The Winter Olympics begin today
Because of the time difference, the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea is taking place right now. Snow! Skiing! Curling! It’s all going down.
But sports don’t happen in a vacuum. As the games kick off without Russia — they were banned for doping, remember? — it’s becoming clear that the hacking of the World Anti-Doping Agency came from the same playbook Russia used in elections around the world.
In other news, Adam Rippon, the first openly gay athlete to win a place on the US Winter Olympics team, turned down an invitation to meet Vice President Mike Pence.
And an investigation: A BuzzFeed News data analysis has shown that at the top levels of figure skating, judges give higher marks to figure skaters from their own countries — in some cases, affecting the final results. And 16 of the judges who most consistently gave a boost to their own country’s skaters will be in Pyeongchang this week, deciding Olympic history.
That’s just day one.
Facebook says it’s not testing a “dislike” button, but…
Users have posted screenshots to social media that appear to show that Facebook is testing a “downvote” button. The company says it’s exploring ways for people to give “feedback about comments,” and that the test is “running for a small set of people in the US only.”
For the moment, the downvoting option is a short-term test that won’t affect the ranking of a comment in the same way downvoting works on sites like Reddit. If introduced widely, it could be one of the ways Facebook aims to fight fake news on the platform.
It’s not just you: This has been a very rough flu season
The US is in the middle of a severe flu season, and so far 53 children have died. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this has led to the highest measured hospitalization rates for the virus. Worse: The acting director of the CDC says “we are not out of the woods yet.” Although flu activity in western states is beginning to dip, it’s still high in the rest of the US — and increasing on the East Coast. We collected everything that parents need to know about the flu.
Logan Paul posted footage of himself making a citizen’s arrest
After the YouTuber found someone in his multimillion-dollar home, he detained the intruder. This being Logan Paul, though, he made a video of the whole thing, which shows him confronting the 20-year-old alleged trespasser. Paul discovered the stranger sleeping on the couch in his living room and made the citizen’s arrest. The intruder was later booked into jail, police say.
The littlest shutdown: The US government briefly shut down (again) overnight after Sen. Rand Paul blocked the vote to keep it open. Paul stalled the bill, arguing it would add too much to the national deficit. Congress then passed it at 5:30 a.m., staving off the real effects of a shutdown.
Mind the gap: A Canadian magazine asked men to pay 26% more than women for the same issue, in order to bring attention to the wage gap. People had a lot of feelings about it.
Hometown pride: Black Panther will screen in Lupita Nyong’o’s hometown in Kenya before the film opens worldwide. The city of Kisumu will host one private and one public screening of the highly anticipated movie on Feb. 13. Black Panther is lovingly referred to as the “Lupita movie” by local news outlets.
Twitter concedes: The company finally admitted that Russian accounts tried to influence Brexit. It was only a few dozen accounts, with a few hundred retweets, but it’s more than the company has acknowledged in the past.
Ariana Kukors: The Olympic swimmer publicly accused her former swim coach, Sean Hutchison, of sexually abusing her when she was 16 years old. Kukors, now 28, came forward with her story the day after authorities searched Hutchison's home for evidence he took sexually explicit photos of her when she was a teenager.
This 13-year-old believes she’s one of the most hated teens on Instagram
At 13, Danielle Cohn moved to Los Angeles to try to convert her massive social media following into a music career. She has nearly 10 million fans on the popular tween app Musical.ly and 1.8 million followers on Instagram.
However, it’s not all positive for Danielle: She also has a large and vocal group of “haters,” who congregate on Instagram. “Hate pages” emerged filled with captions and comments tearing apart the teen’s body, outfit choices, and dance moves. They also frequently accuse her of photoshopping her pictures. Read Tanya Chen’s interview with Danielle.
If the Olympics aren’t for you, get cozy with these reads
“The white dean of my school kept introducing me as the 16-year-old freshman from West Africa who’d already read Dickens and Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, as if any of that was meant to be surprising or special.” Read Akwaeke Emezi’s excellent piece on how writers of color are creating their own canon.
Tayari Jones is also creating her own canon. The novelist is arriving at the moment she’s been waiting for with the publication of her fourth novel, An American Marriage (and a little help from Oprah). As Bim Adewunmi writes, she’s rewriting the Great American Novel.
We also put together a list of nine great books we’re pretty sure you’ll love.