No salt for you: Boston Market to remove salt shakers; Dennis Miller zings!/DennisDMZ/status/238278173060648960

Ha! Leave it to Dennis Miller to cut right to the chase, especially when responding to the latest Food Police Creep. This time, it’s Boston Market.

NANNY CREEP: boston market pulls salt shakers off tables–for your own good!

— Vicki Mckenna (@VickiMcKenna) August 22, 2012

More from Fox News:

Boston Market is pulling salt shakers off its tables and has pledged to reduce the amount of sodium in some of its signature dishes.

The Golden, Colo. based company says it plans to reduce the amount of sodium in three of its dishes — rotisserie chicken, macaroni and cheese, and mashed potatoes — by 20 percent in the next six months.  All of its dishes would have 15 percent less sodium in the coming years.

While the salt shakers will be banned at the tables, Boston Market says they’ll keep a set at the beverage station. And if you’re wondering, pepper shakers will keep their place at the table.

@rocbuzz I was at Boston Market and salt was gone from tables. There was a note next to the pepper saying you can find it at the beverages.

— Michelle Shippers (@MShippers) August 22, 2012

Absurd. Treating customers like children and putting the icky stuff out of reach. And for what? People will still use the salt, if they choose to do so. We know; freedom to make individual choices is a hard concept to Nannies.

So this move is just a way to smugly self-pat on the back. Oh, look at us! We are so conscious and awesome. Maybe Michelle Obama and her Food Nannies will praise us!

Apparently Boston Market doesn't think I can handle having salt on the table.

— Joe Flint (@JBFlint) August 22, 2012

UGH! Mind your own business, food police! Boston Market yanks shakers to help cut salt | Fox News via @fxnleisure

— Rhonda Craig (@Mamarhili) August 22, 2012

Hey, you know who has great chicken and values personal liberty? Chick-fil-A. And their cookies aren’t discus-sized!

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Some Of The Most Dangerous Roads In The World Are Right Here In The U.S.

Roads help us get from work to home and from school to the bar. Roads are also a big contributing factor to a country’s economy. Trucks carry goods to the stores. Cars carry business people and vacationers to different locations so they can spend money there and keep the economy going. A road is a good indicator of a country’s wealth and condition of life.

Here are some of the world’s most dangerous roads to drive on. It may come as a shock that some of them are in the United States.

1.) The Himalayan Roads.

Completely unpaved, but also completely on the Himalayan mountains, so I guess there’s no surprise there.

2.) The James Dalton Highway, Alaska.

The wind is so powerful up here that it sometimes picks up large sized rocks and hurls them at your car. Also, this road is mostly covered in heavy snow.

3.) I-15 from Las Vegas to Los Angeles.

This one 180 mile stretch from Las Vegas to Los Angeles has had more fatalities than anywhere else in Nevada due to a combination of extreme drinking and driving and lack of seat belts. This gives a grim meaning to the famous “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” slogan.

4.) Guoliang Tunnel Road, China.

The thing that makes this particular mountain tunnel in China scary is that it was not professionally done. The villagers of the nearby Guoliang decided to do it without authorization by the state because they felt they were secluded from the rest of society. It’s a nice sentiment, but I’m sure travelers would appreciate a road that doesn’t constantly have loose rocks falling down on them.

5.) Commonwealth Avenue, Philippines.

Known as the “Killer Highway” in the Philippines’ Quezon City, this road killed many pedestrians and cyclists due to the awful regulation and enforcement of traffic laws in the region.

6.) Highway 550, Colorado.

The tricky part of this road is that, although it’s situated on Colorado’s Red Mountain Pass in the San Juan Mountains, there are no guardrails. Seems safe, right?

7.) U.S. 24 Fort Wayne to Toledo.

There’s a certain part of this route affectionately called the “killway” because of the deadman’s curve that causes cars to collide with tractors hauling factory materials.

8.) Highway 2, Montana.

This road in northern Montana has a high fatality rate. This is mainly due to the slow response time of emergency vehicles in the sparsely populated area (roughly 80 minutes).

9.) North Yungas Road, Bolivia.

Cheerfully known as the “Road of Death” by Bolivians, buses and trucks fall into the deep valley below this road so often that it is listed as the most dangerous road on Earth.

10.) I-95, Connecticut.

One 8 mile stretch on the way to Norwalk, Connecticut is responsible for 10 percent of all accidents in the state. This is due to the congestion of the city and tricky hills.

11.) Taroko Gorge Road, Taiwan

Blind curves and sharp turns make this the most dangerous road in Taiwan.

12.) BR-116, Brazil.

