‘Tigernado’ sweeps social media after tornado hits Oklahoma City area, sparks false report of exotic animals breaking out of safari park

A "tigernado" took the web by storm. As severe weather unleashed tornadoes across the Midwest on Wednesday, exotic animals were reported missing from a safari park near Oklahoma City. The reports that big cats were on the loose proved to be untrue — but the real story became the "Tigernado" meme that went viral on social media faster than a panther pounces on its prey. Within minutes of the tigers-on-the-loose false news breaking in Oklahoma, Twitter exploded with the "Tigernado" hashtag, as users created posters, GIFs and even a T-shirt for the imaginary disaster. A "Tornado Tiger" parody account also popped up. The safari's owner later told the Daily News the reported breakout never happened, and said local media misquoted him saying otherwise. "Nothing's loose, no animals got loose," a flustered Bill Meadows told The News on Wednesday night. "Not a one went missing. I'm not aware of where that news came from." He said the safari park, located in the town of Tuttle, did suffer "major, major structural damage," and predicted it could cost tens of thousands in repairs. The safari has 170 animals, including 23 tigers, as well as monkeys, kangaroos, alligators and many others. But Meadows hadn't heard of the Tigernado craze, and he cracked up on the phone when The News told him about it. "I bet you whoever made that up will make s---loads of money, and I'm happy as s--- for them!" he said. "Nobody got hurt, so that's just funny as hell." The animals were said to be on the loose around 9:45 p.m. and residents of Tuttle, about 30 miles southwest of Oklahoma City, were warned to stay in their homes. Police said about 30 minutes later that all animals "were accounted for." In the end, the Tigernado brought a bit of humor to a day that was no laughing matter in the Oklahoma Continue Reading

‘Twin Strangers’ social media challenge seeks to find your doppelganger

Somewhere out there, there's somebody who looks exactly like you ... and it's high time you two met. Three friends in Ireland have started a social media challenge to encourage people around the world do just that. Harry English, Terence Manzanga and Niamh Geaney devised the competition, called "Twin Strangers,"  to find their most likely doppelgänger in 28 days. The chums were attracted to the weirdness of the idea, said Harry, who lives in a suburb of Dublin. "The fact that there may be someone who looks just like you somewhere in the world, it's something that had us quite curious," he told the Daily News in an email. "To see how similar, or dissimilar this person would be to us (that's if they did exist). It's almost like an alternative you, living a different life in a different environment!" The contest began on March 30 and they started receiving submissions from potential matches all over the world. Two weeks in, Niamh connected with a woman named Karen, who has strikingly similar features and the same brunette hair. "Since you got out of the car I haven't stopped looking at you because it's weird. It's really, really weird," Niamh told her new Twin Stranger. "She probably looks closer to me than some of my sisters. It's insane." The meeting also blew Harry away. "I was quite literally seeing double. It was crazy!" he said. "If anything it gave me great hope for my own search too. I think for the sake of our combined efforts it's great to have a match so strong at this point in our campaign. Hopefully it will take off from here!" A YouTube video about the project, posted Tuesday, has already gained a widespread following. The campaign is taking off and the group's Facebook page has nearly 9,000 likes as of Wednesday. The founders set up an album on the page so people can search for their own look-alikes. The responsse has been great and gaining momentum by the day, English said. Continue Reading

Kerry Washington delivers moving acceptance speech at GLAAD Media Awards

Actress Kerry Washington, director Roland Emmerich, the film "The Imitation Game" and television shows "Transparent" and "How to Get Away With Murder" have received stamps of approval from GLAAD. GLAAD is a U.S.-based group that promotes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender presence in the media, and celebrated its honorees at a ceremony here Saturday night. GLADD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said "Scandal" star Washington was chosen by the group because, "She's done quite a bit for the LGBT community and she's a phenomenal spokeswoman for us. And she's got our back. And she always has." In Washington's acceptance speech, the actress reminded, "In 1997, when Ellen (DeGeneres) made her famous declaration, it took place in an America where the Defense of Marriage Act had just passed months earlier, and civil unions were not legal in any state. But also remember that just 30 years before that, the Supreme Court was deciding that the ban against interracial marriage was unconstitutional. "Up until then, heterosexual people of different races couldn't marry who they wanted to marry either. So, when black people today say that they don't believe in gay marriage ... the first thing that I say is, `Please don't let anybody try to get you to vote against your own best interest by feeding you messages of hate.' And then I say, `People use to say things about that about you and your love.'" The German Emmerich is perhaps best known for producing and directing the 1996 blockbuster "Independence Day," as well as the 1998 remake of "Godzilla" and 2004's "The Day After Tomorrow." Now openly gay, Emmerich said he long kept his homosexuality private because he didn't want to be limited to making only films with gay stories, as had happened with other directors in Germany. Emmerich's gay-themed historical drama "Stonewall" will be released later this year. And Continue Reading

