Hot off the Press

NASA offers another scary report about climate change, House Democrats expand the Russia investigation and more performers for the 2019 Grammys.

Hot off the Press

NASA offers another scary report about climate change, House Democrats expand the Russia investigation and more performers for the 2019 Grammys.

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✨  Good morning! Today is Thursday, February 7, 2019 and we’re pleased as punch that Homer isn’t going anywhere.


• The Background

Despite what certain politicians would have you believe, climate change is very, very real — and NASA and the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) have the stats to prove it. Yesterday, the two organizations held a joint news conference to discuss 2018’s global temperature and climate, and guess what? Last year was the fourth-hottest year ever recorded. If this song and dance sounds familiar, it’s ’cause it is. The past five years have been the five warmest years on record, and 18 of the hottest 19 years have occurred since 2001. According to Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the average temperature has risen a little over 1°C since the 1880s, “driven in large part by increased emissions into the atmosphere of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases caused by human activities.” CNN

• What Else You Need to Know

In addition to the rising temperatures, it was also a particularly tumultuous year in weather, with more extreme conditions and climate events, including an insane amount of rain — especially in the U.S. According to reports, the U.S. had an average rainfall of 34.63 inches last year, making it the wettest year in 35 years, and the third-wettest since 1895. Across the country, 14 separate weather and natural disasters caused more than US $1 billion in damage, with just three climate events (Hurricanes Michael and Florence and the Western wildfires, which included the Carr and Camp fires in California) causing more than US $73 billion in damage (out of the US $91 billion total). Over the past three years, there have been 45 billion-dollar natural disasters in the U.S.

• What’s Next?

With the polar ice caps continuing to melt (including a section above Greenland that scientists believed would be the last to be affected by climate change), scientists can’t help but sound the alarm. The good news is that the House is full of new, fresh faces who are taking climate change really, really seriously. Yesterday, both the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change and the full Natural Resources Committee met simultaneously to discuss the importance of getting the U.S. back on track when it comes to climate change. 


• Canada: Call of Duty

If there’s one thing Canadians are good at, it’s answering an international call for help, and once again, we’ve delivered. Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen announced yesterday that more than 750 Libyan refugees who’ve been rescued from slavery are being resettled in Canada. According to Hussen’s statement, we were “one of the few countries” who responded to a request from the UN’s refugee agency in 2017, and have resettled more than 150 people since. Another 600 are expected to arrive over the next two years, and will be resettled as part of the regular refugee settlement program. In addition to those immigrating from Libya, the government is working on resettling “100 refugees from Niger, rescued from Libyan migrant detention centres, including victims of human smuggling.” National Post 

• U.S.: Firing Back

Well, that sure didn’t take long. Less than 24 hours after POTUS said there cannot be war and investigation, “if there’s going to be peace and legislation,” Democrats went all the f*ck in. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (who’s been the target of many of President Trump’s tweet tirades) announced yesterday that the panel would be expanding the parameters of the Russia investigation. In a statement, Schiff said that “new information about ‘covert and overt’ Russian actions that targeted members of the president’s campaign and his private businesses has emerged in the two years since the election, and merits scrutiny.” The committee has established five new lines of inquiry, including “whether any foreign actor has sought to compromise or holds leverage, financial or otherwise, over Donald Trump, his family, his business, or his associates,” “whether any of the president’s policy decisions were the result of foreign exploitation,” and “whether any foreign actors are attempting to impede congressional or other investigations into those topics.” CBS News


If you don’t take needs into account, nobody is getting the right amount.

– Advocate and former president of the Ontario Autism Coalition Bruce McIntosh points out what he says are serious flaws in the Ford administration’s new plan for the disbursement of support funds to families of children with autism. The planned overhaul to the province’s autism policies was announced yesterday. iPolitics


• Audio Boom

If the founders of podcast network Gimlet Media thought 2018 was a banner year — their fictional series Homecoming being turned into a hit Amazon Prime Original starring Julia Roberts was pretty groundbreaking — they likely didn’t imagine 2019 would be even better. But it will be… it’ll be US $230 million better. The startup just struck a deal that will see it acquired by music-streaming service Spotify. Along with Gimlet, Spotify is also buying up Anchor, a maker of digital tools to create podcasts. The buys are just the first move in Spotify’s plan to invest up to US $500 million in acquisitions this year, and a large chunk of that change — funded by its 96 million paid subscribers — is expected to go to fleshing out its podcasting arm. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek says he sees “incredible growth potential for the space,” and that “over time, more than 20% of all Spotify listening will be non-music content.” Its new goal: “Becoming the world’s number one audio platform.” Forbes


