|Pat's Picks are the stories we've picked from the Story Stack as our top recommendations for the day.|
Written by Pat Papers | UPDATED: Wednesday, 30 July 2014 8:29 AM
The best headlines, the most interesting photography and conversation-starting articles from today’s newspapers.
The United States, famously, refuses to pay ransoms. But that’s not the case everywhere. The New York Times makes the case in a front page story that European nations essentially bankroll Al Qaeda and its affiliates by caving in to ransom demands. While European governments deny paying ransoms, an investigation by the Times found that Al Qaeda has taken in $125 million in revenue from kidnappings since 2008. In some cases the governments mask the payments as development aid.
Want to reduce your reliance on technology? There’s an app for that. The Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern introduces us to some ways to set up tech-timeouts. She says you can use parental controls to avoid spending too much time on your devices, especially during the summer or while on vacation. She recommends a $2 iOS app called Parental TimeLock or for Android users, Trustlook’s free Screen Time Control. She also recommends disabling notifications and hiding tempting apps.
The Library of Congress has released thousands of pages of handwritten letters sent by President Warren G. Harding to his mistress. The New York Daily News says Harding repeatedly writes about his pal Jerry. The expert opinion is “Jerry” was a code name for his private parts. In one letter he wrote, “I hope Jerry will be welcomed cordially.”
It looks like the end is approaching for Beyoncé and Jay Z. Sources tell the New York Daily News, the power couple is orchestrating the breakup of their marriage. But being the savvy business people that they are, Beyoncé and Jay Z will stay together for the duration of their lucrative On the Run tour, which wraps up in late September.
Do Spanx jeans live up to the hype? The Washington Post’s Robin Givhan says Spanx claims the magic of the jeans is not just in their slim fit, but also in their design. From the wider waistband, to the dark wash, to the faux wrinkles and the pocket placement, Spanx claims their jeans really do make you look slimmer. Givhan was not convinced, ultimately deciding the jeans were just another option in a sea of options.
A recent study found handshakes transferred more than twice as many bacteria as fist bumps. The Cleveland Plain Dealer says that’s adding ammunition to the arguments of doctors who say handshakes should be banned in hospitals. Some doctors’ groups say handshaking in hospitals generates unnecessary risks.
Written by Pat Papers | UPDATED: Thursday, 24 July 2014 8:42 AM
The best headlines, the most interesting photography and conversation-starting articles from today’s newspapers.
The latest execution gone awry, this time in Arizona, has advocates both for and against the death penalty squaring off. In the Arizona Republic, columnist EJ Montini writes about the federal appeals court judge who called for the return of the firing squad. Chief Judge Alex Kozinski was upset over the court’s decision to stay the execution of Arizona killer Joseph Rudolph Wood (a ruling that was overturned by the Supreme Court leading to yesterday’s execution). Judge Kozinski argues that drugs are to be used to help people with medical conditions, while no one can argue with the intended purpose of firearms and ammunition. He says we need to own up to the brutality of executions or not carry them out at all.
Writer Joanna Prisco tests recipes from “Good and Cheap” a new cookbook that claims you can eat well on $4 a day. Prisco had scones for breakfast at $.75 a serving and soup for lunch at $.84 per serving. She broke the bank, however, with a shrimp dish for dinner. While author Leanne Brown estimates it to cost $3 per serving, Prisco actually spent almost $6 per serving on the dish.
When a government official sits down for an interview, he or she will nearly always have a chaperone - from the White House. The Washington Post says nearly every officially sanctioned interview with a “senior administration official” is done with a White House press staffer in the room. The paper says journalists see these monitors as an attempt to shape the news coverage and control the message. The papers have to play along with the system or else risk not getting the interview at all.
Good news for guys who have to wear a suit in the summer. More and more designers are coming out with unlined suits that are suitable for the boardroom. The Wall Street Journal highlights a number of unlined or partially lined suits from high-end labels. The director of menswear at Saks Fifth Avenue says unlined suits were once a “kiss of death” but he now expects 15 to 20% of the suits the store carries for next year to be unlined.
Did you ever get the feeling your dog gets jealous when you pay more attention to someone else? You may be right. A new University of California San Diego study finds dogs are capable of displaying jealous behaviors, suggesting dogs are more emotionally complex than once thought. The San Diego Union-Tribune says the study also supports the theory that jealousy is a primordial emotion, that is not limited to humans.
