News at a Glance

By Sarah Masker
Elm Staff Writer

1.) The zombies are already taking over. Or, at least that’s what it looks like on Highway 160 near Fort Mill, South Carolina. Electronic signs, which normally report traffic conditions or crashes, recently informed drivers of “Zombies Ahead.” Others suggested that drivers “Watch for Hunters” and “Be alert for Tanks.” Ken Wilson, a member or the state’s transportation department says that a key is needed to open the signs’ control box, while a code is necessary to change the wording. As of now, there have been no sightings of the undead or tanks, but no worries—the hackers will be keeping you updated.

2.) Pets can cause a lot of damage to their owners’ homes, yet Giovani, a 6-year-old African tortoise, takes the cake. After crawling out of its tank, the turtle knocked over the terrarium’s heat lamp, sending it crashing to the floor and sparking a fire that quickly spread through the New York apartment. Although Giovani survived, another turtle that lived in a water tank was killed, and one firefighter and three police officers suffered smoke inhalation.

3.) Pole dancing is the up-and-coming workout of the year, but a 19-year-old Palm City woman might not get much time to practice her moves. She was packing up her possessions after a breakup when she realized that her $400, 15-foot “expert dancing pole” was missing. Her ex claims to have gone to the store while she was at work, and he suggested that someone must have broken into the home and stolen the pole while both of them were gone. The woman, however, believes her ex-boyfriend stole the pole, which would require disassembling to be removed from the house. So much for a friendly breakup.

4.) Usually, vegetarians are tolerable company, as long as they refrain from forcing their ideologies on the general public. When a vegetarian passenger on a Continental Airlines flight decided her meal was too disgusting to eat, she threw her tray at a flight attendant, passing all boundaries of acceptable behavior and entering the dangerous “will you be pressing charges?” zone. An airline official stated, “She didn’t like what she was being served….So she threw the food tray – and the food – at the attendant.” When Port Authority officers met the plane at the gate in Newark, the flight attendant decided not to press charges.

5.) Obesity certainly isn’t helping with the personal-bubble invasion happening on public transportation. The Federal Transit Administration is proposing to change the average passenger weight from 150 to 175 pounds, and the floor space per standing passenger from 1.5 to 1.75 square feet. Additionally, since the average bus passenger is heavier than ever before, the FTA wants to update the regulations on structural strength and distortion test procedures to ensure that the buses remain safe and sturdy. Of course, one way to fix the obesity problem could be…walking. Or biking. Any form of exercise, really.

6.) While it’s certainly no 101 Dalmatians, the 17 Great Dane puppies born by cesarean section in Poland come close. The eight male and nine female pedigree puppies were born to 4-year-old Hania, after her owner, breeder Gabriela Kubalska, took her to the veterinary clinic to spare the mommy a long labor with her first litter. The puppies demand constant attention from Hania and another female Great Dane that is helping to nurse them; between the 19 dogs, the ground floor is pretty much covered. A few more puppies and Poland’s got a Disney classic.

7.) Websites are no longer simply designated as “.com” or “.org.” Enter “.xxx,” the new domain for pornographic websites. While religious groups worry that this will legitimatize the content, pornographers worry the government could try to mandate the domain’s use. While “.xxx” has sparked philosophical debate, the issue comes down to money, naturally. With registrars being charged $60 a year for domain names, and as many as 500,000 expected to be sold before summer, the “.xxx” domain promises to be quite the money maker.

8.) Forget brownies and go for Fruity Pebbles. A Pittsburgh fifth grader brought “special” Fruity Pebbles treats to school and shared them with classmates at Stoneman Elementary School, even though he knew they contained pot. Staff members got involved and police and paramedics were contacted. The student says she got the treats from her older sister, who claims to have received them from the medical marijuana dispensary. Police are investigating whether she had a legitimate card to obtain the pot.

9.) Ah, the old debate: does money buy happiness? According to a survey titled “Joys and Dilemma of Wealth” by Boston College, the answer is definitely no. The wealthiest set of subjects revealed that they are worried about appearing ungrateful, raising bratty children, and failing to meet expectations. On subject stated, “I feel extremely lucky, but it’s hard to get other, non-wealthy people to believe it’s not more significant than that….The novelty of money has worn off.” Elizabeth Dunn, who conducts research on happiness, says, “One reason money might not provide as much happiness is because people might not spend it right. We find that people get more happiness by spending money on others.”

10.) Amazon is breaking into the app business with the Amazon Appstore, which includes free and paid apps from Android software developers. Amazon chose to focus on Android because of its rapid growth; Google’s Android Market app store offers more than 150,000 apps. Users viewing the site on a computer are able to test out many apps before purchasing them, and visitors receive a paid app for free each day. The Appstore is available at and a mobile version is available for download at the same address.

March 25, 2011
Volume LXXXI Issue 19

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