Everything you know about celebrity deaths is wrong

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[My friend Peter Sheridan is a Los Angeles-based correspondent for British national newspapers. He has covered revolutions, civil wars, riots, wildfires, and Hollywood celebrity misdeeds for longer than he cares to remember. As part of his job, he must read all the weekly tabloids. For the past couple of years, he's been posting terrific weekly tabloid recaps on Facebook and has graciously given us permission to run them on Boing Boing. Enjoy! - Mark]

“Hollywood Death Mysteries Solved!”

Natalie Wood, Bruce Lee, Sonny Bono, and David Carradine were all murdered, and Richard Burton was beaten to death.

That’s according to the expert forensic authority known in academic circles as Globe magazine.

Solved?

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Those of us who thought Sonny Bono died after skiing at high speed into a tree were evidently fooled by brilliant “drug assassins” who beat him to death and planted his body on a ski slope. Because what could be easier than dragging a dead body up a mountain in deep snow?

Autopsy photos “could reveal Natalie Wood’s death was a murder.” Because even though medical examiners, police and prosecutors have viewed the photos, the truth won’t be known until the Globe’s pet attorney has seen the pictures. There you go – solved!

Richard Burton got into a bar brawl two days before he died. Though officials ruled that long-standing illnesses killed the actor, the Globe assures us it was the fight that killed him. Read the rest

Obama accused of "bungling and treachery," and other tabloid stunners

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[My friend Peter Sheridan is a Los Angeles-based correspondent for British national newspapers. He has covered revolutions, civil wars, riots, wildfires, and Hollywood celebrity misdeeds for longer than he cares to remember. As part of his job, he must read all the weekly tabloids. For the past couple of years, he's been posting terrific weekly tabloid recaps on Facebook and has graciously given us permission to run them on Boing Boing. Enjoy! - Mark]

When the National Enquirer goes on the warpath to expose your deepest, darkest secrets, you know you’re in trouble - unless you’re Donald Trump.

The Enquirer uncovers Trump’s “secret life,” revealing “the Donald Trump nobody knows.”

A team of crack investigative reporters blow the lid off the presidential candidate’s greatest scandals: Trump “has quietly donated a huge chunk of his fortune to charity - and is a doting dad to his young son.” I’m shocked, shocked I tell you.

Enquirer stablemate the Globe offers equally fair and balanced reporting, under its headline “Impeach Obama!”

The president is accused of “bungling and treachery,” which certainly sounds like constitutional grounds for impeachment to me.

It’s another fabulously fact-challenged week in the tabloids. The Globe claims that Queen Elizabeth is "flat broke” after squandering her $2 billion fortune on “covering up scandals and feeding (her) horse racing addiction.” Not to worry – she can always make a few quid selling her story to the tabloids.

The Globe also informs us that aviatrix Amelia Earhart not only survived her 1937 plane crash in the South Pacific but lived out her days hiding under an assumed name – Craigmile Bolam – in Bedford, New Jersey, until her death in 1982. Read the rest

J. Edgar Hoover’s “Kennedy blackmail files” revealed, and other tabloid stunners

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[My friend Peter Sheridan is a Los Angeles-based correspondent for British national newspapers. He has covered revolutions, civil wars, riots, wildfires, and Hollywood celebrity misdeeds for longer than he cares to remember. As part of his job, he must read all the weekly tabloids. For the past couple of years, he's been posting terrific weekly tabloid recaps on Facebook and has graciously given us permission to run them on Boing Boing. Enjoy! - Mark]

Bill Cosby “will die in jail,” J. Edgar Hoover’s “Kennedy blackmail files” have been revealed, and Jennifer Lopez reveals her “secrets for staying young,” which inexplicably doesn't include being born with her parents’ DNA and acquiring several million dollars to maintain one's looks.

But if we’re looking for logic and facts, this week’s tabloids aren't the best place to find them.

Angelina Jolie has adopted a seventh child “behind Brad’s back,” claims the Enquirer. You think he might notice, sooner or later?

Elvis Presley was murdered to prevent him from running off with an alleged lover he bedded 24 years earlier, the Enquirer also claims.

And to complete its trifecta, the Enquirer claims that Kurt Cobain was murdered because the fatal shotgun shell was found to the left of his body though the weapon’s chamber ejects shells to the right.

Let’s get real. Shell casings bounce. Presley wasn’t about to leave his young fiancé for an old hookup. And Angelina’s “adopted” son is still part of a family in Cambodia that she has reportedly helped by buying $200 worth of new clothes – a fortune in that country, but still, only $200 – which falls slightly short of the legal definition of adoption. Read the rest

What is the most interesting scientific news? Very, VERY smart people respond.

