Blog Posts by Eric Pfeiffer

  • Treasure map: See the wealthiest person in each U.S. state

    A map of the wealthiest person in each of the 50 states (Movoto)A map of the wealthiest person in each of the 50 states (Movoto)

    With a personal fortune of more than $80 billion, Washington state’s Bill Gates is not only the richest person in America but also in the entire world. And at $41.4B New York’s David Koch may be the nation’s most divisive billionaire.

    But those are just two high-profile examples. The U.S. is home to more billionaires than any other country in the world. So, real estate broker site Movoto has created a cool, interactive map showing exactly who is the richest individual in each of the nation’s 50 states.

    The map is an interesting way of looking at wealth across our country, full of fun, intriguing and some surprising results.

    For example, Phil Knight may have humble roots, developing his now famous waffle sole shoe swoosh brand in Eugene, Oregon. But he’s now the state’s richest person, valued at more than $19 billion.

    And who knew that the descendants of Walmart founder Sam Walton had so richly spread their inheritance that it makes them the wealthiest persons in three states? It’s

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    Have you ever wondered what the differences are between the character Stephen Colbert and the real-life Stephen Colbert?

    The world will get a full serving of the “real” Colbert once he takes over hosting duties from David Letterman on “The Late Show” next year. But for now, we’ve seen only flashes of his real persona.

    On Friday, Colbert gave viewers a glimpse of his true self when he hosted a 10-minute Q&A session offering advice to young women for the website Rookie Mag as part of its “Ask a Grown Man” series.

    The questions were across the board, including whether a teenage girl should be able to sleep at her boyfriend’s house, what is love, why boys are mean and how to know if someone really likes you.

    Colbert’s advice was thoughtful, sincere, often moving and at times conservative compared with his more liberal political views.

    The Colbert reveal was more special because the iconic “Colbert Report” host almost never breaks character, whether on the show or at public events. There

    Read More »from Real talk: Stephen Colbert breaks character to give thoughtful advice to young women
  • Argentina says it won’t move ‘world’s saddest polar bear’ to new home

    More than 800,000 people and a few celebrities are lobbying Argentina to send its last captive polar bear, which they say is depressed by its solitary existence in a less-than-ideal enclosure, to Canada.

    “We plead that you intervene on this issue and ask the officials in Mendoza who have the polar bear Arturo prisoner to accept Arturo's transfer to the reserve so he can live in suitable conditions,” reads a petition on the Change.org website, which has more than 600,000 signatures. A similar petition from Greenpeace has gathered more than 200,000 signatures so far.

    Polar bear experts say Arturo, who's been dubbed "the world's saddest polar bear," can be regularly seen pacing in his enclosure, baring his teeth, tilting his head and rocking back and forth, all considered signs of stress in polar bears.

    The petitioners point out that Arturo’s last companion died in 2012 and say Argentina’s warm temperatures and the zoo’s comparatively small enclosure are diminishing the bear’s quality of

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  • A modest proposal: Judge asks if firing squad and guillotine are preferable to lethal injection

    In this Sept. 22, 2003 file photo, Judge Alex Kozinski, of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, gestures as Chief Judge Mary Schroeder looks on in San Francisco. A decision by a divided three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2014, reinstated a lawsuit filed against YouTube by an actress who appeared in an anti-Muslim film that sparked violence in many parts of the Middle East. The 9th Circuit said the YouTube posting infringed actress Cindy Lee Garcia's copyright to her role, and she, not just the filmmaker, could demand its removal. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, Pool, file)In this Sept. 22, 2003 file photo, Judge Alex Kozinski, of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, gestures as Chief Judge Mary Schroeder looks on in San Francisco. A decision by a divided three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2014, reinstated a lawsuit filed against YouTube by an actress who appeared in an anti-Muslim film that sparked violence in many parts of the Middle East. The 9th Circuit said the YouTube posting infringed actress Cindy Lee Garcia's copyright to her role, and she, not just the filmmaker, could demand its removal. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, Pool, file)

    The escalating controversy surrounding a planned execution in Arizona has caused one judge to mockingly suggest that states return to the practice of using the guillotine and firing squad rather than lethal injection.

