Here are some things in the news today...
[Content Note: Terrorism; video may autoplay at link] Well, I have long feared that IS and Boko Haram would continue to get cozier, and so they have, or maybe there's an emergent third group of horrific nightmare terrorists: "The Islamic State militant group (ISIS) has reportedly announced a new leader for its West Africa branch, which is closely associated with the Nigerian extremist group Boko Haram. Abu Musab al-Barnawi [is named in an interview which] does not mention the fate of Abubakar Shekau, who has led Boko Haram in recent years... Shekau pledged allegiance to the ISIS caliph, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, in 2015, and Boko Haram renamed itself as the so-called Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP). But United States officials claim to have seen little evidence of operational links between Boko Haram and ISIS's main territorial base in Syria. ...According to Ryan Cummings, director of African security agency Signal Risk, it is wrong to equate Boko Haram with ISWAP, which includes other pockets of militants loyal to ISIS in West Africa. 'There could potentially be a situation where Shekau, for example, is head of Boko Haram and remains as the emir of the group, but that ISWAP is a more composite movement of which Boko Haram is just one of the factions, and they would effectively still be submissive to an [ISIS]-appointed emir,' says Cummings." Fucking hell.
[CN: Nuclear warfare] I don't even have words: "A stunning revelation on Morning Joe this morning. During an interview with former NSA director Michael Hayden, Joe Scarborough unleashed a frightening nugget of information. He quoted an unidentified foreign policy expert who told him that during a one-hour briefing, Donald asked him three times: If we have nuclear weapons, why can't we use them?"
[CN: War; injury] Damn: "Responding to Donald Trump's claim that he 'always wanted to get the Purple Heart,' Rep. Tammy Duckworth on Tuesday tweeted a picture of her injured self in a hospital with her own medal, adding: 'Nothing easy about it.' ...Duckworth was awarded the Purple Heart for injuries sustained while co-piloting a Black Hawk helicopter on Nov. 12, 2004, in Iraq, when a rocket-propelled grenade struck the lower half of her body. The blast cost her both her legs and also caused serious damage to her right arm." I don't know how Trump lives with himself. I really don't.
[CN: Abortion stigma] "Six years ago, reproductive justice advocate and North Carolina resident Kelsea McLain put herself 'through hell' because she needed an abortion. McLain said she was ashamed she forgot to take her birth control pill after spending so many years educating her peers about safe sex and reproductive health. In the story she shares at We Testify, a new storytelling and leadership initiative launched by the National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF) Monday, McLain explains how she battled internalized stigma...one of more than a dozen individuals who make up We Testify's first cohort."
[CN: Transphobia; ciscentrism; choice policing] Julia Serano, who's just one of the best writers working today, has written another amazing piece: "Detransition, Desistance, and Disinformation: A Guide for Understanding Transgender Children Debates." Go read the whole thing.
For the stargazers among us: "Perseid meteor shower: Why, where, and when to see it."
In one bright spot in otherwise dire Olympics news: "In 2008, 12 [out] LGBT athletes participated in Beijing. In London in 2012, that number rose to 22. Now, in Rio, there are 43. And that number is expected to grow even higher in the future." It's good to remember that there have always been LGBT athletes competing at the Olympics. The progress is not necessarily their participation, but that they feel safe to be out.
[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Whoa: "Cepheids [young stars which are only between 10 to 300 million years old], also referred to as pulsating stars for their ability to throb in brightness over a regular cycle, are monitored to gauge their precise brightness and the data is then compared with what is visible from Earth to work out a distance. Now, an international team of researchers from Japan, South Africa, and Italy have discovered a large area at the center of the Milky Way that is completely devoid of these pulsating stars. The lead author of the study, Noriyuki Matsunaga, from the University of Tokyo, said in a press release: 'We already found some while ago that there are Cepheids in the central heart of our Milky Way (in a region about 150 light years in radius). Now we find that outside this there is a huge Cepheid desert extending out to 8000 light years from the centre.'" Fascinating!
Do you want to see a video of some wild things that have happened on live TV this year? Well, here you go! But please be warned that there is one video of someone appearing to get hurt. The injury itself is not visibly graphic, but it definitely made my butt clench! (It may not be real? I can't tell if it's part of a gag. Either way: YIKES.)
[CN: Animal endangerment] The loris are beautiful and adorable animals, and it's understandable why we might want to cuddle them, but they are not pets!
And finally! "Glider Joey Gets Special Care at Taronga Zoo." Awwwww. Baby and mama were injured when they had a collision with a barbed wire fence, but they're both on the mend now. Yay!