Does This Tweet Prove Kim Kardashian Is Having Twins Via Her Surrogate?

It’s a day ending in the letter Y, so obvi the internet is desperate for clues about the Kardashian-Jenner pregnancies. For now, Kris is only feeding us scraps of information about Kim’s pregnancy, which is not exactly exciting because it’s not a near-teen pregnancy, Kim is not having a baby out of wedlock, and this pregnancy has already been confirmed. Come on, Kris. Where’s the drama? Where’s the pizzazz? But whatever, I’ll take what I can get at this point. Back when Beyoncé had twins, we all joked that Kim Kardashian would have triplets to try to one-up her. And it looks like Kim might have took the memes too far with a recent tweet that seemed to imply Kim and Kanye are expecting twins with their surrogate. Kim, you know that was a joke and not a challenge, right?

On Monday afternoon, Kim Kardashian tweeted to her followers, asking if anyone had a good recommendation for a double stroller. You know, because it’s not like this woman has a whole team of people around her at all times who she could consult for advice or anything. Naturally, this caused Twitter to freak out that Kim’s surrogate is expecting twins, because why else would you ask that?

Well, there could be other reasons, as it turns out. Kim quickly clarified her tweet with a follow-up, saying that she is looking for a double stroller for the two kids she already has.

But I’m not entirely convinced. First off, North West is four years old. Most infants are fully walking at about 14 to 15 months old, meaning that North has been walking for years now. On top of that, some doctors warn against using a stroller past the age of four or five, saying it could discourage the child from becoming active and independent. I’m not saying this to criticize Kim’s parenting, I’m pointing this out because why would you buy a brand new stroller for a child that probably doesn’t even need a stroller?

Also, Saint West is only one year old. That means the difference in size between him and North is not insignificant. While Consumer Reports says it’s best to use a double stroller for twins (obviously), you use one for two different aged children, it just might be harder to find one that can accommodate the uneven weight distribution. Although perhaps the double stroller in question is for Saint and the new baby—that would make more sense. But then why tweet implying the smoking double stroller is for your 4-year-old and 1-year-old? Is there a logical explanation for all this? Or is this tweet a convenient cover-up? 

Let’s be real, this is Kim Kardashian we’re talking about. If Kim genuinely wanted some good stroller recommendations, she could ask Beyoncé or read Amazon reviews or have her assistant Google it or do basically anything more efficient than shooting it out into the Twitter-verse. Kim knew what she was doing with this tweet. She wants us to think she’s having twins. Kim Kardashian basically incepted all of us. You win, Kim. You win this round, but I’m not giving up on my Kardashian-West twins conspiracy theory just yet.

Read more: http://www.betches.com/kim-kardashian-surrogate-pregnant-with-twins

Let’s break down 15 terrible excuses from accused sexual harassers and predators.

The world is currently being treated to a slow-rolling reveal of the alleged bad behavior of some of its most powerful men.

And inevitably, with bad behavior comes excuses.

It’s no surprise that prominent accused harassers and predators, once cornered, would try to wriggle out of accusations of sexual conduct and abuse. What is surprising is the variety in their attempts to justify their alleged behavior. Excuses by way of apology. Excuses by way of confession. Excuses by way of firm, uncompromising denial. All attempting to convey how they didn’t do what they’ve been accused of or that what they did do made sense to them in the moment. In some way, they’re the most revealing window into the personal, social, and cultural forces that enable their alleged misdeeds.

Excuses, ultimately, reflect our beliefs about what’s just and fair. Which raises some questions: Do any of them actually put the behavior in a context that makes it, in some distressing way, understandable? Do they ever work? And what does it say about us if we believe them?

Here are just some of the excuses we know they’ve tried:

1. I’m from a different era, and this strange, new culture is confusing to me.

To date, more than 50 women have accused Hollywood mega-producer Harvey Weinstein of engaging in a decades-long pattern of abusive behavior ranging from harassment to sexual coercion to rape. But lest “what he supposedly did” is coloring your impression of him, Weinstein wants you to remember he’s not an evil man: He’s just a recovering hippie!

“I came of age in the ’60s and ’70s when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different,” Weinstein wrote in a statement. “That was the culture then.”

Harvey Weinstein. Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images.

Of course. Who doesn’t remember the ’60s and ’70s? Flower power! Free love! Cornering women in a hotel room and trying to force them to watch you shower! Though the millions of other people who made it through those turbulent decades without harassing or abusing anyone — or threatening them if they told anyone and then hiring ex-spies to help cover it up — might remember those decades slightly differently, Weinstein simply refuses to let the swingin’ spirit die. No matter the decade, his behavior is less “groovy” and more “galling.”

Weinstein’s excuse depends on eliding two wildly different notions: (1) That America failed to take workplace harassment and sexual abuse seriously in the ’60s and ’70s, and (2) that it was OK back then — or perpetrated by anyone reared back then — as a result. While the first assertion is undeniable, the second is self-serving nonsense. Just because a behavior was ignored, tolerated, or even encouraged doesn’t make it remotely close to excusable.

