Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Horse and Buggy Involved in Hit-and-Run

Horse and Buggy Involved in Hit-and-Run

Horse and Buggy Involved in Hit-and-Run

Posted: 19 Mar 2014 11:39 AM PDT

Since Sunday, Pennsylvania state troopers have mobilized beyond Mercer County to track down a suspect who struck the driver’s side of a Honda CRV at an intersection in Wilmington Township. The driver, reportedly Amish, fled the scene on horseback with his buggy in tow.

Mercer County is a rural area in the westernmost region of Pennsylvania, home to many Old Order Amish communities. The victim, who was driving alone, suffered no injuries from the ambush. No word on how the horse is doing.

Lady Gaga Unveils Poster for Roseland Ballroom’s Last Concerts

Posted: 19 Mar 2014 11:37 AM PDT

Lady Gaga is shutting down the iconic New York venue Roseland Ballroom, which will close its doors forever in 2014. The pop star will play a sold-out concert in her hometown venue on March 28, 30, 31 and April 2.

To advertise the concert, Gaga is using an image a photographer took of her in 2008 before she hit superstardom. The photographer stopped her on the street and asked to take her picture; when he asked who she was, she said, “I’m Lady Gaga. A singer/songwriter. You’re going to know me one day.”


30-Second Tech Trick: How to Take the Best Selfies

Posted: 19 Mar 2014 11:23 AM PDT

Fed Clarifies Guidance on Short-Term Rates

Posted: 19 Mar 2014 11:12 AM PDT

(WASHINGTON) — The Federal Reserve is seeking to clarify when it might start to raise short-term interest rates from record lows.

The Fed also says it will cut its monthly long-term bond purchases by another $10 billion to $55 billion because it thinks the economy is strong enough to support further improvements in the job market.

The Fed is reaffirming its plan to keep short-term rates low to help support the economy. But it no longer mentions a specific unemployment rate that might lead it eventually to raise short-term rates. The Fed says instead it will monitor “a wide range of information” on the job market, inflation and the economy before approving any rate increase.

It announced the policies in a statement after its first meeting with Janet Yellen as chair.

Feds: Inside Info Exchanged on Napkins, Then Eaten

Posted: 19 Mar 2014 11:04 AM PDT

(NEW YORK) — Federal prosecutors in New Jersey charged the managing clerk of a New York City law firm and a Morgan Stanley stockbroker with netting nearly $6 million through an insider trading scheme that involved jotting illicit information down on napkins that were eaten.

Steven Metro stole insider information from the law offices of Simpson Thatcher & Bartlett and passed it on to a friend who became a cooperating witness, according to federal prosecutors in Newark, N.J. The cooperating witness would then divulge the information to Vladimir Eydelman, a stockbroker who worked at Oppenheimer & Co. and then at Morgan Stanley, authorities said.

FBI agents arrested Metro, 40, of Katonah, N.Y., and Eydelman, 42, of Colts Neck, N.J., on Wednesday. William Silverman, a lawyer for Eydelman, and Metro’s attorney, James Froccaro Jr., did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

The scheme began in 1999, prosecutors said.

They said Metro repeatedly obtained inside information regarding anticipated corporate mergers and acquisitions on which his firm was working. They said he would arrange to meet the cooperating witness to pass on the inside information, which included the stock exchange ticker symbol of the company in which to invest.

The cooperating witness would write the information on a small piece of paper or napkin, prosecutors said. The witness would then meet with Eydelman near the clock at Grand Central Terminal to give him the stolen information, prosecutors said.

The cooperating witness would show Eydelman the napkin or piece of paper with the ticker symbol, they said. Eydelman would memorize the ticker symbol and the cooperating witness would put the paper into his mouth and chew it, they said.

Metro and Eydelman are charged with conspiracy to commit securities fraud, securities fraud and tender offer fraud. The Securities and Exchange Commission also charged the two with insider trading on Wednesday.

You Can Now Take the Selfie of Your Dreams with Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen

Posted: 19 Mar 2014 10:58 AM PDT

Your dream of infiltrating Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen’s bromance — and consummating it with a selfie — are coming true. As part of a charity auction, a fan and a friend will be able to see one of the final performances of No Man’s Land or Waiting for Godot and then take photos with the cast.

