People can’t get enough of this new organic, vegetarian fast food.

When you think about fast food, what comes to mind?

If you’re like me, you probably start salivating as you imagine greasy burgers, gloriously deep-fried onion rings, and calorie-laden milkshakes. Yum.

Basically, this. Image via Thinkstock.

A new fast food restaurant in California is aiming to broaden that image by introducing a vegetarian option.

Andy and Rachel Berliner, the founders of Amy’s Kitchen, originally launched their line of vegetarian frozen, canned, and prepackaged foods in grocery stores (you’ve probably seen Amy’s organic, vegetarian, and vegan food in your local grocery store) after they found themselves frustrated with the vegetarian options available at the time.

Then the Berliners decided they wanted to take their mission one step further,
envisioning a fast food restaurant where employees (who were paid a living wage plus health benefits) served vegetarian meals full of fresh local veggies.

That idea became Amy’s Drive Thru, one of the first organic, vegetarian drive-thru restaurants in the country.

As of their opening in July, Amy’s Drive Thru has proven to be a ridiculous success.

On opening day,
Amy’s served over 500 people most of whom waited for more than an hour in line just to order. And although they expected business to slow a bit in the following weeks, the demand has just continued to grow.

There it is the restaurant that vegetarian fast food dreams are made of. All photos below via Amy’s Kitchen.

Why the crazy business? An Amy’s spokesperson told Upworthy that it’s likely all about pent up demand.
People love fast food, but they want variety. And Amy’s is delivering.

Not to mention, the food at Amy’s Drive Thru is getting rave reviews.

Amy’s serves organic veggie burgers, burritos, mac ‘n’ cheese, pizza, salads, chili fries, and even milkshakes (and, yes, you can choose from dairy or non-dairy options). Every menu item at Amy’s can be made either gluten-free or vegan as well.

The coffee, vegetables, and even the milk come from local farms, too. “Our relationships with farmers and our knowledge of how to make delicious food on a large scale has really made this project possible. We’ve been able to keep the quality high and the prices reasonable,” Andy Berliner said in a press release.

Yep that’s fast food.

I know, I know but this broccoli cheddar mac ‘n’ cheese is fast food, too. It’s also vegetarian and chock full of local ingredients. Drool.

Allergic to gluten? No worries. You can order gluten free everything (including pizza) at Amy’s.

So here’s to reimagining fast food in a new way, and keeping low price points at the same time.

A single burger at Amy’s will only set you back $2.99. And a bowl of mac ‘n’ cheese? $4.69.

Fast food has become popular largely because it’s convenient, easily available, and affordable, but we’re all ears for ideas about how to add variety to that description.

Amy’s Drive Thru seems to have it in the bag: fair wages for employees, local farm support, low prices, and a sustainable business model. Their tables, chairs, and building materials are even upcycled and sustainable.

So … who wants to take a trip to California with me?

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Mike Pence, The US Vice President-Elect, Has Said He Doesn’t Believe That Smoking Kills

Mike Pence, the vice president-elect of the US, has said he doesn’t believe smoking kills people.

He made that case in an op-ed article published in 2000 and has made no public effort to update his position since.

“Time for a quick reality check,” Pence wrote. “Despite the hysteria from the political class and the media, smoking doesn’t kill. In fact, 2 out of every three smokers does not die from a smoking related illness and 9 out of ten smokers do not contract lung cancer.”

Those statistics are questionable to the point of being ludicrous, largely because we keep discovering new ways that smoking is deadly. Those statistics would still be worrisome, however. About 40 million people smoke in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One out of every three current smokers dying from a smoking-related illness would therefore translate to about 13.3 million people dead. One out of 10 smokers developing lung cancer means 4 million sick people.

Here are the facts

Pence added the caveat “news flash: smoking is not good for you,” which further raises the question of why he felt the need to write a piece in the first place downplaying tobacco’s dangers.

To be clear: The year 2000 was a while ago, but it also came 36 years after Surgeon General Luther Terry published his 1964 reports on the link between smoking and cancer.

Pence was selected to be a stable, mainstream running mate to Donald Trump, and to settle the nerves of the Republican Party apparently despite Trump’s expressed wishes. Now he’s just one of the many reasons people who care about science and health are terrified of Trump’s impending presidency.

