Blog Posts by Mike Krumboltz, Yahoo News

  • After four crashes in or near his house, man pleads with city to slow traffic

    Local officials have yet to reply to requests for signs, speed bumps

    After four automobile accidents on his property the past two years, the most recent leaving his house uninhabitable, a California homeowner is pleading with officials to do something to make drivers slow down.

    Early Easter morning, Jeff Sauerwein, his wife and their two children were sleeping in their Highland home when they heard a tremendous boom.

    “We’re asleep in bed, and all of a sudden the house shakes," Sauerwein told CBS Los Angeles. "Sounds like a big explosion. We both jumped up. Me and my wife look at each other. We thought it was an earthquake.”

    Apparently it was a car plowing into the side of the Sauerwein house. The driver left the car and ran off, jumping a fence, but was captured a short time later, according to CBS Los Angeles.

    The crash marked the fourth time in two years a car crashed in or around their home. The home is located just before a "hard right turn."

    “What’s it gonna take? For a car to hit my house or someone to die? Well, last Sunday someone hit my house.

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  • Hilarious ad features dog getting hit by car. Wait, what?

    Seeing a dog get hit by a car is awful — there's no two ways about it. So what would possess an autombile company to air a commercial featuring a car accidentally running into man's best friend?

    It turns out the dog is a regular Meryl Streep.

    In what appears to be an ad for the Russian division of Subaru, a driver is heading down a dark and wooded road. Suddenly a dog darts from the trees. The car hits it. The woman backs up, turns on the hazard lights and gets out to see if she can help.

    It doesn't look good for the pooch, but just as the woman turns away from the dog, presumably overcome with emotion, the dog gets up, sprints for the open car door, hops in and takes off — he really just wanted to take the woman's Subaru for a joy ride. They don't say "lie like a dog" for nothing.

    The spot, which Fast Company reports as being a real ad, is a lot edgier than Subaru's American ad, also featuring dogs behind the wheel. Whereas the Russian spot is mischievous, the American version plays

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  • California city pays homeless $3,000 each to leave the area

    The Northern California city is offering to pay 28 homeless people $3,000 each to leave a former landfill area that is set to be transformed into a park, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

    According to the settlement by Albany city officials, homeless people have to leave the area by Friday with any pets and possessions. They must promise to stay away from the area for at least a year, according to the Chronicle.

    While 28 people who signed the settlement will receive $3,000 each, there are 25 additional homeless people who will not be paid and will also have to leave. Some of the residents had lived in the area for 15 years or more, according to the East Bay Express.

    The settlement, which was negotiated by an advocacy group on behalf of the homeless, brings an end to a long-standing legal dispute between them and the city, which seeks to expand a park into the 31-acre area known as the Bulb.

    From the Chronicle:

    Osha Neumann, an attorney with the East Bay Community Law Center who

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  • Manned mission to Mars 'necessary' for human race's survival: NASA chief

    The controversial vision for the mission would include 'lassoing' an asteroid to practice on

    At a recent summit in Washington, D.C., NASA chief Charles Bolden outlined the space agency's plans for a manned mission to Mars by 2030, calling it "necessary if the human race is to survive."

    Bolden has described a massive effort the space agency might undertake to conduct such a mission: Start by lassoing an asteroid and bringing it into the moon's orbit by 2015. Then, astronauts could perform test missions on the asteroid, according to the International Business Times. The asteroid would serve as a necessary "proving ground" to inform NASA whether it is ready for Mars.

    The former astronaut and Marine general's vision has drawn critics, among them some members of Congress, who would prefer NASA forgo the asteroid and go straight to the red planet, or use the moon instead.

    Bolden explained in an earlier discussion the asteroid would not be the end goal, but the beginning step in a Mars mission. He directly addressed skeptics in Tuesday's summit, saying, "Get over it, to be blunt

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  • Cow-milking robots make farmers, animals happier

    Take a hike, farmers. The cows, it turns out, are perfectly capable of deciding when they need to be milked.

    A new trend in farm-based robotics has dramatically changed the way cows are cared for and milked at farms in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and New York, according to a report from the New York Times.

    Robotic milking systems, like the one in the Times story, have been popular in Europe for years, but are only just gaining traction in the U.S.

    The benefits are many. The robots work around the clock, improving efficiency. Because the cows are able to be milked more often, they're in less pain. And the farmers get to sleep just a tiny bit more or concentrate on the millions of other things that have to be done.

    To a city slicker unfamiliar with this sort of thing, the machine looks a bit like a car wash, or something from "The Jetsons." The cow steps in. A laser scans a bar code on the cow. The cow gets milked. And voilà — next customer, step right up.

    The Times article profiles the

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  • Five things you (probably) don't know about Earth Day

    The sun rises over Emmarencia Dam in central Johannesburg, South Africa, April 22, 2014. As Earth Day is marked across the globe local residents enjoy the natural surroundings is the middle of one of the continents biggest cities. As winter approaches the leaves on the trees are turning and showing their autumn colors. (EPA/KIM LUDBROOK)

    Earth Day turns 44 on Tuesday, and it's more popular than ever. One might suspect the holiday was created by eco-warriors in tie-dyed shirts and leather-fringe vests. Not so. Read on for a collection of facts you (probably) didn't know about Earth Day.

