Blog Posts by Eric Pfeiffer

  • Yahoo! readers help raise more than $20,000 for cancer patient’s treatment

    Randy Cox (Image credit: Tuesday, we told you about 6-year-old Drew Cox, who in one day raised $10,000 for his dad Randy's cancer treatment—all through his lemonade stand.

    In the story, we linked to a GiveForward donation's site established by Randy's longtime friend Tameka Royal, an ER nurse in Texas. After more than 12,000 Yahoo readers linked to the article on Facebook, Royal says the GiveForward page went viral.

    "I was unaware it was on Yahoo News but I knew something happened and the story got out because the GiveForward site just went viral," Royal said in an email to Yahoo News. "I never imagined we would surpass the goal I set of $5,000. I am praising God with every donation because this family has not asked for anything but our prayers."

    Donations to the page, 48 hours later, have surpassed $20,000. Royal plans to keep the donations page open until June 1.

    Royal says she has been friends with Randy since the two were classmates in high school, and she has known his wife, Tonya, even longer. The pair took a dance class together when Royal was just 6 years old, the same age as Randy's son Drew.

    "Many people have asked what made me make the site. Well, when I heard of Randy's diagnosis my heart dropped for him and his family," Royal said.

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  • 6-year-old allegedly locked in jail cell as part of school field trip

    A 6-year-old was allegedly locked in a jail cell as part of a school field trip (AP/Rich Pedroncelli/file)It was supposed to be a field trip to a public library for 6-year-old Stephen Stovall and his classmates. Instead, the kindergartner told his Mom that found himself locked in jail.

    The Chicago Sun-Times reports that parents at Sunnyside Elementary were told their children would be taking a visit to a library and even signed waivers stating such. The children were instead taken to the local Hillside Police Station, where they were shown guns and ankle bracelet monitors. Stovall says he was then temporarily locked inside a jail cell at the station.

    "Is this supposed to be a scared-straight tactic?" Stovall's mother Carmen Ware told the paper. "For 6-year-olds? I don't get this. What exactly is Sunnyside School saying—that it is a temporary holding facility for the jailhouse?"

    The Sun-Times originally reported that Stovall had been locked in the jail cell, but Hillside Police Chief Joseph M. Lukaszek now disputes the child's claim, telling the paper, "They were never placed in jail cells.

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  • John McCain jokes about President Obama eating his son’s dog

    A November 2010 photo of John McCain standing next to his son's dog Apollo. (AP)John McCain took a swipe at President Barack Obama on Twitter Thursday afternoon, referencing a story about Obama eating dog meat as a child.

    McCain posted a picture from November 2010 of his son Jimmy's bulldog, Apollo, on Twitter, with the following quip:

    "Good pic of my son Jimmy's bulldog, Apollo - I'm sorry Mr. President, he's not on the menu!"

    Conservatives have been making light of a passage from Obama's memoir, "Dreams From My Father," in which Obama writes:

    With Lolo, I learned how to eat small green chill peppers raw with dinner (plenty of rice), and, away from the dinner table, I was introduced to dog meat (tough), snake meat (tougher), and roasted grasshopper (crunchy). Like many Indonesians, Lolo followed a brand of Islam that could make room for the remnants of more ancient animist and Hindu faiths. He explained that a man took on the powers of whatever he ate: One day soon, he promised, he would bring home a piece of tiger meat for us to share.

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  • ‘Hangover Heaven’ bus promises relief in 45 minutes or less

    A Las Vegas anesthesiologist is offering customers a "cure" for hangovers in 45 minutes or less. For a fee ranging between $90 and $150, Dr. Jason Burke's Hangover Heaven will connect you to an IV bag and then send you back on your way in less than an hour.

    "An hour or two with a horrible hangover can be an eternity," Burke tells HLN. "The main goal of this business is to get people back to vacation."

