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Since 1994, this is the 1172nd issue of Randy Cassingham’s...

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27 November 2016: A Little Bit Behind Copyright ©2016

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Worth a Revisit: It’s not just the Starbucks Holiday coffee cup design that brings out controversy: here’s one about their cups from summertime ...2007: Consider Yourself Spurred.

The Echo Chamber: A Stanford University study finds that 82 percent of teens can’t tell real news stories from “sponsored content” articles, which are generally commercial messages written like news stories — even if they’re labeled as such. Few schools offer any sort of “media literacy” classes, especially now that fewer schools have professional librarians on staff. By middle school, teens spend 7-1/2 hours a day online, not counting any computer time at school. And “multitasking” makes it less likely they’ll “think deeply” about the sources of information they see. The most common source of “news” for teens: social media such as Facebook, and their algorithms create an “echo chamber” of information they have already shown an affinity for. Prof. Sam Wineburg of Stanford’s Graduate School of Education, the lead author of the study, says teens should be taught how to do fact-checking so they can understand the biases in the media. (RC/Wall Street Journal) ...Right: it’s just teens that have this problem.

Maybe It’s Aloe Falsa: Aloe barbadesis leaf juice, more commonly known as “aloe vera,” was one of the top two ingredients listed on the labels of house-brand aloe products investigative journalists picked up at CVS, Target, and Walmart stores. Aloe vera has three chemical markers, and when the journalists sent the products for testing, the lab couldn’t find them — though it did find a cheaper sugar whose known uses include imitation aloe. The president of Concentrated Aloe Corp. claims the test is unreliable. The processing the aloe had undergone, he said, might do something to one of the markers, acemannan. But the executive director of the International Aloe Science Council said acemannan was believed to be what makes aloe worth applying to your skin. (AC/Bloomberg) ...So whether it was removed or it was never there, if you buy an aloe product without it, you're getting skinned.

The Elusive Hunt for Common Sense, Continued: “I didn’t know about this until you contacted us to bring it to our attention,” said Dr. Robert Frank, president of the University of New Mexico. “The type of expedition that just took place was not appropriate and will not occur in that manner again.” The situation: Dr. Christopher Dyer of the university’s Gallup campus spent nearly $7,500 of taxpayer money for an expedition to hunt for “Bigfoot” — the mythical ape that no one can quite prove exists, even though just about everyone has a cell phone camera these days. Days before the taxpayer-funded expedition, Dyer organized a two-day conference at the university, “Bigfoot in New Mexico: Evidence, Ecology, and Behavior”, which he claims “was the largest and most well-attended event in the history of this campus.” Critics say the conference only invited speakers who believe Bigfoot exists. “Where were the skeptics?” asks Ben Radford, Managing Editor of The Skeptical Inquirer magazine. “There are many Bigfoot skeptics here in New Mexico they could have invited.” When that question was relayed to Dyer, he replied, “I didn’t know where to find such skeptics, frankly.” (RC/KRQE Albuquerque) ...In other words, he never thought to look.

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Home Security, Br’er Rabbit Edition: Joann Mendenhall says she saw some would-be burglars running from the backyard of her St. Petersburg, Fla., home. “They were gone like a streak of lightning,” she said. Police determined that teenagers had hopped her fence, but ran after one of them landed right on top of one of Mendenhall’s beehives. “Bees do not like to be disturbed, but especially at night,” Mendenhall said. Police collected fingerprints and called local emergency rooms to see if anyone had been treated for bee stings. “I hope they got stung because that’s what they get for trying to break in,” Mendenhall said. (MS/WTVT Tampa) ...You can read more about this story on BuzzFeed.

More. Additional. A Greater Number. Extra. In Addition. On Top of That: Drunk driver uses AXE body spray to dry to mask breath odors. Man steals company president’s wallet ...during a job interview. Family fight at Thanksgiving dinner gets way, way out of hand. Police easily catch up to suspect in a stabbing: he’s making his getaway on a walker. Man chooses a long metal pole to put Christmas lights on outdoor tree ...near a power line. The most patient school cop in the world vs. the dumbest student in the world. Road rager picks the wrong target. And what happens when official warnings about imminent catastrophes are dumped as “spam, junk mail or white noise.” Upgrades start at just $12. See your options here.

