|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: Friday, 11 October 2013 8:30 AM
The best headlines, the most interesting photography and conversation-starting articles from today’s newspapers.
The New York Daily News says the U.S. Postal Service has “idiotically buckled” and shredded a run of “Just Move” stamps inspired by First Lady Michelle Obama’s campaign to get kids to exercise. The reason? They depict “dangerous activities.” You know, like skateboarding without kneepads, doing a cannonball, and doing a headstand - without a helmet!
The Wall Street Journal says federal officials are considering a change in how the government releases sensitive economic data. There is growing concern about leaks that allow high speed trading firms to trade on market-moving numbers before other traders get the data. One idea is to publish economic data directly on the internet.
After years of steep tuition increases, some colleges are taking a different approach; cutting tuition and reducing financial aid packages. The idea is to attract enough students with the lower tuition to make up for the price cut. The Wall Street Journal says some schools keep their prices high to increase their perceived value.
With several movies based on real events hitting theaters, USA Today asks if Hollywood needs to do a better job of getting its facts straight. Tom Hanks, who plays the real-life Captain Richard Phillips says it’s not the role of the film to get every contentious detail correct. But Peter Landesman, director of the new JFK assassination drama Parkland, says that audiences will get distracted if they’re trying to separate fact from fiction.
Scott Carpenter, the second American to orbit the Earth, died Thursday at the age of 88. The New York Times says Carpenter actually wasn’t NASA’s choice for its second Earth orbit - but he stepped in after Donald Slayton was grounded by heart irregularities. Carpenter’s death leaves John Glenn as the only surviving member of the Project Mercury team.
It’s no ordinary garage sale. Caesars Entertainment is selling off 14,000 items from its properties, including Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood and the Rio. Hotel furniture, kitchen equipment and other practical items are mixed in with more eccentric finds. The items are on view at the Rio and bids can be placed online.
Written by Pat Papers | UPDATED: Thursday, 10 October 2013 8:09 AM
The best headlines, the most interesting photography and conversation-starting articles from today’s newspapers.
With National Park Service workers furloughed because of the government shutdown, Chris Cox decided he would take care of mowing the lawn outside the Lincoln Memorial. He says he wanted it to look nice for this weekend’s Million Vet March. Despite his gesture, police told him to leave. VIDEO
The age of the self-driving car has nearly arrived. USA Today points out that many new luxury cars are designed to allow drivers to take their hands off the wheel. They keep the car headed in the right direction using radar and camera systems. Many high-end cars already come with cruise control systems that adjust to traffic and collision prevention systems.
T-Mobile’s latest move to distinguish itself from the other major US mobile phone carriers will be welcome news to international travelers. Customers will get free unlimited international data and texting and voice calls made overseas would cost just 20 cents a minute. The New York Times says T-Mobile expects an increase in customers to make up for the money lost by not charging roaming fees.
High-end party planning is rising to new heights, according to the Wall Street Journal. Party planners, or event designers as they prefer to be called, are all trying to outdo one another. Big floral displays are out; creative lighting and artsy installations are the new trends.
Hundreds of American Airlines retirees gathered last week for a reunion. The Wall Street Journal’s Scott McCartney says the occasion was a chance for many to think back about how air travel used to be. McCartney features several amusing stories shared by the former workers, including the one who took a ride on a baggage carousel in a dog crate. One woman says she wouldn’t want to work for an airline now, because they don’t have any fun.
Tonight’s episode of Glee pays tribute to Cory Monteith, who died in July at the age of 31 from an accidental overdose. The New York Post says the episode won’t reference how his character Finn Hudson dies. But it will show the New Directions Glee club members learning about his death and planning a tribute.
The San Jose Mercury News has some advice for making your own treats for your Halloween party. Recipes for homemade versions of candy corn, Snickers bars and other sweets can be found in cookbooks. And along with a few cooking techniques, you can be on your way to making treats that are better than the originals.
Written by Pat Papers | UPDATED: Wednesday, 9 October 2013 6:46 AM
The best headlines, the most interesting photography and conversation-starting articles from today’s newspapers.
Wall Street Journal columnist Ralph Gardner believes he’s uncovered another sign of the decline of civilization: A lack of quality fortune-cookie fortunes. He says gone are the days when you could count on getting sage advice from your after-dinner snack. Gardner gets right to the source, speaking with the man who writes the fortunes at the world’s largest manufacturer of fortune-cookies. He blames the lame fortunes on political correctness.
