In a single month, the James Webb Space Telescope has seen the oldest galaxies, messy cosmic collisions, and a hot gas planet's atmosphere

In a single month, the James Webb Space Telescope has seen the oldest galaxies, messy cosmic collisions, and a hot gas planet's atmosphere

The James Webb Space Telescope only been fully operational for a month, but in that time, it's allowed astronomers to peer father into the universe than ever before and changed how we see the cosmos.

Often described as the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, Webb launched on December 25, 2021, after more than two decades of development. Since that time, the $10 billion telescope has traveled more than 1 million miles from Earth and is now stationed in a gravitationally stable orbit, collecting infrared light. By gathering infrared light, which is invisible to the human eye, Webb is able to cut through cosmic dust and see far into the past, to the first 400 million years after the Big Bang.

The James Webb Space Telescope's first deep field infrared image, released on July 11, 2022.NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI.

Since the telescope released its first batch of images in July, it's been flooding researchers with observations of distant cosmic objects. For astronomers, these pictures are just the beginning.

Behold some of the most stunning images shared in the telescope's first month of observations.

Deep infrared images

The first peek at what Webb could capture was a "deep field" image — a long-exposure observation of a region of the sky, which allows the telescope to capture the light of extremely faint, distant objects.

If you held a grain of sand at arm's length, that would represent the speck of universe you see in this image, Bill Nelson, NASA's administrator, told President Joe Biden in a White House briefing on July 11.

Because it takes time for light to travel, some of the light in the new image is more than 13 billion years old. That's less than 1 billion years after the Big Bang.

For this deep field image, Webb pointed its powerful infrared camera to SMACS 0723, a massive group of galaxy clusters that act as a magnifying glass for the objects behind them. The streaks of light are galaxies stretched out by the powerful gravitational pull of SMACS 0723, a phenomenon known as gravitational lensing.

The image took less than a day to capture, according to NASA.

Observations of most distant galaxies

One of the new telescope's main goals is to find galaxies so distant that their light travels almost the entire history of the universe to reach Webb. NASA says Webb is able to peer farther than other telescopes, like Hubble, and discover galaxies as far back as the first few hundred million years after the Big Bang.

Already, astronomers have spotted what appears to be among the most distant galaxies we've ever laid eyes on.

Color image of CEERS-93316, a galaxy researchers believe emerged 235 million years after the Big Bang.CEERS/UOE/SOPHIE JEWELL/CLARA POLLOCK.

In a study published to the pre-print service Arxiv on July 25, researchers observed a galaxy — named CEERS-93316 — which they believe emerged 235 million years after the Big Bang, making it the oldest galaxy ever observed.

Also in July, astronomers discovered another distant spinning collection of stars, gas, and dust bound together by gravity. The galaxy, known as GLASS-z13, is 13.5 billion years old, dating to 300 million years after the Big Bang.

Webb spotted GLASS-z13, a galaxy that dates back to 300 million years after the Big Bang.Naidu et al, P. Oesch, T. Treu, GLASS-JWST, NASA/CSA/ESA/STScI.

To confirm both galaxies' ages, researchers will need to do follow-up spectroscopic observations.

Dramatic cosmic collisions

In August, the Webb telescope captured a snapshot of the Cartwheel Galaxy in greater detail than ever before.

Located 500 million light-years away in the Sculptor constellation, the Cartwheel Galaxy is a rare ring galaxy that formed following a collision between a large spiral galaxy and a smaller one, giving it the appearance of a wagon wheel. It has two rings — a bright inner ring and a colorful outer one that ripples outward from the middle of the collision.

The outer ring has been expanding from the center of the collision for around 440 million years. When it expands and hits surrounding gas, stars form.

In the photo above, pockets of star formation appear as blue dots in the red swirls of dust. To the left of the Cartwheel Galaxy, Webb captured two other galaxies in the above image.

The Cartwheel Galaxy was "presumably a normal galaxy like the Milky Way before its collision" and will continue to change in shape and structure in the future, NASA said in a press release on August 2.

The new image reveals details about star formation and the black hole at the center of the galaxy, and sheds light on how the galaxy has evolved over billions of years, the space agency said.

Our own solar neighborhood

Jupiter and its moon Europa, left, are seen through the James Webb Space Telescope’s NIRCam instrumentNASA, ESA, CSA, and B. Holler and J. Stansberry (STScI).

Though the space telescope's infrared gaze allows astronomers to observe across astonishingly cosmic distances, it can image closer, more familiar objects, too. In July, NASA released a series of new Webb images showing Jupiter in stunning detail.

