If you're unhappy with Facebook's changes, don't despair. (Or do, but do it quietly, then take action, then share!) Help is usually a search-engine word or two away.
If you're not browsing in Firefox or Chrome, remedy that right away. Chrome users can install Ad Block Plus, so you won't have to see any more ads in your sidebar. And—wait for it—install The Ticker Hider. (Thanks, Dawn.)
Here are the versions for Firefox: Hide Ticker; Ad Block Plus.
It's also helpful to remember that search engines are pretty sophisticated. If you are looking for the name of the plastic thing on the end of a shoelace, you can simply type in: name of the plastic thing on the end of a shoelace. Ask, and ye shall be answered.