The dwarf planet’s famous heart-shaped feature, which NASA’s discovered during its epic July 2015 flyby, drives atmospheric circulation patterns on Pluto, a new study suggests.
Most of the action comes courtesy of the heart’s left lobe, a 600-mile-wide (1,000 kilometers) nitrogen-ice plain called Sputnik Planitia. This exotic ice vaporizes during the day and condenses into ice again at night, causing nitrogen winds to blow, the researchers determined. ( is dominated by nitrogen, like Earth’s, though the dwarf planet’s air is about 100,000 times thinner than the stuff we breathe.)
These winds carry heat, particles of haze and grains of ice westward, staining the ices there with dark streaks.
“This highlights the fact that Pluto’s atmosphere and winds — even if the density of the atmosphere is very low — can impact the surface,” study lead author Tanguy Bertrand, an astrophysicist and planetary scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California, .
And that westward direction is interesting in itself, considering that Pluto spins eastward on its axis. The dwarf planet’s atmosphere therefore exhibits an odd “retrorotation,” study team members said.
Bertrand and his colleagues studied data gathered by New Horizons during the probe’s 2015 close encounter. The researchers also performed computer simulations to model Pluto’s nitrogen cycle and weather, especially the dwarf planet’s winds.
This work revealed the likely presence of westerly winds — a high-altitude variety that races along at least 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) above the surface and a fast-moving type closer to the ground that follows Sputnik Planitia’s western edge.
That edge is bounded by high cliffs, which appear to trap the near-surface winds inside the Sputnik Planitia basin for a spell before they can escape to the west, the new study suggested.
“It’s very much the kind of thing that’s due to the topography or specifics of the setting,” planetary scientist Candice Hansen-Koharcheck, of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona, said in the same statement.
“I’m impressed that Pluto’s models have advanced to the point that you can talk about regional weather,” added Hansen-Koharcheck, who was not involved in the new study.
New Horizons’ Pluto flyby revealed that the dwarf planet is far more complex and diverse than anyone had thought, featuring towering water-ice mountains and weird “bladed” terrain in addition to the photogenic heart (whose official name, Tombaugh Regio, honors the discoverer of Pluto, ).
The , which was published online Tuesday (Feb. 4) in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, reinforces and extends that basic message.
“Sputnik Planitia may be as important for Pluto’s climate as the ocean is for Earth’s climate,” Bertrand said. “If you remove Sputnik Planitia — if you remove the heart of Pluto — you won’t have the same circulation.”
Mike Wall’s book about the search for alien life, “” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by), is out now. Follow him on Twitter . Follow us on Twitter or.
Because of pressure mostly from Senate Democrats but also from some of his colleagues, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed late Friday to postpone President Donald Trump’s acquittal vote until next Wednesday.
The decision provoked frustration in some, though for different reasons.
Here is the McConnell-Schumer Senate deal which extends impeachment to next Wednesday. Story first reported by @OANN pic.twitter.com/b2pKhBma2i
— Jack Posobiec🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) February 1, 2020
Chris Wallace, one of Fox News’ most vocal Democrats, responded by blasting the Democrats for being so “petty” and “spiteful.” The remarks came after fellow FNC contributor Dana Perino opined about the Democrats’ motivation for pushing for a delay.
“I think one of the things that the Democrats want, and I don’t know why they think this would be helpful, is to be able to have the headline say, ‘An impeached president gives State of the Union,’” she said.
The president’s SOTU address is scheduled for Tuesday, a day before Trump is to be formally acquitted.
“I think it is so petty on the part of the Democrats and spiteful,” Wallace promptly chimed in. “End this. Land the plane!”
(Source: Fox News)
Others aimed their criticism at McConnell instead, including Fox Business Network host Lou Dobbs and frequent FBN guest Ed Rollins, the co-chairman of the Donald Trump Great America PAC.
“Why in the world would the majority leader agree to run this thing through the state of the union address?” Dobbs asked in exasperation late Friday.
“He won, and the bottom line is that he should have shut it down tonight. And who cares if it’s in the middle fo the night? The whole thing is in the middle of the night,” Rollins replied.
“So what’s the profit in him doing this?” Dobbs pressed.
“There’s not,” Rollins replied. “There’s a danger to it because you have another whole weekend of the co-conspirators — The New York Times — leaking more Bolton stories and raising more hell. He’ll be on all the talk shows.”
(Source: Fox Business Network)
Shortly before the Senate began the process of voting on whether or not to allow witnesses to testify in the president’s trial, the Times dropped yet another Bolton “bombshell.”
This one alleged that the “president asked his national security adviser last spring in front of other senior advisers to pave the way for a meeting between Rudolph Giuliani and Ukraine’s new leader.”
Within an hour of the “bombshell” dropping, the Democrat impeachment managers began making closing arguments that reportedly contained quotes from that very story.
“[T]he House managers begin their closing arguments, and guess what? They’ve got charts, they got graphs, they got quotes from the New York Times leak!” conservative radio show host Rush Limbaugh noted at the time.
“It’s the playbook, and it is now so obvious, it’s become a joke. Every senator in that room knows exactly what’s going on here. We’re listening to closing arguments that are a coordinated, last-gasp, hail Mary for witnesses or what have you, that the New York Times found somebody to leak ’em something else from the manuscript of Bolton’s book.”
Dovetailing back to Dobbs, he shared his concerns on Twitter, as did other notable conservatives.
Why in the world would Senate Majority Leader McConnell allow this Radical Dem assault on @realDonaldTrump and the nation to run through the State of the Union and go on Wednesday when he could wrap it up tonight or at least tomorrow? #MAGA #AmericaFirst #Dobbs
— Lou Dobbs (@LouDobbs) January 31, 2020
Get the vote done Tuesday.
Exonerate the President BEFORE the State of the Union Address Tuesday so America can officially and symbolically turn the page from this duplicitous impeachment.
