8 Things You Need To Know This AM — Sep 04 2015

Photo: Rex/Rex USA.

A hearbreaking image of a drowned Syrian boy has captured the world's attention — and renewed urgent calls for solutions to a spiraling refugee crisis.

A photograph of a three-year-old Syrian boy, washed up on the beach in Bodrum, Turkey, has become a symbol of the desperate plight of refugees in Syria and around the world. On Thursday, more details about his life and family came to light. The toddler's name was Aylan Kurdi and his parents were fleeing Syria, which is in the midst of a four-year civil war, hoping to end up in Canada. (Refinery29)

A federal judge overturned Tom Brady’s four-game "Deflategate" suspension, meaning ol' Tom will start the season as planned next week.

U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman overturned the N.F.L.’s four-game suspension of Tom Brady, quarterback for the New England Patriots, saying that the punishment handed down in the long-running Deflategate case was incommensurate with Brady’s involvement. That means Brady’s free to play in the Patriots’ September 10 season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers (or ¯_(ツ)_/¯ depending on your level of fandom). (Wall Street Journal)
Science and 3-D printed penises reveal that women prefer a regular-sized phallus. Perhaps the corn on the cob emoji will replace the eggplant emoji in future sexts?

Science has finally moved passed all that “how did the universe begin?” nonsense to a question that has haunted humankind for millennia: Does size really matter? Thanks to a group of researchers from UCLA and the University of New Mexico and a bunch of 3-D printed wangs, we may finally have our answer: No. Women picked their ideal penises out of 33 representative choices that were 3-D printed in blue plastic “to minimize racial skin-color clues.” The perfect dick was 6.3 inches in length, just a bit above average. (The Daily Beast)

Actress and queen Amandla Stenberg is publishing a comic book for girls of color, beating out that series of LiveJournal entries about your crush’s new highlights we posted at 16.

Hunger Games star Amandla Stenberg may be only sixteen, but that hasn’t stopped her from schooling the entire Internet on cultural appropriation, directing a short film based on the feminist classic The Yellow Wallpaper, and turning a heated comments section exchange with Kylie Jenner into a platform to discuss racial fetishism and black feminine sexuality. In short, she’s a boss — and she’s only just begun. Stenberg has now turned her attention to the representation of black women (or the lack thereof) in comics: The actress is writing a comic centered around a young black warrior woman, due out in November. (Complex)
New Orleans may finally remove its monument honoring a white supremacist group, a move that has many saying, “Wait — they had a monument honoring a white supremacist group?!”

The Vieux Carré Commission in NoLa voted in support of removing a 124-year-old obelisk memorializing a white supremacist group’s bloody attempt to overthrow the state government during Reconstruction. Tons of local groups — The Historic District Landmarks Commission and the Human Relations Commission — along with New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu have already called for the monument’s removal. The final decision is up to the City Council. (Gawker)
The plague is back and killing people in the Southwestern United States. As if you needed another reason to avoid getting bitten by a rat.

When you think of the plague, you probably think of 8th grade history class and/or the pandemic that swept through Europe in the late fourteenth century killing 50 million people. But while that was for sure its worst manifestation, the plague is still around: A Utah man died of plague this summer. You should be especially careful if you're spending time outdoors in the Southwestern U.S. (Yahoo Travel)

SAT scores have slipped to their lowest point in a decade — are you reading this, Mom? I told you I had a decent score! Can I be ungrounded now?!

The average score for the class of 2015 was 1,490 out of a possible 2,400, a seven-point drop from the previous year. And certain demographics are struggling more than others: while 42% of test-takers got a combined score of 1,500 or higher, only 23% of Hispanic students and 16% of African-American students hit that benchmark. Cyndie Schmeiser, chief of assessment for the College Board, feels these results are cause for concern: “Simply doing the same things we have been doing is not going to improve these numbers,” she said in a statement. “This is a call to action to do something different to propel more students to readiness.” (Time)
Lana Del Rey may be a feminist after all. But she’s still better off just talking about beaches and listening to The Velvet Underground.

Last year, in-between wishing she were dead and writing songs about sleeping with guys in the record industry, Lana Del Rey found a way to infuriate feminists everywhere. In an interview with The Fader, the sluggish songstress referred to feminism as “not an interesting concept” since she prefers talking about “SpaceX and Tesla, what’s going to happen with our intergalactic possibilities.” If there’s one thing that’s always pissed me off about feminism, it’s that it isn’t Tesla. Anyway, Del Rey is now backtracking from her controversial stance in the upcoming issue of V. In a conversation with noted Lana Del Rey fangirl James Franco, she explains that she’s “standing at the forefront of new technological movements” and didn’t meant to “undermine other issues.” She finished by saying, “I feel like that’s obvious, like I shouldn’t even have to bring that up.” (Vulture)

More from Politics

R29 Original Series