Blog Posts by Mike Krumboltz, Yahoo News

  • Google apologizes for Berlin map gaffe echoing Third Reich

    Somehow the popular Theodor-Heuss-Platz was temporarily renamed Adolf Hitler Square

    Google has apologized after someone discovered a popular spot in Berlin had somehow been temporarily renamed in the company's online map service for the particluarly infamous character to whom it was once dedicated: Adolf Hitler.

    The eerie error was apparently discovered by Nico Hagenburger, who posted a screenshot of the mistake to Twitter. The gaffe was first reported by German paper B.Z.

    "How could this happen?" bellowed top-selling German daily Bild.

    The street is actually called Theodor-Heuss-Platz, in honor of the man who served as president of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1949 to 1959. 

    The popular Berlin square was called Adolf Hitler Platz for 14 years of the Third Reich era. It was to have played a major role in Hitler's planned "Germania," a reimagining of Berlin as an international

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  • Woman creates Twitter account to help solve brother's murder 34 years ago

    Bill Comeans was murdered 34 years ago at the age of 14.

    The crime was never solved, but his family has not given up hope of finding justice. In an unusual move intended to reignite interest in the cold case, Bill's sister Kathleen Comeans has created a Twitter account written in the first-person voice of Bill.

    Bill died on January 7, 1980, near the family home in West Columbus, Ohio, reports Comeans, who was 9 at the time of her brother's death, spoke to the station about her late brother.


    "I can remember the night that we found out, the same feelings are there." Her big brother Bill was found a block away from their West Columbus home, strangled with his own scarf. "He's physically not here, but he's still with us," she said. "His memories are still with us."

    The Twitter account is both eerie and heartbreaking.

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  • Baby polar bear takes first awkward steps

    Toronto Zoo's supercute new cub is being raised by humans

    The Toronto Zoo this week published a clip of its newborn polar bear cub taking his first steps, and we challenge even the most cynical reader to not hit the "share" button and throw in a few "OMGs" and "a-dore-a-bles" for emphasis after watching.

    The wobbly white creature, tough to tell apart from a puppy, stumbles, steps and stumbles some more on what appears to be a cozy white blanket.

    Dr. Graham Crawshaw, senior veterinarian at the Toronto Zoo, told Yahoo News the male cub weighed just 700 grams, or about a pound and a half, when he was born in November. Now 2 months old, he weighs around 4.4 kilos, about 9.7 pounds.

    The cub has yet to be named. The zoo will most likely organize a naming contest to help generate interest, Crawshaw said.

    Polar bears are born "in a very immature state" compared with other animals, he said. "Their eyes don't open for three weeks or more." Cute as he is, this bear did not get off to an auspicious start. He had to be taken away from his mother because he

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  • Bats rain from Australia's sky, victims of heat wave

    It's raining bats in Australia.

    As many as 100,000 of the winged mammals fell from the sky and died, the result of an incredible heat wave, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reports.

    Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals spokesman Michael Beatty told ABC that the heat wave, with temperatures close to 109 degrees Fahrenheit, was "basically a catastrophe for all the bat colonies in southeast Queensland."

    All told, massive deaths at 25 separate colonies have been reported, according to ABC.

    In the aftermath, one person recorded the numbers of fallen bats in a nearby forest. Warning: Some may find the video disturbing.

    Beatty told ABC the huge number of deaths is "going to have a pretty disturbing impact on those colonies, and those colonies are vital to our ecosystem."

    "It's a horrible, cruel way to die," Louise Saunders, a conservation worker, told the Telegraph. "Anything over 43 degrees [Celsius, or 109 Fahrenheit] and they just fall. We're just picking up those
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  • Man pops the question midflight, does a barrel roll to celebrate

    Where did you propose? At a candle-lit restaurant? On a mountain hike?  At a "Home Depot 30 percent off all plumbing supplies (some restrictions may apply)" sale?

    Nice try, but those places pale in comparison to Greg's locale for popping the question.

    Greg (no last name given, no last name needed, for he is now and forever Greg, God of Romance) took girlfriend Jenn up on a two-person plane ride. He attached a camera to the windshield to record his special lady's reaction.

    Subtitles detail the conversation the two have over in-plane headsets. "Did you get everything you wanted for Christmas?" Greg asks. Jenn replies, "Not everything."

    Greg answers back, "What else were you looking for?" Jenn, clearly not one for beating around the bush, says, "I wanted a ... husband."

    Greg plays a few games here, asking if he heard her right. She wanted a necktie? No, Jenn laughs.