Written by Pat Papers | UPDATED: Wednesday, 23 July 2014 6:50 AM
The best headlines, the most interesting photography and conversation-starting articles from today’s newspapers.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune says gardening is gaining popularity among guys in their 20s and 30s. But most young guys aren’t growing flowers. They’re growing their own vegetables for grilling and their own hops for home brewing. The gardening industry is taking notice too, because these younger guys tend to be big spenders.
The Wall Street Journal’s Geoffrey Fowler reviews Amazon’s first smartphone, the Fire. He says the phone has plenty of gimmicks, like the ability to operate it by moving your head. But the phone has some basic flaws like poor battery life and an inability to transfer many app purchases from previous phones. Fowler says the root of the problem is Amazon’s oversize ambitions for the phone.
Gone are the days when a cartoon character would run off a cliff and defy gravity (at least for as long as he was able to avoid looking down). These days, animators are looking to create the most realistic elements possible. To achieve that, the Los Angeles Times says, many film studios have turned to high-level physicists, engineers and other scientists who have left careers in aerospace or academia to work in the movie business. They help create algorithms that simulate realistic water, fire, dust and other elements.
Hours after a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit struck down a key part of the Affordable Care Act, a separate panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, based in Richmond, issued a contradictory ruling. The DC court ruled that insurance subsidies that help millions of Americans pay for coverage are illegal in three dozen states that did not set up their own healthcare exchanges. The Washington Post says the rulings could set up another Supreme Court challenge.
Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg boarded an El Al flight to Tel Aviv yesterday to show solidarity with the Israeli people - while urging the FAA and European nations to lift their bans on flights to Israel. Bloomberg says the decision to suspend flights handed a victory to Hamas.
New York Times food writer Kim Severson embarks on a quest to make the perfect pot of rice - a skill that has eluded her throughout her culinary career. The first thing she discovered is that those who cook rice well, don’t necessarily know how to explain it. She offers what she did learn along the way: the kind of rice you buy matters, rinse it well, salt it well and measure precisely. Or as one of her colleagues told her, just use a rice cooker.
Written by Pat Papers | UPDATED: Tuesday, 22 July 2014 8:38 AM
In an Op-Ed in the New York Times, New York Senator Charles Schumer blames the party primary system for the incredible polarization in American politics today. He says the partisan primary system has resulted in the election of more extreme officeholders and has become “a menace to governing.” Not only do primary elections typically only draw voters from the extreme right and left, they also usually forbid independents from voting at all. Schumer says we should adopt California’s “top two” primary system, where everyone votes and the the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, enter a runoff.
In the morning news business, the topic of sleep comes up quite often. The Wall Street Journal says several sleep studies have concluded that seven hours is the optimal amount of sleep, not eight as was long believed. At seven hours, researchers found people achieved their best cognitive performance. Not getting enough sleep impairs memory and performance the next day and getting too much sleep can lead to diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.
Summer is pedicure season - but if you’re not careful - you could wind up with a nasty toenail infection or fungus. The Washington Post has some advice on keeping your toes safe. Make sure your salon is properly sterilizing their equipment, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Many salons will even let you bring your own pedicure kit, which you can sterilize at home in the dishwasher.
The Wall Street Journal says Apple is placing huge orders for larger screen phones, in a bid to meet demand from customers who have sought out bigger screens from companies like Samsung and others. Apple has reportedly asked manufacturers to produce 70 million to 80 million combined units of iPhones with 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays. Apple’s initial order last year for the 4-inch iPhone 5S and 5C was only 50 million to 60 million units.
The Philadelphia Inquirer dives into the future of Atlantic City, which faces the prospect of losing four casinos (and a third of its property tax revenue) in a single year. The Atlantic Club has already closed and Trump Plaza plans to close in September. Revel and Showboat could close shortly if they can’t find buyers by summer’s end. As far as all that empty space goes, one college has proposed turning a casino into a campus, complete with housing. Revel could become luxury condos.
If you want to get the most out of your next run, you may want to consider your playlist. The Denver Post talks with experts who say listening to music can reduce the perception of your exertion level by 10 percent. But the tempo of your playlist can play a key role in determining how much of a boost you get from your music. New apps like RockMyRun can help you choose music based on beats per minute (BPM) to best match your pace.
Written by Pat Papers | UPDATED: Thursday, 17 July 2014 8:02 AM
It’s not easy being a rock cover band these days. The Wall Street Journal says there are too few gigs and too many aging rockers who don’t want to quit the business. That’s why you’ll see some musicians settling for gigs at the local shopping mall or car dealership. But there are some rock cover bands who still make good money, particularly those who are willing to live on cruise ships or play in tribute bands impersonating rock stars.