Nicknamed the “Highway of Death,” this road claims thousands of lives a year due to poor maintenance. The roving gangs of bandits that stop and rob cars don’t help, either.

13.) Skippers Canyon Road, New Zealand.

This New Zealand road is so dangerous that it requires a special permit to drive its sprawl.

14.) Pasubio, Italy.

Many starry-eyed drivers have careened off the cliffs of this beautiful road, distracted by the astounding view. Luckily, Italy decided to reserve some of the more dangerous parts for walkers only.

Keep these in mind the next time you take a road trip, although some of these are the only routes through certain states for miles. Also, maybe don’t attempt to drive through the Himalayas. Just an idea.

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Iran’s new drone is not a replacement for Ahmadinejad

Here's A Look At #Iran's Brand New Drone

— sara (@sara_HR4All) March 20, 2012

Business Insider:

Following the U.S. Navy’s announcement that it’s doubling the number of minesweeping ships in the Strait of Hormuz, Iran announced the production of its new drone the Shaparak (Butterfly).

The news comes through PressTV and while Tehran may want to impart the drone’s design comes after capturing the U.S.’s RQ-70 Sentinel drone late last year, this design has been in the works for some time.

FARS reported in September that the Butterfly’s design was created by students at the Modern Technologies Engineering College of Tabriz University with the goal of keeping the craft aloft at great heights, for extended periods of time.

It’s not entirely unlikely that Tehran would like to keep a better eye on the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, currently stationed in Bahrain and patrolling the Strait of Hormuz.

To that end, the new drone will be capable of flying at 15,000 feet for three-and-a-half hours, with an operational radius of about 31 miles.

In addition to its three high-resolution color cameras, the Butterfly will capable of carrying a 17-pound payload.

New #Iran drone capable of carrying out military and border patrol missions announced. Soon in #Syria;airspace?

— christinA eijkhout (@mumke) March 19, 2012

RT @SPIEGEL_English: Redefining Imminent: Are Obama's Efforts to Justify Drone Warfare Aimed at Iran?

— Lis Duarte (@lisduarte) March 19, 2012

And the drone subs — or, as Greenert put it, “some underwater unmanned neutralization autonomous units” #Iran Surge

— Aly-Khan Satchu (@alykhansatchu) March 19, 2012

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Racing legend and car designer passes away!/CarrollShelby/status/201029357463027712

Legendary racer and car designer Carroll Shelby has sadly passed away at the age of 89. Shelby, who was inducted into the automobile hall of fame in 1992, is known by many as the father of Shelby Mustangs and Shelby Cobras.

He was also one of the world’s longest-living transplant recipients. He had received a heart transplant in 1990 and a kidney transplant in 1996.

Rest in peace.

RIP CARROLL SHELBY, a great idol who loved the motorsport in the 89 years of your life.

— Helio Castroneves (@h3lio) May 11, 2012

Sad to hear legendary Carroll Shelby passed away. His automotive contributions made him a real icon. #RIP

— Mario Andretti (@MarioAndretti) May 11, 2012

we lost one of the most iconic racer and car designer of all time, Carroll Shelby will be missed, go rest high on that mountain my friend.

— Darrell Waltrip (@AllWaltrip) May 11, 2012

RIP Carroll Shelby, a great automotive mind and spirit who gave so much culture to America's car culture.

— Stewart-Haas Racing (@StewartHaasRcng) May 11, 2012

R.I.P. Carroll Shelby. A legendary man who's had a huge impact on my life and the lives of auto enthusiasts around the world for decades.

— Greg Miller (@GregInUtah) May 11, 2012

RIP Carroll Shelby. #LeMansLegend

— jesse james (@FreeJesseJames) May 11, 2012

RIP Carroll Shelby We knew this day was coming but it doesn't make it easier. But, what a spectacular, full, interesting, improbable life!!

— Tommy Kendall (@TommyKendall11) May 11, 2012

It was a sad day in the world of cars. RIP Carroll Shelby #restinpeace

— geoffrey yee (@gdotyee) May 11, 2012

Carroll Shelby dies? Unbelievable. The man who beat Enzo Ferrari.

— Gabor Vajda (@Gabor_V) May 11, 2012

Burn some rubber for the great Carroll Shelby. Thanks for all you've given.

— Brandon Smith (@BrandonASmith) May 11, 2012

Carroll Shelby. The word legend is bandied around so much it often loses its true meaning. In this case it doesn't do the man justice. RIP.

— Will Buxton (@willbuxton) May 11, 2012

we will miss you Carroll Shelby! We will do our best to honor your memory.