Chris Christie: Media treating me more harshly than Hillary Clinton

Chris Christie said Thursday that the media is applying a “double standard” to the prospective 2016 Republican candidates — and that he’s been the primary target. “I do believe there is an absolute bias and a rush to judgment” about possible GOP candidates, the New Jersey governor said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “I mean, I was guilty, I was guilty,” Christie said about how he was treated in the media after news of the Bridgegate scandal first broke. After several investigations into the September 2013 incident — during which several lanes of traffic on the George Washington Bridge were shut down —Christie was never found to have been directly involved. Christie pointed to the criticism he received in the media after the incident and compared it to the coverage Hillary Clinton has received in the months since it was revealed she deleted thousands of personal emails that many think contained official business during her tenure as secretary of state. “Can you imagine if it were me who deleted my emails,” Christie asked. “If I had come out the day after the Bridgegate thing was announced and said, ‘By the way all my emails are on the private server and I deleted a whole bunch of them and I destroyed the server but you need to take my word for it, the emails had nothing to do with the bridge stuff,” Christie said. “Can you image what the reaction would have been? Yet today we don’t even talk about the email situation with Secretary Clinton anymore.” Nevertheless, Christie, who many think will launch a 2016 bid soon, insisted that he hadn’t yet decided to run, saying that three questions still had to be answered: “Is it right for me, is it right for my family, is it right for the country,” he said. “The answer has to be yes for all three,” in order for him to run in 2016, Christie said. Continue Reading

Your social media pages could be used in psychology experiments: study

While 689,000 Facebook users were horrified to learn they had unknowingly been part of a study in June, new research says social media has opened up a new digital world for psychology experiments that's unlikely to lose steam. Scholars are hard at work developing new methods of leveraging social media to study personality, mental health, language and cross-cultural differences, reveals research presented at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology's 16th Annual Conference held in Long Beach, California this past week. Facebook continues to be the go-to source for personality assessment, for a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology reveals algorithms developed for that purpose by analyzing 66,732 users' word choices. Consenting participants then self-reported their personalities, and they matched the algorithms analysis. Another Facebook study, published in the journal Assessment, concluded that certain phrases indicate different personality traits. For example, the 69,792 participants helped the researchers to conclude that the most neurotic of us all are more likely to use words such as "sadness," "loneliness," "fear" or "pain." The researchers remarked that the data generated from this study could be more reliable than data collected by means of traditional written questionnaires. Although the reaction from social media users of their favorite sites becoming research hotbeds has been unenthusiastic at best, advances are promising. A language study using Twitter turned out to be an adequate predictor of who would get heart disease. "Language associated with anger, negative emotions, hostility and disengagement within a community was associated with increased rates of heart disease," explains lead author Johannes Eichstaedt, "Language expressing positive emotions and engagement was associated with reduced risk." While the participants in these studies appear to have been willing, users are Continue Reading

Media exec’s ex-girlfriend says his erection problems led to controlling behavior, custody battle over dog

A media executive’s alleged problems in getting an erection are front and center in a dog custody battle in a Manhattan court. Chelsea Conrad, the daughter of actor Robert Conrad, says in a sworn affidavit that her ex-boyfriend, Mail Online executive Noah Szubski, initiated the court fight over the ownership of her Doberman because he couldn't control her any more than he could control his performance in bed. “(He) was unable to achieve and maintain an erection, so (they) were only intimate about four times per year for three years,” Conrad says in a 31-page statement filed Monday in Manhattan Supreme Court. Conrad, 28, says she tried for years to work with Szubski, 32, on his erection problems, but he refused to take doctor-prescribed medication. Instead, she said, he lashed out at her and became increasingly controlling. When they moved to New York from California in 2013, she says, Szubski “went to great lengths to ensure that he maintained financial dominance” over her — becoming "angry … (and going) into fits of yelling and then calming down if he discovered (she) spent her own money on anything for the house." "(He) hates women and only seeks to control and humiliate them," says Conrad, an interior design student at the Fashion Institute of Technology. There was no immediate official reply from Szubski whose lawyer, Stephen Silberfein, slammed Conrad's affidavit in a letter to the Daily News. Silberfein said he moved to seal the filing because Contrad's claims were "improper, irrelevant, inappropriate and false." After meeting privately with Silberfein and Conrad's lawyer, Mia Poppe, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Geoffrey Wright on Tuesday sealed the court file and transcripts of public proceedings but he said he would keep the court open to the public. In a significant development for Conrad, Wright also softened his stance on where the Doberman named Cash should be housed until Continue Reading

New teaser for Sundance hit ‘Dope’ mashes ‘90s hip-hop, Nintendo graphics, social media

