July 22nd, 2010
03:20 PM ET

Web Pulse: Obama calls Sherrod, another (faked?) BP photo

Shirley Sherrod gets her phone conversation with President Obama.

Didn't you get my texts? - President Obama talked to Shirley Sherrod, the ex-USDA employee who was forced to resign this week based on misleading reports that she made racist remarks. Sherrod received a text message Thursday telling her that Obama had been trying to reach her since Wednesday night. Sherrod called the White House and was asked to call back in 10 minutes, and then she was patched to the president for a seven minute unrecorded chat. The conversation went well, Sherrod said. So what happens now? Is this all shaping up to be a teachable moment, or is that too irritating a term? Give Shirley Her Job Back Now! Facebook page is all over that and every other conceivable angle.

Speaking of Facebook, site CEO Mark Zuckerberg's ABC interview was getting tons of clicks. The 26-year-old talked about user privacy on the site which has reached half-a-billion users.

The employees at Facebook seem to be hanging in there while jobless claims jumped higher than expected, underscoring that the economic recovery may not be happening as fast as some thought. Meanwhile, a bill that restores unemployment benefits to 2.5 million Americans passed the Senate and headed to the House where it's expected to pass.

Jobs are a huge issue in the Gulf right now as the Coast Guard and BP struggle to put fix the oil disaster. But BP is again making headlines for allegedly faking another photo. On Wednesday the company admitted to doctoring an official image of its command control center. Thursday Gizmodo reported that BP had faked an image of a helicopter.

July 21st, 2010
03:59 PM ET

Web Pulse: Day of 'snooker'ing

[cnn-video url="http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2010/07/21/cb.naacp.sherrod.comment.cnn"%5D

It's not exactly a new word, but when's the last time you heard it - "snooker"?

According to Merriam-Webster, it means "to dupe."

NAACP "snookered" - On Wednesday, the president of the NAACP said his organization had been snookered into thinking that ex-U.S. Department of Agriculture worker Shirley Sherrod had made racist remarks at a NAACP dinner in March. In a headline-dominating drama that began Tuesday morning and continued Wednesday, NAACP President Benjamin Jealous said he regretted first-blush criticism of Sherrod.

Conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart was the first to post a video clip of Sherrod over the weekend, which Fox then picked up. CNN devoted all day and night Tuesday on the developing story, which has sparked reaction everywhere.  The Dallas Morning News is mad about the whole thing. And so are Facebookers who created a page called "Give Shirley Sherrod Her Job Back Now!" Thing is, she might not want it.

Bad photoshop, bad! - BP admitted to altering an image of the company's oil spill control center. A staff photographer manipulated pictures of engineers looking at three blank screens at the control center, making the screens appear as if they were displaying underwater shots, to "enhance the quality of the photo," BP said. The photographer had no intention of misleading anyone, the company stressed. Tweets abounded about what seemed like a poor paste job. Let's hope BP has better command of stopping the oil spill than it does with Photoshop.

"Jersey Shore" connection? - Oh, this transition could not have been more convenient for Web Pulse. "Snooki'" and the spray-tanned gang from the MTV show "Jersey Shore" will be back for season three, the network said. Jenni "J-Woww" Farley told Steppin' Out magazine that the rumblings of a strike were "very untrue." Reports had been circulating that kids were angling for $30,000 per episode.

July 20th, 2010
02:44 PM ET

Web Pulse: USDA, Lindsey, a whole lotta monkeys

USDA controversy - Monday, no one had heard of Shirley Sherrod. Tuesday, she was one of the most Googled people in the world. She resigned from her Georgia-based job with the U.S. Department of Agriculture after a video of her speaking about a white farmer surfaced on a conservative blogger's website.

Sherrod is vehement that she's been misunderstood. She told CNN that she tried to tell her bosses the full story, but they didn't want to listen.

The wife of the white farmer defended Sherrod, saying she had actually gone out of her way to help the family.

The Washington Post is asking: Is Sherrod a racist or a scapegoat?

LL off to the clink - Long ago, a Hollywood ingenue of natural beauty dazzled audiences with her portrayal of identical twins. The actress was fair and lovely, innocent and sweet. But no longer does she stare into the stage lights. As of late, her star on free-fall, she has been staring at her attorney (whoever is representing her at that moment).  Fade to black. And scene. So went Lindsey Lohan Tuesday, at least for 90 days, as she began her jail stint in California for probation violation. At a Beverly Hills courthouse Lohan turned herself in, and cameras were ordered to darkness after deputies handcuffed Lohan. She was reportedly wearing black.