— Patrick Dempsey (@PatrickDempsey) May 11, 2012

Carroll Shelby, one of America's most influentional driver and car producer died today. He started the muscle car era #nuffsaid

— Kyle Bridgewater (@bridge_h2o12) May 11, 2012

RIP Carroll Shelby, a true automotive legend who personally taught me & millions of others so much in this automotive business & lifestyle

— Joshua Neumann (@Joshua_Ne) May 11, 2012

Very sad to hear Carroll Shelby has passed away. Old school sports car legend!

— Darren Turner (@DarrenTurner007) May 11, 2012

RIP the father of the Cobra and guy who scored FORD much road racing success….Carroll Shelby. You will be missed.

— Matt Yocum (@MattYocum) May 11, 2012

Lost a legend today in Carroll Shelby… RIP #lemanslegend #cobra

— Parker Kligerman (@pkligerman) May 11, 2012

My good friend Carroll Shelby has died. He & I were in the Sgt Pilot program during WWII. Last visited w/ him in March. RIP, my friend.

— Chuck Yeager (@GenChuckYeager) May 11, 2012

A fitting tribute to Carroll Shelby would be to have everyone who owns a vehicle with his name on it burn rubber for 30 seconds.

— Jack (@Mr_Fastbucks) May 11, 2012

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Salem Communications to acquire Twitchy

Note: The following message from Michelle about the acquisition of Twitchy is cross-posted at

I am extremely proud to announce the sale of to Salem Communications.

On March 7, 2012, I launched Twitchy with great anticipation and excitement. It’s hard to believe that a little more than a year ago, we were greeted with a great deal of befuddlement and amusement. Many observers couldn’t figure out why was needed, what exactly it did, and who our audience was. Fast-forward: “Twitchy’d” has become a verb and every last media outlet – new and old – is elbowing its way into the Twitter curation/aggregation space.

As we noted on our first birthday this spring:

Twitter users publish something like half a billion tweets per day. Even if 99.999 percent of those tweets are unimportant or nonsense, that leaves 5,000 tweets per day that are potentially newsworthy, or at least noteworthy.

Our mission is to find those hidden nuggets and report on them to you, our readers.

We’ve been at it for a year as of today. Has our Twitter-based news-gathering model proven a success?

We believe our record speaks for itself:

We documented tweets and retweets by dozens of left-wing Hollywood cranks, including Cher, Alec Baldwin, Jim Carrey, Russell Crowe, Chris Rock, Jason Biggs, Samuel Jackson, Ellen Barkin, Eva Longoria, and Eliza Dushku.

We were among the first to uncover Twitter riot threats and vandalism by Obama supporters in the run-up to Election Day…

We broke a story about Twitter death threats made against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker — a story that led to an investigation by law-enforcement authorities.

We caught mainstream media outlets lying about the Newtown, Conn., so-called “hecklers” and the health insurance situation of the former Navy SEAL who shot Osama bin Laden.

We were the first to report details about Aurora, Colo., shooting victim Jessica Ghawi, who was tweeting just before she was shot and was present at a separate mall shooting six weeks earlier.

Utilizing tweets, photos, and videos posted to Twitter, we were able to cover breaking news — from school shootings in the US to protests in Egypt to an NFL’s player’s homicide-suicide — faster (and in some cases better) than MSM outlets.

MSM dinosaurs consider our methods irresponsible. They insist that “real reporters” must wait around for government officials to confirm facts that are already widely known to anyone using Twitter.

Sorry, MSM, we don’t follow your rules. We have created a news model that allows people to read information that gatekeepers don’t want them to know. Our motto is “who said what.” Their motto is “which official source said what, and we’ll let you know when we’re good and ready.”

…Twitchy couldn’t be what it is without you: the community of readers, commenters, and tipsters who come to the site every day; the Twitter users who retweet our posts; the Facebook users who “like” and “share” our articles.

Thanks so much to all of you for making our first year a phenomenal success.

In a little more than a year and a half, Twitchy has grown from less than 2 million page views per month to more than 12 million. We’ve established a strong footprint both traffic-wise and editorially in an astonishingly short time. Twitter as a news-gathering and narrative-shaping medium is here to stay. And so is Twitchy.

As with Hot Air, I conceived and financed Twitchy completely on my own. But as a small, independent business owner, there’s only so far I can take the company. Salem’s mighty resources and corporate know-how will enable Twitchy to grow by leaps and bounds. Salem is a trusted enterprise and business partner with the highest standards of ethics and excellence. We know from our experience with the 2010 Hot Air acquisition that Salem understands the value of our brand, will preserve everything that makes Twitchy click, and will provide a great home for our employees. I’ll step down as CEO, but will continue to play an active role supporting and promoting Twitchy. It’s a win-win-win. Big thanks to Salem’s David Evans, Rick Killingsworth, and Jonathan Garthwaite for working with us again.

