September 29, 2017

Weekend reads: 'Saw' franchise pushes back against LGBTQ blood donation restrictions

Daily Briefing

    Ben Palmer's reads

    The next public health crusader is ... the 'Saw' franchise? Lionsgate, the movie studio behind the "Saw" franchise, is promoting the horror series' eighth installment—called "Jigsaw"—through a blood drive and online ad campaign that aim to ease restrictive blood donation regulations. Currently, FDA bars gay or bisexual men from donating blood unless they have abstained from same-sex encounters for at least a year before donation. The ad campaign, called "All Types Welcome," seeks to push back against those restrictions by dressing celebrities with large LGBTQ fan bases as scary nurses to encourage people to donate blood ahead of the movie's launch. The blood drive launches in New York City on Oct. 5, and for fans who'd like to follow up an actual blood donation with some cinematic bloodshed, "Jigaw" hits theatres on Oct. 27.

    Wu-Tang Clan has a few choice words for 'pharma bro' Shkreli. In a new single, "Lesson Learn'd," rap group Wu-Tang Clan takes aim at Martin Shkreli, the former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO who became widely known for hiking drug prices, and who was later convicted of fraud. In the track, rapper Inspectah Deck cites Shkreli, saying, "My price hikin' like the pills Martin Shkreli sell." The song will be featured on Wu-Tang's forthcoming album "The Saga Continues," which is scheduled for release on Oct. 13.

    Rachel Schulze's reads

    Score some free coffee. Today, Friday, Sept. 29, is National Coffee Day, and why not celebrate? To mark the "holiday," several chains are offering a free caffeinated treat. For instance, participating Krispy Kreme stores from Friday through Sunday will offer customers one free small iced or hot coffee per day. Cinnabon is giving away free 12-ounce coffees Friday at participating locations. And at Dunkin' Donuts on Friday, you can get a free medium hot coffee with purchase of a medium or large one.

    Why do humans yawn? There's no definitive explanation for why humans yawn, according to Orrin Devinsky, a professor in the departments of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center—but there are several theories. One theory is that yawning is a reflex, like sneezing or coughing. Another is that yawning helps with breathing. Devinsky noted, "Its origins go back long ago to when our ancestors were literally living in the oceans and breathing through our gills." A third theory, is that yawning is a defense mechanism designed to show predators our teeth. 

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