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06 Jul 13:35

This French Bulldog Got Outed By A Bullmastiff After Making A Huge Mess

by Stacey Ritzen

This Bullmastiff has clearly never heard the phrase “snitches get stitches,” given how fast she turns on her French Bulldog “friend” who got into the family’s toilet paper. Sure, it was pretty obvious “who made this mess” because of the evidence, but you still don’t do a dawg like that. Unacceptable.

06 Jul 14:07

Kelley O’Hara Perfectly Describes The Excitement Of A World Cup Victory In One Tweet

by isaacand

It’s not a real celebration until someone gets confetti stuck in the crevices of their body. Take note, everyone: You’ve been doing it wrong this whole time. Bless Kelley O’Hara of the USWNT for showing us the way.

When you go to shower and you have gold confetti stuck to your butt. You know it's been a 👌 day #WorldChamps

— Kelley O'Hara (@kohara19) July 6, 2015

Instagram Photo

06 Jul 18:55

This Mom Of The Year Created A Superhero Hearing Aid For Children

by alfikse

My Lugs

It can be hard fitting in when you’re a kid, and it can be especially challenging for children with disabilities. UK mom Sarah Ivermee decided to take steps to make life a bit more fun for her son, Freddie. Due to Congenital CMV, Freddie is completely deaf in one ear and suffers from hearing loss in another. Consequently, he has to wear a cochlear implant, which is normally quite utilitarian looking.

Due to Freddie’s own insecurity over wearing the device and at the encouragement of other moms, Invermee created My Lugs, selling sticker kits and decals to decorate hearing aids with the pop culture images of their choice. Whether it is various superheroes, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or the Despicable Me minions, kids now have tons of options to dress up their hearing aids and wear them with pride.

(Via Mashable)

06 Jul 00:00

Girl Fights “Boys Only” Robotics Program, Makes Her Library More Equitable

by Rebecca Vipond Brink

Good work, kid!

timmins library robotics
06 Jul 20:05

Russell Wilson Says God Told Him To Lead Ciara Toward Abstaining From Sex

by christmasape

I can not draft this man.

President Obama And First Lady Host State Dinner For Japanese PM Shinzo Abe And Akie Abe

Getty Image

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has an interesting relationship with God. According to Wilson, God made him play poorly for most of last season’s NFC Championship because God wanted it to have a more dramatic finish. In the latest divine pronouncement to Wilson, God made it clear that his girlfriend, pop star Ciara Harris, shouldn’t be having sex for some reason. At least that’s what Wilson claimed during a Q&A with San Diego pastor Miles McPherson on Sunday

“She was on tour, and I was looking at her in the mirror, and God spoke to me,” Wilson told the pastor. “He said, ‘I need you to lead her.’

“I told her, ‘What would you do if we took all that “extra stuff” off the table, and just did it Jesus’ way?'” the quarterback continued, clarifying that yes, he was “talking about sex.”

“Doing it Jesus’ way” apparently means abstinence. For what it’s worth, Ciara “completely agreed” with the idea, according to Wilson. And that’s fine. Have as much or as little sex as you’d like, you crazy kids. Just make sure all these conversations with God don’t get in the middle of your relationship.

If you’d like to watch nearly an hour of Russell Wilson talking about his girlfriend at a church, you can do that below.

06 Jul 19:25

Yes, Hipsters Are Going To Adult Preschool In Brooklyn

by alfikse

Brooklyn. They go hard.

Have you ever thought that you wasted your youth? Not your high school years, when your waistline was as small as your responsibilities. No, do you ever think that you just didn’t enjoy being 4 years old enough? Yes? Well, time to move to Brooklyn then, where Play-Doh and glitter glue awaits.

For the low, low price of $333-$999, Preschool Mastermind will provide month-long courses that include arts and crafts, nap time, show & tell, and other things you enjoyed when you thought all dogs were boys and all cats were girls. That is, if you pass the application process, as only ten people are allowed per class:

“Please note, [applications] must be PRINTED and filled out BY HAND,” reads the application instructions. “Think markers, crayons, paint… perhaps this means a trip to the art store — ohh fun! Please read carefully (because this time around, you can read). Most importantly, HAVE FUN with it!”

Founder Michelle Joni Lapidos, who has “nearly half a degree in Early Childhood Education,” was looking for a way to help adults reconnect with their inner child and also find a career that would give her the flexibility to be herself on the job.

