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Facebook's 50 Gender Options; Scientists Grow Human Lungs; U.S. Speed Skaters Blame Suit Design Flaw; PetSmart Teams Up to Offer Canine Companions to Vets; Winter Storms Ruin Valentine Florists; Pope Meets Couples; 94-Year-Old With Dating Advice
Aired February 14, 2014 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Facebook users, your "about" section just expanded in a big and maybe, for many of you, unfamiliar way.
Under gender, there is now a custom option, and it allows you to choose from 50 terms.
Here's some of the examples, cisgender, gender fluid, two-spirit, intersex, and neither.
Now, that's just some of the 50. Facebook said they made the move to, quote, "help you better express your own identity."
Joining me now, Rich Ferraro, vice president of communications for GLAAD.
So, Rich, you actually worked on this project with Facebook. So, whose idea was it, and why did it become an issue and an important move for Facebook?
RICH FERRARO, VICE PRESIDENT OF COMMUNICATIONS, GLAAD: Sure. There were many Facebook users who started online petitions and who contacted Facebook, because Facebook today is a reflection for who we are and the story that we want to tell the world about ourselves.
And there were some users who couldn't do that. Facebook contacted GLAAD to help work with us on this issue.
And GLAAD was happy to work with Facebook, but more importantly, we were happy for the transgender and the gender non-conforming youth who now could tell the world who they are in their own words.
PHILLIPS: So, explain how you worked within the process, how GLAAD helped and how did you come up with these terms.
FERRARO: Sure. We worked with Facebook to make it and inclusive for LGBT unions. What we are seeing here is a trend in corporate America in schools and the media for acceptance of LGBT people.
PHILLIPS: You mentioned non-conforming. For people who are unfamiliar with folks who are considered non-conforming, explain what that means and why it's important. FERRARO: Sure. We are living in a culture where the latest report shows half of young people report being bullied online for who they are. I don't think you need to know the meaning of every term to know what it means to feel accepted and included.
PHILLIPS: We are talking 50 descriptions. Probably to the average person they are going huh? I don't understand? It's either male or female, right? Just a couple that our team didn't know. We didn't know cisgender. Explain what that is.
FERRARO: If you can put yourself in the shoes of a young person who identifies this way and recognized that they didn't have the option of sharing who they were with the world on yesterday when Facebook made this change, we have a resource where you can learn a little bit more about the gender identities and the young people who identify that way.
PHILLIPS: What about two spirit?
FERRARO: That's the term to use that male and female doesn't best describe who they are.
PHILLIPS: Interesting. What do you say to the folks who say this is way too much to understand and comprehend and why can't we keep it more simple?
FERRARO: It's not ridiculous to accept young people for who they are. Facebook has made a great step forward to telling the young people that you can be who you are on Facebook.
PHILLIPS: That's a beautiful thing. We all want to be who we are. Thank you so much.
FERRARO: Thank you.
PHILLIPS: As I speak to you, there more than 130,000 sick patients waiting for an organ. This next story may one day make that list a little smaller, maybe even make it obsolete.
Scientists in Texas have actually grown a human lung in a lab.
Senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen, joining me now, how the heck is this even possible?
We were all talking about it this morning. We're like, Grown in a lab?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's amazing. I know I'm a nerd, but it really is just such an amazing thing.
Now I will say they started their raw ingredients were real. So what they did is they took -- there were two children who unfortunately died, probably in car accidents.
And they took one of them and they took that lung, it couldn't be used for transplants, it was too damaged, and they stripped it and they caught what they called a scaffold, so it's just like the collagen and elastin. Think of it as the skeleton -- there it is.
PHILLIPS: This is it.
COHEN: This is it. That is the skeleton of the lung.
And then another child had also died, also probably in a car accident. The lung couldn't be used for transplantation and they took the cells out that lung and they put it on top of the scaffold.
And then they put it in sort of a chamber and they let it grow for a while and, voila, they got a lung, so it's a lung made actually from two real lungs, but this lung was made in a lab.
PHILLIPS: So how long before doctors can use these lungs in real patients?
COHEN: It is going to take a long time. The researcher who did this said, look, it's going to be 10 or 12 years before we try this out in humans.
They're going to try it in pigs first and then they'll try it in humans.
They don't know if this can do what's called gas exchange, exchanging all the gasses that needs to be done. It's really not ready for primetime at all.
PHILLIPS: Is this the beginning of possibly other body parts that might --
COHEN: It's interesting. Some other body parts are actually further along.
PHILLIPS: Oh, really?
COHEN: Yeah, there are. Like tracheas.
I think you and I, several years ago, talked about a completely synthetic trachea that was put in a patient in 2011. And now seven patients have been given new tracheas. And for the most part, they've done quite well.
So, this really is sort of a new era of engineered body parts and the Holy Grail is to engineer organs because so many people are waiting for them.
PHILLIPS: Gosh, I just think of the individuals with lung cancer and -- yeah, I mean, this could be --
COHEN: Or who need kidneys or livers.
PHILLIPS: Phenomenal, yeah.
Elizabeth Cohen, thanks so much.