    “The guillotine is probably best but seems inconsistent with our national ethos. And the electric chair, hanging and the gas chamber are each subject to occasional mishaps," Judge Alex Kozinski of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in an opinion on the court’s decision to temporarily halt the execution of convicted murderer Joseph Rudolph Wood. "The firing squad strikes me as the most promising. Eight or 10 large-caliber rifle bullets fired at close range can inflict massive damage, causing instant death every time."

    Kozinski, an outspoken death penalty critic, made his satirical comments in protest after Arizona refused to release important details to Wood about his execution, including where the chemicals to be used in the process are obtained.

    The death

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  • Police return ring 25 years after it went missing

    How long does it take to track down a long-lost, high school class ring? Twenty-five years and three days — at least for one lucky and surprised man.

    While making an arrest at a Wal-Mart store in Scarborough, Maine, police noticed that a ring worn by a suspect held in custody didn’t match her name.

    The ring, which had a football emblem, was engraved with "1987" and the name “Jerry Portier.”

    A crime analyst at the Scarborough Police Department spent three days tracking down the ring’s rightful owner, who said it had been missing since 1989 when Portier lost it while he was away at college in Massachusetts. Portier now lives in Arizona.

    “His first words were, ‘You’re kidding me,’" Det. Ron Nelsen told local affiliate WMTV.

    After confirming that the ring belongs to Portier, Scarborough police say they shipped the ring to him just in time for his next class reunion. That’s, of course, assuming it doesn’t get lost in the mail.

    Follow Eric Pfeiffer on Twitter (@ericpfeiffer).

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  • George Harrison memorial tree killed by beetles

    George Harrison was rememberd by hundreds of fans in Grifffith Park. A plaque was unveiled next to a tree planted in his honor with family members and special guests present. (Credit Image: Chuck Green/ZUMAPRESS.com)George Harrison was rememberd by hundreds of fans in Grifffith Park. A plaque was unveiled next to a tree planted in his honor with family members and special guests present. (Credit Image: Chuck Green/ZUMAPRESS.com)

    Isn't it ironic?

    A memorial tree planted in Los Angeles to honor the late Beatles musician George Harrison needs to be replaced after it was infested with real-life beetles.

    Los Angeles Councilman Tom LaBonge made the announcement over the weekend, according to the Los Angeles Times. The tree was planted near the Griffith Observatory in 2004 to honor the musician who passed away in 2001.

    Bark beetles are common in Los Angeles and regularly feed on pine trees, the same type of tree planted at the Harrison memorial.

    Clearly a fan, LaBonge was reportedly in attendance for the final tour stop of another former Beatle; Ringo Starr was performing with his band at the nearby Greek Theatre on Saturday.

    Harrison spent his final days in Los Angeles and was honored with the plaque including a written tribute, which reads:

    "In memory of a great humanitarian who touched the world as an artist, a musician and a gardener."

    LaBonge says Griffith Park officials plan to replant a pine tree similar to

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  • Missouri Congressman Todd Akin's remarks about a woman's body resisting fertilization in a legitimate rape created outrage. Despite pressure from his party, Akin stayed in the Senate race and lost to incumbent Claire McCaskill. (Sid Hastings/AP Photo)Missouri Congressman Todd Akin's remarks about a woman's body resisting fertilization in a legitimate rape created outrage. Despite pressure from his party, Akin stayed in the Senate race and lost to incumbent Claire McCaskill. (Sid Hastings/AP Photo)

    Two years after declaring that some rape is "legitimate," former Congressman Todd Akin is making headlines again.

    Akin now says that he was the real victim, after his headline-grabbing comments derailed his Senate campaign and made him a national punch line. Akin was a member of Congress for more than 20 years before most of the political class even knew he existed.

