FRIDAY FUNNY: WHY INSTAGRAM SUCKS

It’s true that Instagram is the many-headed frenemy, the great underminer. We know this because science tells us so. Research has found that your “passive consumption” of your friends’ feeds and your own “broadcasts to wider audiences” on Instagram correlate with feelings of loneliness and even depression. It was also found that “passive following” on Instagram triggers states of envy and resentment in many users, with vacation photos standing out as a prime trigger. Heres why:

Instagram is exclusively image-driven, and images will crack your mirror.“You get more explicit and implicit cues of people being happy, rich, and successful from a photo than from a status update,” Self-promotion triggers more self-promotion, and the world on social media gets further and further from reality.” 

Instagram messes more with your sense of time.“You spend so much time creating flattering, idealized images of yourself, sorting through hundreds of images for that one perfect picture, and then you spend even more time staring at other people’s carefully curated and filtered images that you assume they didn’t spend much time on. And the more you do that, “the more distorted your perception is that their lives are happier and more meaningful than yours.” Again, because Instagram is image-based, it creates a purer reality-distortion field.

Instagram ups your chances of violating “the gray line of stalkerism.” Arguably, you’ve violated the gray line of stalkerism simply by looking at those photos in the first place, even if you don’t reveal yourself in public as the sad lurker that you are. Each time you swipe through more images of people’s meals and soirees and vacation sunsets, you are potentially blurring the boundary between stranger-you-haven’t-met and sleazy voyeur skulking around the cabana with an iPhone.

Here’s a funny video from the comedic crew over at Reckless Tortuga that shows how Ugly instagram can get! Watch below:

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DISNEY RESURRECTS STAR WARS WITH EPISODE VII

In 2005 it looked like the Star Wars saga was officially over with Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, completing the prequels that tied the story back to the original trilogy. Fast forward to
October 2012, where Disney studios brokered a $4.05 billion deal to buy Lucasfilm, and with the deal came the announcement that they would be starting production on a whole new trilogy of Star Wars films that would keep the epic story going for years and years to come. It’s speculated that Abrams and his team would have to start filming in May 2015 to hit the December 2015 release date (making it the first in the franchise not to have a summer release date). Filming will take place in the UK, and the size of the production actually is triggering expansion at the ILM facilities in Great Britain. Disney’s Bob Iger also confirmed that the storyline concocted by screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan (and, possibly, Michael Arndt) will take place 30 years after Return of the Jedi.

J.J. Abrams will not only be the director of Star Wars: Episode VII, but also one of the co-writers (working alongside Empire Strikes Back scribe Lawrence Kasdan. Since Star Wars Episode VII was announced, every fan has asked the same question: “Does this mean we’ll see the return of Luke Skywalker?” And while Disney and Lucas film have yet to say anything concrete on the matter, evidence suggests that the answer could be yes. Not only do we have the reports about a more Luke-Leia-Han centered screenplay, Mark Hamill has confirmed in interviews that he actually met with George Lucas about the new trilogy prior to the contracts being signed, and he has even offered up his own speculation about where the story will go, suggesting that Luke could end up being an influential character like Obi-Wan Kenobi. Carrie Fisher has evidently confirmed that she, Hamill and Harrison Ford will be back for the sequel, but it’s probably best not to believe anything until it’s printed in a press release from the studio. Are you excited about the resurrection of the Star Wars series? Let’s see celebrity reactions to news of the sequel:

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HOW MUCH IS THAT???

I ran across this article recently, and it definitely was an eye opener.  How much we are paying these days for everything.  I sometimes think I sound like my parents now – but seriously, these increases are crazy!  Here’s an interesting chart showing what folks paid in 1963 vs. what we pay now (average costs).  Take a look:

Bottle of Coke/Soda (a single serving – can or bottle)
Then: $ 0.05
Now: $ 1.50

McDonalds Big Mac (yes, they existed back in 1963)
Then: $ 0.28
Now: $ 3.99

Minimum Hourly Wage
Then: $ 1.25
Now: $ 7.25

Average Annual Income
Then: $ 4,396.00
Now: $44,321.00

Movie Ticket
Then: $ 0.85
Now: $ 8.05

Car
Then: $ 3,100.00
Now: $31,000.00

Baseball Player Contract
Then: $100,000.00
Now: $240 million

I need to go look for a part time job now!

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GEAR UP: SMARTWATCH ANDROID WEAR

It’s heating up in the smart watch world with every major tech manufacturer and even a few fashion brands developing their “it” device to outfit your wrists. The one lingering problem with these current offerings however is that they do not have a standard operating system designed to actually accommodate such small screens. Google answered that call with the new Android Wear in which a clean and simple interface is integrated into the watch with limited but purposeful data on the screen at any one time. The default functionality of the watch looks very much like the smartphone system Google Now. Users can see time, weather, call and text update, sports scores, flight and concert updates plus more. What’s even more exciting is its aesthetically pleasing design which doesn’t only deliver functionality but is extremely fashionable. While we are not sure how many other manufacturers will jump on board with a watch that runs off of a smartphone operating system, we wouldn’t be surprised if we’ll see some new offerings running the OS software as well. Check out the video and see what’s new in the tech world with Android Wear.

