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Gabatron Morning Briefing
4 minutes | Jan 8, 2016
1-8-16: Big Mother Is Watching You
According to a new study, parents in the 21st century are spending most of their time following their little snowflakes around online. Is that good old fashioned parenting or being nosey? Interesting Stat of the Day: 320,000 passwords. Time Warner Cable reported that up to 320,000 customers of the service may have had their email passwords stolen. Donald Trump is stepping up his birther strategy against Ted Cruz. Now he’s saying he should immediately have a judge verify that he is eligible to run for President. Ben Carson was at a school in Iowa and decided he would make a point about his own story of turning his life around, saying he was the worst kid in his school and asking who the worst kid in their school was. Before he could say “just kidding” all of the students pointed to the same kid. In science news, the level of volcanic eruptions has reached its highest level in 300 years. Now some scientists are saying we should be worried about the Yellowstone Supervolcano blowing it’s top. Plus, an eight year old girl from Evanston here in Illinois took on the mighty Hasboro toy empire and won.
3 minutes | Jan 7, 2016
1-7-16: Would You Pay $100,000 To Clone Your Dead Dog?
A British couple sent some DNA from their dead dog and a certified check for $100,000 to a South Korean company and got two clones of the little rascal. Everyone loves their pets and are devastated when they lose them, but would you spend $100,000 to bring them back? Interesting Stat of the Day: 99 percent. That’s the amount of the vote Ken Griffey Jr got when he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday. A science fiction author says that the war with the machines will happen by 2040-2055. Star Wars The Force Awakens has officially passed Avatar as the highest grossing movie in domestic US history. In science news, NASA’s Kepler spacecraft has found 100 more exoplanets. It’s up to about 1,000 in all. Plus, Someone decided to build an igloo around a street light on Upper Wacker here in Chicago.
3 minutes | Jan 6, 2016
Have you bought your Powerball ticket yet? The jackpot for Wednesday night’s drawing is up to $450 million. The number of complaints from taxi passengers in New York and Chicago have dramatically fallen since Uber and Lyft showed up. Number Crunching: 93 percent. Right now grazing rights from the Bureau of Land Management go for about 93 percent less than the going market rates. The San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders and St. Louis Rams each submitted to the National Football League applications to relocate to Los Angeles. In science news, did you know that scientists have been using your snotty tissues for years without you knowing it? Currently, scientists are allowed to use leftover tissues from blood tests, surgeries, and biopsies for research without patients' permission if the patient’s identity is removed. Plus, an airline flight from the Philippines to South Korea had to turn around when one of the flight attendants noticed the door was open.
3 minutes | Jan 5, 2016
1-5-16: Date Night With Mom
A mom posted on Facebook that she would like for her 6-year old son to learn how to treat women respectfully, particularly while dating. So once a month, the boy has take his mother on a date. Daily Data Dump: IRS penalties have increased for Americans who do not have health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Enrollment is up 29 percent compared to this time last year. Donald Trump released his very first political ad on Monday. It shows thousands of people flooding across the border illegal, undoubtedly including dozens if not hundreds of potential terrorists. The problem is the footage they used is actually of Morocco, not the US border. In sports news, recently retired Cubs pitcher Dan Haren gave a peek behind the curtain of being a big league pitcher on Monday. While he was on an exercise bike, he tweeted some interesting facts about his career. In technology news, A start-up is offering a new way to cut your travel costs: They pair you up with a roommate for your next hotel stay. Plus, Hillary Clinton is making some out of this world campaign promises. She says if she is elected, she will investigate Area 51 and whether or not we have been visited by aliens.
4 minutes | Jan 4, 2016
1-4-16: Crowd Funding Education
A teacher in Waukegan is turning to Internet crowd funding to get things for her classroom that taxpayers would never ever even think to pay for. So far they have enough laptops and tablets for each student to have a device, along with a 3-D printer, robotics kits and subscriptions to a kid-level news magazine and even a webcam so they can Skype with experts in the fields they are discussing in class. Daily Data Mining: According to a new scientific study from Canada of nearly 1,000 mother/offspring pairs, maternal kisses are not effective in alleviating minor childhood injuries or boo-boos. Donald Trump told John Dickerson on Face The Nation that he’d be a “much different person” if elected President. Have you seen that commercial for the dating site just for farmers? A new dating website that is only for white people has bought a billboard in Utah. In technology news, Mark Zuckerberg wants to live a bit more like Tony Stark. In a post on Facebook last week, Zuckerberg wrote that he building an AI that can run his home and present him with virtual reality. Plus, a man in Alabama has been spotted on camera peeping through windows. He’s completely naked, except for a Ronald Reagan mask.
