Stephen Colbert, How Beer Can Stop Cancer and The World’s Most Expensive Air

By Noah Kaufman |

A jar of the most expensive air in the world. iStockphoto

Every week by this point you have undoubtedly spent nearly 100 percent of your time online watching videos of cats riding vacuum cleaners, and finding out which character from Blossom you really are. Meanwhile, the world has been going on without you. Here are some things you missed while you were buried in the Internet:

Air for Sale

The air is bad in China. This is the part where you say, “How bad is it?” It is bad enough that residents are now going a step beyond wearing those ubiquitous face masks around town. They’re buying air. Recently, a jar of mountain air from Provence, France, sold for $860. That pricey air isn’t for breathing though. It is part of a movement by Chinese artists to bring attention to the terrible quality of the skies in Beijing. Liang Kegang, who captured the air, said, “Air should be the most valueless commodity.” Everyone in China doesn’t seem to have gotten the memo. Last month, the rural and less-polluted province of Guizhou began selling cans of its air as souvenirs.

Another Computer Virus Could Be Putting Your Information at Risk

What may be one of the biggest cybersecurity breaches in history was discovered this week. Called the Heartbleed virus, it could allow hackers to get into websites running OpenSSL, an encryption protocol, and pull out passwords and other personal information. Currently, it looks as if Yahoo!, Flickr and Imgur are a few of the biggest sites considered vulnerable. But Google, Amazon, Twitter and yes, Facebook, seem to be safe. So don’t worry, all of those embarrassing pictures you thought were private still are. If you use the Internet you have probably been affected in some way though. Find more details on the FAQ here to help you out.

Want to Reduce Your Risk of Cancer? Start Grilling with Beer

Or marinating with it anyway. The long list of studies about what to eat and drink now includes a report saying that marinating ribs in a nice, dark beer before putting it on the grill greatly reduces the number of hydrocarbons resulting from putting flame to meat. Don’t let this stop you from consuming beer while cooking, too.

From New York It’s the Late Show, with Stephen Colbert

Yes, it already blew up your Twitter feed, but CBS’s selection of Stephen Colbert to replace David Letterman, who announced his retirement just one week ago, is big news. It’s the latest in a series of massive shake-ups in the world of late-night comedy that include Jimmy Fallon taking over The Tonight Show and Jimmy Kimmel’s time slot switching to 11:30 p.m., to directly compete with NBC and CBS. Colbert will have to drop the conservative pundit character we have all grown to love. But for his part, he seems excited about it. In a statement about his new job he said, “If you’ll excuse me, I have to go grind a gap in my teeth.”

Another Athlete Comes Out

Last year it was the NBA, this winter it was big-time college football, and now Division I college basketball has its first openly gay player. Derrick Gordon, a starting guard for the University of Massachusetts, came out this week. He’s only a sophomore, so he’s still got two more years left playing in Amherst and he’s already welcoming big support from all over the world. Tyra Banks, and out-of-the-closet athletes Jason Collins (NBA) and Michael Sam (NCAA football) were among those tweeting their support. An interesting wrinkle: In his interview with ESPN, Gordon said that he made his parents guess his big news and it took them seven or eight tries before they got it. Makes one wonder what the first six things were.

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