2. Hey, it’s not like I didn’t ask!

Thus wrote comedian Louis C.K. in a widely praised (and widely derided) statement confirming a New York Times report that he had masturbated in front of almost half a dozen unwilling women.

“At the time, I said to myself that what I did was O.K. because I never showed a woman my dick without asking first, which is … true. But what I learned later in life, too late, is that when you have power over another person, asking them to look at your dick isn’t a question. It’s a predicament for them.”

Some might argue C.K.’s approach forgoes the most critical part of consent: waiting for a response. Still others might assert that without getting a “yes” or a “no” back, there’s no point in asking at all. Viewed that way, C.K.’s logic is baffling at best, and it’s both miraculous and frightening that he somehow got to the age of 50 believing the world works like this.

More frightening still, scattered segments from C.K.’s TV show and various stand-up specials in which the comedian acknowledges viewing masturbation as a form of control or tool of revenge suggest that he did indeed know the effect his behavior had on others — and simply didn’t care.

3. The closet made me do it. Also, I was drunk.

Ah, alcohol. Absolver of all responsibility. Whether knocking over a glass vase, texting your roommates at 4 a.m., or sexually assaulting teenagers, some men apparently believe that acknowledging that you were blasted when it happened is a one-way express ticket to Forgiveness Town. That reportedly includes Kevin Spacey, who actor Anthony Rapp says drunkenly attempted to force himself on him when Rapp was 14.

“If I did behave then as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior, and I am sorry for the feelings he describes having carried with him all these years,” Spacey wrote in a statement responding contritely to the alleged incident. Since the story of Rapp’s accusation broke, over a dozen more accusers have come forward.

Kevin Spacey. Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images.

To make matters worse for everyone but himself, Spacey used the space of his response to come out as a gay man — all but implying a connection between his alleged predation and his closeted sexuality. It reads as a desperate attempt to buy a modicum of sympathy at the cost of casting suspicion on millions of innocent LGBTQ Americans.

4. It’s just what guys do.

Donald Trump’s now-infamous comments about sexually assaulting women — “Grab ’em by the pussy” and “I moved on her like a bitch” — have largely disappeared down the memory hole, thanks to the steadily strengthening storm of scandals swirling around the now-president. Still, it’s tough to forget how the former reality show host became president in the first place: by managing to convince a depressing percentage of Americans that his unscripted admission was just a case of “boys being boys.”

“This was locker-room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago,” Trump said in a statement following the revelations.

Was it, though? On one hand, you’ve got the producers of “Access Hollywood,” who fired Billy Bush for merely participating in that very discussion; dozens professional athletes asserting that, no, that’s not at all what locker rooms are like; not to mention the dozens of women who have come forward and accused Trump of doing pretty much exactly what he described. On the other hand, you have the word of Donald Trump, a dude who lies constantly.

Tough call, I guess.  

5. I knew it was wrong, but no one complained, so how wrong could it have been?

“Toward the end of my time at ABC News, I recognized I had a problem,” journalist Mark Halperin said in a statement responding to allegations he had sexually harassed multiple women during his tenure at the network. “No one had sued me, no one had filed a human resources complaint against me, no colleague had confronted me. But I didn’t need a call from HR to know that I was a selfish, immature person who was behaving in a manner that had to stop.”

Of course, Halperin “knew” that what he was doing was wrong in the same way that his victims likely “knew” that going to human resources to complain about their boss would get them sidelined, fired, or branded as a troublemaker. That power imbalance allows Halperin to attempt to have it both ways: pretending to take full responsibility of the allegations while slyly implying that the women he harassed share the blame for not speaking up sooner or louder.

6. I’m too old and infirm to be a threat, and it was a joke anyway.

George H.W. Bush. Photo by David J. Phillip – Pool/Getty Images.

After multiple women came forward to accuse former President George H.W. Bush of groping them while posing for photos, the elder statesman did something few accused predators have the integrity to do: He admitted it.

Still, as drafted by his spokesperson, his statement-slash-confession seemed to carry more than a whiff of an implication that his victims were needlessly slandering a harmless, disabled, old American hero:

“To try to put people at ease, the president routinely tells the same joke — and on occasion, he has patted women’s rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner.”

And while it’s true that Bush is in his 90s and his arms aren’t as flexible as they used to be, a pat is different than a squeeze — and if someone squeezes your ass, you know. Not to mention, this explanation would appear to be contradicted by new reports that a less old and less infirm Bush was, apparently, no less inclined to grope the women (and girls, in some cases) standing next to him in photos.

7. I made them stars, and this is how they repay me?!

For some serial abusers, getting a woman her dream job apparently means assuming sexual ownership over her forever and always in exchange. Consider Roger Ailes, who reportedly made a series of unwelcome overtures to former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, even repeatedly attempting to kiss her in his office. The excuse he gave, framed as a furious denial, attempts to marshal other, generous actions as evidence to why he couldn’t or wouldn’t have engaged in misconduct.

