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12/15/2022: Mars Dust Tornado
PLUS: White Elephant Winnings; Aaron Rodgers’ Psychedelics; and Ovechkin’s Hat Trick
Today is Thursday, December 15, 2022.
It is the 349th day of the year.
16 days remain.
RIP Twitch landed in Twitter’s Top 10 Trends on Wednesday as users reacted to the shocking news of his passing. More in Deaths.
Sandy Hook was trending yesterday on the 10th anniversary of the horrific elementary school shooting. Former president Barack Obama tweeted about the anniversary, calling it the “single darkest day” of his presidency.
Super Nintendo World was trending after Universal Studios Hollywood announced the new attraction will open in February.
Wrestler Mandy Rose was trending after being let go from the WWE over controversial posts she was sharing on her FanTime page. More in Showbiz.
A story that involves both Twitter and online trading but neither ELON MUSK or SAM BANKMAN-FRIED: The Securities and Exchange Commission has filed charges against eight social media influencers in a “pump-and-dump” scheme that netted the accused more than $100 million in profits.
The cabal of influencers would tout stocks and investments to their followers, who would rush to buy – sending the value of the investments up, just so the influencers could sell high at enormous profit and leave their followers with the bill.
The accused flaunted the gains from their scheme online, including luxury sports cars. Evidence in the indictment includes transcripts of their online chats, which the perps thought were private but were actually public and someone recorded. In the chats, the schemers fully admitted to the illegality of their con, but didn’t seem concerned about getting caught.
SPEAKING OF DOUCHEBAGS: CAROLINE ELLISON has lawyered up – she’s the ex-girlfriend of SBF who ran Alameda Research, the hedge fund at the center of FTX’s implosion.
WORTH NOTING: While no indictment has come yet for her, SBF was already throwing other people under the bus before his arrest. He’s well connected and will wheel and deal to save his own skin.
US Fish and Wildlife Service officials are planning to designate Whitebark pine trees as a threatened species with the potential for extinction, the AP reports.
The tree is a favorite food source for some grizzly bears, but a combination of disease, wildfires, and beetles have seen a loss of one-fourth of the trees in the last twenty years.
Almost all of the remaining trees are on federally-owned land. Researchers are optimistic they can help the tree recover in numbers.
A Louisville woman got a lottery ticket as part of her office’s white elephant gift exchange last week.
She ended up winning the $175,000 jackpot on the scratch off game – and claimed the prize just hours later – worth $124,250 after taxes. She tells local media her first orders of business are paying off her daughter’s student loans and car loans.
Dictionary.com has named its word of the year: “Woman.”
“This year, the very matter of the definition of the word ‘woman’ was at the center of so many consequential moments, discussions, and decisions in our society,” the site’s director of editorial said in a statement.
FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH: Here’s the site’s definition: “an adult female person.”
A TALE OF TWO GRINCHES
IN PHOENIX: A driver was cited by a state trooper last week after trying to pass off an inflatable Grinch figure as a passenger to use the carpool lane. In a tweet about the incident, the Arizona Department of Public Safety quipped the passenger looked “Seusspicious.”
IN FLORIDA: A 37-year veteran of the police force is spending some time this week dressed up in a Grinch costume and handing out onions to drivers who are going up to five miles an hour over the speed limit in a school zone.
Over that speed, and you still get a regular ticket.
The officer has been running the gag for more than 20 years, he says.
Ever wonder what a little dust tornado – or dust devil – sounds like on Mars?
Last year, NASA’s Perseverance rover got hit by the swirling phenomenon on the Red Planet and its microphones captured the brief encounter, which lasted just seconds.
Scientists say it’s quieter than one on Earth due to Mars’ thinner atmosphere, making the sound quieter and the winds less intense.
FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH: While the sound itself might not blow anyone’s hair back, it’s mind blowing that these sounds come from another planet.
BY THE NUMBERS
📈 Stocks tumbled on news of further federal interest rate hikes. The Dow lost 142 points (0.42%) to close at 33,966. The S&P lost 24 points (0.61%) to close at 3,995. The Nasdaq lost 85 points (0.76%) to close at 11,170.
🛢 West Texas Intermediate ticked up to $77 on Wednesday; Brent Crude to $82.
