Blog Posts by Mike Krumboltz, Yahoo News

  • Simple sticks contain potential answer to cleaner drinking water

    Pores underneath bark filtered out as much as 99.9 percent of harmful bacteria in study

    Scene of water and trees (Thinkstock)

     A lack of clean drinking water is a major problem in many parts of the world. A scientist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology thinks he may have come up with a low-cost solution: sticks.

    Yes, sticks. Rohit Karnik recently co-authored a study published in the journal PLOS ONE that details how xylem can be used to filter bacteria from water, NPR reports. Xylem, for those whose grasp of botany is tenuous, is a kind of "vascular tissue" in trees and plants "primarily involved in transporting water and nutrients."

    Karnik told NPR xylem has "membranes with pores and other mechanisms by which bubbles are prevented from easily spreading and flowing in the xylem tissue." Those pores, Karnik found, could also be used in the filtering of bacteria in water.

    From NPR:

    To prove it worked, he created a simple setup in his lab. He peeled the bark off a pine branch and took the sapwood underneath containing the xylem into a tube. He then sent a stream of water containing tiny particles

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  • Why the SAT had to change

    The New York Times gives the inside story on the College Board's decision

    The dreaded SAT gets an overhaul (Thinkstock)

    This week, high school students were given a surprise gift — the dreaded essay portion of the Scholastic Aptitude Test would be going optional in spring 2016, along with a host of other changes to the annual exam.

    No longer would stressed students be forced to come up with thoughtful and well-reasoned responses to prompts such as, "Do memories hinder or help people in their effort to learn from the past and succeed in the present?"

    The New York Times examined the motivations behind the changes, and it essentially boils down to one thing: money.

    The genuine hope and goal of David Coleman, president of the College Board (the organization that administers the SAT), is that the SAT can once again be used as a test that actually helps to level the playing field instead of making a college education less accessible to certain groups.

    Studies showed that students whose family could afford often-expensive test preparation were more likely to do well. That was something Coleman sought to

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  • Powerful video ad aims to create a connection to Syrian conflict

    Series of 1-second-a-day selfies of a young girl reveal a nightmare version of Britain

    A haunting new video from the U.K.-based Save the Children charity asks viewers to remember that although the Syrian conflict is happening far away, that doesn't mean it isn't really happening.

    The roughly 90-second clip, shot like a series of one-second-a-day selfies of a young girl, starts with a birthday celebration. Things continue as one might expect: trips to the playground, fun with friends.

    But all the while, there are ominous undertones. Newscasters in the background speak of violence. Newspapers feature headlines of martial law. A man shouts at another man about how somebody "deserved to get shot." 

    Then, things really get rough. There's a bombing. The lights go out. The water stops running. People begin to flee the city en mass. Gas masks are worn, bullets fly, people scream, the girl looks around, saying, "Where are we?"

    Which is sort of the point. The video is supposed to be taking place in a nightmare version of Britain. But Save the Children wants viewers to see that

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  • Adorable photo of baby waiting to meet her father goes insanely viral

    'Hey, I just met you, this is crazy ... my name's Harper, and I'm your baby!'

    Harper Tesar meeting her father for the first time (photo courtesy Tesar family)

    The sign says it all.

    Army specialist Cole Tesar met his 7-month-old daughter, Harper, for the first time this past weekend after returning from a nine-month deployment in Afghanistan.

    This photo of Harper waiting for the big moment quickly went viral after Nebraska's WOWT posted the image to its Facebook page on Monday. As of press time, it had racked up more than 1.5 million likes.

    It's not hard to see why. The baby is (of course) lovely. And the sign, a take on the infectious Carly Rae Jepsen tune, is hilarious. WOWT told Yahoo News that one of the station's news anchors is friends with Harper's father. The station asked if it would be OK if the family shared the photo. The family gave its blessing, and things quickly took off.

    Tesar spoke to WOWT about seeing his wife, Logan, and holding baby Harper for the first time. "It is kind of different because it is my own baby; it is our own blood. It is definitely special, and it is a pretty good feeling," he said.

    Via WOWT:

    "Knowing

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  • 3 years and 120 miles later, a missing dog is found

    If dogs could talk, this one would have quite a story.

    Three years after disappearing from his Albuquerque home, a dog named Yoshi was found more than a hundred miles away at an animal shelter in Las Vegas, N.M., KOAT.com reports.

    How Yoshi, a red heeler and husky mix, ended up so far away from home is still a mystery and will likely remain one.

    Monique Martinez adopted the pooch when Yoshi was just a puppy. She told KOAT.com that a short time later, Yoshi broke out of her yard while she was at school.

    Martinez looked all around the neighborhood but couldn't find her missing dog. About a week after Yoshi disappeared, Martinez heard he may have been hit by a car, according to KOAT.com.

