Tuesday, 4 August 2015

C & H

Calvin and Hobbes

Cheap Stunt

BBC

The US airline Delta has banned the shipment of big game trophies on its flights following the international outcry over the illegal killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe.

The airline has announced that it will no longer transport lion, rhinoceros, leopard, elephant or buffalo remains.

It has not however given an official reason for its decision.

My Photo

How about maximum publicity?

Don't They Ever Learn?

Sabrina Corgatelli poses with a dead giraffe.

A big-game trophy collector from Idaho has been criticised by animal rights activists over online images of herself posed with the carcasses of a giraffe and other wildlife she killed during a recent guided hunt in South Africa.
Sabrina Corgatelli, an accountant for Idaho State University, appeared on NBC’s Today show on Monday to defend trophy hunting amid mounting international outrage over the killing in July of Cecil, Zimbabwe’s most famous lion, by an American dentist.
“Everybody thinks we’re cold-hearted killers and it’s not that,” Corgatelli said in the nationally televised interview. “There is a connection to the animal and just because we hunt them doesn’t mean we don’t have a respect for them.
“Giraffes are very dangerous animals. They could hurt you seriously, very quickly.”
Corgatelli first drew attention from a series of photos circulated via her Facebook account that showed her standing with various animals she bagged in South Africa including an impala, a warthog and a wildebeest.
“Day ž2 I got an amazing old Giraffe. Such an amazing animal!!! I couldn’t be happier,” Corgatelli said in a caption to one image showing the carcass draped around her.
The British comedian Ricky Gervais, who is outspoken on animal cruelty, joined the condemnation with a string of tweets and described Corgatelli as a “new extreme ’untress desperate for publicity”.
More at  TG

Tolkien Tiuch

The migrants currently living in Calais in order to get into Britain are to be reclassified from ‘potential immigrants’ to ‘goblins’ to ensure everyone feels better about it.
“Look, no-one really thinks of these people as humans,” said a home-office representative yesterday.
“So, if we have them reclassified as horrid little supernatural creatures then there can be no complaints about treating them as abominably as possible.”
Under the new ‘goblin’ classification the migrants won’t be subject to the human rights act and as such can kicked up the arse, poked with pointy sticks and made to live in big holes in the ground.
The plans have found favour amongst appalling people across the country.
“Yeah, it’s brilliant,” said serial genital exposer Simon Williams.
“I mean, because the Daily Mail has told me to, I’ve decided to absolutely loathe this small collection of people who I’ve never met, purely because they want to move somewhere where they won’t get shot.”
“Every now and again the tattered remnants of what used to be my conscience flash up and made me feel bad about irrationally hating fellow human beings who are in dire circumstance; so thinking of them as goblins will make that a lot easier to deal with.”
If the plan proves successful then benefit claimants could be reclassified as ‘orcs,’ disabled people as ‘gnomes,’ and Labour supporters at ‘c**ts’.
NT

DYK?

Fern Fever?

