From the unconventional and awe-inspiring to the hilarious and heartwarming, here’s a look at some of the most interesting photos, videos and stories that have our newsroom talking today. What’s capturing your attention, filling your inbox and cluttering your Facebook/Twitter feed? Tweet us the stories you’re talking about using #InstantIndex or email us at ABC.WorldNews@abc.com and they could appear on World News.
Tonight’s Instant Index:
Itching Can Be Contagious
A new study from Wake Forest University has found that itching, like yawning or laughing, can be contagious. Witnessing someone scratch an itch ignites a part of the brain called the “itch matrix,” which can cause the brain to think an itch exists.
Shena Hardin, 32, spent one hour today standing at an intersection while holding a sign that read: “Only an idiot drives on the sidewalk to avoid a school bus.” On Wednesday, Hardin will do the same thing as part of her punishment for driving on a sidewalk on Sept. 11 in Cleveland. Hardin also paid $250 in court fees and had her license suspended for 30 days.
The first couple will be able to cuddle up on the couch and watch “Downton Abbey” before the rest of America. First lady Michelle Obama is an enormous fan of the show and according to the Sun, her office asked for and received advance copies of Season 3 before it premieres in the U.S. on Jan. 6. The third season of the show has already aired in the U.K.
On Sunday, 25 percent of NFL games had a starting quarterback leave with a concussion, according to The Associated Press. The quarterbacks included Jay Cutler of the Chicago Bears and the San Francisco 49ers’ Alex Smith. Both quarterbacks, however, stayed in the game for multiple plays after the hit that caused the concussion.
Word of the Year
The Oxford American Dictionary selected “gif” as its word of the year. Short for graphics interchange format, gif beat out the acronym “YOLO” — you only live once — to take the top spot. ”Gif celebrated a lexical milestone in 2012, gaining traction as a verb, not just a noun,” Katherine Martin, head of the U.S. dictionaries program at Oxford, told Yahoo. ”The ‘gif’ has evolved from a medium for pop-cultural memes into a tool with serious applications including research and journalism, and its lexical identity is transforming to keep pace.”