It is time once again for the Edge Annual Question, a mind-bending and boundary-busting online convening of scientists, technologists, and other big thinkers all responding to a single question at the intersection of science and culture. From physicists to artists, cognitive psychologists to journalists, evolutionary biologists to maverick anthropologists, these are people who Edge founder, famed literary agent, and BB pal John Brockman describes as the "third culture (consisting) of those scientists and other thinkers in the empirical world who, through their work and expository writing, are taking the place of the traditional intellectual in rendering visible the deeper meanings of our lives, redefining who and what we are."

This year, John asked: What do you consider the most interesting (scientific) news? What makes it important?" Nearly two hundred really smart people responded, including Steven Pinker, Nina Jablonski, Freeman Dyson, Stewart Brand, Marti Hearst, Philip Tetlock, Kevin Kelly, Lisa Feldman Barrett, Douglas Rushkoff, Lisa Randall, Alan Alda, Jared Diamond, Pamela McCorduck, and on and on.

"Science is the only news," writes Stewart Brand in the introduction. "When you scan through a newspaper or magazine, all the human interest stuff is the same old he-said-she-said, the politics and economics the same sorry cyclic dramas, the fashions a pathetic illusion of newness, and even the technology is predictable if you know the science. Human nature doesn't change much; science does, and the change accrues, altering the world irreversibly.' We now live in a world in which the rate of change is the biggest change." Science has thus become a big story, if not the big story: news that will stay news."

2016 : WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER THE MOST INTERESTING RECENT [SCIENTIFIC] NEWS? Read the rest

Vladimir Putin is a vampire and other breaking news from the tabloids

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[My friend Peter Sheridan is a Los Angeles-based correspondent for British national newspapers. He has covered revolutions, civil wars, riots, wildfires, and Hollywood celebrity misdeeds for longer than he cares to remember. As part of his job, he must read all the weekly tabloids. For the past couple of years, he's been posting terrific weekly tabloid recaps on Facebook and has graciously given us permission to run them on Boing Boing. Enjoy! - Mark]

Vladimir Putin is a vampire, Elvis Presley’s “seven secret love children” have been found, Angelina Jolie is suffering a “new cancer horror," and flamboyant "fitness guru" Richard Simmons is suffering a “mental breakdown,” according to this week’s fact-challenged Globe tabloid.

Accuracy, balance and logic evidently weren’t among the gifts left by Santa in the Globe's Christmas stocking this year.

Photographs of Putin look-alikes from 1920 and 1941 provoke the Globe to report that “investigators suggest he’s a vampire who has walked the Earth for a century or more!”

Barely more plausible are Elvis’s seven love children, exposed “following an exhaustive, two-year, world-wide investigation.” Or they could just have read back issues of the tabloids, where most of these claimants have previously told their stories, dating back to 1991. They range in plausibility from the offspring of women who claimed to have had one-night stands with the King, to Lisa Johansen who insists she was Presley’s daughter living with Elvis at Graceland until his 1977 death, when she was whisked to Sweden for her own safety and replaced by imposter Lisa Marie. Read the rest

Celebrities are wasting away, and other tabloid stunners

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[My friend Peter Sheridan is a Los Angeles-based correspondent for British national newspapers. He has covered revolutions, civil wars, riots, wildfires, and Hollywood celebrity misdeeds for longer than he cares to remember. As part of his job, he must read all the weekly tabloids. For the past couple of years, he's been posting terrific weekly tabloid recaps on Facebook and has graciously given us permission to run them on Boing Boing. Enjoy! - Mark]

Did Kim Kardashian lose 45 lbs in one day? This and other unassailable tabloid facts.

While the rest of the world is over-indulging during the festive season, weighty matters obsess this week’s tabloids and celebrity magazines.

Kim Kardashian “lost 75 lbs in 3 weeks” post-pregnancy, says the National Enquirer, while Star magazine says she lost 30 lbs in 20 days.

They could both be right, if Kardashian lost another 45 lbs on her 21st day, which seems entirely plausible.

Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton is the “Queen of Lean” and “starving herself to death” as her weight plummets to 98 lbs, says the Enquirer.

Tabloid watchers will recall that only six weeks ago the Enquirer warned that Kate weighed 99 lbs and was “wasting away,” so clearly the loss of another 16 precious ounces is cause for grave concern.