Pteridomania was a fearsome ailment. Symptoms caused women to swoon and fall off of cliffs—and entire species to fall into endangered status. But the contagious disease wasn’t one of the body: “Fern fever” was a fad that swept through England during the 19th century. 
Not so surprisingly, a botanist was to blame for the craze. In 1829, Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward had given up trying to grow ferns in the polluted London air, and had moved on to studying moths. But when studying a chrysalis that he kept in a covered glass bottle, he noticed that ferns began to grow in the soil at the bottom of the jar. Ignoring the moth, he began to experiment with tightly-sealed glass cases
To modern-day readers, there’s nothing sexy about a terrarium, but Wardian cases,” as they became known, were big news for Victorians. Suddenly, it was possible to grow and study plants indoors—a feat helped along by quick industrialization, which made such devices accessible to ordinary people. People started to mail-order exotic ferns to grow at home and set out in search of the perfect specimen. 
Ferns had long been associated with the female sex, bringing to mind moist nether regions and shady places. Certain types of fern are even referred to as maidenhair—an overt reference to pubic hair. 
It turns out that ferns’ sex lives are just as bizarre as the idea of fern fever sweeping an entire nation. As NPR’s Geoff Brumfiel recently reported, at least one species of fern emerged from the unexpected mating between two different fern species that lived and flourished in completely different places and were “separated by nearly 60 million years of evolution.” 
Fern-o-mania’s biggest proponents were young women, who took to fern hunting, preservation, and growth in large numbers. Charles Kingsley dubbed the phenomenonPteridomania, complaining that “Your daughters, perhaps … [are] wrangling over unpronouncable names of species, (which seem to be different with every new fern that they buy), till the Pteridomania seems to you something of a bore.” 
In the socially-acceptable pursuit of ferns, young women could get outdoors, often without the strict chaperonage of indoor activities. They could have adventures and compete with one another. They also could run into trouble: In her book The Bronte Cabinet: Three Lives in Nine Objects, Deborah Lutz writes about a fern-seeker named Miss Jane Myers who plummeted 170 feet to her death while gathering ferns. 
But the relentless pursuit of all things fern had a downside: It led to dramatic depopulation of native fern species in the UK. Species like the Killarney fern still suffer from the effects of the craze today—an unexpected dark side to what seems like a harmless obsession.
MF

Seconds Out

It’s the movie that won Robert De Niro his Oscar for Best Actor. It’s the movie that earned Martin Scorsese his first nomination for Best Director. It’s the movie where the guy who would later play Coach on Cheers sees a handsome boxer get mutilated and says, “He ain’t pretty no more.” It’s Raging Bull, it came out 35 years ago this year, and it will punch you in the face. Here are 15 facts to enhance your next viewing of one of the best sports dramas ever made. 

1. IT PARTIALLY OWES ITS EXISTENCE TO ROCKY.

Comparisons to that other Oscar-winning boxing movie from four years earlier were inevitable, but the two were actually connected. Rocky was produced by Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff, and released by United Artists. When those same producers approached that same studio about doing another boxing movie, the studio said, “A sequel to Rocky? Sure!” That wasn’t what they had in mind (though they did soon enough), but in the meantime,Rocky’s huge success was enough to sell UA on another boxing movie. 

2. IT WAS ONE OF SEVERAL BOXING MOVIES BEING SHOT AROUND THE SAME TIME.

Rocky started a trend, as movies that win Best Picture often do. In late 1978 and early 1979, when Scorsese was getting started on Raging Bull, there were at least four others in the works: Rocky IIThe Main EventThe Champ, and Matilda (the boxing kangaroo). This glut actually helped Scorsese convince United Artists to let him shoot Raging Bull in black-and-white, as it would make his boxing movie stand out visually from the others. Hey, whatever works, right?

3. FOR RESEARCH, SCREENWRITER MARDIK MARTIN LIVED WITH JAKE LAMOTTA’S EX-WIFE FOR A FEW DAYS.

“Lived with” is how he phrased it on the 30th anniversary Blu-ray. Vickie LaMotta was open enough to the idea of a movie about her ex-husband that she let Martin visit her in Florida and pick her brain about her relationship with the volatile pugilist.

4. DE NIRO WANTED TO DO IT AS A PLAY, TOO.

This was in early 1978, before it was even written as a movie yet, when De Niro was collaborating with Mardik Martin to adapt LaMotta’s memoir, while simultaneously trying to convince a noncommittal and increasingly drug-addled Scorsese to take on the project. De Niro’s idea was to stage it as a Broadway play (to be directed by Scorsese), and then, during the run of the show, spend the daylight hours shooting the movie. De Niro liked the idea of the day’s filming influencing the way they performed the play that night. But Martin’s script wasn’t yet ready for either medium, and Scorsese was in no shape to do it then anyway. 

