Friday News Bites: Internet as Utility, Fifty Shades Boycott + More

Hello, unicorns! Happy Friday. It’s time for another sampler platter of interesting news and entertainment updates, so let’s get started.


U.S. Representative Jim Himes (D-CT) introduced a resolution to declare February 12th “International Darwin Day,” meant to celebrate science, education and humanity. This is the fourth time the resolution has been introduced, but maybe one day it will stick.

The National Sleep Foundation has released new guidelines on what constitutes “enough” sleep for different age groups. Not that your toddler or Netflix-binging habit listens to reason.

If you’ve been buying store brand herbal supplements, I have some annoying news:

The authorities said they had run tests on popular store brands of herbal supplements at the retailers — Walmart, Walgreens, Target and GNC — which showed that roughly four out of five of the products contained none of the herbs listed on their labels. In many cases, the authorities said, the supplements contained little more than cheap fillers like rice and house plants, or substances that could be hazardous to people with food allergies.

President Obama urges all parents to get their children vaccinated, and I can’t even properly express my immune-compromised rage at the people who don’t.

In Politics:

According to the FCC, the internet is now classified as a utility, and here’s how that will affect your mobile data plans.

Colorado made so much in taxes on legalized marijuana that residents may actually get a refund. Around $8 each, but still.

“President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2016 budget proposes a 19 percent tax on the future foreign earnings of companies based in the United States and a one-time 14 percent tax on roughly $2 trillion in profits being held offshore.” … So let’s see if that happens.


Speaking of the President again, he also says that same-sex couples should have spousal benefits, even if they live in states that have yet to legalize their marriage.

This post is from last year, but since it’s Black History Month once more: Here are 100+ LGBTQ Black Women You Should Know.

The University of Vermont now recognizes a third, neutral gender. Related: here’s a post about how it may not be all that hard to incorporate the use of “they” into singular pronoun usage.


Since October, journalist Kenjo Goto was held captive by the Islamic State, who demanded the release of a woman arrested in Jordan after a failed suicide bombing. On Sunday, a video surfaced claiming to show his death, which Japan believes is authentic. (Link does not show video.)

Carl Djerassi, the chemist who developed the birth control pill, died this week from cancer complications. He was 91.

Geraldine McEwan, best known for playing Miss Marple, has also died. She was 82.

In Other News:

Tamir Rice’s family have amended their federal wrongful death suit:

The complaint charges excessive force, negligence, infliction of emotional distress on his sister and mother, violation of due process for the parents, and failure by the responding officers to provide first aid to the boy immediately after the shooting. He died the next day.

The suit also alleges false imprisonment of Tamir’s 14-year-old sister, who ran toward the scene after the shooting, struggled with police and was handcuffed and put into a cruiser parked near her wounded brother, notes the news outlet.

Iceland is building a temple to honor Norse gods, the first since the Viking age. It sounds pretty cool.

Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of Bobby Brown and the late Whitney Houston, remains in the hospital after she was found unresponsive in her Georgia home. Currently, she is in a medically-induced coma. (Auto-loading video.)

Suge Knight has been arrested for suspicion of murder after running over two men with his car, killing one. The incident happened after an argument on the set of Straight Outta Compton, an N.W.A. biopic.

In Entertainment:

[The above two links, I didn’t feel comfortable categorizing here because 1) That poor girl and 2) Someone dying in that way isn’t entertainment, even though it’s tempting to make “The ’90s are back!” jokes.]

Domestic violence advocates are urging people to make a charitable donation instead of spending the money on seeing Fifty Shades of Grey. The campaign is called #50dollarsnot50shades.

Meanwhile, the two stars — Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson — are doing their best to let you know that they don’t think it’s a very good movie either.

If you’ve been living under a rock the past few days: Harper Lee has another book coming out, a To Kill a Mockingbird sequel of sorts called Go Set a Watchman. However, there are some concerns over the deal’s fairness to the author herself.

A 1916 silent movie featuring Sherlock Holmes, starring William Gillette, has been rediscovered. The film will soon be shown in Paris.

Jeff Bridges has released a spoken word album intended to help you sleep. I find that kind of delightful.

And finally… Doctor Who LEGOs are coming.

Twelfth Doctor LEGO face

Until next time, 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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