President Obama is expected to nominate Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen to lead the U.S. central bank. She would become the first woman to become Fed Chair. The Washington Post says Yellen is a renowned economist focused on combating unemployment. Analysts expect her to continue the approach set forth by outgoing Fed Chair Ben Bernanke.
Think everyone hates their commute? Not so. The Wall Street Journal has some secrets from people who actually enjoy their trip to work. The key is to take control of the details. Researchers say it’s as much about what you do while you’re traveling as it is the length of your daily commute.
Interesting story in a special section on energy in the New York Times about harnessing the potential of tidal power. Start-ups have descended on a remote part of Scotland known for its extreme conditions to test their tidal power technologies. Analysts say wave and tidal power has the potential to provide up to 15% of the electricity used in the U.S. in the next two decades.
The San Jose Mercury News profiles four women who launched a grassroots effort to get cosmetics companies to stop putting toxic chemicals in their products. It’s grown to a national movement that has led to changes in how companies make cosmetics and how consumers shop for them. The group is also behind a push in Washington for more oversight and a move by Walmart to ban some harmful chemicals from beauty products.
Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Sheryl Harris has a warning about realistic robocalls. These interactive robocalls actually respond to your questions, using computer software. Harris says she was offered a deal on a security system and eventually realized she wasn’t talking to a real person, even though the voice on the other end of the phone was answering her questions.
Your photo of the day comes from the New York Post. A tourist captured this shot of a seal narrowly escaping the jaws of a great white shark off the coast of South Africa. After the shark missed on its initial attempt, the seal used its fin to avoid falling into the shark’s mouth.
Written by Pat Papers | UPDATED: Tuesday, 8 October 2013 7:23 AM
The San Francisco Chronicle tells the story of a train car filled with commuters so engrossed in their cell phones, no one seemed to notice as a passenger pulled out a gun and shot someone. Authorities say the incident highlights a disturbing phenomenon. People are paying so much attention to their digital devices, that they’re no longer aware of their surroundings, whether it be in a train car or crossing a busy intersection.
People come up with plenty of excuses when it comes to exercising. The Dallas Morning News dismisses 9 of the most common reasons people give for not exercising. If you don’t have time, make time. You should start at the beginning and if you have an injury to a particular body part, work around it.
A new-look $100 bill is entering circulation today. The more colorful bill has a host of new security features to hinder counterfeiters. USA Today says the biggest difference might be not in how it looks, but how it feels. It features raised printing, giving it a distinct texture.
How often do you say “I?” The Wall Street Journal details a new study that finds people who say “I” a lot are less powerful and less confident than those who limit their use of the pronoun. They subconsciously believe they’re inferior to the person they’re talking to. That contradicts the common perception that those who say “I” a lot are full of themselves.
The debate over the Washington Redskins nickname will be on the agenda as NFL owners gather for their fall meeting. In the New York Post, Rich Lowry says the nickname is really only bothersome to editors of liberal websites and magazines. Dana Milbank over at the Washington Post says the name is clearly offensive and owners ought to substitute other common racial epithets to see if they work as a team nickname.
The popular Tough Mudder race returns this month to the site of the only death in its history. Avishek Sengupta died in April after jumping off a platform into a pool of frigid water. His father says he’s disappointed Tough Mudder didn’t remove the obstacle altogether. Organizers say safety is their number one priority, but they’ve never eliminated an obstacle.
Written by Pat Papers | UPDATED: Monday, 7 October 2013 8:07 AM
Want to see a meteor shower without setting your alarm for the middle of the night? Well, tonight’s your night. The Draconid Meteor shower takes place tonight. And USA Today says that while it’s not the showiest shower, its early evening time frame makes it more accessible to the casual observer. The shower will sweep across the skies just after sunset. Pro tip: If you can see all the stars of the Little Dipper, your eyes have adjusted enough to the dark to catch the show.
With the government shutdown now into its second week, House Speaker John Boehner is rejecting calls to reopen the government, saying the country will default for the first time ever unless President Obama begins negotiating with Republicans. The White House also firmed up its stance, saying President Obama won’t come to the table until Republicans drop their campaign against Obamacare, end the shutdown and raise the debt ceiling. The Washington Post says analysts predict the government could run out of money by November 1st.