5. PAUL SCHRADER FIXED THE SCREENPLAY BY ADDING JAKE LAMOTTA’S BROTHER, JOEY.

It’s strange to imagine Raging Bull without the Joe Pesci character, but that’s how Mardik Martin’s first drafts had it. He was adapting LaMotta’s 1970 memoir, Raging Bull: My Story, co-authored by LaMotta’s lifelong friend Peter Savage (born Peter Petrella). The book didn’t feature Joey as a prominent character, and it had Savage doing most of the things that Joey would eventually do in the movie. When Schrader was hired to build on the work Martin had done and take another stab at the screenplay, he decided the story would be more compelling if it involved brothers rather than friends (blood ties and all that), so he introduced the Joey character and excised poor old Pete. This creative license proved problematic later, when Joey LaMotta sued for defamation because the movie had attributed to him a number of unwholesome deeds (like beating the crap out of a neighborhood mobster) that had actually been perpetrated by Savage. 

6. SCORSESE SHOT ALL THE BOXING SCENES FIRST, THEN ALL THE NON-BOXING SCENES. 

At opposite ends of the country, too: the boxing was shot in Los Angeles, and everything else was shot on sets and real locations in New York. 

7. JAKE LAMOTTA WAS ON THE SET FOR THE BOXING SCENES, BUT NOT FOR THE DRAMATIC SCENES. 

The retired boxer cooperated eagerly with Scorsese and De Niro in making the film, despite its somewhat unflattering depiction of him. (He’d been very frank about his shortcomings in his autobiography.) He was on hand to give technical advice to De Niro when the boxing matches were being shot, for which the actor was grateful. But when it came time to shoot the non-boxing stuff, Scorsese asked him not to tag along. De Niro said that LaMotta understood, “because you don’t want the guy to come over and say, ‘That’s not the way I did it.’ ... You feel like you’re doing it for the approval of someone else.” 

8. TO MAKE JAKE’S HOME MOVIES LOOK AUTHENTICALLY BATTERED, SCORSESE SCRATCHED THE FILM NEGATIVE. 

The director himself physically, literally scratched it. With a coat hanger. That’s something you could do when movies were shot on actual film. According to editor Thelma Schoonmaker, the home movies were so realistic looking (and the only color part of the film) that at least one theater projectionist, thinking the lab had mistakenly mixed them in with the print of Raging Bull, tried to cut them out.

9. JOE PESCI WAS RUNNING AN ITALIAN RESTAURANT WHEN DE NIRO AND SCORSESE APPROACHED HIM ABOUT BEING IN THE MOVIE.

Pesci had been a professional actor and musician (he sang and played guitar) off and on since childhood, but he called it quits in the 1970s. His 1975 Broadway show with comedy partner Frank Vincent (whom he would later recruit to play Salvy in Raging Bull) had closed after a week, and his first movie, 1976’s The Death Collector (also featuring Vincent), was a flop. But Robert De Niro happened to see that film in 1978, and was so impressed by Pesci’s performance that he pitched him to Scorsese. The two tracked Pesci down and called him at his restaurant to coax him out of showbiz retirement. 

10. SCORSESE HAD SEVERAL REASONS FOR SHOOTING IN BLACK-AND-WHITE.

Among them: color film decayed over time, which wouldn’t be an issue in black-and-white; getting the colors right for a boxing film set in the 1940s and ’50s would have been an extra hassle; and to a generation of people who had grown up in the 1950s watching Madison Square Garden fights every Friday on NBC, boxing was a black-and-white sport. It was the only way they’d ever seen it. 

11. THERE’S A GOOD REASON WHY THE BOXERS, REFEREES, CORNERMEN, AND ANNOUNCERS SEEM AUTHENTIC: THEY ARE.

Scorsese, a stickler for authenticity when it suits him, got real fighters and other boxing professionals (including LaMotta’s actual cornerman) to fill those roles in the film. Even more true to life: the radio commentary we hear during LaMotta’s fights is the real thing, taken from old recordings. Scorsese didn’t think actors could adequately recreate the sound of those old-timey announcers. 

12. THE SIZE OF THE RING CHANGES FROM FIGHT TO FIGHT, DEPENDING ON JAKE’S FRAME OF MIND.

Not through optical illusions, either—Scorsese actually changed the set. The ring is expansive when Jake is elated, fighting Sugar Ray for the first time; it gets smaller and more hellish later. 