I’m forever grateful to all the initial staffers who were with me at launch. Your leaps of faith will never be forgotten. Like any start-up, we had our growing pains as we figured out how best to execute my vision. A huge turning point: Twitchy was blessed to hire Jenn Taylor and Lori Ziganto as co-managing editors. They are the funny, fearless, brilliant, and indefatigable dynamos who keep Twitchy running. I can’t say enough about Jenn and Lori’s political brilliance, editorial commitment, work ethic, impeccable judgment, and new media savvy. They set the crackling pace and irreverent tone for the rest of the full-time Twitchy team, whom I’ve come to know and respect as more than colleagues — but as family: editors Sarah Desprat, Brett Taylor, and Doug Powers (who continues to co-blog spectacularly here at as well as at Twitchy) and contributing editor William Amos. Much gratitude as well to contributing editors Jacob Bunn, Erik Soderstrom, and El Sooper and big thanks to Adam Brickley for his tenure as a contributing editor.

It takes one mind to think up a start-up, but it requires a village to execute. I’m grateful to the folks at 10up, WordPress VIP, Disqus, and Publir for their services, as well as lawyer Eric Costello for his work on the deal. We’re also grateful to Twitter staff, especially Adam Sharp and Sean Evins, for providing support and guidance as needed. Thanks again to tech guru Ed Burns for his invaluable help on our Apps. Bottomless thanks to all the readers, tipsters, and commenters who continue to visit and spread the word about our work. And as always, a big public thank you to my hubby, Jesse, who knew nothing about Twitter when I told him about my idea — but who threw himself into supporting me 200 percent as he always has with my entrepreneurial ventures. As with Hot Air, Jesse served as Twitchy’s human resources manager, payroll clerk, accountant, tech liaison, and CFO.

The lessons I learned from running Hot Air apply as well to Twitchy:

To survive, we needed to adapt, respond to market forces, and adjust the business focus to meet readers’ revealed preferences.

Loyalty is a precious commodity. So is industry. Like gold, they have many imitators. Never take the real things for granted.

Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero. ( “Seize the day, counting as little as possible on tomorrow.”)

Every good hot air balloon needs strong anchor ropes. The pilots may get all the glory, but it’s the hidden support that makes all the difference between successful flight and crash-and-burn.

Over the past 20-plus years, I’ve been blessed to make a living on my words, ideas, bits, and bytes. Capitalism and the American Dream are more than theories for me, but everyday realities. I cherish the opportunity to do good and do well — and to do so alongside so many talented, creative, passionate people. On to 2014!

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What These Women Endure Is Almost Unfathomable. But Wait Til You See Why… OMG.

Although there are many people throughout the world who don’t believe this, women are just as capable as men. Perhaps a female’s body structure requires different training in order to become strong, but that doesn’t mean they are NOT strong. Take these Chinese body guards for example. They are all women and they are all incredibly fierce. The training they endure could break down your average person, yet they are able to survive it. Not only that, but once they are finished with training, these women are tough.

On April 4th 2014, six women began training in a bodyguard training school in Beijing. In recent years, the number of schools like this has grown.

The classes are grueling.

The girls spar…

Concentrating on different styles of martial arts.

The techniques and strategies they learn are impressive.

These girls learn how to REALLY fight.

They may look delicate, but these women are anything but.

Since 2011, the amount of female body guards in China has increased.

The trainees come from a wide background. 70% of them are retired soldiers and athletes. College graduates make up the other 30%.

As long as they finish the training, these women can be hired as private body guards.

The training is inspired by special forces training from all over the world.

There is not one type of woman who attempts to become a body guard.

Even pretty and delicate women are found in these training camps.

As there are more wealthy citizens in China, the demand for personal security has been growing.

Thus, an increased interest in training.

Compared to a male bodyguard, a female bodyguard can disguise herself as a secretary or personal assistant without appearing too indiscreet. They’re sought after by business executives.

30% of wealthy business executives in China are female. These female executives are more likely to want female bodyguards.

Their skills are impressive, with or without weapons.

They even go through self defense and survival training.

They may not look it…

But these women know how to handle themselves.

(H/T Takungpao) Take this important lesson to heart: don’t judge others on looks alone. You might think these women are delicate or unable to defend themselves, but in reality they are strong fighters. As time goes on and the demand for body guards rise in China, more and more women will endure this training so they can be privately hired. Criminals better watch their backs.

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Meet The Network Of Guys Making Thousands Of Dollars Tweeting As “Common White Girls”

The Twitter illuminati that made “Alex From Target” an overnight sensation can drive millions of clicks with a simple retweet.