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THE LATEST WORKOUT CRAZE: EMS

If you dislike working out as much as I do, you will love the not-so-new technology that’s starting to make some noise in the fitness world. EMS, or electrical muscle stimulation is a 20 minute, twice a week work out that gets great results fast by sending electrical impulses to the muscles while working out. The body ends up working harder and more efficiently than it ever could while at the gym. Not only is it great for people of any age, it’s also great for the joints and is useful in reducing injuries. Find out what it’s all about right here(see video clip below):

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PHIL’S BACK IN NEW YORK

It is confirmed that Phil Jackson has accepted the position to oversee basketball operations for the NY Knicks, the place he started his career. According to a league source…Jackson gave the Knicks a verbal commitment on Saturday but his actual status has not been confirmed….though it is said that the word “president” will be in his title. Current Knicks president/general manager Steve Mills will stay on with a revised role due to his vast network of contacts with NBA agents and GM’s. Phil will have control over the franchise but it’s not yet known to what degree, what we do know is that he will not have to manage day to day operations. The question now is if Jackson can indeed change the woeful franchise’s fortunes and how this will affect Carmelo’s upcoming free agency with no draft picks and cap space. Only time will tell.

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MARK JACKSON AND STEPH CURRY FACE OFF!

If you had to bet money on who would be the best long range shooter in a 3 point shooting contest between 49 year old Marv Jackson vs. one of the greatest shooters in NBA history with his career 44 percent mark from long range Stephon Curry…I’m sure you wouldn’t even think it’s fair! However that didn’t stop the Warriors coach from going head to head with the young star who could pretty much make any shot with hands in his face! Check it out to see who wins.

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DRINK TO YOUR HEALTH OR TO DEATH…WATER, HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?

Several years ago, a 28-year-old California woman died after competing in a radio station’s on-air water-drinking contest. After downing some six liters of water in three hours in the “Hold Your Wee for a Wii” (Nintendo game console) contest, Jennifer Strange vomited, went home with a splitting headache, and died from so-called water intoxication.In 2005 a fraternity hazing at California State University, Chico, left a 21-year-old man dead after he was forced to drink excessive amounts of water between rounds of push-ups in a cold basement. Club-goers taking MDMA (“ecstasy”) have died after consuming copious amounts of water trying to rehydrate following long nights of dancing and sweating. Going overboard in attempts to rehydrate is also common among endurance athletes. A 2005 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that close to one sixth of marathon runners develop some degree of hyponatremia, or dilution of the blood caused by drinking too much water.Severe cases of hyponatremia can lead to water intoxication, an illness whose symptoms include headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, frequent urination and mental disorientation and sometimes even death.

When a person drinks too much water in a short period of time, the kidneys cannot flush it out fast enough and the blood becomes waterlogged. Drawn to regions where the concentration of salt and other dissolved substances is higher, excess water leaves the blood and ultimately enters the cells, which swell like balloons to accommodate it. Brain cells however are tightly packaged and has almost zero room to expand and swell.  Thus, drinking too much water can cause the entry of water into brain cells leading to brain swelling, which manifests as seizures, coma, respiratory arrest, brain stem herniation and death,” explains the chief of nephrology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Where did people get the idea that guzzling enormous quantities of water is healthful? A few years ago Heinz Valtin, a kidney specialist from Dartmouth Medical School, concluded that no scientific studies support the “8 cups of water a day” dictum. In fact, drinking this much or more “could be harmful, both in precipitating potentially dangerous hyponatremia and exposure to pollutants, and since he published his findings, Valtin says, “not a single scientific report published in a peer-reviewed publication has proven the contrary.”So how do we know how much water to drink? Apparently there is some science behind it. According to Verbalis: While exercising, “you should balance what you’re drinking with what you’re sweating,” but measuring sweat output is not easy. When in doubt simply follow Verbalis’s advice, “drink to your thirst. It’s the best indicator.”

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We Can’t Always Win!

Ok, there are some A-list actors out there that you just assume have won an Oscar or two, but really, film’s most prestigious of awards has escaped even some of the most A-list of A-list performers. Yes, we know, being nominated for an Academy Award is a fine honor, however I don’t know about you – but I want to win!

What we have here, courtesy of Buzz60, is a list of five unlucky people, 39 nominations between them, and no wins whatsoever. Here’s a breakdown:

Glenn Close, from 1987′s Fatal Attraction has been nominated six times.

Brad Pitt, who magnificently played Lt. Aldo Raine in Inglourious Basterds, has been nominated five times. Maybe he could get his first on March 2 for 12 Years a Slave.

Tom Cruise, a.k.a., Ethan Hunt, has been nominated three times.