Tuesday night needs to be @realdonaldtrump‘s. https://t.co/koYyhxOQOv
— JD Rucker (@JDRucker) February 1, 2020
Why is McConnell pushing this now to Wednesday?
— Jeremy Frankel (@FrankelJeremy) January 31, 2020
Someone needs to ask all those ‘muh Cocaine Mitch’ people why McConnell is cutting deals with Schumer to extend the impeachment trial. Weird!
— Jack Posobiec🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) January 31, 2020
Reports have emerged suggesting that “Cocaine Mitch” may have delayed the acquittal vote for his own personal benefit.
“A joint fundraising committee allied with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is hosting a fundraiser in the Miami area over Super Bowl weekend,” The Hill has confirmed.
“McConnell for Majority Leader, a joint fundraising committee, has scheduled a fundraiser at 4 p.m. Saturday at a ‘South Beach Miami Location Provided Upon RSVP,’ according to an invite obtained by The Hill.”
While it’s not clear whether the majority leader will attend the event, some have speculated that his scheduled presence at the event would certainly explain his inexplicable decision to delay the president’s acquittal vote.
So is this why McConnell didn’t force a vote tonight or tomorrow? Cause that would be bad https://t.co/n19AMOVDYg
— jim manley (@jamespmanley) February 1, 2020
To be fair, however, the president himself reportedly signed off on the delay.
“Before agreeing to the delay, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) phoned Trump to get the president’s approval, according to a source familiar with the conversation. Trump then signed off on the decision,” Politico reported.
It’s not clear what the strategy here is, though knowing the president, there is indeed most likely some sort of strategy at play.
Senior Staff Writer
V. Saxena is a staff writer for BizPac Review with a decade of experience as a professional writer, and a lifetime of experience as an avid news junkie. He holds a degree in computer technology from Purdue University.
Hey everyone. Thank you for welcoming me into you inboxes yet again.
Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. After dodging your inboxes for a couple weeks as I ventured off to China for a TechCrunch event in Shenzhen, I am rested up and ready to go.
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The big story
When Apple announced details on their three new subscription products (Apple TV+, Apple Arcade and Apple News+ — all of which are now live) back in March, the headlines that followed all described accurately how Apple’s business was increasingly shifting away from hardware towards services and how the future of the company may lie in these subscription businesses.
I largely accepted those headlines as fact, but one thing I have been thinking an awful lot about this week is how much I have loved Disney+ since signing up for an account and just how little I have thought about Apple TV+ despite signing up for both at their launches.
It’s admittedly not the fairest of comparisons, Disney has decades of classic content behind them while Apple is pushing out weekly updates to a few mostly meh TV shows. But no one was begging Apple to get into television. The company’s desires to diversify and own subscriptions that consumers have on their Apple devices certainly make sense for them, but their strategy of making that play without the help of any beloved series before them seems to have been a big miscalculation.
At TechCrunch, we write an awful lot about acquisitions worth hundreds of million, if not billions, of dollars. Some of the acquisitions that have intrigued me the most have been in the content space. Streaming networks are plunking down historic sums on series like Seinfeld, Friends and The Big Bang Theory. The buyers have differed throughout these deals, but they have never been Apple.
That’s because Apple isn’t bidding on history, they’re trying to nab directors and actors creating the series that will be the next hits. And while that sounds very Apple, it also sounds like a product that’s an awfully big gamble to the average consumer looking to try out a new streaming service. Why pick the service that’s starting from a standstill? Apple has ordered plenty of series and I have few doubts that at least one of the shows they plan to introduce is going to be a hit, but there isn’t much in the way of an early favorite yet and for subscribers that haven’t found “the one” yet, there’s very little reason to stick around.
Other networks with a half-dozen major series can afford a few flops because there’s a library of classics that’s filling up the dead space. Apple’s strategy is bold but is going to lead to awfully high churn among consumers that won’t be as forgiving of bad bets. This is an issue that’s sure to become less pronounced over time, but I would bet there will be quite a few consumers unsubscribing in the mean time leaving those on freebie subscriptions responsible for gauging which new shows are top notch.
Apple has also made the weird move of not housing their content inside an app so much as the Apple TV’s alternative UI inside the TV app. One one hand, this makes the lack of content less visible, but it also pushes all of the original series to the back of your mind. If you’re a Netflix user who has been subconsciously trained never to use the TV app on your Apple TV because none of their content is housed there, you’re really left forgetting about TV+ shows entirely when using the traditional app layout.
We haven’t received any super early numbers on Apple News+, Apple Arcade or Apple TV+, but none of the three appears to have made the sizable cultural splashes in their debuts that were hoped for at launch. Apple’s biggest bet of the three was undoubtedly TV+ and while their first series haven’t seemed to drop any jaws, what’s more concerning is whether the fundamentals of the service have been arranged so that unsatisfied subscribers feel any need to stick around.
Send me feedback on Twitter @lucasmtny or email firstname.lastname@example.org
On to the rest of the week’s news.
Image via AMY OSBORNE/AFP/Getty Images
Trends of the week
Here are a few big news items from big companies, with green links to all the sweet, sweet added context:
How did the top tech companies screw up this week? This clearly needs its own section, in order of badness:
It’s hard to believe it’s already that time of the year again, but we just announced the agenda for Disrupt Berlin and we’ve got some all-stars making their way to the stage. I’ll be there this year, get some tickets and come say hey!
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•Bill scales first reading •Monitoring agency underway
Deji Elumoye, Alex Enumah in Abuja and Segun James in Lagos
The Senate came under fire yesterday for proposing the Hate Speech Prohibition Bill, which seeks to criminalise the offence with death as a penalty.
The bill, which passed first reading at the plenary yesterday, seeks to establish a federal government agency to check hate speech.
But senior lawyers, activists and a chieftain of Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, who spoke with THISDAY, condemned attempts to make hate speech a capital offence and urged the National Assembly to tread carefully on the issue.
The bill, sponsored by a former Senate spokesperson, who is now the Deputy Senate Whip, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, is entitled “National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speeches (Establishment etc) Bill 2019.”
