Category Archives: News - Page 2

Andy Rooney Is Retiring

For 33 years, Andy Rooney has been closing 60 Minutes with his colorful essays, and this Sunday will be his last regular one. He is now 92 and has been working for CBS for 62 years, since 1949. He’s been with 60 Minutes since its debut in 1968. Last year, CBS summed up his career in video narrated by his colleague, Morley Safer:

 

Rioters Don’t Want Books, Say Book Sellers

The disaffected youth in England has been rioting, mostly for the fun of it, for a few days now. They’ve been looting and destroying a lot of “shoppes”, but bookstore owners aren’t scared. Why? Because no one wants books, least of all rioting youth. Which makes a lot of sense, because even if your anger did come with a thirst for knowledge, you have two choices:

  • Carry the heavy paperbacks like an oaf out of an old-fashioned bookstore, or
  • Steal an iPad and a Kindle from Best Buy, then fence the Kindle and use the proceeds to buy an iBookstore gift card

So in stiff-upper-lip British fashion, the bookstores have proudly stayed open during the riots, all the while probably pondering the future in selling stuff that people don’t even want to steal, much less buy.

 

Via NPR

Trebek’s Achilles’ Tendon Is In Jeopardy

It appears that Tuesday night at 2:30 am, a 56-year old woman broke into Alex Trebek’s hotel room and stole a bunch of his stuff. Trebek, who apparently sleeps in the nude, was awoken by the noise, put on underwear, and like any other 71-year old game show host, went to get his stuff back. In the meantime, the burglaress hid his stuff and when Trebek confronted her, she denied every having been in his room. But when he threatened to call security she started running, so he gave chase for a few yards until his right Achilles’ tendon ruptured. Security later caught the woman and even found most of his stuff, stuffed behind an ice machine. His cash was gone though, as was the only piece of jewelry he wears: a bracelet his mom gave him.

Lucinda Moyers, the alleged burglar

 

This of course prompted a lot of Jeopardy!-style jokes such as:

  • “We’ll take ‘Crime-Fighting Super Heroes’ for $200, Alex. (Time Magazine)
  • “If you think that was tough, you should see what Mr. Trebek does to the contestants who don’t phrase their responses in the form of a question.” (New York Times)
  • “A: Alex Trebek. Q: Who is a badass?” (The Daily What)
  • “LA to file charges against DJ party that turned violent. City had to deploy extra cops – but mostly because Alex Trebek wasn’t available.” (Towle Tompkins)
  • “I knew, one day, my ‘Dont F**k with Trebek’ t-shirt would have meaning beyond irony” (Avrielle)
  • “Alex Trebek tear achilles tryin’ to foil a crime….. ‘What is to old to be trying to be Batman'” (Steve Wilson)

Trebek and his crutches at the National Geographic World Championship

 

He was staying at the Marriott Maquis Hotel in San Francisco, because the next morning he was supposed to go to nearby Google headquarters to host the National Geographic World Championship — which he actually ended up doing despite of his injuries. In true Jeopardy! form, he explained what happened:

The answer is, at 2:30 yesterday morning, chasing a burglar down the hall at my San Francisco hotel until my Achilles tendon ruptured and I fell in an ignominious heap to the carpeting.

Then he went into more detail:

I woke up and saw a figure in our hotel bedroom and I thought I was dreaming. A moment later, I got up and saw that the door was being held open by a wad of tissue. I opened the door and saw a woman walking away, and I realized immediately that someone had been in the room.

He went after her, confronted her, and after she denied everything:

As I reached for the phone to call security, she bolted. She ran down the hall. I chased her. And I didn’t get more than 25 feet before my right Achilles tendon ruptured and I crashed to the ground.

And here’s an AP news video on the whole event:

Via AP, The New York Times, Washington Post, Fox News and The Daily Mail

Canadians Will Prevent Fights With Lollipops

According to The Globe And Mail, the city of Victoria (it’s the capital of British Columbia, on Vancouver Island) is going to try to prevent drunken bar brawls by handing out lollipops to assholes. The idea is supposedly an import from Great Britain, where they come up with all those good ideas we steal, like The Office. Lollipops exhibit this magical ability of pacifying assholes because they’re basically giant pacifiers; also, it’s hard to yell at innocent bystanders or your fellow douche from the Jersey Shore if you’re sucking a lollipop. Not that anyone would take your threats to bash their skull in seriously, since you’re holding a lollipop: it essentially turns you into a 9-year old girl without a pink bicycle.

