Friday News Bites: Sandra Bland, Egregious Deaths, SCIENCE! + More

This week’s news stories primarily regard the #BlackLivesMatter movement, science-y bits, and a splash of book news thrown in. Let’s get started, friends.


The FBI is now joining the investigation into Sandra Bland’s death, and the dash cam video showing her traffic stop for failing to signal has been released. Warning: It’s disturbing.

However, an eagle-eyed viewer noticed that the video has been edited. What happens in the missing footage?

Sandra Bland is not the only black women to end up mysteriously dead in a jail cell recently. 18-year-old Kindra Chapman was found hanging in similar circumstances, after being arrested in Alabama under suspicion of stealing a cell phone. 

In Iowa, 22-year-old black transgender woman Meagan Taylor is in jail because:

[S]taff at the hotel she was staying with another transgender friend called police. According to the police report, officers were called by the hotel about “two males dressed as females who checked into the Drury Inn,” and that “staff was worried about possible prostitution activity,” according to the Des Moines Register.

Basically, she was arrested for being transgender.

And a University of Cincinnati police officer (so campus police, not city police) shot and killed 43-year-old Sam Dubose after he was pulled over for not having a license plate on the front of his vehicle. He was unarmed.

19-year-old Darrius Stewart was shot and killed after being mistaken for someone else during a traffic stop for a broken headlight.

Think about that. Dylann Roof killed numerous people and was arrested alive. These people? Look at the causes for their arrests.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Presidential Candidates continue to bungle how they speak to the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

On a slight up-note: A man in South Carolina decided to disrupt a KKK rally by loudly playing a sousaphone.

In Other News:

Hey, turns out that sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination is already illegal, according to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. All 50 states need to get in line.

The Red Cross has admitted they’ve made a mess of their Haiti funds. Millions of dollars are unaccounted for.

A new study suggests that men who harass women online are losers in more ways than one.

Glacier National Park is currently on fire: Over 2,000 acres have burned so far, and much of the park remains closed to visitors.

In the UK, Beatrix Potter is one of the front-runners to be featured on the new £20 note.

Here’s a feature on the wave of disinformation currently spreading about Planned Parenthood.


Here are the latest photos from the Pluto New Horizons project. Amazing stuff.

Released on July 6, here is the first image captured of the sunlit side of the Earth since 1972:

Sunlit side of the Earth
via NASA

And we may have discovered a planet that can support human life: Meet Kepler-452b.

Two different gene studies reveal the complexity of North and South America’s population, including a previously unknown group of people that migrated from Asia and kept on going to Brazil.

That article about the potential for a catastrophic earthquake in the Northwest United States is not exactly news to scientists. Here are some more facts about what’s going on.

Here are two different interesting articles about twins:

In Bogotá, a hospital error led to two sets of identical twins being switched, causing the families to raise the children as fraternal twins. Here’s the story of how they found out.

And what if you were an identical twin and your sibling became super famous? Caroline Paul writes about what it was like to look just like a Baywatch star.


E.L. Doctorow — author of a dozen novels, three volumes of short fiction, a stage drama, essays and commentary on literature and politics — died on Tuesday from lung cancer complications. He was 84.

Here’s his (really fantastic) Art of Fiction interview with The Paris Review. If you’re a writer, you should definitely read it.

Actor George Coe, recently known for his role as Woodhouse on Archer, died on Monday. He was 86.

Oscar- and Tony-nominated character actor and folk singer Theodore Bikel died on Tuesday, aged 91.

In Entertainment:

President Obama appeared on The Daily Show and joked that he would pass an Executive Order that makes Jon Stewart stay on as host.

Iggy Pop, Grace Jones, Henry Rollins, and more will star in Gutterdämmerung, which is being called “the loudest silent movie on Earth.” Sign me up.

A new Dr. Seuss book comes out this Tuesday, Which Pet Should I Get? Here’s the story of how it was discovered.

The Lone Gunmen are on board for the upcoming X-Files episodes. Hooray!

After massively missing the point of Nicki Minaj’s VMA criticism, Taylor Swift has apologized. It’s a start.

And finally, Converse sneakers are finally getting a little bit more comfort to go along with their iconic image. Color me intrigued.

Until next time!

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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