Abdullahi had sponsored a similar bill in the Eighth Senate, which prescribed among others, death by hanging for anyone found guilty of the offence.
The bill Abdullahi presented to the previous Senate said an offence is committed when “a person publishes, presents, produces, plays, provides, distributes and/or directs the performance of any material, written and/or visual, which is threatening, abusive or insulting or involves the use of threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, commits an offence if such person intends thereby to stir up ethnic hatred, or having regard to all the circumstances, ethnic hatred is likely to be stirred up against any person or persons from such an ethnic group in Nigeria.
“A person subjects another to harassment on the basis of ethnicity for the purposes of this section where, on ethnic grounds, he unjustifiably engages in a conduct which has the purpose or effect of (a) violating that other person’s dignity or (b) creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the person subjected to the harassment.
“Conduct shall be regarded as having the effect specified in subsection (1) (a) or (b) of this section if, having regard to all the circumstances, including in particular the perception of that other person, it should reasonably be considered as having that effect.”
Part two of the 26-page bill talks about the discrimination that the bill applies to include ethnic discrimination, hate speech, harassment on the basis of ethnicity, offence of ethnic or racial contempt, discrimination by way of victimisation and offences by body of persons.
In his own reaction, human rights lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), called on Nigerians to rise up against the bill, to ensure that it does not see the light of day.
He wondered when making a speech which is guaranteed as freedom of expression under Section 39 of the 1999 Constitution, became punishable by death.
Ozekhome described the bill as ill-intentioned, ill-conceived, and ill-digested to breed dictatorship and absolutism.
“An obnoxious law such as this will further drive underground and into hiding, the opposition and genuine social critics, who speak truth to power and criticise serial opaque, anti-people, corrupt and high-handed policies of government,” he added.
According to him, since the current government has been tested and known to be allergic to constructive criticisms, the bill if allowed would embolden it to clamp many Nigerians in detention.
Ozekhome’s other colleagues also warned the Senate against passing the bill, describing it as a violation of the 1999 Constitution.
Mr. Dayo Akinlaja SAN, while describing the move as weird and absurd at this age, said inasmuch as the menace of hate speech in the country should not be tolerated, there was need for caution to ensure that innocent people did not suffer.
“As much as one would not want to condone anything like hate speech the reality is that one would have to be extra careful to avoid the possibility of an abuse,” he said, adding: “If the punishment is that capital, then what happens if somebody is wrongly accused? That is rather absurd and preposterous at this age and I pray that such a thing does not come through.”
Dr. Kayode Olatoke SAN also noted that the bill violated constitutional provision on freedom of speech.
Olatoke while recalling that the matter is already a subject of litigation at a Federal High Court, stressed that the punishment is outrageous when compared with other similar crimes, which borders on law of torts.
He, however, urged the National Assembly to refrain from going further with the bill until the issue is resolved in the court of law.
Another SAN, Mr. John Baiyeshea, expressed confidence that the National Assembly would listen to public outcry.
“I’m sure the sentence will be reviewed/reduced to terms of imprisonment”, he said.
Mr. Ahmed Raji SAN called for a probe of what constitutes hate speech in the proposed law.
“I think we should start by probing into what constitutes hate speech under the proposed legislation. Notwithstanding what may constitute hate speech, the world is moving away from death penalty,” he stated.
Also, human rights activist and Executive Director of Environmental Rights Action (ERA), Dr. Nnimo Bassey, told THISDAY that it was outrageous and shameful for the Senate to contemplate a bill of that nature.
He said: “Death penalty for so called hate speech; who decides what constitutes hate speech? Our political leaders? If social media statements that have landed some Nigerians in the Gulag approximate what the drafters of this bill have in mind, then there is real threat of a dark cloud over Nigeria. The idea smacks of total insensitivity and is not expected of even the most autocratic. It is a bill with murderous intent. The National Assembly should spend its time on bills that deepen rather than constrict the democratic space. This bill should be withdrawn!”
A chieftain of the Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, said he was speechless.
“This is inconceivable in a Senate under a constitutional democracy. There is no arrest or prosecution for Fulani herdsmen’s atrocities not to talk of death penalty for culprits but for free speech. God Save Nigeria,” he said.
Also reacting, a former Special Adviser to ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo on Political Matters, Mr. Akin Osuntokun, said the new bill would amount to mindlessness.
“It is like using a bulldozer to crush a mouse. In the first place, classifying what qualifies as hate speech is problematic and prone to abuse. It will end up creating more problems than it can solve. There are extant laws that can be adapted for the same purpose. The law against defamation for instance,” he said.
Also in its reaction, the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in a statement jointly issued by the President, Chris Isiguzo and National Secretary, Shuaibu Usman Leman, said most actions being taken in recent times were deliberately crafted to target and silence journalists.
“Safety implies freedom from danger and, in the news gathering context, safety implies protection from a range of threats journalists encounter, including arrest, legal action, imprisonment, kidnapping, intimidation and murder, amongst others. Journalists that are hitherto exposed to more danger in violent armed conflicts than in peace and stable situations, now face greater threats in a democracy like Nigeria. These threats and attacks against the media are aimed at inducing fear and self-censorship and regrettably these are the basic strategies of authoritarian regimes and not democracies like in Nigeria,” the NUJ stated.
The post Outrage Greets Senate’s Death Penalty for Hate Speech appeared first on THISDAYLIVE.
Bukola and Ayobami‘s path collided on at a mutual friend’s birthday. In Bukola’s words, he couldn’t take his eyes off her and eventually offered to give her a ride home. Right from that point, their love story kicked off and then a couple of years after, Ayobami popped the question a few days before his sister’s wedding.
Keep scrolling to read the #BamBu2019 love story.
How We Met
By the bride, Bukola:
We met in 2017 when I was invited to a birthday party by one of my close friends (Oyin). He was also invited by a mutual friend. As the party went on, I could feel someone looking at me, that person was Ayobami. He couldn’t take his eyes off me (literally). He kept sending his friends to make sure I was okay. I eventually left the party earlier than expected. So he followed me outside and insisted he gave me a lift home. After much persuasion and reassurance from mutual friends, I agreed and the rest is history.
