President Obama Unveils Expanded Background Checks for Gun Purchases
After a year punctuated by mass shootings, President Obama announced he’ll use executive action to fix some loopholes in federal gun laws. Anyone who earns a living selling guns would have to register as a licensed gun dealer and do background checks on those purchasing arms. The restriction is meant to better regulate online gun sales, which often thwart background checks. [NYT]
Why the Feds Have Not Ended the Oregon Militia Standoff
Here's a good read if you've been wondering about the government's response to the Oregon standoff. Alex Altman spoke with former FBI agents who dealt with similar standoffs. The article also points out possible consequences of a hostile confrontation. [TIME]
An Interview with Michael Burry of “The Big Short” Fame
Michael Burry, who New York Magazine describes as the “economic soothsayer” played by Christian Bale in “The Big Short,” recently had an interview with the publication to talk about topics like how the financial system is doing today and why he is so focused on water. He names debt as the thing that makes him most nervous about the future and says that going through the financial crisis was like “watching a plane crash.” [NY Magazine]
How to End Homelessness
Homeless advocates argue that “supportive housing” — offering permanent housing, with roommates, to homeless people, in a building where nurses and social workers are on hand for support and guidance — is the most effective way to combat New York’s and other cities’ swelling homelessness issues. The Atlantic takes an in-depth look at the how the programs work, and have already helped homeless in NYC. [The Atlantic]
Was Cosby in Costume for His Perp Walk?
Did Bill Cosby’s hooded sweater and spindly cane at his Philadelphia courthouse perp walk make you feel bad for him? The Washington Post said there may have been some costuming going on there. Rather than wearing a business suit or a shirt and tie, Cosby chose to go with a cozy grandpa sweater recalling his “Cosby Show” days or his supposed fragile nature. [Washington Post]
'Game of Thrones' Fans Will Have to Wait Longer for Sixth Book
It looks like winter isn’t coming as planned, as George R.R. Martin’s sixth novel in his “A Song of Ice and Fire” series will be delayed. “The Winds of Winter” won’t be finished before the “Game of Thrones” season six premiere, the author wrote in a blog post. “You wanted an update. Here’s the update. You won’t like it,” Martin said, explaining that he can’t say when it’ll be released. He added that he’s disappointed but is “not going to set another deadline for myself to trip over. The deadlines just stress me out." [Hollywood Reporter]
Reunited Guns N’ Roses to Play Coachella Music Festival...
It’s official. Guns N’ Roses will reunite for California’s Coachella in April, the music festival announced Monday. The original band fell apart in the mid-1990s, when guitarist Slash left the group in 1996 over tensions with singer Axl Rose. The band has since released one album, Chinese Democracy, without Slash. Both Slash and Rose, who have not performed together in more than two decades, are expected to play at the festival.
Ok,ok... It's "confirmed!" Guns N' Roses is Headlining Coachella 2016!! 🎉📰🌋🎯🎤📡😎 See Everyone There!! ❤️😎— Axl Rose (@axlrose) January 5, 2016
Other acts confirmed for Coachella include The Kills, Ice Cube, Sia, Ellie Goulding and Major Lazer. [BBC]
...And LCD Soundsystem Is Back Too!
James Murphy wrote a little thing about why LCD Soundsystem is making another record — and reuniting at Coachella too. He also answered some fans who are apparently mad about having gone to that epic Madison Square Garden final-concert-ever a few years ago. As people who hear from people on the internet fairly regularly, this line was pretty great: “It’s strangely energizing to have people who don’t make music themselves take potshots at you from the internet.”
Be the Nerd, Ladies
When Mark Zuckerberg wrote a Facebook post about his New Year’s goals, a woman commented gave him would-be praise: “I keep telling my granddaughters to date the nerd in school,” she wrote. “He may turn out to be a Mark Zuckerberg!” The tech giant’s response was pitch perfect: “Even better would be to encourage them to *be* the nerd in their school so they can be the next successful inventor!” A+, Zuckerberg. [BuzzFeed]
Zimbabwe Will Capture More Wild Baby Elephants and Sell Them to China
Zimbabwe’s minister of environment Oppah Muchinguri says the country has too many elephants and will sell them to China’s zoos and safari parks, but animal rights advocates say China has a bad record on treatment of captive animals. [Quartz]
A Reminder to Speak Up About ‘Casual Racism’ — Even If It Means Everybody Stops ‘Having a Good Time’
A thoughtful essay on The Toast recounts an Asian-American woman’s experience at her ostensibly white in-laws’ “crowded dinner table” the night after Christmas, when a woman asks an absurd question that is apparently innocuous to the non-Asians at the table, but understandably hurtful to the writer. The account is a good reminder to speak up when you’re a bystander in situations like this, so you don’t leave the most vulnerable person in the room to be “the only one who can make sure that everybody keeps having a good time.” [The Toast]
Friends, Countrymen, Lend Me Your Eyebrows
Men in New York are getting their eyebrows groomed now, because of course men in New York are getting their eyebrows groomed now. [NYT]
Where To Go in 2016
Still having trouble getting back to work after the holidays? Spend a few minutes fantasizing about your next vacation with Mashable’s recommendations of places to visit this year, complete with photos. [Mashable]
The Periodic Table Gets 4 New Elements
High school chemistry students have even more to memorize now: four newly confirmed elements have been added to the periodic table, including one that exists for less than a thousandth of a second. They’ve yet to be given their permanent names, so they're currently going by their atomic numbers: 113, 115, 117 and 118. [NPR]
This Raccoon Learns the Hard Way That Cotton Candy < Water
This column was compiled by DNAinfo reporters Lisha Arino, Camille Bautista, Jeanmarie Evelly, Emily Frost, Gwynne Hogan, Noah Hurowitz, Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska, Irene Plagianos, Eddie Small, Rachel Holliday Smith, Gustavo Solis, Danielle Tcholakian and Shaye Weaver.