15 Things You Need To Know Today (May 5)

Photo by Jemal Countess / Getty

1. Leonardo DiCaprio's green giving streak continues.

After donating millions to sustainable causes earlier this year, the actor recently announced plans to invest in a sustainable tea company in the Amazon and donate all of his shares back to the Amazonian farmers themselves, making them direct shareholders. (EcoWatch)

2. U.S. warns North Carolina that HB2 violates civil rights laws.

In a letter to Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina, the Justice Department warned state officials that they would lose millions of dollars in federal funding unless they change the controversial measure limiting access to bathrooms for transgender people because they are in violation of federal civil rights law. Huge win. (NY Times)

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3. Obama wants to designate the Stonewall Inn as a national monument to the gay rights struggle.

The site of a famous police raid in 1969, followed by six days of protests, the Stonewall Inn is a hub of gay cultural life in New York City. If the proposal is passed, Obama would designate the area as part of the National Park Service as soon as next month—just in time for Pride Month in June. (Washington Post)

4. There may be an association between yeast infections and mental illness.

A new study found that a history of Candida yeast infections was more common in a small group of men with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia than those without. And among a group of women with the conditions, those who had had Candida performed worse on a memory test than those who hadn't had an infection. Still, the researchers note that their study doesn't prove cause and effect. (ScienceDaily)

5. Model Amber Rose is raising her son Sebastian to be a feminist.

After becoming a vocal supporter and defender of women's rights herself, Rose recently said that she plans to raise her son with similarly strong values and boundaries. "When my son goes to school and his friend calls a girl a hoe, I want him to be the first person to say, 'Man, that's not cool. You don't talk to women like that.' That's very important to me." (People)

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6. Climate change is running us dry.

According to a new report by the World Bank, we should all be concerned about climate change's impact on the global water supply. By 2050, drought could decrease the GDP of regions in India, China, and the Middle East by as much as 6 percent. (Washington Post)

7. American Girl now has a doll with a diabetes kit.

The company introduced a doll-size kit with 10 items related to diabetes care—such as a blood sugar monitor and insulin pump—so that children with type 1 diabetes, which is on the rise, can feel more included. (NY Times)

8. Making and breaking a purity pledge leads to more teen pregnancies than never making one at all.

A new study in the Journal of Marriage and Family shows that 18 percent of girls who had never taken a virginity pledge became pregnant within about six years of starting to have sex. Of girls who had made and then broken such pledges, a whopping 30 percent became pregnant in the six years after becoming sexually active—outside of marriage. The theory? Sex-ed programs and cultures that promote abstinence until marriage often present contraceptives as ineffective. (The Atlantic)

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9. The NFL warns players against eating too much meat.

If football players eat too much meat in countries like China and Mexico, they could fail a drug test, says a memo issued by the NFL. The meat could be contaminated with an anabolic agent that's on the league's list of banned substances. (CBS)

10. Pacific Ocean oysters have been found to contain low levels of antibiotics and painkillers.

A new study from Portland State University found that native Oregon oysters from the Netarts and Coos bays contained a "cocktail of pharmaceuticals" including antibiotics, pain relievers, and mercury. While scary, researchers stated that humans would have to consume impossibly huge quantities to be affected. (Oregon Live)

11. Caitlyn Jenner will pose naked for the cover of Sports Illustrated.

For the 40th anniversary of her decathlon win at the 1976 Montreal Summer Games, Jenner will reportedly pose nude on a cover of Sports Illustrated this summer wearing “nothing but an American flag and her Olympic medal." The 66-year-old trans woman—who appeared on the magazine's cover 40 years ago, way before her transition—is coming back to take center stage as her true self. (mindbodygreen)

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12. Researchers have found a new blood biomarker for autism.

The study authors note that the biomarker, which had about 80 percent accuracy, could lead to earlier diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder in children. (ScienceDaily)

13. New York City is calling for more sustainable housing.

The city's new building guidelines for affordable and senior housing call for an increased focus on energy efficiency and flood resilience. (Curbed)

14. Exercise may be better than diet at preventing obesity.

While past research has shown that exercise alone rarely helps with weight loss in those with obesity, a new study suggests that movement might be more effective when it comes to preventing the disease. In the study, mice who ate however much they wanted but had access to a running wheel were metabolically healthier after 11 weeks than a group of mice that ate fewer calories but had no exercise tool. The mice who exercised had better insulin sensitivity, lower levels of bad cholesterol, and burned more fat each day than the dieters. (NY Times)

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15. A new bill could prevent journalists from investigating Big Food companies.

Congress introduced a bill that would allow food industry ad groups to be exempt with the Freedom of Information Act, which requires the government to release certain documents to the public. The good news is, this bill is getting a lot of attention and with it, opposition. (AP)

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