|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: Tuesday, 3 June 2014 8:37 AM
The best headlines, the most interesting photography and conversation-starting articles from today’s newspapers.
The Detroit Free Press says GM’s massive recall crisis has shed light on a major problem with recalls; they often fall short of their main goal of fixing vehicles quickly. Carfax says there are 36 million cars on the road with an unfixed recall. One issue is the word recall itself, since not all recalls are equally important. Some are easy software fixes while others are major safety issues.
The Washington Post’s Hank Stuever uses the occasion of Ann B. Davis’ death to brilliantly make a case that the Brady Bunch was a connector of a generation. He says the show, and in particular Alice the housekeeper, was a blessing for latchkey kids like him. Alice was always there to fill the needs that Florence Henderson, and maybe even our own mothers at times, could not.
Is your workday less hectic than your home life? According to the Wall Street Journal, Penn State researchers found people have significantly lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol at work than they do at home. Researchers say it may be time to make our homes more like our offices.
As we put more and more emphasis on computers, handwriting has been falling by the wayside. Educators say it doesn’t matter much anymore. But in today’s Science section of The New York Times, Maria Konnikova argues there are strong links between handwriting and educational development. Children who learn to write by hand learn to read more quickly and are better able to generate ideas and retain information.
Panera Bread is about to announce plans to get rid of all artificial additives in the food it sells by the end of 2016. USA Today says that means no artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners or preservatives. The company’s CEO tells the paper millennials are a driving force behind the change, as they’re particularly sensitive about added ingredients.
The Denver Post says tennis is booming among kids in Colorado, thanks to some kid-friendly changes. Smaller courts, smaller rackets and less-bouncy balls have enabled kids to hold longer rallies. The paper says these changes are also gaining popularity among elderly players who aren’t able to move around the court as well as they once did.
Written by Pat Papers | UPDATED: Monday, 2 June 2014 8:39 AM
The best headlines, the most interesting photography and conversation-starting articles from today’s newspapers.
Despite the fact that the Android platform dwarfs the iPhone in terms of market share, developers of new apps still choose to launch them on iOS first. USA Today says even though Android phones have an 80.2% market share, iOS users spend more time using apps and are more likely to go for in-app purchases. Another advantage is that iOS apps only need to be developed for one screen size, versus a multitude of sizes for Android phones.
The release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl by the Taliban in a swap for five Guantanamo prisoners is the subject of a front page story and an editorial in the Wall Street Journal. The Journal weighs in on the propriety of such deals - saying this isn’t the same as prisoner swaps in previous battles that have come along with a peace deal. The Journal says in this case, “the Taliban can continue the war with their ranks enhanced.”
Lewis Katz is remembered in The Philadelphia Inquirer, the paper he won control of just four days before his death in a plane crash over the weekend. The paper says Katz was someone who showed up not just with a check, but with a passion for the causes he became involved in and the ability to add intellectual value and business acumen.
For K-9 officers working in the Arizona heat, it can be tough to know when their dogs are in danger of overheating. Officers say the dogs are so driven, that while they’re working, they don’t want to stop. The Arizona Republic says K-9 officers in the Arizona Department of Public Safety are now testing an app that tracks their dog’s temperature via a microchip implanted in the dog’s skin.
With six dead in the latest accident there, the Los Angeles Times writes of the dangerous allure of Washington’s Mt. Rainier. One expert climber says only half of the people who try to scale Mt. Rainier in any given year actually make it. One climber said he can’t explain the draw to the glacier-covered volcano.
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune offers a water safety quiz that dispels some common myths about drowning. You may be surprised to learn that two thirds of those who drown never had any intention of going into the water. Another myth concerns thrashing about in the water. In reality, once someone is actively drowning, they can’t call out for help or wave their arms as all their energy is devoted to trying to breathe and stay above the water.
Written by Pat Papers | UPDATED: Friday, 30 May 2014 7:17 AM
The best headlines, the most interesting photography and conversation-starting articles from today’s newspapers.
With word coming that former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer has agreed to buy the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion, USA Today’s Nancy Armour says Ballmer is overpaying for the team. The current record for an NBA franchise was set just a few weeks ago, when the Milwaukee Bucks were sold for $550 million. Armour says the Clippers’ economics don’t justify that price - especially since as tenants at the Staples Center, they don’t get any non-basketball revenue.
Richard Martinez has become the new face of the gun control movement in the wake of his son’s death at the hands of a gunman in Isla Vista, California. Arizona Republic reporter Megan Finnerty says he won’t do any good. She says the anguish of grieving fathers is no longer enough to move the needle on the gun control debate. Instead, advocates are turning their focus to economic pressure tactics and on changing gun laws at the local level.