Read the original article on Tech Insider. Copyright 2016.

Now watch: Government agencies think theyve figured out what the ‘strange thing swimming’ in Alaska actually is

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3 reasons why all the adults you know have started coloring again.

There’s never been a better time to feel like a kid again.

For as long as there have been mortgages, taxes, jobs, and speeding tickets, there have been adults who wish they could turn back the clock to simpler times. That’s nothing new.

But nostalgia has recently gone next-level.

If you want, you can now go away to
adult summer camp, where you’ll leave all technology at the entrance and enjoy four days of archery, tie-dye, and hiking. You can also spend a day at adult preschool, where you’ll do arts and crafts, play games, and reconnect with your favorite childhood buddy: nap time.

Who’s up for a trust fall? Photo by
Ville Miettinen/Flickr.

Coloring books, though, are by far the most popular kids’ activity for grown-ups. And it’s not hard to see why.

Just imagine your favorite coloring book as a kid, only updated to reflect your much-improved motor skills and worldliness.
Wouldn’t it be nice to take an hour with a cup of coffee and get lost in a sea of possibility and imagination?

If you did, it might look something like this.

Trust us, you haven’t seen a coloring book like this before. Photo and coloring skills by Jenni Whalen/Upworthy.

Beautiful, isn’t it? So beautiful, in fact, that crotchety, jaded adults all over the world are dusting off their crayons and giving it a try.

These books are selling at breakneck pace. Publishers are even having trouble keeping them in stock.

The book that started the craze, “Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book,” has sold over 2 million copies worldwide since its release in 2013.

Some credit illustrator Johanna Basford with launching the adult coloring trend in 2013. Photo by Jenni Whalen/Upworthy.

And there are many more like it burning up the bestseller lists.

“We’ve never seen a phenomenon like it in our thirty years of publishing. … We just can’t keep them in print fast enough,” Lesley O’Mara, managing director of Michael O’Mara Books, told
The New Yorker.

It doesn’t look like this coloring book train is slowing down any time soon, so
here are three reasons you need to get on board.

1. A good coloring session can relieve stress and anxiety.

Many coloring books use geometrically soothing patterns to relieve anxiety. Photo by Jenni Whalen/Upworthy

There might be more to this whole coloring thing than just feeling like a kid.

Marti Faist, an art therapist, told the
Baltimore Sun, “When someone is coloring, their mind and body are operating in a more integrated way. It’s almost a meditative process.”

“I’ve watched people under acute stress, almost panic-attack levels, color and have their blood pressure go down very quickly. It’s cathartic for them.”

And Marti’s not the only one. Maybe you’ve heard of a guy named Carl Jung?

Jung was a big fan of art therapy, and he used coloring as a relaxation technique back in the early 1900s. He even believed that the colors his patients chose reflected an expression of deeper parts of their psyche. Jung himself actually used to draw and color mandalas, or spiritual geometric shapes, every morning. These same mandalas are the foundation of a lot of the most popular stress-relieving coloring books today.

2. No paper? No problem. Now, you can color on the go.

Now there’s a brand new way to kill time on your smartphone. Photo and digital coloring skills by
Heather Kumar/Twitter.

You know the rule: It’s not an official craze unless it’s integrated into social media. So, as appealing as drawing at your kitchen table for hours on end sounds, you can now color on your smartphone or tablet with just a few swipes of your finger, and you can easily tweet or Instagram your creations, too.

Colorfy, the most popular coloring app on the market, has been a huge hit with the mobile crowd, pulling in over 23,000 reviews on iTunes (it’s also on Android).

A recent reviewer wrote: “This is a really great app. It lets me pass the time in a calming yet creative way.”

But maybe the best thing about a coloring app is that it’s easy to erase your design, start over, and create something completely different.

3) These coloring books are also hilarious.

What a handsome drawing. Photo and coloring skills by
Clare Emily/Twitter.

Coloring isn’t just about the beautifully elaborate sketches like those found in “Secret Garden” and its follow-up, ”
Enchanted Forest.

If you’re more into some mindless fun, you might also enjoy coloring pictures of
Ryan Gosling or iconic images from ’90s pop culture!

