Choose Your Own Popespiracy! - 10 Things
That rumble you felt yesterday afternoon around 2pm in the depths of your soul? That would have been North Korea testing a nuclear weapon, which has countries with whom they disagree - the US, Japan, pretty much everyone else - feeling a little antsy. South Korea reported a seismic disturbance of 5.1 on the earthquake magnitude scale, which North Korea then perkily confirmed yes, was them totally roadtesting a nuclear device and what did South Korea think they were going to do about it? The UN security council are convening an emergency meeting amid fears that South Korea might feel they need to strike now before nuclear weapons are in the mix. In any case, things just got a lot dicier in the region.
So, which papal conspiracy theory are you going with? That Benedict is getting out before more revelations from "Vatileaks" about corruption and cover-ups of sexual abuse are made public (although high-profile lawyer Geoffrey Robertson has pointed out that now the Joseph Ratzinger is no longer a head of state and immune to legal action, he's open to being sued for his part in alleged cover-ups of abuse in the clergy)? Is it in the wake of the recently-screened US documentary Mea Maxima Culpa, which directly implicates Ratzinger in a conspiracy of silence? Is it part of a plot by the Knights Templar, who do still totally exist, honest, to achieve some opaque Templarian goal? Is Ratzinger trying to bring about the end of the Catholic Church, as per St Malachy's 12th century Prophesy of the Popes? Or is it the obvious choice: the Anunnaki, the totally not made up alien race who control us all, exercising their infernal power to make a dude resign from doing a thing? Or, most shocking of all, could it be that an 85 year old man in failing health in a incredibly stressful job went "you know what? I really can't do this." It'll take some more message board trawling to be sure, but our money's on the aliens. OPEN YOUR EYES, SHEEPLE!
Scientists drilling through the ice sheet in Antarctica have confirmed that yep, there's a living ecosystem beneath the ice. Specifically, it's in Lake Whillans, which is a shallow body of water about 60 square km with 800 metres of ice on top of it. Said lake was found to have unique microbes therein which don't require sunlight to survive and are about to have the heck sequenced out of their DNA. And this is awesome, not least because it means that life can exist without sunlight and beneath crushing pressures, which makes the idea that there might be stuff in the oceans beneath the hard-as-metal ice surface of Jupiter's moon Europa seem a little more plausible…
TheVine Health advisory: do not drink ten litres of Coca-Cola a day. That's the take away from the coronial inquest into the death of Natasha Harris, a 30 year old mother of eight, who died of a heart attack in February 2010. Coke, unsurprisingly, are not buying the claim, arguing that there are plenty of other lifestyle choices that made a more significant contribution, but the family are arguing that she was physically addicted to the beverage and would exhibit withdrawal symptoms if she didn't get her ten litres (which was about a kilo of sugar, beverage enthusiasts). So let's be clear: if you or someone close to you is drinking ten litres of pretty much anything a day, you might want to think about some sort of medical intervention. That amount would also be twice the recommended amount of caffeine and a staggering eleven times the recommended amount of sugar, although there's no confirmation on whether or not it would contravene guidelines on the daily dose of refreshment.
Oh, you know how we mentioned that the Annandale Hotel in Sydney is now in the hands of receivers? Well, it appears that Notes Live in Enmore has also quietly shut its doors while another legendary Australian live room, Melbourne's Corner Hotel, is also under threat - this time by residential developments. Oh, and the SA Liberals have indicated that they're planning to block legislation in Adelaide that would make it easier (read: possible) for small venues to have live music. So basically if you fancy seeing any bands in Australia, now might be the time to do it.
While we're on the topic of music, you can probably rule out any future Beach Boys reunion: while receiving his Grammy for for Best Historical Album (for The Smile Sessions) Brian Wilson confirmed that despite the remaining founding members coming together to record and subsequently tour for last year's That's Why God Made The Radio, relations had soured since Mike Love - who owns the name - went on tour as the Beach Boys without Wilson, Al Jardine or David Marks, and then issued a press release saying that he didn't fire his bandmates but just thought he might do a tour without him because what, he can do what he wants. When asked point blank if the "proper" Beach Boys would work together again, Wilson - Love's cousin - shrugged "No, I don't think so." Let's just say it: Mike Love's a jerk.
Julian Assange is definitely running for the Senate this September under the banner of the newly formed (though not yet formally established) Wikileaks party. How he plans to campaign in Victoria isn't entirely clear - it's hard to argue one is out there representing the people whilst still holed up in the Equadorian Embassy in London - but his application for electoral enrolment was handed in yesterday by his dad, John Shipton. Maybe he'll have a cyborg body with a face for a screen. We'd vote for that.
The internet got a little bit less awesome this month with the news that Regretsy - the site that found the most "…the HELL?" stuff available on home craft site Etsy - is no longer being updated. Site founder April Winchell told Wired that the thing was "a time suck like you wouldn't believe", sometimes demanding 16 hours a day, "And you have find great stuff. And that gets harder because the shock needle keeps moving. After a year or two you're like, 'Eh, another teddy bear with a vagina, who cares.' Bad crafts are like drugs; you have to keep upping the dose to feel anything." But you're not fooling anyone Winchell: why are you REALLY stepping down? Have the Anunnaki gotten to you too?
Fine, Egypt: if you can't behave nicely about YouTube, then you're not having it for a month. That's the outcome in the wake of the riots last year after the 'Innocence of Muslims' film appeared on the video-sharing site: a Cairo court has ordered the government to block YouTube for 30 days, because presumably that's exactly long enough to make everyone take a long, hard look at themselves. The government hasn't actually responded to the likely-to-be-tricky order, and Google has confirmed that no-one's asked them about it either. But still, a month without YouTube? That ought to totally sort out the Middle East.
And finally, Black Keys' sticksman Patrick Carney's probably going to get the hell slapped out of him by teenage girls now that Justin Bieber has issued a Twitter fatwa against him. When Carney suggested that Biebs might just want to stop sulking about his perceived Grammy snub and just enjoy his money, J-dog tweeted "the black keys drummer should be slapped around haha" - an edict that we are confident will be carried out with extreme prejudice. Here's the offending video that started what future generations will call "The Bieber Spring".