For about a decade, Dyson has spent hundreds of millions of dollars hoping to create a cordless vacuum that works just as well as the company’s highly acclaimed corded versions. New York Times tech columnist Farhad Manjoo says the DC59 Motorhead is like the iPad of vacuums - much more convenient than a desktop computer, but not powerful enough replace your regular vacuum.
USA Today reports on a new Pew Research Poll that finds only 28% of Americans approve of the way President Obama has handled the influx of children from Central America. That’s one of the lowest approval ratings of any issue since Obama has been president. 53% said the United States should speed up the deportation process, even if it means some children eligible for asylum get sent back.
Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega has been in prison since 1990 for for smuggling drugs, laundering money and murdering political rivals, but now he’s suing Activision, the makers of “Call of Duty: Black Ops II,” for using his likeness in the game without permission. The New York Post says among the claims in Noriega’s lawsuit is that the former strongman has suffered damage to his reputation.
When former professional athletes fall on hard times, they may visit a pawn shop in Kansas City specializing in championship rings and trophies. Central Pawn owner Don Budd tells the Washington Post he’s bought more than 3,000 championship rings since 1988. A major reason athletes come to him is anonymity. He won’t reveal the names of his clients and even buyers must sign legally binding confidentiality agreements.
The battle over what’s appropriate regarding breastfeeding has hit social media. The San Francisco Chronicle talks to several moms who have had breastfeeding photos removed by Instagram. Instagram, for its part, says it only removes content that violates policies, though many of the women the Chronicle spoke to says they don’t believe they broke the site’s rules.
Written by Pat Papers | UPDATED: Wednesday, 16 July 2014 8:41 AM
New research finds teens and young women who post sexy Facebook profile pictures will likely be judged harshly by their female peers. The Oregonian says researchers used two different photos of the same 20-year-old woman and created a mock Facebook profile for her. One photo showed Johnson wearing jeans and a short-sleeve shirt with a scarf draped around her neck. The other photo showed Johnson in a low-cut red dress with a slit up the leg and a garter visible. Those who viewed the non-sexy photo of the woman found her to be more physically and socially attractive and more competent than the subjects who viewed the sexier photo.
It may be time to make the donuts, but where should we do it? The Orange County Register rides along with one Dunkin’ Donuts franchisee looking for an ideal spot in Southern California. Among the factors he considers: It should be accessible by right hand turns on a major route to the freeway, close to residential areas not businesses (since most coffee drinkers stop on their way to work) and far enough from unequal competition (like a competitor with a drive-thru window).
The New York Times offers a summer cooking guide featuring simple ingredients and cooking techniques you can use all season. Your go-to cooking device should be your grill - and you’ll need to learn how to cook using direct and indirect heat. The paper also offers tips on grilling meats, vegetables and fish, plus tips for side dishes (add big flavor there).
One-time rivals Apple & IBM have joined forces to create a host of new business apps. The partnership will take advantage of IBM’s big data capabilities and Apple’s user-friendly devices. The companies are working on more than 100 software programs for Apple’s iOS.
USA Today’s Ed Baig reviews the Blackphone. He calls it the handset for people with something to hide. The phone works by using a custom operating system and a suite of applications that allow you to make calls, exchange text messages and browse the web anonymously. Baig says the phone is not quite ready for the mainstream yet, but it is well-suited for those who need the highest levels of privacy.
Love is definitely not in the air on the air. The San Francisco Chronicle’s David Wiegand says three shows debuting Thursday sum up perfectly the way romance is depicted on television these days. Married, Satisfaction and You’re the Worst all offer “exceptionally bleak views of modern relationships and marriage.” Wiegand says while the shows are all actually pretty good, they reflect the cynicism of the times, not just about romance.
Written by Pat Papers | UPDATED: Tuesday, 15 July 2014 7:18 AM
The idea of the selfie exploded into the public consciousness in the past couple years, but a Hollywood camerman says he invented the concept. Lester Wisbrod has more than 150 photos of himself with celebrities dating back way before cell phones or digital cameras. The Los Angeles Times says Wisbrod took his first celebrity selfie in 1981 with a Canon Sure Shot 35-millimeter compact camera. Being a camerman, Wisbrod was confident in his ability to take the photos himself. He says taking the picture himself seemed to disarm the stars, allowing for a more personal photo.
