The Upshot

  • SPORTS: How to get away with watching March Madness in the office

    Vera H-C Chan at The Upshot 3 yrs ago

    Sure, your workplace will let you do an NCAA tournament office pool. Allow a little bit of smack talk about Notre Dame's leprechaun camouflage uniforms. Maybe some gung-ho boss will go as far as corralling saggy-bottomed minions to a game of after-hour hoops, in the misguided spirit of a team-bonding-cum-CPR-training exercise. But watch March Madness during business hours? Not unless you fill out your application for the local Dairy Queen at the same time.

    Then again, we're living in 2013, the era of auto-flush toilets and military drones. Don't tell me you can't sneak in some NCAA action without getting caught. The easiest way of course is to charge up the battery the night before, slip the phone somewhere inconspicuous, and work on stifling whoops of delight as you stream from Yahoo! Sports. (Don't forget your cable log-in.)

  • Porcupine quills inspire new type of hypodermic needle

    Mike Krumboltz at The Upshot 4 yrs ago

    The hypodermic needle has been around a while—many believe the concept even dates back centuries. Of course, there have been upgrades throughout the years, and now there might be another: Researchers believe porcupine needles could serve as inspiration for a new and improved version.

    According to a scientific paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers  found that porcupine needles contain "microscopic backward-facing deployable barbs" that enable penetration and "high tissue adhesion."

    In plain English, that means the needles are really good at both breaking the skin and staying in place thanks to the barbs. The discovery could help those who require long-term IVs and be used for medical treatments that require staples to keep a wound from splitting.

  • Postal Service gets boost from election

    Wendy Carpenter at The Upshot 4 yrs ago

    At least someone likes junk mail.

    The U.S. Postal Service, which is struggling with debt and low cash flow, has received a boost due to the tons of political mail being sent this election season, including pieces from Super PACs, which are willing to pay the highest postage rates, according to CNN.

    "We do expect election mail and the current holiday mailing season to help us get through this month's low point in our cash flow," USPS spokesman David Partenheimer told CNN, while admitting that the "liquidity situation" for the USPS is still "serious."

    In another attempt to raise much-needed cash, the U.S. Postal Service announced this week that it will increase first-class postage rates by one cent, to 46 cents. The price increase will become effective on Jan. 27, and will include a 2.57 percent bump for all USPS services.

    And there's still over three weeks remaining before the Nov. 6 election.

  • Television host and actor Gary Collins dies at age 74

    Wendy Carpenter at The Upshot 4 yrs ago

    Gary Collins, the former Miss America emcee who was also a television actor and host, has died at the age of 74.

    The Biloxi, Miss., resident died of natural causes just before 1 a.m. Saturday at Biloxi Regional Medical Center, Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove told the Associated Press.

    Collins's acting career began in the 1960s, when he appeared in several movies and TV shows, including "The Wackiest Ship in the Army." He starred in the 1970s TV series "The Sixth Sense" and hosted the television show "Hour Magazine" from 1980-88, for which the six-time Emmy Award nominee took home the prize as Outstanding Talk Show Host in 1983. He also served as the master of ceremonies for the Miss America Pageant from 1985-89.

    Collins is also known for his guest appearances on a variety of television shows, including "Charlie's Angels," "The Love Boat," "Fantasy Island," "Alice," and "Marcus Welby, MD."

    Collins also had two children from a previous marriage.

  • Romney raises $12 million after the debate

    Wendy Carpenter at The Upshot 4 yrs ago

    Mitt Romney has received tangible evidence that his debate performance Wednesday night was a success, receiving $12 million in online contributions, according to the Wall Street Journal, which quotes the Republican presidential nominee's campaign.

    The Journal goes on to say that Romney's campaign has also received a bump in volunteers and larger crowds at his events.

    The first face-to-face debate between Romney and President Barack Obama was seen on television by an estimated 67.2 million people, and, according to an account by the Associated Press, was "arguably the best 90 minutes of (Romney's) candidacy thus far."

