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Saturday, August 31, 2019

Premier League: Why Nigeria's passion for English football continues

As England's Premier League continues to grip Nigeria, the football phone-ins are intense listening.

from BBC News - Africa

The churches trying to save Ethiopia's trees

The forests provide protective 'clothing' for sacred spaces but farmland is putting these ancient trees at risk.

from BBC News - Africa

Barcelona held by promoted Osasuna but Ansu Fati, 16, scores

Barcelona are held by promoted Osasuna as 16-year-old Ansu Fati becomes the champions' youngest La Liga goalscorer.

from BBC News - Africa

DJ Arafat: Fans of Ivorian artist 'open coffin' during funeral unrest

Chaotic scenes break out as fans interrupt the private funeral of the influential Ivorian musician.

from BBC News - Africa

Serena Williams to attend Coco Gauff and Naomi Osaka match, looks to the future

Tennis queen Serena Williams will go from the court to court-side, as she prepares to take a seat at Saturday’s U.S. Open to watch Coco Gauff and Naomi Osaka go head to head in the marquee match.

Williams, who beat out Karolina Muchova Friday night, said the match between 21-year-old Osaka and 15-year-old Gauff is the “future of women’s tennis.”

READ MORE: Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka top Forbes list of highest paid female athletes

“I definitely think it’s the future of women’s tennis. I’m really excited to just be a fan girl and kind of watch,” Williams, 37, said Friday in a post-game interview.

Osaka defeated Williams in the 2018 U.S. Open final for her first career Grand Slam title. Williams also opened up about her thoughts on Saturday’s U.S. open between the up-and-coming, Black tennis phenoms.

“I think it’s super exciting tennis. Coco is obviously much, much younger than Naomi, if you could say that, because Naomi is incredibly young [too]. But it’s shocking to say that Coco is about six years younger,” Williams said in an interview, according to the New York Post.

She continued, “I think she’s really pretty cool. I love her excitement on the court. I don’t know what everyone else thinks. I can only tell you what I think. I’m a big fan of hers. I have said that since Day One. I love her parents. I think she has a good family, and I think it starts there. It makes for a great athlete and a great person. I think anyone at 15 playing like that, people are going to be drawn to them. I think that’s pretty awesome.”

READ MORE: Teen sensation Cori ‘Coco’ Gauff just beat Venus Williams at Wimbledon

Williams on Sunday is set to face Petra Martic in the fourth round. The tennis icon and mother of one is now four wins away from making history and snagging her 24th career Grand Slam title.

Good luck to all the ladies in this weekend matches. #BlackGirlMagic

The post Serena Williams to attend Coco Gauff and Naomi Osaka match, looks to the future appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

Illinois police probe chokehold arrest, girlfriend asks if victim has a pulse

An Illinois police department is investigating an officer who was captured on video tasing and placing Elonte McDowell, who is Black, in a chokehold during an arrest on a marijuana charge.

The DeKalb Police Department is investigating allegations of excessive force against of of its officers after a viral video made the rounds on social media. McDowell was arrested for marijuana possession related charges on August 24, according to ABC News.

READ MORE: VIDEO: Black man arrested in his underwear in his own home after police receive false alarm

Alyssa Retuerto, McDowell’s girlfriend, filmed the video and posted it to her Facebook with the following caption, “For you guys to decide. Right or wrong?”

For you guys to decide. Right or wrong? #DKPD

Posted by Alyssa Retuerto on Monday, August 26, 2019


In the video, Retuerto can be heard asking officers why they needed to use a taser while McDowell was already subdued to the ground, and in a choke hold.

“He has a pulse, right? Like, you guys, can make sure that he has a pulse? ’Cause look at his face,” Retuerto is heard saying in the recording.

The department said officers pulled McDowell and Retuerto over after getting a tip about a man carrying a “load of drugs,” according to the department’s statement released o Tuesday. Officials also noted that they recovered a “felony amount of cannabis” from the vehicle, and while attempting to place McDowell in custody, he tried to flee the scene.

“Officers informed McDowell that he was under arrest and approached McDowell to place him into handcuffs. Upon doing so, McDowell attempted to flee. Officers attempted to restrain McDowell, who continued to resist their efforts to place him into handcuffs. During this encounter, a Taser was deployed to gain McDowell’s compliance,” ABC News reports.

READ MORE:White KKK member who sprayed Black teen with hose arrested by police and charged

McDowell admitted to having marijuana in his possession at the time, but he said the officers should be penalized for what he considered to be an excessive use of force.

“This is what some police officers do and you have to put a stand on it,” McDowell told Chicago ABC station WLS on Wednesday. “It’s not OK. … It needs to get out there. It happened one too many times. This happens every day.”

The department has since reassigned one of the arresting officers in McDowell’s case to administrative duties while they investigate the incident.

The post Illinois police probe chokehold arrest, girlfriend asks if victim has a pulse appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

Will Sasha Obama walk in mom’s Alpha Kappa Alpha footsteps?

Sasha Obama kicks off her freshman year at the University of Michigan soon, and there is already talk of the 18-year-old possibly joining a Divine Nine sorority.

Starting next week, the youngest of the Obama girls will begin classes at the prestigious college, and if she so pleases to join the Greek family, the teen already has familial ties to the Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) sorority, thanks to her mom, writes Yahoo! Entertainment.

READ MORE: Sasha Obama stuns in photos with her prom date

While she didn’t join any sororities during her time at Princeton in the 1980’s, back in 2008, Forever First lady Michelle Obama accepted an invitation to become an honorary member of Alpha Kappa Alpha. Fortunately for Sasha, AKA also has a chapter -Beta Eta- at the University of Michigan, in the event that she chooses to stroll in her mother’s footsteps.

Other honorary members of Alpha Kappa Alpha include the late, great Maya Angelou, Coretta Scott King and former astronaut Mae Jemison.

In 2008, Katie McCormick Lelyveld, a spokeswoman for Mrs. Obama, said that the then-FLOTUS’ membership in the sorority is “non-exclusive.”

“Because of her respect for each of the historically black sororities and fraternities, her membership is non-exclusive. She looks forward to working with all of them to help bring change to their communities,” Lelyveld in a statement obtained by The New York Times.

Criterion for consideration as an honorary member is that “prospects have made outstanding achievements that set them apart in their communities and careers,” the Times noted.

READ MORE: Viola Davis will play Michelle Obama in Showtime series ‘First Ladies’

Alpha Kappa Alpha history dates back to 1908, when the very first chapter was created at renowned HBCU Howard University. Currently, there are over 1,000 chapters of the sorority nationwide, boasting over 225,000 total member.

Only time will tell if Sasha will join the renowned sorority. In the meantime, we wish the incoming freshman the best of luck in her collegial career.

The post Will Sasha Obama walk in mom’s Alpha Kappa Alpha footsteps? appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

R. Kelly refuses to share jail cell: ‘I have too much going on’

Singer R.Kelly, who was jailed last month at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago on child pornography charges and obstruction of justice, was recently written up for refusing to take in a cellmate.

Newly disclosed prison records reveal that the 52-year-old musician refused an order to take a cellmate at the special housing unit where he is being held, according to The Chicago Tribune. The downtown Chicago jail’s housing unit is said to be a more secure area for inmates, away from the jail’s general population.

READ MORE: R. Kelly’s attorney requests to move singer from solitary to general population

Kelly reportedly responded to news of a possible cellmate by saying, “I was told I didn’t have to take a cellie and I have too much going on to worry about incident report,” the report says. An incident report stated that Investigators also cited that Kelly had a “poor attitude” throughout the investigation regarding the cellmate issue.

Kelly is currently being held without bail on a 13-count federal indictment in Chicago. It’s also alleged that in 2008, Kelly and two of his associates paid off witnesses and victims to change their stories in the disgraced singer’s previous child pornography trial in Cook County.

Earlier this month, Kelly’s lawyers filed a motion stating that the singer had been subjected to “draconian conditions” while jailed in the special housing unit. This past Thursday, lawyers filed a separate motion asking for Kelly’s “immediate release from solitary confinement,” The Tribune reports.