Meanwhile George Clooney’s wife Amal is “scary-skinny” says the Enquirer, though it doesn’t tell us how much she weighs because they’re too busy explaining how this brilliant human rights lawyer has transformed into "the wife from hell,” cutting Clooney off from old friends and making him sell off his former “love nests,” while she spends $4,695 on an Alexander McQueen dress and $4,000 on a vintage coat. Read the rest

Communion wafer bleeds for 3 days, and other tabloid stunners

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[My friend Peter Sheridan is a Los Angeles-based correspondent for British national newspapers. He has covered revolutions, civil wars, riots, wildfires, and Hollywood celebrity misdeeds for longer than he cares to remember. As part of his job, he must read all the weekly tabloids. For the past couple of years, he's been posting terrific weekly tabloid recaps on Facebook and has graciously given us permission to run them on Boing Boing. Enjoy! - Mark]

Today’s tabloids never let facts get in the way of a good story. “It’s official!” screams the Globe. “Kate Crowned Queen.”

Not exactly. The last time I looked Elizabeth II still sat on the British throne and Kate Middleton was Duchess of Cambridge - unless the Globe’s “Palace insiders” know something HRH doesn’t know.

The Enquirer reveals Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s “Secret Divorce Papers!”

Except they don’t.

Photos of divorce papers splashed across the cover and inside the mag come from both stars’ previous divorces. And those weren’t secret anyway.

The purported $480 million divorce battle is about as real as Queen Kate.

“Communion Wafer ‘Bleeds’ For Three Days,” shouts an Examiner headline. “Is It A Miracle?”

No – it’s just a cracker. Get over it. Or give it to Angelina Jolie, since the tabloids are always complaining she’s too thin.

There are “Terrorist Spies Working in White House!” proclaims the Globe, which for good measure adds that President Obama is secretly Muslim and “put double agents in his Cabinet.”

Right.

This fair and balanced report shares a page with a completely impartial story headlined: “Why U.S. Read the rest

Most shocking true crimes of 2015 and other holiday delights in the tabloids

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[My friend Peter Sheridan is a Los Angeles-based correspondent for British national newspapers. He has covered revolutions, civil wars, riots, wildfires, and Hollywood celebrity misdeeds for longer than he cares to remember. As part of his job, he must read all the weekly tabloids. For the past couple of years, he's been posting terrific weekly tabloid recaps on Facebook and has graciously given us permission to run them on Boing Boing. Enjoy! - Mark]

Countless wannabes are dying to be stars, so perhaps it makes perverse sense that so many stars are sick or dying – at least to judge by this week’s tabloids and celebrity magazines.

“Tumor-stricken ‘Top Gun’ hero” Val Kilmer has “three months to live” according to the Globe, which has photos of the 55-year-old actor wearing what appears to be a medical throat tube in his neck.

Burt Reynolds suffered a “heart attack drama” according to the National Enquirer, with photos of the Deliverance star sprawled on the floor – though it turns out that he merely stumbled, went straight on with a TV appearance, and it’s merely an unnamed “friend” suggesting that “Burt is a heart attack waiting to happen!”

Not to be outdone in the pursuit of medical scoops, the Examiner runs a spread on “Stars Battling Hepatitis,” which is as tasteful and sensitive as you’d imagine.

Add singer-actress Cher “dying” in the Globe, Kim Kardashian sharing details of her placenta accreta in People magazine, the Enquirer exposing Ben Affleck allegedly undergoing cosmetic surgery and an eyelid lift, and the Enquirer also recounting how Pope Francis cured a baby girl’s brain tumor with a kiss, and this week’s celebrity magazines are just like reading the American Journal of Medicine (though without the peer review, control testing, or facts.)

Speaking of facts, the Enquirer's cover reveals that there are “93 Secret ISIS Cells Here” in America. Read the rest

Fugitive is in the doghouse after cops catch her hiding in a doghouse

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[My friend Peter Sheridan is a Los Angeles-based correspondent for British national newspapers. He has covered revolutions, civil wars, riots, wildfires, and Hollywood celebrity misdeeds for longer than he cares to remember. As part of his job, he must read all the weekly tabloids. For the past couple of years, he's been posting terrific weekly tabloid recaps on Facebook and has graciously given us permission to run them on Boing Boing. Enjoy! - Mark]

Read the rest

What’s wrong with the people who read celebrity magazines?