13. A VARIETY OF SEEMINGLY OUT-OF-PLACE SOUND EFFECTS MADE IT INTO THE FINAL MIX. 

You’ll hear an elephant trumpeting and a horse whinnying in one of the fight scenes, suggesting the boxer's animalistic nature. In one of the scenes of domestic violence, a screeching sound is heard that was achieved by pouring dry ice on glass. 

14. CATHY MORIARTY WAS COMPLETELY INEXPERIENCED.

Cathy Moriarty was just 18 years old when she was cast as Jake LaMotta’s wife. The Bronx-born Catholic girl hadn’t even been a model (“I’m too clumsy,” she said in 1981), much less an actress, when Joe Pesci saw her at a beauty contest and thought she looked right for the part of Vickie LaMotta.  Moriarty had never acted professionally at that point, her experience limited to school plays and such, but she nailed the screen test opposite De Niro—possibly because she wasn’t familiar with the actor’s work, didn’t realize how big a deal the whole thing was, and wasn’t nervous. 

15. SCORSESE THREATENED TO TAKE HIS NAME OFF THE FILM OVER ONE MINOR SOUND ISSUE. 

Very late in the post-production process, when the film was due to premiere soon and Scorsese was still tinkering with the final sound mix, producer Irwin Winkler gave him a drop deadline: all work would cease at midnight on a certain night, and that would be it. When the hour arrived, Scorsese was obsessing over one minor line of dialogue someone says to a bartender —“Cutty Sark, please”—which he didn’t think was audible. Winkler told him too bad, we’ve got to send this thing out. Scorsese declared that if Winkler released the film this way, he wanted his name taken off it as director, because it no longer reflected his vision. Winkler said, “So be it.” Like all good producers, he knew that sometimes you have to let an overtired director throw a tantrum and say things he doesn’t really mean. Sure enough, Scorsese recanted sometime later.
MF

Dilbert

Working Sixty Hours A Week - Dilbert by Scott Adams

Killjoy?

Ian Mcshane
Popular 90’s television antiques dealer Lovejoy has been cast in series 6 of Game of Thrones.
The chirpy antiquarian with a roving eye for the ladies is being brought in to introduce a bit of much-needed levity to the series now that Tyrion has gone all dark and tortured.
Lovejoy’s plot arc is reported to involve a search for a legendary blade of Valyrian steel which takes him ‘all over Westeros and beyond’ in a succession of scrapes and encounters with other major characters.
It is suggested that actor Ian McShane demanded an ‘unprecedented’ amount of female nudity be written into his contract as a condition for reprising the role.
“What the series really needs is a witty midget with a roving eye”, series producers told us.
“It was a big problem for us until we were watching UK Gold at 3am one night and there the answer was, right in front of us.”
“We think an antiques dealer will bring an entirely new dynamic to an otherwise staid and generic world of wizards, dragons and the walking dead.”
The actor has apparently already shot several dramatic scenes, including one in which he and Jamie Lannister go head to head in a nail-biting auction in a Midlands sale-room, and another in which he convinces several members of House Tyrell to sell him a rare commode for a price considerably less than it’s worth.
Lovejoy, who was well known for breaking through the fourth wall and talking to the audience, then turns to the camera with a wink and tells viewers that it’s the same toilet Tyron was shot on which greatly increases collector value.
Seasoned Game of Thrones-watchers are already speculating about a future direction for the character.
“Ian McShane has black hair like Robert Baratheon. Does that mean he’s another illegitimate son?” asked one, whilst online forums are already frenziedly suggesting what Lovejoy’s first name might turn out to be, and whether that will have an outcome on the rest of the series.
“Do you think he’ll end up as king?” asked one.
NT