⛽ The national average price of a gallon of gas was $3.21 on Wednesday.
₿ Bitcoin ended mostly flat Wednesday after an afternoon spike, trading around $17,800.
🛩 There were 3,285 flights delayed within, into, or out of the United States on Wednesday and 148 such cancellations.
Social media was full of tributes to STEPHEN “tWitch” BOSS Wednesday after news of his sudden and tragic passing. Fans, followers, and celebs expressed their shock and sadness over his death, while also sharing fond memories of him.
It seems no one had one bad word to say about him.
Here is a video of him dancing alongside his wife, ALLISON HOLKER in the new home they recently moved into with their three kids. It was posted on Sunday.
STEPHEN “tWitch” BOSS, who many may remember as the longtime DJ on ELLEN DEGENERES’ talk show, has died.
He was found at a hotel in Los Angeles on Tuesday, where paramedics say he died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
In addition to DJing for Ellen, tWitch was also the runner-up on “So You Think You Can Dance” and appeared in “Magic Mike XXL.”
He was 40.
Former University of Wisconsin football player JAKE HESCOCK has died.
He passed away Sunday after suffering a heart attack while jogging in Boston, according to several media outlets.
He was only 25.
As thousands of illegal immigrants enter the country every day, Arizona Governor DOUG DUCEY has ordered shipping containers stacked along the border to impede illegal entry into the country.
SO OF COURSE: The Biden Administration is suing Arizona, arguing that the placement of the containers constitutes trespassing on federal lands.
THE NEXT OBVIOUS QUESTION: Why isn’t the Biden Administration expelling the illegal immigrants who are actually trespassing on federal lands?
SAMUEL BRINTON has been arrested in Las Vegas.
He’s the Biden administration official at the Department of Energy who was celebrated for being openly non-binary and into some wild sexual extracurricular activities in his spare time.
Turns out he’s also (allegedly) a bit of a kleptomaniac.
In two separate incidents, airport camera footage shows Brinton taking someone else’s luggage from the baggage carousel: once in Las Vegas and once in Minnesota.
He’ll be in court next week in Minnesota to face those charges.
Hopefully he just takes a carry-on.
No winner for Tuesday night’s Mega Millions drawing. Friday night’s drawing will be for a $429 million jackpot or a $233.6 million cash payout.
The Critics Choice Association announced film nominees for the 28th annual Critics Choice Awards.
Leading the pack with 14 nods overall is “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” starring MICHELLE YEOH and KE HUY QUAN.
“The Fabelmans” received 11 nominations, while “Babylon” scored 10.
The Critics Choice Awards are set for Sunday, January 15. CHELSEA HANDLER will host.
LIL WAYNE’s 2008 hit “Lollipop” is now certified Diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America.
After the news broke, the rapper sent out a video thanking the 10 million fans who bought the song.
WORTH NOTING: The achievement was due to sales, not streams.
H.E.R. wants to go back to using her official namesake.
During an appearance on “GMA” this week, the artist, born Gabriella Wilson, shared how her starring role as Belle in the upcoming “Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration” inspired her to ditch her stage name.
“I think it’s time for people to really get to know the person behind H.E.R,” she said.
JIM BELUSHI spoke to DAVID SPADE and DANA CARVEY on their “Fly on the Wall” podcast about how he tried to save former “SNL” co-star CHRIS FARLEY’s life.
After losing his brother JOHN BELUSHI to drugs, Jim says he told Chris “You can’t follow John. You can’t follow his track. The guy did drugs. He’s dead. You can’t follow him with the drugs to find out who he was.”
John died on March 5, 1982 of a lethal combination of cocaine and heroin, he was 33. Farley, meanwhile, passed away on December 18, 1997 from an overdose. He was also 33.
After a picture of his “dad bod” went viral last year, WILL SMITH says he was inspired to get fit.
The 54-year-old appeared on this week’s episode of his wife’s show, “Red Table Talk,” where he talked about his 30-pound weight loss.
“I was probably 225-ish when I started and at the lowest [...] I got to 195,” he explained.
The weightloss was also necessary for his role in the new film, “Emancipation,” in which he plays a slave who escapes after being nearly beaten to death.