A trippy new teaser trailer has arrived for Sundance Film Festival favorite "Dope," a coming-of-age comedy about a group of teens in Inglewood, Calif. Combining elements of psychedelia, social media, '90s rap and old school Nintendo-style graphics, the new clip plunges viewers into the world of protagonist Malcolm, a flat-topped geek who gets caught up in a drug caper. The film, directed by Rick Famuyiwa and produced by Forest Whitaker, Pharell Williams and Sean (Diddy) Combs, made a big splash at Sundance earlier this year, where it was snatched up by Open Road Films. Daily News film critic Joe Neumaier called it one of his favorites of the festival, "a mix of attitude and terrific music, with a wry awareness of what so-called 'black movies' should and should not be." In an interview with Vulture, Famuyiwa said he deliberately sought to shake-up the standard trailer form by releasing a teaser "that grabs you…and makes you go 'Woa, what is this?'" "We wanted it to look like something that would be created by Malcolm and his friends," Famuyiwa said. Dope opens in theaters on June 19. Continue Reading

Sen. Ted Cruz blames media for making him look like ‘Freddy Krueger’ for fiery stump speech that spooked 3-year-old

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz insisted Tuesday that he didn’t scare a little girl who asked him, during an intense stump speech caught on video, if the world was really on fire — and blamed the media for making him out to be “Freddy Krueger” because of the incident. “I actually talked to the mother yesterday, called her, because she was very dismayed,” Cruz said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” of his call with Michelle Trant, whose 3-year-old daughter Julie appeared to be spooked at a Cruz speech after the senator blasted President Obama and said that “the whole world is on fire.” “I mean, this has blown up in the media, every reporter has written about it,” Cruz said Tuesday. ”First it was ‘girl startled,’ then it became ‘girl terrified.’ By the end of it, I’m Freddy Krueger torturing this girl in her nightmares.” “The local press all covered the substance of what I said, the reactions of what happened,” Cruz added. “The national press … it was all about the little girl and me terrifying her.” Trant came to Cruz’s defense Monday morning, telling a conservative talk show host that her child was not frightened “in any way, shape or form” when she spoke up at the campaign event. Little Julie got distracted from a cellphone game, not scared out of her mind, her mom explained. “It was an incredible, electrifying speech, and my daughter did not get affected by this in any way, shape or form,” Trant said on WRKO-AM talk radio, adding that she was a “huge” Cruz supporter and that the senator spoke her and Julie after his speech. “He gave my daughter a big high five and she was so happy. She was actually calling him ‘Uncle Cruz’ the rest of the day.” Continue Reading

EXCLUSIVE: City zoos launch social media contest, winner gets a 5-day trip to Belize

The city's zoos launched a social media safari Friday bound to drive New Yorkers wild. A new website, NYisWild.com, boasts 120 “ways to be wild” in New York to celebrate the 120th anniversary of the Wildlife Conservation Society. Users who post selfies on Twitter and Instagram while saluting bald eagles at the Queens Zoo, posing with scuba divers at Coney Island's New York Aquarium or a hodgepodge of other challenges between now and Sept. 7 will have a chance to win prizes — including a vacation in Belize. Outside of the four zoos and aquarium, each run by WCS, the safari points the way to other animal-themed attractions. Some are well known, like the bull of Wall St. and the New York Public Library's iconic lion statues on Fifth Ave. Others are obscure, like harbor seal statues in the East River Park or a fountain at the entrance to Staten Island's South Beach featuring dolphins. Prizes include a whale-watching tour and a daylong stint as a sea lion keeper at the New York Aquarium. The top prize, a five-day trip to Belize, includes a voyage to Glover’s Reef, where the WCS is conserving seascapes. Founded in 1895 as the New York Zoological Society, the WCS has more than 200 scientists working on nearly 500 conservation projects across 60 countries “New Yorkers take pride in what this organization has become,” said Jim Breheny, general director of the four Wildlife Conservation Society zoos and aquarium. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Lupica: Tell Indiana Gov. Mike Pence that the media didn’t cause the mess he made with the religious freedom law

Somebody needs to explain to Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, a self-righteous phony even when backing up the way he did at a news conference Tuesday morning, that the media didn’t cause the hot mess he has made for himself and his state. Pence did that himself, with the help of the state legislators more tame than house pets. But there was Pence once again trying to clarify a religious “freedom” bill that he signed into law, one that empowered discrimination against gays and lesbians no matter how much Pence says it did not, as he continues a brand-new Hoosier tradition — he talks a lot about Hoosiers — of trying to put lipstick on livestock. “I understand the perception of this has gone far afield of what the law really is,” Pence said, on this day when he accused of the media of being reckless and irresponsible and generally a threat to everything good and decent in his state. He even was shameless enough to invoke Selma at his news conference, as if a walk he once took across the Edmund Pettus Bridge was a clear indication that he doesn’t have a bigoted bone in his body. But this was a day when you got the idea that Pence would have announced he is marching in the next Halloween parade in Greenwich Village to undo the lasting damage he has done, and continues to do, to his state. “The (Religious Freedom Restoration Act) was about religious liberty, not discrimination,” Pence said. That is a lie, no matter how many times he tells it, the way it is a lie that this new Indiana law “mirrors” the legislation that Bill Clinton signed into law more than two decades ago. It is the same kind of lie that right-wing pundits who are either misinformed or just lazy like to tell, about how if you are going to boycott Indiana over this new law, you better boycott 19 other states that have similar laws. This law in Indiana is Continue Reading