“I wanted to be a preschool teacher for many years, so that is what I originally went to college for!” she wrote. “But then I realized that career path meant being chained to a classroom and told that my butt can’t show… AT ALL. So I switched to Fashion Merchandising.”

Her assistant, Candice Kilpatrick, has a master’s degree in teaching and is a former preschool teacher.

Look, millennials get a lot of flack in the media for being irresponsible and self-indulgent, and that’s sometimes an unfair label. However, this whole business really does nothing to disprove those stereotypes.



(Via CBC News)

02 Jul 14:55

The Full Trailer For Netflix’s Wet Hot American Summer is Wild and Hilarious - Wetter and hotter than ever with some new campers

by Charline Jao

Check out all your faves returning to Camp Firewood as 40-50 year old teenagers with some new additions! (Including but not limited to Kristen Wiig, Jon Hamm, Josh Charles, and Jordan Peele. Michael Cera also comes out of nowhere?)  The show will air on July 31st!

(via Entertain This!)

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02 Jul 05:02

Rihanna Glamorizes Kidnapping and Sexual Humiliation in NSFW “Bitch Better Have My Money” Video…Cool?


Yes. Cool.

Rihanna’s track “Bitch Better Have My Money” was bound to have a violent video — and lo and behold, the brutal spectacle that was just released, for better or worse, lives up to those expectations. Rihanna and Megaforce directed the video, which fittingly co-stars Hannibal‘s Mads Mikkelsen. … Read More

02 Jul 12:57

Enjoy Watching This Cat Smugly Ruin Its Owner’s Yoga Video

by Stacey Ritzen

I don't know why I love this so much.

Cats aren’t good for much other than looking cute and sometimes taking care of household pests by chewing them up and leaving their bloody innards all over the floor. However, one of their hidden talents is their preternatural ability to spectacularly ruin videos people take of themselves doing yoga.

It’s like okay we get it, your finely-tuned yoga body can perform feats that ours could never hope to achieve, especially considering that my back was too stiff to even pick up the laundry basket this morning. But in the end remember that no ones cares less about this fact than your cat.

02 Jul 16:09

Sunset High girls' wrestling coach arrested on charge of improper relationship with student

by Naheed Rajwani

They have girls wrestling?

Troy French (Dallas County jail)

Troy French (Dallas County jail)

A girls’ wrestling coach at a Dallas ISD high school is accused of having an improper relationship with … [visit site to read more]

29 Jun 14:10

Remember When 39-Year-Old Jerry Seinfeld Dated a 17-Year-Old?

by Jordan Sargent on Defamer, shared by Kate Dries to Jezebel

I do remember that. But being just shy of 17 at the time, I just saw it as poor judgment on her part, not utter nastiness. Which oh lord. Utter nastiness.

1993 was a good year for Jerry Seinfeld. His sitcom, which was on its way to becoming one of the most celebrated shows in television history, won an Emmy in the category of “Outstanding Comedy Series” for the first and only time. And, just a hair shy of 40, he met a woman who would capture his heart: a high school student he picked up one day in Central Park.


29 Jun 13:00

Monday Cute: Raccoon Parent Teaches Its Baby to Climb a Tree - They grow up so fast.

by Charline Jao

See? See what I'm doing?

Watch a mother raccoon teach her baby to climb by picking it up and pushing it towards a tree until it finally can go up on its own into the big, big world.

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29 Jun 14:00

Toys R Us Announces SDCC Exclusives, Including 1960s Batgirl, Harley Quinn, MLP, and Princess Leia! - All the toys R belong to me!

by Teresa Jusino

We need this stuff.
Not the Leia.


It’s that time of year when everyone and their mom is revealing their SDCC exclusive merch…and we wouldn’t have it any other way, would we? This time, it’s Toys R Us, who’ve unveiled some pretty sweet toys of interest to multiple fandoms designed for “mature collectors” (aka Grown Ups Who Love Playing With Toys). Even better, you don’t even have to be going to SDCC to have access!