The monster truck driver who crashed into a crowd of people at a Mexican air show is being held on suspicion of manslaughter charges. 8 people were killed and dozens more were injured when the out-of-control truck slammed into the crowd. VIDEO shows the truck losing control after driving over several cars. A test revealed alcohol on the driver’s breath, though authorities haven’t said if he was drunk.
I hate the self-checkout machines at the grocery store. Every time I use one with just one item, thinking it will be fast, something goes wrong. Turns out, there’s a reason. The Wall Street Journal says supermarket checkout machines help demonstrate the ways in which computers still can’t mimic certain human skills. One big flaw, your human checker can identify your produce and remember the code, while the machine makes you take the time to look it up yourself.
Authorities are trying to figure out how a 9-year-old boy managed to get through 3 security checkpoints to board a Delta flight from Minneapolis to Las Vegas last week. The Minneapolis Star Tribune says the boy had no boarding pass or identification. He apparently managed to get onto the plane by walking down the jetway when the Delta agent was distracted.
The “Inverted Jenny"stamp has been put back into the assembly line again. The original Jenny stamp 95 years ago contained a production error. The plane was upside down. When the Post office reprinted 2 million copies of the upside-down stamp recently, they quietly turned the plane right side up in about 100 sheets. It’s kind of a lottery that’s getting stamp collectors excited.
There was no twerking as Miley Cyrus took the stage as host and musical guest on Saturday Night Live. USA Today says the show avoided any hint of Cyrus’ recent controversies. Cyrus did portray Hillary Clinton and a slutty Michele Bachmann in sketches. She wore much more clothing for her acoustic performance of Wrecking Ball than she did in the music video.
Written by Pat Papers | UPDATED: Friday, 4 October 2013 8:07 AM
Tesla Motors is dealing with some PR trouble - after video of one of its cars, engulfed in flames after an accident, made the rounds on the internet. The New York Times says the fire in the Model S electric car is a reality check for a company that received near-unanimous praise for its vehicles.
Twitter has opened its books as part of its plan to raise up to $1 billion in an IPO. The social network revealed that it is yet to turn a profit and user growth has been slowing. While many have analysts compared Twitter’s valuations to Facebook, the New York Times points out Twitter is a fraction of the size of Facebook with just 218 million monthly average users to Facebook’s 1.16 billion users.
The Orange County Register say satellite technology may soon be put to use to assess wildfire risk. Fire officials in wildfire prone areas currently determine risk by clipping dry vegetation every two weeks and measuring how much moisture they hold. Once the satellite technology is up and running, homeowners would be able to plug their address into a website to find out fire danger levels in their area.
Neonatologists in San Francisco have been taking care of an unusual patient, a baby gorilla born at the San Francisco Zoo 10 weeks ago. The birth of the endangered western lowlands gorilla was a rarity - the San Francisco Chronicle says only about half a dozen are born in the U.S. each year. That’s why zookeepers brought in the team of human baby doctors. The zookeepers say while they’re very familiar with adult gorillas, the human baby doctors are much better equipped to deal with the newborn gorilla.
Miley Cyrus has come a long way since her Hannah Montana days. USA Today says the former Disney Star’s radical image change appears to be part of a carefully crafted plan to maximize exposure and her bottom line. One marketing research site says she’s raked in $79 million in free TV exposure since her performance at the MTV Video Music Awards. The president of her new record label says Cyrus is leveraging social media in a way that few of her predecessors have been able to.
You may have seen one of these on the streets and wondered what the heck is that? The New York Post has a feature on the ElliptiGO, a bike-elliptical hybrid that’s gaining in popularity. The idea behind the bike is to combine the low-impact workout offered by an elliptical trainer with the mobility of a bicycle. The one downside may be the price. The ElliptiGO offers three models at $1,799, $2,499 and $3,499.
Written by Pat Papers | UPDATED: Thursday, 3 October 2013 8:26 AM
Best-selling author Tom Clancy died Tuesday in Baltimore after a brief illness. The Baltimore Sun says Clancy became known as the “King of the Techno Thriller” for his complex, action-packed novels, many of which have been turned in Hollywood blockbusters. Clancy started writing his first novel, “The Hunt for Red October” after becoming bored with his day job, selling insurance. The book got a big boost in sales after President Reagan called it “the perfect yarn.”
