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5 things you absolutely must know today (weekend edition)

Every morning, we scour the Internet and vet what we believe are the five things you absolutely need to know for the day. Join this mailing list to receive 5 things you absolutely must know today every morning, Monday to Friday.


Calgary mayor is concerned about Alberta’s “hillbilly” reputation

Naheed Nenshi, Calgary’s mayor, says the provincial government’s handling of Bill 10 “does nothing but reinforce negative stereotypes.” He made this comment and more to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce on Thursday during a speech on the state of business in the city. The controversy surrounding Bill 10 is that it allows schools to reject requests for gay-straight alliances made by students. Nenshi wondered why legislature would waste two weeks on the issue, when more pressing matters such as education and oil were on the table. Discussion surrounding Bill 10, which has been put on hold, has only strengthened Alberta’s reputation for being “hillbillies…I was getting all kinds of feedback from people across the country about what kind of a place do you live in where you are having this type of discussion in public.” [Source: CBC]

Facebook toys with “dislike” option

In what must have been a real barnburner of a scrum, Mark Zuckerberg blew minds by telling Californians that he’d like Facebook to allow people to express more emotions. And that he’s entertaining the idea of a “dislike” button, or something like it. About 4.5 billion Facebook “likes” are generated every day, according to site statistics. But users want a “dislike” options, said Zuckerberg, adding that it is one of the most requested features. “One of things we’ve thought about for quite a while is what’s the right way to make it so that people can easily express a broader range of emotions,” Mark Zuckerberg told an audience at Facebook’s headquarters. “A lot of times people share things on Facebook that are sad moments in their lives. Often people tell us that they don’t feel comfortable pressing ‘like’ because ‘like’ isn’t the appropriate sentiment. Some people have asked for a dislike button because they want to say, ‘That thing isn’t good.’ That’s not something that we think is good for the world. The thing that I think is very valuable is that there are more sentiments that people want to express.” Analysts are nervous, though, saying that allowing people to express negative emotions may affect adverting dollars. And revenue is Facebook’s game. [Source: BBC, no less]

More than five trillion pieces of plastic are floating in our oceans: study

The plastic floating in the world’s oceans have been quantified. We have a number. Scientists in Chile, Australia, U.S., and New Zealand have pooled their data and revealed that there is a minimum of 5.25 trillion plastic particles bobbing in our oceans. That’s about 269,000 tonnes of plastic. And it’s causing damage down the food chain, according to the scientists. Most of the plastic pieces collected during 24 expeditions over six years were small, originating mostly from various forms of packing. “We saw turtles that ate plastic bags and fish that ingested fishing lines,” said Australian researcher Julia Reisser. “But there are also chemical impacts. When plastic gets into the water it acts like a magnet for oily pollutants. Bigger fish eat the little fish and then they end up on our plates. It’s hard to tell how much pollution is being ingested but certainly plastics are providing some of it.” Ocean plastics are largely found in five gyres, which are spiral currents that churn up debris in a specific area. The “great Pacific garbage patch,” which is about the size of Texas, is such a gyre. [Source: The Guardian]

CIA torture report is Amazon bestseller

The CIA torture report released by the Senate intelligence committee is an Amazon bestseller, ranking 2,640 on the Kindle Store on Thursday. Amazon has it listed in the “intelligence and espionage” category. It’s strange to place it any category, really. The accounts of torture detailed in the report are deplorable, and that’s just from the snippet news outlets have published. Since its release, the report has received knee-jerk responses from many groups, countries, and political figures. Dick Cheney awoke from whatever he was doing to say then president George W Bush knew exactly what was going on in those CIA prisons, and that the report was terrible and shouldn’t exist. Readers wanting to read this can pay $2.99 at Amazon or download it for free off the Internet somewhere. Melville House is planning on releasing a hardcover of it in the near future. [Source: Death and Taxes]

Christmas ornaments for your beard, hair, or wherever

Beard Baubles, or Christmas ornaments for the beard, are a great way to say to those around you, “hey, I have things dangling from my beard.” This Christmas delight designed by Grey London began as an in-company joke, but with the help of Australian organization Beard Season, the beard danglers became something the public could purchase. The package costs $11, but you’ll have to wait. The company is currently out of stock. It’s billed for beards and for men, but we here at Spectator Tribune believe those little baubles could dangle from other places: hair, sweaters, etc. [Source: Mental Floss]


Follow Toban Dyck at @tobandyck.

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