And, if you’re a real free spirit, you might enjoy a, um, truly “adult” coloring book.

Just a suggestion: might not want to pull this one out in public.

Whether you’re coloring to relax or just to have some fun, there’s a coloring book out there for you.

Coloring might become your favorite hobby … again.

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A comic that accurately sums up depression and anxiety and the uphill battle of living with them

Sarah Flanigan has been fighting depression since she was 10 years old and anxiety since she was 16. “I wish everyone knew that depression is not something that people can just ‘snap out of,'” she explains. “I mean, if I could ‘snap out of it,’ I would have by now.”

Depression and anxiety disorders are real illnesses. Mental illnesses are not “in someone’s head,” they’re not something a person can “just get over,” and they affect so many of us over 40 million people in the U.S. alone.

Despite how common they are, it’s still really difficult to explain to people who may have never experienced a mental illness.

Enter: cute, clever illustrations that get the job done.

Nick Seluk, who creates the amazing comics at The Awkward Yeti, heard from reader Sarah Flanigan. She shared her story of depression and anxiety with him. If it could help even one person, she said, it would be worth it.

Nick turned her story into a fantastic comic that perfectly captures the reality of living with depression and anxiety.

“I’ve been through and seen depression and anxiety in action, and thought Sarah’s story was so perfectly simple,” he told me. “We all get sick physically and mentally, but we need to be open to talking (and laughing) about [it].”

I couldn’t agree more, and I think this comic will resonate with a lot of people.

Simple yet powerful, right?

“The hardest part of living with depression and anxiety for me is feeling like I have to hide it,” Sarah said. “I’ve always been known as the happy one in my group of friends. Everyone’s always so shocked when I tell them I have depression or they see the self-harm scars.”

“It’s much harder than it should be to say, ‘Hey, I have depression and I’ve been struggling with self-harm since I was 10 and I just really need your support to get me through tonight,'” Sarah explained.

Let’s all keep working to make it easier for our friends, family members, and ourselves to get support. Let’s keep talking about it.

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Trump to reinstate US military ban on transgender people

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that he plans to reinstate a ban on transgender individuals from serving “in any capacity” in the US armed forces.

The decision reversed a policy initially approved by the Defense Department under President Barack Obama, which was still under final review, that would allow transgender individuals to openly serve in the military. Defense Secretary James Mattis announced last month that he was delaying enactment of the plan to begin allowing transgender individuals to join the US military.
“After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” Trump said in a series of tweets Wednesday morning. “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”
    “Thank you,” he added.
    But Trump’s decision came without a plan in place to implement it.
    White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders did not have an answer on what would happen to active transgender military members but said the White House and the Defense Department would work together “as implementation takes place and is done so lawfully.”
    Sanders said transgender service “erodes military readiness and unit cohesion” citing health costs. She said the move was based on a “military decision” and is “not meant to be anything more than” that.
    Sanders said the decision was made based “on what was best for the military” and was made in council with the President’s national security team.
    Ash Carter, the Defense secretary under Obama, ended the ban on transgender people serving openly in the military in 2016, but allowed for a year-long review process to allow the Pentagon to determine how it would accept new transgender recruits into the military.
    On the eve of that one-year deadline, Mattis announced that he was delaying the implementation of the new policy, saying he needed more time.
    “Since becoming the Secretary of Defense, I have emphasized that the Department of Defense must measure each policy decision against one critical standard: will the decision affect the readiness and lethality of the force?” Mattis said in a memo late last month. “Put another way, how will the decision affect the ability of America’s military to defend the nation? It is against this standard that I provide the following guidance on the way forward in accessing transgender individuals into the military Services.”
    A 2016 Rand Corp. study commissioned by the Defense Department concluded that letting transgender people serve openly would have a “minimal impact” on readiness and health care costs, largely because there are so few in the military’s 1.3 million-member force.
    The study put the number of transgender people in the military between 1,320 and 6,630. Gender-change surgery is rare in the general population, and the RAND study estimated the possibility of 30 to 140 new hormone treatments a year in the military, with 25 to 130 gender transition-related surgeries among active service members. The cost could range from $2.4 million and $8.4 million, an amount that would represent an “exceedingly small proportion” of total health care expenditures, the study found.