Sting operations widely used by authorities are coming under new scrutiny after two federal judges ruled them unconstitutional. The operations, used by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, offer big paydays to suspects by encouraging them to rob an imaginary drug stash house. USA Today says one judge threw out the charges against three suspects even after they had pleaded guilty. Judges are said to be growing frustrated over a lack of information on how these people are being targeted in the first place.
It looks like a yellow submarine, but Greg Cantori’s preferred mode of transportation is actually a velomobile, a pedal-powered vehicle similar to a bicycle. The Baltimore Sun says Cantori pedals the entire 24 miles to his work each day. The aerodynamic shape of the velomobile makes it much faster than a bicycle. He was clocked at 50 miles per hour by one of the police officers who has pulled him over in recent months to ask, “what is that thing?” VIDEO
Harvard used to be the school against which all others were measured. Now Stanford has taken that title, riding a wave of interest in technology. The New York Times says Stanford is now America’s “it” school, taking top honors in categories once dominated by Harvard.
Written by Pat Papers | UPDATED: Thursday, 29 May 2014 8:43 AM
The Washington Post has an interesting piece on what happens to NFL lineman once they’re out of football, specifically about how they manage their weight. Many struggle because they no longer have coaches and nutritionists keeping tabs on them, and eating as they did when they were playing can be lead to huge weight gains.
Poet and professor of African-American studies at Yale, Elizabeth Alexander, pens a tribute to Maya Angelou for the New York Times. She says Angelou believed singing one’s song should be as natural as breathing. Alexander says Angelou’s mastery of words was apparent not only in her poetry, but in her everyday prose.
USA Today is out with a list of 30 hot books arriving this summer. From works of fiction by Stephen King to biographies of Sally Ride and Michael Jackson, there’s something for everyone.
Two New York hospitals have opened clinics devoted specifically to men - in the hopes of encouraging more men to seek health services. The New York Times says studies show most men “avoid doctors for anything short of a bullet wound.” The clinics offer one-stop shopping for everything from heart monitoring to hair removal.
The next time your flight is delayed or you miss a connection, you might be able to cash in. The Wall Street Journal says Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. has launched a new travel insurance product called AirCare. It costs $25 and pays out $50 if your flight is two hours late, $500 if your baggage is lost, $500 for a missed connection and $1000 for a two-hour tarmac delay.
Scout Willis has launched an offensive against Instagram’s nudity policy. The Daily News says the 22-year-old daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore tweeted topless photos of herself strolling around Manhattan. She captioned one “What @Instagram won’t let you see #FreeTheNipple.” Her protest came after Instagram removed one of her photos for violating its community guidelines.
Written by Pat Papers | UPDATED: Wednesday, 28 May 2014 6:48 AM
A task force says it would take 5 years and $2 billion to clean up Detroit’s 40,000+ blighted properties. The Detroit Free Press says about $850 million would go just toward clearing abandoned houses and retail strips, with the rest dedicated to razing large factories and commercial spaces. Officials say removing blight is the obvious first step to revitalizing Detroit.
As Google and others have worked on driverless cars, the prototypes have always been designed to allow a driver to take over in case of an emergency. But the New York Times says Google engineers realized someone in a driverless car would be too distracted to take the wheel if necessary. Now Google is producing 100 self-driving cars with no steering wheel, and no brakes, only a panic button for emergency stops.
Like it or not, sex and drugs are big business. Now in Italy, all that illegal activity will be counted as part of the country’s gross domestic product. USA Today says everything from prostitution to arms trafficking will be added to Italy’s GDP, which is the measurement of the overall economy. Economists predict it could add 1.3 percentage points to the GDP.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune examines the superfood credentials of coconut, which is hailed by some as a miracle food good for everything from bad breath to Alzheimer’s. Experts say there’s little proof to claims coconut boosts immunity or helps combat Alzheimer’s, but it could be useful for other applications.
Which city is the fittest? According to USA Today, it’s Washington D.C.. The nation’s capital beat out Minneapolis/St. Paul for the title. Portland, Denver and San Francisco round out the top five. The American College of Sports Medicine ranked metro areas in 31 indicators covering four categories: chronic health problems, health behaviors, physical or built environments, and recreational facilities.
Last month, James “The Beast” Nielsen ran a sub 5:00 “beer mile” breaking the record for the underground phenomenon where competitors chug a beer before each lap of a one-mile run. His 4:57 run has been viewed on YouTube more than a million times. But the Wall Street Journal says critics are questioning whether he had any unfair advantages. The matter should be settled during the first-ever Beer Mile World Championships this year. VIDEO
Written by Pat Papers | UPDATED: Tuesday, 27 May 2014 8:51 AM
There are mutants among us. In fact, you’re one of them. The Oklahoman looks into the science behind genetic mutations, in light of the new X-Men movie. Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation scientist Chris Sansam, Ph.D, explains that mutations are any permanent changes in your DNA. He says the average person has 74 genetic mutations in their DNA.
