Blog Posts by Mike Krumboltz, Yahoo News

  • Germany considers low-tech typewriters to counter high-tech spying

    Close-up of vintage typewriter keys (Thinkstock).Close-up of vintage typewriter keys (Thinkstock).

    Sometimes low-tech is the answer to high-tech problems.

    The German government is considering the use of manual typewriters for sensitive documents as a way to counter spying, the Guardian reports.

    During an interview with the "Morgenmagazin" TV program, Patrick Sensburg, head of the German legislature's inquiry into allegations of NSA spying on German officials, said he and and others were considering using old-fashioned typewriters for highly sensitive documents.

    A joke? Apparently not. Sensburg said he was serious and didn't even want to use electric typewriters. One espionage revelation has followed another in Germany, resulting in the CIA's station chief there being sent home and, Sensburg said, an indication that a change is needed in intelligence operations.

    Russia is allegedly using a similar strategy in the wake of the Edward Snowden leaks, reportedly purchasing special typewriters with individual typing patterns that allow documents to be traced to the machine of origin.

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  • Going, going, gone! Babe Ruth's 1918 contract sells for $1.02 million at auction

    Babe Ruth contract (Goldin Auctions)Babe Ruth contract (Goldin Auctions)

    He passed away more than 65 years ago, but Babe Ruth remains one of the most popular baseball players to ever swing a bat.

    Need proof of his continued fame? A 1918 contract, when he played for the Boston Red Sox, recently sold for a whopping $1.02 million at auction this past weekend. This contract is the earliest known player's contract for Ruth, according to Goldin Auctions.

    Yahoo News spoke with Doug Drotman, a public relations spokesperson working with Goldin Auctions, which handled the sale. "We were very pleased with the sale price," he said. "When you're in the auction business you try and not be surprised. All it takes is two guys wanting something and prices can go anywhere."

    The sale of Ruth's 1918 contract marks the highest price ever paid for a sports contract. The record was previously held by another Ruth contract, which sold for $997,000 in 2005.

    Casual baseball fans might be surprised to see that the 1918 contract guaranteed Ruth a relatively modest salary of $5,000.

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  • 16-year-old with 3 college degrees gets perfect SAT score

    Ladies and gentlemen of the world  meet your future boss.

    Maadhav Shah is only 16 years old, but he already holds three associate degrees and recently scored a perfect 2400 on the SAT. As the Bobs from "Office Space" would say, this young man has upper management written all over him.

    Maadhav recently graduated from American River College (ARC) in Sacramento with degrees in math, physical science, and social science, according to Fox 40.

    Maadhav had been taking classes at ARC since he was 10. Fox 40 reports that normally ARC requires students to be at least 16 before beginning classes. It made an exception for Maadhav because he was clearly mature beyond his years.

    As for the perfect SAT score, Maadhav told the Tribune that he wasn't really expecting it. "When I saw it (the score), I checked to make sure it was my name and my email, and then I was really happy."

    Last year, fewer than 500 students (.03 percent) who took the SAT landed a perfect score, according to the Tribune. Though

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  • Oinkers away! Therapy pig keeps getting ticketed in Queens

    Wilbur's owner fighting citation, fine

    He's here! He oinks! Get used to it!

    Wilbur is a handsome fella, loyal to owner Nadine Darsanlal and a hit with many in his Queens neighborhood in New York City. And though we doubt he knows it, he's also become something of a poster pig for equal animal rights around the city, CBS 2 reports.

    Wilbur is a certified therapy pig, licensed by the city to provide emotional support to Darsanlal, a disabled Navy veteran who contracted bacterial meningitis while serving overseas.

    While Darsanlal is a big fan of Wilbur and vice versa ("I wake up with him doing piggy kisses on my cheek," Darsanlal tells CBS 2), it's a different story with the city's health department. It recently issued Darsanlal a citation and a $500 fine for keeping a prohibited animal — despite Wilbur's reported status as a service animal.

    CBS 2 reports that a judge reviewed Wilbur's badge (let that statement sink in for a moment) and found that while the pig is indeed a certified emotional support animal, the fine must be

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  • Ladies and gentlemen, we give you the world's most patient horse

    A horse is a horse, of course, of course. And goats shouldn't climb on a horse, of course. Unless of course, that is, of course, it's a very patient horse.

    Like, really patient.

    And there can be no doubt that Mr. G has to be the most even-tempered, chillest, "hey, like, whatever man" horse that ever lived.

    In a video that is quickly going viral, a horse rests on its belly while several baby goats climb all over him. Two goats climb aboard while the littlest goat watches patiently. Florida resident Debbie Spivey Snyder posted the footage to Facebook.

    Mr. G doesn't seem to mind the goats one bit. In fact, who knows, maybe the horse is enjoying the impromptu massage. If only cats and dogs got along this well.