    Trump’s decision marks a setback for LGBT rights groups who have expressed concerns that the Trump administration could chip away at progress the community has seen in recent years on the backs of a series of landmark decisions in recent years that have included the legalization of same-sex marriage nationwide and a repeal of the ban on gay people openly serving in the military.
    Trump’s decision is also another setback for the transgender community following his decision several months ago to reverse an Obama administration policy allowing transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice.
    The announcement was immediately criticized by LGBT leaders and civil rights groups.
    The American Civil Liberties Union called the decision “outrageous and desperate” and said it was exploring ways to fight the policy shift.
    “Let us be clear. This has been studied extensively, and the consensus is clear: There are no cost or military readiness drawbacks associated with allowing trans people to fight for their country. The President is trying to score cheap political points on the backs of military personnel who have put their lives on the line for their country,” said Joshua Block, the senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s LGBT & HIV Project.
    Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Michigan, the vice chair of the congressional LGBT caucus, called Trump’s decision a “slap in the face to the thousands of transgender Americans already serving in the military” and said it “undermines our military’s readiness.”
    “Anyone who is willing to put on the uniform of the United States and risk their life in service to our country should be celebrated as patriots, regardless of their gender identity. This short-sighted and discriminatory policy will make America less safe,” said Kildee.
    The Obama administration faced heated criticism from conservatives last year when it announced the repeal of the ban, and several Republican members of Congress have urged the Trump administration to reverse the decision, saying that the decision does not serve the US’ defense interests.
    The President’s decision flies in the face of his 2016 campaign rhetoric, when he said he would be a strong defender of the LGBT community — and even claimed he would be a better president for LGBT Americans than his opponent, Hillary Clinton.
    Trump seized on the terrorist attack at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, as an opportunity to reach out to the LGBT community and promised he would be a better friend to the community than Clinton.
    “I will tell you who the better friend is and some day I believe that will be proven out big league,” Trump said.

    Read more:

    Trust me, I’m a fake doctor: how medical imposters thrive in the real world

    Versions of Jodie Whittakers bogus TV medic do exist. But fantasists and charlatans tend to operate outside the hospital, where victims have been assaulted, misdiagnosed or offered false hope

    Within the first half-hour of the BBCs psychological thriller Trust Me, Cath (a former nurse) had stolen her doctor friends identity, picked up some suturing skills from YouTube, and was handling a stethoscope like a pro. Before you could say: Adrenaline, STAT!, Cath (played by Jodie Whittaker) was a fake doctor at an Edinburgh hospital, yanking twisted ankles into place and shoving chest drains where they belonged.

    It couldnt happen in real life, though, could it? It already has. Others with medical backgrounds have posed as fully fledged doctors before. Take Levon Mkhitarian who encountered 3,363 patients in two years, working across seven NHS trusts on oncology, cardiology, transplant and surgical wards as well as in A&E. Mkhitarian, originally from Georgia, had graduated from medical school in the Caribbean island of Grenada and received provisional registration from the General Medical Council (GMC) to work specifically under supervision here. But he failed to complete the year. He went on to fraudulently secure a job anyway, was caught, and then promptly struck off. Undeterred, he forged a host of documents including a medical degree and energy bills, stealing the identity of a genuine doctor. The IT department of the William Harvey hospital in Ashford, Kent, finally rumbled Mkhitarian when he applied for a security pass in the name of another doctor. He pleaded guilty to fraud charges and in July 2015 was sentenced to six years in prison.

    Levon Mkhitarian worked as a locum, never staying in one hospital or one speciality too long. Photograph: Kent Police/PA

    These sorts of hospital cases are uncommon the subterfuge required is substantial and most medical impostors thrive in the community (more of which later) or apply for non-clinical roles. Anecdotally, the GMC receives about half a dozen cases a year where details of a registered doctor (their name or GMC number) have been used illegally. According to the Crown Prosecution Service, 13 people were charged with pretending to be registered as a doctor since 2004 (under the Medical Act 1983) prosecution figures are unavailable and this omits those charged more broadly under the Fraud Act 2006.