Leonardo DiCaprio has been nominated five times.  Nominated for his performance in The Wolf of Wall Street, can DiCaprio win his first on March 2?

Sound mixer, Kevin O’Connell, (Armageddon, Transformers, Pearl Harbor) has been nominated 20 times without winning.

Check out the Oscars on March 2 to see if either DiCaprio or Pitt can break their unlucky streak.

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10 DANGEROUS INGREDIENTS YOU ARE CURRENTLY CONSUMING

With packaged food ingredient lists reading more like a chemistry text book, marketers have figured out a way to keep toxic additives and disease-promoting food packaging off of the label, making your job as a consumer harder than ever. The stuff on this list makes rat hair in peanut butter seem appetizing.

1.Flame Retardant Liquid: The toxic flame retardant chemical “Brominated Vegetable Oil” otherwise knows as BVO, was initially used to keep plastics from catching on fire. Today, BVO is used in some of your favorite sodas like Mountain Dew, Sunkist Pinapple and some Powerade/Gatorade Flavors. It is said that these chemical prevents the artificial flavoring chemicals from separating from the rest of the liquids. Unfortunately, Scientists have linked too much BVO to symptoms like skin lesions, memory loss and nerve disorders.

2. Paint Chemicals: Titanium Dioxide is a component of titanium, which is a substance quite often contaminated with toxic lead. Commonly used in paints and sunscreens, this chemical can also surprisingly be found in processed salad dressing, coffee creamers and icing.

3.Maggots/Mites: Maggots are fly larvae, tiny rice shaped creatures that feast on rotting foods. Unfortunately, the FDA legally allows 19 maggots and 74 mites to be packaged in a 3.5 ounce can of mushrooms. Although maggots have their place in the medical world, I don’t think people imagine eating them along with their canned mushrooms. If you need another reason to ditch canned goods, most are lined with BPA(Bisphenol A) a plastic chemical that causes unnatural hormonal changes linked to heart attacks, obesity and certain cancers.

4. Herbicide: Glyphosate, is an active chemical ingredient in the popular weed killer roundup. This hormone disrupting chemical is now used primarily on genetically engineered corn and soy crops. Because it’s a systemic herbicide, which is taken up inside the plant, we actually eat it even if we wash them first and this is legally allowed in our food, and in an amount that worries scientists. Continuous Glyphosate exposure is linked to obesity, learning disabilities, birth defects, infertility, and potentially irreversible metabolic damage.

5.Sex Hormones:The genetically engineered and synthetic hormone called rBST(recombinant bovine somatotropin) can be found in most dairy products not labeled(rBST free). This chemical(which is banned in other countries) has been linked to prostate,breast and colon cancers.

6.Human Hair/Feathers:L-cysteine, a non essential amino acid made from dissolved human hair(often from china) or duck feathers is used as commercial dough conditioner to improve the texture of breads and baked goods. Although there are no known side effects of this ingredient, it does violate some religious/ethical beliefs.

7.Beetle Juice: No, not the crazy white haired guy in the pinstripes… Carmine, a bright red food colorant usually labeled as crimson lake, cochineal or natural red #4 is actually the crushed abdomen of the female Dactylopius coccus, an African beetle like insect. These crushed critters can be found in any candy, yogurt or juices tainted red(ex. Ruby red juices). This too has no known side effects except of it posing an ethical issue for some vegetarians/vegans.

8. Ammonia: Meat factories are usually rife with bacteria after mixing meats from thousands of different cows which could be a public health hazard. To make the meat safer, the USDA typically allows these factories to put the beef through an ammonia gas bath. This process is deemed safe enough to not include any indication on the packaging that your beef has been treated with the stuff. Unfortunately, ammonia is a poisonous gas and evidence even suggests that blasting it with the stuff might not even be fully effective at killing these germs.

9. Brain Killing Food Dyes: Many artificial food dyes are made from petroleum derived materials. Dyes are used in cereals and candy especially to make them more fun for kids, in pickles to make them appear fresher and in place of real ingredients in a variety of foods. Take for example Betty Crockers Carrot cake mix, which is actually a carrot free product with only carrot flavored pieces cooked with these artificial dyes/corn syrup. Some of these dyes,especially Orange and Purple are shown to impair brain function, while others have been linked to ADHD and behavioral problems in kids and brain cell toxicity.

10. Non stick metal components: An Industrial nonstick chemical(perflourinated) used to coat theinside of popcorn bags is the same chemical used in the nonstick coating of many pots, pans and baking sheets. A stufy found that nonstick chemicals in popcorn bags significantly damage your immunce system, it is also linked to high cholesterol, sperm damage, infertility and ADHD.

I hope that this list gives you enough leverage to come to your own conclusions on what we are putting into our bodies every day. It’s very hard to escape eating some of these ingredients as they are found in many foods at your grocers, however purchasing Organic and avoiding processed foods  as much as possible will be your key to living a healthier lifestyle. Here’s to good health! Cheers!
Credit: Leah Zerbe, Rodale News

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