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July 14, 2017

Weekend reads: How past presidents kept the White House cool before AC

Daily Briefing

Ben Palmer's reads

CDC says more people are smoking in movies than before. The number of movie scenes featuring tobacco use increased by 72 percent from 2010 to 2016, reversing several years of steady decline, according to a new report from CDC and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). The researchers found a 43 percent increase in such scenes in PG-13 movies aimed at teenagers and a nearly 100 percent increase for R-rated films. However, scenes featuring tobacco use remained low inG- and PG-rated movies . The researchers said they were concerned about the uptick in teenage-focused movies "because of the established causal relationship between youth exposure to smoking in movies and smoking initiation."

The 'depression nap' hits Twitter. Ebon, an 18-year-old from North Carolina, went viral after tweeting about his habit of waking up, feeling overwhelmed, and heading back to sleep for a "depression nap." More than 100 retweets and several thousand new memes popped up about people's similar coping mechanisms. Abbie Zimmerman, a licensed clinical social worker, said sleep can be an attractive coping mechanism for people, but Zimmerman cautioned that experiencing depressive symptoms doesn't necessarily mean you have depression—and conflating the two can minimize the seriousness of the illness.

Rachel Schulze's reads

'Money see, monkey sue'? A case involving a selfie-snapping monkey was back in court this week, with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals hearing arguments on whether a crested macaque in Indonesia can hold a copyright for selfies it takes. Naruto's selfies have been published in a book titled "Wildlife Personalities." People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sued the book's publisher and a British nature photographer whose company obtained the British copyright for the photos, saying the proceeds of the photos of Naruto taken in a wildlife reserve should benefit him. The photographer's attorney, Andrew Dhuey, begged to differ, saying, "monkey see, monkey sue" is not good law. The court has not yet issued a ruling.

How presidents beat the heat—or tried to—before AC. To get through Washington, D.C.'s sweltering summers in the days before air conditioning, past presidents deployed some creative strategies, the Washington Post's Don Lipman reports. Take, for instance, William Howard Taft, who, according to, in 1909 tried to install an "experimental" air conditioning system that used electronic fans to blow over "great bins of ice in the attic" and funnel cool air through the building's air ducts—the unsuccessful idea was quickly abandoned, according to, and Taft opted instead for a "sleeping porch" on the White House roof. Taft's presidential peers didn't fare much better, the website reports: Calvin Coolidge's attempted to beat the heat by "making sure 'a gadget filled with chemicals supposed to purify, or at least deodorize, the air' was on his desk at all times" fell short, while Woodrow Wilson left the building entirely, opting to work out of a tent at the edge of the Rose Garden. 

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