Photo by Flóra Soós

 

The city also said some mumbo jumbo about sugar calming drunk people down, which makes total sense because if large amounts of a powerful depressant (in the form of alcohol) didn’t calm them down, then surely an upper like sugar will do the job. That’s why moms always give kids lots and lots of sugar when they need to calm down.

No word on what they will call this elite force of lollipop servers, but one would hope it would be The Lollipop Guild.

The Lollipop Guild

 

From The Globe And Mail, via Neatorama

A New Country Is Born

This doesn’t happen every day, but after decades of fighting and a referendum in January where 98% of the southern Sudanese voted for independence, South Sudan is finally becoming it’s own country tomorrow, July 9th, 2011. It will be the 193rd country recognized by the UN. The last one was Montenegro in 2006, which used to be part of Yugoslavia.

Map of Sudan. The part in pink is going to become South Sudan.

 

The new country will be one of the most environmentally-friendly on earth because fighting since the mid-80s has killed over 2.5 million people (the population of Nevada) and left the region extremely poor and undeveloped.

Via The Washington Post

The 2011 Corporate Popularity Contest

The American Costumer Satisfaction Index scores pretty much every big consumer-oriented corporation (about 200 of them) on a scale of 1-100, based on how satisfied their customers are with them. They update a couple of different sectors of industry every month such that the whole picture is completely re-drawn once a year. The entire list is available on their website, both by industry and by company. And here are the highlights:

The top 5 industries:

  1. Consumer Electronics (TVs and stuff)
  2. Express Delivery – Consumer Shipping (UPS, FedEx)
  3. Soft Drinks
  4. Apparel
  5. Personal Care & Cleaning Products (soaps, lotions, etc)

The bottom 5 industries (starting with the very bottom):

  1. Newspapers
  2. Airlines
  3. Subscription TV Service (i.e., cable)
  4. Gasoline Stations
  5. Internet Social Media (i.e., Facebook)

Interesting to note is that in the past year cigarettes, hospitals, restaurants and cable news improved the most. Credit unions, internet portals & search engines and gas stations degraded the most.

The top 10 companies:

  1. Lincoln Mercury (a Ford brand)
  2. H.J. Heinz (the ketchup company)
  3. Buick (a GM brand)
  4. Unilever (they own Dove, Ben & Jerry’s, Slim Fast, Q-tips, Noxzema and about a hundred other brands)
  5. Amazon
  6. Netflix
  7. Hershey
  8. Quaker (owned by Pepsi; besides the Quaker Oats brands Quaker owns Gatorade, Life cereal, Aunt Jemima syrups, Rice-a-roni and Pasta-roni and a bunch of others)
  9. Mercedes-Benz
  10. Clorox (they own Brita, Burt’s Bees, Liquid Plumr, Pine-Sol, Tilex, a bunch of salad dressings, and other stuff)

Honorable mentions: BMW, Apple, Cadillac, UPS, FedEx, Lexus, Toyota, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, GM, Publix, Olive Garden and Red Lobster.

The bottom 10 companies (starting with the very bottom):

  1. Pepco Holdings (owns a bunch of utilities in the mid-Atlantic: Pepco, ACE, Delmarva Power, Connectiv)
  2. Delta Airlines
  3. Charter Communications (4th largest cable company)
  4. Time Warner Cable (2nd largest cable company)
  5. Comcast (largest cable company)
  6. United Airlines
  7. US Airways
  8. MySpace
  9. American Airlines
  10. Facebook

Dishonorable mentions: Cox Cable, United Health, Continental Airlines, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, DirecTV, Aetna, CitiGroup, and AT&T Mobility.

So if you want a good social network, you’re out of luck. But if you want a good airline, Southwest is heads and shoulders above the other major airlines; it’s ranking is the same neighborhood as the well-liked Outback Steakhouse, Nike and FedEx. As far as cable, Verizon FIOS is ranked first in that industry by a pretty good measure, but still in questionable company: McDonald’s, Sprint, T-Mobile. And finally, here’s the averaged national score over all industries since 1994:

From The American Customer Satisfaction Index

Woman Wakes Up At Her Own Funeral, Then Dies Of Shock

The Daily Mail has one of those stories that is sure to become urban legend in a few years, and really brings home the real reason people hold wakes for the dead. So a 49-year old woman in Kazan, Russia died of a heart attack, or at least that’s the doctors said. But apparently Russian doctors are of the same quality as Russian… well, anything, because she woke up during her funeral, saw people praying for her soul, freaked out, had another heart attack and died for real 12 minutes later.

