North Korea's Pottymouthed Rebellion of Swears - 10 ThingsOK, look: we all know it's fun to make up hashtags and see them go viral, but charities working with young people are reporting that that #cutforbieber - supposedly encouraging Justin Bieber fans to self-harm as a protest against the photograph of Biebs apparently smoking joint at a party and therefore representing his spiralling marijuana addiction, and started by snarky internet board 4Chan - is being taken seriously by some disturbed kids, who have actually posted pictures of themselves cutting on Twitter. So, let's be clear: the meme is fake, you really shouldn't self-harm, and 4Chan need to get back to doing what they do best: creepily rating the attractiveness of female video game characters. On the other hand, the hashtag #sendTheVinesomelovelycakes is completely legit and you should absolutely protest things using it.
Yesterday was – or right now is, depending on which bit of the planet you're reading this – the birthday of North Korea's supreme leader Kim Jong-un, and he's been making sure that his country gets the presents, in the form of compulsory idealogical lectures, street cleaning and (we're not making this up) apple picking, with hefty fines for non-participation. However, NK News (a news blog about North Korea, definitely not an official channel) is reporting that there are tiny acts of toilet-mouthed rebellion afoot thanks to the puntastic possibilities of the date: 8 January is pronounced "ilpal", which literally means "one-eight". "18" is pronounced "sippal", which is reportedly a homophone of the word that means "f*cking". Hence, people are referring to their excitingly mandatory duties as "the f*cking birthday celebrations" and Kim as "the supreme f*cking commander". And if that sounds like a small thing, be advised that mocking the Supreme Leader is illegal and has excitingly brutal ramifications for those that dare do so. But from all of us at TheVine: Kim John-un, happy f*cking birthday.
You know how you'll just be pottering about, minding your own business, and then suddenly David Bowie releases his first single in ten years? Well, that's what happened to you: 'Where Are We Now?' appeared yesterday without any sort of announcement, trailing the March release of first new Bowie album in a decade (and since having a near-fatal heart attack), The Next Day. Oh, it's nice to hear that voice again…
Has the awesome Curiosity robot discovered a flower on Mars? Well, no, obviously - but it's found something pretty interesting looking. NASA scientists have confirmed that the odd-looking object is not plastic (bits of which are scattered on the Martian surface from Curiosity's landing - honestly, can't we train our robots to pick up after themselves?) and appears to be a transparent mineral that looks a bit quartzy, and not terribly flowery. Curiosity is meandering its way to a site called Glenelg - the one at the mountain base in the Gale Crater, not the last stop on the tram line in Adelaide. That mission would be approximately $US2.5 billion cheaper, though not nearly as interesting since Magic Mountain closed down. Anyway, the discovery of a flower would imply the existence of insects, and possibly arachnids - and could the return of Bowie and the possibility of finding the legendary Spiders From Mars be mere coincidence? Rumours the NASA have been jamming good with Weird and Gilly could not be confirmed at press time.
Things are going swimmingly in the crumbling Eurozone, with unemployment hitting an all time high of 11.8%, with youth unemployment hitting excitingly epic levels: an average of 24.4%, and a staggering 56.5% in Spain. And while there are fears that Greece will pull out in response to the draconian conditions being put on it to handle its crippling debt, British PM David Cameron is making increasingly loud noises about Britian taking its bat, ball and comparatively solid economy and going home. So: 2013 looks like being an economic rollercoaster ride for our pals in the north.
So, what song did you listen to last year? If you said anything other than 'Call Me Maybe' by Carly Rae Jepsen, then you're a filthy liar and should meet us in the carpark right now to settle it once and for all as nature intended: with rusty homemade shivs. Yes, ARIA has announced that the perky Canadian popstress sold nine times platinum with the single, even trouncing Psy, while Pink had the best selling album with The Truth About Love. Biggest selling Australian artist was Matt Corby (his Into the Flame EP was the 13th highest selling single) and Karise Eden (My Journey was the sixth highest selling album of the year). And start complaining about how music was totally better in your days and that the young people's music is just plain unlistenable… now!
You know how it's been a bit hot lately, what with all the blistering heatwaves and raging bushfires and everything? Well, you'll be delighted to know that a) the CSIRO reckon this is how summers are going to work from now on, thanks to the kooky effects of anthromorphic climate change, and b) we're not alone: 2012 was the US's hottest year on record, by a fairly impressive margin. Could it have been because of the white-hot intensity of the presidential campaign? Possibly, but also no.
If you were hoping everything was all sorted in Syria now, we have some news: um, nope. In fact, the UN is reporting that that its humanitarian aid to the war-ravaged country (we can properly call it a civil war now, right?) is woefully inadequate: of the estimated 2.5 million refugees that the UN are attempting to look after, around a million are currently not being fed. Aid agencies in the region report outbreaks of violence at the failure of said agencies to adequate feed and shelter families fleeing the violence between the rebel insurgents and the forces of President Bashar al-Assad. Fuel shortages and wet weather are also stymying efforts to get supplies to where they're needed. So yes, still pretty bad over there. Maybe check back tomorrow.
You may have heard that Star Trek director JJ Abrams arranged a private screening of the rough cut of the forthcoming Star Trek: Into Darkness film for a fan diagnosed with terminal liver cancer late last year - and now comes the sad news that said fan, Daniel Craft (co-founder of the New York Asian Film Festival and ardent Trekkie) succumbed to the disease on Jan 5, mere days after watching the film. He was 41.
And finally, in what is exactly the sort of alternative hipster-style assault one would expect from Portland, Oregon, a man - specifically, 32 year old Caleb Grotberg - is currently under arrest for attempting to choke his girlfriend with his dreadlocks. Yes, it's a Portlandia sketch come to life. Of course, it's not actually at all funny since he's currently charged with second-degree kidnapping, second-degree attempted assault, fourth-degree assault, menacing and domestic violence. But seriously: dreadlocks?