Friday News Bites: Twitter #Fail, Equality Advances, Net Neutrality + More

Greetings, my lovely unicorns, and Happy Friday. We have a variety of newsy bits to cover this week, and more of them to make up for last week’s vacation-posted brevity. Let’s dive right in:

The man known as “Party Monster” (and perhaps more recently known as a 2003 Macaulay Culkin role), Michael Alig, will be released from prison after serving 15 years for murder and dismemberment. 

On the opposite end of the criminal spectrum, Rubin “Hurricane” Carter — the man who served 19 years on a falsely convicted murder charge in 1966 — died this week at age 76. Most recently, he had been living in Toronto, where he had founded Innocence International, an organization dedicated to freeing the wrongly convicted from prison.

Speaking of the police, the NYPD discovered that Twitter hashtag campaigns can backfire spectacularly.

Net Neutrality is in danger once more:

According to the Times and the Journal, the FCC is planning to allow Internet service providers to sell a faster pipe into people’s homes to content companies willing to pay for it. In other words, content providers could pay for preferential treatment into American homes.

However, the FCC is also accepting public comments, so you can make your concerns known here.

Did you know that by “liking” certain brands on Facebook or otherwise engaging with them on social media can negate your ability to sue those companies? That’s some fine-print bullshit.

Another model has come forward with harassment allegations from photographer Terry Richardson. Vogue has decided to quit working with him.

In more pleasant pretty people news: Lupita Nyong’o has been named People‘s Most Beautiful Person of 2014. For once, the magazine got it right!

In matters of equality: Jodie Foster married photographer Alexandra Hedison last weekend, and in case you missed it, WWE star “Stone Cold” Steve Austin has defended the right to same-sex marriage.

Also: “The Army private convicted of funneling intelligence secrets to whistleblowing website WikiLeaks can legally change her name to Chelsea Elizabeth Manning, a judge ruled Wednesday.”

-sigh- The governor of Mississippi has signed a 20 week abortion ban into law.  There are a few exceptions, but it’s still obviously a step back for women’s bodily autonomy.

In other health news: a New York University team is studying the effects of prescribing mushrooms to cancer patients in order to relieve anxiety about death:

“Our patients come in with a kind of demoralization syndrome reminiscent of post-traumatic stress disorder,” co-principal investigator Dr. Jeffrey Guss added. “Cancer for them is an enormous existential crisis. Life becomes nothing but, ‘my chemo, my radiation, my cancer numbers.’ Life outside of cancer shrinks. They’re petrified by death. They become immobilized. The whole point is to dislodge them from that. What’s remarkable is that even though we don’t tell them what narratives to form, there is an enormous commonality. Patients will come to me and say, ‘I understand intuitively now that love is truly the most important force on the planet. I experienced a profound sense of peace that I never felt before and it has stayed with me. I know now that my consciousness is bigger than me.’”

Anecdotal experience has likely already told us this, but “Neurochemical research has shown that the hormone released when people are in love is released in animals in the same intimate circumstances.”

Finally, we’ve all seen Brian Williams’ news clips made into rap classics like “Gin and Juice” and “Straight Outta Compton.” Here, he gives Jimmy Fallon some good-natured ribbing about their ongoing use of his newscasts. Be sure to click through to Part 2.

And with that, I’ll see you next week, friends.

By Sara Habein

Sara Habein is the author of Infinite Disposable, a collection of microfiction, and her work has appeared on The Rumpus, Pajiba and Word Riot, among others. Her book reviews and other commentary appear at Glorified Love Letters, and she is the co-manager of Electric City Creative.

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