First, lets check out the pretties. We’re especially excited about this one, because we love us some Batgirl around here. Check out this awesome 1966 Batgirl figure from Mattel! She’s got 16 points of articulation, stands 6 inches tall, and is sculpted in the likeness of Yvonne Craig, who played Batgirl in the Batman 66 TV series. She also comes with a base for display, as well as two retro city backdrops:

Photographer Dennis Stylist Lin



From Schleich, comes this Batman/Harley Quinn Justice League two-pack:

batman harley


Star Wars fans can snag this new Black Series “Jabba’s Rancor Pit” set from Hasbro, which comes with four 6-inch figures. This set will be available at Toys R Us stores later in the year.

star wars jabba


My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fans can get their hands on this exclusive figure of Pinkie Pie’s awesomely snide sister, Maude Rock Pie:



These, and other toys from properties like Power Rangers, Transformers, and Mortal Kombat will be available at the Entertainment Earth booth (#2343) at SDCC. But, as I said up top, you don’t have to be going to SDCC to check out the goods! If you visit their special SDCC website between July 9 and July 12, you’ll be able to buy any of these exclusives while supplies last. Only some of the toys will be available in Toys R Us stores later this year, so if you want ’em, get on it!

(via Comic Vine)

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29 Jun 15:00

Wu-Tang Clan Affiliate Christ Bearer Finally Reveals Why He Cut Off His Penis

by rmjoseph23

Don't do drugs.

Christ Bearer is a Long Beach, Calif., rapper who was reportedly affiliated with the Wu-Tang Clan. However, you’re probably more familiar with him as the guy who allegedly tried to commit suicide after he’d chopped off his d*ck.

Christ Bearer, whose real name is Andre Johnson, spoke with Vlad TV recently to explain his side of the story for nearly everything: his Wu-Tang affiliation, why he attempted suicide, and why, exactly, he severed his penis from his body. What did we learn from the 30-minute interview? We’re not entirely sure, but here’s what he claimed.

He says he’s a Wu-Tang affiliate.

Johnson claims that he formed part of the West Coast Killah Beez crew that was the Wu’s west coast affiliate group in the late-1990s. He said that the RZA signed him, which the production mind behind Shaolin corroborated last year. To what extent beyond his work with RZA did Johnson contribute? Who knows. He says the list of people he’s worked with “would stagger you,” and he even makes the claim that Wu members wouldn’t work with him because he was too crazy.

He was f*cked up on drugs the night he cut off his penis.

Johnson claims that a history of PCP abuse runs in his family, and he was a regular user of the drug by the time he was 21. While he says sleep deprivation contributed to his state the night he cut off his penis, he admitted, “I was just high as a kite. It was more than a mistake.” He counts meth, molly, and alcohol as drugs that were in his system. As for what he says his mind-state was like, he compared it to being in a cartoon: “I was watching Family Guy and American Dad, so when you smoke you’re in a cartoon world… You in an electron, neutron world. That shit is just not—what happens there is different than what happens in this reality.”

He cut off his penis because he wanted to give himself a vasectomy.

According to Johnson, he was having child-support problems at the time. He’d had three babies by three different women, and encountered several restraining orders. Coupled with the cocktail of drugs in his system, he figured he’d castrate himself. He took a steak knife and chopped. How did he know he’d messed up? “My shit just started leaking a water hose, man!,” he says.

Don’t consider it a suicide attempt.

He claims he just made a mistake; he was never intending to kill himself.

Watch the whole interview above.

(Via VladTV)

29 Jun 15:05

The Giants PUNTER Has Some Trash Talk For Tim Tebow And The Eagles’ QBs

by christmasape

It begins.

tebow punter

Getty Image

Being that LeSean McCoy is no longer a member of the Philadelphia Eagles, someone else needed to step up their trash talk to keep the rivalry between the Eagles and the New York Giants at a fever pitch. But who would it be?

Surprisingly enough, it’s Giants punter Steve Weatherford who, when he’s not busy bench pressing Rick Reilly, has decided to go on sports talk radio to say bad things about the Eagles. For example, on Friday, the punter went on WFAN’s Boomer & Carton show and said the following:

“I’m the biggest Tim Tebow fan in the world,” he said. “I mean, who wouldn’t want their daughter to date a guy like that? I’ll tell you want, I don’t want him taking snaps for my team.”

Then, he broke out the car metaphors for the rest of the Eagles quarterbacks.

“I’m gonna give you a Ferrari that maybe won’t be running all the time, or I’m giving you a nice Cadillac sedan,” he said. “It’s not the fastest but you know what you’re going to get out of it.”

Who’s the Cadillac? You guessed it, Mark Sanchez.

“[Sam] Bradford can go zero to 60 in three seconds,” he added. “But you don’t know if he’s going to start up some days.”