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[My friend Peter Sheridan is a Los Angeles-based correspondent for British national newspapers. He has covered revolutions, civil wars, riots, wildfires, and Hollywood celebrity misdeeds for longer than he cares to remember. As part of his job, he must read all the weekly tabloids. For the past couple of years, he's been posting terrific weekly tabloid recaps on Facebook and has graciously given us permission to run them on Boing Boing. Enjoy! - Mark]

Read the rest

Nixon killed JFK and stole his brain! and other hard-hitting tabloid news

[My friend Peter Sheridan is a Los Angeles-based correspondent for British national newspapers. He has covered revolutions, civil wars, riots, wildfires, and Hollywood celebrity misdeeds for longer than he cares to remember. As part of his job, he must read all the weekly tabloids. For the past couple of years, he's been posting terrific weekly tabloid recaps on Facebook and has graciously given us permission to run them on Boing Boing. Enjoy! - Mark]

Read the rest

America’s plague of real-life vampires, and more hard-hitting tabloid news this week

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[My friend Peter Sheridan is a Los Angeles-based correspondent for British national newspapers. He has covered revolutions, civil wars, riots, wildfires, and Hollywood celebrity misdeeds for longer than he cares to remember. As part of his job, he must read all the weekly tabloids. For the past couple of years, he's been posting terrific weekly tabloid recaps on Facebook and has graciously given us permission to run them on Boing Boing. Enjoy! - Mark]

“Hitler escaped” in a secret tunnel and fled to Argentina, "there really are vampires among us,” and Robert Wagner is “going to jail” for killing Natalie Wood.

It’s another fact-free fest in this week's soaring supermarket tabloids and scintillating celebrity magazines.

Frank Sinatra is this week’s punching bag. Ol’ Blue Eyes was a “cocaine gang overlord” according to the National Enquirer (which makes me view ‘Fly Me To The Moon’ in a completely new light) and “asked mob to whack Woody” Allen after the director cheated on Mia Farrow, according to the Globe.

So good to have a week when the tabloids aren’t giving us breaking news about who Sinatra was sleeping with 60 years ago.

Fortunately investigative journalism is still alive and kicking at Us magazine, with the startling revelations that Selena Gomez wore it best, TV’s ‘Minority Report’ actress Meagan Good carries Post-it notes, green tea and a miniature teddy bear in her handbag, and the stars are just like us: they exercise together, indulge in ice cream, and volunteer for charity (the latter proving that Us mag considers former president Jimmy Carter “a star.”)

Hitler’s escape and America’s plague of real-life vampires come courtesy of the National Examiner, whose reporters never met a conspiracy they didn’t like. Read the rest

After years of fat-shaming headlines, the tabloids decide that thin can kill, too

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[My friend Peter Sheridan is a Los Angeles-based correspondent for British national newspapers. He has covered revolutions, civil wars, riots, wildfires, and Hollywood celebrity misdeeds for longer than he cares to remember. As part of his job, he must read all the weekly tabloids. For the past couple of years, he's been posting terrific weekly tabloid recaps on Facebook and has graciously given us permission to run them on Boing Boing. Enjoy! - Mark]

Weighty topics fill this week’s fact-lite tabloids, dedicated to bringing you a healthier, happier life - unless you’re a celebrity. Read the rest

McClatchy chain of more than 30 U.S. papers may close all foreign bureaus

An employee passes  McClatchy Co. owned newspapers in their DC office, 2008. REUTERS

The McClatchy Company, a chain of more than 30 U.S. newspapers, is expected to close its foreign bureaus by the end of the year. The media giant's chief executive denies the rumors, but it kind of sounds like the closures are likely anyway. Read the rest

National Geographic sold to Rupert Murdoch

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The $750m deal places the legendary nonprofit under 21st Century Fox's control.

The first edition of National Geographic was published in 1888, the same year that the National Geographic Society was founded. An note in the first issue said the publication would help spread the research of others, “so that we may all know more of the world upon which we live.”

But things have changed since 1888, and the Society said Wednesday that selling its publications to 21st Century Fox, which has partnered with the non-profit in owning and operating its television channels for almost 20 years, was the best bet for survival in the modern media market.

Read the rest

Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and others join to create royalty-free video codecs for all

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The group plans to develop a new generation of royalty-free open source digital media formats for video, audio, and still images.

Michael Dant's photos of colorful Panasonic portable music players

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Michael Dant has a collection of well-cared-for Panasonic portable music players from the early 1970s. He's also taken excellent photos of them, which you can see here. I had a red Toot-a-Loop AM radio. Panasonic ought to re-issue this line of Panapal players with Bluetooth streaming and MP3 playing capability. Read the rest

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