Alongside the gas giant are its moons Europa, Thebe, and Metis. Scientists think Europa has a saltwater ocean, deep below its thick ice crust, which could harbor alien life.

Jupiter, its moons, and its rings as captured by JWST in short infrared wavelengths (left) and long infrared wavelengths (right).NASA, ESA, CSA, and B. Holler and J. Stansberry (STScI).

Studying other worlds

Astronomers also hope that Webb telescope will reveal whether distant worlds harbor atmospheres that might support life.

"With the James Webb Space Telescope, we can explore the chemical makeup of the atmosphere of other worlds — and if there are signs in it that we can only explain by life," Lisa Kaltenegger, professor of astronomy at Cornell University and director of the Carl Sagan Institute.

Webb observed the spectra of WASP-96 b, revealing its atmosphere has water, clouds, and haze.NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI,

There are 70 planets scheduled for study in Webb's first year. As part of its first batch of observations, Webb captured the signature of water, along with previously undetected evidence of clouds and haze, in the atmosphere of WASP-96 b — a giant and hot gas planet that orbits a distant star like our sun.

"It is an amazing time in our exploration of the cosmos," Kaltenegger said, adding, "Are we alone? This amazing space telescope is the first-ever tool that collects enough light for us to start figuring this fundamental question out."
'Ring Nation' Is Amazon's Reality Show for Our Surveillance Dystopia

'Ring Nation' Is Amazon's Reality Show for Our Surveillance Dystopia

Amazon's newest effort to normalize its surveillance network will feature footage from Ring surveillance cameras and commentary from comedian Wanda Sykes.

Amazon's propaganda campaign to normalize surveillance is about to hit a higher gear: Wanda Sykes is going to host a new show featuring videos taken from Ring surveillance cameras, Deadline reported on Thursday. It will be called Ring Nation.

The show is being produced by MGM Television, which is owned by Amazon, and Big Fish Entertainment, which ran another dystopian reality show: a piece of copaganda called Live PD which centered on the commentary of police footage.

According to Deadline, the show will feature lighthearted viral content captured on Ring cameras, such as "neighbors saving neighbors, marriage proposals, military reunions and silly animals." These types of videos frequently go viral online, but hardly represent the reality of what Ring is used for. Besides home surveillance, Ring is a source of surveillance video for police departments in the U.S. and abroad.

Amazon has done a lot of work to turn the U.S. into a Ring nation off-camera. Ring’s surveillance cameras and surveillance network have been aggressively rolled out by Amazon mainly by cultivating fear in suburbs about crime, and by entering partnerships with police departments to give them unfettered access to surveillance footage. Last year, advocacy groups pushed for Amazon’s Ring to be banned entirely by the Federal Trade Commission over concerns its facial surveillance technology could fuel the criminalization of Black and brown people in public spaces.

It's unsurprising, then, that Ring Nation would come from the production company that produced Live PD. As Adrian Horton writes for The Guardian, "Think NFL Red Zone, but for arrests of people not given the chance to sign release forms because the show bills itself as live news." In the wake of the George Floyd uprisings, Live PD was briefly canceled along with Cops though both were revived just this year. And while Cops may be more familiar to some, Live PD was the more popular, more audacious, and more vile of the two by far.

As Horton goes on to explain, the show was facing controversy for deleting footage of a man who died in police custody, and for deceptively editing (with police input) videos to keep clear police misconduct off-air. Similar to Ring Nation, Live PD (now called On Patrol: Live) relied on a trustworthy face to keep the veneer of objectivity, found in executive producer, journalist, and ABC’s chief legal analyst, Dan Abrams.

Over the years, Amazon has tried harder and harder to roll out various forms of surveillance technology, enmesh us within this network, and normalize this encroachment of public spaces and individual privacy. In 2020, Amazon announced it was pausing (for one year) its rollout of a facial surveillance algorithm called Rekognition that it was offering to police departments after the tool was repeatedly found to be ineffective on its own terms and racially biased. In 2021, documents leaked to Motherboard detailed how Amazon’s new robot, Astro, would integrate with Ring to deploy surveillance technology to try and detect intruders.

Amazon isn’t alone in this fight to cultivate an ever-growing surveillance apparatus—most of Silicon Valley is intimately involved in surveillance and the potential profits to be had by offering surveillance tools, analytics, computational infrastructure, and a host of other goods and services rooted in watching people. Still, Amazon’s Ring and attempts to normalize it harken an odious development. One peek into this came back in February, when a bizarre TikTok trend went viral where Ring surveillance camera owners made Amazon delivery workers dance for them.