Weatherford added he’s heard a rumor Bradford is getting an extension and scoffed, “Good luck with that… Chip Kelly will get himself in serious trouble if they get an extension for that guy and he gets hurt? He’s done.”

BOOM ROASTED, Eagles quarterbacks. That punter owned you so hard.

If nothing else, the novelty of a punter talking trash makes this worthwhile. Perhaps Chip Kelly will put Tim Tebow on punt return duty and have him run into Weatherford for retribution. That seems as good a use for Teebs as any.

BTW, here’s video of Weatherford’s comments in case you want to see strong takes in live action.

29 Jun 17:52

Police arrest three suspected in series armed robberies in Uptown, the Village

by Tristan Hallman

Picture is unrelated.
Or is it...

21 Jun 22:30

Things We Saw Today: Miles Morales Is the New Official Marvel Comics Universe Spider-Man

by Sam Maggs

Forgot to mention this. Catherine was sitting with me when I was looking through FB, and the Frozen sports girls picture came accross, and she was ENRAPTURED. WOW! Warrior Elsas!!! We took a long hard look. Picked which ones were our favorites.

Miles Morales

We don’t know much about what’s happening after Marvel’s big universe-amalgamating Secret Wars event, but we do know that their main Spider-Man will no longer be Peter Parker – it’s going to be the excellent Ultimate Universe Miles Morales. The comic will be drawn by artist (and Morales’ creator) Sara Pichelli, and written by Brian Michael Bendis, who told The New York Daily News, “Our message has to be it’s not Spider-Man with an asterisk, it’s the real Spider-Man for kids of color, for adults of color and everybody else.” Now, if only the Cinematic Universe could keep up. (via The Verge)

  • David Tennant has joined Felicia Day and Steven Yeun as a voice actor in the animated adaptation of Image Comics’ Chew. We’re so in. (via CBR)
  • It’s the summer solstice today! Check out what that means in terms of the Earth and the sun over on


“The Freeze” is a t-ball team who are giving me so much life right now. (via Fashionably Geek)

  • So… do humans really share 99% of their DNA with chimps or nah? (via Laughing Squid)
  • Also, Tilda Swinton just founded a high school in Scotland, so that’s probably way cooler than Hogwarts. (via The Frisky)


Chris Pratt puts his wrangling skills to good use while visiting Our Lady of the Lake hospital in Baton Rogue. He gets it. (via Neatorama)

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22 Jun 12:45

The CW Might Add A Hawkgirl TV Series To Its Programming

by brendauproxx

DC Comics / Getty

Spoiler TV is claiming that The CW is considering spinning off its Legends of Tomorrow show, which hasn’t even started airing yet, and is itself a spinoff of Arrow and The Flash. Set to debut in 2016, Legends of Tomorrow co-stars Ciara Renée (who replaced Patina Miller in the Broadway revival of Pippin) as Hawkgirl, alongside Brandon Routh as The Atom and Arthur Darvill as Rip Hunter. She briefly played Kendra Saunders during the first season finale of The Flash.

The CW wants to give Renée her own show, which makes her role in Legends of Tomorrow unclear. No other details are known except that they’re developing a solo series.

(Via Spoiler TV)

19 Jun 00:00

Jeb Bush Just Not Sure Charleston Shooting Was Racially Motivated

by Robyn Pennacchia
19 Jun 17:30

Here’s A New Drink For You To Try This Weekend

by Steve Bramucci
Copasetic Twist

Lock & Key

Assuming you aren’t already meeting your alcohol needs in powdered form, you might be in the market for a cocktail this weekend (we know Harrison Barnes is). With that thought in mind, we’ve decided to post one craft cocktail recipe each Friday.

Being that this weekend leads directly into the first official day of summer, we asked Ronald Patric of Lock & Key, a speakeasy in Los Angeles, to share something bright and crisp. He calls the drink the “Copacetic Twist” and makes it with gin, grapefruit juice, lime juice, grapefruit liqueur, and muddled basil leaves.

Here’s Patric’s recipe:


2oz Gin

1oz Grapefruit juice

3/4oz Lime juice

1/4oz Pamplemousse grapefruit liquer

1/4oz Simple Syrup

3 Basil leaves, muddled

Shake and double strain

Garnish with grapefruit twist


Lock & Key

If you’re in LA, check out Lock & Key, where you’ll find a prohibition-era vibe, friendly bartenders, and some smooth ’90s hip-hop. Before you go, drop in on the Lock & Key website for live music and events.

