Blog Posts by Mike Krumboltz, Yahoo News

  • Man uses first-class ticket to eat for free at airport's VIP lounge ... for almost a year

    Free lunch (Thinkstock)In the grand tradition of the mad genius who bought mountains of Healthy Choice pudding so he could rack up millions of frequent flier miles on the cheap comes the story of a Chinese man who took advantage of a loophole to eat for free in an airport VIP lounge for nearly a year.

    The story was originally covered in the Chinese-language newspaper Kwong Wah Yit Poh in Malaysia, according to the New York Post.  The man, who isn't named in the piece, purchased a refundable first-class ticket aboard China Eastern Airlines that came with a complimentary meal at the airline's VIP lounge.

    That was almost a year ago. Every day since the purchase (after eating his meal), the man would then rebook his ticket (for free) for a flight on the following day. Then he'd return to the airport, eat, change his flight and go home.

    Eventually, according to the Post, the airline grew wise to the man's ruse and confronted him. This was after officials noticed that his ticket had been canceled and rebooked an

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  • Bush speechwriter accuses Obama of plagiarism in State of the Union

    A former speechwriter for President George W. Bush accused President Barack Obama of plagiarizing one of Bush's speeches for the Tuesday evening State of the Union address.

    Marc Thiessen, who served as Bush's lead speechwriter for his 2007 State of the Union speech, told Megyn Kelly of Fox News, "Barack Obama has gone from blaming George W. Bush to plagiarizing George W. Bush."

    Politco reports:

    Thiessen then read phrases from the 2007 speech which focused on the theme "hope and opportunity." "It was eerily familiar. There were lines like 'Our job is to help Americans build a future of hope and opportunity, a future of hope and opportunity begins with a growing economy, a future of hope and opportunity requires that all citizens have affordable and available health care, extending opportunity and hope depends on a stable supply of energy,' all of that came from the 2007 State of the Union from George W. Bush," Thiessen said.

    Poliico writes that none of Obama's lines "were directly

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  • 'I'm off to Auschwitz. Kisses, Yours, Heini.'

    Himmler letters reveal private man and murderer, often in same moment

    Heinrich Himmler (R) with wife Margarete (M) and daughter Gudrun (L). (Wikicommons)

    Where does the man end and the monster begin?

    Heinrich Himmler was one of the most notorious leaders of Hitler's Nazi Party, responsible for the deaths of millions of men, women and children. Excerpts from chilling letters he wrote family were recently published on the German news site Die Welt.

    In one letter, among hundreds of excerpts made public, Himmler sounds more like a traveling businessman than the leader of the SS and architect of the Third Reich's final solution.

    From McClatchy's translation:

    "In the next few days I'll be in Lublin, Zamosc, Auschwitz, Lviv and then in the new quarters. I'm curious if and how I will be able to phone, it will probably be around 2000 kilometers to Gmund. All the best, have a nice trip and enjoy your days with our little daughter. Many warm greetings and kisses! Your Daddy."


    Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/01/26/215777/from-sex-talk-to-auschwitz-long.html#storylink=cpy

    At least 1.1 million people were killed at Auschwitz. PBS

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  • Time slows to a crawl in films featuring slo-mo looks at subway stops

    Adam Magyar is a filmmaker with a unique perspective. His recent series of short films,  slow-motion looks at travelers waiting for trains at subway stations in New York, Berlin and Tokyo, cast a hypnotic spell.

    "I used to spend months looking at life around me and trying to comprehend it," he wrote to Yahoo News over email. "We live in the past and in the future and tend to forget about the enormous gift that we are given — existence — by spending too much time of our lives feeling bad."

    Magyar shot the footage at three stations on three continents. The high-speed video camera he used, made by Optronis, is the type sometimes used to record crash test footage. He explained that his videos are 56 times longer than reality. "The sound is the train's sound, slowed down by the same scale," he added.

    Below, footage from Tokyo's Shinjuku station.

    Asked if any of the subjects stand out, Magyar said, "The two running girls in the Berlin video were a tremendous gift." Their presence "greatly

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  • Could this abandoned cruise ship be heading for the UK?

    An undated handout picture shows former cruise ship MV Lyubov Orlova. The ship was being tugged to the Dominican Republic for disassembly when it tore free from its tug boat off the coast of Canada. It now floats on the Atlantic without a crew and full of rats. An attempt to reattach a tug boat has failed. Photo: Dietmar Hasenpusch

     

    If you thought your cruise ship experience was bad, wait until you hear about the Lyubov Orlova, an abandoned vessel that might be heading for the shores of Ireland or the United Kingdom.

    "Abandoned" might not be a completely accurate term, because, according to reports cited in the U.K.'s Independent, the ship might be filled with cannibalistic rats.

    When and if the ship will reach the coast of Ireland or the U.K. remains to be seen. In a statement, the Irish Coast Guard said, "there is no further action required by Ireland and there are no reports and sightings. Normal coastal surveillance activities are carried out which are aware of the issue of the vessel."