Design by Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed, original photo by Justin Hanson

Cameron Asa is a 21-year-old communications major at the University of Tennessee. He’s also the owner of Tweet Like A Girl, a Twitter account with 1.2 million followers.

Asa doesn’t tweet as frequently as some “parody accounts,” but when he does, he wracks up thousands of retweets. On Nov. 4, he tweeted, “stress goin up on a tuesday”; it’s been retweeted 12,000 times. On Nov. 1, he tweeted, “No shave November aka guys with scruff aka what a time to be alive”; it’s been retweeted 6,000 times.

He told BuzzFeed News that he’s part of an unofficial network of Twitter users, all with massive parody accounts who are regularly responsible for making new memes go super viral. He said the network — which has no corporate sponsor backing it — was responsible for the “Alex From Target” sensation on Sunday.

“I know for a fact it was the parody accounts that started it,” Asa said. “It was just absolutely nuts. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

But randomly flexing their power to launch random cute boys into superstardom is only the tip of the iceberg for Twitter’s unofficial parody account network. The guys running these accounts are also making impressive amounts of money.

Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed

Asa said he started messing with novelty Twitter accounts during his senior year of high school. His first big hit was a Carly Rae Jepsen parody account.

“I made a parody account that just made, like, parodies to that song, parody tweets to that song,” Asa said. “And I thought, Hey, it’d be kind of cool to have a Twitter account with a lot of followers.”

Asa’s “Call Me Maybe” account got around 40,000 followers, and it got him thinking about other kinds of things that could do well on Twitter. He tried one he admits was pretty stupid called Retweet Dares that got around 180,000 followers. The tweets would basically dare users to retweet the account.

Asa stumbled upon Tweet Like A Girl in 2012. He said in the beginning the account was meant to make fun of girls.

“Like, for example, one of the tweets would be like, ‘Oh my god, I’m so fat,’ with a picture of a stick or a twig,” he said.

He said he gained 100,000 followers in five days, but Asa hit the wall that all novelty accounts eventually hit: He ran out of material. So he decided it was time to expand Tweet Like A Girl’s scope.

“I transitioned into relatable tweets for girls, and ever since I did that, it’s still been nuts,” he said.

Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed

Asa’s new game is keeping his account relevant and relatable — and it’s working. He’s now pulling in pretty massive money. He was a little uncomfortable discussing the amount he makes per retweet, but he said that it can be as high as hundreds of dollars.

“Lately I’ve been posting for different apps, and it can range from anywhere from $500 – $1,000 per post — it’s awesome,” Asa said. “I actually did an app tweet last week and I ended up getting the app 20,000 downloads off one tweet.”

It makes sense that brands are clamoring to work with parody accounts; the engagement for an account like Tweet Like A Girl is astronomical. Asa said he’s hoping to branch out to working with movie studios.

He posted a trailer for the film adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ The Best of Me and said he was able to send it 13 million impressions. He sent BuzzFeed News a screenshot of his Twitter analytics for a similar movie trailer tweet he posted in July boasting 4 million impressions.

Courtesy of Cameron Asa

The elephant in the room, though, with Asa’s account — and large female-oriented parody accounts like his — is that at the end of the day, he’s a 21-year-old guy tweeting as a teenage girl.

“People ask me all the time,” Asa said. “I know, it’s kind of weird. I kind of made the page and I have to run it. I really do enjoy running it.”

Asa said that he’s met and communicates regularly with the people running about a dozen or so of the largest parody accounts on Twitter. They all communicate with each other over direct message.

He said at the most there are only about four women running relatable parody accounts, noting that Common White Girl — one of the largest female-oriented parody accounts with over 4 million followers — is run by a woman.

A way these accounts keep momentum going is by a retweet-sharing deal organized amongst other large parody pages. A large Twitter account like Tweet Like A Girl will make a three-retweet deal with another large Twitter account, like Dory or Fat Amy. Each account retweets three of the other account’s tweets. Usually one of those three retweets is a paid ad.

That system helps these independent accounts drive up advertising rates, which usually have a variable included for clicks. Essentially, by working together, each of these guys can make his own independent Twitter media network go viral.

David Rhodes is a 29-year-old from Toronto, Canada, who has been running a network of parody and novelty Twitter accounts since 2012. His largest account is Sex Facts Of Life, which has 1.8 million followers and is also one of the few relatable novelty accounts on Twitter to be verified. Rhodes’ second-largest account is Not Will Ferrell, a Will Ferrell parody account.

Those two are just the largest peaks, however, in his incredibly large Twitter network. Rhodes also runs a Brick Tamland parody account, Sarcastic Wonka, Hilarious Ted, and a handful of picture-based accounts like Wow Pics Of Life and Wow Food Porn.

