In the aftermath of the Parkland shooting, lots of schools seemed to agree with that approach and moved to put more "good guys" in the classroom. This week, Gianna Toboni sees firsthand how some teachers are taking up arms and explores the deep divisions in America that make stopping these mass shootings seem nearly impossible.

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Jay “J-Bot” Vance knows this quite well. As the lead singer, songwriter, choreographer, and builder of the robotic band Teddy Bear Orchestra, he long ago did away with human bandmates.

“There's egos. There's emotions. Some people might be on drugs,” Vance told VICE News. "I have no problem with drugs, but some people, you know, they might act crazy when they're on drugs.”

Unlike the humans he’s played with, J-Bot’s current bandmates require only levers, pulleys, and blasts of pneumatic air pressure to rock out. Everything is built by hand from mostly salvaged parts, and the teddy bears themselves were given to him by friends.

“There's something about taking stuff that's broken, that has no use to anybody," Vance explained. "And then you turn it into something it was never meant to be. Or you just fix it so it functions. That feeling is the best feeling in the world.”

Catch the Teddy Bear Orchestra live as they tour the West Coast throughout April.

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Aleksandr Kogan was working for Cambridge University when he designed a personality testing app which gathered the data of tens of millions of Facebook users.

That data was passed on to political consultancy Cambridge Analytica without user consent, and is alleged to have been used to try and influence voters in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Kogan told VICE News that he believes a copy of that data is still available, even though Kogan and Cambridge Analytica assured Facebook it had deleted the data. Kogan has said he deleted the data.

"I mean I lost my career for sure," Kogan told VICE News. "Like It’ll be very difficult for me to ever be an academic anywhere."

Since being branded a liar by Facebook for his role in the affair, Kogan has been on a road to try and clear his name.

VICE News joined Kogan before — and after — his visit to Britain's parliament.

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3:16 VICE News investigates allegations of abuse in detention camps in Yemen, where migrants from the Horn of Africa are being held.

13:22 VICE News examines what Amazon's financial statements tell us about the state of the corporate taxes in America.

17:01 Businesses in Florida and Georgia both rely on the same river basin. But the neighboring states disagree on how much of the river’s water can get taken out of the river.

23:05 Disgruntled musician and DIY roboticist Jay Vance is reviving his band of robotic teddy bears that hasn't been on tour since their first in 2007. VICE News checks in as he gets (and oils and tweaks and fixes) the band back together and goes on tour.

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In 2016, McCaughey was home in Colorado for a rodeo tournament when she filled out an mail-in ballot for the presidential election. She returned to college in Kansas that fall, forgetting about the ballot she’d left at home on the kitchen counter, and voted again with friends on election day. It wasn’t until her mom called a few days later to tell her she’d mailed her ballot that Bailey realized she’d voted twice -- both times for Donald Trump.

A few months later, Kobach came calling. McCaughey says that a detective from Kobach’s office contacted her in August 2017, and that she was upfront with him about mistakenly voting twice. They met once at a Starbucks in Garden City, Kansas and he reassured her that the charges would likely be dropped. McCaughey says she was never contacted by anyone from the secretary of state’s office again. (Kobach and the secretary of state’s office did not respond to multiple interview requests from VICE News.)

In January 2018, McCaughey learned from a reporter that Kobach had filed two felony charges against her: election perjury and voting more than once, the latter of which carries a jail sentence of up to 13 months.

Kobach is the first and only secretary of state in the country with the power to prosecute these kinds of cases. In 2015, he convinced the state legislature to give him prosecutorial authority, arguing that widespread voter fraud warranted it. But in three years since, he’s charged just 15 people, only two of which have been noncitizens.

VICE News went to Kansas to see what it’s like when Kobach comes after you.


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The “adpocalypse”, as it has come to be known online, began last December when YouTube launched an A.I. powered automated content policing tool which removes advertisements from content that falls into the company’s broad “Not Advertiser Friendly” category, such as “sensitive social issues” or “tragedy and conflict.”

Kasarda and McCollum run two successful YouTube channels that focus solely on guns. Kasarda’s channel “InRangeTV” has more than 150,000 subscribers and McCollum’s “Forgotten Weapons” has more than 700,000. They both make content that violates the new rules but don’t have plans to change what they are doing.

“Watching a video is not an illegal act. Learning information or learning about how things work should not be an illegal act, unless we're wanting to move into a dark age. If we really want to call information dangerous where does that stop?” Kasarda said.

While Kasada and McCollum recognize that YouTube is a private company and has the right to police its content, they view these new rules as a dangerous slippery slope away from freedom of speech on the Internet’s largest public square of video content.

VICE News visits the online gun video duo from Tucson, Arizona and talks about the climate for gun videos on the platform.

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There are a couple of reasons for this. One, dozens of complicated but important solutions to climate change are being researched all around the country, but scientists are notoriously bad at explaining their work to non-scientists. And two, that can make it harder to drum up interest in and support for these projects.

Here’s one example: A research group at MIT is looking at a way to turn plants into lights using solar energy. The method is called “plant nanobionics” and involves putting tiny little mechanical parts, a.k.a. nanostructures, into plants to make them able to do things they wouldn't normally do, like produce light.

The hope is that these glowing plants could do more than bring us one step closer to living in a version of Avatar’s Pandora — they could also significantly help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from electrical lighting. Lighting currently accounts for about 20 percent of worldwide energy consumption and produces significant carbon emissions as well as e-waste.