At this point, it is hard to defend ownership of a Ring camera. Using fear-mongering about package theft and suburban crime, a surveillance company has convinced countless homes to affix a surveillance network node that police departments and one of the world’s largest monopolies will use to their benefit. And now they want us to laugh about it all in our (ideally) Ring-surveilled homes.

Man serving 17 years behind bars for abusing babies found dead in prison

Man serving 17 years behind bars for abusing babies found dead in prison

A pedophile who was serving 17 years behind bars for abusing babies and young children has been found dead in prison.

Jared Perry was found dead on November 3 while in custody at Parc Prison in Bridgend, Wales.

It is understood the paedophile, Perry – who was jailed in January after pleading guilty to a string of se*ual and indecent assaults on children – had attempted to take his own life and later died in hospital.

The 32-year-old was said to be an ‘extremely high risk’ to children when he was locked up.

Ian Coles, deputy director of HMP Parc, said: ‘On 3 November 2019, Mr Perry passed away in hospital.

‘As with all deaths in custody, this will be investigated by the Prison and Probation Ombudsman.’

Swansea Crown Court heard Perry abused both boys and girls. Some of the children he targeted were less than six months old.

The court heard the abuse only came to the police’s attention when Perry walked into Aberystwyth police station and asked to speak to an officer.

Over the course of some seven interviews, Perry disclosed what he had done.

Perry was brought up in a strict religious environment and from an early age began watching adult films to which he later became ‘addicted’.

That was initially adult film but then progressed to images of young children, the court heard. He also began to abuse drugs and was described as a ‘controlling and manipulative’ individual.

Perry, of Llanilar, Aberystwyth, admitted 10 counts of indecent assault and sexual assault on a child under 13.

Sending the defendant down the judge told him: ‘I believe without a doubt you present an extremely high risk of se*ually assaulting children in the future.’

An inquest into Jared Perry’s death was opened on Wednesday, November 6 and it is next listed for May 15, 2020, for a pre-inquest review.

The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman has begun an investigation into his death and a report will be published at the end of the inquest.

The PPO carries out independent investigations into deaths in custody. The purpose of these investigations is to understand what happened, to correct injustices and to identify learning for the organisations.
Boyfriend dies after his skin 'melted off' when his girlfriend sprayed him with gasoline and turned him into a human fireball

Boyfriend dies after his skin 'melted off' when his girlfriend sprayed him with gasoline and turned him into a human fireball

A woman has been charged with murder after 'melting the skin off' her boyfriend at a Texas gas station and driving away 'smiling'.

Breana Johnson, 24, doused Ricky Doyle, 25, in petrol as he sat in the backseat of a Jeep and set fire to him after a row on July 18, according to the Arlington Police Department.

Doyle died on Tuesday in a Dallas-area hospital after a two weeks struggle for survival following the horrifying attack, prompting the Johnson's aggravated assault charge to be upgraded to murder.

Doyle's mother Lisa told NBCDFW how doctors said his foot 'was the only part of his body I could touch. That's all that was left.'

Johnson was heard to tell Doyle 'I'm going to kill you' at a Shell gas station during the argument, and went inside and paid for $0.50 worth of gas.

Witnesses saw her return and pour the gasoline over Doyle and walk around to the driver's seat and set it on fire in what had seemed like a premeditated and thought-through attack.

Deceased man Ricky Doyle, pictured, escaped from the car engulfed in flames after his girlfriend doused him in petrol and set him alight. He was seen screaming through the parking lot unable to stop his body from burning

Doyle escaped from the car engulfed in flames and was seen screaming through the parking lot unable to stop his body from burning.

A customer rushed to his aide with a fire extinguisher and put the flames out. A witness said Doyle was 'bleeding and had skin that appeared to have melted off his body,' said the police charging document.

Johnson told witnesses that she was smoking while pumping gas which was the accidental cause of the fire.

However, witnesses who had seen Johnson allegedly deliberately set Doyle on fire confronted her, with one trying to detain her until the police arrived.

But Johnson pushed the person to the ground and drove away while smiling, the police report said.

Johnson was heard to tell Doyle 'I'm going to kill you' at a Shell gas station (pictured) during the argument, and went inside and paid for $0.50 worth of gas

Doyle's little sister, Mikayla, said she knew Johnson was abusive but 'we didn't know this was going to come'

Doyle's family said he was first taken to Medical City Arlington before being transferred to a hospital in Plano, where he was being treated for burns covering more than 90% of his body.