READ MORE: BREAKING NEWS: R. Kelly faces two brand new charges in Minnesota in 2001 allegation

Kelly is also currently also facing a separate federal indictment in New York, accusing the singer of racketeering conspiracy. Kelly also faces four separate indictments in Cook County on charges of sexually assaulting one woman and sexually abusing three other women years ago. According to prosecutors, three of the alleged victims were said to have been underage at the time.

The post R. Kelly refuses to share jail cell: ‘I have too much going on’ appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

South Africa policeman arrested over boxing champion's murder

Female boxing champion Leighandre "Baby Lee" Jegels was shot dead on Friday in Mdantsane, South Africa.

from BBC News - Africa

WATCH: Soca artist Kevin Lyttle debuts new single and talks about a reemerging influence in some of today’s hottest music

Multi-platinum soca artist, Kevin Lyttle, had everyone swaying their hips in 2004, with his hit single “Turn Me On.” Now, just in time for the West Indian Labor Day weekend festivities in New York City with a parade that attracts more than a million people each year, Lyttle is debuting the remix to his single “Close To You.” The melodic record has his signature island flavor infused with contemporary, tone-producing Afrobeats and features some familiar faces from the Love & Hip-Hop series, Safaree and Jaquae.

“The single is actually produced by Stadic,” Lyttle tells theGrio.

“He’s a producer from St. Vincent in the Grenadines who lives in Trinidad and Tobago. I went to Trinidad to record last year and he played the song for me. He was like, ‘Yo, I got this for you.’ He had already recorded it and I was like, ‘don’t change nothing. I’ll just go in and put in my leads and stuff.’ He’s actually a really good producer, singer, songwriter. I just went with the flow. Everybody who hears it likes the song.”


Today’s mainstream music is once again incorporating influences from Caribbean cultures. In R&B, Chris Brown sampled the hit single “Turn Me On” with his single “Questions” and if you listen to Drake’s music, you’ve heard a song or two exuding that infectious island sound. When asked about this imprint in popular music, Lyttle says, “I’m happy to finally see that the Caribbean culture and the American culturewhere music is concernedare coming together. It’s something that’s been kind of an iffy relationship over the years.” 

“In 2004 and 2005, there was Sean Paul, me, Shaggy, Wayne Wonder. We all bled through and got in the top 10 of the Billboard charts here in America, which was very rare. It was that type of time.”

While music has changed enormously over the last decade, it’s ability to go beyond borders has not. Lyttle is happy to see that American artists are reaching out to the diaspora, but warns that there is still much more that can be done to expose new artists to a different array of fans. 

“I’m seeing that there is just so much more influence happening internationally because of the Afrobeat, Soca, and Dancehall. I think that America is still behind in terms of the integration of these other cultures into that part of their lifestyle,” said the 42-year, who was born in St. Vincent.

“There are African and Caribbean people living everywhere, but in America, for some reason, you don’t hear that type of music and culture being pushed in the way that you hear it in Europe. There, you will hear everything on the radio. If it’s hot, happening in Afrobeats, and somebody in another culture likes it, they going to play it, but, in America, we’re just starting to see the possibilities. I’m very excited for that, but we need to get with the program in America and really start diversifying because we’re missing out on so much great music in general.”

Check out the full interview above for more.

The post WATCH: Soca artist Kevin Lyttle debuts new single and talks about a reemerging influence in some of today’s hottest music appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

South Africa: Molefi Ntseki appointed as new Bafana Bafana coach

South Africa name the unheralded Molefi Ntseki as their new coach, surprising with a quick decision after the departure of Stuart Baxter.

from BBC News - Africa

Simone Biles sends emotional tweet after brother charged in triple-homicide

Olympic gymnast Simone Biles recently took to Twitter just moments after her brother, Tevin Biles-Thomas, was arrested in connection to a triple-homicide in Ohio.

Biles-Thomas, 24, was arrested Thursday and charged with murder, voluntary manslaughter, felonious assault and perjury, according to a statement from Cleveland police. At the time of his arrest, Biles-Thomas was an active duty U.S. Army service member based in Fort Stewart, according to an official with the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office in Georgia.

Hours after his arrest, the 22-year-old gold-medalist and gymnast took to her official twitter to state: “Eating my feelings don’t talk to me.”

READ MORE: Simone Biles’ brother arrested for a triple murder at an Airbnb

While the tweet doesn’t directly address the incident, fans and followers assumed it was about her brother and responded with an outpouring of support and virtual hugs.

Although Biles and her brother grew up in different households, the two still remained in contact, with the gymnast even once uploading a photo of her and her brother to her Twitter back in 2017.

Due to her mother’s ongoing battle with drug and alcohol addiction, when the star athlete was just six years old, she was placed in foster care, along with her brother Tevin, and sisters Adria and Ashley, according to The Washington Post. Although born in Columbus, Ohio, Simone and Adria later moved to Texas to live with their grandfather, while Tevin and Ashley remained in Ohio, where they were raised by their great aunt in Cleveland.

READ MORE: Simone Biles makes history at US Women’s gymnastics championships

Biles-Thomas is being investigated for an alleged shooting that took place at an AirBnB rental, during a New Year’s Eve party back on Dec. 31, 2018, where Delvante Johnson, 19, Toshaun Banks, 21, and Devaughn Gibson, 23, were killed when gunfire erupted.

Biles-Thomas is currently being held at Liberty County Jail in Hinesville, Georgia. According to court records, he is scheduled for an arraignment hearing in Cleveland on Sept. 13.

The post Simone Biles sends emotional tweet after brother charged in triple-homicide appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

Space Photos of the Week: Tune Into Neptune

Voyager 2 completed its historic flyby 30 years ago. No probe has been back since.

from Wired

Al Ahly: Egyptian giants appoint Rene Weiler as new coach

Egyptian giants Al Ahly appoint Rene Weiler as the club's new coach, replacing Martin Lasarte who was sacked earlier this month.

from BBC News - Africa

Netflix Cancelling 'The OA' Is a Tragedy

The sci-fi drama is one of the most unusual and daring shows in years.

from Wired

Robot Coffee, a Leica Camera, and Everything Else We Loved This Month

Pro tip: Prepare all your meals in a waffle maker—it will change your life.

from Wired

Cops Take Over a Botnet to Clear Malware Off Nearly a Million PCs

Attacking Iran, a web host data breach, and more of the week's top security news.

from Wired

6 Best Camping Stoves for 2019 (Portable Propane Gas Stoves)

We sautéed, boiled, and burned our food to find the best portable propane gas stoves for your next outdoor adventure.

from Wired

Arsenal: Nacho Monreal joins Real Sociedad as Mohamed Elneny agrees Besiktas loan

Nacho Monreal leaves Arsenal to sign a two-year deal with La Liga side Real Sociedad while Mohamed Elneny joins Besiktas on a season-long loan.

from BBC News - Africa

26 Best Labor Day Sales (2019): Tech, Laptops, TV, Gaming, Etc

From iPads to water filters, we’ve scoured the last of the summer’s deals to find our absolute favorites.

from Wired

Airbnb Starts to Play Nice With Cities

The short-term rental startup has settled lawsuits with Boston and Miami, agreeing to turn over data officials say they need to police the industry.

from Wired

Wilfried Zaha: Crystal Palace winger 'deserves' to play for a top club - Steve Parish

Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish says Ivory Coast winger Wilfried Zaha "deserves" to play for a "top club".

from BBC News - Africa

Friday, August 30, 2019

WATCH: Christina Milian on her new Netflix film ‘Falling Inn Love’

Christina Milian has a lot to smile about.

The actress is expecting a baby boy with her boyfriend, Matt Pokora and she has a starring role in the new Netflix film, Falling Inn Love. 

We caught up with the glowing mom-to-be who shares a 9-year-old daughter with The Dream to get all the details about the super sappy rom-com that will give you your fill of cute cliches.

‘After a good 16 -17 hour flight to New Zealand, landing in such a beautiful place is just so worth it. The landscape is beautiful. It’s just like hills and peaks and valleys and trees and they’re known not having poisonous animals,” she said. “They have beaches and one second you’re walking through a rainforest; the next thing you know you’re on black sand and then you look up and you’re at the beach. The sunsets are just gorgeous… It was great. The culture there and the mountains and the people are incredible.” 