“I worked tirelessly to promote and advance [Megyn Kelly’s] career, as Megyn herself admitted to Charlie Rose. Watch that interview and then decide for yourself,” Ailes said. As is commonly the case, Kelly wasn’t close to alone in her accusations among the women hired by Ailes. Since former Fox anchor Gretchen Carlson launched her lawsuit against her ex-boss, more than 20 women have come forward with similar allegations.

For others, that imagined control extends to merely pretending to get women jobs. That was, allegedly, the longtime MO of director James Toback, who is accused of inviting over 200 women to professional meetings only to proposition and, occasionally, assault them once in private. Toback put his denial even more aggressively:

“The idea that I would offer a part to anyone for any other reason than that he or she was gonna be the best of anyone I could find is so disgusting to me. And anyone who says it is a lying c*cksucker or c*nt or both.”

8. I’m trying to be a good guy now, and I respect the hell out of women, so let’s just wipe the slate clean.

A popular excuse, especially among various left-of-center men of Hollywood and the media, mixes a nod to contrition with a subtle appeal to tribal loyalty: “I may have been a jerk once,” the argument goes, “But I’m on the right side of the issues that you care about.”

Here’s Casey Affleck’s response, who reportedly harassed multiple women on the set of “I’m Still Here”:  

“There’s really nothing I can do about [the allegations] other than live my life the way I know I live it and to speak to what my own values are and how I try to live by them all the time.”

Casey Affleck. Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images.

And here’s what Dustin Hoffman had to say after he was accused of making inappropriate and lewd comments to a production assistant during “Death of a Salesman”:

“I have the utmost respect for women and feel terrible that anything I might have done could have put her in an uncomfortable situation. I am sorry. It is not reflective of who I am.”

And here are Leon Weiseltier’s words, who allegedly harassed multiple women of a series of years as editor-in-chief of The New Republic:

“The women with whom I worked are smart and good people. I am ashamed to know that I made any of them feel demeaned and disrespected. I assure them that I will not waste this reckoning.”

Whether that “reckoning” ever comes is often irrelevant to the alleged abuser. What matters is that enough people believe he’s an asset to whatever fight they’re fighting, leaving open the possibility that he’ll be rehabilitated by his community without having to lift a finger.

9. This is a political ploy by my enemies to ruin me.

Bill O’Reilly. Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images.

When in doubt, blame those bastards in the opposition party for trying to tear you down.

“If you look at the totality, this was a hit job — a political and financial hit job,” argued Bill O’Reilly, after reports surfaced that he settled an unknown sexual harassment claim for $32 million in addition to allegations that he harassed or abused a string of coworkers during his decade-plus at Fox News.

As a naked appeal to tribal loyalty, it’s a nefarious tactic but potentially a good deal more effective than, say, trying to shame your accusers by sharing the thank you notes they wrote you for some unrelated thing or outright blaming God — two things O’Reilly for real tried to do in the wake of allegations against him.

10. This is a political ploy by the media to get clicks and sell papers.

When in even more doubt, blame the fake news for whipping up people’s anger and impairing their “objectivity.”  

“Brett Ratner vehemently denies the outrageous derogatory allegations that have been reported about him, and we are confident that his name will be cleared once the current media frenzy dies down and people can objectively evaluate the nature of these claims,” said the director’s spokesperson in a statement responding to allegations that Ratner had engaged in sexual misconduct on set.

Despite Ratner’s denial, actor Ellen Page followed up days later with a blistering Facebook post, accusing the director of outing her against her will with an unwelcome, sexually tinged comment. Ratner as of yet hasn’t respond to her claim, unmediated by the media such as it was.

11. It was the Russians!

George Takei. Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images.

When in the most doubt, blame Vladimir Putin. As if the allegations against George Takei (which eerily paralleled a story Takei himself told Howard Stern several weeks earlier) weren’t upsetting enough, especially given Takei’s history of speaking out about the serious issue of sexual harassment, his response could not have been more bizarre:

“A friend sent me this. It is a chart of what Russian bots have been doing to amplify stories containing the allegations against me,” Takei wrote, after allegations that he had groped a fellow actor without his consent surfaced. “It’s clear they want to cow me into silence, but do not fear friends. I won’t succumb to that.”

12. But what about all the men who are falsely accused?

Of course, not all of those accused of harassment or abuse are guilty, though recent studies peg the incidence of false reports at between a mere 2% to 8%. But while the guilty category is larger by leaps and bounds, that inkling of doubt too often allows alleged harassers and predators to weasel their way into the former.

“No one wants to discourage abuse victims from speaking out, but one must bear in mind that sometimes there are people who are falsely accused and that is also a terribly destructive thing,” Woody Allen wrote in The New York Times after his daughter, Dylan Farrow, accused him of sexually assaulting her in the pages of the same paper a week earlier.

When reached for comment on the on the Harvey Weinstein allegations, Allen told the BBC he wished to avoid “a witch-hunt atmosphere” where “every guy in an office who winks at a woman is suddenly having to call a lawyer to defend himself.” It’s a frame that conflates workplace flirting (potentially harassing behavior in its own right) with Weinstein’s alleged pattern of coercion and assault or, perhaps, his own by association.