We’ve come a long way from eye glasses. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel details some of the technology being used to fight vision loss. That includes the CentraSight, a tiny telescope implanted into the eyeball that can help patients with age-related macular degeneration.
The Detroit News says after a decade-long decline in sales, the minivan is poised for a comeback. Just don’t call it a minivan. Today’s entries into the market are more diverse than the minivans of a few years ago. And automakers are using different names for them, including “people movers,” “multi-purpose vehicles” and “family haulers.”
USA Today profiles Jessica Matthews, a 26-year-old entrepreneur and inventor who is focused on creating toys that can produce electricity in Third World countries. Her soccer ball, called the Soccket, can produce 3 hours of lamp light after just 30 minutes of soccer playing. And her jump rope, the Pulse, gives six hours of light after 15 minutes of use.
The newest addition to your bathroom might be a Japanese import. The Wall Street Journal says smart toilets, which are found in three-quarters of Japanese homes, are coming to the U.S.. Toilets with integrated bidets, bluetooth connectivity and automatic flushing will be introduced into the lineup of American Standard brands, which was acquired by Japanese company Lixil last year.
A popular theory that winning the lottery won’t make you any happier is being debunked. The New York Times says new research indicates that most lottery winners do end up significantly happier than their non-winning counterparts. Experts say remaining anonymous is the best way to stay happy after a big lottery win - as jackpots tend to bring out all kinds of people you don’t want to be associated with.
Written by Pat Papers | UPDATED: Thursday, 22 May 2014 7:16 AM
Why do we still use passwords? It’s a question the Wall Street Journal asks. Despite multiple major data thefts, passwords endure. The idea of using a computer password is actually 50 years old. Yet methods to replace the password, such as iris scanners and USB keys haven’t caught on.
There’s Dorothy, the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Man and the Scarecrow all on stage. It’s a production of the Wizard of Oz. Except these performers don’t get to go home when the show’s over. The Cincinnati Enquirer details the efforts behind putting this production together at the Ross Correctional Institution. One issue they ran into was the palace guard uniforms looked too much like real prison guard uniforms, so they had to be changed. The production was funded entirely from commissary sales and vending machines in the visiting area.
How often should you wash your jeans? The CEO of Levis says, never. Chip Bergh says all you need is to spot clean with a sponge or a toothbrush. Bergh says it’s not just about preserving the look of your jeans, but about being good to the environment. The Daily News says Tommy Hilfiger told the paper he never washes his vintage jeans, but he puts his other jeans in the wash regularly.
Racist? Sexist? Just silly? An Indiana Pacers fan is generating a lot of controversy for signs he made depicting the Miami Heat’s LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in pink bras and James with a pink bow attached to his headband. The Indianapolis Star says the creator of the signs, 24-year-old Matt Worton says they’re not meant to be racist or sexist. But critics argue that saying someone plays like a girl is unacceptable.
A new rule being proposed by the federal Department of Transportation would require airlines to do a better job of disclosing fees for checked bags, carry on items and advanced seat assignments. Airline lobbying groups say the rule is unnecessary and unfair since rental car and hotel industries are not similarly regulated.
Technology is taking over the crib. And that’s a good thing or a bad thing depending on who you ask. While pediatricians and others have debated how much television children should be exposed to, new devices like a onesie with built in sensors to monitor the baby, are opening up debate over how much is too much technology.
Written by Pat Papers | UPDATED: Wednesday, 21 May 2014 8:25 AM
New York Times wine expert Eric Asimov gives us his 20 great summer wine choices for $20. Asmiov says drinking wine in the summer is more often about feeling relaxed and refreshed. He says his list “offers not just aha moments, but ahhh moments as well.”
The Detroit Free Press wonders if General Motors is going overboard with recalls in the wake of its massive ignition switch recall controversy. The automaker has issued 29 recalls so far this year - covering more than 15 million vehicles worldwide. The paper points out other automakers have been recalling cars at a greater rate than usual.
Has the Tea Party finally been tamed? The Wall Street Journal says Republican party officials see yesterday’s solid primary results by traditional Republicans over antiestablishment candidates as evidence the GOP is regaining its power over the Tea Party. But the paper says that doesn’t mean we should expect any shift to the center by the GOP.
The New York Post has the story of a man who stole a bread truck - and instead of trying to make a getaway - the man dutifully made all the scheduled bread deliveries. In his underwear. The truck thief was eventually caught and taken for a psychiatric evaluation.
Those login with Facebook or Google+ options seem to be falling out of favor with both users and businesses. The Wall Street Journal says users fear companies will broadcast their choices on their social networks, while businesses are torn about letting Google or Facebook see their customers’ data.
USA Today’s Ed Baig gives a positive review to Microsoft’s new Surface Pro 3 tablet. He says the company may have pulled off its goal of producing a tablet that would be a viable alternative to a laptop. The device has a 12.1 inch display and has enough computing power to run third-party applications like Photoshop.
