Five stories that have North Texas talking: a Dallas writer is sentenced to prison; Dallas and Fort Worth don't have much "arts vibrancy;" NPR's Michel Martin will tackle the ethics of football in Dallas; and more.
Meet one of the newest members of the Dallas Zoo family: an anteater looking for love. MJ, a tamandua or lesser anteater, is in town for some romance – he’s been paired with Chispa, the Dallas Zoo’s 2-year-old female tamandua. They’re getting along just fine, the zoo is happy to report. They were spotted eating wax worms together. (MJ and Chispa, sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g?) The zoo says MJ is in Dallas because of a Species Survival Plan breeding recommendation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. MJ is from New York – the Staten Island Zoo. The zoo says: “Born Jan. 12, 2014, MJ is the first southern tamandua born in the New York metropolitan region. Weighing only 14 ounces at birth, MJ is now 20 pounds -- almost twice the size of his new companion. With fewer than 70 tamanduas living in AZA accredited zoos, MJ’s rare birth last year gained media attention across the globe.”
Here’s a video – the zoo calls it a “new tamandua love story”:
- A Dallas writer linked to online hacking collective Anonymous has been sentenced to prison for threatening an FBI agent and two other federal counts in a closely watched case. Barrett Lancaster Brown was sentenced to five years in prison Thursday in federal court in Dallas. The 33-year-old has already been jailed for more than two years. Brown is often quoted on the workings of Anonymous, the worldwide hacking collective. He came under federal investigation for posting a link to data stolen from the Austin-based defense contractor Stratfor. He later admitted to posting threats against an FBI agent, obstructing a search warrant and being an accessory to an unauthorized access of a protected computer. Brown's case has been closely watched by free-speech advocates who have criticized his prosecution. [Associated Press]
- One of two Dallas nurses who contracted Ebola last year is donating blood to a biotech firm to determine if her antibodies can be used to develop a drug to combat the deadly disease. Amber Vinson gave the blood Wednesday to drug development company XBiotech. XBiotech CEO John Simard told WFAA-TV that those who survive Ebola have "very good antibodies" that could be the foundation for developing a resistance to the disease. Vinson's donation isn't the first; Dr. Kent Brantly and others who have contracted Ebola have given blood plasma to help treat victims. Vinson became infected while treating a Liberian who fell ill during a visit to Dallas last fall. Both she and the second nurse have recovered. Brantly contracted the disease treating patients in Liberia. [Associated Press]
- Dallas doesn’t fare too well as an arts town in a new study. Jerome Weeks with KERA’s Art&Seek reports: “Not a single city in Texas is a particularly vibrant arts center, a new study concludes. Dallas is not even in the top 20. The study was released by SMU’s National Center for Arts Research. It measures the cultural vitality of large and small urban areas. What the study calls ‘arts vibrancy’ is based on such factors as how many artists and cultural groups are there, the level of government support and how many non-profit arts dollars are spent. New York City ranked third. Washington, D.C., was first. No Texas city ranked anywhere near the top 20." Dallas is 85th and Fort Worth is 230th. Houston is 82nd and Austin is 62nd. Learn more at Art&Seek.
- NPR’s Michel Martin is coming to Dallas to tackle football ethics – and you’re invited. The special event, Offense or Defense?, takes place Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Hoglund Foundation Theater at the Perot Museum of Nature & Science in Dallas. NPR reports: Football has “become one of the most controversial [sports], and conversations around it now tackle much more than what happens ON the field. From concern over the long term health effects of the sport, to worries that its culture encourages violence off the field, who speaks for football?” Guests include Nate Jackson, former Denver Bronco and author of 'Slow Getting Up: A Story of NFL Survival From the Bottom of the Pile'; Melani Ismail, who was featured on VH1's Football Wives and is married to former Dallas Cowboys player Rocket Ismail; and Texas high school senior and star running back Nahshon Ellerbe, who plans to play football for Rice University next fall. Buy tickets here. Learn more here.