That's more than 3.4 ounces - Let's continue with the circus theme. Imagine carrying one monkey under your shirt? Slightly uncomfortable. Now, two. What about three? Super fun. Let's do 18! A man in Mexico City was arrested after airport authorities discovered he was hiding that many titi monkeys in his shirt. He told police the animals were "pets" that he had purchased for $30. Titi monkeys are protected endangered species and you've got to have a permit to have them. Does that mean that if he had his paperwork in order, we'd have "Monkeys on a Plane?"

Filed under: Animals • Civil Rights • Crime • Lindsay Lohan • Web Pulse
July 19th, 2010
02:11 PM ET

Web Pulse: A story, a seep, and Spencer

[cnn-video url="http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/politics/2010/07/19/starr.pentagon.wash.post.cnn"]

"Hidden world" - A controversial investigative story about America's intelligence community has been generating major buzz since it went live on the Washington Post's site. The story, the culmination of two years of reporting, says that in the years after the 9/11 attacks, intelligence gathering has become unmanageable and inefficient. Critics say that the Post article discloses sensitive information.

The seep - Everyone is searching the Web to find the exact definition of the word "seep" after news this past weekend that there is a leak from the oil  containment cap in the Gulf of Mexico.

The question now is whether the seep is significant enough to require opening valves to relieve pressure and in turn release more oil into the Gulf. Is this the end of the months-long Deepwater Horizon oil leak?

The federal on-scene coordinator warned Monday that it's too soon to make that call. "With an operation like this, your biggest enemy is complacency," said Coast Guard Rear Adm. Paul Zukunft.

Spencer Pratt - Alleged problems with America's intelligence community, the oil spill and ... that guy who everyone hates from MTV's show "The Hills." Last week, the long-running drama about rich 20-somethings in Los Angeles ended with a shocker - the reality show was not really reality but scripted. What? No! This week, (can we call him an actor?) Spencer Pratt tried to keep his name in the news by admitting that he's a "famewhore." His words, not ours. But he's getting clicks. Lots of 'em.

June 18th, 2010
05:20 PM ET

BP: CEO Hayward still leading disaster response

BP is clarifying comments Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg made Friday in a broadcast interview, saying BP Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward will relinquish control over the company's daily operations in the Gulf of Mexico.

BP spokesman Andrew Gowers says Svanberg was just reflecting a June 4 announcement about BP Managing Director Bob Dudley taking over the long-term disaster response. He said Hayward's current role has not changed.

BP spokesman Robert Wine says Dudley's duties involve political and community relationships. Dudley is from Mississippi, a state whose coast has been greatly affected by the oil spewing through the Gulf since the BP-operated Deepwater Horizon rig exploded off shore almost two months ago.

June 16th, 2010
02:34 PM ET

Web Pulse: A cop, the World Cup and Bigfoot

A North Carolina man says he called Bigfoot out of the woods.

People searched for bizarre videos on the Web on Wednesday.

 - "Cop punches woman" was typed into most search engines, calling up a cell phone video of a Seattle, Washington, police officer seen punching an alleged jaywalker in the face. Officer Ian Walsh has been temporarily reassigned and placed in a training unit to review police tactics, a department spokesman said.

- Vuvu means blood and zela means issuing from both ears. But whatever the vuvuzela's etymology, it's clear that the horn is annoying a lot of people. Fascination with the native South African instrument has reached beyond World Cup fans.  The Telegraph is reporting that a German engineer thinks the droning sound can be canceled by playing his 45-minute "inverse" sound wave which manipulated a recording of a game. Fast Company explained what EQ setting will drown out the horn. For those without tech savvy, we suggest ear plugs or the mute button.

- Speaking of horns, check out this jug-horn thingy that apparently called Bigfoot right out of them thar North Carolina woods. Tim Peeler thought he was calling coyotes, you know, as people do. But then a 10-foot-tall hairy "man looking person" emerged from the brush and scared him. Seems Sasquatch was after Peeler's dogs. The man claims he ordered the six-fingered giant to 'git!' So it got. Whew. The public is safe, for now.

