A rape victim tells her story at an Anonymous rally in Steubenville, Ohio.
Two years ago, Rehtaeh Parsons told her mother that four boys had gang-raped her while she was drunk on vodka at a house party. A photo of the 15-year-old throwing up during the alleged assault blew up on social media, and soon Parsons' classmates and peers in Halifax, Nova Scotia, were texting her invitations to have sex with them and calling her a "stupid slut."
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police eventually abandoned her rape case, claiming a lack of evidence, and Parsons, who had been a straight-A student, dropped out of school and struggled with depression. Then, last month, she hanged herself in a bathroom.
Instances of teenage girls being sexually assaulted and cyberbullied are so common that they rarely make the news. In the Parsons case, people started paying attention not because the episode was particularly egregious (it was), but because it sparked a new vigilante campaign by Anonymous, the global hacktivist collective.
"I think that you can say without a doubt that it was a rape," says a spokesman for the small group of Anons who coalesced around the Twitter hashtag #OpJustice4Rehtaeh last month. It only took the group about two hours, he says, to track down the photo of the alleged rape and identify the boys involved. Now the group is threatening to name them publicly if the Canadian authorities fail to bring them to justice.
As 4:20 threatens to become as popular as happy hour, police are scrambling to figure out a reliable way to make sure that the dude who's zoning out in the Taco Bell drive-thru isn't too stoned to drive. The problem is, roadside breathalyzer tests administered to drunks don't work for pot smokers, forcing cops to take suspected stoners into the station for a blood test. Now the Swedish company SensAbues is offering something of a fix. A study published in the Journal of Breath Research last week found that its proprietary breath-testing device can detect recent use of a wide range of drugs, including prescription meds, cocaine, and marijuana.
Is it ever a good idea to get your dog or cat stoned? California veterinarian Doug Kramer says the answer depends on whether your pet could be classified as a medical marijuana patient.
"I do think there are therapeutic benefits to it," says Kramer, who some years ago found that his homemade pot tinctures helped his own dog, a husky named Nikita, fight pain and regain her appetite after she came down with cancer.
Despite the spread of medical pot laws around the country, marijuana still remains taboo within the veterinary establishment; its medical journals won't publish anything about it, and Kramer is one of the few veterinarians even willing to discuss using medical marijuana for pets. He points out that a slew of medical studies on the effects of pot have relied on rats and dogs as substitutes for humans, suggesting that "mammals have the same cannabinoid receptors as humans do" and "would benefit in the same ways."
The collapse of the Senate's gun control efforts last week has left parents to wonder what, if anything, might protect their children from another Newtown-style massacre. The world's leading high-fashion bulletproof clothing company has an answer: discreet kid-sized body armor woven into school backpacks, t-shirts, and puffer vests. The new line of clothing from Miguel Caballero, a Colombia-based company best-known for outfitting celebrities, executives, and political figures, is aimed specifically at the US market as a response to the number of mass shootings here. Watch:
The months since the Newtown massacre have seen an explosion of gun and ammo giveaways on Facebook. For some gun enthusiasts, scoring a free AR-15 assault weapon has been as easy as clicking a "like" button on the Facebook page of a firearms marketer such as 556 Tactical, Pittsburgh Tactical, or AR15News.com. Since December, the number of gun and ammo giveaways on the social networking site has increased seven-fold, according to research by the media startup Vocativ:
Facebook has allowed companies to give away guns as sweepstakes prizes since 2011. However, a Facebook spokesperson told Vocativ that the sweepstakes in question are technically ads, and therefore still violate a Facebook policy banning "the promotion and sale of weapons." As of yesterday, the Facebook pages of the three major firearms marketers had been taken down, though Facebook apparently still allows assault weapons giveaways as long as they aren't used as tools for selling guns.