The Last Week of February 2014: Jason Collins Returns, Texas Gay Marriage Ban Struck Down

By Noah Kaufman |

Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych Allstar Picture Library / Alamy

Every week by this point you have undoubtedly spent nearly 100 percent of your time online watching videos of cats riding vacuum cleaners and finding out which character from Blossom you really are. Meanwhile, the world has been going on without you. Here are some things you missed while you were buried in the Internet:


Ukrainian president (and the only person allowed to be taller than Vladimir Putin in photos) Viktor Yanukovych fled the country amid massive protests. Meanwhile, the newly elected prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, is planning to work with the European Union. As for Yanukovych, Russia offered him protection and he was recently seen near Moscow, probably doing this.

Jason Collins Returns

Over the weekend Jason Collins made his return to the NBA, playing 11 minutes and grabbing two rebounds for the Brooklyn Nets in a win over the Los Angeles Lakers. Oh yeah, did we mention it was his first game since coming out as openly gay last spring? That makes him the first openly gay player to play in any major American sports league. Sorry, soccer. Apparently, you still don't count.

Texas Gay Marriage Ban Struck Down

Speaking of victories for equal rights, Texas's ban on gay marriage was declared unconstitutional. Judge Orlando Garcia found that, “Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our United States Constitution.” Texas attorney general and gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott plans to appeal the decision, and the issue may eventually wend its way to the Supreme Court. Abbott currently has no comment on plans to change the state song to Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy).

Bitcoin Under Fire

Mt. Gox, one of the world's largest bitcoin exchanges, has simply disappeared from the Internet after suffering massive losses following a security breach. A bitcoin is a digital file that is a form of online currency; this very new financial instrument has been struggling to gain legitimacy over the past several years. With their price going up more than 6,000 percent in 2013 alone, bitcoins have made millionaires out of some early adopters, but this setback may scare off many potential investors. For anyone still interested in putting money into pretend currency, there are more than 700 different versions of Monopoly.

Harold Ramis, RIP

Harold Ramis died from complications of a rare autoimmune disease, sad news for the world of comedy and the world in general. Ramis was perhaps best known for writing classic movie comedies including Ghostbusters, Caddyshack, Stripes, Animal House and Groundhog Day. Groundhog Day actually won him a BAFTA award for best original screenplay in a year in which both The Piano and Philadelphia were released. That just goes to show you that no heart-wrenching romance or struggle for civil rights can compete with this.

New Nutrition Labels

Changes are coming to the nutrition labels on food sold in grocery stores. Now you won't have to break out a calculator to figure out how many calories are in the 2.4 servings of soda you consumed in that 20-ounce bottle: The whole thing will be counted as one serving. Among other changes: calories from fat won't be listed, but the amount of added sugar will, as will the amount of potassium (good for your bones) and vitamin D (good for your blood pressure). All of this will make determining healthy options at the grocery store quicker and easier.

Now that you've had your fill of real headlines for the day, you can get back to what you're really interested in.

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