13. No comment, through a lawyer.

Rather than offer an excuse, which can be its own form of admission, some alleged abusers simply choose to say nothing and hope the accusation goes away. That’s what Bill Clinton did in response to claims that he raped then-nursing home operator Juanita Brodderick in a hotel after luring her there with the promise of a professional meeting. First, Clinton’s attorney called the allegations “absolutely false.” Later, Clinton himself doubled down.

“My counsel has made a statement about the … issue, and I have nothing to add to it,” the then-president told the Washington Post.

14. I’m a sick man.

Anthony Weiner. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

Of course, when the allegations become impossible to deny, some abusers see no option beyond making a full-throated, self-abasing confession. Anthony Weiner did this after pleading guilty to “transferring obscene material to a minor.”

“This fall, I came to grips for the first time with the depths of my sickness. I had hit bottom,” he said in court. “I entered intensive treatment, found the courage to take a moral inventory of my defects, and began a program of recovery and mental health treatment that I continue to follow every day.”

“I accept full responsibility for my conduct,” he continued. “I have a sickness, but I do not have an excuse. I apologize to everyone I have hurt. I apologize to the teenage girl, whom I mistreated so badly. I am committed to making amends to all those I have harmed. Thank you.”

Weiner certainly isn’t the first prominent accused predator to claim to be broken. Harvey Weinstein checked himself into rehab for sex addiction after allegations against him surfaced. Kevin Spacey did the same some weeks later. Weiner himself previously had done a stint at rehab. But while Weiner’s statement completely acknowledges the scope of his wrongdoing, it nonetheless contains an excuse. In some way, it implies that the former congressman’s sickness mitigates the harm his actions caused or, at the very least, absolves him of some of the blame.

It’s evidence that even the best, most clinical excuse is substandard at best.

Which is why the most reasonable excuse might just be:

15. I have no excuse.

On Nov. 1, former NPR news chief Michael Oreskes stepped down in the wake of allegations that he had harassed multiple women on the job. His acknowledgement was direct and, notably, didn’t offer an explanation for his behavior.

“I am deeply sorry to the people I hurt. My behavior was wrong and inexcusable, and I accept full responsibility.”

Apologizing unconditionally doesn’t make it all better. It doesn’t restore the careers of the women Oreskes’ behavior likely sidelined, marginalized, or ended. And it doesn’t provide a quicker, smoother path to forgiveness. Doing so merely acknowledges what should by now be obvious.

When it comes to harassing or abusing the people who work for you, depend on you, admire you, or simply those who are around you, there is no excuse.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/lets-break-down-15-terrible-excuses-from-accused-sexual-harassers-and-predators

Worlds Most Dangerous Countries Revealed, And It May Change Your Travel Plans

Just like last year, International SOS and Control Risks have released a map that shows just how tourist-friendly all countries are, and it’s worth looking at if you’re planning a trip for 2018 to a place you’ve never been before. After all, we all like coming back from a holiday with all of our limbs and other valuables.

Collecting data from the World Health Organization and other institutions, the interactive ‘Travel Risk Map’ reveals just how risky countries are regarding road safety, security and medical matters. According to The Ipsos Mori Business Resilience Trends Watch 2018, 63% of people think travel-related risks have increased during the past year. In the paper, security threats and natural disasters were cited as main reasons for changed travel plans.

Scroll down to check out how countries rank up against each other and let us know what you think about it in the comment section below!

This is how much travelers will be risking their health in 2018 across the globe

And this is how the world looks from a security threat point of view

Finally, the number of road accidents

Read more: http://www.boredpanda.com/worlds-dangerous-countries-travelriskmap-2018/

Americans Are Officially Freaking Out

For those lying awake at night worried about health care, the economy, and an overall feeling of divide between you and your neighbors, there’s at least one source of comfort: Your neighbors might very well be lying awake, too.

Almost two-thirds of Americans, or 63 percent, report being stressed about the future of the nation, according to the American Psychological Association’s Eleventh Stress in America survey, conducted in August and released on Wednesday.  This worry about the fate of the union tops longstanding stressors such as money (62 percent) and work (61 percent) and also cuts across political proclivities. However, a significantly larger proportion of Democrats (73 percent) reported feeling stress than independents (59 percent) and Republicans (56 percent).

The “current social divisiveness” in America was reported by 59 percent of those surveyed as a cause of their own malaise. When the APA surveyed Americans a year ago, 52 percent said they were stressed by the presidential campaign. Since then, anxieties have only grown.

A majority of the more than 3,400 Americans polled, 59 percent, said “they consider this to to be the lowest point in our nation’s history that they can remember.” That sentiment spanned generations, including those that lived through World War II, the Vietnam War, and the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. (Some 30 percent of people polled cited terrorism as a source of concern, a number that’s likely to rise given the alleged terrorist attack in New York City on Tuesday.)