Cold War: Iceland’s Foreign Ministry filed legal action with the European Union Intellectual Property Office against Iceland Foods, a supermarket chain in the U.K. that has been operating under that name since 1970; it holds a trademark for “Iceland” for its 860 U.K.-based stores, plus 40 others around Europe. Iceland (the country) claims the grocer has “aggressively pursued and won multiple cases against Icelandic companies which use ‘ICELAND’ in their representation or as part of their trademark,” while Iceland (the grocer) notes that it will “vigorously defend Iceland Foods’ established rights where there is any risk of confusion between our business and Iceland the country.” (RC/CNN, IceNews Iceland) ...Texas-based Canada Dry is anxiously watching the proceedings.

Hospitality, Hostility — What’s the Difference?
Florida Woman Accused of Shooting at House Guests Who Stayed Too Long
WTVJ Miami headline

Did You Find an Error? Check the Errata Page for updates.

This Week’s Contributors: MS-Mike Straw, AC-Alexander Cohen, RC-Randy Cassingham.

The Lead Story This Week is posted as a meme on True’s Facebook and Twitter pages, if you care to share it.

Speaking of True’s Facebook Page, a meme I posted last Saturday has gone viral, shared more than 25,000 times and viewed by more than 3 million people in less than a week. It has True’s URL on it, which has brought an upswing in subscribers — and several have sent notes saying they lost track of their subscriptions years ago, and were delighted to see True was still around. Yep: 22-1/2 years now, and still going strong! And don’t forget to change your address if needed: that’s what the “Change Subscriber Option” link in the footer does for you.

Something Else That Brought a Surge of Subscribers: My article, The Top 11 “Hidden Gems” of the Internet. It started when a reader referred to True as a “Hidden Gem” of the Internet, and I asked readers to name their own favorite “Hidden Gems”(not counting this one). That short article is the result. The best way you can help all of those sites (counting this one!) is to share that article — on Facebook, Twitter, your own web site, and anywhere else you think folks will be interested in quality independent content. You’re welcome to use my short URL to get to that page, if that helps you: — and thanks much from all of us!

I Loved This Note this week from David in California:

Much to my shame and procrastination, I am only now getting to the format change you made in 2013! Yes, I keep the old emails, throw them onto a word doc and read them when I get the chance off my iPad. It is so enjoyable to read a month’s worth of True, except that I have been reading old stories for the past several years. As this is old news to you, but new to me, I wanted to say that the new format is terrific! I can hardly wait to find out what you have changed over the last three years when I finally get to the 2016 issues.

Oh, and while I mentioned my “shame”, it really isn’t that bad since I won’t get to see any responses to my delay for another three years. But then it will be old news. Keep up the great work. It is a delight to read about all the stupid things people have been doing, and even more delightful not to see my name in any of the articles.

I hear quite often from readers who are weeks, even months, behind. Some “worry” about it, and some are pretty relaxed like David, though this may be the first time I’ve heard from someone who is more than three years behind. He has kept his Premium subscription going since January 1997(!), knowing he’ll get to the stories when he’s ready. It just goes to show what I’ve said all along: True’s point is really about the human condition, not “news” per se, even though that’s the vehicle used to carry the commentary.

The “new” format debuted in Issue 1000 (11 August 2013), discussed in my blog at A True Milestone: 1000 Weekly Issues. To join David on Premium to get more don’t-want-to-miss-for-anything stories every week, check out your upgrade options here.

Ten Years Ago in True: A homeowner’s association demands the removal of an offensive Christmas decoration: Peace on Earth.

This Week’s Honorary Unsubscribe goes to Al Brodax. You probably saw his name many times as a child — and likely totally ignored not only his name, but his contribution to your childhood.

  • Rhis story in the Archive: Al Brodax (OK to share link)

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