Taylor Swift’s Cryptic Reveal That Eclipsed All the News—and Other Notes from the Week

Catch up on all the news you might have missed with our handy summary of the week’s top stories.
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We’re pleased to bring you “While You Were Out”—the Verily editors’ quick takes on the happenings of this week.

WYWOPromo

Eclipse Fever Crosses the United States

This past Monday, America enjoyed its first cross-country eclipse in more than seven decades. As a result, many people traveled to sites where they could see the much-hyped totality, when the moon fully covers the sun, resulting in a stunning sight of the sun’s corona around the back moon. Apparently it couldn’t have been hyped enough, as even those who were prepared to see it firsthand were surprised how impressive it was. That includes The Weather Channel correspondent Stephanie Abrams, who was brought to tears during the broadcast in Madras, Oregon. In other notable happenings around the eclipse, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, an eclipse-chasing couple got married after viewing their tenth and twelfth eclipses respectively, and Bonnie Tyler sang “Total Eclipse of the Heart” on a Royal Caribbean Cruise over the last spot of totality over the Pacific. —Mary Rose Somarriba

TS6 Is Coming

Having been out of the public eye and deliberately off of social media since last spring—so much so that her fans began speculating crazy theories about what she was up to—Taylor Swift, ever the publicity genius, began deleting all of her posts on her social media last Friday. Her Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, and even website became blank spaces. Fans again took to the internet to voice thoughts about what this could mean. Then, on Monday, Swift posted a short, grainy photo of what appeared to be a snake on her Instagram. On Tuesday, she posted another. Then, on Wednesday, a third video appeared, this time definitely of a snake. This was followed by the release of the name, Reputation, and cover of her upcoming album due November 10, and an announcement that she would be releasing a single Thursday night. There has already been much discussion online as to the meaning and symbolism of the snake videos and the album cover; many believe Swift is alluding to the feud with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian that seemingly began in the summer of 2016. Regardless of what it all means, Swift has successfully created incredible anticipation and intrigue surrounding her latest album, and we can all expect some fierce music to follow. —Mary Grace Mangano

Judge Makes Rule to Help Women Lawyers

A senior federal judge in Brooklyn gave a nod to women attorneys this week, according to the New York Times. Jack B. Weinstein was acting within normal purview as he outlined guidelines for attorneys to adhere to in his court. But he took this standard procedural item a step further as he issued a court rule that young female attorneys should be given visible and substantive roles in the cases that come before him.

Weinstein is not the first to do this—he is one of about twenty, according to the Times report, which is still a very small minority of federal judges—but he joins a very necessary force seeking to “chip away at the traditional old-boy network that has dominated the legal profession for decades,” as the Times reports. Fellow judges and female legal associations have praised Weinstein’s acts of support toward not just women, but also the younger generation of lawyers as a whole. —Megan Madden

New Research Shows What Kind of Friends Help in High School

When it comes to friends, I have always believed in quality over quantity. Now, new research has revealed that there is some science behind my personal mantra. A study of 169 people who were followed from age 15 to 25 shows that teenagers who have a few close intimate friendships, rather than a bigger peer group, reported higher levels of self-worth and lower levels of social anxiety and depression at 25 compared with their peers who were more broadly popular as teens. Rachel K. Narr, who led the study, explains that while intimate friendships had no short term benefits, participants of the study did fair better down the road. Narr ventured a guess as to why: at a critical time in their life, these kinds of friendships give teens the confidence they need to know they can build meaningful relationships outside their immediate family. Turns out, this bodes well for future friendships and even romantic ones down the road. Just another reason to encourage young women in our lives to skip the popularity contest and focus on real, fulfilling friendships instead. —Monica Gabriel Marshall

Mel B Storms Off ‘America’s Got Talent’ Set After Simon Cowell Makes Joke About Her ‘Wedding Night’

Mel B (whom many of us first knew as Scary Spice of the Spice Girls) threw her cup of water at fellow judge Simon Cowell before storming off the set of America’s Got Talent Tuesday night. Cowell made a crude and insensitive joke likening a stunt magician’s on-stage malfunction with Mel B’s wedding night, saying, “A lot of anticipation, not much promise or delivery.” Bad timing for him; Mel B is in the midst of a divorce with her estranged husband of ten years, fighting against paying a $40,000 monthly spousal support and for joint legal and physical custody of their 5-year-old daughter, Madison. This wasn’t Cowell’s first jab at the former Spice Girl; a month ago, he likened an AGT performer’s “bad” dancing with Scary Spice’s lack of skill in the disco department. After which she, you guessed it, threw her cup of water at Cowell. Looks like Mel B is living up to her Spice Girl name—and we're on board. —Krizia Liquido

Ellen Pao Opens Up

This week New York Magazine published an excerpt of a forthcoming book by Ellen Pao, the woman whose highly publicized work discrimination lawsuit made her a lightning rod for topics of women’s equality in the workplace. A refresh: Pao had filed a suit against the Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, claiming she spent years fielding sexually harassing conversations and unfair working conditions. Additionally Pao said a man who had tricked her into an affair (by lying about his wife) used the office as the playing field on which to take out his resentment after their romance ended, excluding her from work meetings she belonged in. But Kleiner Perkins put up a very public and hard-fought legal battle, painting Pao as an unlikable woman. Pao lost the suit, but what resulted was a national conversation on sexism in workplaces and how women are often judged by different standards than men, including to meet likability standards to succeed.

Speaking about the suit now, Pao writes, “I was often cast as the villain—incompetent, greedy, aggressive, and cold. My husband and I were both dragged through the mud, our privacy destroyed. For a long time I didn’t challenge those stories because I wasn’t ready to talk about my experience in detail. Now I am.” Suffice it to say we'll be picking up her book Reset to read more when it comes out in September. —MRS