Check out the official synopsis:

When city girl Gabriela (Christina Milian) spontaneously enters a contest and wins a rustic New Zealand inn, she teams up with bighearted contractor Jake Taylor (Adam Demos) to fix and flip it.

Basically, it’s a predictable story set in a gorgeous location full of fun little jokes and eye-rolling romance–exactly what we need to unwind after a long work week.

Check out our full interview with Christina Milian above.

Falling Inn Love is streaming now on Netflix.

The post WATCH: Christina Milian on her new Netflix film ‘Falling Inn Love’ appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

DJ Arafat: Thousands pay tribute at Abidjan concert

Fans flock to honour the influential Ivorian musician, who died in a motorcycle accident this month.

from BBC News - Africa

Middle schooler creates school closet for needy classmates

An eighth-grader is ensuring his classmates will have always have access to clothes by creating a closet in his school.

Chase Neyland-Square, who attends Port Allen Middle School in Port Allen, La., Chase helps to organize and operate “PAMs pantry,” a space in the school that houses clothes, hygiene products, shoes and more for students who may need them.

READ MORE: Nervous about being a first-gen student? No worries, Michelle Obama’s got you

The idea sprouted by students who were looking to assist fellow students who may not have the same access to nice items, such as an outfit for graduation. The school has many students from low-income families.

“My favorite part about helping with the pantry is getting types of clothes and sorting them out to give to various people,” Chase told ABC’s Good Morning America. “It makes me feel good because I know that I can make a difference in my school.”

“We really want the kids to feel like they have somewhere to go when they need something,” principal Jessica Major said. “We only have 215 kids so we’re able to get to know them really well…and try to help them where we can.”

Chase led the charge for the initiative by building the space out and fielding the donations that ranged from jackets to football cleats from community members. The donations are organized in the space by him, while Major and her secretary assist in the distribution of goods as they are needed.

READ MORE: School bus driver who was Santa Claus for 70 kids gets his own Christmas gift

In addition to his work in the school, Chase’s mother, Amanda Square, noted his efforts in the community at large, which includes senior citizen dinners and donating socks to the homeless.

In this back-to-school season, for those wondering what could be of use for students of the school, Chase says more the program needs more shoes.

The post Middle schooler creates school closet for needy classmates appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

NFL free agent Ryan Russell comes out as bisexual says he’s tired of hiding it

Ryan Russell, an NFL free agent, has come out as bisexual and says he’s just plain tired of hiding himself from the world.

Retired NFL player frantically pleas for help from the league: ‘I have to get my head checked’

The 27-year-old said he wants to live his life openly and play for the NFL once again and that those two realities, “shouldn’t be in conflict.”

Russell penned a heartfelt essay for ESPN and opened up about his hopes for living his best life without his sexuality being an issue both on and off the field.

“My truth is that I’m a talented football player, a damn good writer, a loving son, an overbearing brother, a caring friend, a loyal lover, and a bisexual man,” he writes.

“There isn’t a single openly LGBTQ player in the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball, or the NHL,” and that he says “brings me pause,” Russell writes.

“I want to change that—for me, for other athletes who share these common goals, and for the generations of LGBTQ athletes who will come next.”

Russell is a free agent defensive end and in 2015 was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys. He played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the next two seasons.

In 2018, he said he was out the whole season because of a shoulder injury.

He said he was scouted by an NFL team that was interested in signing him, but said that he’s had enough and that would be the last time he would “ever interview for a job as anything other than my full self.”

“Out of love, admiration and respect, I want the next team to sign me valuing me for what I do and knowing who I truly am,” he writes.

New England Patriots’ player indicted on drug possession charges

“I just want to play ball for a team that knows me off the field and values me on it. I want to encourage teammates to be the same people they have always been. I want us to remain as close as family. I want to be able to dedicate my life to football without feeling like I can’t dedicate my life to truth as well.”

The post NFL free agent Ryan Russell comes out as bisexual says he’s tired of hiding it appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey asks for forgiveness after a taped interview reveals she allegedly wore blackface for a college skit

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, is begging for forgiveness Thursday after news of her wearing blackface in college came to light.

UNDER ATTACK: Alabama governor signs near-total abortion ban into law

Ivey, a Republican, is getting slammed admist calls for her resignation after her then-fiancĂ© Ben LaRavia recalled during an interview that she participated in a college sorority skit for Alpha Gamma Delta wearing blue coveralls and with “black paint all over her face,” The Birmingham News reported Thursday.

Ivey, 74, said she has no recollection of taking part of the racist skit but she was at the time president of her Alpha Gamma Delta pledge class at Auburn University.

Ivey issued a statement addressing the issue:

“I have now been made aware of a taped interview that my then-fiance, Ben LaRavia, and I gave to the Auburn student radio station back when I was SGA Vice President,” she said in a statement obtained by The Birmingham News.

“Even after listening to the tape, I sincerely do not recall either the skit, which evidently occurred at a Baptist Student Union party, or the interview itself, both which occurred 52 years ago. Even though Ben is the one on tape remembering the skit — and I still don’t recall ever dressing up in overalls or in blackface —– I will not deny what is the obvious. As such, I fully acknowledge — with genuine remorse — my participation in a skit like that back when I was a senior in college.”

Ivey defended her character saying, “that is not who I am today, and it is not what my administration represents all these years later,” and offered “heartfelt apologies for the pain and embarrassment this causes.”

She said “the Alabama of today is a far cry from the Alabama of the 1960s.”

Yeah, right.

Why every Black woman in America should be concerned about Alabama’s abortion ban

Rep. Juandalynn Givan (D-Birmingham) demanded that Ivey step down immediately.

“I don’t care if it was 52 years ago or yesterday,” Rep. Givan told The Birmingham News.

“She is the governor of the state of Alabama, which is still considered one of the most racist states in the U.S. This is who she was then. It is who she is now. I have nothing for her. I don’t accept her apology. She should have stood before the people of Alabama herself. She should resign. I don’t think she should have been elected, and I think she is a racist.”

“It is not acceptable any time or place,” Givan said. “Do us a favor and step down.”

Ivey’s blackface fiasco now joins the ranks of a number of politicians whose past have come back to haunt them, including Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, both who participated in events during their college days wearing blackface.

The post Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey asks for forgiveness after a taped interview reveals she allegedly wore blackface for a college skit appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

Judge Mathis calls valet’s claim he spit in his face ‘money-grab’ claim

Judge Mathis says he was not out of order and denies a parking valet ugly accusation claiming the venerable legal eagle and TV star spit on him.

Simone Biles’ brother arrested for a triple murder at an Airbnb

Video went viral showing Judge Mathis and the valet in a heated exchange over why it was taking a lengthy amount of time for the valet to retrieve Mathis’ Rolls Royce.

It appears that the Judge is giving the valet quite a tongue lashing as he leans in to the car window and tells him off about his tardiness. And that’s when the valet claims that Mathis spit in his face.

Judge Mathis vehemently denies the accusation.

“First of all it was a 40-minute wait and when he came I yelled at him,” and there was a verbal back and forth, he admits.

“There was no spitting. There were six witnesses there. Ask them,” the judge tells TMZ.

“I don’t know if this is a money grab, which I suspect it is. People get accused all the time and it’s not true,” he said.

Mathis says he has a stomach condition that required medicine that was in his trunk that he couldn’t get to because of the long wait for his car.

Well one thing is for sure, Judge Mathis will fight this case since he is an advocate who fights for the people.

Judge Greg Mathis is one of the longest-serving arbitrators in television history. The show celebrated its 20th anniversary this season and won the 2018 Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Legal/Court Program.

And as Mathis continues to serve justice on our television screens, he is also fighting just as hard for justice when he’s off the bench.

The Detroit native has a history of giving back to the Black community. Never forgetting his roots, which includes a troubled childhood, he has continued to provide services to better the lives of others and lead them on the right path.