Filed under: Sports • Web Pulse
June 1st, 2010
03:22 PM ET

Web Pulse: A sinkhole, the Gores split and flotilla fallout

A sinkhole in Guatemala City.

A big, scary hole - A frightening image appeared on the photo sharing site Flickr.com of a sinkhole in Guatemala City that several on Twitter are calling the sinkhole to "hell." Tropical Storm Agatha drenched the region, resulting in the deaths of nearly 150 people in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. In Guatemala alone, 90 people are missing, officials said. The country is suffering even more because the Pacaya volcano, which erupted Thursday night, has continued to spew ash. Three people were killed when they were crushed by rocks strewn by the volcano.

Splitsville for the Gores - A representative for Tipper and Al Gore confirmed that the couple sent an e-mail announcing they were separating. They have been married for 40 years. It seems the public began trying to search online for the e-mail, or at least parts of it, by taking chunks of it that have been reported and running the lines through Google. The passage that has been reported: "This is very much a mutual and mutually supportive decision that we have made together, following a process of long and careful consideration."

Flotilla fallout - The world is trying to keep up with the fast-moving story about the Israeli raid on an aid flotilla into Gaza that resulted in at least nine deaths. Protests were staged around the globe, from New York to Turkey, against Israel's actions, and the United Nations condemned the raid. Diplomatic sources told CNN that of the 600 who are being held by Israel, citizens of Arab countries, except Egypt, were being prepared for release early Tuesday afternoon. Egyptians will be moved to the Jordanian border for deportation, an Arab and an Israeli source said. Meanwhile, more witness accounts have surfaced.

Filed under: Gaza • Guatemala • Israel • Web Pulse • World
May 27th, 2010
04:30 PM ET

Web Pulse: Oil, 'Idol' and Coke

Oil: Overwhelmingly, the most searched topic on the web on Thursday was the crisis in the Gulf of Mexico, now in Day 38. New estimates of the amount of crude in the water may make it bigger than 1989's Exxon Valdez disaster and the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

Filed under: BP • Gulf Coast Oil Spill • Louisiana • Web Pulse
May 24th, 2010
03:09 PM ET

Web Pulse: BP, North Korea and Lindsey Lohan

An oil-stained pelican with his cleaner friends Monday.

Washington pressures BP: Politicians ramped up their tough talk to BP about capping the massive oil spill estimated to be spewing at least 5,000 barrels of crude a day into the Gulf of Mexico. The Web was afire with the back and forth.

The federal government could take over the effort from BP, acknowledged Doug Suttles, BP's chief operating officer. He said the company is as frustrated as everyone else that its numerous attempts to stop the spill have failed. But Louisiana officials told BP that it better move quicker, or else. Gov. Bobby Jindal said the coastline had been "oiled" and he would mobilize state resources soon if the spill isn't capped.


Filed under: BP • Gulf Coast Oil Spill • Louisiana • North Korea • Web Pulse
May 17th, 2010
03:13 PM ET

WebPulse: Muslim Miss USA, Twieber and speedy traders

Web trends have been dominated today by Rima Fakih, the new Miss USA, and discussions about her faith.

Here’s a quick glance at the collective consciousness of the Web on Monday:

Miss USA Rima Fakih - When the Miss USA pageant is in town, you never know what's going to happen or what headlines may show up the next day. And this year didn't disappoint - in some very good and bad ways. The biggest attention following the show centered on the newly crowned winner, Rima Fakih, who is the first Muslim to nab the top spot. And the Web hasn't stopped chattering about it all day. People have been talking about the positive impact of a female Muslim winning the crown - and the Detroit Free Press piece on Fakih that discusses the cultural significance of the win - especially since "some Arab Americans - in particular, Muslims - aren't keen on seeing their daughters and sisters participate in beauty pageants that feature public displays of the body."


May 12th, 2010
09:17 PM ET

WebPulse: BP and Supreme Court nominee dominate

The Gulf Coast oil spill continues to dominate the news as Rep. Henry Waxman, D-California, revealed that the oil company privately told the Energy and Commerce subcommittee on oversight that the well failed a key pressure test just hours before it exploded on April 20.