Or maybe, just maybe, the Russian doctors were actually mad scientists who injected her with a preliminary version of their zombie drug, and it only worked for 12 minutes — this time. It would kind of make sense for the zombie apocalypse to start in Russia though, wouldn’t it?

From The Daily Mail

The Couple Making Out During The Vancouver Riot Has Been Identified

An Internet manhunt (or couplehunt) has been going on for two whole days now. It’s purpose: to find the couple kissing on the ground in the middle of Wednesday’s hockey riots in Vancouver. Speaking of which, thank you Boston Bruins for finally sussing out what makes Canadians angry. So after being hard at work for 48 grueling hours, the Internet bees now have an answer to this, the most pressing of questions: it’s some guy you’ve never heard of and his girlfriend.

More irrelevant details? Sure! The guy is an Australian bartender working in Canada for a few more days until his visa expires; his next stop, like all Canadian celebrities, is the US. His girlfriend is Canadian, and therefore presumably nuts about hockey, ergo she dragged him to the hockey game. Afterward, they found themselves caught in what was a riot undoubtedly fueled by Labatt Blue and maple syrup, and while they were innocently minding their own business in front of the riot police — maybe trying to ask them where the closest Tim Horton’s was — the girlfriend got knocked over by a misplaced police shield. The chivalrous Australian rushed to her aid, and just as the photographer snapped the now infamous photo, gave her a quick peck without realizing it would make them this week’s Internet obsession.

And just how did the Internet find him? Well, it actually found his sister, who recognized him and immediately told the news media. The father confirmed the story via Skype.

Now if only people put as much effort into finding a cure for cancer.

From CBC, via NPR

Florida Gators Are Smart And Romantic

Assuming buying a lot of books in general means you’re well-read and smart, and buying romantic books, movies, music and — ahem — paraphernalia means you’re romantic, then Gainesville, the venerable home of the University of Florida (go Gators!) has a lot of smart and romantic people. Amazon has access to a lot of data on what people buy, and last year they released a list of the top 20 most romantic cities, on which Gainesville was sixth. This year, they released a list of the top 20 most well-read cities, on which Gainesville was eighth.

The lists, however, contained all but two of the same cities in somewhat different orders… so maybe these 20 cities just buy a lot of stuff from Amazon? The CS Monitor notes that many of the cities on these lists are home to major universities, and maybe they’re actually measuring how affluent or educated their population is. Whatever underlying trait is responsible for these lists though, it seems to be a good thing.

Ranking Most Romantic Cities Most Well-Read Cities
1 Alexandria, VA Cambridge, MA
2 Miami, FL Alexandria, VA
3 Cambridge, MA Berkley, CA
4 Ann Arbor, MI Ann Arbor, MI
5 Berkley, CA Boulder, CO
6 Gainesville, FL Miami, FL
7 Arlington, VA Salt Lake City, UT
8 Salt Lake City, UT Gainesville, FL
9 Pittsburgh, PA Seattle, WA
10 Orlando, FL Arlington, VA
11 Washington, DC Knoxville, TN
12 Bellevue, WA Orlando, FL
13 Seattle, WA Pittsburgh, PA
14 Richmond, VA Washington, DC
15 Cincinnati, OH Bellevue, WA
16 Knoxville, TN Columbia, SC
17 Columbia, MO St. Louis, MO
18 Tallahassee, FL Cincinnati, OH
19 Columbia, SC Portland, OR
20 Atlanta, GA Atlanta, GA

Via The Christian Science Monitor

Best Beach In America For 2011: Siesta Key Beach

Dr. Beach (unfortunately not his actual name, but he is an actual doctor in coastal sciences) released the 2011 beach rankings, and Siesta Beach is the winner. The beaches are ranked according to how they score on 50 criteria, most of which are surprisingly relevant to what makes a good beach: sand softness, air & water temperature, presence of sewage, amenities, noise, how crowded it is, etc. Siesta’s usually ranked in the top three, but in the 21 years of the rankings, this is the first time it got the gold.

Siesta Key Beach

 

Last year’s winner was Cooper Beach in the fancy Hamptons on Long Island, though for some reason it didn’t even make the top ten this year. Coronada Beach in San Diego and Kahanamoku Beach in Hawaii got second and third, respectively.

From Dr. Beach