    Although, actually, sometimes they do.

    Follow Mike Krumboltz on Twitter (@mikekrumboltz).


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  • Looks like a good movie, but does the dog die?

    A website answers the question every moviegoer wants to know before watching

    Does the Dog Die?Does the Dog Die?

    Most moviegoers today can handle a disturbing amount of on-screen carnage. Mass planetary extinction? Two tickets, please. A film about a zombie outbreak that leaves billions dead? Sounds fun!

    But there's one thing many do not, under any circumstances, handle well: A flick where the dog (or cat, or horse, or hamster, etc.) dies. That's crossing the line.

    Fortunately, there's a website that can help remove the anxiety surrounding a pooch's potential fate. Aptly titled Does the Dog Die, the simple site for pet-loving movie buffs lists hundreds of films featuring furry companions (but mostly dogs). The site then lets users know if the dog dies, suffers an injury, or wags its tail all the way to a happy ending.

    Of course, all of the films you'd expect are included. Classics such as "Old Yeller" and "The Wizard of Oz" are both spoiled. But the site doesn't stop with the obvious entrants.

    Been jonesing to watch "C.H.U.D. II — Bud the Chud" but worried that it might feature the untimely

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  • Incredible footage of lightning striking ground at Yellowstone National Park

    Blink and you'll miss it. But run the footage frame by frame, and you'll see what really happened.

    A group of campers visiting Yellowstone National Park had an extremely close call when lightning struck approximately 30 feet away from them during a hailstorm on June 10.

    Even more incredible, the campers didn't know just how close they were to the danger until they looked at the video taken by Bruce Hyland.

    Hyland, 63, was capturing footage of a particularly brutal hailstorm when he heard a loud crash. Speaking to News 10-ABC, Hyland explained that he "didn't see a flash of lightning. We didn’t know how near it was. I just thought, 'Well hey, I’ve been taking a video, I wonder if I caught the thunder clap.'"

    It was only when he watched the recording frame by frame that he saw the moment the lightning struck. "One frame completely saturates with light from the strike. The next frame after that the saturation is gone but you can see a little orange glow in the tree, and you can see an

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  • NASA detects odd X-ray signal 240 million light years away

    There's never a dull moment  er, light year  in outer space.

    NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton spotted an unusual X-ray signal in the data received from the Perseus galaxy cluster some 240 million light years away.

    The signal appeared as an intensity spike at an X-ray wavelength where none had been seen before.

    So what is it? Is it lovable '80s sitcom star Alf returning to Earth to provide us all with four more seasons of his hilarious show and possibly star in a made-for-TV movie?

    Alas, probably not. Though the origin of the signal is not yet known, one of the possible explanations has scientists pretty pumped up. The signal could have originated from the decay of sterile neutrinos, particles that some experts have proposed as the source of dark matter.

    Dark matter is believed to make up 85 percent of the universe. However, because it doesn't emit or absorb light, it can't be seen or even proven to exist.

    There may be other less exciting

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  • After battle with neighbors, tech exec agrees not to tear down historic Portland home

    Photo of Portland home (courtesy of Portland home (courtesy

    Kevin Rose, co-founder of and an executive at Google Ventures, along with his wife, Darya Pino Rose, have signaled surrender after a drawn-out battle with the people of Portland, Ore., over plans to tear down a historic, 122-year-old home, the Oregonian reports.

    Normally, neighborhood spats aren't items of national interest. However, the Rose case has struck a chord, especially with residents in the state's largest city, who protested Rose's plan to replace the home with a new design.

    Rose confirmed the news via Twitter.

    Rose and his wife will instead sell the Willamette Heights home for $1.375 million (slightly more than what they paid in March) to neighbors who plan to keep it as is. The decision came at the 11th hour as demolition crews were reportedly on the doorstep ready to begin work. 

    Kevin Rose ( Rose (

    In a statement, the

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  • Pope Francis stops his car to kiss, bless disabled woman in Italy

    Here's something you don't see every day.

    While being driven through southern Italy, Pope Francis saw a disabled woman and her family on the side of the road, waiting to catch a glimpse of his motorcade.

    Francis asked his driver to stop the modest blue hatchback he was riding in. He exited the car (opening his own door, like a boss), approached the family, and then blessed and kissed the woman, named Roberta, who was lying on a stretcher.

    Cheers of "bravo" and "grazie" can be heard in the background.

    The Catholic News Agency reported that the family held up signs asking Francis to stop and see Roberta.

    Roberta, whose last name was not reported, is unable to travel far from home and depends on a machine to help her breathe, according to

    After the encounter, friends and family of Roberta posted their thoughts on Facebook. One friend, Ivan Vania, wrote, “it was very emotional to see how Pope Francis greeted Roberta ... there are gestures in life that are worth more than

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