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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

WEIRD NEWS

Who Does This to Teen Shooting Survivors?
A GIF creating an uproar on social media shows 18-year-old Parkland shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez ripping up the US Constitution. The only problem is the scene never happened. It's 100 percent fake news. Gonzalez, the leader of a group of students calling for gun control, was photographed for Teen Vogue tearing up a shooting target. Someone got creative with Photoshop and made it look like Gonzalez ripping up the Constitution. The fake version was shared by both verified and unverified accounts on Twitter, and the Washington Post reports that its biggest boost came when actor Adam Baldwin shared it with the caption, "#Vorwärts!"-the word "forward" in German and an apparent reference to Hitler Youth. Many appeared to take the as fact, though others, including professor Donald Moynihan, debunked it: "Just a sample of what NRA supporters are doing to teenagers who survived a massacre" he tweeted, alongside a comparison of the real and the fake images. Meanwhile, Teen Vogue is running the real images along with Gonzalez's op-ed on gun control, in which she outlines what the teen activists want: "We need to digitize gun-sales records, mandate universal background checks, close gun-show loopholes and straw-man purchases, ban high-capacity magazines, and push for a comprehensive assault weapons ban with an extensive buyback system." (Teen Vogue)

FTC Will Investigate Facebook!
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is investigating Facebook's privacy practices following a week of privacy scandals including whether the company engaged in "unfair acts" that cause "substantial injury" to consumers. Facebook's stock, which already took a big hit last week, plunged as a result. Facebook said in a statement on Monday that the company remains "strongly committed" to protecting people's information and that it welcomes the opportunity to answer the FTC's questions. News outlets reported on the FTC investigation last week, but the FTC hadn't confirmed it until Monday. Facebook reached a settlement with the FTC in 2011 offering privacy assurances. (Newser)

Remington Files for Bankruptcy
One of the most familiar names in American guns has filed for bankruptcy. Remington Outdoor sought the protection amid declining sales and high-profile legal trouble related to the Sandy Hook shooting. One ironic side note - Remington would most likely be in better shape had Hillary Clinton won the 2016 election. After the Trump win, buyer's fears of tougher gun laws diminished significantly and thus sales dropped more than 30% to $600 million in 2017. The company's products include the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle used in the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., in 2012. Several families sued, and the closely watched case has reached the state's Supreme Court. Remington, which is headquartered in North Carolina, will continue to make guns while under bankruptcy protection. The company has been owned by private equity group Cerberus Capital Management, which bought up Remington, Bushmaster, and other gunmakers about a decade ago and rolled them into a conglomerate called Freedom Group. Sales boomed initially, with 8.6 million guns made in the US in 2012, up from 3.3 million in 2002, but have since dropped. Remington is now saddled with heavy debt, along with trouble related to its signature weapon, the Model 700 bolt-action rifle. The company maintains the guns are safe but has agreed to replace the triggers as part of a class-action settlement. (Wall Street Journal)

Orange Snow... Seriously!
There's orange snow falling over eastern Europe - something that happens twice every decade or so, though it's a little more extreme this time around. It's likely the result of desert winds in the Sahara whipping up sand that has combined with snow from Siberia. This year it appears more sand is entering the mix than is typical. Russia, Georgia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania, and Moldova have been experiencing it. (BBC)

We've Got Starbucks... at Yosemite!
It seems 25,000 signatures weren't enough to keep a Starbucks out of Yosemite. That petition to halt its opening died a quiet death on March 16, when the coffee giant began operating at Yosemite Valley Lodge's Base Camp Eatery, which underwent a $7 million remodel, its first since 2000. Apparently it was due to public demand which a rep from Aramark, which runs the facility, said, "aligns with our goals of elevating the food and beverage offerings throughout the park." It's the first Starbucks location in a national park and there's no exterior signage, and the bar is covered in reclaimed redwood from Northern California. That's likely not enough to satisfy Freddy Brewster, the former Yosemite trail guide and man behind the petition. He says, "The store opening is representative of what our culture is becoming. The government is increasingly dependent on major corporations." (ABC7)

Google No Longer the Top Place Americans Want to Work
Even with 1.1 million job applications a year, Google is no longer the No. 1 place "where professionals most want to work across the US." That's according to LinkedIn, which has published its 2018 LinkedIn Top Companies report. The job site explains that it's used by just shy of 550 million people, whose "billions of actions" factor into the report, which considers four main factors: "interest in the company, engagement with the company's employees, job demand, and employee retention." Google was No. 1 in 2017 but has dropped to second place behind Amazon. Here are the current Top 10:
Amazon
Alphabet/Google (Alphabet is Google's parent company)
Facebook
Salesforce
Tesla
Apple
Comcast NBCUniversal
Walt Disney Company
Oracle
Netflix

(LinkedIn)

What the What?
In Rotorua, New Zealand, a 24-year-old man has admitted telling a woman he had been forced to drink poison and would die unless she performed certain sexual acts on him within 48 hours. He will be sentenced on May 25. The police summary of facts states the man went to the woman's home, "red faced and bent over holding his ribs" and told her he had been beaten up and forced to drink a vial of toxin. He told her he would die unless he didn't sweat it out within 48 hours. She suggested he go for a run but he said that wouldn't work as he had to sweat it out in a "particular way". He told her there was no antidote as the person who beat him up was flying overseas. Shortly after, she began getting emails from an unknown email address appearing to verify his story. The emails instructed her to perform sexual acts on the man four times and have sexual intercourse three times within the 48-hour period, to exhaust the toxin from his system. The summary said the woman only consented because she believed the man's life was in danger. But following this 48 hours, the emails and threats continued saying people she loved would be hurt if she didn't perform certain sexual acts with the man. The kinds of activity included performing the acts three to seven times per day, or until he fell asleep, as well as allowing the man to film it on his phone. The threats stated if she didn't comply, semi-naked photos of her would be posted on the internet. She was also promised a car and large quantities of money if she did as instructed. (NZHerald.com)

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