They said the top of his head, groin and buttocks areas, along with the bottoms of his feet were spared.

Doyle's little sister, Mikayla, said the argument between Johnson and Doyle initially started outside the family home in Arlington.

'She [Johnson] just started beating on his chest. She took his phone. She threw his phone. Then she came back and she picked his phone up, threw it at him, and then started beating his chest,' Mikayla recalled.

'We knew she was abusive to him, but we didn't see this. We didn't know this was going to come.'

Johnson is currently in the Tarrant County Jail

I killed my dad by shooting him in the head 3 times – I wanted him dead but sinister twist meant I dodged jail

I killed my dad by shooting him in the head 3 times – I wanted him dead but sinister twist meant I dodged jail

On June 3rd, 2019, Anthony Templet made a chilling call to 911 and calmly told the operator: “I just killed my dad. I shot him three times.”

Anthony, then 17, had two guns and blasted his father Burt Templet in the head at their home in Louisiana - leaving him to die.

Anthony Templet called 911 saying he'd killed his dad in June 2019

But Burt Templet had been abusing his son mentally and physically for years

Despite admitting to the crime and displaying no physical signs he acted in self-defence, the teenager dodged jail and was handed five years of supervised probation.

It was a sentence his family - including Templet's wife, Anthony's stepmum Susan Templet - had pushed for, as the harrowing reason he pulled the trigger came to light.

Anthony had endured years of physical and mental abuse at the hands of his neglectful dad, having been snatched from his mum at the age of five and held hostage for over 10 years.

He didn't go to school and was barely allowed to leave the house, with his dad having erected security cameras all around their home and put tracking apps on his phone.

Anthony's shocking upbringing tale is laid bare in a new Netflix documentary, I Just Killed My Dad.

Now aged 20, he tells how he'd be "punched and thrown and kicked" during his dad's fits of rage, and "sometimes it wouldn’t stop for hours".

“He always wanted to know everything," Anthony recalls. "I was always being tracked by something, whether it be a camera or mobile app.

“He wanted to be in control of everything, of me and the rest of the family in that house. I knew he was trying to control me.”

Susan also fell victim to Templet's warped surveillance operation. She explains: “Burt had an app on his phone - with every movement on a camera he’d get a text of what was going on.

“Every time I turned my car engine off, he’d get an alert that it was off.”

Pointing out the camera on their driveway, she continues: “If I parked here, he could know when I’d got home from the grocery store and how many bags I was carrying.”

Taught to write at 10 years old

Anthony was taught his ABCs at 10 years old by his step-mum Susan

Susan very much became a mother figure to Anthony, who was told by Templet that his biological mum Teresa Thompson was dead. He met Susan eight months after leaving her.

She taught Anthony his name, date of birth, address and phone number, as well as his "ABCs" when he was 10 years old, after Templet prevented him from going to school.

She says: “Anthony is my child. I don’t see him as a stepson.

“I see him as my child because I know he has nobody. He has nobody to stand behind him.”

“I made him write his ABCs over and over like punish work, and taught him addition, subtraction and multiplication.

"But when it got to division, his father told me not to teach him because he could just use a calculator.”

I see Anthony as my child because I know he has nobody. He has nobody to stand behind him, Susan Templet

Susan and Templet discussed putting Anthony in school when he was 16, but at that point his shockingly low level of education would have put him in a class of eight to 10-year-olds.

Susan’s son Peyton describes the atmosphere the house had when Templet was in.

“You walked a fine line in there,” he says. “One minute the house is quiet, the next second the dishes are being thrown and screaming is going on.

“It was nothing but shoving and punching. He called me ‘fat ass,’ ‘a dumb motherf*****”, sometimes he would shove a Jenga box as hard as he could at my head.

“Very rarely was it anything other than hell living there.”

Susan adds: “The physical abuse would’ve been weekly, and the verbal abuse every other day.”

Deadly threat

Susan finally decided to leave in March 2019, after a horrific incident in which Templet threatened to kill her. She reported it to the police.

She recalls: “The night before I left, we were lying in the bedroom and Burt punched me in the face, walked away from me, turned back around with the most satanic look in his eyes and said, ‘You have no idea what I’m capable of, little girl.’

“So the next morning I called a hotel and booked a room for two months.

“If I’d have tried to take Anthony, I’d be dead, because there would not have been a safe rock for me to hide under. I had no choice.”

Downing 24 cans of beer a day

Burt Templet began drinking 24 cans of beer a day after Susan left

That was the beginning of the end for Templet, who began drinking up to 24 cans of beer a day, according to Anthony.