Since that very day, we’ve been joint at the hip. He has been my rock. He is the most loving, kindest, sweetest and God-fearing man. We have been through so much and I’m so excited to see what the future holds. We are really about to start the rest of our lives together.
Our Proposal Story
By the bride, Bukola
So it happened that I was flying to Lagos for Bam Bam’s sister’s wedding. From the moment I landed, he insisted that we take his sister and husband to dinner. I was a bit reluctant because I was tired from the flight but I agreed to go. He picked me up from the airport and I noticed he was driving extremely fast and was anxious. He took me home and told me to put on makeup, which was weird because he knows I waste time with my makeup. We got into the car with his sister and her husband and he began speeding down the highway. He initially said we were going for dinner but we ended up going to IMAX Lekki. I got out of the car and walked inside and saw that he had already purchased the tickets which was weird and extremely unlike him because we hadn’t agreed on a movie.
As we were walking towards the cinema screen, I kept asking what movie we were going to watch but he wasn’t answering me. I walked in and BOOM, it happened; roses, flowers and my loved ones everywhere. I was shocked and never thought he could pull off a surprise but he sure did. He got down on one knee and I could see he was nervous. The ring was so stunning, I couldn’t help but say yes! Everything about the night was perfect, he made a video of all my loved ones, colleagues and friends who couldn’t make it. I said yes then, I say yes now and I say yes forever.
Ask yourself which toys are most collectible: train sets, die-cast cars, and – it almost goes without saying – Star Wars figures. The most obsessively collected examples tend to have one thing in common – they were originally marketed at boys.
While these toys aren’t collected exclusively by men, women are less likely to have vast collections of them. So which vintage toys are women seeking out?
Thanks to her peculiarly oversized head and bulging eyes that change colour with the pull of a string, not many girls wanted to play with Blythe when she was introduced in 1972.
But Blythe has become strangely popular in recent years and original dolls now sell for between £500 and £2,000, depending on their condition.
“They were only released for a year,” says Laura Kate Shippert, one of the organisers of BlytheCon UK, which was held in Bristol earlier this month. “They failed terribly; people thought they were a bit freaky and scary.”
Their popularity in recent years was sparked by a book called This is Blythe, in which photographer Gina Garan featured the dolls artfully posed like real fashion models. Others then started picking up second-hand Blythe dolls – which were relatively cheap at the time – dressing them in glamorous outfits and photographing them in exotic locations.
The renewed interest has led to new Blythe dolls being produced, known in the community as “Neo Blythes” – and these are pretty valuable too.
“They are anywhere from £100 to £400 new, then after a while some become more popular and harder to find, and the prices will fluctuate,” says Laura Kate.
She has 17 Blythe dolls, but only one is an original from 1972. She paid £400 for it about 10 years ago, which was “a steal” even at the time.
Laura Kate considers her own collection to be quite small compared to other people’s.
“I know someone who owns like 40 of them and I think ‘but you could own a house’,” she says. “If that’s what makes her happy and that’s what she wants to spend her money on, she’s an adult, she can make her choices. It’s not cocaine.”
My Little Pony
The My Little Pony phenomenon began when the toys were launched in 1982. About 150 million ponies were reportedly sold in the 1980s, with their popularity boosted by an animated TV series. Actor Danny DeVito even lent his voice to the 1986 film My Little Pony: The Movie.
Martina Foster loves My Little Pony so much she has a “pony room” in her house filled with somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 of them, worth between £10,000 and £15,000.
Martina was seven years old when she was given her first one – a pony called Tootsie printed with lollipop “cutie marks”. She rediscovered them while searching eBay as a student, then got her old ones out of the loft.
“I thought, ‘I’ll buy the ones that I always wanted, just for fun’,” she says. “Then you get sucked into it.”
Martina says the market fluctuates but rare ones in good condition can now fetch thousands of pounds. The most she has spent is a £200 for a pony called Rapunzel – “a bargain” because it is now worth about £500.
Martina is vice chairman of this year’s UK PonyCon, which is being held in Nottingham this weekend. As well as attracting collectors of the original toys, the convention attracts fans of the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic animated series, which launched in 2010.
While My Little Pony was marketed towards girls in the 1980s, many fans of the animated series are adult men.
“It is fairly watchable even for grown-ups,” says Martina. “You can watch it as an adult and there are some witty things in it and in the end it’s all about friendship and accepting other people.”
Pippa was marketed as “the pocket money fashion doll” when she was sold in the 1970s, but Vectis Auctions has sold Pippa dolls for as much as £1,400 in recent years. She and her friends are much shorter than normal fashion dolls at only 6.5 inches (16.5cm) tall, which meant production costs were low.
Heather Swann started collecting them about 20 years ago after picking one up in a charity shop for 50p. She wanted to collect them as a way of recapturing her childhood.
“Isn’t that why people collect toys?” she says.
After Heather’s charity shop find she started buying more dolls through eBay.
“They were much cheaper then, as ladies of a certain age were just beginning to find them,” she says. “Unfortunately they are now becoming expensive and many collectors are after them.”
Heather describes her collection of about 50 dolls as “medium size”, as many women have hundreds. She has seen individual dolls sell for hundreds of pounds but the most she has ever spent is £40.
“I don’t tend to buy the expensive dolls, I now just look out for the ones which need a transformation,” she says. “I enjoy the process of restoring them.”
Care Bears were originally painted in 1981 to appear on greetings cards, before the characters were turned into soft toys in 1983. A television series followed, as did books, a plethora of merchandise, multiple LPs and a film in 1985 for which Carole King was persuaded to write and perform songs for the soundtrack.
Jennifer Hawkins loves Care Bears so much she had her favourite one, Bedtime Bear, tattooed on her arm.
