Officially, Philadelphia’s much loathed soda tax—the highest such tax in the country—was approved as a way to generate revenue for the city’s new pre-K program. Unofficially, like all vice taxes, it was intended to reduce Philadelphians’ consumption of sugary beverages—though it has mostly just changed where people buy soda and hasn’t improved public health at all.
The news came down this month that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has affirmed the involuntary manslaughter conviction of Michelle Carter, the woman who at age 17 in 2014 encouraged her 18-year-old boyfriend Conrad Roy III to commit suicide.
Yale is being sued in a class action brought by three female students who allege that fraternities create a hostile environment for women. Anna McNeil, Eliana Singer and Ry Walker object to the parties and atmosphere created by such fraternities.
South Carolina cops love the state’s civil asset forfeiture laws, which allow the police to seize any property they believe represents the proceeds of a crime and keep it, unless the property’s former owner hires a lawyer to prove the innocence of their goods: more than $17m was seized last year, and in a fifth of these cases, no one was convicted of a crime (71% of the people whose stuff gets stolen by South Carolina cops are Black).
The late Paul Allen’s research vessel, the Petrel, has found another historic warship at the bottom of the ocean. In the wake of an initial discovery in late January, the expedition crew has confirmed that it found the USS Hornet, an aircraft carrier that played a pivotal role in WWII through moments like the Doolittle Raid on Japan and the pivotal Battle of Midway.
In 1960, the US Air Force asked the RAND Corporation to evaluate the possibility of using stationary rockets to pause the Earth’s rotation in the event of a nuclear attack. Called “Project Retro,” the idea was that the “a huge rectangular array of one thousand first-stage Atlas engines… (would) be fastened securely to the earth in a horizontal position.” As missiles approached, the rockets would fire, stopping the Earth’s rotation just enough for the nukes to overshoot their targets.
The first time she filed a sexual abuse complaint against a Rikers guard, Jane Doe told investigators from the Inspector General’s office that the man was handing out cigarettes to female inmates in exchange for oral sex. But she never heard back from them, and she figured that they hadn’t taken her seriously because she had no evidence.