Up next, big problems for the U.S. speed skating team. They have been slow to the finish line and reports say it may be because of a design flaw in their suits.
Hear how the designer of the suits responded to me, next.
PHILLIPS: High-tech suits, they are pegged as the future of speed skating, may actually be slowing down Team USA.
Take a look at this ad for the suits in question.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know there is a better way. This is faster than anyone could have imagined. This is the Under Armour Mach 39, the fastest speed skating suit ever built.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: The fastest speed skating suit ever built? Maybe not. Turns out the U.S. Speed Skating Team who have four medals under the belt from the Vancouver games have failed to reach the podium.
In fact, no American speed skater finished better than seventh place. Why? The "Wall Street Journal" is quoting sources who say that the vents on the back of the suits are creating drag. And it's slowing the athletes down.
Now, earlier, I put those allegations to Kevin Haley, senior vice president of innovation for Under Armour.
Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEVIN HALEY, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT FOR INNOVATION, UNDER ARMOUR (via telephone): We are confident in the suits, as confident today as we ever have been.
The notion that the vents in the back of the suit were a problem has been put to rest ever since the Women's 1,000.
Our goal is to give the athletes what they want. They asked us to make adjustments to the suit and, in particular, the one performance- related adjustment they asked for is could we get rid of that vent.
And so prior to the Women's 1,000, all four of the suits worn by the four women in that race were modified.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: The U.S. Speedskating Association told CNN, quote, "We are working with our athletes, trainers and equipment partners to figure out what to do to better -- or to produce, rather, better results for Team USA."
No wardrobe malfunction for NBC's Olympic coverage team, but health is forcing a change at the top in Sochi, Russia.
A persistent eye infection has sidelined longtime host Bob Costas. His red eye was the talk of Twitter and the distraction of viewers until NBC ordered him to stand down.
Matt Lauer filled in with a marathon shift that involved both the "Today" show and Olympics' coverage. Now it's Meredith Vieira's turn. And she will make history, by the way, becoming the first woman to anchor NBC Olympic coverage, solo.
NBC will probably be happy when the games, not the anchors, are the talk of Sochi and today it was men's figure skating that was the must- have ticket.
If you don't want to hear the results, you might want to close your ears for a minute.
Ian Lee joins me now from the games with more. So, Ian, how did the Americans do?
IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Americans didn't get a medal, Kyra. But there is one figure skater to be looking for, Jason Brown.
He's a 19-year-old, he finished ninth and he was kind of a surprise for Team USA. They didn't expect him to do this well.
He kind of came into this event nonchalantly, wasn't really sure about doing it, but performed quite well.
So we're going to be watching him closely when the Winter Games are in South Korea next, Kyra.
PHILLIPS: President Putin had a busy time in Sochi, even made a surprise visit today, right?
LEE: That's right, he visited Team USA's house. He went there and the stoic president let his hair down a bit. He was drinking some wine. He was chatting with the athletes, not about politics, just about sports.
But it was a very cordial event. He asked, genuinely, how their conditions were, and the athletes responded that it couldn't be better. They were very happy with the accommodations and happy with the hospitality of the Russians.
He also got a Valentine's Day gift from Team USA while leaving. He got one of those silver Nike jackets as well as a Valentine's pin from the team.
PHILLIPS: All right, Ian Lee, thanks so much.
This just in to CNN. We are hearing for the first time now from Richie Incognito, the Miami Dolphins players accused of bullying a teammate.
A new report, as you know, from the NFL, says that he was one of three players who targeted not only Jon Martin, but also another player and a trainer. Incognito's attorney now writes, quote, "Mr. Wells' NFL report is replete with errors -- or complete with errors -- or replete with errors." Sorry.
"The facts do not support a conclusion that Jonathan Martin's mental health, drug use or on-field performance issues were related to the treatment by his teammates.
"It is disappointing that Mr. Wells would have gotten it so wrong, but not surprising.
"The truth as reported by the Dolphins' players and as shown by the evidence is that Jonathan Martin was never bullied by Richie Incognito or any member of the Dolphins' defensive line.
"We are analyzing the entire report and will release a thorough analysis as soon as it's ready," end quote.
Coming up, PetSmart pet stores teaming up with an animal group to offer service dog to vets coming home from combat, Canine Companions, that story's next.
Also, a sinkhole opens up at the National Corvette Museum, swallowing up eight cars. We've got some new video shot by a drone from inside the sinkhole.
Stay with us.
PHILLIPS: PetSmart pet stores teaming up with an animal group to offer service dogs to help vets coming home from combat. Love that.
Jake Tapper is on the story. Jake, it seems like a pretty cool idea. How does it work?
JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, in the next six to 12 months, what veterans can do is they can go to any PetSmart store and find out more about this program.
It costs about $45,000, $50,000 to train one of these dogs. PetSmart is teaming up with Canine Companions for Independence, which has, since -- I think since 2008, they've placed 102 service dogs with returning veterans.
And it's really remarkable what these animals can do. A lot of service members out there seem to think, this program says, that these dogs are only for people in wheelchairs or amputees. That's not the case.