“I was looking around earlier and I think I’ve got something Care Bears-related in every room, except my bathroom,” says Jennifer, who lives in Gloucester with about 200 Care Bears.
“But they make me happy so I’m quite happy to have them everywhere. I like the cuteness, I like having the little faces to talk to, I like the fact that they represent different feelings.”
Jennifer got one of her favourites – called Beanie – “as a comfort” when her grandfather died the day after her 14th birthday.
“He [Beanie] comes pretty much everywhere with me now,” she says.
She estimates her collection is worth “a few thousand”. The most she spent on an individual bear was £140, which was a 25th anniversary version of Bedtime Bear, and resisted the temptation to spend £500 on an original 1980s Bedtime Bear that was still in the box.
“Unfortunately I can’t afford to spend a month’s rent on one bear,” she says. “That’s definitely a bit too much.”
Barbie was launched in 1959 and swiftly became a cultural icon, gathering fans among each new generation of girls.
Linda Richardson was not one of them. When her mother gave her Barbies, she chopped their heads off.
“My passion was always cowboys and Indians and motorbikes and all that stuff,” says Linda, who lives in Cumbria. But she now has an “obsession” with dolls and has more than 500, worth about £35,000 at a “conservative estimate”.
Her passion was ignited 15 years ago on a trip to buy presents for her son.
“I saw these Native American Indians and they happened to be Barbies and that just set it off, really,” she says.
She did not buy the dolls at the time but started researching Barbie online and “found a whole new world”.
Most of the ones she buys are aimed at collectors, rather than the typical Barbie dolls made for children. She keeps them protected behind glass doors in a room lined with bookcases.
She also has some “de-boxed” dolls she puts in dioramas, photographs and posts on Instagram. “It’s just something to do,” she says. “It keeps me out of trouble.”
Others favour Barbie’s rival, which went on to become the best-selling fashion doll in the UK when it launched in 1963.
Melanie Quint only had one Sindy as a child but now has 60 or 70, worth between three and four thousand pounds.
“I decided to sell all of my childhood dolls and when I looked on eBay I realised there was this massive collecting and restoration community,” she says.
Instead of selling her dolls she ended up buying more.
“It’s nostalgia at the end of the day,” says Melanie. “You look at the face and the doll and the fashions and it takes you back to the way you were when you were a child.”
Melanie now runs Dollycon UK, which is for collectors of all dolls but has a particular focus on Sindy. A particular highlight is the “hilarious” cosplay competition, where people dress up as particular dolls.
“It’s very tongue-in-cheek,” says Melanie. “They pick some of the weird outfits, the 70s stuff. It’s really funny seeing what they do.
“We had one woman last year who dressed as Action Man Frogman, in a full suit with flippers on. I couldn’t speak, it was hilarious.”
This article is probably going to #trigger a lot of you, so go ahead and read your horoscope or one of our Real Housewives articles to calm down before you @ me in the comments.
With the dawn of social media has come the dawn of oversharing. So many people feel the need to have their existence validated in the form of comments and likes on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook that it makes my head spin. Now that our generation (millenials for life) is hitting the wedding and kid age, you may have noticed that a lot of your friends are constantly (and I mean CONSTANTLY) sharing stories, pictures, and videos of their kids and partners online.
The question is, how much is too much? Will the subject of these videos, the children, be cool with the fact that mom is documenting a blowout/bath/toddler meltdown for the whole world to see? Let’s break it down.
The Rise Of “Sharenting”
Oh, yeah, there’s a name for it. If you weren’t aware, “sharenting” is basically sharing everything your kid does while simultaneously asking for advice, posting embarrassing sh*t, and generally airing out your parenting dirty laundry all over the internet. It doesn’t, on the surface, seem like that big of a deal. However, it can lead to everything from your kids looking for validation in the form of likes later, to identity theft, to children feeling like they have no sense of privacy.
We get that sharing that inspirational quote with a picture of bath time gone wrong is going to probably get a lot of likes from your friends, but is it worth it? You’re creating a digital identity for your child before they can even say, “mom, chill with the photos.”
Not Sharing Helps Your Kids Later
It may seem like a wild thought when you’re up at 3am changing diapers, but eventually, your kid is going to grow up and see all the stuff you’ve posted about them online (provided the internet still exists then). In addition to them feeling weird about it, all that sharing can actually lead to serious problems, like identity theft. According to Forbes, “Barclays has forecast that by 2030 ‘sharenting’ will account for 2/3 of identity fraud, costing hundreds of millions of dollars a year. With just a name, date of birth, and address (easy enough to find in a geotagged birthday party photo on Facebook, for example), bad actors can store this information until a person turns 18 and then begin opening accounts.”
That kind of makes you stop and think about posting the full name, date, time, and location of your kid’s first birthday party, doesn’t it? As someone who has personally dealt with having my social security number stolen and having some jackass try to file taxes in my name (joke’s on you—I have no money), I can attest to how not fun that situation is. Is posting that photo or video really worth the headache your kid may endure later?
Aside from identity theft, posting about behavioral issues, tantrums, illnesses, and other trials and tribulations your kid is going through could come back to hurt them later. Maybe your kid, upon reaching age 10, didn’t really want people to know that they were wetting the bed/had a biting issue/licked walls, even though it was hilarious at the time. You posting that online didn’t really give them a choice in sharing that information when, at the end of the day, it directly affects them.
Genevieve von Lob, a clinical psychologist consulted for an article about sharenting on The Guardian, says, “‘More and more parents are questioning the wisdom of posting so much about their kids online. The pictures that are uploaded can form a permanent digital tattoo. Because it’s all so new for parents, we need to start thinking about asking children’s permission to post online.” She wants parents to ask themselves, “Are you leading with a positive, respectful, appropriate example? Are you modelling that you think before you share online? If parents are posting things online to get likes, it’s about getting that validation from others. It’s important kids aren’t learning that posting [photographs] is a way of being validated.’”