    1. Earth Day was started by politicians

    The holiday and celebration of all things Mother Earth was founded by a Wisconsin politician named Gaylord Nelson. Over the course of his political career, Nelson served as governor of Wisconsin and a three-term Democratic senator. Nelson passed away in 2005, but he left behind a legacy of sensible environmentalism and bipartisanship.

    It was a visit to California during which he witnessed an oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara that inspired him to do something about the growing problem of air and water pollution. Nelson did his best to make the movement a nonpartisan one by asking Rep. Pete McCloskey, R-Calif., to serve as his co-chair, according to EarthDay.org.

    2. One in four deaths

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  • Rio overpass demolished as part of Olympic redevelopment

    Hosting the Olympics is an honor. It's also a lot of work: Host cities build stadiums, construct hotels and, in some cases, even blow up highways to get ready to handle the massive influx of athletes and spectators.

    Case in point: Rio.

    Explosives are detonated to demolish part of the Perimetral overpass, as part of Rio's Porto Maravilha (Marvelous Port) urbanisation project, in Rio de Janeiro April 20, 2014. The project is for the city's redevelopment ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes (BRAZIL - Tags: SPORT SOCIETY OLYMPICS BUSINESS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY POLITICS)

    Photographs captured demolition of part of the Perimetral overpass on April 20. The destruction of the stretch of road is just one part of the city's plans to redevelop in preparation for the 2016 Olympics.

    People gather to observe the Perimetral overpass, after its partial demolition as part of Rio's Porto Maravilha (Marvelous Port) urbanisation project, in Rio de Janeiro April 20, 2014. The project is for the city's redevelopment ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes (BRAZIL - Tags: POLITICS SPORT SOCIETY OLYMPICS BUSINESS)

    Nobody can say Rio isn't taking its job seriously.  The demolition drew plenty of onlookers who marveled at the overpass's collapse.

    People gather to observe the Perimetral overpass, after its partial demolition as part of Rio's Porto Maravilha (Marvelous Port) urbanisation project, in Rio de Janeiro April 20, 2014. The project is for the city's redevelopment ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games. (REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes)

    This is the most recent part of the highway to be destroyed. Another was demolished on Nov. 24, 2013; that included "29 spans and 232 beams that together weigh 5,104 tons," according to odebrecht.com, website of the Brazilian construction and engineering multinational corporation.

    The Rio Olympics aren't scheduled to open until Aug. 5, 2016. However, prep work isn't something to be left until the last minute.

    Anybody

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  • The phone call that may have saved a building from falling onto New York City

    601 Lexington Avenue (Wikimedia Commons)

    Walk around Manhattan and you'll see dozens, if not hundreds, of feats of engineering sure to leave even the most cynical urbanite gobsmacked.

    One of the most amazing buildings in the Big Apple is located at 601 Lexington Avenue. The structure's spectacular design is outdone only by the story of how a student discovered it wasn't as safe as the experts believed.

    The story has been known for years, but a recent post in DamnedInteresting.com inspired a new surge of interest.

    The 59-story tower, at one time the world's seventh tallest building, was built on humongous stilts in order to accommodate a nearby church. To work around the church, the architect and engineer placed the stilts in the center of the building's sides, not at the corners.

    It was a bold move and made possible via a chevron structure, a series of eight rows of giant steel V's that acted as the building's skeleton and overall decreased the weight of the building. To compensate for the building's lightweight stance, 

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  • Lance Armstrong explains how to change a flat tire

    Bizarrely straightforward video from Outside magazine features disgraced cyclist demonstrating in a bike shop

    Not all online videos featuring unexpected celebrities are the same.

    This video from Outside magazine starring Lance Armstrong doesn't go for laughs. Instead, it's strangely practical. So much so that you might wonder if you've missed the joke.

    The disgraced cyclist, who was stripped of his seven Tour de France victories in 2012 and admitted to doping in 2013, appears in a tongue-in-cheek instructional clip in which he educates viewers on how to change a flat tire on a bike.

    His instructions are straightforward and pretty useful for amateur cyclists. And that's what makes the video, which went up earlier this week, so odd. It's just so... normal.

    There's one humorous allusion to rougher times, but for the most part, it's just Lance changing a tire, offering tips and getting his hands dirty, just as if he's a regular bike store employee and not one of the most infamous athletes of all time.

    How did Outside convince Armstrong to make the video?

    “We asked, he said yes — much to our

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  • Opera star entertains Paris Metro commuters

    Christophe Menager gives a comedic performance in a subway station under the City of Light

    Surprises during commutes are rarely pleasant. More often than not, they involve traffic jams, delayed trains or horrible weather that makes getting home a type of Greek odyssey.

    So, we imagine it must have been a nice treat for the Paris commuters who were lucky enough to come across opera star Christophe Menager giving a performance in a bustling Metro station.

    We don't know what Menager is singing about, but we do know that he's giving it his all. According to the person who recorded the two minutes of video, Menager "sometimes goes to the Metro to sing for the people that can't afford to go or wouldn't otherwise be interested in going to opera."

    Of course, the opera, especially as performed in subway stations, isn't for everybody. Some commuters stop to listen and interact, while others hurry past, eager to get to wherever it is they're going. Maybe the opera?

    Follow Mike Krumboltz on Twitter (@mikekrumboltz).

     

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