A company called CareerCast did a survey of the most endangered jobs in America. Top of the list is the mail carrier. That career will face a 28% decline in hiring by 2022. Meter readers and print reporters are not far behind. The publisher of CareerCast tells the Wall Street Journal the common link in many of these jobs is paper. That also explains why lumberjack jobs are on the list.
Practice all you want…you may never get to Carnegie Hall. It mostly depends on how naturally gifted you are. An oft-cited 1993 study found practice accounted for about 80 percent of the difference between elite performers and committed amateurs. But the New York Times says a new analysis of studies into a wide range of skills finds practice time accounts for only 20 to 25 percent of the difference in performance for activities like for music, sports and games like chess.
Israel has endured some 1,000 rocket attacks in the past week - and yet there has not been a single fatality. The country’s Iron Dome antimissile system has been able to successfully intercept about 90 percent of the rockets from Gaza. The Washington Post says the system has allowed Israel to avoid sending in ground troops to Gaza, and it’s led Hamas and its allies to try to find more creative ways to attack Israel. Some critics say Iron Dome has taken the pressure of Israeli leaders to reach a settlement with the Palestinians.
USA Today has results of a survey on the regrets felt by older Americans. Nearly half of adults 60 and over surveyed wished they had saved more money. About one-third regretted not taking better care of their health or not making better investments. The paper says the results offer a look ahead for younger Americans that can help shape their futures.
Before they are sent to America, Mercedes cargo vans are fully assembled in Germany, test-driven, disassembled and loaded onto cargo ships. Once they arrive in the U.S., they are put back together before they are shipped to dealers. The New York Times says Daimler is trying to avoid costly tariffs by doing a token portion of the assembly in America. New trade talks this week
between the U.S. and Europe aim to change some of these restrictions.
Written by Pat Papers | UPDATED: Monday, 14 July 2014 6:34 AM
Germany’s victory over Argentina to capture the World Cup brought about a moment of rare national pride in a country still conflicted about such feelings. The Washington Post says many Germans are cautious to walk the line between patriotism and nationalism. But its World Cup win, the Post says, marks a defining moment in Germany’s relationship with patriotism and identity.
Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig sat down with his hometown Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on the eve of his final All-Star Game as commissioner. He talked about the All-Star game and the state of baseball in general. He says it’s actually a myth that the tie that ended the 2002 All-Star game led to the decision to have the game determine home field advantage for the World Series. He says he’s most proud of baseball’s economic growth in his time as commissioner, from $1.2 billion a year in 1992 to nearly $9 billion this year.
The Wall Street Journal’s Christopher Mims gives out his Twitter password today - to make the point that the password is finally on the way out as our means of protecting our online accounts. Two-factor authentication is the way of the future. It’s already the way we use ATMS, with one factor being your PIN, the other being your debit card. To make this work for online accounts, the second factor would be your smartphone. You get a text message with a secure PIN that you use to login to your account.
The New York Times reports on USA Today’s efforts to transform into a big player in the social media and mobile realms. On “Social Media Tuesdays,” the staff is told to act as though the only way to get to their articles is through sites like Facebook and Reddit. The Times says these efforts have been paying off, with USA Today seeing an average monthly mobile readership of 25.5 million, an increase of about 48 percent in the last year.
Now that he’s retired from the Tonight Show, Jay Leno can focus more attention on his true passion, his massive car collection. The Los Angeles Times takes us inside the hangar that houses the 130 cars and 93 motorcycles in Leno’s collection. The paper says while most collectors stick to a particular make of car or an era, Leno simply buys the ones he likes, leaving him with a rather unique collection.
Written by Pat Papers | UPDATED: Friday, 11 July 2014 7:17 AM
If Germany or Argentina is hoping for a little divine intervention in the World Cup Final - it might be hard to come by. The two countries happen to be the homelands of the two living Popes. But the Vatican says both Popes will refrain from asking for a helping hand for their homelands. The New York Post says neither Pope is expected to watch Sunday’s final - Pope Francis will be in bed, and Pope Benedict isn’t a big sports fan.
With 31 Emmy nominations for its shows, Netflix has clearly found success as a television content provider. After changing the way we watch movies, Netflix has its sights set on changing the way we watch television. But the Washington Post points out, the future is uncertain for Netflix, as its very existence relies on the internet pipes provided by cable companies like Comcast and Verizon.