• 🙋‍♀️💥👌

The modern hieroglyphic language of emojis is expanding yet again. And while we’re thrilled that Unicode — the organization behind the graphic keyboard icons — is finally blessing us with waffle, flamingo, and sloth emojis (how ever did we live without them?), the more exciting news is the dozens of new disability-inclusive emojis. Prosthetic limbs, a service dog, and people using mobility aids (such as wheel chairs and white canes) are among the inclusive additions to the alphabet. There’s also a droplet of period blood, thanks to a hard-won campaign backed by Plan International UK’s Because I’m A Girl initiative as “a huge step towards normalizing periods and smashing the stigma which surrounds them,” says Lucy Russell, head of girls’ rights and youth at the charity. The new characters are expected to show on keyboards later this year. ITV News


• Basketball: Moneyball

The Toronto Raptors may be the top team in the NBA’s Eastern Conference, but they’re definitely not the most valuable. According to Forbes, that honour goes to the New York Knicks, who are reportedly worth US $4 billion. Ironically, the Knicks also have the worst record in the league. Rounding out the top five are the Los Angeles Lakers (US $3.87 billion), the Golden State Warriors (US $3.5 billion), Chicago Bulls (US $2.9 billion) and Boston Celtics (US $2.8 billion). Our beloved Raptors, while having a killer season, are apparently not all that profitable, coming in at just US $1.7 billion. The good news is that the team is ranked fifth in value increase (222%) behind Golden State (367%), Los Angeles Clippers (282%), Philadelphia (252%) and Milwaukee (233%). Sportsnet


• Read

One of the most beloved authors of our generation, Sophie Kinsella’s back this week with I Owe You One (which has been called a a gem of a novel”). 

• Watch

If you haven’t heard the internet chatter about Netflix’s new series Russian Doll, we’re here to tell you about it. It’s out and it’s awesome. 

• Listen

Ever since Ariana Grande released her hit single “thank u, next,” the world has been dying to know what in fact comes next for the 24-year-old. Her new album, named after the lead single, is out tomorrow. 


• Killer Concert

The buzz is building leading up to this Sunday’s 61st Grammy Awards. Yesterday, even more performers for music’s most predictable biggest night were announced, and we’re honestly not sure how they’re even going to fit any award handouts into the jam-packed show schedule. Newly added to the lineup are Lady Gaga and Mark Ronson, along with sisters Chloe x Halle and Travis Scott, who will both be back on your TV screens fresh off their participation in last weekend’s Super Bowl. Best new artist nominee Dua Lipa is making her Grammys debut on stage with “Masseducation” singer St. Vincent. The queen of urban gospel, Yolanda Adams, will pay tribute to queen of soul, Aretha Franklin. And those are all on top of the previously announced performances by Cardi B, Shawn Mendes, Diana Ross, Miley Cyrus, et al. (One person who won’t be in the room? Ariana Grande.) Billboard


• No Chill

Dating is hard enough without everyone and their mother (hi, Mom!) trying to set you up with any single guy or girl they know. Now, you can’t even take solace in a pint of Chocolate Chocolate Chunk without being sold to the meat market. Samsung has just launched a new (free!) app for its unnecessarily high-tech Family Hub Refrigerator, called Refrigerdating. The app plays off the premise that “you are what you eat” by snapping a photo of the contents of your fridge and connecting you with (presumably) hot singles in your area who also love organic dill pickles or pulp-free orange juice, or whatever. You then use the fridge’s touchscreen display to swipe left or right on your potential soulmates, depending on whether or not your taste in condiments jives with theirs. Don’t want to spend $3200+ on a refrigerator (or date someone who would)? The app also works with your smartphone. Says Elin Axelsson, PR manager at Samsung Electronics Nordic: “We hope people can meet under more honest or transparent circumstances with the help of the contents of the fridge, because that can tell you a lot about the personality.” (We’re not sure we’re ready to be that honest before a third date.) CNET


• Bonfire of the Vanities

On Feb. 7, 1497, in Florence, Italy, supporters of Friar Girolamo Savonarola collected and publicly burned thousands of vanity objects they believed might tempt one to sin — namely mirrors, cosmetics, fine clothing, art and books — in a protest against “immoral” culture.


• POTUS has decided who he wants to lead the World Bank, and for better or for worse, his nominee really hates the institution.  

• Sh*t in Virginia is hitting the political fan. The governor and state attorney general are both in hot water after appearing in blackface in college and a woman’s accused the state’s lieutenant governor of sexual assault.

• Microsoft’s 15 minutes of fame are over. As of yesterday, Apple is once again the most valuable company on the planet. 

• As the NBA trade deadline looms, the Toronto Raptors have made a move (albeit a small one): Malachi Richardson, a second-round pick in 2022 and the draft rights to Emir Preldzic are all heading to the Sixers. 

• If you’re considering signing up for Disney’s new streaming service, you’ll likely get your money’s worth: the company just confirmed it’ll be offering non-Disney content at launch. 


• Breakup Plans

Finally, a reason to go to Hooters.

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