19 Jun 13:00

It only took a decade, but the Mockingbird Pedestrian Bridge is actually going to happen

by Joe Simnacher

This is the first I'm hearing of this, but it looks lovely.

An artist's rendering shows how the Katy Trail pedestrian bridge will cross Mockingbird Lane near Central Expressway. An artist’s rendering shows how the Katy Trail pedestrian bridge will cross … [visit site to read more]

19 Jun 15:15

TNA Wrestling Reportedly Made A Recent Strong Play To Sign Rey Mysterio

by Nathan Birch

Shared for rad pic.

TNA Wrestling may not be on the most solid of ground lately, but that’s not stopping them from making plays for major ex-WWE stars, including Rey Mysterio.

According to the Wrestling Observer Dixie Carter and TNA Vice President John Gaburick met with Mysterio late last week. They offered him an open contract that would allow him to work wherever he wanted on his off days, while still building around him as one of their top stars. They also pushed that they could get his merchandise in stores and could help him get acting gigs, which seems like an odd tactic to take with the guy who just quit WWE. If Mysterio was thinking about merch and movies above all else, he probably would have stuck with the billion dollar multimedia company. Besides, Mysterio’s a Terminator now, and robots have no desire for t-shirts and direct-to-DVD acting gigs.

Again, this isn’t the first ex-WWE star TNA has tried to snag recently. They’ve reportedly gone after Edge, CM Punk and Alberto Del Rio, with none of them biting. Word from the Observer is that Mysterio isn’t feeling hungry, either, and will likely sign an official contract with Lucha Underground soon.

Man, I guess you have to make these offers if you still want to be seen as a player, but maybe it’s time for TNA to accept the era of guys chilling their heels in their company while on the outs with WWE. Perhaps focus on the quality of your product, so guys like Mysterio won’t treat going to TNA as the equivalent of being sent to the wrestling leper colony.

via Wrestling Observer

19 Jun 15:30

Matt Smith Will Play a Young Prince Phillip Alongside Claire Foy’s Queen in Netflix’s The Crown - Helen Mirren will be there in spirit.

by Charline Jao

Sounds good! Or at least promising.


Matt Smith is all set to join the new royal drama! Netflix’s new series, The Crown, will span decades of post-war Great Britain and the “delicate balance between the Queen’s private world and public life.” Smith will portray the Duke of Edinburgh alongside Claire Foy, who will play Queen Elizabeth II. John Lithgow will play Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The Hollywood Reporter describes the plot:

Season one begins with a 25-year-old princess faced with the daunting prospect of leading the most famous monarchy in the world while forging a relationship with the domineering, war-hardened prime minister, Churchill.

Remember that the “25-year-old princess” was also a driver and mechanic in the Women’s Auxillary Territorial Service (just saying). Peter Morgan will serve as writer alongside director Stephen Daldry and producer Andy Harries so you know the series is in good hands. Morgan and Harries’ previous work on The Queen with Helen Mirren was amazing and it’s said that there will be scenes inspired by Helen Mirren’s from The Audience as well.

(via The Hollywood Reporter)

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19 Jun 16:35

One Of The Daft Punk Guys Showed Up In A Movie Without His Helmet

by Ryan Harkness

Lamest Mystery Ever! Solved! At least halfway!

Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo from Daft Punk aren’t engaged in some sort of Banksy-style life of secret identities, but they have been very good at keeping their faces out of the limelight by wearing their ubiquitous robot helmets for every gig and public appearance they make. It’s only made people more eager to try to catch them in a “gotcha” moment, but Bangalter has made it pretty easy on everyone, appearing for a few seconds without his mask in a new movie from Quentin Dupieux (better known to music fans as Mr. Oizo) called Reality.

Reality stars Napoleon Dynamite‘s Jon Heder and Bangalter’s wife Elodie Bouchez. Here’s the clip from the movie that reveals Thomas’ mug:

(Via Consequence of Sound)

18 Jun 18:22

The Deadly History of “They’re Raping Our Women”

by Jamelle Bouie

Amid his Wednesday night rampage at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina—killing nine people—21-year-old Dylann Storm Roof reportedly told churchgoers, “You rape our women, and you’re taking over our country, and you have to go.”

18 Jun 18:25

Today In Press Releases: A Company That Makes Sex Machines Is Sponsoring A Vaginal Beauty Contest

by Vince Mancini


Cute Kitten Pink Background


Look, man, YOU trying finding an SFW banner image for this post. The image in the press release was a cartoon vagina wearing a crown, I swear.