You might think a hot weather city like Houston or Las Vegas would reign supreme when it comes to Slurpee sales. But 7-Eleven says the biggest market for its slushy beverages is the chilly Canadian province of Manitoba. It’s earned the title of Slurpee Capital every year since 7-Eleven has tracked Slurpee sales in 1999. A spokeswoman for the company explains, Manitobans “have a greater appreciation for everything that’s cold.”
14 years after he walked away from his wildly successful music career, Garth Brooks is back for more. Only the Beatles and Elvis have sold more records in the United States than Brooks. The Tennessean says Brooks admits he’s scared - and old - but he wants to get back to making music. He has plans for a new album to debut around Black Friday and a worldwide tour.
The Indianapolis Star profiles Verna Gillen, the first woman to win the Indiana Truck Driving Championship in the history of the 74-year-old competition. Gillen was raised Amish but broke away from the religion in her 20s. She left a job decorating cakes when she turned 40 and decided to pursue her dream of driving trucks. When asked about her victory over truckers who have been at it much longer than her, she says modestly, “I had a good day.”
Disappointing news from Mississippi as health officials announce a child who was thought to have been cured of H.I.V. through the use of an aggressive treatment regimen is now showing signs of infection. The girl’s apparent cure had raised hopes of being able to reverse infections in newborns and perhaps even adults. The New York Times says this development will likely affect plans for a clinical trial involving as many as 450 babies.
Written by Pat Papers | UPDATED: Thursday, 10 July 2014 8:41 AM
The New York Daily News says J. Crew is getting some backlash for introducing its size 000. The XXXS size is designed for customers with a 23 inch waist. Critics say it’s a case of “vanity-sizing” or intentionally labeling the clothing smaller than it actually is to appeal to customers’ egos. The company says the line was designed to sell in Asia and items are only available online and in J. Crew’s Hong Kong store.
It’s business as usual for many in Tel Aviv, despite the latest onslaught of rockets aimed at the city by Palestinian militants in Gaza. The Washington Post describes the “surreal atmosphere of normalcy” that has persisted in Tel Aviv even as rockets reached farther into Israel than ever before. Part of the sense of calm is due to Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system -which has successfully intercepted all five rockets fired at Tel Aviv.
For some people, selfies and snapshots just won’t do. The New York Times says more and more people are hiring professional photographers to shoot glamorous portraits of them for their Facebook and Twitter profiles. Some spend thousands to get magazine-worthy portraits. Many clients are entrepreneurs looking for a more sophisticated headshot.
For women looking for a little more coverage from their bathing suits, retro-style swimwear is a great choice. The Houston Chronicle says many designers are taking their cues from the old pinup models. The result is swimwear that helps conceal and flatter many body types.
Airlines apologize a lot. So it’s no surprise that many carriers have pretty sophisticated ways of streamlining the apology process. The Wall Street Journal says Southwest uses software that scans complaint letters for keywords so the apology can be tailored to the customer’s personality. Complaints are sorted by their complexity and frequent fliers and big spenders will get priority.
The art from the city-owned collection at the Detroit Institute of Arts is worth as much as $4.6 billion, according to a new audit. But as any viewer of Pawn Stars can tell you, it’s not what the art is worth, it’s how much you can sell it for. The audit says if the art was actually liquidated to help solve Detroit’s bankruptcy crisis, it would likely bring in somewhere between $1.1 billion and $1.8 billion. The Detroit Free Press says the fate of the museum’s collection will be decided in a bankruptcy trial next month.
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Lester Wisbrod says he’s been taking photos of himself with celebrities for decades.
- 7/22 How to Keep Your Toes Safe During a Pedicure
- 7/24 Eating Well for $4 a Day
- 7/17 Dyson’s Bet: You’ll Vacuum More If Your Vacuum is Lighter
- 7/17 Hard Times for Rock Cover Bands
- 7/23 How to Cook the Perfect Pot of Rice
Save the Date
Tickets are available for my food-themed trivia night at Bell House on July 29th.
- Listening to @DOPEITSDOM with my girl Yanna. I can't wait for him to come to Howard !!
3:23 PM Oct 9th from twitterfeed
- O Facebook tá uma confusão de fotos de crianças com desenhos animados no perfil. '-'
3:21 PM Oct 9th from twitterfeed
- CRAVING that cake!!!! Just oh my God... #GBBO #greatbritishbakeoff
3:21 PM Oct 9th from twitterfeed