“When Susan left, it destroyed him,” he says. “He started drinking more than normal and it heightened the abuse.

“I stayed in my room constantly, that’s all I wanted to do. I couldn't really do much without upsetting him, so I’d just try to make myself as invisible as possible.”

With police frequently knocking on the door to serve him court papers, Templet kept loaded guns on him day and night, making Anthony hide whenever anyone came round.

It was do or die. I felt like my life was in danger and no one could help me

Anthony Templet

On June 3rd, Templet discovered his son had been speaking to Susan on the phone - despite being “forbidden” from doing so.

It escalated quickly, and ended with Anthony putting a bullet in his dad's head.

Anthony recalls: “He got violent with me and lost it. He was on me. I locked the door on him.

“He was busting the door down, so I grabbed guns off the top shelf.

“I thought, this was the worst I’d ever seen him, and my life was really in danger. It had gotten to a point where it was so crazy, this was it for me.

“It was do or die. I felt like my life was in danger and no one could help me.”

Reunited with mom

Anthony was snatched from his birth mom by Templet when he was five years old

On January 26th, 2021, Anthony's lawyer Jarrett Ambeau managed to get him a plea deal instead of being prosecuted for manslaughter.

Anthony was released and ordered to obtain his high-school diploma and receive counselling as a condition of his probation deal.He was also finally reunited with his birth mum Teresa, after he was released from custody.

Reflecting on the ordeal, Anthony says: “It’s very important to feel in control of your life.

“You get your freedom stripped from you in jail and I value it a little bit more now.

“I just want to live normally and be happy and move on.”
People in the United States strongly associate vegetarianism with whiteness, study finds

People in the United States strongly associate vegetarianism with whiteness, study finds

New research published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin provides evidence that people in the United States hold racial stereotypes about vegetarianism. The findings indicate that vegetarianism is perceived to be a “White” behavior.

“Vegetarian diets offer a lot of benefits — they can improve health, support environmental sustainability, and reduce the amount of suffering experienced by nonhuman animals,” said study author study author Daniel L. Rosenfeld, a PhD candidate at UCLA. “As plant-based foods (like the Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger) become more mainstream and propel cultural shifts toward more vegetarian lifestyles, it’s important to consider how racially inclusive these lifestyles seem.”

“For quite a while before conducting this research, I’d noticed that beliefs about race were intertwined with beliefs about vegetarianism. In many media instances, for instance, it seemed like vegetarians were stereotypically depicted as White people, especially white women who are middle-to-upper class.”

“Consider this: who comes to mind when you imagine the prototypical person who would order kale salad or eat a bowl of quinoa with tofu? Food is a clear marker of identity,” Rosenfeld explained. “And yet, despite these intuitions, there hadn’t been any research delving into the nature of stereotypes about race and vegetarianism. So I was motivated to fill that knowledge gap and see what was going on.”

To better understand racialized perceptions of vegetarianism, the researchers explicitly asked 1,853 adults from the United States how strongly they associated vegetarianism with white people, Black people, Latino people, and Asian people. They found that participants associated vegetarianism most strongly with white people, followed by Asian people, and least strongly with Black and Latino people.

Rosenfield and his colleagues also observed implicit associations between vegetarianism and whiteness. In a second study, which included 192 Black and 194 white adults, the researchers used the Implicit Association Test to demonstrate that participants unconsciously associated vegetarianism with white people.

“We found that people in the United States hold strong stereotypes about race and vegetarianism,” Rosenfield told PsyPost. “Namely, people associate being a vegetarian with being white. It’s worth emphasizing that this is a belief people hold, not necessarily a reflection of reality. There have been many surveys in recent years finding that white people are actually less likely to be vegetarians than are people of color.”

“This disconnect between stereotype and reality is rather striking, and is certainly worthy of deeper consideration. But we ought to keep in mind that stereotypes are powerful beliefs people have — and they’re powerful regardless of whether they reflect any degree of reality or not.”

In a third study, which included 403 Black adults, the researchers found that participants who were randomly assigned to reflect on their racial stereotypes about vegetarianism tended to feel less connected to the vegetarian community compared to those in the control group.

Interestingly, Rosenfield and his research team found evidence that a simple intervention could increase belongingness. Their fourth and final study, which included 592 Black nonvegetarian adults, found a slideshow about vegetarianism that included both Black and white people made vegetarianism more appealing to Black individuals.

But does the association between vegetarianism and whiteness exist outside of the United States? It might, but there’s reason to believe that the findings are culturally constrained — a topic for future research.

