8 Things You Need To Know This AM — Sep 21 2015

Photo: David Buchan/Variety/REX USA
Prodigious novelist Jackie Collins died of breast cancer, the world of literature just got a lot less sexy and glamorous. After a six-and-a-half year battle with breast cancer, Jackie Collins, the preternatural force behind 32 New York Times best-selling novels, passed away in her Los Angeles home at the age of 77. Collins perfected the modern pulp novel by infusing the genre with her own indomitable sense of style and extravagance. She sold over 500 million books over the course of her 40 year career. (Refinery29)

The U.S. will welcome 100,000 refugees in 2017.

After meeting with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier to discuss Europe’s ongoing refugee crisis, Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters that the United States would increase its admissions cap to allow for the resettlement of 100,000 refugees annually starting in 2017. In terms of more immediate help, the U.S. has promised to issue 85,000 refugee visas in 2016, a modest increase from the current cap of 70,000. “This step is in keeping with America’s best tradition as a land of second chances and a beacon of hope,” Kerry announced. (Refinery29)

A female snake gave birth without any contact from a male; delete Tinder and retire your razors, ladies: the matriarchy is real.

A yellow-bellied water snake launched feminism’s fourth wave by giving birth — despite not encountering a male of her kind for eight years. This is the second time the Missouri snake conceived without male assistance. While the offspring produced by this year’s parthenogenesis (the fancy science word for asexual reproduction, a.k.a. getting your Jane the Virgin on) all failed to survive, the snake did manage to give birth to two healthy and otherwise unexceptional children last year. (Buzzfeed News)
Volkswagen CEO is “deeply sorry” for providing false emissions data. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, German automobile manufacturer Volkswagen purposefully violated the emissions regulations set forth by the Clean Air Act. The E.P.A. alleges that the car company fitted over 480,000 cars with “defeat devices” in order to trick federal emissions tests. Martin Winterkorn, Volkaswagen’s CEO, has apologized for the rigged tests and promised to launch an investigation of the charges. (USA Today)
North Carolina teens were charged for having their own naked photos on their phones, which is insane, but would make a pretty great Lifetime movie. A teenage couple in Fayetteville, North Carolina, faced felony child pornography charges for taking naked selfies and sharing them with each other. Cormega Copening and his girlfriend Brianna Denson, both high school students under the age of 18, accepted plea deals in an effort to avoid jail time and the sex offender registry. The teens received a year’s probation for disseminating their own naked pictures, during which they may not own a cell phone. (The Guardian)
A website is selling a Sexy Donald Trump Halloween costume so you can simultaneously terrify and turn-on — but mostly terrify — your neighborhood . If you’re in the market for a Halloween costume that will confuse your bae both sexually and politically, Yandy.com, the bastion of good taste that gave us the Minions outfit that continues to haunt our dreams, is selling a “Donna T. Rumpshaker” costume for $69.95. (We refuse to believe that price is a coincidence.) The Trump costume comes complete with debate-ready blazer and booty shorts, but it’s missing the most essential part of the look: the befuddling and weather-defying hair. (Time)
Only 22% of the Emmy nominees in writing, directing, editing, and producing are women, which means it’s the perfect time to launch our all-female reboot of The Sopranos. The Women’s Media Center conducts an annual study of the Primetime Emmy nominations, and this year’s findings show a depressing amount of stagnation when it comes to gender equality behind the camera. Over the past decade, women made up only 22% of the nominees in writing, directing, producing, and editing. Of all of the directors who have been nominated since 2006, only 8% were women. (Refinery29)
International Space Station astronauts got an advanced screening of The Martian. Matt Damon movies and boundless stores of ice cream? Space sounds a lot like our apartment on a Friday night. As if living and working around 250 miles above the Earth’s surface weren’t cool enough, astronauts in the International Space Station were treated to a sneak peak of Matt Damon’s latest movie, The Martian, which doesn’t open in Earth-bound theaters until October. Astronaut Scott Kelly tweeted a photo of the I.S.S. crew watching the film, which NASA advised on. (Mashable)

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