“We have a picture that says people are concerned,” said Arthur Evans, APA’s chief executive officer. “Any one data point may not not be so important, but taken together, it starts to paint a picture.”

The survey didn’t ask respondents specifically about the administration of President Donald Trump, Evans said. He points to the “acrimony in the public discourse” and “the general feeling that we are divided as a country” as being more important than any particular person or political party.

Yet he and the study note that particular policy issues are a major source of anxiety. Some 43 percent of respondents said health care was a cause. The economy (35 percent) and trust in government (32 percent) also ranked highly, as did hate crimes (31 percent) and crime in general (31 percent). 

 

“Policymakers need to understand that this is an issue that is important to people, that the uncertainty is having an impact on stress levels, and that stress has an impact on health status,” Evans said, pointing out that the relationship between stress and health is well-established

  • And keeping up with the latest developments is a source of worry all its own. Most Americans—56 percent—said they want to stay informed, but the news causes them stress. (Yet even more, 72 percent, said “the media blows things out of proportion.”)

The APA survey did find, however, that not everyone is feeling the same degree of anxiety. Women normally report higher levels of stress than men, though worries among both genders tend to rise or fall in tandem. This year, however, they diverged: On a 10-point scale, women reported a slight increase in stress, rising from an average 5.0 in 2016 to 5.1 in 2017, while the level for men dropped, from an average 4.6 to 4.4. 

Racial divides also exist in reported stress. While the levels among blacks and Hispanics were lower in 2016 than the year before, they rose for both groups in 2017, to 5.2 for Hispanic adults and 5.0 for black adults. Among whites, meanwhile, the average remained the same, at 4.7. 

The report also notes that many Americans are finding at least one healthy way to feel better: 53 percent reported exercising or doing other physical activity to cope. Social support is also important,  Evans said. “Third,” he says, “I think it’s really important for people to disconnect from the constant barrage of information.” 

  1. The 2017 Stress in America survey was conducted by the Harris Poll on behalf of the APA. It was conducted online between Aug. 2 and Aug. 31, and had 3,440 participants, all ages 18 and up living in the U.S. It included 1,376 men, 2,047 women, 1,088 whites, 810 Hispanics, 808 blacks, 506 Asians and 206 Native Americans. Data were then weighted by age, gender, race/ethnicity, region, education and household income to reflect America's demographics accurately. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-01/americans-are-officially-freaking-out

She Complained Of Pain But Doctors Sent Her Home. Now She Has No Full Limbs.

When Lindsey Hubley was pregnant with her son, Myles, she had likely kept in mind that his birth might come with complications.

But before the 33-year-old welcomed her little boy into the world on March 2, she would have never guessed that not only would she spend the first seven months of Myles’ life in the hospital, but she’d be doing it without any full limbs. Hubley is now suing the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and five doctors after everything she’s been through.

Two days after giving birth to Myles, Hubley was discharged from the hospital. However, she came back the next day with abdominal pain. According to her lawyer, she didn’t receive an examination and was diagnosed with constipation before being sent home again.

She was rushed to the hospital again the next day after experiencing more pain and discoloration on her body. She was eventually diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis, the flesh-eating disease.

Since then she’s had to have a total hysterectomy and amputations below both of her elbows and knees, making her a quadruple amputee. She’s also been through multiple surgeries and hasn’t been able to come home since Myles’ birth.

Hubley’s lawyer, Ray Wagner, says that negligence caused what happened to her. “Our allegations are that had she been properly assessed when she presented at the hospital … a substantial part of the damage, if not all of it, could have been prevented,” he said

Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/mother-loses-limbs/

Universities deplore McCarthyism as MP demands list of tutors lecturing on Brexit

Tory whip writes to every vice-chancellor to ask for syllabus and any online material

Academics are accusing a Tory MP and government whip of McCarthyite behaviour, after he wrote to all universities asking them to declare what they are teaching their students about Brexit and to provide a list of teachers names.

Chris Heaton-Harris, Conservative MP for Daventry and a staunch Eurosceptic, wrote to vice-chancellors at the start of this month asking for the names of any professors involved in teaching European affairs with particular reference to Brexit. Neatly ignoring the long tradition of academic freedom that universities consider crucial to their success, his letter asks for a copy of each universitys syllabus and any online lectures on Brexit.

Prof David Green, vice-chancellor of Worcester University, felt a chill down his spine when he read the sinister request: This letter just asking for information appears so innocent but is really so, so dangerous, he says. Here is the first step to the thought police, the political censor and newspeak, naturally justified as the will of the British people, a phrase to be found on Mr Heaton-Harriss website. Green will be replying to the MP but not be providing the information requested.

