Don’t want to seem like an uninformed loser at the bars this weekend? Talk about the disturbing teen trend known as the “thigh gap” (pictured). Trust us. You’ll come off as informative and insightful, and hotties love humorous, topical tidbits. Here’s a current events cheat sheet to spark bar conversation.

– The MBTA has released new, accurate, and user-friendly system maps, which will be a pleasure to read from the comfort of a stranger’s armpit on the Green Line or as you wait 90 minutes for three buses to travel caravan-style up Massachusetts Avenue.

– In June, the organization that has produced the city’s “First Night” New Year’s festivities for the past 37 years announced that it would close due to financial troubles. But never fear! The Highland Street Foundation has stepped in to save the annual excuse to drunkenly gawk at ice sculptures and fireworks. So shout, “Hap-py New Year!” at the bar tonight and see how many people join in before you’re kicked out.

– Since losing his Senate seat to Elizabeth Warren last year, Scott Brown has taken to the road, possibly in his trusty pickup truck and barn jacket. The former Massachusetts senator’s GOP fundraising tour of New England has spurred rumors he might run for Senate in New Hampshire, where he has a vacation home. Discuss potential campaign slogans (“Live Free and Try Hard?”) and whether Massachusetts could annex New Hampshire if we wanted to (we don’t).

– People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (or “PETA,” as carnivores call them while rolling their eyes and stuffing more uncooked beef into their mouths) have been targeting a lobster slaughterhouse in Maine. Protesters claim that Linda Bean’s Maine Lobster rips live crustaceans apart so they “writhe in agony.” Advocate we go back to boiling lobsters alive the good old-fashioned way.

– The federal government is still shut down, halting countless public programs ranging from vital to kind of silly, and raising the timeless philosophical question: If a bear shits in the woods and there’s no park ranger there to see it, does John Boehner sleep better?

– Another thing the government’s shut down: “Silk Road,” an Internet one-stop shop for contraband, selling everything from heroin to firearms to hacker services. The kingpin behind the online marketplace? A 29-year-old physics student from the Bay Area who went by the handle “Dread Pirate Roberts.” Introduce yourself at the bar with your own pirate/criminal moniker. Some suggestions: The Mildly Daunting Buckaneer Harold, Salty Sandra, Arrr!thur.

– Parents are wringing their hands over the newest idiotic teen girl obsession: The “thigh gap,” an alien-looking vacancy of body fat on one’s legs that can make a normal human woman look like a sad racehorse. Talk loudly about how depressing this is. Ladies will take notice.

– Former rivals Felix Arroyo and John Barros have endorsed State Rep. Martin Walsh in his Boston mayoral bid, presumably because “Mayor Marty” is really fun to say with a Boston accent.

– Boston bus drivers went on a one-day strike Tuesday, leaving 30,000 Boston Public School students without a ride. The next day, drivers dropped children off at school an hour early, in order to rush to a meeting with their contractor, Veolia Transportation Inc. Bar discussion question: Which job makes you a better negotiator, bus driver or congressional leader? One group deals with petulant children all day, but the bus drivers are unionized.

– Somerville’s Honk! Festival is back this weekend, and with it, a legion of experimental brass bands. Potential pick-up line this weekend: Is that a trombone made of repurposed garden tools in your lap or are you just happy to see me?

[Photo credit: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images]