Rhodes’ network is so large, he hired a friend as a independent contractor to help him manage all the content.

Rhodes told BuzzFeed News that someone running parody accounts could easily make six figures a year. He was able to start monetizing his parody Twitter accounts in 2012 and quit his job shortly after; his Twitter network is a full-time gig.

“I’ve always treated it as a business. It’s all about integrity,” Rhodes said.

Rhodes said that Asa’s tactic of targeting young girls with an account is a great market to try to tap into.

“You see a lot of people running those kinds of accounts, a lot of guys running those girly teen accounts,” Rhodes said. “I think part of the reason, in terms of engagement, is females are usually the most engaged.”

He said the key across the board for anyone to put together a successful novelty Twitter account, though, is finding content that people can relate to.

Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed

From an outsider’s perspective, this can seem pretty vague and confusing: a group of twentysomething guys who scour the internet for “content” on places like Facebook, Vine, and Tumblr, and then push to their large Twitter networks to help them support a backchannel advertising system.

David Orr refers to the whole setup as “social influencer” marketing. Orr is a 23-year-old entrepreneur from Effingham, Illinois, and he’s been able to pivot on his Twitter following to a position as COO of a company. He starts his new role next month, though would not tell BuzzFeed News what company he’s joining, only saying that it was a fairly large one.

His largest account is a Bill Nye-themed parody account called Ya Boy Bill Nye. It tweets things like “rims on the prius” or “shouts out all my kids out there grindin through AP tests like ‘this shit a game to me homie’ getting high scores and college credit I SEE U.”

“I’m definitely in this for the marketing aspect, and at the end of the day, obviously the revenue,” Orr told BuzzFeed News. “I’m not a writer. I do not write most of my content. I find it [in] other places.”

Obviously, going at content creation with a purely revenue-centric mind-set can be problematic. Orr, Rhodes, Asa, and the parody account owners like them all face a tremendous amount of criticism for plagiarism. Orr said rampant plagiarism on Twitter is Twitter’s problem, not the people who use it.

“Unfortunately Twitter limits us. I don’t think in 140 characters we can add a source,” Orr said. “Should Twitter allow for a place to link for a source, I’m sure everyone would be definitely open to that and do it.”

Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed

To understand the true scope of what this Twitter illuminati can accomplish, you need to look no further than Nov. 2’s “Alex From Target” sensation. On the night of Nov. 4, Dil-Domine Leonares, CEO and founder of a tech startup called Breakr, took credit for Alex LaBeouf’s viral explosion.

Leonares claimed it was Breakr’s network that rallied people around Alex From Target. Leonares couldn’t back any of his claims up, but Asa and his parody account can.

Asa, Orr, and Rhodes all agree that it was the swarming of their networks that really bolstered support for LaBeouf early on.

“The parody accounts were the real reason Alex From Target became so famous. They gave him the initial exposure he needed to kind of get the ball rolling,” Orr said.

But it wasn’t coordinated in the way you’d think. It wasn’t a planned campaign; large parody accounts say fans of the band 5 Seconds of Summer engaged with the original tweet and swarmed it.

Rhodes said what happened with Alex From Target was only unusual in the sense that it exploded beyond Twitter. He said that parody accounts are constantly creating worldwide trending topics, and that he used to sit on Twitter at night and start globally trending hashtags for fun.

As for whether or not parody accounts capable of manipulating all of Twitter are ultimately a good thing for social media, Orr wasn’t too certain.

“If I didn’t think it could have negative effects, I’d be trading retweets on all of my accounts, but I’m not,” Orr said. “I don’t know the long-term effects.”

For Asa, though, he’s just having a tough time wrapping his head around the scope of all of this.

“I’ve been doing this for a really long time now,” Asa said, “but sometimes I’ll be in class and get on my page and I’ll just look at it and just be like, Wow, this is crazy.”


This post has been updated to more clearly reflect Cameron Asa’s typical going rate for a sponsored tweet. His going rate is $500–1,000; an earlier version of this article misstated this amount. BF_STATIC.timequeue.push(function () { document.getElementById(“update_article_correction_time_4199026″).innerHTML = UI.dateFormat.get_formatted_date(‘2014-11-06 17:07:30 -0500′, ‘update’); });

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This War-Torn Country Has Many Victims, But Worst Of All, Many Of Them Are Children

The war in Syria and immigration have become hot-button issues in the U.S., but many Americans still don’t know about the devastation that’s rocking Syria as we speak.

The Syrian War was set into motion after the Arab Spring movement spread throughout many Arab League nations in 2011. Following protests associated with the movement, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and his government publicly repressed protests challenging the man’s presidency. As violence and opposition increased, more and more opposition groups joined the fight.