MP's
Heaton-Harriss letter

Prof Kevin Featherstone, head of the European Institute at the LSE, is also outraged: The letter reflects a past of a McCarthyite nature. It smacks of asking: are you or have you ever been in favour of remain? There is clearly an implied threat that universities will somehow be challenged for their bias. Featherstone says LSE academics had already feared Brexit censorship after the Electoral Commission made inquiries during last years referendum campaign about academics debates and research, following a complaint by Bernard Jenkin, another Tory MP. Jenkin filed a complaint when the LSE hosted an event at which the secretary general of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said there was no upside for the UK in Brexit. Jenkin, a board member of the Vote Leave campaign, also accused the LSEs Centre for Economic Performance of producing partisan research designed to convince the public to stay in the EU. The commission, whose job is to ensure fair campaigning, investigated and took no action against the university.

A spokesman for the LSE strenuously denies all allegations of political bias. The freedom for academics to study the major issues facing society, reach their own conclusions, and engage in public debate is essential for the health of our universities and the UKs world-leading research base, he says.

Featherstone says: I understand the LSE received calls from the Electoral Commission asking about speakers and the costs of events on an almost daily basis throughout the campaign period. He argues that both Heaton-Harriss letter and the Electoral Commissions investigation pose a threat to the role of universities as free intellectual spaces where academics can explore and question ideas without political interference. He says both developments risk plunging universities into dangerous new political waters.

The Electoral Commission says universities have nothing to fear from its inquiries. We produce guidance to help all non-party campaigners understand the rules on campaigning and we can advise universities in cases where they may be affected. These do not prevent campaigning or engagement in public debate, but provide the public with transparency about who is spending what in order to influence their vote.

Prof
Prof David Green, vice-chancellor of Worcester University: Here is the first step to the thought police, the political censor. Photograph: James Watkins

More than 80% of academics voted to remain, according to a YouGov survey [pdf] commissioned by the University and College Union in January. And within university departments focusing on European affairs, Brexiters are a rarity.

However, university experts on Brexit insist their personal views do not jaundice their teaching, and students are encouraged to question received assumptions and look at issues from all sides.

Julie Smith, director of the European Centre in the politics and international studies department at Cambridge University, says she told a lecture full of graduates about Heaton-Harriss letter last week. I told the students what my personal views were and emphasised that they were personal views. I voted to remain, but as an academic, my job is to impart knowledge, encourage debate and develop skills of analytical argument, not to impose doctrine.

Smith, who is also a Liberal Democrat peer, adds: If it is the case that a politician thinks he should interfere in the content of what universities are teaching and look at syllabi in order to see whether the correct line is being delivered, that is profoundly worrying.

Prof Piet Eeckhout, academic director of University College Londons European Institute, says it is unsurprising if most academics working on Europe are in favour of the EU. I have been teaching EU law for the last 25 years. The fact that I am sufficiently interested to spend all my days working on it obviously means I think EU law is a good thing.

Prof
Prof Kevin Featherstone, director of the European Institute at the LSE: The letter reflects a past of a McCarthyite nature

Pro-Brexit academics working in this area are also unhappy with the MPs behaviour. Lee Jones, reader in international politics at Queen Mary University of London, is one of the few openly pro-Brexit academics in his field. During the referendum campaign I said what I wanted and no one tried to shut me up, but I know colleagues elsewhere who have been blanked in the corridors because they voted to leave.

Yet Jones, too, is outraged by Heaton-Harriss investigation. It is really troubling that an MP thinks it is within his remit to start poking his nose into university teaching, he says. Universities are autonomous and politicians have no right to intimidate academics by scrutinising their courses. I have colleagues who are die-hard remainers. But I know what they teach and it is not propaganda.

Chris Bickerton, reader in modern European politics at Cambridge University, and a fellow leave voter agrees. He adds: In my institution there is strong support for academic freedom. I applied for promotion after the referendum and never did I worry that my views on Brexit would affect the results or my promotional prospects. Nor did I feel any institutional pressure to think one way or the other in the runup to the vote itself.

Heaton-Harris did not respond to requests for a comment.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/oct/24/universities-mccarthyism-mp-demands-list-brexit-chris-heaton-harris

Researchers Have Discovered A “Functional Cure” For HIV

With one confirmed exception – the Berlin patient – no one has been cured of HIV. It is possible to nullify the symptoms of the virus, however, and there have also been several cases where levels of the virus in the blood have been essentially undetectable – meaning that the patient can’t pass on the infection to another person.

Although not a definitive cure, this type of viral drawdown can be described as a “functional cure.” Now it seems that scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) may have just found another way to obtain one.

Writing in the journal Cell Reports, they explain how a new type of drug appears to suppress the virus’ replication in chronically infected cells. This prevents viral rebound – wherein the levels of virus in a patient shoot up after an initial slump – even during treatment interruptions.

This has been described by the team as a “Block-and-Lock” approach, in that the reactivation of the virus within cells is prevented and HIV in the patient enters a latent state, doing no harm to the body.

“When combining this drug with the standard cocktail of anti-retrovirals used to suppress infection in humanized mouse models of HIV-1 infection, our study found a drastic reduction in virus RNA present,” TSRI Associate Professor Susana Valente, the coordinating author of the study, said in a statement.

“No other anti-retroviral used in the clinic today is able to completely suppress viral production in infected cells in vivo,” she added.