Dreaming


Don't miss an episode—subscribe here! (Images and footage provided by our friends at Shutterstock. This transcript comes courtesy of Nerdfighteria Wiki.)
1. Hi, I'm John Green. Welcome to my salon. This is mental_floss on YouTube, and did you know that video games might be good practice for lucid dreaming?
According to studies conducted by Jane Gackenbach, a psychologist at Grant MacEwan University in Canada, gamers spend so much time practicing virtual reality that they're more likely to be able to control actions in their dreams.
Plus, in a study she did in 2008 with about a hundred participants, she found that gamers were less prone to nightmares because they were more willing to fight back during their scary dreams.
2. According to a 1966 study in which people reported on their dreams, dreams are primarily visual and auditory. Smell and taste sensations occur less than one percent of the time.
3. But interestingly, a 2009 study from the European Sleep Research Society found that presenting smells to a sleeping person could affect their dreams. Positive smells like roses produced positive dreams, and negatives smells like rotten eggs gave more negative dreams.
4. In the average lifetime, a person will have over a hundred thousand dreams. That might include dozens of dreams in a single night, but we only spent about two hours each night dreaming.
5. Fifty percent of people report having had a recent pre-cognitive dream, or a dream that seems to tell the future. But most experts believe that this phenomenon is due to the law of large numbers.
Basically tons of stuff happens every single day so it's very probable that every once in a while, something that happens will have been recently dreamt about.
6. A famous pre-cognitive dream happened to Abraham Lincoln a few days before he was assassinated. According to his friend Ward Hill Lamon, Lincoln told a small group that he dreamed of a group of soldiers. He asked the group "Who died?" and a soldier responded: "The president. He was killed by an assassin".
But whether Lamon was telling the truth, well ... that's for you to decide. Also how often did Lincoln probably dream about getting assassinated? He was under constant threat of assassination. I shouldn't make jokes about your assassination Abe Lincoln. You're my favorite bobble head on the entire wall.
7. Another famous dreamer was Dmitri Mendeleev, the inventor of the periodic table, who claimed that the idea came from a dream. He said: "I saw in a dream a table where all the elements fell into place as required. Awakening I immediately wrote it down on a piece of paper—only in one place did a correction later seem necessary."
I have dreams for my books like that all the time and then I wake up and I write down exactly with the dream told me to write down and then I read it like four hours later when I'm like properly awake and its awful.
8. People tend to remember more negative emotions than positive ones in dreams. This phenomenon was observed by researcher Calvin S. Hall who monitored dream accounts for more than 50,000 college students over the course of forty years.
The most commonly reported feeling from dreams? Anxiety. I wasn't aware that you could feel something else from a dream. 
9. According to a 1996 study conducted by William Domhof, children between the ages of 9 and 11 only recall about 20 to 30 percent of their dreams. Adults, on the other hand, have a recall rate around 79 percent.
10. But according to dream researcher Jay Allan Hobson, we forget about 95 percent of our dream, so this is definitely something that needs to be researched more as the "so much sleep" science. Generally the field of, like, dream studies sometimes suffers from a lack of intellectual rigor.
11. Humans dream during both REM sleep and non-REM sleep, but babies are the champions of REM sleep, spending over half their sleep time in REM. Now we don't know if they're really dreaming all that time, but adults only spend about 20 to 25 percent of their sleep time in REM but we dream at least four to six times per night.
12. And although we think of them as little imagination factories, in fact, children have fairly realistic dreams. According to one study, about 29 percent of their dreams are realistic, around 47 percent are realistic fiction, and only 4 percent are purely fantastic. Those are comparable with adult dreams.
Now is it realistic fiction or purely fantastical when I dream that I am a banana on the space shuttle? Because, I mean, I think there are bananas on the space shuttle but I'm unlikely to become one of them.
13. Anyway, many people have reported that wearing a nicotine patch intensifies their dreams.
14. A lot of people wonder how blind people dream. Experts have observed that if a person was born blind or went blind at a young age, they typically only dream in smell, sound, taste, and touch, not in sight. But those who went blind later in life often do have visual dreams.
15. There's something known as hypnagogia, or a wakeful dream. This is when someone transitioning from being awake to being asleep dreams, so during that time, people technically dream while they're awake, which could mean anything from experiencing weird visuals and sounds to hallucination.
16. The Hawaiian word for dream translates to "soul sleep." This is because Hawaiians believe that people were able to communicate with ancestors and gods while they slept.
17-18. Ancient Mesopotamians and Egyptians also considered dreams to be very important. Both societies had dream interpreters who would tell the future based on a person's dreams, and in fact the Chester Beatty papyri are the manuscripts containing the earliest known dream dictionary, and it was written over three thousand years ago in ancient Egypt.
19. According to a 1996 study, between 60 and 75 percent of adults have recurring dreams, and women are more likely to have them than men.
20. It might not feel like it, but we dream in real time. According to Dr. Rubin Naiman, a psychologist who studies sleep at the University of Arizona, dreams can last anywhere from a couple minutes to an hour.
21. Mammals and birds have REM sleep, so they probably dream but reptiles probably don't. But if reptiles don't dream does Medusa dream? That's presumably what she and the Flash are talking about.
22. According to a 2007 study conducted at the University of Montreal, new mothers are more likely to have nightmares than pregnant women or women with no children. In fact, three quarters of women who recently gave birth had nightmares about bad things that might happen to their babies.
23. When awakened while dreaming, people rend to report that their dreams contained vivid colors seventy percent of the time and vague color 13 percent of the time, but outside of scientific studies, only 25 to 29 percent of people say that they dream in color. So many of us do dream in color but don't properly remember.
24. Interestingly, childhood exposure to black and white television affects whether people dream in color. A 2008 study revealed that people who are 25 years old or younger rarely report dreaming in black and white. People who are older than 55 though, say that they dream in black-and-white fairly often.
These findings were reversed in studies done in the forties—college students claimed they rarely dreamt in color, so scientists think that TV might be involved.
25. And finally I return to my salon to tell you that men dream about men more than women dream about men. According to studies, sixty-six percent of the characters in men's dreams are male, whereas the ratio of male to female characters in women's dreams is 50/50. And this phenomenon is true across all cultures that have been observed, so maybe it just says something about men.
MF