“Food and race are two constructs with deep roots in culture,” Rosenfield explained. “The meaning of food varies greatly across different cultures, as does the meaning of race — so we could expect that racial stereotypes about food will vary across cultures. Our research found strong stereotypes linking beliefs about vegetarianism to beliefs about White people, and it’s possible that this association may be the case in other cultures too, but we can’t make that assumption.”

“It’s important to conduct this type of research in other cultures beyond the United States to know for sure,” Rosenfield added. “Also important, within and beyond the United States, is now to find ways of making vegetarianism seem more inclusive to all people.”

“If strong racial stereotypes exist about vegetarianism, and if those stereotypes could deter certain groups of people from eating plant-based foods or if they could make people feel ostracized in certain spaces because of their race, then it’s vital to come up with ways to combat existing stereotypes and to change the narrative surrounding what it means to eat plant-based foods.”

The study, “Racialized Perceptions of Vegetarianism: Stereotypical Associations That Undermine Inclusion in Eating Behaviors“, was authored by Daniel L. Rosenfeld, Tiffany N. Brannon, and A. Janet Tomiyama.
Florida man ‘Redbeard’ steals $1,800 parrot, abandons it, authorities say

Florida man ‘Redbeard’ steals $1,800 parrot, abandons it, authorities say

A Florida man known locally as “Redbeard” is facing charges after he kidnapped his roommate’s parrot and left it injured and alone at a bus stop, authorities said.

Justin Peters, 40, of Summerland Key, was arrested Tuesday after pilfering the eclectus parrot — named Piper — from a 37-year-old woman in June and has been charged with grand theft and animal cruelty, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

The $1,800 bird’s owner told police that she instructed Peters to never let it out of her cage or remove it from their residence. On June 14, she called police to say Piper had been stolen.

The day before that, a witness told deputies that he spotted a man, later identified as Peters, at a bus stop and later noted that he was gone — but left the bird behind on a bench.

The man scooped up the parrot and called authorities and attempted to locate the bird’s owner, police said.

The sheriff’s office said a witness reported seeing a man at a bus stop near his business. The man disappeared, leaving a parrot on the bench in his place. People at a nearby restaurant and gas station also reportedly saw the man, later identified as Peters, with the same “agitated” red bird.

Deputies said Piper was returned to its owner and taken to the vet to get checked out. The parrot reportedly multiple broken bones, a dislocated hip and blunt force trauma to one side of its body, among other injuries.

Peters was taken to jail and charged with grand theft and animal cruelty.
Helen Bailey murder: Remembering 'more than a victim'

Helen Bailey murder: Remembering 'more than a victim'

Helen Bailey - author, widow, fiancée, dog owner, football fan - was found dead in July 2016. The man she loved, Ian Stewart, drugged and suffocated her before throwing her body into a cesspit. But those who knew and loved her do not want her to be remembered for how she died.

"The world has lost a gifted author". The words of Helen Bailey's brother John were repeated by the judge at St Albans Crown Court when he sentenced Ian Stewart to 34 years in prison.

Her skills as a writer had shone through when she started blogging following the death of her husband John Sinfield in 2011, getting to know people from across the country as she chronicled her life as a widow.

Here, some of those people share their memories of her:

'Her words resonated'

Laraine Mason met Ms Bailey online following the death of John Sinfield and Ms Mason's own husband.

"We were all part of this community of bereaved people, and she was welcomed into it, but it soon became apparent she brought something else to the table - her ability as a writer," Ms Mason recalled. "She put into words what most of us thought but couldn't articulate. It resonated. It was written in a language people could understand.

"But when I talked to Helen, there was more to our conversations than the commonality of bereavement. At her memorial service, people from the widowed community turned up. This was somebody who touched people on another level."

"Some people I've interviewed stick in my mind; some don't," she said. "Helen Bailey didn't just stick in my mind, she struck a chord with the audience and generated a huge response when she appeared on Woman's Hour. I'd read her book, When Bad Things Happen In Good Bikinis, and when I met Helen she was exactly the sort of person I'd hoped she would be.

"I was asked to read an excerpt from one of her books at her memorial service in November, and after talking to her friends and family I realised what a strong partnership she'd had with her husband John Sinfield.

"Her description in her book of the day he died is a brilliant piece of writing. She deserves to be remembered as more than a murder victim - she was a great writer and an astute businesswoman, as well as being so funny and honest about herself. I feel lucky to have met her."

Ms Bailey was a member of WAY (Widowed and Young), a charity for men and women under the age of 50 whose partners have died.