    The Hangover Heaven website describes its services as a "revolutionary new treatment," but reports say it is simply selling the same treatment offered to ailing drinkers in hospitals around the world.

    What is unique here is that customers can call the bus for treatment of symptoms including headaches and nausea without having to visit an actual hospital emergency room. The bus is outfitted with emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and Burke personally administers medicine to patients intravenously.

    While Burke says his goal is to get people back to the enjoyment of their vacations, he also said the Hangover Heaven treatment is not one to be abused. "This isn't designed for people whose main method of drinking alcohol is through a funnel," he told HLN. "This is a professional medical practice. Just because it's on a bus doesn't mean it's second rate."

    However, a look through the company's online store shows they offer several T-shirts that seem to make light of the negative aspects of excessive behavior. One T-shirt reads, "Now if I could just find Herpes Heaven," while another says, "I feel like Jesus on Easter morning."

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  • Is James Cameron launching an asteroid mining company?

    Are James Cameron and Planetary Resources planning to mine asteroids? (AP/Shizuo Kambayashi)A new company called Planetary Resources held its official launch today promising a new venture that would merge "space exploration and natural resources," while adding "trillions" of dollars to the global GDP.

    The company counts some heavy-hitters amongst its founders and financial backers, including filmmaker/explorer James Cameron, Google co-founders Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, Ross Perot Jr. Charles Simonyi, formerly of Microsoft.

    The group's somewhat vague press release has the site Technology Review thinking the new company's goal "sounds like asteroid mining."

    Planetary Resources announced its launch on Tuesday morning at an event held at the Charles Simonyi Space Gallery at The Museum of Flight in Seattle.

    And while they have set up several online destinations for the company, including Facebook and Twitter pages, no more specific information has been revealed to the public.

    You can read the group's full press release after the jump, which promises, "a new space venture with a mission to help ensure humanity's prosperity."

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  • How Scott Sigler used free media to become a best-selling author

    Author Scott Sigler (Photo credit: Amy Davis Roth)"I'm writing to give people incredible value for their dollar, not win awards."

    San Francisco-based writer Scott Sigler is a New York Times best-selling novelist. The science fiction and horror writer has a growing fan base, and when he tours the country to promote a book, as he recently did for his new novel "Nocturnal," those same fans show up.

    But it wasn't always like this. Scott Sigler used to give away all of his writing for free and says it was the best career move he ever made.

    "Meeting the fans is fantastic. But it's the people who already like you [who show up to book readings]," Sigler said in an interview with Yahoo News.

    So rewind the clock several years before Sigler had four popular novels released under the Crown Publishing label. He was still a writer but one without a dedicated audience. That's when Sigler began taking an unconventional route toward building his readership: He started giving away his writing for free.

    "If they try you out for free, they become

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  • Mega Millions jackpot goes to retired Illinois couple

    Merle and Patricia Butler stand next to their Mega Millions jackpot check (AP/Seth Perlman)A retired couple from southern Illinois has claimed the third and final ticket from last month's $656 million Mega Millions jackpot.

    Merle and Patricia Butler appeared at a ceremony on Wednesday morning in their hometown of Red Bud with Illinois Lottery officials. It was announced that the Butlers chose to take a lump sum payment of $158 million after taxes.

    The other two winning parties have kept their names anonymous. But it was recently announced that three Maryland school employees had purchased the second of the Mega Millions jackpot tickets. All three were working second jobs just to cover their monthly bills.

    The Butlers bought their winning Mega Millions ticket for $3 on March 30, at a MotoMart convenience store in Red Bud, about 40 miles southeast of St. Louis, Mo. The same day the Butlers purchased their ticket, the Mega Millions hit a record of $640 million.

    The Mega Millions jackpot has generated several fascinating stories about other winners and at least one person who

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  • Abducted newborn found safe after mother fatally shot

    Update 10:30pm ET: This piece has been updated to reflect a breaking news development

    Police say they have found a 3-day-old baby who was abducted after his mother was shot multiple times outside a doctor's office in Houston, Tex.

