The News You Missed From The Weekend

How to avoid norovirus and existential dread from our AI-dominated world.

This is an excerpt from Incoming, BuzzFeed News’ morning newsletter dedicated to making sense of this chaotic world we live in. Join the club.

Norovirus is back after a pandemic break

a personw ith long black hair and a yellow cardigan clutching their stomach

Commonly known as the stomach flu, "cruise ship virus," food poisoning, or stomach bug, norovirus is the kind of germ that you never forget if you experience its symptoms. It is an extremely contagious pathogen that causes inflammation in the stomach or intestines, resulting in intense bouts of diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, and nausea. Symptoms can last up to three days and can also include headaches, fever, and body aches in some people.

After a quiet 2020 and 2021 — likely because of COVID preventive measures that forced many other viruses into hiding — norovirus made a rapid return beginning in January 2022, according to data from 12 state health departments published in September. This winter, CDC reported that norovirus cases are rising nationally, and the UK is also experiencing the highest norovirus levels at this time of year in over a decade.

The good news is that the norovirus circulating in the population is behaving as expected and isn’t showing any signs of mutating into more serious versions of itself, CDC epidemiologist Sara Mirza told BuzzFeed News.

Plus, the absolute best way to reduce your risk of norovirus infection is an easy one: good hand hygiene. The virus can survive on a variety of surfaces, such as countertops and serving utensils — and in water — for up to two weeks. Norovirus resists many common disinfectants and hand sanitizers, so it’s essential to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before and after you eat and after using the bathroom.

Ukraine’s unexpected resistance in Bakhmut

  • Russia seemed on the verge of capturing Bakhmut. This past weekend, Ukrainian troops mounted a counteroffensive with unexpected success. "Bakhmut itself, a city with a prewar population of 70,000 inhabitants, has little strategic value. It was simply the next in the line of fire of a Russian offensive to seize the eastern province of Donetsk. But the battle for the city has created a defining moment of the war for both the Russian and the Ukrainian armies," New York Times reporter Carlotta Gall writes from Chasiv Yar, Ukraine.


Alex Murdaugh was sentenced to life in prison. A member of the jury said it only took them about an hour of deliberation to decide that the disgraced South Carolina lawyer was guilty of killing his wife and son.

Florida health officials warned Charlotte County officials to be careful with their tap water, after a man died of a brain-eating amoeba. This isn’t the first time that someone has been infected with the amoeba from rinsing their nasal passages with unsterilized tap water. 

Spouses-slash-political enemies Kellyanne Conway and George Conway are divorcing. The pair baffled observers, with Kellyanne defending former President Donald Trump, while George was one of Trump's most outspoken critics.

Malala Yousafzai joked about her Nobel Peace Prize coming with Beyoncé or Taylor Swift tickets. “I have the Nobel Peace Prize and I demand both.”

The AI arms race has begun

a phone screen that reads "chat gpt" against a blurry pink/purple background that reads "open ai"

AI is already changing the world, and fast. Here’s a brief summary of the the major AI developments of the last two months: 

  • In January, ChatGPT became the fastest-growing application in history. At the same time, AI tools like Stable Diffusion, Midjourney, and DALL-E 2 took off for creating artwork, paintings, and photographs. 
  • During the first week of February, Google announced Bard, its own ChatGPT rival, that it would build right into Google search. Bard got a fact wrong in the first promotional video Google shared for it, and the goof-up sent the company’s stock tumbling, causing it to lose more than $100 billion in market value.
  • Less than 24 hours after Google’s initial announcement, Microsoft said that it would integrate the tech that powered ChatGPT into its own search engine, Bing. The company was forced to quickly pull back its tool after its chatbot declared its love for a New York Times columnist and tried to convince him to leave his wife.
  • In late February, Spotify announced that it was adding AI DJs to curate music and deliver commentary for users. Snap also announced that it will let paying subscribers access a chatbot powered by ChatGPT right inside Snapchat. Similarly, Meta plans to use generative AI across its product line, including in WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram, and with ads and videos.


Mayer launches his body upward during the men's pole vault heptathlon

Why beige is the preferred color for rich white women

the darkened side profile of a woman's face covered in netural polka dots

Behold: the beigeification of the white woman. If social media is to be believed, she could go an entire lifetime without a primary color touching her dewy, soft skin. She has a Clean Girl aesthetic; she’s That Girl. A Beige Baby becomes a Vanilla Girl becomes a Coastal Grandmother. These trends seem like the same person, in different stages of life. 

Why have muted tones come to signify wealth and privilege across so many phases of life? And why is it something so many are striving for? A spokesperson for the creator-driven shopping platform LTK told BuzzFeed News that in the past month, searchers looking for a “neutral aesthetic” have shot up by 283%, with a 400% increase in searches for a “vanilla girl aesthetic.” It’s all over popular culture as well. Kim Kardashian is famous for her all-white house, and Emma Chamberlain’s is all soft neutrals.

To be beigeified is to have the money, the stability, and the privilege to care for everything in your life with the utmost grace, from your sheets to your skin. You need to have the money to buy organic produce, the time to research the best, most sustainable fabrics and wood, and the leisure to care. Women who present this version of themselves to the world are telegraphing a few things: I am clean, I am effortless, and my life is easy.

Still reading, eh? Seems like you might want to get this in your inbox. No pressure though. Just some food for thought.

Topics in this article

Skip to footer