    But the Missouri Republican became the center of a national political debate in 2012, when his Senate campaign was turned upside down after Akin made his infamous comments about cases of “legitimate rape” and whether or not rape victims could “shut that whole thing down” and prevent themselves from becoming pregnant.

    “Legitimate rape is a law enforcement term, and it’s an abbreviation for 'legitimate case of rape,'” Akin said in an interview with NBC News’ Chuck Todd. “Do you know of anybody who thinks that rape is legitimate? That doesn’t even make sense. I know of no conservatives who think rape is legitimate.”

    Akin says

    Read More »from Todd Akin fires back on ‘legitimate rape,’ says news media and Karl Rove made him ‘villain of the whole world'
  • Mysterious 260-foot crater discovered in remote region of Siberia

    A helicopter flying over a region of Sibera referred to as the “end of the world,” recorded footage of a mysterious, giant crater in the middle of the ground estimated to be 260 feet in diameter.

    At first, skeptical observers thought the images must be a fake. After all, it appears to be something out a summer science fiction blockbuster, with the giant hole appearing to descend infinitely below the surface.

    But Russian officials confirmed the crater’s existence and say they are sending a team of experts to investigate the site located in an area known as the Yamal peninsula. Scientists from the Center for the Study of the Arctic and the Cryosphere Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences plan to take samples from around the scene.

    So, what is responsible for the giant crater?

    A mysterious giant hole appeared in Siberia, and scientists are puzzled by how it formedA mysterious giant hole appeared in Siberia, and scientists are puzzled by how it formed"We can definitely say that it is not a meteorite. No details yet," a spokesperson from Russia’s Emergencies Ministry told the Siberian Times.

    Experts say it’s probably not the result of a giant meteor crash

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  • NASA says discovering alien life in next 20 years is 'within reach'

    An artist's illustration of NASA's 36-year-old ISEE-3 spacecraft near the moon. The private ISEE-3 Reboot Project aims to restart the vintage probe to perform new science in space.An artist's illustration of NASA's 36-year-old ISEE-3 spacecraft near the moon. The private ISEE-3 Reboot Project aims to restart the vintage probe to perform new science in space.

    As NASA prepares to launch a powerful new satellite into space, a team of experts from America’s space agency said it's increasingly likely that alien life will be discovered within 20 years.

    In a posting on its site, NASA said the new research tools will show that “finding life beyond Earth is within reach.”

    “I think in the next 20 years we will find out we are not alone in the universe,” NASA astronomer Kevin Hand said during a panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.

    Hand pointed to growing evidence suggesting that some form of alien life may be in our own galactic neighborhood on Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons that is home to massive amounts of water.

    NASA announced that it plans to launch the Transiting Exoplanet Surveying Satellite and James Webb Space Telescope in 2017, which will work in conjunction with other existing technology to search for habitable, Earth-like planets within the Milky Way galaxy.

    “Just imagine the moment, when we find potential

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  • Arizona sheriff defends his rallying of anti-immigration protesters: ‘I’m not the villain’

    Sheriff Babeu: This is 'outrageous'Sheriff Babeu: This is 'outrageous'

    Sheriff Joe Arpaio may have at least temporarily been dethroned as Arizona’s most controversial law enforcer.

    Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu made national headlines on Tuesday after a group of about 80 people gathered in Oracle, Ariz., to protest the arrival of a bus carrying immigrant children from Central America. Another group of about 50 people showed up to support the children.

    Protesters were tipped off by a post to the Pinal County Sheriff Department’s Facebook page which said about 40 to 50 children were being transported to the "Sycamore Canyon Boys Ranch" in Oracle, Ariz.

    "We already have our hands full fighting the Drug Cartels and Human Smugglers,” Babeu wrote in the Facebook post. “We don't need unaccompanied juveniles from Central America being flown into Arizona  compliments of President Obama. Local residents have every right to be upset and to protest. Our federal government has failed to enforce any immigration laws.”

    In an interview with CNN on Wednesday morning,

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