"While it may seem obvious to most people that turning your back on a bunch of high-speed cyclists coming your way may not be the wisest move in the world, some cycling fans turning out to watch [the Tour de France] appear to disagree."
—Trevor Mogg of Fox News, reporting on the culturally connected phenomenon of cycling fans leaping into the road right in front of the Tour de France pack to take selfies. The Guardian reports that "thousands" of fans have put themselves at risk for a sake of an Instagram-bound snapshot. [foxnews.com, 7/714]
The two latest victims of so-called twimmolation (the self-destruction of a reputation or career by way of controversy-causing Twitter posts) appear to be Travel Channel's Man v. Food host Adam Richman, who got into an expletive-filled online fight with a fan, and Sirius XM radio host Anthony Cumia, who was fired after tweeting a number of racial and sexist insults. Writes Time's James Poniewozik, "What's most baffling … is that this sort of thing keeps happening to people whose very job description involves talking into live microphones or otherwise living in public. There is something hypnotically dangerous about the always-on social media, especially for someone with enough followers that Twitter or Facebook amounts to a personal broadcast operation. It's like standing on a skyscraper balcony: the views are commanding and exhilarating, but somewhere in the back of your head is the morbid thought that all you have to do is take one step forward and—whoosh! … The great thing about having smartphones everywhere is that everyone can be their own cameraman and publicist. But it also means that all celebrities are now their own paparazzi." [time.com, 7/7/14]
The digital analytics site comScore reported that more than half the time Americans spend consuming digital media is attached to a mobile app. The report found that, overall, 60% of digital media time is being spent on smartphones and tablets rather than on a computer. [cbsnews.com, 7/3/14 stats]
How realistic are modern movies and video games when it comes to combat and other violence? How realistic do audiences expect them to be? Entertainment insiders weigh in with their answers:
Film director and screenwriter David Ayer: "You have to look at games like Call of Duty. They are very tactically accurate and very sophisticated. These days, audiences enjoy it when it is done right."
Action icon and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger: "All of the stuff you do now needs to be second nature. We trained for months with the L.A. SWAT team [before filming Sabotage], we really had to get our act together with things like how to breech doors. And we felt a sense of respect for the people we were working with, we wanted to do them justice."
Military movie advisor Tony Repinski: "We've come to a time when the audience is demanding more and more realism in film and TV. Filmmakers understand this, and if they don't yet, they soon will when their movies bomb. Audiences are more engaged in movies where they feel they're learning something new or getting an education." [foxnews.com, 6/5/14]
Traditional cigarette smoking may be on the decline, but nearly one in five high school students have now smoked hookahs (or water pipes), according to a new study published in Pediatrics. The survey, conducted by researchers from New York University, found that 18% of the more than 5,500 students asked had used water pipes. Says study author Joseph Palamar, who teaches Population Health at NYU, "Surprisingly, students with more educated parents or higher personal income are at high risk of use."
Meanwhile, a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that calls to poison centers involving e-cigarettes is on the rise. The e-cig emergencies rose from one per month in September of 2010 to 215 per month in February of 2014. More than half of those calls involved young children under the age of 5; 42% involved people 20 and older.
Advertising, not coincidentally, for e-cigarettes mushroomed dramatically from 2011 to 2013, with adolescents and young adults often on the receiving end according to a new report published in Pediatrics. Specifically, the report says that e-cig ad exposure jumped 256% among 12- to 17-year-olds and 321% among 18- to 24-year-olds, often on television networks such as AMC, CMT, VH1, Comedy Central, WGN America and TV Land. More than 80% of these advertisements were for the brand known as blu eCigs. [cdc.gov, 6/18/14; time.com, 6/2/14-7/4/14 stats c&e]
The parents of a dead Arizona teen are blaming energy drinks for their daughter's recent passing. Lanna Hamann, 16, started having trouble breathing and went into cardiac arrest shortly after downing several energy drinks. "There is medical evidence that these things do harm," says Dr. Jack Wolfson, a cardiologist at Wolfson Integrative Cardiology in Phoenix. "These drinks should be regulated as alcohol is, no one under the age of 21 should be allowed to have these drinks." And while the dangers of overdoing it with caffeine-laden energy drinks are relatively more well known, caffeine powder now should also be on people's radar. LaGrange, Ohio, high school senior Logan Stiner died in May after overdosing on an unregulated caffeine supplement he reportedly purchased online. Doctors revealed that the young man had 70 micrograms of caffeine per milliliter of blood in his system. (By comparison, a typical coffee drinker would have three to five micrograms.) Similarly, in the U.K. last year, John Jackson, 40, died after consuming quantities of caffeine-laced mints. [foxnews.com, 6/24/14; abcnews.com, 7/3/14; independent.co.uk, 10/11/13; dailymail.co.uk, 10/11/13]
A man with a penchant for heavy metal went to a doctor to see what might be causing his severe headaches. A CT scan revealed that the 50-year-old had a blood clot on the right side of his brain, and because the man insisted he'd never injured his head or taken drugs, doctors were mystified as to what might be the cause of the clot. Until, that is, he mentioned that he'd been headbanging (thrashing his head up and down to the beat) at a Motörhead concert shortly before the headaches began. Doctors concluded that all that headbanging caused the injury—a finding backed by new research—and are now cautioning music-loving fans to be careful at concerts. "While such shows are enjoyable and stimulating for the audience, some fans might be endangered by indulging in excessive headbanging," says the study. [time.com, 7/4/14]
Several Christian hip-hoppers are suing Katy Perry, alleging that she stole their music. Lecrae and Flame, believe that Perry specifically lifted riffs from Flame's song "Joyful Noise" and used them on her hit "Dark Horse." The lawsuit states that Perry's song and its accompanying video irreparably tarnished "Joyful Noise" by associating the Christian song with pagan imagery. Other Christian artists taking part in the lawsuit include Da' T.R.U.T.H. and Chike Ojukwu. [christianitytoday.com, 7/3/14]
CD album sales and digital downloads are both in a sales slump (down 15% and 13%, respectively, from last year). But two other methods of distribution are red hot right now, one of them brand new, the other a century old. Music streaming jumped 42% over the previous year in the first six months of 2014, surpassing 70 billion song streams. And vinyl album sales surged 40%. [usatoday.com, 7/2/14]