For many Americans, the first real indication of this sorrow came in the form of a heartbreaking photo of little Omran Daqneesh, the bloodied Syrian boy who was pictured in an ambulance following an airstrike in Aleppo. Aleppo has quickly become the epicenter of the Syrian War, and while many adult victims are in peril, it is particularly saddening to see how children have fallen into the conflict’s crosshairs.

Nearly 6,500 Syrian schools have been closed or destroyed since 2011, putting more and more children on the streets. This makes them vulnerable.

Getty Images

Read More: People Were Furious About This Wedding, But It Was Staged To Make A Powerful Point

Since the beginning of the war, over 18,000 civilians have been killed in Aleppo, and of that number, almost 4,500 of those victims were children under 18.

Getty Images

“They’re trapped, and they have no way of escaping. That’s one reason we’re seeing such big numbers of child casualties,” said Save the Children spokesperson Alun McDonald.

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Of the roughly 250,000 people still trapped in Aleppo, almost 100,000 of them are kids.

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Trapped children run the risk of becoming weak and malnourished as the war wages on and depletes resources.

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In September 2016, airstrikes and bombings in Aleppo increased, leaving many innocent little ones clinging to their lives amidst the rubble.

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The medical field is drastically failing children and other civilians in the war-torn city.

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A lack of medical supplies has kept victims from healing. Instead, these children are abandoned on hospital floors and left to die.

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One out of every three hospitals in Aleppo is currently open for business, and the two major hospitals are hit with over 600 serious cases each day in government-held portions of the Syrian city.

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There are an estimated 35 doctors left in the area, averaging one doctor for every 7,000 civilians. It’s an impossible ratio.

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While some families have fled, others remain because global tensions have convinced them that life as a refugee would be even worse than staying. That’s how violent rhetoric surrounding the migrant crisis has become.

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Read More: Indian Government Has Been Conducting Medical Testing On Young Girls Without Consent

It’s easy to politicize this issue. It’s easy to fear what you don’t understand. What we all need to do, however, is find compassion in our hearts for the millions of children worldwide who die at the hands of corruption and persecution.

(via CNN and The New York Times)

To find out how you can help aid those impacted by the Syrian Civil War, you can find a full list of charities and organizations here.

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India’s Top Two Ride-Hail Companies Have Merged And Plan To Be In 200 Cities

Olacabs acquired competitor TaxiForSure, combining two vastly different business models.

pharan Tanveer/pharan Tanveer


India’s top two ride-hail companies joined forces today: Olacabs, the largest taxi-hailing service, acquired TaxiForSure, the country’s second largest taxi-hailing company, for $200 million in a cash and equity deal, according to the company.

India’s newly formed top ride-hail player has 1,015,000 drivers combined across more than 127 cities and, according to Olacabs CEO and co-founder Bhavish Aggarwal, plans to be in 200 cities by the end of the year. “The main focus is to expand the market,” he told BuzzFeed News.

“We will not waste time and money fighting each other,” Aggarwal said. “We will put all the efforts in growing the market. The taxi industry in India is potentially even larger than the taxi app business in U.S. In India there is no car ownership and very small taxi industry. Hopefully now that the competition is behind us we can work together [to capture] the market.”

The companies aren’t the first in Asia to throw in the towel and join forces. In China, the largest ride-hail company, Kuaidi Dache, merged with runner-up Didi Dache. But Olacabs’ acquisition of TaxiForSure isn’t necessarily a natural fit. The companies have two vastly different business models. Olacabs, on the one hand, partners with car owners who rent out their cars to drivers, while TaxiForSure partners with cab operators.

TaxiForSure will now have access to Ola’s technology (and vice versa) such as Ola wallet — a digital wallet that riders can refill.

“Cash is primary source of payment mode [in India],” Aggarwal told BuzzFeed News in a previous interview late last year. “To have level of convenience of cash free rides, we introduced the Ola wallet. You can recharge your Ola Money wallet on the app. And the ride fare gets set against balance in your account. Forty percent of bookings are paid for through the Ola Money wallet.”

The remaining 60% of rides are paid with cash — something Uber in India does not allow. Though Uber’s place in the market was “extraneous” to Aggarwal and TaxiForSure CEO Raghunandan G’s decision-making process, Aggarwal said Uber’s vast funding rounds that the company planned to invest in its expansion in the Asia Pacific aren’t concerning.

“Winning in emerging markets is not about capital, it’s about understanding global dynamics,” he said. “Uber is essentially bringing a Western product to Asia. For example, our business model is very different. We accept cash. We allow the consumer to make a booking through a call and schedule and preplan a booking.”