    Greg then says he found a stocking stuffer that must have been kicked under the bed. He put it in the seatback pocket in front of

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  • Is this the best business card ever?

    Move over Patrick "American Psycho" Bateman. Your crisp bone-colored business card with Silian Rail type has nothing on Chen Guangbiao's card.

    Photos of Chen's card recently hit Twitter after he reportedly handed it out to American journalists. While it lacks the classy subtlety of Bateman's, Chen's card isn't exactly aiming to fly under the radar.

    The card boasts of Chen's many talents. What kind of talents? He is (if his card is to be believed) the most influential person of China, the most prominent philanthropist of China, the most well-known and beloved Chinese role model and China's foremost environmental preservation expert. And the list goes on.

    Not mentioned on the card: the fact that Chen is one of China's wealthiest individuals. He recently attempted to purchase The New York Times but was rebuffed. Business

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  • TED talks don't work, says TED talker

    TED talks, during which experts speak to audiences about serious problems and scientific ideas that may solve them, are something of a love-'em-or-hate-'em proposition.

    Some find them inspirational. Others, such as Benjamin Bratton, associate professor of visual arts at the University of California, San Diego, characterize them as "middlebrow megachurch infotainment" and "placebo politics."

    Bratton delivered his critique of TED, a nonprofit that says it's devoted to "ideas worth spreading," during a TED talk, of all places. In an 11-minute rebuke, Bratton asks why the proposed bright futures often promised in TED talks don't come true. He lists a series of reasons why, but resists coming up with "one simple takeaway," because, to him, over-simplification is one of the shortcomings of TED, which stands for "Technology, Entertainment, Design."

    If we really want transformation, we have to slog through the hard stuff (history, economics, philosophy, art, ambiguities, contradictions).

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  • Med school actor diagnosed with deadly condition he was pretending to have

    Ryan Jones (right) with Louise and Jim Malloy. (University of Virginia)

    It was supposed to be just another pretend exam to help train medical students. But this one proved to be anything but typical.

    University of Virginia medical student Ryan Jones was performing what was supposed to be a pretend examination on Jim Malloy. (Medical schools commonly employ actors who pretend to have symptoms for students to diagnose.)

    This one got real, real quick. When Jones began conducting the physical exam, he found that Malloy's real-life symptoms matched the pretend malady he was claiming to have an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). An AAA isn't life threatening if found before it ruptures, according to the National Institutes of Health. But less than 80 percent of people survive a ruptured abdominal aneurysm.

    Jones spoke to Yahoo News via email about the incident, which took place in March of last year. He said he knew immediately that something was amiss. "During the physical exam, when I first discovered the aneurysm, I took a step back because of how surprised I

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  • New PSA delivers haunting message about speeding

    We've all been told to slow down when driving. But never quite like this.

    A new public service announcement from the New Zealand Transport Agency uses the power of special effects and simple conversation to explore whether crashes are preventable.

    In the spot, curently garnering a slew of hits on YouTube, one driver speeds down a lonely road. Another driver, not seeing the first, pulls out of an intersection and into the speeding car's path.

    Then, time slows to a near stop.

    The two men get out of their cars and have a conversation. One driver, with his small son in the back seat, says he didn't see the other man's car. That man concedes he was going too fast. But there's nothing to be done about it now. Understanding the die has been cast, the two men return to their cars and brace for what they now know is inevitable but could have been prevented.

    The ad ends with a line of text reading, "Other people make mistakes. Slow down."

    The New Zealand Transport Agency described the campaign on its

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  • Man puts restaurant up for sale to help pay for employee's brain tumor treatment


    You might call Michael De Beyer a Wunderboss.

    De Beyer wants to sell his German restaurant, Kaiserhof Restaurant and Wunderbar in Montgomery, Texas, not because the rathskeller business has taken a turn for the wurst, but rather, he says, to help pay for treatment for one of his employees, 19-year-old Brittany Mathis. She was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor the size of a pingpong ball, reports KHOU-11.

    De Beyer told the Courier he wants to sell his 6,000-square-foot restaurant and use part of the proceeds to help pay for Mathis' treatments.

    From the Courier:

    "I have listed my restaurant for several years and recently turned down an (owner-financed) offer for $1.3 million,” he said. “But now I want to auction it off at a reserve price (or minimum bid — 50 percent of the actual value) and anything above that will go to help Brittany.”

    Mathis told KHOU-11 the problem started with a rash on her leg. She saw a doctor and was told she had blood clots. "They wanted to keep me and do CAT

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