A San Diego man is gearing up to auction off his prized comic book collection. The San Diego Union-Tribune says John C. Wise hopes to make enough money to be able to fund his grandchildren’s educations and buy a bigger home. He’s got the comics that launched Batman, Superman, the Flash and many other comic legends. Experts say Wise’s collection could net more than $1 million.
Written by Pat Papers | UPDATED: Tuesday, 20 May 2014 8:40 AM
Investigators say a bomb threat that caused a major disruption at the Quinnipiac University graduation ceremony was made by a dropout from the school. 22-year-old Danielle Shea spent the whole year convincing her mom she was still enrolled so she could continue collecting tuition money. She told police she was embarrassed about being exposed in front of her family.
I bet these guys don’t often forget where they put their keys. The New York Times describes the competition at the Extreme Memory Tournament - which pits 16 “memory athletes” against each other in a series of challenges. Researchers were there too - trying to figure out what sets these memory athletes apart. The biggest difference isn’t memory related at all but rather their ability to pay attention.
With no body language to decipher, it can be difficult to figure out when someone is lying to you online or in an email or text message. The Wall Street Journal suggests using a modified version of a law enforcement technique called statement analysis. Pay attention to a person’s use of emphatic language. Also watch out for unanswered questions and noncommittal statements.
If there was any doubt that Donald Sterling would fight the NBA in court, the LA Times puts that to rest. The paper says the lawsuit has been the weapon of choice for Sterling and his wife whenever they have any disputes. They’ve sued over small claims of just a few thousand dollars to appellate matters worth millions, targeting former players, coaches, neighbors, employees, even a former mistress.
The Washington Post weighs in on the controversy surrounding the gift shop at the new September 11th Memorial Museum. The Post says it’s not the first monument to a tragedy to have a gift shop, pointing out there are gift shops at Pearl Harbor, Arlington National Cemetery and the Holocaust Museum. One man who owns a 9/11 memorabilia store near the World Trade Center says it’s not easy choosing items that will appeal to everyone’s sensitivity.
San Francisco is moving to shut down the world famous Lombard Street to cars on summer weekends in an effort to ease congestion and give residents a break. The San Francisco Chronicle says the curvy Lombard Street and an adjacent block where vehicles line up would only be open to residents on selected weekends. Residents say tourists create a traffic jam that spoils an otherwise enjoyable neighborhood.
Written by Pat Papers | UPDATED: Monday, 19 May 2014 8:30 AM
Could California Chrome’s chance at the Triple Crown be undone by the horse’s nasal strips? The New York Daily News says the nasal strips the horse wears are banned in New York State. California Chrome’s handlers have appealed to Belmont Park’s stewards for an exception to allow the colt to wear the strips at the Belmont Stakes June 7th.
More and more restaurants are doing away with the complimentary breadbasket. The Boston Globe says bread has fallen victim to two forces: the economy and the anti-wheat movement. One research firm says in 2005, 18.5 percent of dinners included bread. In 2013, just 14.3 percent did. Some chefs have replaced bread with other appetizers while others charge a small fee for artisanal breads.
AT&T has agreed to buy DirecTV for $49 billion, a deal that would make AT&T a major player in pay television. The Wall Street Journal says companies are teaming up to deal with the changing media landscape. The AT&T/DirecTV deal would create a company with 26 million subscribers, second only to Comcast/Time Warner which would have 30 million if regulators approve that deal.
The New York Times says with only two years until the games, the waterway slated for sailing and windsurfing events at the summer Olympics in Rio remains incredibly polluted. One biologist called it a “latrine” while a sailor said he’d seen bodies in the water. The Times says well-financed efforts to clean up the bay have been hampered by mismanagement and allegations of corruption.
A new study by University of San Diego finds vapor from electronic cigarettes makes the antibiotic-resistant “superbug” MRSA harder to kill. It also reduces the immune system’s ability to fight infection. The San Diego Union-Tribune says if the research is confirmed, it indicates a major potential health hazard for e-cigarettes.
Animal activists in Minnesota are up to their elbows in old fur coats. The Minneapolis Star Tribune says volunteers recycle old fur coats into nesting materials for distressed animals recovering in wildlife sanctuaries. Volunteers say it’s a way to make something positive out of what they see as a tragedy.
The Seattle Times says beginner-friendly programming languages are helping more and more kids get into computer coding. Kids can create their own games, animation and art. The paper says learning to code isn’t just a valuable job skill, but also a way to help kids think, create and express themselves.
Tickets are on sale now for my final trivia event of the year at Bell House.
My thanks to the Village Voice for honoring me as New York’s “Best TV News Anchor”
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From the Pat's Papers Archive: Today in HistoryOctober 31, 2013
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