is now worth less than Apple, Inc. As one analyst put it, if you owned Apple and sold it, you could buy the entire Russian stock market and still have enough cash left over to buy every Russian citizen an iPhone 6 Plus. [Bloomberg]

A Texas plumber didn’t remove his business name and phone number from his truck before trading it in, and now it’s been spotted on Twitter with a Syrian rebel and a homemade anti-aircraft cannon in the back. Whoops. [Road Track]

New drone footage reveals the extent of the damage done by Greenpeace in its ill-conceived PR stunt at a Peruvian World Heritage Site. [io9]

Some Good News

The “CROmnibus” spending bill passed by Congress last week included language codifying the Obama administration’s position that the federal government should not interfere with state legalization of medical marijuana. [LA Times]

Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Department of Justice considers transgender people to be explicitly protected under the sex discrimination provisions of the Civil Rights Act. [The New Civil Rights Movement]

Two pundits arguing on C-SPAN got a surprise phone call while on air – from their mom, telling them to be nice to each other. [C-SPAN]

What would it sound like if you could play a tree’s rings on a record player? Now we know. [IFLScience]

A puppy born without front paws can now run with his friends after being adopted by someone who conveniently works for a 3D printing company. Yes, there’s a GIF. [Mashable]