A Texas wedding photographer says her business dropped from 75 to 100 bookings a year to just two after a newlywed couple trashed her online and on TV. Well that couple, Andrew and Neely Moldovan, will now have to pay Andrea Polito $1.08 million for defamation. The Moldovan's accused Polito of "holding their photos hostage" following their 2014 wedding. They claimed Polito was demanding an extra $125 for a wedding album cover before she would give them digital copies of their photos despite it being included in the contract they signed. Polito says she was prepared to absorb the $125 charge to keep the couple happy; instead they went public. On local news and online, the Moldovans claimed Polito "cheated" and "scammed" them. Neely Moldovan used her position as a blogger to amplify the story. Statements like, 'I'm pretty sure her business is ruined,' 'I hope this goes viral,' 'feeling excited,' and 'justice has been served' were included in her posts. Polito filed a $1 million defamation lawsuit in 2015, and a jury ruled in her favor, awarding her $1.08 million. The jury determined that not only was Polito attempting to follow the contract but also tried to work with the Moldovans further to "satisfy their demands." Polito's lawyer said, "There are real world consequences for maliciously attacking a business online with venom and lies." (Dallas Morning News)
More Nightmares for Those Sleeping More Than Nine Hours
There's an interesting new study on nightmares - one New Science calls "one of the largest ever studies of nightmares in the general population." To better understand why some people who've suffered trauma have bad dreams and some don't, Oxford researchers gathered information on 846 people - including alcohol intake, amount of sleep, life struggles, and tendency to worry - then asked them to answer questions about the frequency and severity of their nightmares. They discovered that worrying before sleep boosted the chance of a person having a nightmare and so did getting too much sleep. Nightmares increased with more than nine hours of sleep per night, which suggests nightmares aren't simply caused by a negative experience. As study author Stephanie Rek explains, sleeping in long stretches may result in more rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is when nightmares usually happen. In fact, the scientists theorize that it may be the disruption of sleep from one nightmare that aggravates worries and causes people to sleep longer on subsequent nights - resulting in even more nightmares. In another surprise, however, the survey showed alcohol, which also results in more REM sleep, was not associated with nightmares. (New Scientist)
Please - I Just Want to Go to Jail
Public defenders are pleading for leniency for a 78-year-old Tommy Ray McAdoo, a lifelong criminal who admitted robbing a Reno bank with a steak knife so he could return to prison instead of spending his last years homeless, cold, and sick. McAdoo faces 25 years or more when he's sentenced in federal court. Court-appointed lawyers are asking for a sentence of less than five years, which would seemingly defy what they say are the wishes of their client. Attorney's Rene Valladares and Lauren Gorman said, "Mr. McAdoo's crime was committed by a gravely ill, homeless man, who after staying out of the system for eight years impulsively decided he needed to do something to go back to prison." On November 9, 2016, investigating FBI agents found McAdoo hours later eating lunch at a nearby casino and asked him what he did for a living. He said, "I used to rob banks." Prosecutors say McAdoo demanded money on a note he scribbled on the back of a casino sports betting sheet before making off with $2,731 in a paper grocery sack from a bank directly across the street from the federal courthouse where he's scheduled to be sentenced. (Newser)
Did Scientists Just Reverse Aging in Human Cells?
This could be big. Scientists report in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology that they triggered cells to produce the protein telomerase, which lengthens the telomeres at the ends of chromosomes. In other words - they've technically reversed the aging process. Telomeres shorten as we age. Using cells taken from 17 children with the rare genetic condition progeria, which causes them to age fast and typically die in their teens scientists saw a "dramatic improvement" as cells "proliferated normally." The study is small and the research is young, and many experts are highly skeptical. One professor of medical genetics at the University of British Columbia goes so far as to call attempts at telomere lengthening "snake oil," and says that while telomeres shorten as we age, the correlation isn't perfect and doesn't necessarily signal good health or longevity. Plus, there may be at least one evolutionary benefit to telomeres shrinking over time; when cells become too short, they stop dividing and die. At least in the case of cancerous cells, that's a defense mechanism. (Journal of the American College of Cardiology)
World's Greatest UPS Driver
California UPS driver Katie Newhouser befriended a Tina Rummel, a woman she often saw walking her dog on her route. Newhouser also quickly became friends with Tina's pit bull, Leo. Newhouser says, "He would even hop in my truck and look around the back." Then last October tragedy struck - Rummel died suddenly and her son, Canon, who was in training to be a Marine, needed to find a home for Leo. Newhouser offered to take Leo until Canon's training was complete. She says, "But after Christmas break, I decided that he was getting along so well with my other dogs that he should just stay," and Leo found his new forever home. Their story recently started getting attention after Newhouser shared a picture of Leo sitting in her truck's driver's seat on the Facebook page UPS DOGS and then later shared their story with the PupJournal website. Of her new pet Newhouser says, "He's one of the most gentle dogs I have ever met." (Today)
I Guess Harry Potter Didn't Vote for Trump
Author JK Rowling, of Harry Potter fame, recently started an uproar when she claimed, via Twitter, that President Trump had refused to shake the hand of a young boy in a wheelchair. That claim turned out not to be true, leading Rowling to delete her original tweets and apologize. Rowling's original tweets were unfortunately based on an edited video of a July 24 press conference in which the young boy appeared to reach out to shake hands and Trump appeared to ignore him. But the full video - as many critics, including Piers Morgan, PolitiFact, and the boy's own mother, pointed out to Rowling - clearly shows Trump leaning down to talk to the boy and paying him quite a bit of attention. In a series of tweets this week, Rowling said, "I very clearly projected my own sensitivities around the issue of disabled people being overlooked or ignored onto the images I saw and if that caused any distress to that boy or his family, I apologize unreservedly. These tweets will remain, but I will delete the previous ones on the subject." However, Rowling did not address her apology to Trump himself, whom she's called worse than Voldemort. (Telegraph)
What the What?
So, seven priests walk into a pub. No, it's not a lame joke, it really happened - at a pub in Cardiff - and they were promptly asked to leave. That's because the bartender thought they were a bunch of rowdy lads on a bachelor party outing. In a scene which could be straight out of Monty Python, the bartender then explained that they don't serve bachelor parties and that they would have to leave, not believing for a second that they were real priests. Thankfully the manager realized the mistake and chased after the holy men, inviting them back in to the pub and bought them all a round. The Archdiocese of Cardiff thanked the pub for clearing up the understanding and treating the priests so well, however he noted that "a number of our clergy, including the Archbishop of Cardiff, frequent your bar so don't turf any more out please!" (Metro)