WEIRD NEWS

Harvard Secrets

Over a dozen Asian-American students are accusing Harvard of unfair admission policies and discrimination and their case is set to go to trial in January. The Students for Fair Admissions say six years of admissions data on some 200,000 applicants clearly show Harvard discriminates against Asian-Americans by holding them to tougher standards than students of other races. The data, plus what the SFFA says are "Harvard's own inculpatory studies" and "incriminating emails" from admissions officers, were shared with the SFFA as part of the pretrial discovery process. The SFFA now wants the documents made public but Harvard is fighting hard to prevent that and keep their admissions process a secret. Harvard maintains it "does not discriminate against applicants from any group." In Harvard's class of 2021, 22% of students are Asian-American, 15% are African-American, 12% are Hispanic, and 2% are Native American. The rest fall in the "all other" category, which mainly means white folks. (CNN)

Your Principals or Your Paycheck?

While many of us may feel flipping off any President is not polite, respectful or even American - it does fall under free speech. Marketing exec Juli Briskman, a 50-year-old single mother of two teens, was canned by government contractor Akima for allegedly violating its social media policy after an image of her giving the motorcade the finger as President Trump's motorcade passed her bike near Trump's Sterling, Va., golf course went viral. Her attorney says, "there can be no doubt that such speech is at the very core of the First Amendment and the Virginia Constitution." She's suing and accusing Akima of violating Virginia employment law. She's seeking two additional weeks of severance pay she says she was promised, along with legal fees. The lawsuit accuses Akima of firing Briskman out of fear of illegal government retaliation and notes that a senior director wasn't fired for violating social media policy after making profane comments about a Black Lives Matter supporter on Facebook. Briskman says she filed the lawsuit in the belief "Americans should not be forced to choose between their principles and their paychecks. Working for a company that does business with the federal government should provide you with greater opportunities, but it should never limit your ability to criticize that government in your private time." (Newser)

Don't Let the Bedbugs Bite... Especially if You're a Landlord!

The company that owns an apartment complex where a bedbug infestation left a 3-year-old boy scarred has been ordered to pay his family almost $1.6 million. Mother Lilliana Martinez says that in 2012, two years after the family moved into the complex in Inglewood, Calif., they found son Jorge Maravilla had red spots all over his face and body. Maravilla said,"Just seeing how he would scratch all the time and nothing would heal because it would start bleeding again." When a doctor diagnosed bedbug bites and they complained to the management company, they were told to throw out all their furniture. They vacuumed a small place to sleep on the floor after a fumigation left the apartment covered in white powder. But even after the fumigation, the family, including Jorge's 3-month-old baby sister, kept getting bitten for four months until the carpeting in the apartment was removed after repeated complaints to management, ending the worst of the infestation. After moving out in 2014, they sued ownership company Amusement Six Apartments for breach of warranty of habitability, negligence, and emotional distress, accusing them of renting an apartment in "slum-like conditions," where other problems included a cockroach infestation. The $1,593,500 a civil jury awarded the family this week is believed to be a record for a single-family bedbug lawsuit. The parents say part of the money will be used to try to remove some of the scars the scratching left on Jorge's arms, legs, and torso. (NBC)

The Symphony of the Seas

Hate cruises? This boat might just change your mind. Last month, Royal Caribbean Cruises set their new Symphony of the Seas to sail and it's unlike any cruise ship in history. Richard Fain, CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises, hired Harri Kulovaara, the Finnish naval architect to help revolutionize what cruise ships can offer. Symphony cost more than $1 billion and boasts 23 pools, 40 restaurants, and a 10-story slide - but there's so much more to it. It's also the largest cruise ship ever constructed. Tip it on its stern, and the bow - nearly 1,200 feet away - would be the third tallest skyscraper in Europe. There are in-ship waste-treatment facilities and building materials that won't degrade. With a ship this large, there's even the necessity of including a small morgue and a place to freeze trash to stem bacteria growth. There's also the important requirement that "a blocked toilet must still drain at 10-degrees of ship tilt without spilling into the room." (Wired)

Rudy Giuliani is Not Very Good at Marriage

Turns out the third time wasn't the charm for Rudy Giuliani. The former New York City mayor has confirmed that his third wife, Judith, has filed for divorce in a Manhattan court. Rudy told Page Six "We hope to do this as amicably as possible, and hope that people will respect the privacy of our children at this time. In these divorce situations, you cannot place blame, it is 50/50, there are problems on both sides. We will have to divide our properties in New York and Palm Beach." But divvying things up might not be quite so easy as Judith filed a contested divorce, suggesting there might be disagreement over their assets. The two married in 2003 and have children from their earlier marriages; Judith, 63, had also been married twice previously. Donald Trump was a guest at the now-divorcing couple's wedding. (Business Insider)

A Real Patriot to the Rescue

A potential school shooting in Michigan was thwarted with the help of New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman - and a fan who alerted him to a disturbing message on his Instagram page. Edelman received a direct message late last month warning him that somebody in his comment section had posted: "I'm going to shoot my school up watch the news." Edelman quickly spoke to assistant Shannon Moen, who found the message among hundreds of comments on one of Edelman's posts and called 911. Police were able to track the message to a home in Port Huron, Mich., where a 14-year-old boy was arrested. The teen, a Central Middle School student, admitted making the threat. Two rifles belonging to the boy's grandfather were found at the home. The boy, who is now being held in a juvenile detention center, has been charged with making a false report of a terrorist threat, a felony that could get him up to four years in prison. Edelman wants to thank the person who alerted him and said, "Thankfully, this kid said something. We're going to send him something, a care package, just for his work. He's the real hero." (WDIV)

What the What?

Ever fantasized that it would be fun to get paid for binge watching Netflix? Well the video streaming giant is about to make all your dreams come true. Netflix is searching for a film and TV fan to help go through its extensive catalogue and watch it all. All you have to do is "watch, research, rate, tag, annotate and write analysis for movie and TV content" as an editorial analyst of original content. Yes, "binge watcher" just officially became a job title. The lucky candidate will have to have a good general knowledge of film and TV, which, if you're already a Netflix aficionado, should come easily to you. They would also have to be able to summarize whatever it is they've watched, and have serious binge watching stamina. What can we say? It's an exciting time to join the Netflix team. (Metro)

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