So, if you’re sharing everything from cute outfits to “inspirational” mommy quotes with a pic of your kid to tummy time and everything in between to get validation that you are a GREAT parent, your kid is going to pick that up. Basically, don’t be surprised when they try to drop out of high school to be an influencer.
This Isn’t Your Dog
It kind of goes without saying, but your dog isn’t a person.
** slams computer shut in disgust **
You dog doesn’t have a future other than to play all day, sleep all night, and eat whatever you drop on the floor while providing unquestionable loyalty and snuggles. Your kid, however, could potentially be looking at going to an Ivy League school, or trying to make friends while appearing normal. Whatever the case, your kid is not your dog, and documenting their antics to the same degree you’ve documented that of your pets isn’t all that chill. Like, do you think your kid, when they hit age 15, is going to be SO PSYCHED that you posted that time they smeared sh*t all over the walls of the nursery? How about when they just looked **so adorable** during naked naptime? It’s important to remember that your baby is a person, and just because they can’t tell you to stop posting sh*t now, doesn’t mean they won’t think it (and yell at you about it) later.
Stacey Steinberg of the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law wrote a legal analysis regarding sharenting and was consulted for this Forbes article. Steinberg concludes that “it’s important to give children the right to say no to parental posts about them (including photos, quotes, and descriptions of their accomplishments and challenges). She notes that by age four, children have a sense of self and have already begun to compare themselves with others.” Additionally, Steinberg says, “‘children who grow up with a sense of privacy, coupled with supportive and less controlling parents, fare better in life. Studies report these children have a greater sense of overall well-being and report greater life satisfaction than children who enter adulthood having experienced less autonomy in childhood.” She emphasizes, “Children must be able to form their own identity and create their own sense of both private and public self to thrive as young people and eventually as adults.’”
Your dog doesn’t NEED a sense of autonomy in puppyhood to experience greater life satisfaction. You kid, on the other hand, totally does.
Post, But Keep It Chill
Overall, posting a few pics here and there of your cute kid or kids is like, fine. They aren’t going to be mentally damaged by it; your friends may talk sh*t about you behind your back, but you can rest assured that you’re just one of millions of cool moms documenting your “totally crazy fun #blessed” life on social media.
But, for the love of God, try to keep it to a minimum. Personally, I would rather see your dog than your spawn—and, also, you’re potentially setting your kid up for all the issues we discussed above. If you just NEED to post that pic, keep it vague, don’t geotag, and limit your audience. Even better, send the video via text to friends and family, post for a limited audience as a story on Facebook or Instagram, or Snapchat it. No matter what you want to post, think before you do it. For f*ck’s sake, think of the children.
Four years ago, Hollywood director Rob Cohen invited 28-year-old Jane to a business meeting in Manhattan to discuss collaborating on a TV pilot. Cohen chose the cigar lounge where they met and ordered her a drink, even though she didn’t ask for one, Jane would later recall. He then moved the meeting to a restaurant that happened to be situated right by the hotel where he was staying, ordered a carafe of wine and encouraged her to drink some more, she said.
By the night’s end, Jane said she found herself regaining consciousness in Cohen’s hotel room, naked, while the director sexually assaulted her. She jolted out of bed and threw up.
Medical records reviewed by HuffPost show that Jane sought treatment for sexual assault after meeting with Cohen. Two people close to Jane confirmed that she told them about the assault both immediately after it happened and again about a year later.
HuffPost also reviewed text messages between Jane and Cohen, sent about two-and-a-half years after the alleged assault, in which she told him, “The night we met, you really hurt me and fucked me up.” At the time, Cohen wrote back that he was “so sorry to hear this.” He later told HuffPost, through a lawyer, that he was apologizing for what he believed was a dispute over compensation for her work on the TV pilot.
In response to a detailed list of questions from HuffPost, Cohen’s lawyer Martin Singer sent a 13-page letter denying any wrongdoing.
“The proposed Story is an outrageous defamatory hit piece, making extraordinarily offensive assertions that my client engaged in heinous sexual misconduct, criminal wrongdoing, and other inappropriate behavior, which are vehemently disputed and denied by my client,” wrote Singer, who is well-known in Hollywood for representing Bill Cosby and other men accused of sexual misconduct in that cutthroat industry. Singer cautioned HuffPost against “publishing this Story in an effort to feed the ‘Me Too’ media frenzy with this salacious Story.”
Cohen is best known for directing the first “Fast and the Furious” film back in 2001, which spawned a $5.8 billion global franchise with seven subsequent installments and two more planned. He directed “xXx,” released in 2002, and “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor,” released in 2008, along with a number of other frenetic films packed with handguns and high-speed car chases.
In February, his daughter, 32-year-old Valkyrie Weather, publicly accused him of molesting her when she was a toddler. Weather, who is transgender, also recalled trips with Cohen to visit sex workers in overseas shooting locations when she was a teen and still presenting as a boy. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, the director described his daughter’s allegations as “categorically untrue.”
The molestation allegation was not new to Cohen — Weather’s mother brought it up in divorce proceedings more than two decades ago. Cohen, through his lawyer, told HuffPost that his being awarded sole custody of Weather in the divorce proceedings demonstrated that the allegations were not valid. At the time, evaluators could not determine whether abuse took place, according to documents reviewed by HuffPost.
Jane contacted Weather this year shortly after reading Weather’s public statement. Jane wasn’t interested at the time in making her story public, but the two women had worked together, and Jane wanted Weather to know she wasn’t alone. She agreed to talk to HuffPost as a way of supporting Weather and has now decided to go public with her experience.
Cohen met Jane, who requested anonymity to protect her privacy, in early 2015 to discuss her role consulting on that TV pilot with his daughter Weather. The director had offered to use the industry contacts he’d accumulated in his four-decade-long career to shop the pilot around to the networks. Emails reviewed by HuffPost confirm that Cohen collaborated with Jane and Weather on the television project, although it never came to fruition. A major network representative also confirmed to HuffPost that she had discussed the project with Cohen.