Stockpiling

Don’t panic, but we’re running out of things to panic about running out of. It seems every month the Internet becomes hysterical over an alleged shortage of some popular item. But more often than not, these “shortages” are just live demonstrations of economics at work, taking us on a roller coaster of supply and demand made sensational by panic-inducing headlines. Let’s put a few of these rumors to rest. 

1. CHOCOLATE

You’ve probably read the headlines: “The world’s biggest chocolate-maker says we’re running out of chocolate,” raves the Washington Post. “The cocoa crisis: Why the world’s stash of chocolate is melting away,” The Guardian warns. But fear not, cocoa connoisseurs: The sweet stuff isn’t going anywhere. It’s just going to get a bit more expensive. 
“The ‘running out of chocolate’ theme can reasonably be seen as spreading fear, uncertainty, and doubt in an attempt to manipulate the market,” Clay Gordon, a chocolate consultant and author of the book Discover Chocolate, told mental_floss. “Do you have to worry about there not being chocolate anymore? The answer is no.”
But the narrative isn’t entirely contrived. Gordon says there are two very real pressures on the cocoa chain: climate change, which will likely cut supply, and increased demand for chocolate from new markets, like Asia. If you took economics 101, you know that when supply goes down and demand goes up, prices skyrocket. We’re already seeing this: Cocoa prices haveclimbed by more than 60 percent since 2012. Cheap, mass market chocolate candies, like Snickers and M&Ms, will be the hardest hit, Gordon says. “The current large producers of cocoa are at greater risks than smaller producers,” he says. Indeed, last year Hersheyannounced it was raising prices by 8 percent. 
A 2011 study says climate change will start to really impact cocoa farmers by 2030, but goes on to say that “there will also be areas where suitability of cocoa increases,” so there’s that. The looming shortage is also sparking new innovations in cocoa production. Researchers arecreating new breeds of cacao trees that are resistant to some disease and can produce seven times more beans.
(And that 60 percent price increase the Washington Post was worried about? That’s lower than the high reached in 2011. In 2012—which the Post used as a baseline—the price collapsed. A just-as-accurate headline would have read "cocoa prices have fallen 15 percent since 2011." And it’s still much lower than the all time cocoa high from 1977.)
Gordon says you can prepare for the price increase by switching from cheap chocolate to higher quality stuff, which may be a bit more pricey, but is unlikely to get any more expensive. “A lot of the higher-end chocolate is made from cocoa that’s purchased more directly and is also made from cocoa beans that are not traded on the market and are not subject to speculation,” he explains. Also, it tastes better. 