4 minutes | Dec 31, 2015
12-31-15: America's Dad Gets Busted
Bill Cosby was arraigned on a sexual assault charge and is free on $1 million bail. Interesting Stat of the Day: 32 degrees. A big mass of hot air made it all the way to the North Pole, where it was actually above freezing on Wednesday. The mom of the Affluenza teen is coming back to the US. She and her son have both been deported from Mexico, but he has filed a writ to stay there so she’s coming back alone for the time being. A bill making the rounds in California would require legislators to display the logos of their top ten contributors on their clothing. In science news, remember a couple of weeks ago when Congress gave NASA little extra something something in their budget? It turns out the budget also included a requirement that they develop a deep space habitat for future Mars missions. Plus, scientists say that a massive solar eruption could hit Earth on New Years Eve.
3 minutes | Dec 30, 2015
12-30-15: Big Brother Is Scanning You
The TSA wants to get a better look at you. They are changing their rules on full-body scans to require them on passengers even if they request a pat-down instead. You can still ask for one, but now they can elect to override your request if they believe security considerations warrant. Interesting Stat of the Day: 20%. 20% of Americans were not actually alive during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. George Pataki is reportedly dropping out of the Republican Presidential race. The "Affluenza" teen and his mom are going to be deported from Mexico. They planned to disguise themselves and disappear in the sea of American tourists in Mexico. In technology news, Sidecar, a ride-sharing and delivery service, will cease operations at 2PM PT on December 31st. Plus, an Arizona man waiting to fly home to propose to his girlfriend was forced to propose to her via text message after spending 50 hours stranded at O’Hare.
3 minutes | Dec 29, 2015
12-29-15: Most Admired People
Gallup's list of 2015's Most Admired People is out. President Obama and Hillary Clinton top the list, but Donald Trump ties Pope Francis for second place. Interesting Stat of the Day: 1,100. That’s the number of flights that were canceled at O’Hare and Midway Airports in Chicago on Tuesday because of snow. Good news, a computer security researcher discovered that there’s a 191 million US voters out there exposed on the Internet. The database includes names, addresses, birth dates, party affiliations, phone numbers and emails of voters in all 50 U.S. states and Washington. In technology news, Russian President Vladimir Putin is dissolving the country's Federal Space Agency Roscosmos, and turning it into a state-run corporation. Plus, someone's crunched the numbers and they've calculated that rescuing Matt Damon's character in The Martian would have cost $200 billion.
4 minutes | Dec 28, 2015
12-28-15: What's German For "Free Lunch"?
26 people in Germany are getting a check for $1,100 per month in an experiment with a "basic wage." The program is called "Mein Grundeinkommen" which means "My Basic Income" in German. Basically, the idea is that the government would right people a check for basics like rent and food. Interesting Stat of the Day: 2,100. That’s the estimated membership of the Knot a Problem community, a group of people who delight in untangling catastrophic yarn entanglements. Tim Peake continues to have problems with making calls from the cosmos. He tried to call his parents to wish them a Merry Christmas, but he dialed the wrong number. Star Wars surpassed $1 billion in ticket sales over the weekend. That's the fastest for any movie in history. In science news, the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory says it's on track to demonstrate a working laser weapon on a fighter jet by 2020. Plus, a 33-year-old Indiana man was walking along California's Sunset Cliffs on Christmas Day when he fell 60 feet to his death.
4 minutes | Dec 23, 2015
12-23-15: Early Release Program
As many as 3,200 convicted offenders were mistakenly released too early from Washington state prisons. Apparently they made a mistake in calculating good time credit. Interesting Stat of the Day: 18 percentage points. Donald Trump may be polling at 30 percent among Republicans nationally, but he has the support of just 19 percent of Republicans with a college degree, and 37 percent of those without a degree, a whopping 18-point difference. A British Muslim family heading for Disneyland was barred from boarding a flight to Los Angeles. No US officials have given any reason for why they were barred from coming into the country. What’s bothering you, America? New data says that Americans are drinking themselves to death at a faster clip than ever before. In technology news, on Monday night SpaceX did something no one else has ever done before: They flew the first stage of their rocket back to Cape Canaveral and landed it. It’s meant to be the first step to making rockets reusable. Plus, British Astronaut Tim Peake just arrived aboard the International Space Station a few days ago. He is actually the first British Astronaut to fly in space in about 20 years. He decided to give his parents a call, from the space station, but they didn’t answer. He got their voicemail.