    How did Mkhitarian get away with it? He certainly capitalised on medicine generally being a team sport. There are (or always should be) senior decision-makers around medical training is an apprenticeship and so asking for assistance wouldnt necessarily raise a red flag. He may have had enough experience to coast at times, just as Caths nursing background helped in the first episode of Trust Me she quickly diagnosed a boxers fracture and deftly administered intravenous drugs. And Mkhitarian later worked as a locum, never staying in one hospital or one speciality too long.

    He earned 85,000 during the two years, but undoubtedly sought more than financial gain. Steven Jay Lynn, professor of psychology at the State University of New York at Binghamton, believes a variety of motivations drive medical impostors: a grandiose fantasy of power, respect, authority and the social rewards of being a doctor.

    Lynn also thinks that many are old-fashioned charlatans. Theyre likely not much different from conmen and women of different stripes who try to pull off scams in the business world, law and psychology, he says. Many could probably be described as callous, lacking in empathy, narcissistic, antisocial and even psychopathic, such that they can exploit people and treat them as objects without guilt or remorse.

    Their hunting ground is often outside the hospital, away from the scrutiny of regulators or eagle-eyed IT departments. They prey upon impressionable, suggestible and vulnerable victims, perhaps not explicitly stating they are doctors, but professing medical knowledge all the same. Recently, 48-year-old Joseph Valadakis from Tottenham, north London, convinced his victims that he had treated the royal family, Barack Obama, Banksy, Robbie Williams, Theresa May and Russell Brand. One Hertford couple fell for Valadakiss claim of running a government laboratory he assured them he was allowed to treat commoners, too. Meanwhile, his website stated that he possessed a biophysics PhD: It gave him the credibility we were looking for at the time, one of the defrauded couple said. She and her husband received wrap treatments costing 1,600 each (made from the excrement of snails fed on lemongrass) and 2,000 massages with whale sperm. These treatments would prevent otherwise inevitable strokes, heart attacks and blindness, Valadakis insisted. He (incorrectly) diagnosed the husband with pancreatic cancer, cautioning him against obtaining a second opinion. The couple were ultimately conned out of 97,000. In 2015, Valadakis, who had no medical qualifications, was jailed on fraud charges for four years.

    Other victims of medical impostors pay a different price. Sheffield civil servant Stewart Edwards posed as a GP for 34 years, targeting Asian families (initially following them home and looking up names on the electoral roll). He arrived at their doorsteps carrying a briefcase and stethoscope, claiming he had been sent from a local health centre. Unsuspecting families let him in; one treated him as their family GP for a decade. In 2011, Edwards pleaded guilty to 13 offences five indecent assaults, two sexual assaults on a child, three counts of sexual activity with a child and three sexual assaults on two women and a man, between 2000 and 2010. He was jailed for four years. But Edwards admitted to impersonating a GP since 1976, in London and Sheffield. His actual number of victims remains unknown.

    The family of Angela Murray say medical deception hastened her death. Photograph: Collect/BNPS

    Some victims forgo effective treatments or receive unnecessary ones. An ongoing Ohio lawsuit claims that dozens were given a false diagnosis of dementia by Sherry-Ann Jenkins who had no medical qualifications. The Associated Press reported that her patients had been planning their final years, preparing their children for the inevitable, quitting their jobs and selling their possessions. Attorney David Zoll tells me that many of his 65 clients are devastated; they had placed absolute faith in Jenkins. One developed depression after his diagnosis and took his own life. An autopsy showed no evidence of Alzheimers, his wife says. She, too, was mistakenly diagnosed with dementia by Jenkins.

    Back in Britain, the family of Angela Murray say medical deception hastened her death. The lack of a transplant was going to kill Angie anyway, her brother said, but I am totally convinced her death was due to this. It took away her will to live.

    She met Julie Higgins at Inspire beauty salon in Poole, Dorset. Higgins was a regular there, or at least visited whenever her hectic schedule allowed, she said. She claimed to be an oncologist at Great Ormond Street childrens hospital and a humanitarian aid worker. Occasionally she arrived in medical garb, apparently fresh from a volunteer shift at the local health centre, happy to dispense medical advice to other customers. Sometimes, she had her head shaved, too, later, saying it put her young cancer patients at ease.