People still want to know more about Solicitor General Elena Kagan, President Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court as she began making rounds to the offices of key senators on the Hill amid criticism from Republicans.

Filed under: BP • Elena Kagan • Gulf Coast Oil Spill • Supreme Court • Web Pulse
May 12th, 2010
04:42 PM ET

WebPulse: Miley uproar, LOST and a rare giant fish

Director Adam Shankman and Miley Cyrus at the premiere for "The Last Song."

Here’s a quick glance at the collective consciousness of the Web on Wednesday:

Miley Cyrus - She warned us, maybe we just weren't listening. At first she was just being Miley. Then she was partying all over the country (and dancing on what some people called a stripper pole.) That was followed by a message from the clearly over-being-a-Disney-aged-star singer saying she can't be tamed. She's still got her contract with Disney, but her recent videos and lyrics couldn't be sending a clearer message that our little Miley wants to break out of Disney's cage - Scuttle style - and not be viewed as just a kid anymore. It also has sparked a debate about whether Cyrus, who is still in her teens, has been acting age appropriate. On Wednesday the debate continue after TMZ posted a video of her dancing with 44-year-old director Adam Shankman (of "So You Think You Can Dance," "A Walk to Remember," "Bringing Down the House," and "Hairspray" fame.) A photo of Cyrus and Shankman together when she was filming Shankman's movie "The Last Song" caused a similar uproar a few months ago on Twitter.

"Lost" and Across the Sea - It looks like Losties are still searching for answers. With just a few more hours of the show left, last night's episode "Across the Sea" promised big reveals and big answers. But as usual in this show, there is one rule that normally holds true, the answer to most questions is another question. Based on the fact that "Lost" and the episode title "Across the Sea" are still trending at extremely high rates across social media sites, apparently they don't have their answers. So we are continuing searching, Tweeting, reading EW.com's Lost mythology codebreaker Doc Jensen's initial recap and waiting for his in-depth explanation that may make us have an "a-ha" moment.


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Filed under: Showbiz • Web Pulse • World
May 11th, 2010
11:34 PM ET

Web Pulse: Sidney Crosby, a Biblical verse and BP

Here’s a quick glance at the collective consciousness of the Web on Monday:

"Top hat" replaces "dome" Tuesday as the buzz word at the center of efforts to contain oil gushing from a well in the Gulf of Mexico. After a Congressional hearing Tuesday turned into a blame game among oil execs, people are wondering what BP will come up with next, if and a move to plug the gusher with trash fails.

Do you know what a man shall do to his wife and then to his parents, according to Genesis 2:24? Neither did three contestants tonight on Jeopardy, or, presumably, the hordes of people who drove the topic to volcanic heights on Google trends. The answer? "Leave and cleave."

The NHL ousted the NBA as the web's top sports obsession Tuesday night ahead of Game 7 in the Eastern Conference semifinals between the Montreal Canadiens and the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday. Parts of downtown Montreal have been closed off and Canadians are debating their loyalty to national hero/traitor Sidney Crosby as fans gear up for what promises to be a dramatic showdown between the favored Penguins and the "improbable" Habs .

May 10th, 2010
02:09 PM ET

WebPulse: From the high court to the b-ball court

Elena Kagan was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Here’s a quick glance at the collective consciousness of the Web on Monday:

Many people want to know more about Solicitor General Elena Kagan who President Obama nominated to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court. Besides being former dean of Harvard Law School, she once clerked for Justice Thurgood Marshall, who nicknamed her "Shorty."

Filed under: Supreme Court • Uncategorized • Web Pulse
April 29th, 2010
03:19 PM ET

WebPulse: Louisiana emergency and Jobs' diss

Apple CEO Steve Jobs says no to Flash

Here’s a quick glance at the collective consciousness of the Web on Thursday:

Oil spill threatens Louisiana - At the top of the most searched words on the Web is "oil" and "Louisiana" as President Obama pledged the federal government will use "every single resource" at its disposal to protect the state from an oil slick creeping toward its coastline. The spill could hurt 400 species and become one of the worst environmental disasters in history. The Coast Guard said the amount of oil spilling from a sunken underwater well caused by a rig explosion last week is much more than originally estimated - five times more. There is about 5,000 barrels, or 210,000 gallons, leaking each day into the Gulf of Mexico.