You could be that statue:

You could be that soccer…er…football (don’t offend your new besties):

You could be one of those party blowers:

You could be SANTA:

This is the only time you’ve ever been jealous of a Times Square Elmo:

While co-stars Billy Crudup and Shuler Hensley will also be available for selfie photo opps, auction organizer Charitybuzz indicated via email that the real draw is “everyone’s favorite bromantic couple.” In our wildest dreams, Patrick Stewart would come in his lobster costume. The auction ends March 25. And while the current highest bid is at $2,750, it’s expected to hit $5,000. Proceeds go to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Springtime Is Finally Here as Vernal Equinox Arrives

Posted: 19 Mar 2014 10:44 AM PDT

Chilly weather may still be lingering in some areas of the U.S., but there’s light at the end of the tunnel — Thursday brings the Vernal Equinox, or the official beginning of spring.

Twice a year, the earth’s axis is angled such that the world gets an equal amount of daylight and night. As the axis tilts further, the northern hemisphere receives more direct sunlight, leading to spring and summer’s warmer temperatures. The Equinox helps mark important celebrations around the world like Nowruz, the Persian New Year, Easter, and Passover.

Put away the jackets and gloves and break out the pastel colors, because spring is finally here.

Police Thought This Man’s Gun Tattoo Was Real So They Surrounded His House

Posted: 19 Mar 2014 10:41 AM PDT

Maine State Police armed with assault rifles moved in on a man’s house because he was reported to have a gun on him. Turns out he did, but it was a gun…tattoo. You know, just a tattoo of a life-size handgun made to look like a weapon tucked into the waistband of someone’s pants.

The Morning Sentinel reports that a man in Norridgewock, Maine, named Michael Smith was woken up by a tree removal crew trimming branches Tuesday morning.

Shirtless, he went outside and asked the workers to stop. He went back to sleep, but the workers thought he had a gun and called the police.

Troopers surrounded the premises, but once the officers realized the gun was just some ink, they did not file charges.

Lesson learned: always keep your shirt on.

9 Great Things to Read in (Roughly) 9 Minutes

Posted: 19 Mar 2014 10:41 AM PDT

March is National Reading Month, but don't worry. This article is not going to be about the big, blubbery virtues of Moby Dick or the nuances of Nicholas Nickleby. While reading “great books” is great, it can feel like a commitment that doesn't jibe with modern life, fractured as it is into an unending barrage of tweets and screens and streams.

That doesn't mean we shouldn't ever make time for epic novels or that reading isn't important. Reading is how we encounter and learn new words, those things we use to communicate and get jobs and woo lovers and understand basically everything. Luckily for the busy, distracted reader, not all great writing is long. And there are tools that will help new words stick in our brains that also fit into our device-centric lives.

"It's important, especially for students, to know that vocabulary is something that is living, that is constantly all around them, that literacy doesn't consist of a particular canon of books," says Ben Zimmer, executive producer of, which debuted an addictive word-learning app for iPhones this week. "You can take any text, whether it's a movie script or the lyrics of a song, and pull out the vocab words."

So in honor of National Reading Month, and in recognition of modern attention spans, here are nine examples of things that are not big, important books and can be read in nine minutes or less (though some are admittedly pushing the average word-per-minute rates). Along with each excerpt is a worthy vocab word with context from, which aims to explain words like a good teacher would.

1. A short story: "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," by James Thurber, written in 1939 (and turned into a Ben Stiller movie in 2013), about a man with an imagination

"A woman's scream rose above the bedlam and suddenly a lovely, dark-haired girl was in Walter Mitty's arms. The District Attorney struck at her savagely. Without rising from his chair, Mitty let the man have it on the point of the chin. "You miserable cur!" . . . 'Puppy biscuit,' said Walter Mitty. He stopped walking and the buildings of Waterbury rose up out of the misty courtroom and surrounded him again. A woman who was passing laughed. 'He said "Puppy biscuit,"' she said to her companion. 'That man said 'Puppy biscuit' to himself.'"

bedlam (n.): a scene of madness, chaos or great confusion. The term bedlam comes from the name of a hospital in London, "Saint Mary of Bethlehem," which was devoted to treating the mentally ill in the 1400s. Over time, the pronunciation of "Bethlehem" morphed into bedlam and the term came to be applied to any situation where pandemonium prevails.