    Murray, a 59-year-old sales manager, was terminally ill with lung fibrosis and pulmonary hypertension. But Higgins carried hope when there was barely any to find she would source transplant organs, she assured Murray, on one occasion telling her to fast overnight as organs were in transit from Germany. Later, she sent texts from a supposed aid mission to Aleppo, promising to donate Murray her organs if she died. None of it was true.

    Murrays family did become suspicious, but her brother, Dave Drummond, explained: Even when it was at its most unbelievable, I didnt want to say to Angie I think shes a conwoman. It would have just taken all the hope away from her.

    Angelas husband, Gregory, told a local newspaper about how the eventual exposure of Higgins, in September last year, affected her: [Angelas] health deteriorated rapidly. Before then, she had said she was going to fight, but she lost hope. A month later she died in my arms.

    Higgins claimed dissociative identity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder were responsible for her actions. Earlier this year, she received a 12-month community order and was instructed to pay a 140 victim surcharge. Judge Donald Tait concluded that the Medical Act 1983 did not allow him to impose a prison sentence.

    There was no real financial motive Higgins received free haircuts valued at 80. But she envisaged herself as Murrays saviour. I rang her twice a week to keep her going and support her, she told the Bournemouth Echo. She relied on me and said I was her sanity.

    Murrays husband sees Higgins as anything but: To put my wife through what she put her through, Ive never met someone so evil. You see things on TV and you think how can people be so stupid. But if someone gives you that little bit of hope you grasp at it.

    Criminals such as Edwards, Higgins and Valadakis who act outside hospitals never register with the authorities in the first place that is one of the secrets of their success.

    But in case Trust Me has you worried about encountering a bogus hospital doctor, the GMC insists that it now conducts face-to-face identity checks for registration and cites a robust data-security system. Employers must take responsibility, they insist, for checking identification and qualifications. Abdul Pirzada became a locum GP in Birmingham after employers failed to challenge his misleading CV or confirm he had registered with the GMC (he hadnt).

    You cant be worse than Brigitte! was how one character greeted Cath in Trust Me. Dan Sefton, doctor and writer of the series, said: For me, theres a delicious irony in the idea that the impostor doctor is better than the real thing, both clinically and with patients. Im still hoping Cath wont get away with it. That might be just the reassurance we all need.

    • Jules Montague is a consultant neurologist and writer.
    • Trust Me continues on BBC1 on Tuesday at 9pm.

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    Study reveals Caitlyn Jenner has no effect on trans acceptancebut TV characters do

    The news doesn’t significantly influence public perceptions of trans people, but TV characters do. That’s the core finding ofaUSC Annenberg studyrecently published in the peer-reviewed journal Sex Roles.

    Researchers conducted surveys on 488 regular viewers of Royal Pains,a USA Network series that featured a transgender teenager in a June 2015 episode. After viewing the episode, participants reported having a more positive attitude toward trans people and trans policies, like trans students’ access to the bathroom that correlates with their gender identity.

    Viewers were also more likely to respond with supportive attitudes based on the number of shows they saw that featured trans characters, such as Transparent or Orange Is the New Black.Researchers also found that viewing two or more TV shows with trans storylines “reduced the association between viewers’ political ideology and their attitudes toward transgender people by half,”researchers said in a press release obtained by the Daily Dot.

    “Watching TV shows with nuanced transgender characters can break down ideological biases in a way that news stories may not. This is especially true when the stories inspire hope or when viewers can relate to the characters,” Hollywood, Health, and Society senior research associate Erica Rosenthal said in the press release. The research report was conducted in collaboration with HH&S, a program part of the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Centerthat worked with Royal Pains writers to provide accurate information for the transgender episode.

    Meanwhile, trans issues in the news largely had no reported effect on viewer’s attitudes toward transgender people. Caitlyn Jenner’s transition did not swayrespondents one way or the other, either, even though her coming out and gender transitioning was a major news story during summer of 2015. The study suggests that entertainment, fiction, and sympathetic storylines may play a larger role in trans acceptance than previously anticipated.Even single-episode appearances or small story arcs can make an impact in trans acceptance, the report suggests.