    So how was Yoshi found? Fortunately the dog had been given a microchip implant. The microchip contained information about his owner and address. When Yoshi showed up at the shelter, workers checked the microchip and contacted Martinez. The dog was reportedly a bit underweight but in otherwise fine

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  • High school senior lands date with Texans cheerleader, thanks to Twitter

    It's a tale as old as time. Boy sees photo of beautiful NFL cheerleader. Boy asks for date over Twitter. Tweet goes viral. Cheerleader says yes. The date is on.

    That's what happened to Texas high school senior Mike Ramirez. The varsity football player, 17, asked Caitlyn Beth, a cheerleader with the Houston Texans, to join him for an evening of fun, dancing and invoking the bitter jealousy of his teammates. 

    Ramirez told ABC-13 that he came up with the idea while sitting in English class. He wrote Beth on Twitter asking if she'd go to the prom with him if his message was retweeted 10,000 times.

    It was. And then some. Beth told ABC-13 that she was happy to say yes. "I thought it was the sweetest thing ever and I immediately said yes, and I confirmed with my coach and the Texans and it took off from there."

    Ramirez

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  • Bear wakes early from hibernation, wanders onto ski slope

    Occasionally Yahoo Sideshow invites outside voices to offer their takes on current events. Today's guest editorial comes from a bear cub who was spotted wandering around Heavenly ski resort at Lake Tahoe.

    Allow me to explain, because I'm reading a lot of jokes on Twitter about how I wanted to learn to snowboard or liberate the ski shack of its marshmallows. Not true. 

    Here's what happened. I went to sleep a few months back with plans to keep on snoozing until sometime in the late spring. I'm not lazy. I'm not a slacker. It's just what bears do.

    A few days ago, though, I woke up crazy early. Ever have one of those mornings where you know you're supposed to sleep in but you just can't and it's really annoying because you know you don't have to get up to catch salmon for at least a few more hours?

    Multiply that by a hundred and you got my situation. The problem was that I was really thirsty. Like just finished-playing-three-sets-of-racketball thirsty. I couldn't go back to sleep, not with

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  • Russia Today anchor speaks out against invasion of Crimea, now faces assignment in Crimea

    In the U.S., it’s all too common to hear journalists and talking heads freely spout their opinions on national TV. But in Russia? Not so much.

    Until Abby Martin, a news anchor with RT, formerly Russia Today, seemed to break rank.

    Martin, host of the English language news program "Breaking the Set," ended the show with a brief editorial on the situation in Ukraine's Crimea, where Russian forces have all but taken over.

    Martin said, "Just because I work here for RT doesn't mean I don't have editorial independence, and I can't stress enough how strongly I am against any military intervention in sovereign nations' affairs. What Russia did is wrong."

    Martin, a native of California, works from RT's Washington bureau.

    In the past, RT has been accused of being a mouthpiece for the Russian government, and specifically Vladimir Putin. It is funded by the Russian government.

    Martin continued, saying she will not "sit here and apologize or defend military aggression." Martin then criticized the

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  • TV news reporter pummeled by wave of snow

    Philadelphia newscaster Steve Keeley able to laugh (and walk) it off

    After being absolutely blasted by a passing snowplow's wall of slush on live television, most people would be in no mood to see the lighter side of the situation. Bless his heart, Steve Keeley isn't one of them.

    The newscaster with Fox 29 in Philadelphia was reporting on the latest snowstorm to slam the Northeast.  Standing approximately 20 feet from the side of a New Jersey road, Keeley was chatting with his colleagues in the studio about the need for more snowplows to clear roadways there.

    Cue the law of Murphy.

    The moment is memorialized in GIF. You can watch the full video over at MyFoxPhilly.com.

    Here's the GIF of a plow dumping snow on Fox 29's S... on Twitpic

    A few moments later, a convoy of immense snowplows drives past Keeley as the camera continues to roll. The first two pass without incident. The third plow rockets a wall of snow at Keeley's back, briefly turning

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  • Pope Francis: Potty mouth

    Pope Francis calls for dialogue and cooperation to end Ukraine crisis (Reuters)

    Pope Francis dropped the Italian equivalent of an F-bomb during Sunday's address from the Vatican's Apostolic Palace.

    No need to wash out the pontiff's mouth with soap, though. It seems that the swear word was a simple slip of the tongue, NPR reports.

    Francis, speaking in Italian (not his first language, Spanish), said the Italian version of the king of bad words. He was attempting to say "caso," which translates into "example" or "case." The pope corrected himself immediately.

    A translation of the unfortunate error was posted to The Local: "If each one of us does not amass riches only for oneself, but half for the service of others, in this f*** [pause], in this case the providence of God will become visible through this gesture of solidarity."

    Hey, as they say, s--- happens. And the pope shouldn't feel alone. This is hardly the first time a person in a position of power said something uncouth. Vice President Joe Biden was famously heard describing the Affordable Care Act as a "big

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Pagination

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