4 minutes | Dec 22, 2015
12-22-15: Wizards Don't See Race
The geek world is all a Twitter. You knew the calm after the Star Wars storm couldn’t last forever. They announced the cast of the new Harry Potter stage play, and it turns out that Hermione is black in this adaptation. For some reason this is controversial to some people. JK Rowling, who is pretty much the authority on all things Potter thinks it’s great, so to me that pretty much ends the discussion. Get over it or don’t see the play. Interesting Stat of the Day: 2.5 roles. It turns out that Hollywood has a disgusting anti-alien bias. According to a new poll from Public Policy Polling, 30% of Republican primary voters would support bombing Agrabah. Noted liberal media shill Megyn Kelly will host the next GOP Presidential debate. In technology news, Sunday marked the 25th birthday of the very first website on the Internet. Plus, someone stole a truck with $10,000 worth of Little Debbie snacks on it.
4 minutes | Dec 21, 2015
12-21-15: Economic Hardship For Bullies
A new anti-bullying proposal in Oklahoma would fine students $50 for bullying, instead of suspending or expelling them. The idea is by hitting the child and parent right in the wallet, they’ll take a more hands on role in teaching their little tax break to treat people like human beings. Interesting Stat of the Day: $238 million. It’s no exaggeration to say that EVERYBODY saw Star Wars The Force Awakens over the weekend. Donald Trump is defending Vladimir Putin from accusations that he had journalists killed. Not only did he say that there isn't proof that Putin had anyone killed, but he went a step further and said the United States has killed its share of people. An Air France flight from Mauritius to Paris had to be diverted to Kenya because of a device that was originally thought to be a bomb. In Science news, the folks at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, the largest particle accelerator on Earth, say their machine might have produced a brand new particle that could send the laws of particle physics into a tizzy. Plus, Max Temkin is a Chicago guy and the creator of Cards Against Humanity, a hugely successful card game and one of the first Kirkstarter projects. He and the rest of his company decided to give the Chinese company that does all of their printing a week's vacation as a show of appreciation for all of their work. The problem is in China, there's no such thing as a week's vacation, so they had to get creative. They actually paid for a week's worth of printing, and then told the employees they had nothing to print and they should go the next week traveling, or spending time with their families
4 minutes | Dec 18, 2015
12-18-15: Most Magical Metal Detectors On Earth
Disney has decided to add a brand new feature to make all of their theme parks even more magical: metal detectors! It is also discontinuing the sale of toy guns at its parks and resorts and banning anyone over the age of 14 from wearing costumes at its parks. Interesting Stat of the Day: 28 keystrokes. According to a team of researchers, pressing the backspace key 28 times when prompted for a username will allow users to crack into Linux systems. Donald Trump picked up a critical endorsement in his race for the Republican nomination. Vladimir Putin called Trump “a very outstanding man, unquestionably talented.” In science news, A large asteroid is going to pass by the Earth on Christmas Eve. It’s called Asteroid 2003 SD220. Plus, , IKEA is hopping mad. Someone has created an Internet hoax that claimed they are selling a swastika-shaped tabled called the “Hadolf.”
3 minutes | Dec 17, 2015
12-17-15: I For One, Welcome Our New Robotic Overlords
According to a new study, your boss might one day be replaced by a robot and it could happen in as little as five years. Interesting Stat of the Day: 2.7 years. Researchers found that heads of state lived about 2.7 fewer years than those they defeated in an election. British astronaut Tim Peake posted on Twitter that they will be having a screening of Star Wars The Force Awakens on the International Space Station. Wheaton College has suspended a tenured professor for saying that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. She is also wearing a hijab for Advent, as a show of solidarity with Muslims in the wake of the San Bernardino shooting and subsequent anti-Muslim sentiment. In technology news, Congress is fighting over the omnibus spending bill before they head home for Christmas. Tucked away in there is a $19.3 billion for NASA, more than the White House is asking for and a decent raise from last year. Plus, an Iowa man saw two panhandlers with signs begging for money for food, so he offered them a job at his business.
3 minutes | Dec 16, 2015
12-16-15: Escape From L.A. (Schools)
An anonymous email threat shut down the entire Los Angeles school system on Tuesday. Apparently someone was threatening an attack along the lines of the one in San Bernardino. Interesting Stat of the Day: $66,026 to $144,566. Advertised salary range listed in NASA’s job posting for new astronauts. A city councilman in Birmingham allegedly attacked the mayor. No one can seem to agree on who started it, the only other witnesses were a couple of staffers and they aren’t talking. Movie theaters are telling overly enthusiastic fans not to bring lightsabers or anything that looks like a weapon with them to the movie. Also, no one will be allowed to wear masks or face paint either. In science news, it looks like NASA is going to get out of the space station business when the International Space Station signs off in about ten years. Plus, NORAD will once again be devoting precious time and energy to tracking Santa this Christmas.
