Speaking of the social medias, the Vatican's come up with a great way to increase their Twitter followers: those that add Pope Francis to their follow list get time off from Purgatory! It's a move that puts an excitingly 21st century spin on the age-old system of pontiffs allowing wealthy parishioners to buy their way out of sin, although the church has added that it's not enough just to follow the Pope: you also need to be contrite, carry out good deeds, and use hashtags like #godtotallyexists, #catholicsdoitbetter and #whatsabitofinstituionalisedchildabusebetweenfriends. Speaking of which, remember that following @TheVineOnline and @AndrewPStreet is the only way - the ONLY way - to guarantee priority entry into heaven, including a free drink on arrival and use of the VIP bathrooms. Tell 'em God sent you!
Stevie Wonder has a message for you, Florida, and it is this: until you drop your "stand your ground" laws, no Wonder for you. He's the latest person to call racially-motivated bullshit on the law that allowed George Zimmerman to walk away a free man after shooting Trayvon Martin dead in February last year, although as we mentioned yesterday, maybe he simply doesn't want to be beaten up on stage by a crazy person, as happened to 74 year old soul legend Lester Chambers after he expressed his disappointment about the verdict.
Egypt's merry jig towards all-out civil war continues apace with news that seven supporters of the deposed president Mohamed Morsi are dead and 260 are injured after fresh clashes with police in Cairo. The flashpoint was the Muslim Brotherhood's new policy of "surprise marches" blocking major thoroughfares in the city, and the Brotherhood will only stop disrupting things if Morsi is returned to power ahead of new elections, and the interim government are not prepared to consider that as an option since the entire point of a military coup is to remove a country's leader and they already went to so darn much effort. So basically things are turning into a game of chicken at this point.
Manufacturers of things are generally not idiots, which is why they know that if they put the word "organic" on their products more people will buy them under the impression that they're somehow healthier. The literal meaning of "organic" is "containing compounds of carbon" - which means that you, dear reader, can legitimately advertise yourself as organic. However, the makers of eight different kinds of bottled water either don't know much about chemistry or were subtly admitting to having tainted their refreshing mix of hydrogen and oxygen by using the word in their product names. In any case, the ACCC have ruled that water can't possibly be organic and that all of those manufacturers will have to change their brand names and packaging, despite arguments that the claims were not referencing the water itself but were just brand names that happened to have the word "organic" in them. Which is why this site is delighted to announce our own refreshing Mighty Giant Penis Growth Water - which isn't a claim, but is merely a name chosen in tribute to TheVine's grandfather, Archibald Mighty Giant Penis Growth. Incidentally, it may reduce severity of cold symptoms.?
So, how many moons does Neptune have? If you said "thirteen" then you need to quit living in the past, jerk: SETI's Mark Showalter was analysing Hubble data about everyone's favourite massive ice-giant planet and discovered a 14th moon, provisionally named S/2004 N1 until the International Astronomical Union give it one based around Greek or Roman gods of the sea. Fun fact: its largest moon Triton is orbiting the planet in the opposite direction to all of the other moons, suggesting it was captured in Neptune's mighty gravity rather than formed along with the planet in the early days of the solar system. SCIENCE!
While we're on the subject of science and the awesomeness of science, workers on the new overpass in Brisbane's suburb of Geebung have uncovered a batch of glorious fossils thought to date back 50 million years, a period about which we know surprisingly little. The fossils - which appear to contain ancient plants, fish and crocodiles - are from after the death of the dinosaurs (65 million years back) but before the rise of the mammals, and way before the mighty Australian megafauna that strode our proud nation like the giant, hairy colossi that they were. It follows the discovery of 98 million year old dinosaur fossils near Longreach, once again confirming that Queensland's golden age was around the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary.
Plans for two massive marine sanctuaries in the Antarctic have been postponed by a challenge from Russia's delegation, who are asking whether the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources has a mandate for creating things like marine sanctuaries. It's an odd stalling tactic, given that creating marine sanctuaries was the principal reason for forming the Commission in the first place, and Russia is being accused of doing so purely in order to keep areas open for commercial fishing rather than protecting marine living resources. Russia is expected to next dispute the meanings of "resources", "marine", "commission", "Antarctic" and "for", before demanding to know how the commission can even be certain that there's an external reality beyond their own sense impressions, let alone whether or not they should be allowed to fish there.
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has officially applied for temporary asylum in Russia, presumably having really developed a fondness for the place over the four weeks he's been living in its airport's transit lounge. It's a tricky situation, since Vladimir Putin has already made clear that he doesn't want Snowden in his country any longer than he absolutely has to have him, while the countries that have offered him asylum would have difficulty physically getting him within their borders, not least since the US isn't above diverting international flights and searching them for errant Snowdens, as the president of Bolivia learned last week. If accepted, Edward will have three months to come up with a plan - assuming that Vlad doesn't have an unfortunate accident befall him, of course.
And finally, prepare to squee as you check out the new baby panda twins born to 15 year old Lun Lun at Atlanta Zoo. The birth came as a surprise to the staff there - well, not the birth per se, but the number of cubs in said birth - and also awwwww! Just don't think about how there are less that 2000 pandas left in the wild, since that will spoil the whole thing - and happy Wednesday!