The morning people will inherit the coffee-free Earth - 10 Things
Who's saying what
Fearless documentarian Morgan Spurlock - the cage rattling, rabble-rousing firebrand behind Super Size Me, Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden and the commerce-is-destroying-art screed The Greatest Story Ever Sold is now moving on to the obvious next subject: a three-d concert movie for One Direction. Yes, really: expect a hard-hitting look at live concert footage and behind the scenes glimpses of the boys behind the international pop phenomenon. Sellout? Subversive art prank? Who can tell at this stage, but rumours that Michael Moore was in talks with Katy Perry's reps for a sequel to Part of Me couldn't be confirmed by press time.
It's OK, everyone. You know how a few days ago we told you that Kevin Clash, the 52 year old man that is the voice and hand-shaped body of Elmo in Sesame Street, was being accused of having sex with his not-24 year old former lover when said lover was 16? Well, fortunately, the accusations have been taken back and everything's fine now. Aside from the reputation of a children's entertainer whose erotic emails with said former lover are littering the internet. Yep. All fine now.
If you were idly hoping that one day you would be able to buy the collage that 60s pop artist Peter Blake created for the insert that came with the Beatles' Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and that you could pay less than £50,000 for it, then we have two bits of bad news for you: one, that it was just recently sold at auction at Sothebys; and two, that it went for £55,250 - thereby probably putting it out of range for that Kris Kringle your office has organised in any case. Maybe just go with a novelty coffee mug.
Comprehensively proving that Madonna is absolutely down with the kids and still totally relevant, she roped PSY into a guest spot during her New York on Sunday night. Yep, the 54 year old showed she was as cool as your mum by knowing 'Gangnam Style' and even doing the dance and everything. On the other hand, maybe she needs a distraction from the way that Russia is attempting to take her to court for illegally promoting the "propagation of homosexuality" by handing out pink anti-homophobia wristbands at her St Petersburg show. Either way, the evidence is below. And look, before you start getting catty about fading stars grabbing at novelty acts in a desperate bid for relevance, heed the words of YouTube commentator JiyoungLizKim: "So much fun! ! So much instingtive... People! Forget everything and just have fun!" Words to live by.
In a move that echoes Destroy the Joint's widespread action against our own national blowhard Alan Jones, a petition in the US is calling for retail giant Macy's to sever ties with American crazy person and presidential hopeful Donald Trump. The "Dump Trump" campaign had hit 570,522 signatures at the time this sentence was written, citing his involvement in the Birther movement, climate change denial, creepy sexism (including complimenting his own daughter with "She has a nice figure: if she wasn't my daughter, I'd be dating her") and railing against US job going to China while his entire Macy's range is made there. No word yet from Macy's to confirm whether they, to use the appropriate legal term, "give the slightest of shits".
"Hey Andrew, you seem to have been rocking the pop culture tip pretty hard this morning," you might justifiably be saying right now. "I sure hope something with far reaching political implications happened that could yet ignite the powder keg that is the Middle East into a planet-spanning conflagration." Well, hypothetical reader with a strangely End Times-sounding interest in human tragedy, you're in luck: an Israeli air strike in Gaza has reportedly killed Ahmed al-Jaabari, the head of the military wing of Hamas, the Palestinian resistance movement that governs the disputed region, plunging the turmoil-rich region into a fresh batch of extra turmoily turmoil. "You Have Opened Hell On Yourself" tweeted a spokesperson for the Israeli Defence Force, which isn't the sort of level-heading thing one might expect spokespeople to tweet after they launch missile attacks from naval flotillas in the Mediterranean. So yes, between that and Israel's missile-related tiff with Syria, now may not be the ideal time to visit beautiful Jerusalem. So, um, what's this about K-Stew and R-Patz getting back together?
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have a long and proud history of taking something that most people would immediately support - the ethical treatment of animals by people - and then wrapping them in campaigns that all but challenge said people to continue to support them. Their latest anti-fur campaign is a perfect example, taking something that a lot of people are totally on board with ("killing animals for fashion is cruel and senseless!") and presenting it via pictures of women with fur stuffed in the crotches to send a message that is creepily anti-female bodies ("pubic hair is icky and gross!"). A bunch of people, including musician and pubic hair enthusiast Amanda Palmer, have lashed out at the suggestion that lady hair = tacit support for the fur industry, and let's just add to the choir by stating the obvious: muffs are awesome. There, we said it. PETA, stop making us think you're jerks.
Melissa George might now be slightly regretting her recent interview where she lashed out at how Australian haven't respectfully forgotten Home & Away, the show that made her a star (especially the meme-starting quote "I'd rather be having a croissant and a little espresso in Paris or walking my French bulldog in New York City") since the show she was promoting in said interview, the UK spy drama Hunted, has now been axed due to poor ratings. So maybe the writers should dust off that Angel Returns To Summer Bay storyline after all…
Evolution: it's pretty great. And it's wonderfully complicated, at least when genes are involved, since as far as our DNA is concerned we're a smudge over 98% identical to chimpanzees - and yet you'd rarely confuse one with a human (if that were not the case, the entire premise of BJ and the Bear wouldn't have worked). And researchers at the University of Edinburgh appear to have isolated one of the genes responsible, a plucky little molecule called miR-941. It's the first time that one of the unique bits of human genome has been demonstrated to have a specific function, and appears to have affected brain development, particularly language use. So, once again: in your face, other members of superfamily Hominoidea!
And finally, in news that could have wide-ranging implications for the way this column gets written of a morning, research suggests that climate change could render coffee extinct. Yep: turns out the Aribica beans - the things what make the sweet, sweet nectar that makes the tired go away - are pretty sensitive, and grow in areas likely to be strongly affected by our warming planet. Admittedly this is unlikely to happen in the next few weeks but a Kew Gardens study suggests up to 98% of the world's bean-producing plant could vanish by 2080. So let's stop dicking around, people: the drowsiness of future generations hangs in the balance!