Here is some stuff in the news today...
[Content Note: War on agency] "Texas's aggressive campaign to defund Planned Parenthood has led to a steep drop-off in access to popular forms of contraceptions for poor women, and, for some women, a 27% increase in births, a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has found. The study, released on Wednesday, is the fullest exploration yet of the effects of eliminating Planned Parenthood from a safety net that tens of thousands of women rely on for reproductive healthcare screenings and family planning services. In January 2013, Texas became the first state to cut off almost all federal and state funds to Planned Parenthood. Researchers found that Medicaid claims in Texas for IUDs and other implants that act as long-term contraceptives had dropped 35%, and claims for birth control injections had dropped 31% in counties with Planned Parenthood affiliates in the two years since Texas defunded the group. Among women who had been getting routine birth control shots from Planned Parenthood, pregnancy rates shot up 27%. 'Simply put, dedicated women's health providers matter,' Joseph Potter, a sociology professor at the University of Texas at Austin and the supervisor of the New England Journal of Medicine study, said."
[CN: Institutional abuse; class warfare] This is a fascinating interview with Marc Edwards, the Virginia Tech civil-engineering professor who "led a study [in Flint, Michigan] that revealed that the elevated lead levels in people's homes were not isolated incidents but a result of a systemic problem that had been ignored by state scientists."
Um. "Sanders Campaign Ad Misleadingly Suggests Endorsements: "A new ad for Bernie Sanders set to play in New Hampshire suggests that two regional newspapers have endorsed the Vermont Senator when in fact, they have not. ...It isn't the first time Sanders ads have suggested that he was endorsed by a regional paper. An ad running last week in Iowa cited praise from the Des Moines Register, without mentioning that the paper endorsed Clinton, the New York Times reports. Newsweek reported last week that Sanders' campaign was using logos on its fliers from groups that had not endorsed him, including the League of Conservation Voters and the AARP." Just try to imagine for a moment if the Clinton campaign did this.
[CN: Stalking] In news that will probably not surprise any of us, but is nonetheless super depressing: "A new study suggests romcoms that feature men engaging in stalker-like behaviour can make women more likely to tolerate obsessiveness from prospective romantic partners."
[CN: Sexual violence] "Montgomery County Judge Steven T. O'Neill issued a ruling late Wednesday denying Cosby's request to dismiss charges of aggravated indecent assault that were lodged against him Dec. 30. O'Neill's decision came after hearing two days of testimony concerning Cosby's claim that he had a valid nonprosecution promise from former District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr. ...The ruling opens the door for Cosby, 78, to face a preliminary hearing later this year in connection with the alleged sexual assault of former Temple University Athletic Department employee Andrea Constand at his New Second Street home between mid-January and mid-February 2004. The judge set March 8 for Cosby's preliminary hearing."
[CN: Racism] Helen Mirren hugely disappoints again, this time talking about the lack of diversity in Oscar nominations: "I think it's unfair to attack the Academy. It just so happened this year it went that way. [Idris Elba] wasn't nominated because not enough people saw, or wanted to see, a film about child soldiers in Somalia or the Congo or somewhere like that." She goes on to say Elba should have been nominated, and that it's an important conversation, but good lord.
Activist DeRay Mckesson has announced he's running for mayor of Baltimore: "I have come to realize that the traditional pathway to politics, and the traditional politicians who follow these well-worn paths, will not lead us to the transformational change our city needs."
Neat! "Astronomers have found a protoplanetary disk surrounding a young star with a rather chilly secret: the planetary building blocks it contains are cold, so cold in fact that it doesn't jibe with current planetary formation models. The star, called 2MASS J16281370-2431391, is located some 400 light-years from Earth in the Rho Ophiuchi star formation region. It is a stellar baby, sporting a stunning protoplanetary disk edge-on to us. The result is a glowing halo with a dark band in the middle and it's this dark band that has surprised astronomers. ...'This disc is not observed against a black and empty night sky. Instead it's seen in silhouette in front of the glow of the Rho Ophiuchi Nebula. This diffuse glow is too extended to be detected by ALMA, but the disc absorbs it,' said Stephane Guilloteau, of the Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Bordeaux, France, and study lead. 'The resulting negative signal means that parts of the disc are colder than the background. The Earth is quite literally in the shadow of the Flying Saucer!'"
"The Coen Brothers Will Never Make a Sequel to The Big Lebowski." Good!
Aww I love this idea! "Making new friends as a grown woman can be difficult. And while finding sexual or romantic relationships with apps like Tinder and OkCupid is commonplace, likeminded, grown-ass lady friends are often more than a swipe away. Enter Hey! VINA. Founders Olivia June Poole and Jen Aprahamian created the new app for this very reason. According to the app's launch statement, 'Hey! VINA aims to solve the challenge of making new friends as adult women with a Tinder-style UX and a proprietary matching algorithm to suggest potential new friends based on mutual friends, proximity, and quiz data.' The app celebrated its official launch for iOS users in San Francisco on Jan. 26, and will launch in New York City in the coming weeks."
[CN: Moving gif at link at very bottom] And finally! "A Penguin Is Beach Buddies with the Man Who Saved Him." LOOOOOOOOOVE.