2. BACON

Back in 2012, panic erupted among pork lovers when a global bacon “shortage” threatened to ruin breakfast. The source of the rumor was traced to a single press release from The National Pig Association (NPA) of the United Kingdom that used some pretty strong language, calling a global shortage of pork and bacon “unavoidable.” The story was picked up by CBS News, CNBC, and the Washington Post, among other outlets. But a bacon shortage there was not. Instead, as with chocolate, bacon simply became more expensive for a while. 
The panic was tied to the 2012 drought that badly damaged the global corn supply. Pigs are raised on corn, “hence, the ‘bacon shortage’—actually a global increase in meat prices as a slightly delayed downstream consequence of the increase in corn prices,” as Matthew Yglesias at Slate explained. In 2013, panic spiked again after a virus killed millions of pigs, sending prices even higher. Indeed, the retail price of bacon hit a painful all-time high in the summer of 2014 of around $6 per pound.
But how quickly things change: Just a few months later, the price of pork dropped, with forecasters calling for an all-time high of 23.9 billion pounds to be produced in the U.S. in 2015. “It’s amazing,” John Nalivka, president of agriculture-advisory firm Sterling Marketing Inc., told the Wall Street Journal this January. “We’ve gone from ‘We’re going to run out of pork!’ to ‘What are we going to do with all of this meat?’” 

3. TEQUILA

Rumors of a tequila shortage have circulated since the early 2000s, when, following a surge in demand, prices skyrocketed and producers needed to start using lower quality product just to fill the gap. Because of the rise in consumption, farmers started planting more agave, the plant from which tequila is made. By 2005, there was so much agave available that the bottom fell out of the market, and many farmers abandoned their agave operations for a more lucrative crop: corn
Many of the farmers who stuck with the tequila-producing plants saw their crop succumb to rot and had to burn large swaths of it around 2007 and 2008. Because the plants take so long to mature, it was rumored that a shortage of agave would only begin to impact the tequila market around 2013, but that never really happened—or at least not to any extreme degree. Because of the boom and bust cycles, large tequila brands have begun to take more care in monitoring their agave nurseries. In 2013, Bloomberg reported that Sauza Tequila had 15 million plants. 
In the last few years, the demand for tequila has only continued to rise, seeing a 5 percent increase in U.S. sales volume last year. Producers have boosted their agave crop accordingly, and many of the large manufacturers are investing in research to turn production into a more efficient science. The downside, experts say, is this cheap mass market tequila is of low quality, the kind only suited for frozen margaritas out of a machine. Depending on your taste in tequila, that might be just fine. 

4. INTERNET

Despite our love for chocolate, tequila, and bacon, they’re all things we could reasonably live without if we really had to. The Internet, on the other hand, is a necessity for modern living, which is what makes headlines like this one so scary. “It’s been a long time coming, but we’re finally going to run out of internet,” writes Darren Orf at Gizmodo, predicting “an internet crisis of biblical proportion.” The reality is much less click-baity and a little bit technical. Bear with me. 
At the dawn of the modern Internet, each computer was given a different “internet protocol” (or IP) address. In the early '80s, the fourth version (IPv4) was standardized which gave a series of 32-bit numbers unique to each individual computer that identify your device to the Internet. “IP addresses are the Internet’s equivalent of telephone numbers,” explains Robert McMillan at the Wall Street Journal. In total, there are about 4.3 billion possible 32-bit IP numbers, and we’ve run out. But that doesn’t mean your internet is going to shut off. It probably won’t affect you at all, unless you’re a massive business hoping to expand your Internet footprint. 
Some of the biggest Internet companies, including Google and Facebook, are in the process of switching over to a new Internet protocol system called IPv6 (IPv5 never made it out of the lab). As the WSJ explains, the new system “allows for a mind-boggling increase in addresses to 340 undecillion, or 340 followed by 36 zeroes, enough to assign an IP address to every gram of matter on Earth.” The transition will happen over a number of years and, with theexception of a few hiccups for people with outdated home routers or operating systems, consumers’ Internet access shouldn’t be interrupted. 

