Morning Update: If Beyoncé Says We Go Vegan, We Go Vegan

Cory Booker is running for president, a deadly extreme winter, your weekend longreads. Here's your BuzzFeed News newsletter for Feb. 1.

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An 18-year-old University of Iowa student froze to death as winter weather claims more lives

Gerald Belz, a second-year premed student, was found outside just before 3 a.m. on Wednesday morning by campus police.

Temperatures in Iowa City, where the campus is located, reached as low as –25.6°F (–32°C) Wednesday. Wind chills were even colder.

Belz is one of a number people understood to have died from causes related to the extreme weather and cold temperatures, which have brought parts of Michigan, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota to a standstill this week.

The wider context: An expert told us that too many people see climate change as a coastal issue. In reality, the polar vortex is just the beginning — here are all the ways climate change is going to hit middle America.

Three stories about the 2020 election

The first: Cory Booker is running for president. He announced his campaign with a promise to unite the country behind a mission of “collective action” and “common purpose.”

The second: here’s Ben Smith on what Howard Schultz’s clumsy entry into the 2020 presidential race tells us — billionaires who would like to win office should run against Donald Trump in the wide-open Republican primary.

The third: Molly Hensley-Clancy on why Kamala Harris’s appeal to the Democrats is that she is the antithesis of Trump.


This Dutch church held a 96-day long nonstop service to prevent a refugee family from being deported. The church took advantage of an obscure Dutch law that forbids police from interrupting services, and successfully stopped the deportation of an Armenian family. The service continued around the clock for the whole 96 days.

Apple just shut down Google’s internal iOS apps. The company revoked Google's developer certificate, disabling internal apps used by the company's employees. The move comes after a report of a Google app that monitored how people use their iPhones and violated Apple's policies

Ben Affleck probably won’t be playing Batman in the DC extended universe anymore. The actor reportedly decided he wasn’t right for the part, as the next film is likely to center on a younger Bruce Wayne. RIP, Batfleck, we hardly knew ye.

The L Word is officially coming back. Showtime has ordered an eight-episode revival of the groundbreaking LGBT series to premiere later this year. Original cast members Jennifer Beals, Kate Moennig, and Leisha Hailey will be returning.

Ariana Grande attempted to fix her accidental Japanese BBQ tattoo, but it didn’t really help. Earlier this week, the singer showed off a brand new tattoo that she thought meant “7 Rings” in Japanese Kanji symbols. Turns out, it meant “BBQ grill.” She tried to fix it, but now it reads “Japanese BBQ finger.”

Beyoncé is offering people a lifetime supply of concert tickets if they go vegan, and Twitter has thoughts. Hand me some lettuce.

One of the biggest at-home DNA testing companies is working with the FBI

Family Tree DNA is one of the largest private genetic testing companies. Their popular home-testing kits let people trace their ancestry and locate relatives.

The company says it’s working with the FBI and allowing agents to search its vast genealogy database in an effort to solve violent crime cases.

Federal and local law enforcement were already using public genealogy databases for more than two years to solve cold cases. Family Tree DNA’s relationship with the FBI marks the first time a private firm has agreed to allow law enforcement access to its data.

Law and genetics experts are expressing concern about the cooperation.

Slow it down for a bit with these longform essays

I’ve Been Committed To A Psych Ward Three Times — And It Never Helped. Esmé Weijun Wang’s collection of essays on mental illness, The Collected Schizophrenias, will be released this month. We’ve published a powerful excerpt. Here’s a taste: “...a primary feature of the experience of staying in a psychiatric hospital is that you will not be believed about anything. A corollary to this feature: Things will be believed about you that are not at all true.”

The Real Housewives Of Atlanta Is Really About Housing Anxiety. The show may be a reliable catchphrase and meme generator, but Niela Orr writes that it’s nuanced in subtle ways that hint at the worries that underpin it. From the piece: “It’s about how some ne’er-do-wells and well-off schemers regard fraud as essential to a financial come-up, and how all of that’s tied to bourgeoisie psychology, male fragility, and American late capitalism.”

These Comics About Work Anxiety Are Painfully Real. In a new book, illustrators Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy offer advice on navigating work without shutting out your emotions. We’ve picked some of our favorite illustrations. I loved this one:

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