Secrets revealed. Conspiracy theorists are doffing their tinfoil hats this morning to celebrate the release of new declassified information acknowledging the existence of Area 51. The top-secret base 90 miles north of Las Vegas, where the CIA established its U-2 reconnaissance program in the 1960s, has featured prominently in pop culture as the dumping ground for UFOs and even captured alien life forms. The new mentions of the site, and some of the intelligence work that went on there, come from a history requested by George Washington University’s National Security Archive. The university requested the history in 2002, but mentions of Area 51 had been removed. Three years later, the archive requested the material again. When it arrived just a few weeks ago—seven years after the request—mentions of the site had been restored. This is not the first time the government has acknowledged the site’s existence, but the documents provide the most comprehensive look we’ve gotten so far into its history. Of course, all mentions of UFOs and aliens are still redacted.
Dislike. According to a new study, using Facebook is a real downer that makes people feel worse about their lives. Facebook users who participated in the University of Michigan study ended up feeling worse about themselves at the end of two weeks, and the more they browsed the social media site’s news feed, the worse their mood became. The Facebook-fed depression set in regardless of how many friends the users had, how supportive their friends were, or why the study participants went to Facebook in the first place. The study’s authors say that while they now know Facebook can be bad for our self-esteem, they don’t know which parts of the social network are contributing to the problem. Other studies have pointed to the site’s tendency to draw users who paint a much rosier picture of their off-screen lives, creating a false, trouble-free world that never matches up to real life.
Cut the cable. Technology giant Sony dropped a bomb on the cable industry today when it announced it has reached a tentative deal with Viacom to stream popular channels MTV, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon directly to its television and entertainment consoles. Although the deal isn’t done yet, it represents a major shift in the entertainment industry. Until now, media companies have been reluctant to offer their content to anyone other than cable providers. But with the prevalence of streaming services, more customers want to cut ties with their cable company and get what they want—and just what they want—from the internet. Sony hopes to launch its streaming service early next year.
King of the cons? And from the files of “did they really think they could get away with this,” a zoo in China has closed temporarily after trying to pass off a Tibetan mastiff as an African lion. The zoo, which is run by a private businessman, blamed the economy for the cutbacks in its displays. It’s really hard to believe they didn’t think visitors would notice, especially since the special exhibit was prone to barking. Maybe if the zookeepers had given the dog a lion cut, it would have helped.