According to Aggarwal, the Indian ride-hail industry is similar to that of China on many fronts, but is most similar in that the market is currently dominated by a local, homegrown player.

Aggarwal also said the company is planning to “aggressively scale out” its auto-rickshaw service. TaxiForSure offers an auto-rickshaw hailing service in a few locations, and three months ago OlaCabs launched its own auto-rickshaw service out of beta in seven cities, including Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, and Delhi. Aggarwal said he did not have a clear number on exactly how many cities the service will be expanded into just yet.

The new company will also be expanding its Ola Pink service — which is still in Beta in three cities. Ola Pink, Aggarwal said, is a car service for women driven by women created in the wake of the alleged rape of an Uber passenger late last year.

The acquisition comes just a few months after BuzzFeed News first reported that there have been talks of a global taxi alliance among ride-hail apps including Olacabs and two other Softbank-backed Asia-based apps, GrabTaxi and the new, yet unnamed Kuaidi Dache–Didi Dache entity.

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Jay Carney upset about NLRB recess appointment ruling, conservatives not sympathetic!/PressSec/status/294906810350055424

Awww … does Richard Trumka have room in his treehouse for Jay Carney? No doubt these guys could use some shoulders to cry on. Jay’s all bent out of shape over the DC Circuit’s U.S. Court of Appeals’ ruling that President Obama’s “recess” appointments to the NLRB were unconstitutional.

Per the Congressional Research Service, 285 intrasession recess appointments were made between 1867 and 2004, by both D & R presidents.

— Jay Carney (EOP) (@PressSec) January 25, 2013

Here’s the thing:

@presssec How do you define ‘recess’ ??The dems were the ones to put someone in that chair every day to stop Bush’s recess appointments

— Jim Tellep (@Bentell) January 25, 2013

In 2007, Democrats started keeping the Senate in for pro-forma sessions to block Bush recess appointments

— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) January 25, 2013

B-b-but … Bush!

Of 171 recess appointments made by Pres GW Bush, a large majority — 141 — were intrasession appts.….

— Jay Carney (EOP) (@PressSec) January 25, 2013

Really, Jay? Spin all you like, but all you’ll get is dizzy. Those of us who occupy reality know you’re full of it:

No Mr Carney @presssec , your boss violated 150 years of precedence. Blaming the court is an immature “I know you are but what am I” riposte

— DMatthewStewart (@dmatthewstewart) January 25, 2013

False, those were *actual* recess appointments, but nice try @presssec

— Katie Pavlich (@KatiePavlich) January 25, 2013

@presssec but Jay…those were constitutional appointments…unlike the ones Obama made.

— Susan Reaney (@SSReaney) January 25, 2013

@presssec that’s correct while they were in recess. Now tell the truth, Congress was not in recess and in fact still conducting business

— Tim (@vulcan5555) January 25, 2013

.@presssec Yes, it’s about time somebody in the #WhiteHouse starts following the law.

— Obama Agenda (@ObamaAgenda) January 25, 2013

@joy__hart @presssec So is it only unconstitutional when the guy the GOP doesn’t like does it? Fascinating.

— Jan Erickson (@Mistress_Jan) January 25, 2013

Isn’t it, though?

@presssec The problem is and you know it, was that they weren’t in recess.Just tell the whole truth.

— Doug Grace (@spiritholywater) January 25, 2013

@presssec It’s Bush’s fault again! We’re into the second term and you all can’t stop pointing fingers at others…

— QuarterBore (@Sense_of_common) January 25, 2013

Still blaming Bush… @presssec Of 171 recess appointments made by GW Bush, a majority, 141, were intrasession appts… ….

— Kevin Sandlin (@KEVIN8R) January 25, 2013

.@presssec It wasn’t about the authority to make recess appt’s but HOW your boss made them. Are you being intentionally obtuse?

— Brian Phillips (@SenLeeComs) January 25, 2013

@presssec senate wasn’t in recess. Read the briefing! #unconstitutional

— Aaron Bourlard (@AaronCBourlard) January 25, 2013

@katiepavlich GP It’s as if the White House is commenting on something it hasn’t read. Like ObamaCare. @presssec

— The Gormogons (@Gormogons) January 25, 2013

@presssec Actually it shows that someone knows the constitution. Expect more rulings like this one!

— Melissa Mckee (@mistyblue20109) January 25, 2013

@presssec The ruling is a triumph of the people over a President who craves power like no other.

— Steve Lance (@BunburyLives) January 25, 2013

@presssecRemember when you didn’t lie for a living?

— Deb McKay (@McDebida) January 25, 2013

We certainly can’t.

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