Mathis opened a community center in his hometown and has assisted thousands of young people with his non-profit agency, Young Adults Asserting Themselves (Y.A.A.T.), an agency that provides career, business start-up, and job opportunities, as well as job training and college enrollment assistance.

OPINION: Black mothers need to wield the enormous power of breastfeeding their babies

Last year, the Judge headed back to the city of Flint where he and several members of Flint’s clergy, community organizers, and concerned citizens rallied to challenge the state government to rebuild the city’s corroded pipes and restore clean water once and for all.

During an interview with theGrio, Mathis opened up on why this issue is so personally important to him.

“In 2016, we had marches, rallies and legal for,” said Mathis. “We all hosted it and we lobbied congress and senate to get two hundred million dollars. And so we slowed down knowing that the money was there.”

“However, in the last few months, the state stopped giving away free water even though the pipes haven’t been rebuilt and the people don’t trust that this lower land level is safe to drink. So, we’re taking a caravan of water with semi trucks and about 30 carloads in Detroit on November 1st to bring those folks water and we’re going to have a rally challenging the powers that be, the elected officials and the state officials to get things done. They’ve only completed half of the pipes although they’ve had two hundred million dollars since 2016.”

The post Judge Mathis calls valet’s claim he spit in his face ‘money-grab’ claim appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

Mo Salah: Gary Hyland sentenced for racist tweets

Everton fan Gary Hyland targeted the Liverpool striker's Muslim faith in a series of Twitter posts.

from BBC News - Africa

Simone Biles’ brother arrested for a triple murder at an Airbnb

The brother of Olympic gymnast standout Simone Biles has been arrested by police for a triple murder in Cleveland, Ohio.

Simone Biles makes history at US Women’s gymnastics championships

On Thursday, Tevin Biles-Thomas, 24, was taken into custody for a New Year’s Eve murder in which three people were killed and two others were injured, NBC News reports.

Biles-Thomas was arrested in Georgia after fleeing the Dec. 31 shooting at an Airbnb in Cleveland, according to a joint statement from the Cleveland Division of Police and the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office.

Police report that three men were found dead at the scene after an “uninvited group” entered the property and “an altercation ensued” that resulted in the fatal shooting.

According to reports, Delvante Johnson, 19, and Toshaun Banks, 21, were pronounced dead at the scene, and Devaughn Gibson, 23, died later at a local hospital.

Biles-Thomas has been charged with six counts of murder, three counts of voluntary manslaughter, five counts of felonious assault and one count of perjury, according to prosecutors.

Simone Biles criticizes USA Gymnastics for failing to protect its athletes from sex abuse “You had one job!”

It took police eight months to investigate and find Biles-Thomas.

“It is through their hard work that we can begin to seek justice for these victims,” O’Malley said.

Biles-Thomas, who is in the U.S. Army, is the only person so far to be charged in the shooting. He is being held at Liberty County Jail in Hinesville, Georgia and will be arraigned Sept. 13 in Cleveland.

According to, Biles-Thomas, his sister Simone and their two other siblings spent their early childhood going between foster homes and the home of their mother, who struggled with drug addiction. When she was six, Biles and her younger sister were adopted by their maternal grandfather Ron and his wife Nellie. Biles-Thomas and their other sibling were adopted by Ron’s sister, according to a Texas Monthly profile on Biles.

The post Simone Biles’ brother arrested for a triple murder at an Airbnb appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

OPINION: Black mothers need to wield the enormous power of breastfeeding their babies

This 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans to the shores of Virginia on August 25, 1619 was a time for African Americans to re-assert our full humanity. As a mother, holistic doctor and longtime advocate of the benefits of breastfeeding, I am moved that this anniversary also fell at the beginning of National Black Breastfeeding Week which is celebrated between August 25 to 31.

There are many things we cannot control about living in a society that is steeped in the fallacy of a belief in racial hierarchy, which spreads racism and conscious and unconscious bias through society.

However, mitigating disease risk and enhancing the development of our babies through optimal breastfeeding is an area of potential agency for us. It is a form of control and power; a way to resist and counter slavery’s legacy of separated families, loss and maternal trauma.

Nested within National Breastfeeding month is a week dedicated to African American mothers, families and health advocates to focus on breastfeeding in our community and the public policies needed to support mothers providing this crucial “first food” for our children.

READ MORE: After breastfeeding backlash here’s what Black moms should know about Marjorie Harvey’s Instagram post

Our goal is to make breastfeeding a cultural norm for Black families in the United States; and to eliminate disparities in the rates of initiating and sustaining breastfeeding throughout the first year of our babies’ lives.

Currently, only 64% of Black infants receive their mother’s milk as their natural first food, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that breastfeeding initiation rates were significantly lower among Black infants in 23 states.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for six months. Solid foods can be introduced at six months, but access to mother’s milk should be sustained throughout the entire first year of life, at a minimum.

The 21st century has generated a global consensus about the benefits of breastmilk. It provides ALL the nutrients, vitamins and minerals babies need in the first six months of life. Additionally, breastmilk delivers protective antibodies to thwart infectious diseases and establish a healthy intestinal bacterial environment needed throughout life. The benefits don’t only accrue to the babies; breastfeeding reduces mothers’ risks of breast cancer, obesity and diabetes.

Given the persistence of health inequities, especially of our vulnerability to stress related chronic illnesses, the proven health benefits from optimal breastfeeding — physical and psychological — must make support of breastfeeding a top priority for African Americans.

Challenging the Cultural Norm 

Cultural norms are the standards we live by, they are shared expectations and rules (often unspoken) that drive our behaviors. I became a grandmother almost a year ago and I can joyfully report that my grandson, daughter and son-in-law are still a breastfeeding family. I say family to emphasize the importance of fathers, as well as mothers, in breastfeeding success. My daughter and her family have beaten the odds.

According to data from the CDC, African American families initiate breastfeeding at lower rates, our babies are less likely to be exclusively breastfed at six months or continue receiving any mother’s milk at 12 months.

READ MORE: Black premature babies face racial disparities in healthcare, study says

Like any other cultural norm, we learn to prioritize breastfeeding from our families, friends, from the media, in schools and throughout our institutions.

I want to applaud Kimberly Seales Allers, an author and leading advocate for Black women’s health, for proposing the idea of Black Breastfeeding Week in her blog more than 10 years ago.

It’s a sweet irony that the date coincides with the Jamestown Anniversary date. Our sojourn as an enslaved people in this country began at the beginning of this week on August 25th four centuries ago. However, our health and well-being as an emancipated and resilient people require us achieving optimal breastfeeding rates.

Slavery found unspeakable and immeasurable ways to exploit the Black body, particularly the bodies of African American women. Forced wet-nursing or breastfeeding white babies was one form of exploitation of Black women during the centuries of enslavement. Some believe that even today this memory and legacy continues to serve as a barrier to embracing breastfeeding as a cultural norm within the Black community.

There are many other economic and policy barriers to be addressed. Black women are more likely to work in lower paid, non-union, contract and temporary jobs and not receive any paid maternity leave to allow them time to establish a solid breastfeeding pattern. The same employers are often not required to adopt the breastfeeding friendly requirements in the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare or the ACA). Obamacare requires larger employers to provide breaks and appropriate spaces for expressing milk for nursing mothers. The ACA also required insurers to cover costs of breastfeeding equipment and supportive services such as help from lactation counselors.

READ MORE: Triplet mother gives birth to triplets (video)

I have been an advocate for breastfeeding throughout my career as a holistic doctor. As Vice President for Food, Health and Well-Being at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, I created and oversaw a strategic initiative to help close racial gaps in breastfeeding rates. We invested tens of millions of dollars over a decade and helped spur the new consensus that breastfeeding matters as public health policy. The 2011 Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding was among the many coordinated national efforts to foster new momentum.

For babies born in 2014, 83 percent of parental respondents to a survey conducted by the CDC indicated breastfeeding at some point; 55 percent reported still breastfeeding at six months and 34 percent reported breastfeeding at 12 months. These numbers show significant improvements since Surgeon General Regina Benjamin urged people in all sectors to take specific action steps to support breastfeeding mothers and babies.