    “While media visibility of transgender people reached new levels in recent years, little has been known about the effects of that visibility,” lead author Traci Gillig said in the press release. “Our study shows the power of entertainment narratives to influence viewers attitudes toward transgender people and policy issues.”

    Transgender representation in entertainment still remains underwhelming in American media. Trans actors and actresses have previouslypushed for more visibility in acting roles, arguing that both writers and casting directors have a long way to go before trans stars and characters are treated with the respect they deserve.

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    Benchmark’s Uber Suit Signals End of Era for Imperious Founders

    When Uber Technologies Inc. backer Benchmark Capital filed a lawsuit against the startup’s founder Travis Kalanick for using allegedly fraudulent means to pack the board with his loyalists, it sent a strong signal that Silicon Valley’s so-called founder-friendly era is coming to an end.

    Going back years, venture firms have given Kalanick and his peers outsize control and influence over their companies. Critics say this has led founders to take a freewheeling approach to running their companies, loading up on shares for themselves and their friends and presiding over toxic workplaces.

    At the heart of the Benchmark lawsuit is a provision that venture capitalists say stands out for its deference to Kalanick, and is highly unusual. It allowed the Uber founder to personally appoint three new members to Uber’s eight-seat board, effectively letting him slant the board his way after he resigned. 

    According to Benchmark, Kalanick got investors to sign off on the measure “fraudulently,”  by, among other things, hiding “gross mismanagement” at the company. Jimmy Asci, a spokesman for Kalanick, said the lawsuit is “completely without merit and riddled with lies and false allegations.”

    On Friday three other investors sent a letter to Uber’s board, shareholders and Benchmark, saying the suit was designed to “hold the company hostage” and asked Benchmark to step down from the board. The investors are Sherpa Capital’s Shervin Pishevar, Yucaipa Companies’ Ron Burkle and Maverick’s Adam Leber. They didn’t immediately respond or couldn’t be reached for comment. Members of Uber’s board, not including Kalanick or Benchmark’s Matt Cohler, said they were “disappointed that a disagreement between shareholders has resulted in litigation,” according to an emailed statement.

    Kalanick is far from the only founder deemed to have abused investors’ trust in him. Other examples include Jawbone Inc. founder Hosain Rahman and Tanium Inc. Chief Executive Officer Orion Hindawi, who were both given considerable autonomy or control by boards and then disappointed in their leadership. Rahman led Jawbone into bankruptcy and has now launched a long-shot bid to become a player in medical devices. Hindawi was forced to apologize after past and current employees described abusive behavior that prompted a talent exodus. 

    In the 1990s, it wasn’t unusual for venture firms to replace founders as CEOs, usually because the investors believed the company needed a leader with more experience. That practice fell out of favor but has resurfaced in recent years.

    Take GitHub Inc., the developer platform. In early 2014, a former Github employee, Julie Ann Horvath, complained that co-workers—going right up to company’s co-founder and CEO, Tom Preston-Werner—had harassed and discriminated against her. Preston-Werner ended up resigning after an internal investigation; in a more forgiving time, he might have taken a leave of absence and returned.

    The following year, Parker Conrad, founder and chief executive of Zenefits resigned after news broke that he was using unlicensed brokers to sell health insurance in several states.

    In those cases, the founders agreed to step down. In other instances, VCs have discovered that the relatively recent practice of ceding voting control has made forced resignations impossible.

    At venture-backed company Theranos, once valued at $9 billion and now worth next to nothing, disgraced founder Elizabeth Holmes controls 98 percent of voting shares. That has allowed her to continue as chief executive even after it turned out her vaunted blood-testing technology didn’t work, putting the company’s future in peril.

    One reason VCs tolerated over-privileged CEOS—at Theranos, Uber, Snap, and other companies—was because so much money flooded into tech, making it easy for founders of the most promising startups to shop around. Last year, $41.6 billion was raised by venture firms, the most since the dotcom era, according to the National Venture Capital Association.

    In an extreme case, at vegan food maker Hampton Creek Inc., most of the board, not founder Josh Tetrick,  was forced to resign after directors lost all rights due to the voting control they had allowed Tetrick to amass.

    But once again, venture firms are wising up.