It’s pretty cool, and the results could be a significant breakthrough. So to really understand it, we invited the scientists from the MIT lab to tell us about their work and how it might help solve climate change. The catch was they had to explain it to an actual group of first graders.

Watch the results and learn about plant nanobionics along with the first grade class of Brooke East Boston charter school:

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3:06 VICE News examines Paul Ryan's decision not to seek reelection

7:00 VICE News embedded with Greg Walden, chairman of the Energy and Commerce committee as he prepared for this week’s hearing.

11:51 The Fair Housing Act of 1968 outlawed discrimination in the sale of housing. So why does segregation still exist 50 years later? VICE News examines Baltimore to learn how segregation was created, perpetuated, and more recently, successfully combated.

16:06 VICE met the rangers in the Congo tasked with protecting the parks gorillas last year. VICE News looks at the role they play in protecting wildlife and how insecurity in the country doesn’t bode well for the future.

18:42 In 2006, Keith Barron found the largest gold deposit in Ecuador’s history. The government then banned further exploration while it created a formal system for collecting royalties. Now that the ban has been lifted, Barron is on a mission to find the country’s ''lost cities of gold.''

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Permanent cemetery plots ran out a long time ago, so cremation has become the preferred option for Hong Kong residents. But finding a spot, or a niche, in a government-run columbarium (buildings where urns are stored) involves a lengthy wait that can take years.

Private columbaria are the best alternative for those who can afford it, but in 2017 the government decided to regulate the market and forced private operators to get licensed. Private operators had until March 31 to submit their applications, but no licenses have been granted yet. In the meantime, private columbaria haven’t been allowed to sell or let out any new niches, effectively causing a freeze in the market since last June.

VICE News went to Hong Kong to see just how hard it is for Hongkongers to find a resting place, and to look at some of the solutions being offered

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3:25 VICE News sits down to watch the Zuckerberg testimony with a former Facebook employee/Zuckerberg confidant.

7:58 VICE News meets with biohackers researching and developing gene therapies that they test on themselves.

18:00 Hong Kong is running out of space to bury its dead. VICE News looks at how the government and private citizens alike are dealing with the issue.

22:30 Amanda Werner made headlines last October for dressing up as Monopoly Man and sitting behind the Equifax CEO during a Senate hearing. Tomorrow Mark Zuckerberg gets the treatment: Amanda plans to dress up as a troll doll and attend his appearance before a Senate panel. EMS tags along to talk political theater.


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See it on #VICEonHBO at 7:30 PM and 11PM on HBO, HBO Now.

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VICE's Michael Moynihan travels to Russia with Vitalik Buterin, inventor of the Ethereum blockchain, to get a front row seat to the geopolitical tug of war over Internet 3.0.

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Al Kontar's chronicled his story on social media, highlighting similarities to the Tom Hanks film The Terminal.

The 36-year-old left Syria for the UAE well before the war started, but when it came time to renew his Syrian passport in 2012 the regime refused, because he hadn't completed his military service.

He was eventually kicked out of the UAE in 2017 and went to Malaysia, but broke his 90 day visitor visa.

Attempts to travel to Ecuador and Cambodia failed too, and Malaysia doesn't want him back in.

He took VICE News on a guided tour of his new home in the arrivals area, where he sleeps under stairs, and dines on donated airline food.

Malaysia's government has signaled it might let Al Kontar back in on a special visa for Syrian refugees, but he wants full rights to work, fearing he'll be stuck in a cycle of statelessness like so many other Syrians displaced by the war.

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In an exclusive interview with VICE News, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) confirmed he is putting his name on legislation that he said is aimed at “decriminalizing” marijuana at the federal level.

For Schumer, this is a shift. While he has backed medical marijuana and the rights of states to experiment with legal sales of pot, what he is proposing is a seismic shift in federal drug policy .

“Ultimately, it’s the right thing to do. Freedom. If smoking marijuana doesn’t hurt anybody else, why shouldn’t we allow people to do it and not make it criminal?” Schumer said.

While Schumer’s position in the Senate make his support of de-scheduling significant, he’s hardly the first high-profile Democrat to back such a move. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) has long been a proponent of removing marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances, and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) recently introduced the Marijuana Justice Act, which would federally legalize weed. Republicans, who still control Congress, haven’t been as open to the idea, though recent polls have shown a majority of party members now favor legalization.

The legislation, which Schumer’s office expects will be released within the next week, has six main points. First, it would remove marijuana from Drug Enforcement Administration’s list of controlled substances, which would end federal prohibition and leave it up to states to decide how to regulate the drug. Schumer stopped short of calling it legalization, but de-scheduling would essentially make marijuana legal at the federal level.

His bill would also would create some funding for minority and women-owned marijuana businesses, provide money for research into overall effects of marijuana and it’s specific effect on driving impairment. And lastly, it would “maintain federal authority to regulate marijuana advertising in the same way it does alcohol and tobacco,” which Schumer said is to make sure marijuana businesses aren’t targeting children with their ads.

Schumer went further saying that he would support legalization in his home state of New York as well as any other state that wants to move in that direction. “My personal view is legalization is just fine,” he said. “The best thing to do is let each state decide on its own.”

While this looks like an obvious election year-play, Schumer claimed it wasn’t about he looming 2018 or 2020 elections.

“I’m doing it because I think it’s the right thing to do. I’ve seen too many people’s lives ruined by the criminalization,” he said. “If we benefit, so be it. But that’s not my motivation.”

When asked if he had ever smoked weed before, Schumer said no, but when pressed on whether he might be willing to try it he said, “Maybe, I’m a little old, but who knows?”

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