2. Song lyrics: "Hurricane," by Bob Dylan and Jacques Levy, a protest song about the imprisonment of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter

Pistol shots ring out in the barroom night
Enter Patty Valentine from the upper hall
She sees the bartender in a pool of blood
Cries out, "My God, they killed them all!"
Here comes the story of the Hurricane
The man the authorities came to blame
For somethin' that he never done
Put in a prison cell, but one time he could-a been
The champion of the world.

hurricane (n.): a severe tropical storm with high winds and heavy rain. When a hurricane comes through your town, you should board up the windows and stay inside. Hurricanes have sustained winds that rotate in a circle, which is why they are often referred to as cyclones.

3. A list of rules: The Art of Courtly Love, by Andreas Cappelanus, contains this set of rules about love, dating to the 12th century

8. No one should be deprived of love without a valid reason.
9. No one can love who is not driven to do so by the power of love.
10. Love always departs from the dwelling place of avarice.
11. It is not proper to love one whom one would be ashamed to marry.
12. The true lover never desires the embraces of any save his lover.
13. Love rarely lasts when it is revealed.

avarice (n.): avarice is a fancy word for good old-fashioned greed. Do you want more and more money? Or cookies? Or anything? Then your heart is full of avarice. When people talk about greed, it’s clearly not a good thing, but avarice has an even worse flavor to it.

4. An essay: "The Peace The Bomb," written by author James Agee at the end of World War II

Even as men saluted the greatest and most grimly Pyrrhic of victories in all the gratitude and good spirit they could muster, they recognized that the discovery which had done most to end the worst of wars might also, quite conceivably, end all wars–if only man could learn its control and use. The promise of good and of evil bordered alike on the infinite.

pyrrhic (adj): Use the adjective pyrrhic to describe a victory that is won, but at too great a cost. The word pyrrhic comes from the Greek general, Pyrrhus, who defeated the Romans at the Battle of Asculum but lost so many troops that he couldn’t defeat Rome itself.

5. A children's poem: "Sick," by Shel Silverstein, chronicles a young lady's attempt to get out of going to school, with a surprising ending

I cannot go to school today,”
Said little Peggy Ann McKay.
“I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash and purple bumps.
My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,
I’m going blind in my right eye.
My tonsils are as big as rocks,
I’ve counted sixteen chicken pox
And there’s one more–that’s seventeen,
And don’t you think my face looks green?

gash (n.): a gash is a deep cut, like a gash on your knee from a biking accident, or a gash in the earth caused by workers who are digging up a broken sewer. The noun gash describes a wound or cut, so it makes sense that as verb, gash describes the act of making that wound or cut.

6. An adult's poem: "Their Lonely Betters," a poem by W.H. Auden from 1950, explains why people talk and plants do not

Not one of them was capable of lying,
There was not one which knew that it was dying
Or could have with a rhythm or a rhyme
Assumed responsibility for time.

Let them leave language to their lonely betters
Who count some days and long for certain letters;
We, too, make noises when we laugh or weep:
Words are for those with promises to keep.

responsibility (n): responsibility is something you’re required to do as an upstanding member of a community. Responsibility comes from the Latin responsus, which means "to respond. It can be another word for trustworthiness, and it can be used to describe the social force that motivates us to take on individual responsibilities.

7. Lessons: For years, Esquire has been asking great people what they have learned and summing up their wisdom, like a 2011 piece investigating the mind of George Clooney

Here’s the thing: We used to lead the world in making things. But we stopped making things. We don’t make anything anymore. I miss that. Hollywood still makes things. We still export a couple billion dollars’ worth of product overseas. Original, new product. Some people might not agree that it’s original or new, but basically it is. There aren’t a whole lot of industries that are exporting things right now — big time with big money. We spent about twenty years making money off of making money. And that’s a very dangerous place to exist.

export (v.): to export something is to move it from its current location to a different territory. The verb export comes from the Latin word exportare which means "to carry out" or "send away." To export something is to move it across borders.

