On B.S. news links

Here’s one thing I don’t miss about Facebook:

Bullshit news that will get shared over and over again...
Bullshit news that will get shared over and over again…

Via Media Watch:

Recycling the rubbish

There is a growing trend in the news – dubious online stories with stock images, no real detail, and an outlandish yarn that will pull in the punters.

And finally tonight to foreign news

Nigerian restaurant shut down for serving HUMAN FLESH – and had bags in kitchen containing heads that were still bleeding

— Daily Mail, 16th May, 2015

Yes, you can always trust the Daily Mail to have the stories you really want to read … which is why it’s one of the most popular news sites in the world.

And when the Mail finds a scoop, its rivals at News.com.au are rarely far behind .

When police raided the restaurant they discovered human heads that were still bleeding with the blood draining into plastic bags.

— News.com.au, 17th May, 2015

You would not believe the things that happen in Africa.

And if you looked at this story—which was gobbled up by the media across Australia, Britain, America, Africa and Asia, there was plenty of reason to doubt if it was true.

For a start all the stories had the same quotes from the same unnamed witnesses, like the priest who said:

“I did not know I had been served with human meat, and that it was that expensive.”

— News.com.au, 17th May, 2015

Read more here.

A well-being experiment: the Facebook-free summer.

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The Facebook.

It was a long time coming: I’m taking a hiatus from Facebook.

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There are plenty of reasons people announce (on Facebook, of course) that they are quitting. More often than not, they come back. And, there’s nothing wrong with that; It’s good to take breaks.

For me, this hiatus has nothing to do with those studies that say Facebook can cause depression, jealousy, and so on. It’s not over any relationship drama. I don’t use Facebook for that kind of thing, especially since that would require someone to have a dating life. Ha!

On the contrary, I happen to think it’s a brilliant way to communicate to a wide audience at once. I have lots of fun on Facebook, sharing funny, odd, or depressing news stories in order to engage my 1200+ Facebook “friends.” Not only do engaging debates break out on my Facebook profile, but the funny commentary often has me in tears … laughing.

Sharing important news, as always.
Sharing important news, as always.

But … I work in news and media relations. SO much of what I do is tied with constantly surfing the web, reading, and communicating: watching news trends, checking in with my ‘clients’ (faculty) and urging them to write OpEds or matching up their academic expertise to media outlets for commentary and interviews, then sharing these hits with various social media outlets. Wash, rinse, and repeat.

I’m always “on.” And I’m tired, especially with everything going on with my dad.

With the advent of the smartphone (the Blackberry was my first) years ago, it became clear that even though one wasn’t in the office, work could still get done. Emails could get answered first thing in the morning when I wake up, or at 1 a.m. in the morning, when I’m in a cab on my way to the next social event: Why not look at my phone and respond to that email, or surf Twitter for the latest breaking news? And with that news in hand, it’s only “my (self-imposed) duty” to share with my Facebook friends, right?

To put it simply: I’m burning out.

In addition to putting this sometimes undo pressure on myself to constantly communicate (sometimes necessary for work, but definitely NOT necessary to the point that others remind me [jokingly; I know] that I’ve missed a weird news story), it’s become a massive crutch when it comes to friendship.

Earlier I mentioned 1200+ “friends.” Let’s be realistic: I do not have that many friends. Some of these are networking acquaintances. Others were friends in high school and college who, these days, make me cringe with their racist, sexist, and misogynist, (yeah, I said it) statements on Facebook that it’s no wonder we do not hang out in person.

But among that list, are real friends who I have neglected because life gets in the way—and so does Facebook. Check out this excerpt from a Matthew Warner blog post that explains what I mean perfectly:

“When we see each other’s status updates every once in awhile, it gives us the illusion that we’ve “kept in touch” (even though most family and friends don’t see our updates — they aren’t on Facebook, don’t check regularly or missed it in their feed). It’s a poor substitute for meaningfully keeping in touch with our loved ones, but we compromise and settle for it anyway because it’s easy. When it comes to allocating how much energy we put into which relationships, it builds in a bias toward convenience vs importance. And, again, we end up doing so at the expense of time we should be spending on more personal interaction with our most important relationships.

“It’s made me into a lazy friend and loved one.”

So why not keep Facebook and just not log on and engage? Um, duh: I’m a communicating junkie; I can’t do that. (For more on that and other reasons to quit or take a real break from Facebook, check out “5 Things I Learned When I Quit Facebook” over at ABC.com.)

And why choose Facebook out of all the other social media? Well, I can’t quit Twitter: too much of the news world is there, so it comes with the career. And Instagram is easy: it’s just pictures. Since Facebook is more of a time suck, it’s the natural choice. And, remember, this is not a permanent thing. It’s simply a hiatus. An experiment, if you will.

The one worry I have on taking this break from Facebook is that it’s an excellent way to keep in touch with family and friends in other United States and overseas. This is especially crucial at a time when my father is in poor health and living at a nursing home since his hip fracture in late January. But I have to think of my well-being first. The less time on Facebook, the more time being present when I’m with my mom and dad. So, although it will take more effort, we’ll have to communicate via phone or email.

Sharing family news on Facebook: definitely one of the many reasons it's a great social media channel.
Sharing family news on Facebook: definitely one of the many reasons it’s a great social media channel.

So this is it: the hiatus is on, and so is the challenge: I feel the need to reconnect with people and return to my hobbies (writing about South American culture and music for Sounds and Colours) the good, old-fashioned way.

In the meantime, follow me on Twitter: @ginavergel7, Instagram: @ginavergel, and on this blog, of course!

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Tweet, tweet!

The Year in Wiener News: 2013

Rejoice! This post is NOT about Weiner.
Rejoice! This post is NOT about Weiner.