Another friend of Ms Bailey, Emily Thomas, said she would remember the writer as "effervescent - full of life, incredibly talented, warm, funny, vivacious. I'll remember her as somebody who took every opportunity to love life despite the tragedy she went though when her husband John died in 2011. She was an incredibly life-affirming person.

"I think with bereavement, it's not a linear thing, and I think she certainly came out of a period of great darkness into another period of her life with more positivity. But it takes a long time to get over that kind of loss. I think she grasped any opportunity to feel good about life.

"Boris the Dachshund saw her through some really dark times. She adored him. He was her trusted little companion for a long time, and a dog she had with her husband. He meant a huge amount to her. He was the love of her life."

Online sales of Helen Bailey's books have jumped considerably in light of the end of the trial, with her first book for adults - "When Bad Things Happen in Good Bikinis" - seeing a 17,000% increase in sales on Amazon in the last 24 hours.

Before its publication in 2015, Ms Bailey had written more than 20 other books for children and young adults, including the Electra Brown and Daisy Davenport series.

In the weeks before her death, Ms Bailey and Stewart - who had experience as a web designer - were working on a new blog site called "And Beyond: One Life Live It".

Under the headings Fashion, Dogs, Flowers, Food and Life, test posts still appear, with one reading: "This is just a test post to see how things work on this blog that my super duper man has organised for me."

There are also pictures of her beloved Boris, who is seen next to a copy of her book - the same book which is now climbing the sales charts, introducing new readers to her writing and ensuring her legacy will not be forgotten.
A 9-Year-Old Girl In Arizona Died From A Lice Infestation — And Now Her Mother And Grandmother Are Facing Murder Charges

A 9-Year-Old Girl In Arizona Died From A Lice Infestation — And Now Her Mother And Grandmother Are Facing Murder Charges

Sandra and Elizabeth Kraykovich were charged with first-degree murder following the death of Sandra's daughter, Kelcye, from anemia brought on by an untreated case of lice.

Two Arizona women are facing first-degree murder charges after the nine-year-old girl in their care died — from a massive lice infestation.

Sandra Kraykovich, 38, and her mother Elizabeth Kraykovich, 64, were both charged after Sandra’s daughter Kelcye was found dead in their Tucson home on March 22, according to state Department of Child Safety documents.

The local fire department was called at around 2:30 a.m. for an unresponsive child at the women’s apartment on East Golf Links Road and were unable to revive the nine-year-old girl. The police were called when it became apparent that the living conditions in the home were dangerous — and emergency responders found “a large amount of bugs on her face.”

Two other children, 11 and 13, were also in the home that investigators described as filthy.

Sandra told police that her daughter was anemic and had been sick for days, suffering from a fever, vomiting, headaches, trouble breathing, and even trouble walking, the Arizona Daily Star reported.

The women also told investigators that they decided against bringing the girl to the emergency room — and instead tried to treat her symptoms with Motrin. In one string of messages, Elizabeth told her daughter that Kelcye couldn’t walk without falling, wouldn’t respond to questions, and was having trouble breathing. In another, Elizabeth accused Sandra of wanting to spend time with her boyfriend rather than take care of her ill child.

The women apparently decided against taking the nine-year-old to the emergency room because of the lice infestation — the very thing that killed her.

According to the Star, Sandra said that Kelcye “can’t go to the emergency room with her hair, but that’s left up to me cause [you’re] not home.”

One of the other children — both of whom also had lice — told police that Sandra Kraykovich had tried to treat the nine-year-old’s severe infestation using mouthwash. And the day before Kelcye died, Sandra texted her boyfriend saying, “OMG babe. Listen I’m in my room and my mom called me. [Redacted] was asking if I could check on her to make sure she isn’t dying,” per Law & Crime.

Both Sandra and Elizabeth were quickly arrested and charged with felony child abuse based on the condition of the two other children. But when the medical examiner’s report on Kelcye came back, the Kraykoviches were both hit with murder charges.

The autopsy was conducted by the Pima County Medical Examiner, who said the girl’s cause of death was neglect.

“She died from anemia from untreated lice infestation with malnutrition as a contributing factor.” Dr. Gregory L. Hess said in May. “That’s the cause.”

Kelcye also suffered from fluid build-up in her lungs and liver necrosis, according to Law & Crime.

Tucson police said that Sandra admitted that her daughter likely died of neglect, telling them that “if she had sought medical care, [her daughter] would probably still be alive.”

Both Sandra and Elizabeth Kraykovich were charged with first-degree murder and are being held at the Pima County Adult Detention Center. The other two children have been placed with family members.