    Today, while more late-stage private companies are creating classes of shares with extra voting power, only 27 percent of recipients of those shares are founders and management, according to a study by law firm Fenwick & West. Three years ago, 43 percent of recipients were founders and management, rather than investors.

    For a long time venture firms were loath to crack down on founders for fear they’d go elsewhere for capital. But that theory doesn’t really hold up, says angel investor Keval Desai, a backer of Optimizely, The RealReal and others. “Benchmark’s reputation has been built over many decades, and other entrepreneurs who have taken money from them will be proof that Benchmark isn’t in the business of suing their entrepreneurs,” he says. “Benchmark will be fine.”

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      CCTV to be compulsory in all abattoirs in England – BBC News

      Image copyright Science Photo Library

      Slaughterhouses in England will have to install CCTV as part of government plans to monitor animal welfare.

      Under rules being phased in over the next year, Food Standards Agency vets will be able to ask to see footage of all areas where livestock are held.

      Slaughterhouses found to be failing welfare standards could face a criminal investigation or lose staff licences.

      Environment Secretary Michael Gove said the proposals would make the UK a “global leader on animal welfare”.

      Currently, keepers of animals bred for meat must meet animal welfare laws and codes of practice, which cover the treatment of livestock including how they are fed, housed and transported, as well as how they are killed.

      Abattoirs in England must meet welfare regulations, with separate rules in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and additional EU regulations.

      Plans to make CCTV mandatory in all slaughterhouses are being considered by the Welsh government.

      The government has said it plans to increase standards for farm animals and domestic pets in England by updating these statutory animal welfare codes.

      Breaches would result in a welfare enforcement notice, the suspending or revoking of staff licences or referral for a criminal investigation.

      Image copyright PA
      Image caption Mr Gove said animal welfare was important to producing food to the “very highest standards”

      The first codes to be revised will cover chickens bred for meat, followed by laying hens, pigs, dogs, cats and horses over the course of the next year.

      New codes were needed to reflect modernising medicines, technology, as well as the latest research and advice from vets, the government said.

      Mr Gove said: “We have some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world and the actions I am setting out today will reinforce our status as a global leader.

      “As we prepare to leave the EU, these measures provide a further demonstration to consumers around the world that our food is produced to the very highest standards.”

      Unrestricted footage

      FSA chairwoman Heather Hancock said the watchdog supported compulsory CCTV in abattoirs, since voluntary adoption by slaughterhouses had reached a “plateau”.

      She said: “We look forward to the introduction of a comprehensive requirement for using, accessing and retaining footage from CCTV in abattoirs.

      “We see CCTV as an invaluable management tool for business owners to help with compliance with official controls and to improve animal welfare standards across the industry.”

      British Veterinary Association (BVA) president Gudrun Ravetz said the mandatory CCTV in all areas of slaughterhouses was “essential” to safeguarding animal welfare.

      “We are particularly pleased to see a commitment to official veterinarians having unrestricted access to footage, which the BVA has been calling for,” he said.

      “Vets’ independence and unique qualifications help ensure that the UK will continue to have the highest standards of animal health, welfare and food safety.”

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      GOP Senator Backtracks on Linking McCain’s Tumor to Health Vote

      Senator Ron Johnson on Wednesday walked back his remarks suggesting a connection between fellow Republican Senator John McCain’s brain cancer diagnosis and his decisive vote last month against a stripped-down repeal of Obamacare. "I’m disappointed I didn’t more eloquently express my sympathy for what Sen. McCain is going through. I have nothing but respect for him and the vote came at the end of a long day for everyone," Johnson of Wisconsin said in a statement.

      Ron Johnson

      Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

      The controversy began after Johnson told WIND-AM in Chicago, "I’m not gonna speak for John McCain — he has a brain tumor right now — that vote occurred at 1:30 in the morning, some of that might have factored in.” He added: "I really thought John was going to vote yes to send that to conference at 10:30 at night. By about 1, 1:30, he voted no." McCain spokeswoman Julie Tarallo said it’s “bizarre and deeply unfortunate that Senator Johnson would question the judgment of a colleague and friend. Senator McCain has been very open and clear about the reasons for his vote.” McCain of Arizona has said he voted no because he objected to the legislative process — a lack of hearings or input from both parties.

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