11 Points

11 Fantastic News Stories From 2013 That Didn't Get Enough Attention
written by Sam Greenspan

As a website having person, I am legally required to do a few year-in-review lists. I thought this one would be a good twist. Throughout the year, I've been collecting news stories that, for whatever reason, didn't become giant sensations. Maybe I can cast a little light on them here to let them know they made an impact on at least one fellow.

  1. Newman.
    U.S. Postal Service Plans to Save Itself With... a Postal Worker-Inspired Clothing Line? (2/19)

    Eventually in 2013, the USPS figured out some viable plans to stay above water (finally cutting back Saturday delivery... then adding Sunday delivery for Amazon packages). But, in February, they came up with another idea to generate some revenue that feels almost like satire: They decided to create a clothing line modeled after what postal workers wear. I couldn't find any evidence of them executing the plan to date. (Source)

  2. Entire Pennsylvania School District Goes Into Lockdown Over the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Theme Song (3/1)

    Schools are on high alert right now for potential tragedies, and that's totally fair. But this incident took things a bit too far.

    A 19-year-old senior from Ambridge High School in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, had a doctor's appointment. The doctor's office called him to confirm and, apparently, he was using the Fresh Prince theme as his outgoing voicemail message. The employee at the doctor's office heard "shooting some b-ball outside the school" and mistook it for "shooting some *people* outside the school." So she called the school and everything got flip-turned upside-down. Every school in the district went into lockdown for a half hour and the student was detained while staff searched his locker and the police questioned him. Finally they thought, man, forget it and opened the school again. (Source)

  3. The Key to Improve Your Singing Voice is Massaging Your Throat With a Sex Toy (3/21)

    It's a very rare occurrence in this era to see a story about a teacher having his students use vibrators without nefarious intent. David Ley is a drama professor at the University of Alberta. And he found that small sex toys vibrated just the right amount to relax tension in the larynx, giving a singer better range and projection. (Source)

  4. Cap'n Crunch is Living a Lie -- He's Really a Commander (6/14)

    Cap'n Crunch has three stripes on his sleeve. And in the Navy, that doesn't make you a captain. OR a cap'n. It makes you a commander. You need four stripes to be a captain.

    Of course, Quaker could always claim that Crunch isn't in the U.S. Navy, he actually heads up the Navy of his native land -- Magical Crunch Island. And over there, three stripes means you're a cap'n. And hamburgers probably eat people. (Source)

  5. Science Finally Figures Out How to Get a Song Out of Your Head (3/24)

    Now here's some useful science -- freeing yourself from the eternal torture of having a song stuck in your head. Dr. Ira Hyman is a music psychologist at Western Washington University. He found that you need to clear the song out of your working memory, and the best way to do that is to engage yourself with a somewhat challenging puzzle. If it's too challenging you'll just get frustrated and it won't work. If it's too easy, the song can still dominate your brain. So a medium Sudoku, or NBA Jam where you're the Timberwolves and computer assistance is on. (Source)

  6. Man Tries to Remember Hit-and-Run Driver, Can Only Remember Her Breasts (4/11)

    In April, a man and a woman got into an argument over one of the eight or so parking spots in San Francisco. The woman ended up ramming the guy's car, then speeding off. When the cops got there, the man tried to report the hit-and-run... but couldn't describe the woman (or, apparently, remember her license plate). It seems the woman had been wearing a low-cut dress and the only thing the guy could remember OR vividly describe was her breasts.

    The police report says he "was able to give a detailed description of the suspect's cleavage." No arrest was ever made. (Source)

  7. Nowhere, by land.
    Study Finds the Actual Middle of Nowhere (It's in Idaho) (6/18)

    I love when people try to figure out actual definitions to vague terms, and a study to figure out the location of the middle of nowhere definitely qualifies. A blog called Vizual Statistix (suggested slogan: We make statistics feel edgy and dangerous!) figured out the parts of the U.S. that are least accessible by highway and least accessible by plane to determine the middle of nowhere. The southwest corner and center of Idaho scored high in both cases, so that's the middle of nowhere in the U.S.

    (The top of Maine also scored high, but it's deceiving -- it's close to Canadian highways and airports, but those weren't factored into the data. How dare you disrespect Canada like that? They got singers holding vibrators to their throats for better pitch, man.) (Source)

  8. The Greatest Food in the History of Mankind is... the McDonald's McDouble? (7/28)

    I'm not sure the McDouble is the best tasting food in human history -- although some people might disagree -- but there's a decent argument that it's the greatest food. The McDouble costs $1 and provides 390 calories and 23 grams of protein, plus fiber, calcium, and even a few items that might loosely be called vegetables. Putting aside the healthiness factor and just focusing on eating for survival, there's no other food in human history that could provide that many calories or that much protein at such a relatively low cost.

    The runner-up for best food in human history? Boiled lentils. NOW that McDouble you haughtily scoffed at isn't sounding so bad, right? (Source)

  9. We'd All Survive a Zombie Apocalypse Thanks to Animals Quickly Devouring All Zombies (10/14)

    Zombies are still hot, so I'm surprised this article didn't get more attention -- although squelching the dream of the zombie apocalypse doesn't really fit the pop culture narrative. According to a National Wildlife Federation naturalist, we'd ALL survive a zombie apocalypse. As soon as undead zombies started walking around on Earth, animals would smell the dead flesh and just devour them. From birds like vultures, ravens, and crows to mammals like bears, wolves, and jaguars, animals would be all we need to survive. Someone tell Brad Pitt before he injects himself with a horrible disease again. (Source)

  10. Good experiment, not so good handwriting.
    How Many Licks Does It Take to Get to the Center of a Tootsie Roll Pop? (7/27)

    I can't believe it took so long for someone to actually try this, but a guy sat there licking a Tootsie Roll Pop and tallying his licks until he got to the center. The answer on how many licks it takes is... 850. Or, if you're more of an owl person, still three. Three licks. (Source)

  11. The Key to Making People Think You're Rich is Wearing Sweatpants in Public (11/15)

    Wearing sweatpants in public *isn't* the universal sign of giving up anymore. A Harvard Business School study found that high-end retail workers identified sweatpants in public as a sign of wealth. The theory: If you're willing to go out in public -- and especially into a boutique -- looking like a slob, it's probably because you're so rich you don't feel the need to put on ANY airs.

    When I saw this study last month I immediately sent it to my wife to use as ammunition every time I wanted to leave the house in track pants in the future. Which has been just about every day since. Thanks, science. (Source)

This post was originally published on Thursday, December 19, 2013 at 11:00:00 PM under the category News & Politics.

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