And horrific as the case is, it’s not the first time an adult has faced murder charges because of an untreated child lice infestation. The New York Times reported in October 2020 that 12-year-old Kaitlyn Yozviak of Georgia died of cardiac arrest and severe anemia because of repeated lice bites. Her parents were arrested and charged with second-degree murder and cruelty to children.

Widely Mocked Anti-Piracy Ads Made People Pirate More, Study Finds

Widely Mocked Anti-Piracy Ads Made People Pirate More, Study Finds

A behavioral economics study of anti-piracy ads reveals that they’re largely ineffective and often encourage piracy.

An infamous anti-piracy ad from 2004 tried to convince us all that downloading a pirated movie is no different than stealing a car. We’ve all seen it, but according to a new study published in The Information Society, we were not convinced. In fact, the study found that by hugely overstating the negative impact of piracy, the ad may have caused people to pirate even more.

As first reported by TorrentFreak, the study, “Doing more with less: Behavioral insights for anti-piracy messages,” took particular aim at a 2004 public service announcement created by the film industry. The study is a critique of the entertainment industry’s attempts to curb piracy viewed through the lens of behavioral economics. It asks how movie, music, and TV studios could have spent so much money on a campaign and failed so spectacularly.

The biggest reason is that pirates don’t think they’re doing anything wrong. “Information technology seems to facilitate the moral disengagement of infringers, who do not perceive themselves as thieves,” the study said. “For instance, the terms used by infringers frequently feature a form of euphemistic labeling (e.g., “file sharing”, “fighting the system”) and some pirates rationalize that unlike common theft, they do not deprive the owner of the copyrighted properly.”

According to the study, public anti-piracy campaigns fail because, rather than curb this behavior, they’ve encouraged it. One of the biggest problems that they tend to overstate the nature of the crime being committed and the losses suffered by the entertainment industry.

The 2004 anti-piracy ad that compares stealing a car to downloading a movie is over the top. It looks like a throwback to 1990s anti drug commercials and opens with the ominous lines “You wouldn’t steal a car.” Comparing the loss of a price of a movie ticket to grand theft auto didn’t play and the ad became an instant meme in the early days of the internet. It became so famous that it was parodied in more mainstream spaces like the British sitcom The IT Crowd.

“The most striking example might be the (in)famous ‘You would not steal a car’ awareness video aired in cinemas and on DVDs worldwide during the 2000s,” the paper said. “It compared downloading a movie to various forms of stealing, including reasonably relevant ones (stealing a DVD in a store) and somewhat absurd others (stealing handbags, TVs, cars), which diluted down the message.”

The study also called out attempts to make the piracy personal—highlighting the loss of revenue to individual people in the movie industry. It’s true that films and TV shows are made by thousands of people, many of them working wild hours for little play. But often the film studios picked the wrong mouthpieces for this tactic.

In India, a series of anti-piracy PSA starred the rich and famous. “All videos starred well-known actors, whose net worth is estimated to be $22–$400 million dollars, in a country where the annual per capita income is a bit less than $2,000,” the study said. “This can offer to pirates a moral justification: they only steal [from] the rich to ‘feed the poor’, a form of ‘Robin Hood effect’ that makes even more sense with some cultural or sport-related goods.”

Another problem is what the study identifies as “the social proof lever.” Anti-piracy ads often focus on how pervasive the problem is. “Given that individuals tend to conform to perceived social norms, they can be leveraged to nudge people toward a given behavior. Social norms have been successfully used as behavioral levers in diverse fields, such as wearing seatbelts, encouraging charitable donations, and energy savings,” the paper said.

But anti-piracy campaigns make piracy seem like the social norm. If everyone is doing it, the logic goes, it probably isn’t that bad. “Informing directly or indirectly individuals that many people pirate is counterproductive and encourages piracy by driving the targeted individuals to behave similarly,” the study said. “These messages provide to the would-be pirates the needed rationalization by emphasizing that ‘everyone is doing it.”

The study had one last piece of advice for movie studios: stop airing anti-piracy ads in the theater. “These messages are frequently edited out by pirates before being redistributed through the internet, the study said. “Consequently, individuals who see the message are paying users…displaying descriptive information about how widespread piracy is to paying users is ill-advised.”

Internet piracy isn’t going away and the reasons people pirate are complicated. The pandemic and the Balkanization of streaming services have led to a massive surge in piracy. But it’s hard to know how bad the problem is because repeated studies have shown that the biggest pirates tend to be super users who are already spending a lot of money on legal content.