When you’ve attended the AVN awards two years in a row like I have, and cover the adult film industry from time to time, you get some interesting press releases. I skip past the vast majority of them, but every once in a while a subject is so compelling that it demands my attention. Today’s:

“Autoblow Launches World’s First Crowdsourced Vaginal Beauty Pageant”

Compelling and rich. I’ll play your game, you rogues.

Chicago, June 18th, 2015:  The Autoblow 2 began its life in 2014 as a crowdfunded blowjob machine, but it will soon be repurposed into a robotic vagina.

Sweet mother of Jesus that is a strong lede. Comm majors should study this in schools. And don’t worry, Charlene, Autoblow could never replace you.

On June 15th, 2015, the company behind the Autoblow, Very Intelligent Ecommerce Inc. (VIECI), opened its Vaginal Beauty Pageant website for photo submissions and voting.

(*puts on reading glasses and rubber thimbles, begins leafing through voter guide*)

Women may submit photos of their vaginas to the contest website and the public will vote on the vaginas they consider to be the most attractive. The women attached to the vaginas…

Whoa whoa whoa, I don’t think “the women attached to the vaginas” is the preferred nomenclature, dude. Please. It’s “womyn attached the vaginas.”

…earning the top 3 places will win respectively $5,000, $2,500, and $1,250 in addition to trips to Los Angeles to undergo vaginal 3d scanning.

Congratulations! Collect your oversized novelty check and invasive cavity search.

The 3d scans will be used to replicate the winners vaginas onto a new series of Autoblow sleeves at micron level accuracy

The Autoblow Vaginal Beauty Contest will pioneer a new use for high-end 3d scanning technology previously used only in video games, films, the medical industry, and manufacturing processes. The winners vaginas will be scanned by a 3d scanner capable of accuracy in the range of 100 microns or the width of a human hair.

…And I thiiiiink to myself, what a wooooonderfuuul wooooooooorld…

I’d like to think there’s a guy in a sharp suit sitting in boardroom somewhere, whose company has developed the capability to scan vaginas in the range of 1000 microns, reading this pounding the table going “Son of a bitch! Those bastards at VEICI just ate our lunch! The board’s going to have my ass for this.”

18 Jun 21:15

The sneaky designers at Beats by Dre employ a clever trick to make you think that the company’s plas

by Whitson Gordon

The sneaky designers at Beats by Dre employ a clever trick to make you think that the company’s plastic headphones are durable products worth the premium price. [Gizmodo ]


18 Jun 21:07

Has Clarence Thomas Forgotten What His Job Is?

by Mark Joseph Stern

Upsetting at best.

Many people who come before the Supreme Court ask the justices to do something huge: devastate the Affordable Care Act, for instance, or declare a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. Kevan Brumfield just wanted a hearing. When Brumfield was convicted for the murder of Louisiana police officer Betty Smothers, the court still permitted states to execute mentally disabled people. In 2002’s Atkins v. Virginia, the court ruled that subjecting such people to capital punishment qualified as unconstitutional “cruel and unusual punishment.” Brumfield, who was sentenced to death, simply argued that he deserved an opportunity to prove in court that he is mentally challenged.

18 Jun 21:30

Get the Perfect Burger Texture by Salting Patties Right Before Cooking

by Patrick Allan

Regardless of what general seasoning you use in your burger patty recipe, salt is probably involved. If you want to cook a tender, juicy burger, wait to add salt to your patty until right before you start cooking.


18 Jun 14:00

‘Screen Time’ For Kids Is Probably Fine

by Emily Oster

When I was a kid, my parents had strict television rules: no more than an hour a day, and the content must be educational. This meant a lot of PBS. I did briefly convince my mother that the secret-agent show “MacGyver” was about science, but that boondoggle ended when she watched an episode with me. These restrictions seemed severe at the time, but my parents were just following the orders of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP): Children and teens should have no more than one to two hours of screen time per day, with children under 2 having no screen time at all. Those orders remain the same today.

Relative to my childhood, limits on screen time have become increasingly restrictive and confusing. The iPad (and Kindle, and various other tablets) has opened up a world of “educational” screen time. If my 4-year-old is doing a workbook on the iPad, does that mean she learns less than if we used a physical workbook? The AAP advocates for newspapers and physical books over iPads, computers and other screen options.