    So, how did an abandoned cruise ship allegedly full of rats end up floating around in the middle of the Atlantic, perhaps heading for land? According to the BBC, the Russian-registered ship (named after an actress famous in the 1930s) was "cut adrift while being towed from Canada almost a year ago amid problems having it

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  • Firefighters in southern Australia film their drive through massive blaze

    Post-apocalyptic landscape turned a bright orange

    Firefighters at Grampians National Park in Victoria, Australia filmed their drive through a massive, hell-like blaze.

    The wildfire is one of many that have killed thousands of sheep, destroyed thousands of acres of land and caused residents to flee in southern Australia.

    The video, shot on Jan. 17 by Daryl Maslen, shows a landscape resembling a post-apocalyptic Hollywood set. Sparks dart past the windshield. Everything, even the sky, is a bright shade of orange.

    Since then, the wildfires have largely been contained, according to a Jan. 21 update from Australia's Country Fire Authority. At least one person died as a result of the fires, Agence France-Presse reports.

    Follow Mike Krumboltz on Twitter (@mikekrumboltz).

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  • The internet helps crack code left in grandmother's note

    Front of card (imgur)

    Everybody likes a good mystery. So when a user of popular message board Ask MetaFilter named JannaK asked for help in decoding a seemingly nonsensical note written by the poster's late grandmother, others were more than happy to assist.

    We first saw the story at On the Media, which notes that in a matter of minutes, the Ask MetaFilter community had partly decoded the message.

    The original post from JannaK explains the note's backstory.

    From Ask MetaFilter:

    My grandmother passed away in 1994 of a fast-spreading cancer. She was non-communicative her last two weeks, but in that time, she left at least 20 index cards with scribbled letters on them. My cousins and I were between 8-10 years old at the time, and believed she was leaving us a code. We puzzled over them for a few months trying substitution ciphers, and didn't get anywhere.

    My father found one of the cards the other day and I love puzzles and want to tackle the mystery again. Based on some of the repeating segments (many lines

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  • Man in dog shirt poses with dog in man shirt

    An open letter to whoever took this photograph:

    Congratulations, you have won the Internet. Your photo, while blurry and not particularly well-framed, is without question one of the greatest single images in the history of history.

    Of course you are aware of the photo's majesty, but please permit us to expound on its many virtues as we were rendered speechless after first seeing it and are just now beginning to make sense of all it does.

    The shirts are amazing. Even more amazing, though, are the poses. The male subject sits slightly slouched staring downward, perhaps at a rebroadcast of "Puppy Bowl." He seems wholly uninterested in the fame that awaits him.

    And the dog. A lot of pooches lose some dignity when they are forced to wear clothes. Not this one. This dog owns it.

    Perhaps someday another image will come along that sends our hearts aflutter even more, but we doubt it. We seriously doubt it.

    Is the photo new? Who knows, and who cares? Was it digitally altered? Possibly; it's

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  • GoDaddy's Super Bowl spot seeks humor in spray tanning

     

    If you were asked to think of a typical GoDaddy Super Bowl commercial, odds are you'd conjure up images of scantily clad women and shameless pleas to go to godaddy.com for additional racy footage.

    Not this time. The web hosting company is mixing it up in 2014, electing to go for humor in the form of bouncing male pectoral muscles.

    In the 30-second spot, which will air during the Super Bowl broadcast on Feb. 2, an ever-growing number of body builders (including Danica Patrick in a muscle suit) run down city streets to get to a tanning salon that has recently created a website using the hosting company.

    When the throng of muscley models show up at her door, the shopkeeper grabs her can of tanning spray and says, "It's go time."

    Business Insider reports that this spot is further evidence of GoDaddy's effort to shift away from the salacious ads of its past but still remain edgy. 

    Does the company succeed or is it back to the drawing board? Please share your opinion with a comment, below.

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  • VW ups its Super Bowl ad buzz quotient with ... an ad for an ad?

    Over the past several years, Volkswagen has earned a reputation for producing some of the buzziest, funniest, most memorable Super Bowl commercials — a fact the car company seems well aware of.

    In a minute-long ad designed to drum up hype for VW's 2014 Super Bowl spot, the car company pokes fun at Super-Bowl-commercial mania with a seemingly humorless scientist talking about an algorithm that will help create the best Super Bowl ad possible.

    In short, it's an ad for another ad. And it features a lot of well-worn tropes from past Super Bowl spots from other companies. Over-the-top social media references? Check. Carmen Electra? Double check. E-Trade-ish babies? Yup. Old men getting hit in the groin for no good reason? Of course! Sadly absent: Clint Eastwood and Eminem expounding on the great city of Detroit.

    You can watch the teaser here and check out more great Super Bowl spots over at Yahoo Screen.

    All the ads (as well as that one football game that's kind of a big deal) air Feb. 2.

    Follow

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