AARON RODGERS discussed his use of psychedelics on this week’s episode of “The Pat McAfee Show,” specifically ayahuasca, a psychoactive brewed drink from South America and psilocybin, a hallucinogenic substance found in certain kinds of mushrooms.
The Green Bay Packers QB said the two substances helped him come to terms with his fear of dying, which is something he says he has struggled with since the events surrounding Y2K.
“When you’ve seen the other side, it makes the idea of death more of a passage and less of an ending and more so the next chapter of life,” he explained, crediting his newfound awareness to the psychedelics.
A woman who claims she was sexually assaulted by former WWE CEO VINCE MCMAHON nearly 40 years ago wants the organization to pay her almost $12 million.
Rita Chatterton, 65, who was the first female referee in WWE history, spoke about the alleged incident in 1992. Now, her lawyer says that she deserves a payout for the “years of ongoing depression, substance abuse, disordered eating, lost income, and overall decreased quality of life.”
McMahon has long denied her accusations.
WORTH NOTING: A WWE insider recently told The Post that McMahon, who stepped down from his role as CEO and chairman of WWE after the company launched an investigation into alleged hush money payments he made to several women, regrets the decision.
SPEAKING OF THE WWE: NXT Women’s Champion MANDY ROSE was rumored to be let go by the company this week after some of the content she posted on her FanTime page leaked, according to Fightful Select. No official statement has been shared by the WWE and Rose has not commented on the news.
AZEALIA BANKS says she will never perform in Australia again because the country makes her feel “utterly miserable.”
After canceling several shows this week, Banks shared her feelings on Instagram, calling the crowd at her first show in Brisbane “racist,” after they reportedly threw objects at her on stage.
“I am a beautiful black woman and I am not going to get in front of some audience of white people for them to be throwing [stuff] at me,” she wrote.
This isn’t the first time she spoke out about the country, calling her performance at Splendour In The Grass in 2015 a “waste of [her effing] time.”
The Library of Congress announced Wednesday that “Iron Man” (2008), “The Little Mermaid” (1989), “Carrie” (1976) and “When Harry Met Sally” (1989) are among the 25 films selected as 2022’s entries into the National Film Registry.
More than 6,800 movies were submitted for consideration this year, with those four films receiving “significant public support through online nominations,” according to the organization.
A BIT OF HISTORY: The National Film Registry was created in 1988 as a way to preserve culturally, historically or aesthetically significant films. There are currently 850 films in the Registry.
The Norwegian film “Troll” has become Netflix’s most popular non-English film.
WIth more than 128 million viewing hours (and counting) since it dropped on December 1, the film has taken the top spot on the streamer’s non-English Top 10 list.
The flick follows a gigantic creature that awakens after being trapped for a thousand years. It goes on a rampage, destroying everything in its path, while en route to the capital of Norway. Meanwhile, residents struggle with how to stop it as they believed him to only exist in Norwegian folklore.
It has a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
THE DAILY KARDASHOPUS
Former Playboy playmate SHANNA MOAKLER threw some shade at KHLOE KARDASHIAN this week.
Moakler posted a photo of herself posing in a yellow lingerie set, with her hands above her head and pouty lips.
One follower commented on the post, writing, “Girl Khloe got the same face,” to which Moakler replied, “I think her surgery came out beautiful,” insinuating that Khloe went under the knife to get her banging bod.
She didn’t -- or so she says.
WORTH NOTING: Moakler’s ex-husband is TRAVIS BARKER, who is married to Khloe’s sister KOURTNEY KARDASHIAN.
WE’LL NEVER BE ROYALS
As a gesture of goodwill, a royal source told People Magazine that PRINCE HARRY and PRINCE WILLIAM’s children will exchange gifts this Christmas.
Despite the brothers -- and their wives -- having a strained relationship, the unidentified insider told the publication that the Wales children, PRINCE GEORGE, 9, PRINCESS CHARLOTTE, 7, and PRINCE LOUIS, 4, and the Sussex kids, ARCHIE HARRISON, 3, and LILIBET DIANA, 1, will continue the holiday tradition.
As for Harry and Will’s strained relationship, a source close to the Royal Family told People that “it will take a long time before there is harmony between [them].”