Jane felt weird about the meeting with Cohen almost immediately. Cohen flirted with her and volunteered details about his sex life, she recalled. But she needed the money and was excited about the career opportunity, so she tried to ignore his comments.
Although Jane’s memory of the later parts of the evening is incomplete, there are details she remembers vividly. She remembers feeling suddenly alone with Cohen in the large restaurant after the other diners had trickled out. She remembers starting to feel “fuzzy.” She remembers him leaning over to kiss her cheek and thinking that was strange. She remembers being at another bar with Cohen — she distinctly remembers the checkerboard-patterned floor.
The next thing she remembers is waking up naked, she said. She remembers Cohen’s face in her crotch and his fingers inside her. She had not consented to any of this.
She made her way to the bathroom to vomit and stumbled back to the bed. Cohen tried to penetrate her, but he stopped when she told him to, she said.
Meanwhile, Jane’s boyfriend at the time was starting to worry, he said in an interview with HuffPost. Jane had told him about the meeting with Cohen and said she expected to be home around 10 p.m. By that time, he hadn’t received any text messages from her in a while. He thought it was strange for an older man (Cohen was then in his mid-60s) to turn a business meeting with a 28-year-old woman into a late night of drinking, but he knew the show was a good opportunity for his girlfriend — who was struggling to find work — so he tried to be supportive.
Jane finally arrived at her boyfriend’s house in a taxi around 1:30 a.m. He wanted to know what had happened that night, but they were both tired and just went to bed. When they woke up in the morning, Jane was distant. Her boyfriend still remembers her “thousand-mile stare.”
At first, Jane didn’t know what to make of her experience with Cohen, she told HuffPost. She had a vague uneasy feeling about the night before but her memory of the encounter was hazy.
The night after the alleged assault, Jane went out to dinner with her boyfriend. Once they were seated, Jane’s gaze settled on the checkerboard floor. She panicked as memories of the previous night flooded into focus. Unable to conceal her anxiety, she told her boyfriend what had happened after her meeting with Cohen.
The fact that Jane says she vividly remembers being assaulted but has a hazy recollection of other parts of the evening is not unusual, Patricia Resick, a psychiatry professor at Duke University, said in an interview. Jane would not have been able to form any memories during the time she was unconscious, Resick noted. And even when she was conscious, she would have no reason to remember parts of the evening that did not seem unusual or dangerous.
Jane told HuffPost that she was a social drinker at the time and does not recall consuming enough alcohol to black out or lose consciousness. “It did not feel like being very drunk,” she said.
Within a matter of weeks, Jane went to a health clinic to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases. Medical records reviewed by HuffPost show she sought treatment as a victim of sexual assault. Jane told the medical professional who treated her that she continued to work on show development and communicate with her alleged assailant, medical records show.
Cohen recalls meeting Jane at a bar in 2015 to discuss the television project, but he denies being in a hotel room with her or sexually assaulting her, Singer wrote. According to his lawyer, Cohen also denies that Jane was unconscious in his presence and claims that Jane left immediately after their meeting ended.
After the health clinic visit, Jane tried to move on. She still wanted the TV project to work out. And she hoped that what Cohen did to her was a one-time mistake by a man of an older generation, rather than part of a pattern of predatory behavior. Maybe he felt deep regret, she thought. Maybe no one had told him about the importance of confirming consent. But the assault continued to weigh on her, she said.
In 2016, more than a year after the incident, Jane’s current boyfriend — who didn’t yet know about her experience with Cohen — made a joke about one of the “Fast and the Furious” movies while they were waiting for a train. Jane winced at the joke and her boyfriend could tell he’d said something wrong, he recalled in an interview. Jane told him that she had been raped by Cohen but that she didn’t like talking about it. She asked him not to tell anyone.
hearing all this shit about harvey is really hard and i can’t stop thinking about what you did. i keep wondering if you even know or care how much you hurt me. im guessing no.Jane, in a text message to Rob Cohen after the Harvey Weinstein story broke
Then, in October 2017, The New York Times and The New Yorker exposedHollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s decadeslong pattern of sexual misconduct. The news made it even harder to put Cohen out of her mind. She was frustrated that she was still affected by him, even years after the assault, she said. The next month, she decided to confront him.
“The night we met, you really hurt me and fucked me up. hearing all this shit about harvey is really hard and i can’t stop thinking about what you did. i keep wondering if you even know or care how much you hurt me. im guessing no,” Jane texted Cohen, whose number HuffPost confirmed. “Anyway, im not tryina be in the news or anything, i don’t want anything from you, but an apology would be nice.”
Cohen texted her back about an hour later. “I’m so sorry to hear this,” he wrote, according to texts reviewed by HuffPost. He asked if he could call her the following day and she agreed.
When he called, Cohen apologized for causing her pain but framed the incident as a misunderstanding between two people who had drunk too much, Jane said. At the time, she wanted to believe that was true.
Shortly after the phone call, Jane recounted the conversation with Cohen in text messages to her former boyfriend — the one who had been waiting for her to return home the night of the alleged assault. Jane told her ex-boyfriend that Cohen didn’t “challenge [her] account” and “seemed to understand that he needs to be careful about consent especially when drunk in the future,” according to the contemporaneous messages reviewed by HuffPost.
She felt a little better after the call, she told her ex. She felt like she had passed the guilt on to Cohen. She didn’t want her name in the news and she didn’t think “canceling” him would help her. She just wanted him to understand what he had done to her so that he wouldn’t hurt anyone else.
Asked by HuffPost about his apologetic text to Jane, Cohen claimed he’d thought she was talking about money. “My client recalls receiving an odd text or email from [Jane] inferring that she had been taken advantage of, which my client understood to be a complaint that she had never gotten paid for consulting on the defunct project,” Cohen’s lawyer Singer wrote. “Significantly, my client categorically disputes that [Jane] said anything to him during that call about any alleged sexual assault.”
Presented with a screenshot of the text conversation between Jane and Cohen — in which Jane referenced “the night we met” and Harvey Weinstein — Singer said that “nothing in the alleged text exchange you provided is inconsistent” with Cohen’s explanation of events.
