1. Opinion

Trump loves 'Fox & Friends.' Here's why

President Donald Trump is an avid viewer of Fox News and its morning program Fox & Friends, which is seen as offering more favorable coverage of the administration than other news outlets. His early morning tweets often reference coverage on the program.

The reasons behind his affection for the network and its flagship morning program were apparent on Monday, when the president's campaign associates Paul Manafort and Rick Gates were indicted as part of the investigation by the special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

The way each network covered the story — or avoided it — are signs of how the media landscape has become ever more politicized in the Trump era. That is particularly true of Fox News.

Fox News aired 25 minutes of indictment coverage in the first hour after news of the charges broke around 8 a.m. — just as attention would have surged. CNN and MSNBC, in contrast, aired at least an hour of nearly uninterrupted and ad-free coverage.

Fox devoted much of its morning programming to other topics: the hamburger emoji, Halloween costumes and dubious actions by Democrats. One particularly long segment critiqued an essay in the Economist that asked if Americans over-romanticize the military.

While major network news channels claim to be unbiased, Americans see them as having political leanings. A survey from Pew Research Center found that Fox was more trusted by conservatives, while MSNBC was more trusted by liberals and CNN was considered somewhere in the middle. In their coverage, the channels tend to confirm their viewers' perceptions.

Taylor Adams, Jessia Ma And Stuart A. Thompson, New York Times

Once the mainstay of weekday lunchboxes and thrifty home cooks, leftovers today constitute the single largest source of edible food waste in U.S. homes, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group.

The council sought to measure how much food Americans waste and what types of foods they tend to waste most. The study analyzed the food-waste habits of more than 1,151 households in Nashville, Denver and New York, who agreed to keep diaries of the items they tossed and allow researchers to check their trash cans afterward.

What researchers found was staggering: The average person wasted 3.5 pounds of food per week.

Of that, only a third consisted of inedible parts, such as chicken bones or banana peels. And of the remaining, edible trashed food, bin digs found that 23 percent consisted of prepared leftovers, from any source — followed by fruits and vegetables, baked goods, and liquids and oils.

In all, American consumers throw away 27 million tons of food each year, according to the food waste coalition ReFED, clogging landfills, generating greenhouse gases and costing the economy an estimated $144 billion.

"I don't think this is just about education," said Dana Gunders, a senior scientist in NRDC's Food and Agriculture Program. "It's a cultural shift that needs to happen." After all, it has never been so cheap, from a purely monetary perspective, to ditch yesterday's takeout for lunch elsewhere.

Gunders said that many consumers appear to stash Tupperware containers in their fridge and then forget to excavate them before the food goes bad.

Other times, consumers grow bored of eating the same food on multiple occasions. "There were two big reasons people threw out edible food," Gunders said. "They thought it had spoiled, or they just didn't like leftovers."

Caitlin Dewey, Washington Post

Regular marijuana users have about 20 percent more sex than abstainers, according to a study from researchers at Stanford University. The study analyzed data on 28,000 female and 23,000 male participants in the National Survey of Family Growth, a nationally representative CDC survey of Americans age 15 to 49. It found that women who smoked marijuana daily had sex with a male partner an average of 7.1 times per month, compared to 6 times per month for nonsmoking women.

Similarly, men who used marijuana daily reported having sex with a woman 6.9 times per month, compared to 5.6 times for nonusers. Those findings held true even after the researchers controlled for a number of demographic variables known to affect sex habits and marijuana use. "The overall trend we saw applied to people of both sexes and all races, ages, education levels, income groups and religions, every health status, whether they were married or single and whether they had kids," author Michael Eisenberg said in a statement.

The study does not, however, necessarily indicate a causal relationship between marijuana use and sex. "It doesn't say if you smoke more marijuana, you'll have more sex," Eisenberg said. For instance, people who are naturally inclined to have more frequent sex may be predisposed to marijuana use, rather than the other way around.