A Los Angeles jury yesterday found concert promoter AEG Live not responsible for Michael Jackson’s death. The Los Angeles Times says the verdict stunned Jackson’s fans, many of whom stood outside the courtroom each day of the trial. Jurors explained that they found Dr. Conrad Murray to be fit and competent, though he was unethical. AEG says it never considered settling the case, which could have cost the company billions had jurors ruled in favor of the Jackson family.
Facebook is building a housing development near its campus in Menlo Park, California. The $120 million development within walking distance of Facebook’s headquarters will feature 394 housing units, along with amenities ranging from a sports bar to doggy day care. The Wall Street Journal says the project conjures up memories of company towns from the turn of the 20th century, where workers lived in towns owned by their employers while being provided with housing, health care and other services.
Wi-Fi has been a game changer for home networks. But the technology is still far from ideal as many users have trouble getting a good signal throughout their homes. The New York Times has some tips on improving your home network. To maximize coverage, you need to put your router out in the open. You may want to upgrade it too. And the story urges you to consider a hard-wired connection, highlighting a product that runs a network signal through your electrical wiring so you don’t need to run cables throughout the house.
New York Times tech reporter David Pogue takes a look at the new Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch. The watch allows users with a compatible Samsung phone or tablet to make phone calls, take photos and control music playback, among other things. Pogue says nobody will buy it - and nobody should. While it does boast some cool features, Pogue says it’s a human interface trainwreck. But he does hold out hope for the smartwatch in the future.
With the school year well underway, you may find yourself in some homework battles with your kids. The Tennessean has some tips for parents on how to make homework time go more smoothly.
Written by Pat Papers | UPDATED: Monday, 30 September 2013 8:14 AM
With a government shutdown looming tomorrow, many people have questions about what services will be affected. USA Today answers 66 questions about the shutdown, ranging from will I still be able to get a passport (maybe, but hurry) to will the government continue to collect taxes (of course). Most government workers would be furloughed starting tomorrow. And the shutdown will likely cost the government money, rather than save it.
Critics and fans alike seem satisfied with the much-anticipated Breaking Bad finale. Newsday’s Verne Gay says the ending left no ambiguity - wrapping up all the show’s loose ends. He says the show was all about “emphatic, operatic closure—for characters as well as fans.”
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The Wall Street Journal has advice on what to do if you have a great business idea, but don’t want to go through the hassle of starting a business. To make a quick buck, you can sign over the rights to your idea. But if your concept has long term potential, you may want to license your idea, instead of selling it outright.
Smartphones are being put to use on the high seas. Marine biologists in San Francisco are testing a new app that tracks the location of whales to help ship captains avoid hitting them. Whale Spotter uses GPS to track locations where whales have been seen. The Coast Guard would be able to use the information to reroute shipping traffic.
There aren’t too many careers where you’d be considered past your prime at age 28. But Patrik Sättermon, a former world champion in the game Counter Strike, says the reflexes you need for gaming peak at around 18 or 19. So he’s training the next generation. The Wall Street Journal says Sättermon’s Fnatic Academy accepts just six teens a year who are being groomed not only to be professional gamers, but to become stars in the gaming world.
How do you follow-up a success like “Eat, Pray, Love?” Elizabeth Gilbert is out with her new novel, “The Signature of All Things.” The novel tells the story of Alma Whittaker, a 19th-century botanist who studies moss and goes off to live among the natives on Tahiti. The Daily News sits down with Gilbert who talks about the book and the success and backlash against “Eat, Pray, Love.”
Written by Pat Papers | UPDATED: Friday, 27 September 2013 8:27 AM
Mike Marsh is on a mission. The inspector general for the Denali Commission, an economic-development agency based in Alaska, wants Congress to fire him, and shut down his agency. The Washington Post says Marsh wrote a letter to Congress stating his agency was a congressional experiment that has not worked out. He says the government would be better off spending money elsewhere. His colleagues, understandably, are not amused.
The Wall Street Journal editorial page offers a strong defense of J.P. Morgan Chase CEO, Jamie Dimon. The paper says regulators are backing up a truck to J.P. Morgan’s vault and trying to load it up, as the company considers an $11 billion settlement. The Journal says Dimon is being targeted by the administration for refusing to toe the line, adding that he not only didn’t create the mortgage crisis but helped end it.