In the mice tested, they were shown not to experience a viral rebound for up to 19 days after they stopped receiving doses of the compound. In half of all treated mice, the virus was undetectable for 16 days after the treatment stopped. Imagine if the same effect could be reproduced in HIV-positive people.

The focus of the research was a compound named didehydro-Cortistatin A, or dCA for short. First isolated from the marine sponge Corticum simplex back in 2006, a researcher at TSRI managed to synthesize it in a laboratory just two years later.

The TSRI team have been working with it for some time now, and in 2015 announced that it has HIV-disrupting characteristics. This new study confirms that it blocks Tat, a regulatory protein that boosts the rate in which HIV copies DNA into RNA – a vital process in its life cycle.

“It is really the proof-of-concept for a ‘functional cure,’” Valente explained. She also pointed out that the maximum dose of the drug had “virtually no side effects.”

HIV/AIDS used to be a life-destroying disease. Now people can not only live normal lives with it, but they can see how science is paving the way to both functional, and complete, cures.

 

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/researchers-discovered-functional-cure-hiv/

Bartender says she broke her hand beating up the man who sexually assaulted her

A Philadelphia bartender’s harrowing story should be a testament to predators everywhere that if you’re ever urged to “grab by the pussy,” pussy will definitely grab back.

The Philadelphia Police Department is looking for a man who 30-year-old Jacquelyn Blough said sexually assaulted her while she was out with her friends at a bar she tends.

According to Philadelphia magazine, Blough and her friends were being chatted up by a group of men on the night of Oct. 28, when around 1:30 a.m., shortly before closing time, one of the men approached Bloguh from behind and forced his hand up her skirt, sexually assaulting her. And while there is no “appropriate” or “right” way for someone who has been sexually assaulted to react, Blough’s immediate response warrants a standing ovation: She turned around and beat the shit out of this asshole.

“He forcefully rammed his fingers up inside of me, out of nowhere,” Blough told the magazine. “It was awful. I spun around, and he looked at me and told me he was just kidding. So I put him in a headlock and beat him to a pulp. I’m a small woman and this huge guy couldn’t get me off of him. I beat him until he just couldn’t be beaten any further.”

Bar staff then threw the man out of the bar, and she went to the hospital—in the process of beating her assailant, she had broken three bones in her hand. She said she spent the next six hours at the hospital, which fixed her up with a cast to be worn the next four to six weeks.

When Blough got home from the hospital she said she tried to put the incident behind her in the days following, but ended up going to the 17th Police District in South Philadelphia on Nov. 1 to report the assault. She described her assailant as a stocky white male standing at 5’11” and around 40 years old, who wore a baseball hat, sweatpants, and a T-shirt.

“I was in bed with my mind spinning. I was feeling physically ill. I had so much anxiety, and I realized that this is not OK. This person should not be walking the streets. What’s he going to do to the next girl?” Blough said.

To add insult to injury, Bloguh’s broken arm has put her out of work since she can’t bartend and also doesn’t have health insurance. In the meantime, she’s looking for work she can do with her cast and has set up a GoFundMe page for her expenses, medical and otherwise.

“It’s just miserable. One nightmare to the next. All because somebody chose to be a horrible person,” Blough said.

Despite the series of events, Blough’s luck is looking up—her campaign is trending on GoFundMe, and more than 170 people have donated thousands in one day, already exceeding her $4,000 goal.

Blough did not respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment.

H/T Philadelphia

Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/irl/jacquelyn-blough-bartender-broken-hand/

The Life-Changing Magic Of Taking Long Walks

It is a paradox that perhaps the single best way to still one’s mind is to put the body in motion. The list of what has been accomplished on walks is almost comically illustrative of this point.

Nietzsche said the ideas in Thus Spoke Zarathustra came to him on a long walk. Thomas Cook supposedly came up with the idea for his travel and tourism agency—one of the first and biggest ever—on a walk from Market Harborough to Leicester. Nikola Tesla discovered the rotating magnetic field on a walk through a city park in Budapest in 1882, one of the most important scientific discoveries of all time.

And this is only a small sampling of what we can directly attribute to walking. When he lived in Paris, Hemingway would take long walks along the quais whenever he was stuck in his writing and he needed to clarify his thinking. Darwin’s daily schedule included several walks. Charles Dickens often walked as much as 20 miles per day! The poet William Wordsworth has walked as many as 180,000 miles in his lifetime—an average of 6.5 miles a day since he was five years old!

All of these walks, hundreds and thousands of miles over the years, were facilitating and generating the insights behind their brilliant, world-changing work. Nietzsche would go as far as to say of his own strolls, “It is only ideas gained from walking that have any worth.”

When I was 24, I broke my elbow after a fall from my bike. The break was painful and required a sling for something like six weeks, which made writing particularly difficult. My frustration was exacerbated by the fact that as an avid runner and swimmer, my normal means of exercise were also off the table. I also wasn’t going to be getting on a bike again anytime soon. To prevent myself from going stir-crazy, I started going on long walks. In the morning. In the afternoon. Late at night before bed.