While overall rates have improved, racial disparities remain. Let’s leverage this momentous anniversary of the African American community by affirming two firsts: the arrival of our ancestors and their central role in building this nation and the central role of nature’s first food, mother’s milk in fostering our capacity for resilience and thriving against all odds!

Dr. Gail C. Christopher is the former Senior Advisor and Vice President of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. To learn more about her work in racial healing or healing circles go to or follow her on Twitter @DrGCChristopher.

The post OPINION: Black mothers need to wield the enormous power of breastfeeding their babies appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

Netflix Re-Ups the Puppetry—and Perturbations—of *Dark Crystal*

*The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance*, a prequel series to the 1982 movie, will freak you and your kids right the hell out in all the best ways.

from Wired

8 Movies and TV Shows You Need to Stream This Weekend

You could go outside, but...

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Kendall Jenner accused of cultural appropriation for wearing cornrows…again

Kendall Jenner has pissed people off by once again wearing her hair in a braided hairstyle.

Alice Marie Johnson, freed from prison, promotes Kim Kardashian shapewear line on Instagram

But the reality TV supermodel, who has before been accused of cultural appropriation, seemed unbothered by the backlash, posting up pics out and about Aug. 23, showing off her cornrows as fans reminded her the Keeping Up with the Kardashians star to stay in her lane, PEOPLE reports.

“I’m EXHAUSTED of white people constantly appropriating black culture and wearing hairstyles that we are always ridiculed/ chastised for having and just doing it because they want to ‘look different’ or ‘stand out,’ ” wrote one user. “We wear these hairstyles to PROTECT our natural hair from damages but they wanna wear it because it looks cool. It shouldn’t be worn by them period.”

Another upset fan wrote, “She never learns.”

Most recently Kim and Kylie Jenner came out showing off a one-legged bodysuit with E! News giving them a shout-out saying they were one leg up on a trend. However, famed Olympic runner Florence Griffith Joyner, aka Flo Jo, been there, done that decades ago.

Kim has defended wearing braids saying that her oldest daughter North loves them and courages her to them to wear them.

BLACK GLAM: Celebrity makeup artist DeeDee Kelly on beautifying Black Hollywood

“My daughter actually loves braids, like this last time I wore [them], she helps me pick out a look and will show me pictures. I just think if it comes from a place of love and you’re using it as cultural inspiration, then I think it is okay,” she continued. “Sometimes I think maybe if you don’t communicate where you got the inspiration from — and I’ve done that in the past — then people might not understand it,” she previously said.

“I think as long as it comes from a place of love and you’re getting inspired, then it is okay,” she added.

But North is actually Black, but we digress.

The post Kendall Jenner accused of cultural appropriation for wearing cornrows…again appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

Elite Athletes Are Changing How They Train for Extreme Heat

Runners are prepping for the high heat of next month's IAAF World Championships in Doha. Under climate change, that training may become the norm.

from Wired

The Best Kindle to Buy in 2019 (And Which to Avoid)

Amazon debuted two new Kindles in 2019. Here's how they stack up, and which may be right for you.

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Gadget Lab Podcast: Why It’s So Hard to Unlink Yourself From Facebook

WIRED’s Paris Martineau joins the show to explain all the ways Facebook tracks your activity across Instagram and the rest of its apps.

from Wired

Alice Marie Johnson, freed from prison, promotes Kim Kardashian shapewear line on Instagram

Alice Marie Johnson, who Kim Kardashian West helped get out of prison, has popped up on Instagram hawking the reality TV star’s new shapewear line.

Johnson looks into the camera wearing a black sculpting bodysuit from SKIMS and says the shapewear makes her feel “free.” She calls Kardashian West her “war angel” who did not let anything stand between her and Johnson’s freedom.

The Memphis grandmother was a first-time offender when she was sentenced to life plus 25 years in a cocaine conspiracy case. Her sentence was commuted last year after Kardashian West visited the White House to plead for her freedom.

Johnson kicked off a campaign for SKIMS that will feature 25 other real women who will speak to how SKIMS “empowers them to feel the best versions of themselves.”

The post Alice Marie Johnson, freed from prison, promotes Kim Kardashian shapewear line on Instagram appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

Angola call-up under-17 star Zito Luvumba

Angola's interim coach Pedro Goncalves includes 17-year-old Zito Luvumba in his squad for World Cup qualifiers.

from BBC News - Africa

One Scientist’s Quest to Bring DNA Sequencing to Every Sick Kid

Ryan Taft didn’t know that he would become one of the world’s leading experts in diagnosing rare genetic diseases. Then he met Stephen Damiani.

from Wired

A California Bill Has Uber and Lyft Running Scared

The ride-hail companies offer more pay and benefits to drivers—and threaten a ballot measure to prevent those same drivers from being classified as employees.

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Tom Saintfiet: 'I won't beg players to play for Gambia'

Gambia coach Tom Saintfiet insists he will not 'beg' players to represent the Scorpions.

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Mysterious iOS Attack Changes Everything We Know About iPhone Hacking

For two years, a handful of websites have indiscriminately hacked thousands of iPhones.

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DR Congo Ebola deaths top 2,000

The current outbreak in the east has been called one of the world's "most complex humanitarian crises".

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Victor Wanyama: Tottenham and Club Bruges agree deal for Kenya midfielder

Tottenham agree a deal with Belgian side Club Bruges over the transfer of Kenyan midfielder Victor Wanyama.

from BBC News - Africa

Thursday, August 29, 2019

For first time, astronomers catch asteroid in the act of changing color

Last December, scientists discovered an “active” asteroid within the asteroid belt, sandwiched between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. The space rock, designated by astronomers as 6478 Gault, appeared to be leaving two trails of dust in its wake — active behavior that is associated with comets but rarely seen in asteroids.

While astronomers are still puzzling over the cause of Gault’s comet-like activity, an MIT-led team now reports that it has caught the asteroid in the act of changing color, in the near-infrared spectrum, from red to blue. It is the first time scientists have observed a color-shifting asteroid, in real-time.

“That was a very big surprise,” says Michael Marsset, a postdoc in MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS). “We think we have witnessed the asteroid losing its reddish dust to space, and we are seeing the asteroid’s underlying, fresh blue layers.”

Marsset and his colleagues have also confirmed that the asteroid is rocky — proof that the asteroid’s tail, though seemingly comet-like, is caused by an entirely different mechanism, as comets are not rocky but more like loose snowballs of ice and dust.

“It’s the first time to my knowledge that we see a rocky body emitting dust, a little bit like a comet,” Marsset says. “It means that probably some mechanism responsible for dust emission is different from comets, and different from most other active main-belt asteroids.”

Marsset and his colleagues, including EAPS Research Scientist Francesca DeMeo and Professor Richard Binzel, have published their results today in the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters.

A rock with tails

Astronomers first discovered 6478 Gault in 1988 and named the asteroid after planetary geologist Donald Gault. Until recently, the space rock was seen as relatively average, measuring about 2.5 miles wide and orbiting along with millions of other bits of rock and dust within the inner region of the asteroid belt, 214 million miles from the sun.

In January, images from various observatories, including NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, captured two narrow, comet-like tails trailing the asteroid. Astronomers estimate that the longer tail stretches half a million miles out, while the shorter tail is about a quarter as long. The tails, they concluded, must consist of tens of millions of kilograms of dust, actively ejected by the asteroid, into space. But how? The question reignited interest in Gault, and studies since then have unearthed past instances of similar activity by the asteroid.

“We know of about a million bodies between Mars and Jupiter, and maybe about 20 that are active in the asteroid belt,” Marsset says. “So this is very rare.”

He and his colleagues joined the search for answers to Gault’s activity in March, when they secured observation time at NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Over two nights, they observed the asteroid and used a high-precision spectrograph to divide the asteroid’s incoming light into various frequencies, or colors, the relative intensities of which can give scientists an idea of an object’s composition.

From their analysis, the team determined that the asteroid’s surface is composed mainly of silicate, a dry, rocky material, similar to most other asteroids, and, more importantly, not at all like most comets.