Earlier this year, Jane learned she wasn’t the only person with sexual assault allegations against Cohen. On Feb. 21, Cohen’s daughter Weather accused him of having used her body “for his own sexual gratification” when she was 2 years old. Weather posted her statement on Facebook, Twitter and Reddit ― where Jane eventually found it.
She always had the sense that she had been sexually abused as a young child, Weather told HuffPost, and it was a feeling that confused her since she couldn’t recall a specific incident of abuse. That feeling grew more acute as she got older, particularly after she came out as transgender and started working with a therapist. In April 2017, when Weather was 30, she decided she needed to ask her mother directly. She wasn’t comfortable discussing it over the phone, so she reached out to her mom on Facebook Messenger.
“Was I raped?” she asked her mother, Dianna Mitzner.
“When you were a toddler,” Mitzner wrote back, “I walked into the bathroom you were in the bathtub with him he was usu g [sic] your body to masturbate.”
Cohen denied the allegations when Weather confronted him via email days later. “NONE OF THAT WAS TRUE,” he wrote in an email, which HuffPost has reviewed. “It was SHE who had you on top of her naked body in the bath tub when I came home unannounced.”
Cohen offered a more measured statement when Weather went public with her story this year. “I hope and pray that one day, my child will come into the realization that no matter what anyone says or tries to convince her was the case when she was a child, it is both untrue and unimaginable,” he told The Hollywood Reporter in February.
When Mitzner brought up the alleged bathtub incident during her divorce from Cohen in the early 2000s, he denied the allegations but did not accuse Mitzner of being the abuser. He also made no mention of abuse by Mitzner in his communication with HuffPost.
After a yearslong custody battle, Weather was sent to live with Cohen in Los Angeles, which had more schooling options than the rural area where her mother resided. Weather chose to move back in with her mother less than a year later, she told HuffPost.
Through his attorney, Cohen pointed to the custody outcome of the divorce proceedings as vindication. Because there were no other witnesses, HuffPost could not independently corroborate Mitzner’s version of events. But to Weather, her mother’s description of the abuse rang true. It felt like the answer to a question she had been struggling with for most of her life. And it resonated with her memories of her father thrusting his pelvis in front of her face when she was a child and taking her to see sex workers in Thailand and the Czech Republic when she was a teenager.
The “narrative that I was somehow tricked into believing he abused me, that I was too young to remember my experiences at that age, falls short when talking about a barely adolescent child in Prague and Bangkok,” she told HuffPost.
Weather felt it was important to come forward because she suspected her father had mistreated others. “My greatest hope is that others who have been hurt by Rob Cohen feel that they are able to come forward as well,” she wrote in her statement earlier this year.
When Jane saw Weather’s post on Reddit, she was angry that she had convinced herself that her experience with Cohen was an anomaly.
Oh, what the fuck, she thought.
By then, the television project had fizzled. Jane and Weather were no longer in regular contact but they still occasionally swapped podcast recommendations or movie trailers. Jane had never told Weather about being assaulted by Cohen because she didn’t want to damage Weather’s relationship with her father. And she still didn’t want to go public with her story. But she did want Weather to know she wasn’t alone.
“Hey,” Jane wrote on Facebook Messenger.
“I kinda never wanted to tell u cause i thought it’d be super awkward for u and i couldn’t imagine how it’d be helpful, but, uh me, as well.”
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As RuPauls Drag Race comes to the UK, two of its judges discuss homophobia, the celebrity they first fancied and why todays comedy audiences want more kindness
How do you think you would do if you were contestants on RuPauls Drag Race? Graham Norton:Poorly. Alan Carr: Before I started dressing up as women in sketches, I thought: I bet because Im not a looker as a man, Im one of those ones that, when you put on the make up, I am quite something quite stunning. And no. It just doesnt translate.
Ive seen the first episode of your show and it is a lot more messy and anarchic than the US version. Alan:Drag queens in the UK, they survive it all theres a hen party, a stag party, people throwing beer bottles. They work not on their heels, but on their wits. Graham: Even the ones that arent funny are funny. Suddenly, you realise how unfunny some of the American ones are.
Do you think the UK version might get lost in translation? Graham: Funny is funny, I think. Alan: I sort of hope it does get a little bit lost. I had to go in and tell RuPaul who Kim Woodburn [the TV personality and cleaner] is. How can you explain to Americans who Kim Woodburn is? Its just nice, for once in my life, to not be the campest one in the room.
Do you ever find that you check yourselves in public any more that you worry about people recognising that youre gay? Alan: I give up with all that. I give up. Graham: But I understand it. I mean, sometimes you do, because if you feel like someones gonna punch you, then yes, you do. Still, now, you know. Its funny when people talk about coming out, because you want to say to them: it never ends. You think you come out and thats the end of it. No. Because then its the first nice day of the year and the cab driver says something about Oh, I love the summer, you know, theyve all got their tits out, and youre like: is this a moment? Is this worth my time? Do I reveal myself?
Do you still encounter a loathing of camp among some straight-acting gay men? Graham: I think you do in that, still, straight acting is an ideal. And thats just part of our sexuality. Were all prone to that. I remember seeing a BBC Three thing about young gays down in Brighton, and my name came up, and the idea of being me was just horrific to them. And it broke my heart, because they were me. I just thought: But you are little mes, you are the fey, camp ones. Alan: I say to Graham, do you remember when we used to get slagged off by the snooty gays, you know: Oh, camp is that really how gay men should be portrayed? I mean, look at whats come since, love. Were like Vin Diesel and Sylvester Stallone, compared with that. Camp is different things to different people. Did you ever watch Dynasty? What about when the son came out as gay and had a fight? That, to me, was the stirring. Graham: No, my stirring was Alain Delon in The Yellow Rolls-Royce. He took his shirt off. And I remember trying to discuss with a boy at school how lovely his back was.
How did he respond? Graham: Well, it was a nice car!