A look at this weekend's top and most trending stories.
1. There Are "Domestic Terrorists" in Nevada
What started as a peculiar but seemingly simple disagreement between the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and a Nevada rancher named Cliven Bundy and his supporters has quickly escalated into a dangerous situation that's resulted in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) calling one of those sides "domestic terrorists." Can you guess which one?
"These people, who hold themselves out to be patriots are not. They're nothing more than domestic terrorists," Reid said.
The self-proclaimed "patriots" Reid was referring to are the growing group of militiamen who've gathered in Nevada to stage an armed protest of the BLM's admittedly heavy-handed attempts to collect the roughly $1 million in grazing fees Bundy owes the government for years of grazing his cattle on government-owned land. Bundy refused to pay and the BLM came to collect. Bundy refused again and then Fox News started calling him a "patriot."
The situation became especially scary when armed militiamen took tactical sniper position and laid their aim on BLM officials, threatening to shoot to defend Bundy and his "patriotic rights."
Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore (R) went as far as to say of the situation, "Don't come here with guns and expect the American people not to fire back."
1. Involve acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law;
2. Appear intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination. or kidnapping; and
3. Occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.
... yep. Sounds like domestic terrorists.
2. We're Running Out of Chocolate, and It's China's Fault
Everyone loves chocolate, but that love may be starting to outpace reality. A new report indicates that the demand for chocolate is growing at such a rapid rate that prices will likely rise dramatically over the next few years and that demand could become unsustainable as soon as 2020. Cocoa futures are rising at alarming rates, and last month cocoa prices reached a two and a half year high at $3,031 per ton in New York.
The likely culprit behind these sky high prices: the Asian markets, specifically China. We've already seen something not unlike this happen to coffee prices because of the growth of emerging markets around the world, and now it seems cocoa beans are facing the same difficulties.
In December, the International Cocoa Organization said there could be a 150,000 ton deficit of cocoa beans produced in 2014 unless dramatic changes are made. Multinational food conglomerate Mondelez International said it had pledged $400 million to addressing the situation, but don't be surprised if you see the prices of your favorite chocolates rise in the near future.
Maybe China is just looking to win some more Nobel Prizes. There's a pretty strong correlation between chocolate consumption and Noble Prizes won.
3. North Korea Is Still Angry About Haircuts
After it was revealed last month that North Koreans can only choose from one of 28 state-sanctioned haircuts, a London barber shop decided to have some fun and posted a sign advertising a new Kim Jong-un special.
"Having a bad hair day?" read M&M Hair Academy's sign, which features an image of Kim. "15% off all gent cuts through the month of April from Tuesday to Thursday."
Unfortunately, not everyone appreciated the joke and two men claiming to represent North Korea demanded the shop owners removed the sign. When that did nothing, however, the North Korean government decided to step in and the AFP reports the government has sent a formal letter of complaint to the UK over the idea that the supreme leader might have bad hair.
It turns out the shop's visitors that day were officials from the North Korean embassy and though the ad was taken down on April 16, DPRK was unsatisfied and has requested a formal response and apology from London.
4. The State Department Is Taking Its Time With the Keystone XL Pipeline Decision
On Friday, the State Department announced its newest action on the Keystone KL Pipeline: nothing.
Though a decision on the project's construction was expected this week, the State Department said that any decision would be delayed until the government has, according to the New York Times, a "clearer idea of how legal challenges to the pipeline’s route through Nebraska will be settled," thereby pushing any decision back until after the 2014 midterm elections.
Both supporters and opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline have been very vocal about the project. The 1,700-mile pipeline is designed to carry crude oil from the Alberta oil sands in Canada to Gulf Coast refineries.
Based on the continuing tension over the issue, when you really consider everything, it's actually not too surprising that the decision was pushed until after the midterm elections. By making a decision one way or another, the government will likely anger and possibly even alienate a large number of voters on either side of this heated debate. But by delaying the process, candidates can still argue either way to drum up campaign support and donor financing.
5. Did Apple Maps Just Find the Loch Ness Monster?
Well, that seems to be what everyone's thinking. After six months of careful expert examination, the Official Loch Ness Monster Fan Club believes they've found a satellite image of the legendary beast. The satellite image is of a spot near the village of Dores on the south shore of Loch Ness in Scotland.
Apple Insider points out that while Apple Maps' satellites were able to pick-up the shadow/wave/shape/whatever-this-is, nothing appears in the same spot on Google Maps.
6. Leading Scientist Claims a Bottle Bottle of Wine a Day Isn't Bad for You
They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away. But what if you replace that apple with a lot of grapes, then turn those into juice, then ferment that grape juice to make it alcoholic, then pour that into a bottle and then drink the entrie bottle? That must keep the doctor away for a really long time, right?
Well that's what former World Health Organization alcohol expert Dr. Kari Poikolainen is arguing. After examining decades of research and data, Poikolainen says that consuming about 10 "units" of alcohol per day day, which is roughly equivalent to a bottle of wine, would produce the best health outcomes (currently, the daily recommendation is at most four for men and three for women). Consumption only becomes dangerous around the 13 unit mark, Poikolainen says.
"The weight of the evidence shows moderate drinking is better than abstaining and heavy drinking is worse than abstaining," Poikolainen said. "However the moderate amounts can be higher than the guidelines say."
Of course, whenever anyone wants to get the party started, someone's got to come in and be a wet blanket.
"This is an unhelpful contribution to the debate," said Julia Manning, founder of the British think-tank 2020Health. "It makes grand claims which we don't see evidence for. Alcohol is a toxin, the risks outweigh the benefits."
Maybe some more data is needed before you start on "Dr. Poikolainen's Bottle-a-Day Wonder Treatment," but with that much alcohol consumption, don't be surprised if you get a hangover here and there. Luckily, though one doctor has claimed he can cure any hangover in 45 minutes or less.
7. Half of the U.S. Is Totally Empty
If you've spent almost any time on the Internet, you've probably seen one or two (or 25) maps depicting all sorts of data about where and how Americans live. But what about a map that shows where Americans don't live?
That was exactly the thinking behind designer Nik Freeman's new project which was trending hard on the social web this week: A map that shows where nobody lives. By using the designated "blocks" created by the U.S. Census Bureau for tabulating statistics, Freeman was able to carefully, and beautifully, break up America and determine what parts of the country are devoid of human life. According to Freeman's data, of the 11,078,300 designated Census blocks, 4,871,270 blocks (or approximately 1.78 million square miles) have no population living inside them.
Yep — that's right. Even with a population of 310 million people, 47% of the U.S. is empty. By themselves, the map and the data are truly remarkable, but by also putting this information into perspective of housing prices around the country, city overcrowding and an ever-increasing sense of no space, there's something pretty mesmerizing about the idea that even after 238 years of nationhood, there's still plenty of America left untamed.