Barilla pasta company chairman Guido Barilla is in hot water after saying he’d never use a gay family in an ad for his pasta. He says his view of the family is one where the woman plays a traditional role, adding that if gays don’t like it, they can buy another brand. The New York Post says an apology from Barilla has done little to quell the controversy.
No, we’re not talking about the Emmy’s. Sunday night is shaping up to be an incredible night of television, and that’s not even counting some big NFL matchups. Sunday marks the series finale for Breaking Bad, the Season 3 premiere of Homeland and the series premiere of Masters of Sex.
The Wall Street Journal talks about the challenges of wrapping up a series like Breaking Bad, especially one with a flawed protagonist. Homeland’s premiere gets 5 stars in the Daily News. David Hinckley says the show succeeds even with its main characters Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) and James Brody (Damian Lewis) essentially on the sidelines to start the season. The Washington Post‘s Hank Stuever revises his review of Masters of Sex from a B+ to an A, saying the new series gets better as it goes along.
Hold the fries. McDonald’s is making plans to offer side salads, at no extra charge, with its value meals starting next year. The company is also planning to promote only water, milk and juice as part of its Happy Meals, although soda will still be an option. McDonald’s says more healthy changes are on the way. An outside company is being brought in to track the progress of the new health initiatives.
The New York Times says American swimmer Victoria Arlen’s Paralympic career is in jeopardy, because she is not disabled enough. Arlen suffers from the neurological condition transverse myelitis that has rendered her legs paralyzed. But the International Paralympic Committee ruled her ineligible to compete in the world championships last month because there’s a chance, according to her doctor, that her condition may one day improve. Arlen says it’s beyond sad to be penalized for having a glimmer of hope that she may one day be able to walk again.
Written by Pat Papers | UPDATED: Thursday, 26 September 2013 7:08 AM
USA Today put the cameras of three leading smartphones to the test. The newly revamped iPhone 5s, the Nokia Lumia 1020 Windows Phone and the Samsung Galaxy S4. Despite being the most “basic” of the three, the iPhone 5s actually performed the most consistently. VIDEO
A group of Chicago researchers this week unveiled a new prototype for a bionic leg controlled by the user’s mind. The Chicago Tribune says it’s part of a shift in prosthetic technology aimed at younger, more active patients. The leg works by using recorded nerve signals. Researchers say it could transform the lives of wounded veterans, accident victims and the elderly. VIDEO
Still images from surveillance video of the D.C. Navy Yard shooter are on the front page of dozens of papers this morning, including the Washington Post. The FBI said yesterday Aaron Alexis was being driven by delusions that he was controlled by low-frequency radio waves. He also scratched the words “End the torment!” on the barrel of the shotgun he used to kill 12 people last week.
You may need a few more pennies to mail a letter come next year. The cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service is plans to raise the rate for a first class stamp from 46 cents to 49 cents beginning in January. Pricing for other types of mail would go up as well. The Postal Service says the hike would raise an additional $2 billion in revenue. The Postal Service posted a net loss of $15.9 billion last year.
Nirvana fans have a chance to live in the home where Kurt Kobain grew up. His mother is putting the Aberdeen, Washington bungalow up for sale for $500,000, complete with the late frontman’s old mattress. The home was last assessed for less than $67,000. His family says it would welcome a partnership to turn the house into a museum.
Has your puppy put on a few pounds? Fitness programs for canines have been popping up across the country. More than half of all dogs in the U.S. are overweight and at risk of a host of serious ailments. Pet experts say the same advice that works for humans also works for out of shape dogs: Put down the snacks and get off the couch.
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New breeds of Christmas trees promise longer life and even a more pleasing scent.
- 12/5 The Daily Show: Pat Plays Along with Samantha Bee
- 12/3 Study: Men Only Using Half a Brain
- 12/3 “Meaning” is the New Trend in Baby Names
- 12/5 Color of the Year: “Radiant Orchid”
- 12/4 Woman Lines Up Selfie with Bridge Jumper in Background
New on the Blog
Pat took on a job narrating the audiobook version of “The Poison Patriarch,” by Marc Shaw.
- 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