    The baby was safe when authorities found him and his father is on his way to be reunited, Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon told the Associated Press on Tuesday.

    Kayla Marie Golden, 28, was shot repeatedly after reportedly having an altercation outside a pediatric center where she had just left with her son. The alleged shooter, a woman described as being in her late 20's, is said to have sped off in a bloodstained Lexus with the baby, Lt. Dan Norris said of the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office.

    "The child was being put into the suspect vehicle and that's when the mother tried to get into the car. The car sped away, knocking the lady to the ground," Lt. Norris said.

    A male passenger was also reportedly in the vehicle with the shooting suspect.

    Newborn Keegan Schuchardt was said to be wearing a green and white one-piece outfit that has the "Handsome" on the front.

    Witnesses reported hearing as many as seven gunshots outside the clinic, shortly after 2pm local time on Tuesday. The shooting suspect is described as a "thin, gold-haired black woman, apparently in her late 20s or early 30s," Norris said. They also said the Lexus was sky blue or light green.

    "I thought she just passed out. Then somebody ran in here and said, 'Somebody got shot,'" witness Joshua Jesson said.

    Golden was pronounced dead after being brought to nearby Hermann Memorial Hospital.

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  • 6-year-old girl handcuffed by police over ‘tantrum’

    6-year-old Salecia Johnson was handcuffed by police over alleged 'tantrum' (AP/

    It's been quite the day for 6-year-olds in the news. Earlier, we told you about the courageous, 6-year-old Texas boy who has already raised $10,000 for his Dad's cancer treatment.

    In less positive news, a 6-year-old girl in Georgia was handcuffed by police and charged with assault after throwing a "tantrum" in her elementary school. Local tv affiliate 13WMAZ reports that Salecia Johnson, who is in kindergarten, was detained by police after her alleged outburst.

    "Our policy is that any detainee transported to our station in a patrol vehicle is to be handcuffed in the back. There is no age discrimination on that rule," Milledgeville Chief of Police Dray Swicord, told the station.

    Swicord said the officer who handcuffed Johnson is not facing an investigation over his actions. Swicord added that Johnson was handcuffed for her safety as well as the safety of others. She was taken to the principal's office after pushing two other students, according to a police report.

    "The student was never placed in a holding cell or jail cell and the student's safety was of the utmost importance," Swicord said.

    However, Johnson's parents are trying to organize a community protest against the officer's actions, including reported plans to contact civil rights activist and MSNBC host Al Sharpton.

    The officer's police report says Johnson began tearing items off the school principal's office walls and was throwing furniture. The report says Johnson knocked over a shelf that injured the principal.

    Johnson also was reportedly biting a doorknob and attempting to break a glass frame while jumping on top of a paper shredder.

    "She has mood swings some days, which all of us had mood swings some days," Johnson's mother Constance Ruff told WMAZ. "I guess that was just one of her bad days."

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  • Space shuttle Discovery reaches final destination in Washington, DC

    Discovery makes its final descent over Wash., D.C. (Image courtesy: Eric Uhlir/Flickr)

    Space may be the final frontier, but one of the world's most-traveled space shuttles had to piggyback a ride to its earthbound final destination in Washington, D.C.

    The space shuttle Discovery landed at Washington Dulles International Airport on Tuesday afternoon before being transported to the Smithsonian, where it will go on display.

    The shuttle logged 147 million miles before its retirement, including flying 39 missions over a 27-year period. Discovery first launched on August 30, 1984, and began its final space voyage on February 24, 2011.

    Riding on the back of a 747 jet, Discovery took flight from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and flew around the Washington Monument and White House at an elevation of 1,500 feet before landing at the airport just outside the nation's capital.

    The shuttle's final voyage captured the attention of Washington residents, who took to Twitter and other social media outlets to mark the occasion.

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