5. PROSECCO

Italian sparkling wine—a.k.a. Prosecco—is now more sought after than actual Champagne (at least in the UK). Despite its growing popularity, the beverage’s prices have remained about the same. So, earlier this year, Robert Cremonese, export manager of a Prosecco brand called Bisol, dropped a marketing bomb on bubbly imbibers. “Last year’s harvest was very poor,” he told an industry publication, “and down by up to 50 percent in some parts, so there is a very real possibility of a global shortage.” 
The media responded accordingly, and people panicked. But the rising tide was short-lived. Stefano Zanette, President of the Prosecco DOC Consortium, a group “charged with protecting, upholding and promoting the standards of Prosecco,” released a statementdebunking the scheme. “Despite the fact that the 2014 harvest was hit with some harsh weather,” he said, “the total certified production was up 17.9 percent as compared to the previous harvest.” Cheers! 

6. AVOCADOS

Avocados are having a moment. Or rather, they’re having a decade. In 1999, Americans consumed a little more than a pound of the fruit per capita. Compare that to last year, where that number rose to 5.8 pounds per person. The problem: farming avocados requires a lot of water, about 72 gallons for a single pound of fruit. And California, where 80 percent of American-grown avocados are raised, is facing its fourth year of extreme drought. In April of this year, New York magazine asked, “Have You Eaten Your Last Avocado?” The short answer? No. In fact, the executive director of the Hass Avocado Board told QZ that in 2015, there would be more avocados available in the U.S. than any time in the last 10 years. 
The long answer: California farmers are adapting to the unfortunate growing conditions, planting avocado trees in higher density and seeing good results. “We're producing twice as much fruit for a little bit less water,” one farmer told NPR. The California Avocado Commissionexpected the 2015 harvest to be up by 10 percent. But even if the Golden State’s harvest was low, 70 percent of the avocados Americans eat are imported from places like Chile and Peru. So, according to New York, “Avocados won’t disappear; they’ll just become a luxury item.” 

7. LIMES

Panic over a “limepocalypse” hit a fevered pitch last spring. But it wasn’t so much a shortage as it was a massive and short-lived price hike. The cost of limes increased by 400 percent, with cases going for more than $100 in the first part of last year. Low harvest numbers due to bad rainfall in Mexico, compounded by crop infestation, boosted cost. But the other problem was that many of Mexico’s lime regions were absorbed in a war between farmers and drug cartels. Prices quickly dropped with a crackdown on the cartel, and when the growing season got into full swing and production picked up. Here’s a headline from March of last year: "Soaring lime prices put squeeze on restaurants, food lovers." And less than two months later, in May: "Lime prices plummeting before Cinco de Mayo."

8. CORONA

Somehow, Corona has become the 5th best-selling beer in the U.S. with consumption up 10 percent in the last five years. Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that Constellation Brands, which owns Corona, is boosting its plant size to keep up with demand. It didn’t take long for the narrative to be twisted into fear-mongering headlines warning of an impending Corona shortage. The rumors caught the attention of Constellation Brands’ senior director of communications, Michael McGrew, who issued this statement: "There are some inaccurate reports coming out today stemming from a Wall Street Journal story that ran yesterday. To clarify, we DO NOT anticipate any Corona shortages. There is no merit to this rumor."
MF