8. A commencement speech: Author David Foster Wallace, now deceased, gave a speech to the graduating class of Kenyon College in 2005

Think of the old cliché about “the mind being an excellent servant but a terrible master.” This, like many clichés, so lame and unexciting on the surface, actually expresses a great and terrible truth. It is not the least bit coincidental that adults who commit suicide with firearms almost always shoot themselves in the head. And the truth is that most of these suicides are actually dead long before they pull the trigger. And I submit that this is what the real, no-bull-value of your liberal-arts education is supposed to be about: How to keep from going through your comfortable, prosperous, respectable adult life dead, unconscious, a slave to your head and to your natural default-setting of being uniquely, completely, imperially alone, day in and day out.

prosperous (adj.): If you have a new car and some flashy new shoes, then you could be described as prosperous, meaning you have material success that seems like it will continue to grow. The adjective prosperous often describes a person or a person's future, but it can apply to anything that's experiencing growth and success. Prosperous derives from the Latin word prosperus, meaning "doing well."

9. A children's book: Oh, The Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss lays out the somewhat brighter outlook for the future

You'll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know. You'll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life's
a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.
And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)

dexterous (adj): If you’re dexterous, you’re good with your hands, but it can mean any skillful or clever physical movement. A kid’s dexterous ball handling and footwork can aid him on the soccer field. Dexterous can also be used to describe mental skill and agility — like the dexterous handling of an uncomfortable situation at work.

Or, perhaps, the dexterous handling leading a busy life and plugging in the little holes with great bits of reading.

This is an edition of Wednesday Words, a weekly feature on language. For the previous post, click here.

The Mobile Ad Market Is Exploding Because of These Two Companies

Posted: 19 Mar 2014 10:40 AM PDT

The once-tiny mobile advertising sector is seeing huge growth, mainly thanks to the efforts of Google and Facebook. The two tech giants led a 105 percent gain in mobile ad spending in 2013, according to research firm eMarketer. In total, marketers spent almost $18 billion for ads on phones and tablets last year. That figure is projected to rise in 2014 to $31 billion, comprising about one-quarter of overall digital ad spending.

Facebook, somewhat surprisingly, has been the biggest beneficiary of the quick shift to mobile. Less than two years ago the company's stock price was plummeting because of doubts that the social network could replicate its desktop-based ad business on smartphones. But the company began cramming ads directly into users' news feeds and selling more mobile-native products, like ads that let users install a new app with just a few clicks. Now the majority of Facebook's ad business comes from mobile, and its share of the total mobile advertising market is projected to pass 21 percent this year, up from just 5.4 percent in 2012. A newly released video ad product and increased monetization of the photo-sharing app Instagram will help keep Facebook's mobile business humming.

Google, meanwhile, is watching its long-held dominance of the mobile ad market slowly erode. The company is still the juggernaut of the sector, netting 49 percent of mobile ad revenue in 2013. But last year was the first time Google didn't collect a majority of overall mobile ad spending, and eMarketer projects that its share will slip to less than 47 percent this year. The company's business model, selling ads related to users' search queries, faces headwinds on mobile. Instead of visiting search engines, mobile users often pull up specific apps like Yelp or Amazon to find information. Compounding Google's problems is the fact that the company's mobile ads cost significantly less than their desktop ads, according to The New York Times. Facebook, on the other hand, has a smaller legacy desktop business to unravel, and the social network has claimed that its mobile ads cost more than its desktop ones.

Still, both companies are expected to remain atop the mobile mountaintop for the foreseeable future (Twitter is a distant third in mobile ad revenue, with a 2.4 percent share). eMarketer predicts Facebook will pull in $6.8 billion via mobile this year, while Google will earn $14.7 billion. That's still a large gap, but the chasm between the two giants is closing fast.


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