Christopher Ingraham, Washington Post

Friends and family suffer the guilt and anguish of not having divined the intentions of a loved one who commits suicide, but mental health professionals rarely fare much better at doing so. One study has found that nearly 80 percent of patients who took their own lives denied they were contemplating suicide in their last contact with a mental health care professional.

But what if the brain's response to a series of questions — never the question "are you thinking of harming yourself?", but a more indirect probe of a person's feelings — yielded a more accurate signal? New research suggests it can.

In a study in the journal Nature Human Behavior, researchers found that patterns of brain activation in response to a set of written words could reliably distinguish between young adults who had contemplated suicide and young, healthy control subjects. These words included ones related to death and to both positive and negative emotions.

The authors used machine learning to detect abnormal emotional responses to concepts such as "death" and "cruelty," as well as to words such as "carefree" and "good." The researchers see this as a complementary way to assess someone's suicide risk, not a replacement for directly asking the question.

Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times

Like anyone with rowdy neighbors, oysters may be feeling stressed thanks to the growing problem of underwater noise pollution and are trying to filter out the racket. Research published in PLoS One reveals that oysters will close their shells when exposed to noises along a range of frequencies that includes the sounds emitted by known noise polluters like cargo ships and underwater oil exploration.

In oysters, closed shells are an indicator of distress. Under optimal conditions, bivalve mollusks will keep their shells open, and they are thought to shut them only when feeling stressed or threatened. Clamping their shells to screen out noise pollution or other artificial irritants could prevent oysters from perceiving important biological cues, said the authors of the study.

Oysters must be able to hear breaking waves and water currents, which could trigger their biological rhythms such as eating and digesting. Not being able to detect other natural events, like rainfall or thunderstorms, could also prevent them from knowing when it is time to spawn.

Douglas Quenqua, New York Times

When drug companies give gifts to doctors, the doctors prescribe more — and more expensive — drugs. The more lavish the gifts, the greater the effect. The study, in PLOS One, found that 39.1 percent of prescribers received gifts ranging in value from $7 to $200,000, while the rest received none. Health care providers given gifts wrote an average 892 prescriptions, compared with 389 for those who accepted none. The average cost of a prescription was $135 for gift recipients and $85 for the others. Gift recipients chose the brand-name drug a third of the time, compared with a quarter of the time for non-recipients. Any gift was associated with higher cost prescriptions, but the larger gifts had an even greater effect..

Nicholas Bakalar, New York Times

If plants could be stars in a cowboy film, the scarlet gilia would be one of the meanest wildflowers west of the Mississippi.

You can find it standing tall among the sagebrush on mountainsides, its red flowers blazing. Drought can't always stop it. Shade won't faze it. And when mule deer and elk start grazing on it, it comes back bigger and stronger, with more defenses and a posse of new plants.

Biologists call outlaw plants like this the overcompensators. "It's a little counterintuitive," said Miles Mesa, a graduate student at The University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign who led a new study into these types of plants. "After some animal comes by and eats it, the plant actually does better."

In the study published this month in the journal Ecology, scientists showed for the first time that in an experiment, damaging some plants set off a molecular chain of events that caused them to grow back bigger, and produce more seeds and chemical defenses simultaneously. At the genetic level, the two tactics for plant survival worked hand in hand — at least in Arabidopsis thaliana, a kind of mustard plant often used for research.

But even the baddest cowboys are not immortal, the researchers found. If they cut the main stem and 75 percent of its leaves, even overcompensators can't rebound.

Joanna Klein, New York Times

126 million

is how many Facebook users may have seen content produced and circulated by Russian operatives, the social media giant's executives testified to Congress last week. That is many, many times more than the company had previously disclosed about the reach of the online influence campaign targeting American voters.

Only 35 days

have elapsed since 58 people were killed and 489 hurt in Las Vegas in the worst mass shooting in modern American history.


is the number of U.S. service members deployed to Niger, where four Americans were killed on patrol last month.


of Americans have high blood pressure, and fewer than half have it under control.


is how much money a federal indictment alleges Paul Manafort spent at an antique rug store. The former Trump campaign manager pleaded not guilty last week to charges of money laundering and conspiracy.