The AAP statement on media seems opposed to screens per se (quote: “young children learn best when they interact with people, not screens”) without really differentiating among various uses and types of screens. But, not surprisingly, when you look at the research, the screen matters less than what you do with it.

Of all the possibilities for screen time, television watching clearly gets the most negative attention. It’s not hard to see why. Unlike educational games on a tablet, which at least can be argued to have some interactive value, television and movie watching are largely passive. Those who oppose TV for children worry about many downsides, but chief among them are declines in test scores (or other cognitive ability) and increases in obesity.

Let’s consider a few examples. This paper relates television viewing among preschoolers to measures of “executive function” — basically, whether a kid can focus and accomplish a goal — and finds that more television exposure is associated with lower executive function. This one looks at a large sample of children and associates television viewing at younger than 3 years with lower test scores at ages 6 and 7. And this one relates television watching to obesity among children.

These are a small number of the many, many studies that show associations between time spent watching television and health and development outcomes. But all these studies have an obvious problem: the amount of TV children watch is not randomly assigned. In the general population, kids who watch a lot of TV — especially at young ages — tend to be poorer, are more likely to be members of minority groups and are more likely to have parents with less education. All these factors independently correlate with outcomes such as executive function, test scores and obesity, making it difficult to draw strong conclusions about the effects of television from this research.

There are a few studies with better designs, and these have mixed results. There does seem to be some evidence to suggest that lowering media consumption, including television, can help combat obesity in children (see here and here for examples).

The impacts of TV on IQ and test scores have not been subjected to large randomized trial evaluation. Perhaps the best causal evidence on this question comes from a 2008 paper by two media economists.48 The researchers take advantage of the fact that television was introduced to different areas of the United States at different times. This variation meant that, when television was first introduced in the 1940s and 1950s, some kids had access to TV when they were children and some did not. The researchers could then see how having TV access as a young child — what the AAP is most worried about — related to test scores when kids were in school at slightly older ages.

The researchers find no evidence that more exposure to television at an early age negatively affected later test scores. The contemporary applicability of this research is subject to various concerns — television in the 1940s and ’50s differs from the TV of today, for example — but it does suggest that such concerns about test scores may be overblown.

A second set of concerns with television — and these extend to all other screen time — is that there is something inherently bad about exposure to a screen per se. There really isn’t anything in the research to make us think this is a concern. Even the AAP, the ultimate screen time naysayer, focuses in its warnings on attention and learning difficulties, obesity and risky behaviors resulting from screen time.

Some parents worry about eye strain from looking at screens, but, again, there is simply no evidence for this. Looking for “iPad and vision” (or “tablet and vision”) in the medical literature results primarily in papers about using iPads to help people with poor vision read better. If you’d rather read your kid a book on the Kindle than on paper, there should be nothing to give you pause.

Based on my read of the evidence, I’d say there’s absolutely no reason to think there’s anything worse about using a screen to do activities you would otherwise do on paper. When it comes to passive screen time — TV and movies — it seems that, on average, watching more TV has limited (if any) impacts on test scores, but maybe has some small impacts on obesity among children. However, the key phrase here is “on average,” and fleshing this out makes clear why the effect of television is such a difficult issue to study.

To judge what impact TV has on children, we have to think about tradeoffs — what would kids be doing with their time if they weren’t watching television? There are 24 hours in a day. If your kid watches one less hour of TV, she does one hour more of something else. The AAP guidelines imply that this alternative activity is something more enriching: reading books with dad, running on the track, discussing current events with grandma, etc.

But a lot of kids and families may not use an additional hour in these ways. An hour of TV may be replaced by an hour of sitting around doing nothing, whining about being bored. Or, worse, being yelled at by an overtired parent who is trying to get dinner ready on a tight time frame. If letting your kids watch an hour of TV means you are better able to have a relaxed conversation at the dinner table, this could mean TV isn’t that bad for cognitive development.

With this insight, it’s easy to see why less television is likely to decrease obesity. The process of weight gain and loss is pretty simple: if you burn more calories than you take in, you’ll lose weight. Watching television is mostly done sitting. And most other activities involve at least some moving around. So pretty much no matter what else they do, watching less TV is likely to be associated with kids burning more calories and losing weight.

Similarly, it is easy to see why TV might not affect test scores. If the alternative use of an hour for most families is not in highly enriching parent engagement, television may be just fine.