Comets typically come from the far colder edges of the solar system. When they approach the sun, any surface ice instantly sublimates, or vaporizes into gas, creating the comet’s characteristic tail. Since Marsset’s team has found 6478 Gault is a dry, rocky body, this means it likely is generating dust tails by some other active mechanism.

A fresh change

As the team observed the asteroid, they discovered, to their surprise, that the rock was changing color in the near-infrared, from red to blue.

“We've never seen such a dramatic change like this over such a short period of time,” says co-author DeMeo.

The scientists say they are likely seeing the asteroid’s surface dust, turned red over millions of years of exposure to the sun, being ejected into space, revealing a fresh, less irradiated surface beneath, that appears blue at near-infrared wavelengths.

“Interestingly, you only need a very thin layer to be removed to see a change in the spectrum,” DeMeo says. “It could be as thin as a single layer of grains just microns deep.”

So what could be causing the asteroid to turn color? The team and other groups studying 6478 Gault believe the reason for the color shift, and the asteroid’s comet-like activity, is likely due to the same mechanism: a fast spin. The asteroid may be spinning fast enough to whip off layers of dust from its surface, through sheer centrifugal force. The researchers estimate it would need to have about a two-hour rotation period, spinning around every couple of hours, versus Earth’s 24-hour period.

“About 10 percent of asteroids spin very fast, meaning with a two- to three-hour rotation period, and it’s most likely due to the sun spinning them up,” says Marsset.

This spinning phenomenon is known as the YORP effect (or, the Yarkovsky-O’Keefe-Radzievskii-Paddack effect, named after the scientists who discovered it), which refers to the effect of solar radiation, or photons, on small, nearby bodies such as asteroids. While asteroids reflect most of this radiation back into space, a fraction of these photons is absorbed, then reemitted as heat, and also momentum. This creates a small force that, over millions of years, can cause the asteroid to spin faster.

Astronomers have observed the YORP effect on a handful of asteroids in the past. To confirm a similar effect is acting on 6478 Gault, researchers will have to detect its spin through light curves — measurements of the asteroid’s brightness over time. The challenge will be to see through the asteroid’s considerable dust tail, which can obscure key portions of the asteroid’s light.

Marsset’s team, along with other groups, plan to study the asteroid for further clues to activity, when it next becomes visible in the sky.

“I think [the group’s study] reinforces the fact that the asteroid belt is a really dynamic place,” DeMeo says. “While the asteroid fields you see in the movies, all crashing into each other, is an exaggeration, there is definitely a lot happening out there every moment.”

This research was funded, in part, by the NASA Planetary Astronomy Program.

from MIT News

Garcelle Beauvais joining cast of ‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’

Garcelle Beauvais is taking her talents to the small screen and joining Bravo’s Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. 

The actress will be the first Black woman to be a part of RHOBH and it’s about time considering the show is gearing up for its tenth season. The network confirmed the news on Thursday and announced the addition of another new cast member, Sutton Stracke. 

“I am excited and proud to be joining the cast of such a wildly popular and beloved show like The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. As a working actor who has been in the industry for some time, it’s exhilarating to have the opportunity to delve into a new chapter in the entertainment spectrum. As the first African American Housewife in the Beverly Hills franchise, I am honored and humbled by this awesome opportunity to exemplify the fact that Black Girl Magic lives and thrives in every zip code!” Garcelle said in a statement to The Daily Dish.

“Already being intimately familiar with the spotlight of Hollywood, my journey of successes and trials has already been chronicled and shared with my many loyal supporters around the world. The continual encouragement, support and yes, even at times, criticism, have helped make me the dynamic woman I am today. I’m excited to share the many ongoing daily surprises, laughs and joys of being a working mother in today’s crazy world. The hustle is R-E-A-L! No games, all heart and a little dash of fashion-filled sass is what you’ll get when you step into my sphere…and I wouldn’t have it any other way!”

Garcelle Beauvais is booked and busy, and she will also appear in the star-studded sequel, Coming 2 America.

The post Garcelle Beauvais joining cast of ‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

Is Sasha Obama gearing up to attend the University of Michigan next week?

Sasha Obama is not doing the legacy thing by attending the alma maters of her famous parents as she takes the next steps in her education.

PHOTOS: Check out all the famous faces cast in ‘Coming To America 2’

The youngest Obama daughter chose the University of Michigan to attend college starting next Tuesday, according to The Detroit News.

Both Michelle and Barack Obama are Harvard law graduates and their oldest daughter Malia currently there as an undergrad student at the Ivy League institution. As an undergrad, her father attended Columbia University and mom went to Princeton University.

Sasha was reportedly spotted on campus surrounded by a security detail as she attended freshmen orientation like the rest of her peers.

The University of course refused to give out any info on if Sasha is a student or not.

Let’s just hope Sasha keeps some good friends around her who don’t try to sneak pics of her for the gram.

Her sister Malia’s been bombarded with people catching her out living life and enjoying herself while imposing on her privacy while at college.

Last year Malia was snapped sitting together and chatting in Soho with Rory Farquharson who was rumored to be her boyfriend.

Woman makes salacious claim against Ilhan Omar in divorce filing

Earlier this year, Sasha attended her high school prom, ahead of her graduation from the Sidwell Friends High School in June. Photos show the fresh-faced teen standing arm-in-arm with her date, Chris Milton, who wore a traditional black tuxedo.

The post Is Sasha Obama gearing up to attend the University of Michigan next week? appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

Josh Maja: Nigeria chase England-born forward

Nigeria caoch Gernot Rohr is keen to try and persuade England-born striker Josh Maja to play for the Super Eagles.

from BBC News - Africa

Luxembourg's Bold Plan to Mine Asteroids for Rare Minerals

Photographer Ezio D'Agostino documents the tiny European country's space-mining ambitions.

from Wired

6 Best Portable Espresso Makers WIRED Recommends (2019)

Our Gear team has taken shot after shot to find you the best handheld espresso makers for the road, hiking, car camping, or anywhere else.

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Paul Mooney cancels comedy shows after explosive sex allegations with Richard Pryor’s son revealed

Paul Mooney is stepping away from the limelight for a bit after explosive rumors that he had a sexual encounter with Richard Pryor’s son went viral.

Robin Thede wants Black women to feel seen on ‘A Black Lady Sketch Show’

Although the comedy legend has denied Richard Pryor’s former bodyguard’s claims that he had sex with a young Pryor Jr. way back when, and that Pryor put a $1 million hit out on him, Mooney cancelled his Atlanta Comedy Theater appearance Wednesday and Thursday, August 29 due to “health reasons.”

According to TMZ, a sign on door of the comedy venue reads: “ATTENTION!! Paul Mooney is NOT on show tonight due to health reasons. We will transfer purchase to Faizon Love or Donnell Rawlings. Let box office know.”

According to the outlet, Mooney’s pulled out of several appearances following the heat he’s gotten over the alleged sexual relationship with Richard Pryor Jr made by Rashon Kahn, Pryor Sr former bodyguard.

As previously reported, Mooney’s publicist, Cassandra Williams spoke about the statement saying, “There is no validity to Rashon Kahn’s statement as it relates to Mr. Paul Mooney,” according to TMZ.

Catholic church paid Black abuse victims $235K LESS than white victims

The development comes after an interview of Kahn, went viral on YouTube after it was posted by Comedy Hype on Monday, where he details the reason why the relationship between Pryor and Mooney ended.

Kahn, who has an upcoming book titled Everything Wasn’t Funny, states in the video that the two comedians “relationship became fragile because Paul Mooney had f****d Richard’s son by that time. He violated … Paul took advantage of the situation.”

The post Paul Mooney cancels comedy shows after explosive sex allegations with Richard Pryor’s son revealed appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

How America's Spooks Seek to Spy on Distant Satellites

The intelligence community has plans for a telescope network that can see not just a blob in orbit but details such as a satellite’s solar panels.