    While polls leading up to the debate showed Romney falling behind Obama, the president's lead has shrunk to two percentage points, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Friday.

  • Jack White abruptly ends Radio City Music Hall show, drawing wrath of New York crowd

    Dylan Stableford at The Upshot 4 yrs ago

    Jack White abruptly ended his sold-out show at Radio City Music Hall on Saturday night, drawing the ire of fans who saw the former White Stripes frontman perform for just 45 minutes without an encore.

    White, who is touring behind his recent solo album "Blunderbuss," was apparently unhappy with the historic New York venue's sound and left the stage, leaving 5,000 or so concertgoers--most of whom paid at least $40 per ticket--disillusioned.

    Many fans, thinking it was an unusually early encore or setbreak, remained in the concert hall, some clapping and cheering to encourage White's return to the stage. But when ushers began to inform them that the show was over, their disillusionment turned to anger, and things got ugly.

    "F--- Jack White!" some chanted as they left Radio City. Others returned concert merchandise they had just bought.

    "Jack White does NOT DESERVE to play in NEW YORK," John Kushay tweeted. "EVER again."

  • Former New York Times publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger dies

    Wendy Carpenter at The Upshot 4 yrs ago

    Former New York Times publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, who guided the newspaper to unprecedented influence and profit during his three-decade tenure, died Saturday at his home in Southampton, N.Y., at the age of 86.

    During his 34-year run as publisher, Sulzberger helped the Times navigate some of the most influential events in 20th-century journalism — everything from the Vietnam War and the publication of the Pentagon Papers, to key legal victories for freedom of the press.

    Sulzberger, who went by the nickname "Punch," helped expand the Times to a national edition as it won 31 Pulitzer Prizes under his leadership.

    "Punch Sulzberger was a giant in the industry, a leader who fought to preserve the vital role of a free press in society and championed journalism executed at the highest level," said Associated Press President and CEO Gary Pruitt.

    "Above all, he took the quality of the product up to an entirely new level," the late Katharine Graham, chairwoman of The Washington Post Co., said at the time Sulzberger retired as publisher.

  • Cat Power hospitalized in Miami over weekend

    Dylan Stableford at The Upshot 4 yrs ago

    Chan Marshall, the singer, songwriter and occasional Chanel model better known as Cat Power, was hospitalized in Miami over the weekend for an undisclosed medical issue, her record label confirmed to Yahoo News. She has since been released.

    Marshall—whose battles with demons are well-documented—posted a series of photos from the Mount Sinai Medical Center to her Instagram account.

    "I used to love Mt. Sinai," Marshall wrote on Friday when she arrived. "#notanymore."

    "Hospital food has never been so good," she wrote in the caption to an image, posted Saturday, of a tray of matzo ball soup. Marshall even uploaded a photo of her hospital discharge packet on Sunday.

    On Monday, the Georgia-born singer tweeted "HEALTH TIME OFF = HOME IMPROVEMENTS"—linking to a photo of white sheets covering a lamp and TV in what appeared to be her Miami bedroom.

  • Billie Joe Armstrong to enter rehab after on-stage meltdown

    Dylan Stableford at The Upshot 4 yrs ago

    Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong is headed to rehab.

    Armstrong will be treated for substance abuse, according to a statement from the band released Sunday. The announcement comes just two days after the singer had an on-stage meltdown at iHeart Radio Music Festival at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas--and two days before the Grammy winning rock band's next album, "Uno," is scheduled to be released.

    During the group's performance, Armstrong launched a profanity-laced tirade that ended with him smashing his guitar on stage. Not surprisingly, a clip of the tantrum was uploaded to YouTube and quickly went viral.

    "Green Day would like to apologize to those they offended at the iHeartRadio Festival in Las Vegas," the band's statement reads. "The band regretfully must postpone some of their upcoming promotional appearances."

    [Related: Green Day's epic punk tantrum becomes talk of festival]