At first these walks were just inferior substitutes for the exercise I was missing, and I disliked the experience. But as they went on—and the distances grew longer—walking grew on me. I came to notice and love the beauty of the city I had moved to. (There is no better city for walking in America than uptown New Orleans, even in the swampy summer heat.) I also found that words for the book that I was writing seemed to just flow into my head from nowhere. Even difficulties I was having in my relationship started to feel less serious, and solutions followed. It was exactly as Thoreau said, “the moment my legs begin to move my thoughts begin to flow.”

By the time my arm healed, I was a convert. I was a walker. As much as I could, whenever I could, especially when I was stuck. I even walk when I have phone calls to do or if I show up somewhere early. But it should be said that walking thoughts are usually a different kind of thought. They are not the racing thoughts of the worried mind. Or the distracted thoughts of the workplace mind. They are, as many walkers attest, more naturally reflective, calmer and contemplative.

It strikes me that this is partly due to the environmental change and then partly due to how the mind works when walking. In a notoriously loud city like ancient Rome, it was impossible to get much peace and quiet. The noises of wagons, the shouting of vendors, the hammering of a blacksmith—all filled the streets with piercing violence (to say nothing of the putrid smells of a city with poor sewage and sanitation). So philosophers like Seneca went on a lot of walks— to get where they needed to go, to clear their heads, to get fresh air. “We should take wandering outdoor walks,” he said, “so that the mind might be nourished and refreshed by the open air and deep breathing.”

It would seem obvious that walks in parks or forests or along pretty scenery are the best, but I don’t think it’s necessarily about nature. A busy New York City avenue can be silenced with headphones and a loop around a parking lot or down a long hallway will do in a pinch (a lap around the inside of the Pentagon is around a mile for example). It’s the process that’s doing the work, not the crashing of the oceans waves or the lapping of the water along the walls of a canal.

There is evidence that memory and the mind function differently on the move. The late Seth Roberts used to practice flashcards for languages he was learning while on the treadmill because he found that while each activity was boring by itself, doing them simultaneously allowed him to do both better. A study at New Mexico Highlands University has found that the force from our footsteps can increase the supply of blood to the brain. Researchers at Stanford have found that walkers performer better on tests that measure “creative divergent thinking” during and after their walks. And a 20 year study found that walking five miles a week protects the brains of people suffering from Alzheimer’s.

In a letter to his niece, Kierkegaard wrote

“Every day, I walk myself into a state of well-being & walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it. But by sitting still, & the more one sits still, the closer one comes to feeling ill. Thus if one just keeps on walking, everything will be all right.”

Isn’t that interesting? That sitting still seems to invite the sickness of the mind, but walking seems to still those ripples until the mind is like a quiet lake…precisely because the mind has been more active.

The Buddhists talk of “walking meditation” or “kinhin” where the movement after a long session of sitting, particularly movement through a beautiful setting, can unlock a different kind of stillness that traditional meditation couldn’t.

Like I said, it’s a paradox. Move to find stillness. And if not stillness, then at least insight.

Certainly this piece wouldn’t have been possible without a walk or two. And since I need to start the next one, it’s time to leave for another walk. I hope you will take one too.

Read more: https://thoughtcatalog.com/ryan-holiday/2017/11/the-life-changing-magic-of-taking-long-walks/

Indonesian Pro Soccer Goalie Dies After Collision During Match And It’s All Caught On Video

This is so, so sad.

A goalkeeper for an Indonesian professional soccer team died this weekend from injuries sustained during a match in the country when he collided with another player, went down hard, and immediately started convulsing until first responders rushed on to the field to help him.

The goalkeeper, a 38-year-old veteran athlete named Choirul Huda, was pronounced dead not long after colliding with his own teammate, defender Ramon Rodrigues, and an opponent during a game between Huda’s team, Persela Lamongan, and the opponents Semen Padang.

While Huda was conscious immediately after the collision — and the collision itself doesn’t even look too out of the ordinary on video — he quickly collapsed and fell unconscious, and he was quickly taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The entire thing was captured on video, too (below) — but be warned, because it is pretty graphic and unsettling:

So scary — and what’s scarier still is the collision was a relatively common one that takes place in so many soccer games. For whatever reason, the impact led Huda to stop breathing, where he eventually suffered cardiac arrest.

His team, not knowing the extent of the injuries at the time, played the rest of the match before they all went to the hospital — and that’s where they found out their teammate had been pronounced dead.

The team honored Huda on Twitter after the match (below):

‘The Real Legend of Persela,’ as Huda was called, had been with the team since 1999, playing in more than 500 matches as a very critical member of the team.

So, so sudden — and so unbelievably sad.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of Choirul Huda’s family, friends, teammates, and loved ones.

[Image via YouTube.]

Read more: http://perezhilton.com/2017-10-15-indonesia-pro-soccer-goalkeeper-dead-collision-on-field-video-choirul-huda-persela-lamongan-ramon-rodrigues-video-youtube