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How Anthony Levandowski Put Himself at the Center of an Industry

Levandowski has been part of key developments in self-driving tech, from the Darpa Grand Challenge to his time at Google and Otto and Uber.

from Wired

What the Jetflicks and iStreamItAll Takedowns Mean for Piracy

In a sweeping indictment, the feds came down hard on two unauthorized streaming services that allegedly crossed a very important line.

from Wired

Reham Saeed: TV host suspended over obesity comments

The TV host said that overweight women are "a burden on their families and the state".

from BBC News - Africa

Period poverty in Namibia: 'Girls can't afford sanitary pads'

Some are using potentially harmful contraceptive injections, offered free, to control their periods.

from BBC News - Africa

Gabrielle Union gives good face wearing a dress with Dwyane Wade’s face all over it

PR firm says ‘Every iota’ of Jussie Smollett hate crime claim is true

Jussie Smollett’s PR team says “every iota” of his account of being the victim of a racist, anti-gay attack in Chicago is supported by police evidence despite police repeatedly saying it was all staged.

A statement emailed Wednesday follows a city filing Monday defending its lawsuit seeking to recoup costs of investigating what it says was a January publicity stunt.

The statement says “every iota of information … Smollett has stated has been fully corroborated.”

The statement didn’t say what evidence allegedly backs Smollett’s claim that masked men hurling racist and homophobic insults beat him and looped a noose around his neck.
The city says GPS data, video and other evidence prove Smollett paid the men to fake a hate crime.

State prosecutors abruptly dropped charges against Smollett in March. A special prosecutor is investigating that decision.

The post PR firm says ‘Every iota’ of Jussie Smollett hate crime claim is true appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

Of Course Citizens Should Be Allowed to Kick Robots

Seen in the wild, robots often appear cute and nonthreatening. This doesn't mean we shouldn't be hostile.

from Wired

Levandowski’s Fate May Turn on the Meaning of ‘Trade Secret’

Former Google and Uber engineer Anthony Levandowski was indicted on charges of stealing trade secrets. But what exactly are those, anyway?

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REI Labor Day Sale: 29 Best Outdoor Deals for 2019

REI's annual Labor Day Sale has kicked off early, with deals on foldable kayaks, cargo bikes, headlamps, socks, and more.

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What Is Wi-Fi 6 and When Will I Get It?

The new standard promises to improve the speed and reliability of your home Wi-Fi network. And it arrives as soon as this fall.

from Wired

Mauritania opt to leave Adama Ba out of squad

Mauritania coach Corentin Martins opts to leave Adama Ba out of his latest squad.

from BBC News - Africa

‘David Makes Man’ Episode 103 Recap: ‘MJB’

The third episode of OWN’s powerful new drama David Makes Man gave us a closer look at David and Seren and illuminates truths that are hard to swallow.

David (Akili McDowell) is haunted by his recent behavior, including getting into a fight with his best friend, Seren (Nathaniel Logan McIntyre) and his argument with an imaginary Skye (Isaiah Johnson). 

In one particularly poignant scene, we see David meeting his therapist (Ruben Santiago-Hudson) and he has a hard time being honest at first. When the doc seems concerned about David’s home life, we see both sides of his personality presented in the background, having different reactions to each topic they tackle. Throughout the episode, this device recurs and gives us a clear understanding about how his two personas navigate life, process experiences, and where they coincide. 

Oprah Winfrey reveals why she was moved to tears when Tarell Alvin McCraney pitched her David Makes Man

Dr. Woods-Trap (Phylicia Rashad) decided to force David to work with Seven on his project, in an effort to make sure the boys have moved passed their fight. Unfortunately for David, Seren insists the only way he will help with the project is if David agrees to spend the night at his house. David is hesitant for obvious reasons (he’s scared about Saren’s too touchy stepfather, Ray, but he reluctantly agrees after Seren reveals his tormentor is out of town on a work trip. 

David is awestruck when he sees Seren’s big, beautiful house and fridge full of snacks. They’re having a good time until Seren’s scary AF mother walks in and begins to torment him, showing us that she may be even more of a predator than her sicko husband. Her tone is terrifying and she doesn’t even try to hide her abusive behavior in front of David and proceeds to make small talk with him as if she didn’t just show her true colors a moment before. 

Later in the therapy session, the therapist lands on the subject of Skye, and this guy seems to be see right through David’s attempts to sugar-coat the trauma of the loss. All of David’s personalities speak in unison when he’s explaining what kind of force Skye was in his lie and it’s clear he’s the reason David has his heart set on going to the exclusive high school, Hurston. 

Tarell Alvin McCraney, Phylicia Rashad, and Akili McDowell dish on David Makes Man

Miss Elijah (Travis Coles) remains one of the show’s most intriguing characters and we learn how close her friendship with David’s mother, Gloria (Alana Arenas) really is. 

When David and Serena are about to go to sleep, David urges his friend to tell an adult what’s happening to him at home. It is then that we learn that the abused kid doesn’t believe his mother knows that he’s being molested by her husband, Ray, but we also see that he may be more tormented by her abuse than the things his stepfather does to him. 

Later, we learn all about David’s father who was one of Gloria’s professors. We see a flashback of what happened when she brought their young son to his home to meet him and how she was rejected and humiliated by him and his wife. “And that’s the story of how I came to be without a father,” David says at the end of his project. “I’m not nothing.” 

Damn right, David. 

The post ‘David Makes Man’ Episode 103 Recap: ‘MJB’ appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

BLACK GLAM: Rebekah Aladdin on beautifying Black Hollywood

Johnny Wright is back with another installment of Black Glam and this time, he is sitting down with celebrity makeup artist, Rebekah Aladdin, to find out all about how she keeps Black Hollywood looking fab. Her long list of clients includes Lena Waithe, Winnie Harlow, and Kiki Layne among others.

The gorgeous guru who happens to have a twin sister keeps some of the most famous faces in Tinseltown looking flawless, but she didn’t set out on the path she wound up on. In fact, she has aspirations to become an architect and admits her first love is music. She decided to try her hand at doing makeup in the entertainment industry in hopes of meeting people who could help get her music career off the ground.

Black Glam: Johnny Wright peels back the curtain of Black beauty and fashion with industry experts

She has become a go-to makeup artist for celebrities who want to show off their natural beauty. “My specialty is natural glam,” she says.

Even though she started doing make up full-time just five years ago, she already has two Met Galas under her belt. She even managed to perfect two clients each time.

BLACK GLAM: Costume designer Brea Stinson reveals how she built her enviable empire

“My first Met Gala was with Lena Waithe and Winnie Harlow and it was also their first Met Gala as well,” she explained. “I did Kiki Layne and Lena [Waithe] this year.”

Find out how Rebekah Aladdin pulled it off and get her advice for aspiring makeup artists in the interview above.


The post BLACK GLAM: Rebekah Aladdin on beautifying Black Hollywood appeared first on theGrio.

from theGrio

PHOTOS: Check out all the famous faces cast in ‘Coming To America 2’

MIT’s fleet of autonomous boats can now shapeshift

MIT’s fleet of robotic boats has been updated with new capabilities to “shapeshift,” by autonomously disconnecting and reassembling into a variety of configurations, to form floating structures in Amsterdam’s many canals.

The autonomous boats — rectangular hulls equipped with sensors, thrusters, microcontrollers, GPS modules, cameras, and other hardware — are being developed as part of the ongoing “Roboat” project between MIT and the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS Institute). The project is led by MIT professors Carlo Ratti, Daniela Rus, Dennis Frenchman, and Andrew Whittle. In the future, Amsterdam wants the roboats to cruise its 165 winding canals, transporting goods and people, collecting trash, or self-assembling into “pop-up” platforms — such as bridges and stages — to help relieve congestion on the city’s busy streets.

In 2016, MIT researchers tested a roboat prototype that could move forward, backward, and laterally along a preprogrammed path in the canals. Last year, researchers designed low-cost, 3-D-printed, one-quarter scale versions of the boats, which were more efficient and agile, and came equipped with advanced trajectory-tracking algorithms. In June, they created an autonomous latching mechanism that let the boats target and clasp onto each other, and keep trying if they fail.

