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Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Thursday, April 06, 2017 04:01 pm

Odds and ends on a busy Thursday:

  • Citizen scientists may have located candidates for Planet Nine. "In just three days, about 21,000 volunteers sifted through more than 100,000 images and classified more than 5 million objects - work that would take an astronomy PhD student four years, ANU astronomer Brad Tucker wrote in the Conversation." I still miss Pluto, though.
  • Why French fries are more of a superfood than Kale. I think most of agree that pizza is now the magic food. Before they got rid of the "bad" fat, it was McDonald's fries. Lo, the humble potato: "Packed with starch, fiber, and protein, as well as a plethora of vitamins and minerals, it may be the most complete food on the planet."
  • Advertisers are the new media watchdog. If they think something you are doing is offensive or inappropriate, they'll pull their ads in a heartbeat. Advertisers have tried to influence newspapers ever since I got in the business, and we always thought that was a bad thing. Today, though, with so few of them left, I dunno if the standard still holds.
  • Barry Manilow, on why he didn't come out for decades: I thought I would disappoint fans if they knew I was gay. Translation: I wouldn't sell as many records. But, c'mon: Who on the planet didn't know he was gay?
  • The times they are a changin': Amazon is now worth almost twice as much as Walmart. I want, I search online, I order. Can't remember the last time I went out for serious shopping (except for groceries, and Amazone might come riding to the rescue for those, too).
  • What MTV started in shortening our attention spans, streaming is now finishing: Songs are getting faster, a new study says. "In 1986, it took roughly 23 seconds before the voice began on the average hit song. In 2015, vocals came in after about five seconds, a drop of 78 percent, he found."
  • Tempting fate, alcohol division: A man wearing a "Drunk Lives Matter" shirt is charged with drunken driving.
  • "Stinky cooking odors" constitute a crime, Italy's supreme court declares: "In the best traditions of legalese the world over, the Court of Cassation in Rome even came up with a term for the offence – 'olfactory molestation'."  A few times in my kitchen I could have been hit with a felony.
  • So brave. This high school replaced mirrors in the girls' bathroom with "You are beautiful" signs. Man, that is so screwed up on so many levels.
  • Dixie Chicks frontwoman Natalie Maines to President Trump: "I hate you" for bringing out worst in me. I dunno. I'm usually grateful to those who bring out the worst in me, because then I know the worst is there and I have to deal with it. Suck it up, Natalie, baby.
  • And he hasn't even built the wall yet: Illegal immigration is down 67 percent under President Trump. There can be lots of factors, though, and these things ebb and flow, so I don't know how much credit the president really deserves.
  • Remember how rivers were declared "persons" in New Zealand? India is going one better: "Now the Gangotri and Yamunotri glaciers as well as waterfalls, forests, lake, meadows and other environmental features in the area have all been granted legal rights as 'living entities.' . . . The rights of these entities shall be equivalent to the rights of human beings and any injury or harm caused to these bodies shall be treated as injury or harm caused to human beings.”
  • If a school can make itself look really stupid by refusing to bend a rule, it almost certainly will. A high school in Alabama is refusing to let a student bring his 69-year-old grandmother to the prom, because there are rules, you know, against allowing "older dates" because "Safety of students and staff is the first and most important of the many tasks of a school administrator." Yeah, Go knows what mayhem Grandma might unleash.


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