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Wanted: “Adventurous” Woman To Birth Neanderthal

A Harvard professor has hatched a plan to bring back the Neanderthals—but he needs an “adventurous” female volunteer to deliver a knuckle-dragging bundle of joy. George Church, a geneticist who helped pioneer the Human Genome Project, says it is now possible to create artificial Neanderthal DNA from bone samples, put the DNA into stem cells, inject those cells into an embryo, and then implant into a woman willing to give birth to a Neanderthal baby, the Independent reports. Read more …

Gang-Rape Trial Begins In India

The trial of the five men accused of raping and murdering a 23-year-old on a New Delhi bus began today, after being put on a special fast-track, the BBC reports. No arguments were actually heard, however. The defense argued that the trial should be open to the public, a request the judge denied. Charges were then read, and the trial adjourned until Thursday, when opening arguments will take place. But first, the court will hear a defense motion seeking to move the trial, with the defense arguing that the accused can’t get a fair trial in the city the alleged rape took place in, the Telegraph reports. Read more …

Notre Dame Star Manti Te’o's Uplifting Story Was A Hoax

Sports website Deadspin has uncovered a doozy of a scoop in the world of college football: This year’s inspirational tale of woe about Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o looks to be an elaborate hoax. All season, fans heard how Te’o drew inspiration from girlfriend Lennay Kekua, who died of leukemia. Except Lennay Kekua never existed, despite countless stories in the media about her life and death. Deadspin even found the 22-year-old woman whose Facebook photo was used in the ruse as the face of Lennay, much to her surprise. The big question now—was Heisman finalist Te’o an accomplice or a victim? (Update: Te’o tells ESPN he is the victim of a “sick joke” and is embarrassed by the revelation. He says he and “Lennay” had communicated frequently, but it was online and by phone.) Read more…

Obama Unveils $500M Gun Plan

President Obama and Joe Biden laid out their gun control plan at the White House today, calling for a $500 million program in front of a number of children who had written the president asking that he tackle gun violence. Biden got the first word, boasting that his team had consulted 229 groups, from law enforcement to gun advocacy organizations, along with mayors, governors, and congressmembers, before making its recommendations. “The world has changed, and it’s demanding action,” he said. Read more…

N-Word Uttered Twice At Golden Globes

Jodie Foster’s mystifying speech wasn’t the only buzz-worthy Golden Globes moment. After winning best screenplay for “Django Unchained,” Quentin Tarantino discussed his frequent use of the n-word in the movie with reporters—and he went ahead and used the n-word while doing so. “If somebody is out there actually saying when it comes to the word [n-word], the fact that I was using it in the movie more than it was being used in the antebellum South in Mississippi, then feel free to make that case. But no one’s actually making that case,” Tarantino said. “They are saying I should lie, that I should whitewash, that I should massage, and I never do that when it comes to my characters.” Read more…

Hurry, Mint That Platinum Coin!

Despite facing plenty of blowback from wags, wonks, and politicos over the past week—such as Ezra Klein in the Washington Post—Paul Krugman is continuing his push for the $1 trillion platinum coin option to bypass the looming debt ceiling debate. (Here’s a summary of how it works.) It’s a “vile absurdity” that Congress has forced this fight in the first place, so “using an accounting trick to negate it is entirely appropriate,” writes Krugman in The New York TimesRead more…

Student Shot At Taft High School In California

One student has been shot at a high school in Taft, Calif., a community in the southern San Joaquin Valley. Police say a suspect is in custody and is believed to be a student. The shooting was reported at Taft Union High School around 9am local time, and the wounded student has been flown to a hospital in Bakersfield with unspecified injuries. Police think a shotgun was used in the attack. Local station KGET says a second student received minor injuries and refused treatment at the scene.

Diet Soda Linked To Depression

Yet another reason diet soda may not be as good a choice as you assumed: A new study links it to an increased risk of depression, LiveScience reports. More than 263,900 US adults answered questions about their beverage consumption between 1995 and 1996, and about 10 years later, they were asked if they had been diagnosed with depression since the year 2000. Those who regularly consumed four or more cans per day of any type of soda were 30 percent more likely to have been diagnosed with depression, but those who chose diet soda saw a 31% increased risk compared to just 22% for regular-soda-drinkers. Read more…

Yet Another Breakup For Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift & One Direction's Harry Styles Go For Romantic Stroll In NYC

Another day, another guy for Taylor Swift to break up with and then write sad songs about. Yes, the singer has split with Harry Styles of UK boy band One Direction, the Daily Mail reports. Swift, 23, and Styles, 18, were on vacation in the Virgin Islands over the New Year’s holiday and “had an almighty row,” according to an obviously British source. Swift ended up flying home alone, early, on Friday. On New Year’s Eve, the couple had been recorded making out at midnight in Times Square. Read more…

Hillary Clinton Returns To Work, Gets Gag Gift

Hillary Clinton is back at work, and while her blood clot is gone, her sense of humor is hopefully not. The State Department greeted Clinton with a standing ovation and a gag gift: a football helmet adorned with her department’s seal, reports the AP. She was also given a blue football jersey with “Clinton” and the number 112—the record-breaking number of countries she has visited as secretary of state—on the back. Aides described her as delighted, though they noted she didn’t try the helmet on. Read more…

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