In a new paper presented at the last week’s IEEE International Symposium on Multi-Robot and Multi-Agent Systems, the researchers describe an algorithm that enables the roboats to smoothly reshape themselves as efficiently as possible. The algorithm handles all the planning and tracking that enables groups of roboat units to unlatch from one another in one set configuration, travel a collision-free path, and reattach to their appropriate spot on the new set configuration.
In demonstrations in an MIT pool and in computer simulations, groups of linked roboat units rearranged themselves from straight lines or squares into other configurations, such as rectangles and “L” shapes. The experimental transformations only took a few minutes. More complex shapeshifts may take longer, depending on the number of moving units — which could be dozens — and differences between the two shapes.

“We’ve enabled the roboats to now make and break connections with other roboats, with hopes of moving activities on the streets of Amsterdam to the water,” says Rus, director of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and the Andrew and Erna Viterbi Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. “A set of boats can come together to form linear shapes as pop-up bridges, if we need to send materials or people from one side of a canal to the other. Or, we can create pop-up wider platforms for flower or food markets.”

Joining Rus on the paper are: Ratti, director of MIT’s Senseable City Lab, and, also from the lab, first author Banti Gheneti, Ryan Kelly, and Drew Meyers, all researchers; postdoc Shinkyu Park; and research fellow Pietro Leoni.

Collision-free trajectories

For their work, the researchers had to tackle challenges with autonomous planning, tracking, and connecting groups of roboat units. Giving each unit unique capabilities to, for instance, locate each other, agree on how to break apart and reform, and then move around freely, would require complex communication and control techniques that could make movement inefficient and slow.

To enable smoother operations, the researchers developed two types of units: coordinators and workers. One or more workers connect to one coordinator to form a single entity, called a “connected-vessel platform” (CVP). All coordinator and worker units have four propellers, a wireless-enabled microcontroller, and several automated latching mechanisms and sensing systems that enable them to link together.

Coordinators, however, also come equipped with GPS for navigation, and an inertial measurement unit (IMU), which computes localization, pose, and velocity. Workers only have actuators that help the CVP steer along a path. Each coordinator is aware of and can wirelessly communicate with all connected workers. Structures comprise multiple CVPs, and individual CVPs can latch onto one another to form a larger entity.

During shapeshifting, all connected CVPs in a structure compare the geometric differences between its initial shape and new shape. Then, each CVP determines if it stays in the same spot and if it needs to move. Each moving CVP is then assigned a time to disassemble and a new position in the new shape.

Each CVP uses a custom trajectory-planning technique to compute a way to reach its target position without interruption, while optimizing the route for speed. To do so, each CVP precomputes all collision-free regions around the moving CVP as it rotates and moves away from a stationary one.

After precomputing those collision-free regions, the CVP then finds the shortest trajectory to its final destination, which still keeps it from hitting the stationary unit. Notably, optimization techniques are used to make the whole trajectory-planning process very efficient, with the precomputation taking little more than 100 milliseconds to find and refine safe paths. Using data from the GPS and IMU, the coordinator then estimates its pose and velocity at its center of mass, and wirelessly controls all the propellers of each unit and moves into the target location.

In their experiments, the researchers tested three-unit CVPs, consisting of one coordinator and two workers, in several different shapeshifting scenarios. Each scenario involved one CVP unlatching from the initial shape and moving and relatching to a target spot around a second CVP.

Three CVPs, for instance, rearranged themselves from a connected straight line — where they were latched together at their sides — into a straight line connected at front and back, as well as an “L.” In computer simulations, up to 12 roboat units rearranged themselves from, say, a rectangle into a square or from a solid square into a Z-like shape.

Scaling up

Experiments were conducted on quarter-sized roboat units, which measure about 1 meter long and half a meter wide. But the researchers believe their trajectory-planning algorithm will scale well in controlling full-sized units, which will measure about 4 meters long and 2 meters wide.

In about a year, the researchers plan to use the roboats to form into a dynamic “bridge” across a 60-meter canal between the NEMO Science Museum in Amsterdam’s city center and an area that’s under development. The project, called RoundAround, will employ roboats to sail in a continuous circle across the canal, picking up and dropping off passengers at docks and stopping or rerouting when they detect anything in the way. Currently, walking around that waterway takes about 10 minutes, but the bridge can cut that time to around two minutes.

“This will be the world’s first bridge comprised of a fleet of autonomous boats,” Ratti says. “A regular bridge would be super expensive, because you have boats going through, so you’d need to have a mechanical bridge that opens up or a very high bridge. But we can connect two sides of canal [by using] autonomous boats that become dynamic, responsive architecture that float on the water.”

To reach that goal, the researchers are further developing the roboats to ensure they can safely hold people, and are robust to all weather conditions, such as heavy rain. They’re also making sure the roboats can effectively connect to the sides of the canals, which can vary greatly in structure and design.

from MIT News

New science blooms after star researchers die, study finds

The famed quantum physicist Max Planck had an idiosyncratic view about what spurred scientific progress: death. That is, Planck thought, new concepts generally take hold after older scientists with entrenched ideas vanish from the discipline.

“A great scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it,” Planck once wrote.

Now a new study co-authored by MIT economist Pierre Azoulay, an expert on the dynamics of scientific research, concludes that Planck was right. In many areas of the life sciences, at least, the deaths of prominent researchers are often followed by a surge in highly cited research by newcomers to those fields.

Indeed, when star scientists die, their subfields see a subsequent 8.6 percent increase, on average, of articles by researchers who have not previously collaborated with those star scientists. Moreover, those papers published by the newcomers to these fields are much more likely to be influential and highly cited than other pieces of research.

“The conclusion of this paper is not that stars are bad,” says Azoulay, who has co-authored a new paper detailing the study’s findings. “It’s just that, once safely ensconsed at the top of their fields, maybe they tend to overstay their welcome.”

The paper, “Does Science Advance one Funeral at a Time?” is co-authored by Azoulay, the International Programs Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management; Christian Fons-Rosen, an assistant professor of economics at the University of California at Merced; and Joshua Graff Zivin, a professor of economics at the University of California at San Diego and faculty member in the university’s School of Global Policy and Strategy. It is forthcoming in the American Economic Review.

To conduct the study, the researchers used a database of life scientists that Azoulay and Graff Zivin have been building for well over a decade. In it, the researchers chart the careers of life scientists, looking at accomplishments that include funding awards, published papers and the citations of those papers, and patent statistics.

In this case, Azoulay, Graff Zivin, and Fons-Rosen studied what occurred after the unexpected deaths of 452 life scientists, who were still active in their disciplines. In addition to the 8.6 percent increase in papers by new entrants to those subfields, there was a 20.7 percent decrease in papers by the rather smaller number of scientists who had previously co-authored papers with the star scientists.

Overall, Azoulay notes, the study provides a window into the power structures of scientific disciplines. Even if well-established scientists are not intentionally blocking the work of researchers with alternate ideas, a group of tightly connected colleagues may wield considerable influence over journals and grant awards. In those cases, “it’s going to be harder for those outsiders to make a mark on the domain,” Azoulay notes.

“The fact that if you’re successful, you get to set the intellectual agenda of your field, that is part of the incentive system of science, and people do extraordinary positive things in the hope of getting to that position,” Azoulay notes. “It’s just that, once they get there, over time, maybe they tend to discount ‘foreign’ ideas too quickly and for too long.”

Thus what the researchers call “Planck’s Principle” serves as an unexpected — and tragic — mechanism for diversifying bioscience research.

The researchers note that in referencing Planck, they are extending his ideas to a slightly different setting than the one he himself was describing. In his writing, Planck was discussing the birth of quantum physics — the kind of epochal, paradigm-setting shift that rarely occurs in science. The current study, Azoulay notes, examines what happens in everyday “normal science,” in the phrase of philosopher Thomas Kuhn.

The process of bringing new ideas into science, and then hanging on to them, is only to be expected in many areas of research, according to Azoulay. Today’s seemingly stodgy research veterans were once themselves innovators facing an old guard.

“They had to hoist themselves atop the field in the first place, when presumably they were [fighting] the same thing,” Azoulay says. “It’s the circle of life.”

Or, in this case, the circle of life science.

The research received support from the National Science Foundation, the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, and the Severo Ochoa Programme for Centres of Excellence in R&D.

from MIT News