MEANWHILE: The Daily Beast reports that William has told friends his relationship with Harry is over.
“The relationship between the brothers is over and it doesn’t make a great deal of difference what is in the films released this week. The general feeling that it won’t be anything they haven’t said before,” an unnamed insider says.
Washington Capitals captain ALEX OVECHKIN, 37, scored his 800th goal on Tuesday, making him the third player in NHL history to do so.
His historic goal came during the third period of the Capitals blowout win over the Chicago Blackhawks. It was also his third goal of the night, giving him a hat trick.
The milestone lands him alongside the greats, WAYNE GRETZKY and GORDIE HOWE.
DAY OF THE YEAR
National Lemon Cupcake Day
National Cat Herders Day
National Regifting Day
ON THIS DATE
1791 - The first 10 amendments to the Constitution are ratified by Virginia, making them the law of the land.
They're also known as the Bill of Rights. They serve as a complement to the Constitution, ironing out some leftover wrinkles that the Founders did not initially consider.
Their creation was also a bargaining chip so that Massachusetts would approve the Constitution -- the small state only agreed to the Constitution provided that Congress immediately ratify a Bill of Rights.
1890 - Sioux chief Sitting Bull finally meets his maker.
He had been on the run from American soldiers and police for years. After fighting the Americans on-and-off, Mr. Bull made it to Canada. Following his years in exile, Sitting Bull surrendered to US troops, and was placed in a reservation in present-day South Dakota.
Seven years later, Indian police tried kidnapping Sitting Bull, fearing he was trying to lead an uprising against the Americans. Mr. Bull did not go quietly, and his cronies intervened. They tried shooting his captors, but instead killed the old chief with shots to his head and chest.
1896 - Stephen M. Balzer is awarded a patent for a gas-powered car.
None of Balzer's inventions were ever mass-produced. He started Balzer Motor Company in 1900, but was more interested in engineering than sales. Still, his experimental buggy is considered one of the first American automobiles.
The car submitted to win the patent is now on display at the Smithsonian.
1973 - Sandy Hawley wins his 500th horse race of the year at Maryland's Laurel Park race track. He was the first jockey to achieve the feat.
The winning horse was named Charlie Jr.
Hawley's career continued into the 1990s. He’d win his 5,000th career race in 1986.
1993 – “Schindler's List” premieres.
It would be the first film for which Stephen Spielberg would win Academy Awards -- which included Best Picture and Best Director.
2001 - After being closed for 11 years, the Leaning Tower of Pisa reopens.
The Italian government spent $27 million to keep the tower in its somewhat-upright position without it falling over.
Experts now say it has another 300 years before it leans back to its old position.
2016 – Dylann Roof is found guilty of killing nine people at a Bible study class in a South Carolina church.
The self-declared white supremacist stormed the church in 2015 with the hopes of starting a race war.
It took a 12-person jury a little over two hours to convict Roof on all 33 counts.
He would be sentenced to death the following month.
2020 - MacKenzie Scott — the former Mrs. Jeff Bezos — announces that she has donated more than $4 billion to 384 non-profit organizations across the US.
The news comes just four months after she donated $1.7 billion to 116 organizations.
Skyler Aboujaoude - actress, “Chicken Girls” - 17
Maude Apatow - actress, “Euphoria” & “Girls” - 25
Jesse Lingard - soccer player - 30
Daniel Ezra - actor, “All American” & “A Discovery of Witches” - 31
Josh Norman - football player - 35
Camilla Luddington - actress, “Grey’s Anatomy” - 39
Ronnie Radke - rock singer, Escape the Fate - 39
Charlie Cox - actor, “Stardust” & “Daredevil” - 40
Michelle Dockery - actress, “Downton Abbey” - 41
Adam Brody - actor, “The O.C.” - 43
Carmel Johnson - actress, “Hotel Mumbai” & “The Babadook” - 65
Don Johnson - actor, “Miami Vice” & “Watchmen” - 73
Born On This Date
Kim Porter - model - 1970 (d. 2018)
Gustave Eiffel - engineer and architect of the Eiffel tower - 1832 (d. 1923)
Nero - Roman Emperor - 37 AD (d. 68 AD)
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