Jobs disses Flash - Everyone is buzzing about why Apple CEO Steve Jobs has told Flash to buzz off. In a post on Apple's Web site, Jobs said 200,000 applications are available in his company's mobile app store – and they all benefit because they're not built in Flash, a format that supports video, animation, games and other content and is made by tech competitor Adobe. Some tech bloggers have criticized Apple for not supporting Flash on its mobile devices, including the iPad, iPhone and iPod. FULL POST

Filed under: Apple • Barack Obama • Technology • Web Pulse
April 28th, 2010
02:33 PM ET

Web Pulse: Baby Bullock, Gulf fire, 'bigoted' Brit reacts

Children re-enact the MTV show "The Hills"

Here’s a quick glance at the collective consciousness of the Web on Wednesday:

The Hills, in miniature: If you ever thought the stars of MTV’s “The Hills” act pretty immature, you aren’t the only one. A video of children re-enacting the reality show has gone viral. In honor of the final season, the website Babelgum.com took child labor to a whole new level, with kids playing versions of Audrina, Heidi and Lauren. The girl who plays Heidi covers her face with a spooky clear mask, alluding to the numerous plastic surgeries the reality star has undergone. The pint-size Spencer, Heidi's husband, has an actual toddler fit, a shout-out to the grown-up's bratty tendencies.

Oil to be burned in Gulf: The U.S. Coast Guard prepared to set fire to an oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico to keep the spilled crude away from sensitive ecological areas in the Mississippi River Delta. Efforts to cap the well, which began leaking when the Deepwater Horizon rig blew up and sank last week, have been unsuccessful. The oil will be corralled by a specially designed boom before being set ablaze. The flames are expected to destroy between 50 to 90 percent of the section of oil, and winds should blow the cloud of smoke and soot out to sea.


Filed under: Louisiana • Sandra Bullock • United Kingdom • Web Pulse
April 28th, 2010
10:26 AM ET

Video of kids acting out 'The Hills' goes viral

If you ever thought the stars of MTV’s “The Hills” act pretty immature, you aren’t the only ones.

In honor of the show’s final season, the website Babelgum.com has released a video of children acting out scenes from the show.

Read full post on CNN's Marquee blog

April 27th, 2010
01:00 PM ET

WebPulse: Susan Powell, smallest horse, box jellyfish

Police thought they had possibly found the body of missing mom Susan Powell.

Susan Powell - The missing mother was a big topic of conversation on the web after police announced they had found a female body in rural Idaho and thought it could Susan Powell. Her name continued to trend, but sadly it wasn't because there was closure in the case - police now say they don't believe the body is her.


April 27th, 2010
11:19 AM ET

Girl stung by venomous box jellyfish 'shouldn't be alive'

A biologist researches the lethal nature of the box jellyfish.

To call 10-year-old Rachel Shardlow a survivor is an understatement.

In December, the girl tangled with a box jellyfish, one of the world's most venomous creatures, in the Calliope River near Gladstone, Australia.

"Usually when you see people who have been stung by box jellyfish with that number of the tentacle contacts on their body, it's usually in a morgue," Jamie Seymour, a zoology and tropical ecology associate professor at James Cook University told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.


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Filed under: Australia • Health • Web Pulse • World
April 23rd, 2010
01:52 PM ET

WebPulse: Archie's gay friend, NFL draft and Blippy problems


Here’s a quick glance at the collective consciousness of the Web on Friday:

Archie: Archie just got a little more this-century. When was the last time he was the topic of watercooler and Web conversation? A long time ago, that's for sure. But Riverdale High School, the stomping ground of comic book legend Archie Andrews, is opening its doors to its first openly gay student - and for that, it is getting a lot of attention. Kevin Keller will be the new student to join Archie, Jughead, Veronica, Betty and Reggie.

Tim Tebow (and the NFL draft): Last night was one of the wildest NFL drafts in recent history, according to many sports writers and bloggers, and Web users and sports fans couldn't agree more. Nearly half of today's Google trends center around the draft, especially quarterback Tim Tebow's selection in the first round by the Denver Broncos. And although some sports writers may have been surprised, it seems Bronco (or Tebow) fans are thrilled. The trend "Tim Tebow broncos jersey" is just as high today on Google as anything negative.


Filed under: Showbiz • Sports • Technology • Web Pulse
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