They can actually help veterans with back injuries, with traumatic brain injury.
And so it's a way that PetSmart is trying to get more people involved in the program. One of the senior V.P.s of PetSmart is a combat veteran and he's been bringing it into focus for people.
PHILLIPS: I tell you what, anything we can do for our combat vets is pretty cool. Thanks, Jake.
TAPPER: Thank you. We'll have more of this, obviously, on "THE LEAD," coming up.
PHILLIPS: Sounds good. In just a few minutes. Thanks, Jake.
Some of the hottest stories in a flash, "Rapid Fire," let's roll it, Roger.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS (voice-over): A massive coal ash spill into a North Carolina river is the subject of a federal criminal investigation. Authorities want to know what, if any, violations occurred.
Subpoenas sent to the plant operator, Duke Energy, called for company officials to appear before a grand jury next month.
A corvette stuck in a sinkhole got a visit from a drone. Here's drone video of eight Corvettes inside that sinkhole at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
The sinkhole opened up Wednesday, swallowed up eight of the rare cars. The sinkhole is about 45-feet wide, 25-feet deep.
Damaged cars include a 1962 black Corvette donated by an Indiana man. I know, it's heart wrenching. Apparently he babied this Corvette so much he never even drove it in the rain. Now his Corvette is at the bottom of the sinkhole.
She is no question the thinnest and stiffest models ever to be in the "Sports Illustrated" swimsuit edition. Barbie is making a special appearance to commemorate the swimsuit issue's 50th anniversary.
The campaign is linked with the Twitter hash-tag, #unapologetic. A Mattel spokesperson told AdWeek, quote, "Unapologetic is a rally call to embrace who you are to never have to apologize for it."
But one mommy blogger writes Barbie in S.I. makes it, quote, "a sex doll."
The winter storms that blitzed the East Coast is a disaster for florists on Valentine's Day, shopper stuck at home, delivery trucks buried in the snow, and shipments from Florida delayed while planes just sat on the runways.
Now florists are scrambling to get those bouquets wherever they've got to go.
DAVE SHOVER, FLORIST: This is actually the super bowl for florists so with the weather it just adds another element that we have to deal with.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In Virginia, we had a delivery where the snow has covered all of the area and we couldn't identify the street.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're just asking the clients to cooperate with us. We don't have any control over the weather.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: Americans usually spend nearly $2 billion on Valentine's Day.
It's one of the three busiest times for florists, along with Mother's Day, of course, and the December holidays.
Well, coming up, it is Valentine's Day, as we mentioned, and Pope Francis is offering his thoughts on love and marriage.
In an unprecedented event, he met with young couples today at the Vatican. You're going to want to hear his advice, next.
PHILLIPS: Well, if you like it, then you better put a ring on it. The pope's valentine's day message, get married. I wonder if he listened to Beyonce.
He wrote, "Dear young people, don't be afraid to marry. A fruitful marriage will bring you happiness."
The pope met with hundreds of engaged couples today. One couple asked the pope advice for living together as a married couple.
The pope said, it's an art, a patient art. It's a beautiful art. It's fascinating. We all know there isn't a perfect family. Neither a perfect husband nor a perfect wife.
After dispensing love advice, Pope Francis can enjoy a bit of chocolate statue of himself. The huge statue was a recent gift from student chocolateers.
Here is Erin McLaughlin.
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kyra, 10,000 couples showed up for a special audience with Pope Francis.
There was singing, comedy, testimony from married couples. I even saw some smooching going on in the crowd of St. Peter's Square.
Pope Francis arrived after all of that, of course, and answered around three questions from some of the couples in the crowd.
They were scripted questions. He explained that he wanted to prepare thorough answers.
One of the couples asked him about what makes a successful marriage, and he said it comes down to three things, permission, thank you, and forgiveness.
He also had this advice for couples who get in fights. Take a listen at what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POPE FRANCIS, ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH (via translator): It is often the case that husbands and wives argue, but if there has been an argument, if you got upset, even if you throw a plate or dish, please remember this.
Never end a single day without being at peace with each other, never, never.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLAUGHLIN: So some love advice from Pope Francis.
Some are saying this is part of his effort to trigger a sort of marriage renaissance within the Catholic Church. Today he had the crowd to show for it.
PHILLIPS: Thank you, Erin.
Love can find you at any age and at any time. Just ask 94-year-old Golden Henny.
She recently got set up on a blind date with this 95-year-old man. Well, the two of them hit it off, and Henny hasn't dated since her husband died 20 years ago, but she is floating on cloud nine again.
Look at that. Even gets the door for her, holds her hand, brings her flowers.
She and her new companion, John, by the way, went on a date last night.
She has some advice for any of you too, looking for love.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOLDEN HENNING, 94-YEAR-OLD DATER: You have one life to live. It's up to you to enjoy that life.
Life is there to live and if you can't do it for yourself, do it for others.
Oh, look at those. Oh! Another one. That was so good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: I love it. Happy Valentine's Day, Golden Henning and your sweet love bunch there.
That does it for us here. Happy Valentine's Day.
"THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.