Here is some stuff in the news today...
[Content Note: Terrorism; religious extremism] "An examination of digital equipment recovered from the home of the couple who killed 14 people in San Bernardino last week has led FBI investigators to believe the shooters were planning an even larger assault, according to federal government sources. Investigators on Thursday continued to search for digital footprints left by Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, scouring a downtown San Bernardino lake for electronic items, including a hard drive that the couple was hoping to destroy, sources told The Times. ...Farook and Malik were in the final planning stages of an assault on a location or building that housed a lot more people than the Inland Regional Center, possibly a nearby school or college, according to federal sources familiar with the widening investigation." Fuck.
[CN: Islamophobia] Welp: "Americans are more fearful about the likelihood of another terrorist attack than at any other time since the weeks after Sept. 11, 2001, a gnawing sense of dread that has helped lift Donald J. Trump to a new high among Republican primary voters, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll." So Trump will fearmonger even more, making people even more scared—and thus dangerous—as a political strategy. Cool.
[CN: Police brutality; racism] As the trial of the first office to be tried in the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore continues and heads toward its close, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Police Commissioner Kevin Davis "urged residents to react 'respectfully' when a verdict is announced." Goddamn.
[CN: White privilege; entitlement] Here is Imani Gandy on Fisher v. University of Texas, a case she aptly describes as "practically an allegory for white entitlement." At the center of the case is Abigail Fisher. Writes Gandy: Fisher is "the latest in a line of white women who have filed lawsuits seeking to destroy affirmative action policies because they felt entitled to attend the school of their choosing, oblivious to the fact that destroying these policies will put everyone but white men at a disadvantage. It's hard not to draw the conclusion that Fisher's lawsuit is a product of her entitlement. She's noted that all of her friends and family went to the University of Texas at Austin, and so she felt like she was entitled to go too, never mind the fact that she didn't have the grades to get in. And if getting her way means destroying a policy that has been proven to benefit white women the most, then that's what Fisher evidently intends to do."
[CN: Rape culture; child abuse] Russell Taylor, who served as the head of convicted former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle's charity and accomplice in Fogle's child exploitation, has been sentenced to 27 years in prison after pleading "guilty to 13 federal crimes during his sentencing hearing—12 counts of child exploitation and one count of distributing child pornography." I will never believe Subway did not, as they ludicrously claim, have any idea this was going on. Fuck them.
[CN: Privacy violations] "Ted Cruz's presidential campaign is using psychological data based on research spanning tens of millions of Facebook users, harvested largely without their permission, to boost his surging White House run and gain an edge over Donald Trump and other Republican rivals, the Guardian can reveal. A little-known data company, now embedded within Cruz's campaign and indirectly financed by his primary billionaire benefactor [leading Republican donor Robert Mercer], paid researchers at Cambridge University to gather detailed psychological profiles about the US electorate using a massive pool of mainly unwitting US Facebook users built with an online survey." This is pretty much the exact scenario that conservatives say they fear from Big Government Liberals. Will Cruz's supporters care when it's their guy doing it? Probably not!
[CN: Class warfare] Um: "US chemical giants Dow Chemical and DuPont have announced a plan to merge, in a deal valuing them at $130bn (£86bn). The all-share deal will eventually lead to the merged company, initially to be called DowDuPont, being split in three. ...If the merger is cleared by regulators, the new company will be owned equally by current Dow and DuPont shareholders. ...At the same time, DuPont announced a cost-saving plan that will involve cutting about 10% of staff." A cost-saving plan, huh? Not for those workers! But who cares, as long as the shareholders who just sit back doing fuck-all and making money off the back of other people's labor make some money.
[CN: Moving gif at link] Wow: "Astronomers have discovered what appears to be a tiny star with a giant, cloudy storm, using data from NASA's Spitzer and Kepler space telescopes. The dark storm is akin to Jupiter's Great Red Spot: a persistent, raging storm larger than Earth. 'The star is the size of Jupiter, and its storm is the size of Jupiter's Great Red Spot,' said John Gizis of the University of Delaware, Newark. 'We know this newfound storm has lasted at least two years, and probably longer.' Gizis is the lead author of a new study appearing in The Astrophysical Journal. While planets have been known to have cloudy storms, this is the best evidence yet for a star that has one."
Melissa McCarthy has unveiled her holiday collection, which "incorporates a mix of party-ready favorites (in the form of a jumpsuit and sparkly skirts) with travel-friendly pieces as well (just check out the comfy-meets-cute track pant and jeweled sweatshirt!)." I'm not super into her collection, even though I wish I were, but maybe you will love it!
Ben Affleck got a massive back tattoo of a phoenix. Okay!
And finally! "18 Hybrid Animals That Are Hard to Believe Actually Exist." I'm not sure why it's hard to believe these creatures exist, but it's sure neat to see them!