Relax, this post has nothing to do with Anthony Weiner. It is an end-of-the-year roundup on wiener news, though! (And special thanks to a friend who suggested I write this.)

Before we get to it, let’s all agree that as far as 2013 is concerned, it was a monumental one in news:

We got a new Pope, a shitty-I.T. department-like Obamacare rollout, a royal baby, and a tragic bombing at the Boston Marathon. There was a massive fertilizer plant explosion and fire in West, Texas, a terrifying tornado in Oklahoma, the government shutdown for an extended period of time, we lost Nelson Mandela, and that gem of a neighborhood watchman, George Zimmerman, was acquitted of killing Trayvon Martin, and later arrested for domestic violence. (His girlfriend dropped the charges, of course.) And that’s not all. CBS Pittsburgh compiled more here.

The year also brought us more social media by way of Instagram and Vine videos (watch some hilarious Vine vids here), chats that disappear via Snapchat, and Twitter and Facebook continue with high engagement from their users.

On my Facebook page, it was a big (no pun intended) year for news of everyone’s favorite male member: the penis! I’ve rounded up some of the year’s best peen news nuggets below.

Look before you sit.
Look before you sit.

Best international penis news (tie): Australian man avoids jail for choking ex after she bit his penis: It’s only fair. She bit him first. And from the African continent, Snake bites man’s penis in Ghana public toilet.

Best medical development for a crooked penis news: FDA approves drug for severe curvature of the penis: Treatment with Xiaflex involves two injections of the drug into the penile scar tissue and a penile “modeling” procedure that involves manipulation of the penis by a healthcare provider. It sounds painful, but so is having a crooked peen, according to the article.

Traffic reporter Siobhan Riley says the drawing was innocent.
Traffic reporter Siobhan Riley says the drawing was innocent.

Best news anchor #fail related penis news (VIDEO): ABC12 news reporter Siobhan Riley was detailing which sections of Saginaw, Michigan, would be undergoing construction on a large map. As she laid out the grid plan, she unknowingly drew what appeared to be a large phallus, complete with testicles at the bottom. Hey maybe she had something on her mind.

Second runner-up: Awkward! Out of the Czech Republic: Large Penis Videobombs News Anchor During Live Broadcast.

Best Mike Tyson is involved in this one, so there’s really nothing good, better, or best, about it: The former heavyweight champions autobiography contained tons of surprises about his chaotic life. In fact, that he used a Fake Penis to Pass Drug Tests is the least surprising nugget out of this gem.

Best indecent exposure arrest-related penis news: He claims his penis was itchy, but according to police, this sicko was following a customer around in a store while jerking his chicken. Gross. A Florida man arrested on indecent exposure charges said he had to expose himself in a department store because his genitals were itchy.

Screen shot 2013-12-18 at 4.16.10 PMBest King of Pop-related penis news: The guy may be in jail, but can we all wish some collective bad juju on him in the joint for talking about this in an interview? Eww. Dr. Conrad Murray: ‘I held Michael Jackson’s penis every night’

Best reason proof that “legalizing it doesn’t get rid of violence in the United States” related penis news: Money and drugs go hand in hand, which is why this probably went down: Four charged with severing penis of California marijuana dispensary owner.

Best breakfast-related penis news: I know the Brits like meat with their eggs for breakfast, but this is ridiculous: Man with penis stuck in toaster rescued.

Best “Oh, Colombian men!” -related penis news:

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They just can’t leave well enough alone, can they? See what happens when you try to impress your (I assume much younger) girlfriend? South Colombia man has penis amputated after Viagra overdose.

Best sports-related penis news:

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Rugby in New Zealand. Well, those tiny shorts they wear are pretty hot: Ex-NRL player Anthony Watts accused of biting opponent’s penis during Gold Coast match.

Best painful experiment-related penis news:

Screen shot 2013-12-18 at 4.35.31 PMOh grandpa. Not this again: Fork stuck in man’s penis after bizarre sexual mishap.

Best science-related penis news: This may depend on your (personal issues) point of view, I guess: “The attractiveness of a larger penis is intertwined with height and body shape, new research suggests.” Penis size does matter.

Best architecture-related penis news:

Screen shot 2013-12-18 at 4.41.55 PMPenis-Shaped Christian Science Church Doesn’t Look That Much Like A Penis, Architect Claims. Oh yes, it does, sir. Isn’t lying one of the 10 Commandments?

Second runner-up: Well, it’s not penis-related, but since when is a woman’s nether region not related to the penis? Architect Zaha Hadid Fires Back at Critics of Her So-Called “Vagina Stadium.”

Best “like The Hangover, only 10-times worse” -related penis news: Alcohol is the devil: Man found on road with his penis severed and absolutely no idea what had happened.

Best “guns are not for everyone” –related penis news: Hey, at least it wasn’t in the United States this time. Yee-haw! Philippine man accidentally shoots his own penis.

Best “school field trip gone wrong” -related penis news: Another one not from the good, old, United States. We’re more into teachers sleeping with their students, I guess: ‘Penis piercing teacher’ axed.

Which brings us to the best “teacher grabs penis” news: Of course, this one is ours. Oh, Ohio: Student: Accused teacher ‘put her hand in my pants.’

Second runner-up: Oh, Florida, you know I couldn’t leave you out of this! And, to boot, you know there’s a critical shortage of good math teachers when, “Jeanne Michaud, a Seminole County math teacher, had nearly a 30-year history of disciplinary problems, but parents said she was talented and could make even advanced courses fun.” Teacher fired over penis carving.

I’ll end the list with something that sits below the peen:

Best BALLS-related (non-penis) news:

Screen shot 2013-12-18 at 6.10.24 PMHey, this body part is part of the penis family! Believe it or not, this incident was over a parking spot: Woman in China could face death penalty for killing man by crushing testicles.