3 minutes | Dec 15, 2015
12-15-15: Promoting Violence In A Galaxy Far, Far Away
A 7th grader in Texas was told that he could not wear a t-shirt because it had a picture of a gun. It’s a Star Wars The Force Awakens t-shirt showing a stormtropper holding a raygun. The dress code bans any symbols “promoting violence.” Interesting Stat of the Day: 2,000 books. That’s the estimated first month sales of Marco Rubio’s book “American Dreams” from earlier this year. Donald Trump’s campaign released a note from his doctor on Monday saying that he may be the “the healthiest individual ever elected” President. Bill Cosby is suing seven of his accusers. Cosby claims the women “knowingly published false statements and accusations” against him. In technology news, the FAA announced that all drones weighing between 0.55 pounds and 50 pounds must be registered by February 19th. Plus, I’d like to introduce you to a hero fighting for a group that for too long has had their voiced silenced in the political arena.
3 minutes | Dec 14, 2015
12-14-15: Christmas Throws Up On Your Apartment
It’s going to happen this week. If you’re an apartment dweller, you will probably at some point be completely blocked from getting because of a gigantic glut of holiday cheer. This is the week when nearly all of the things that people ordered on Black Friday and Cyber Monday should be arriving. Interesting Stat of the Day: 47 percent. Percentage of Americans who are “somewhat worried” or “very worried” that they or someone in their family could be the victim of terrorism. Speaking of terrorism, Donald Trump says that he’s a big fan of Harrison Ford and how he “stoop up for America” in the movie Air Force One. Harrison Ford is off on the press tour for Star Wars The Force Awakens and reminded Trump that it’s only a movie, he was never actually President and never actually stood up to terrorists. A teacher in Atlanta decided it was a good idea to ask a 13- year old Muslim student if she was carrying a bomb in her backpack. The Kickstarter hoping to bring back Mystery Science Theater 3000 wrapped its campaign, earning $5.76 million. Combining that with the $425,000 the creators say they've raised through other channels, the total funding for the project has passed $6 million. The creators have now pledged to shoot 14 new episodes next year. Plus, a food truck in Portland, Oregon decided to make a big production of their grand opening. They had dancers and visitors were also given a chance to take a swing at a Donald Trump pinata.
3 minutes | Dec 11, 2015
12-11-15: America Is Full of Sad Sacks
According to a new poll, nearly half of Americans ages 18-29 believe the American dream is dead. Interesting Stat of the Day: $49 million. How much the super PAC that supports Jeb Bush has spent so far, and look at how far that’s gotten him. He might not take it anymore: Dee Snider says that he might change his mind about letting Donald Trump use "We're Not Gonna Take It" at campaign rallies. Some people are upset because the US Navy named one of the new littoral combat ships the USS Jackson, because Andrew Jackson was racist. Anyone interested in a slightly used Boeing 747? Somebody forgot three of them at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia, and authorities would greatly appreciate it if the owner stepped forward to claim them. Plus, a silo full of dehydrated sweet potatoes in South Carolina has been burning since Thanksgiving.
3 minutes | Dec 10, 2015
12-10-15: No One Who Speaks German Could Be Evil
Time's Person of the Year: Angela Merkel. Merkel got the tip of the cap for her leadership with the Greek debt crisis and Syrian refugees. Interesting Stat of the Day: 34.7 percent. According to a report from Sandvine, a Canadian broadband equipment company, Netflix accounts for 34.7 percent of prime-time Web traffic in North America. The world is responding to Donald Trump's proposal to ban all Muslims from coming into the US, and they don't like it. A university in Scotland has stripped Trump of an honorary degree. Plus, a petition in the UK is calling for him to be banned from the country. It has well over 300,000 signatures at this point. And finally, even Benjamin Netanyahu weighed in on it and says it's a bad idea. United Airlines is bringing back free snacks for coach passengers on their flights. They've been gone since 2008. In science news, remember that star with something funny orbiting it that scientists said might be alien megastructures but probably weren’t? SETI scientists have been keeping a keen eye on it, and they have seen no evidence of any aliens out there trying to get out attention.
3 minutes | Dec 9, 2015
12-9-15: Stuck In A Series Of Tubes
According to a new Pew study, 1 in 5 Americans say they are "almost constantly" online. Interesting Stat of the Day: 49 percent. Percentage of Republicans who oppose a religious test for Syrian refugees to come to the U.S., according to a Fox News poll. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter came up with a unique response to Trump's call for a ban on all Muslims coming into this country. He's banned Donald Trump from coming to Philadelphia. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is just days away from hitting theaters around the world, and while no one knows anything about the plot of the movie, we were given a crucial piece of information by producer Kathleen Kennedy: There will be no Jar Jar Binks and no Ewoks in the movie. In technology news, the USS Zumwalt is heading to sea for the first time. It's the most technologically advanced ship the Navy has ever built. Plus, a Florida man who was hiding out from the police ended up getting eaten by an alligator.
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