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The Week in Women: A hacker in hot water, “Pharma Bro” gets banned from Twitter, and R.B.G. reaches out to a fan

January 13, 2017

Ah, the internet. Headlines this week were dominated by the World Wide Web, in all its weird and wonderful glory. A photo went viral, a hacker was sanctioned, and Martin Shkreli made yet another appearance that nobody asked for or wanted. Let’s take a look back, shall we?

Pharma villain Martin Shkreli, who infamously raised the price of a life-saving drug by 500 percent, has been banned from Twitter for repeatedly harassing a female reporter. Lauren Duca recently wrote a piece for Teen Vogue titled “Donald Trump is Gaslighting America,” which drew both praise and ire online. Shkreli, who supports Trump, sent Duca a direct message asking her to be his “date” to the upcoming inauguration. He also wrote in his Twitter bio that he has “a small crush on @laurenduca,” updated his profile’s banner to include a collage of photos of Duca, and changed his profile picture to an image of Duca and her husband—with his own mug Photoshopped onto Duca’s husband’s face. Now that Shkreli’s account has been dismantled, one can only assume that he is occupying himself by plotting dastardly deeds with Kingpin and Lex Luthor in some lux metropolitan penthouse.

A young Russian hacker has had her business placed on a sanction list for allegedly helping the Russians interfere with the U.S. presidential election. According to the list issued by the U.S. government last week, Alisa Shevchenko, a skilled hacker whose company ZOR helps businesses identify weaknesses in their online security, provided the Russian Federation’s foreign intelligence service “with technical research and development.” Shevchenko has denied the accusations, saying on Twitter that the “most plausible scenario is that my company was framed: either to cover up APT28 [a cyber espionage group likely associated with the Russian military], or to introduce a target for any ‘Russian Hacking’ blame.”

A domestic violence survivor, who fled her home because her husband was abusive, built a new house for her children with the help of YouTube tutorials. Cara Brookins had no prior construction knowledge and limited funds. She couldn’t afford to buy a home, but she had enough money to purchase the materials to build one. So she turned to YouTube. “With just a little bit at a time, we figured out how to lay a foundation block,” Brookins said. “I’ve learned that I can do anything.” Oops, crying in public again.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court Justice and internet darling, sent a cute and encouraging note to a young fan. Last month, 8-year-old Michele Threefoot dressed up as Ginsburg for her school’s superhero day, and a photo of the girl’s costume garnered thousands of likes on social media. It also attracted the attention of Ginsburg staffers. This week, Michele received a handwritten letter from Ginsburg, which read: “You look just like me! May you continue to thrive on reading and learning.” It warms the heart to see Ginsburg taking the time to reach out to young admirers—you know, when she’s not busy crusading for civil rights and making surprise appearances during performances of 19th century operas.