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Updated: 14 min 56 sec ago

Used Cars Are Going to Keep Getting Cheaper and Cheaper

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 15:32
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One after-effect of the Great Recession is on display now at car dealerships—where there are more and more used cars for sale, at increasingly lower prices.

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The used car market has gone a bit haywire over the last half-dozen years. During the height of the Great Recession, new auto sales of all shapes, sizes, and variations tanked. As a result of relatively few new cars being purchased, there were fewer used cars on the market during the years that followed—years when the economy was still struggling, when demand for cheap vehicles was understandably high, and when used car prices soared because there weren’t enough pre-owned vehicles for sale to keep up with demand. Signs of a softening in used car prices began appearing around 2012, and now and in the years to come, consumers can expect better pricing and a more robust selection of most models.

In particular, a trend that’s stretched for several years in the lease market will soon result in a “used-car flood” at auto dealerships, as Automotive News put it. Leasing, which slumped during the peak recession years, has rebounded considerably lately. In 2009, according to Edmunds.com, consumers scooped up only 1.5 million or so new cars via three-year lease, down from nearly 2 million the year before. Fast-forward three years after that low for leasing, and in 2012 there were only about 1.5 million off-lease used cars hitting the market—an exceptionally small number compared to the high of 3.4 million in 2002, per the Manheim Used Car Market report.

(MORE: With Auto Sales Slumping Car Dealerships Will Wheel and Deal)

Because the pace of used-car leases has picked up each year after 2009, so too have the ranks of used cars going up for sale three years later, when the lease terms are up. This year, roughly 2.1 million off-lease vehicles will be back on the market, up from 1.7 million in 2013. Next year, the number of off-lease used cars for sale should swell to 2.5 million, and in 2016 and for the foreseeable future, Manheim predicts that there will be more than 3 million off-lease vehicles returning to the market annually.

Add in the fact that cars have increasingly longer life spans, and we’re seeing an across-the-board rise in supply of used cars—and the increasing supply is projected to translate to lower prices. Earlier this year, Edmunds.com forecast that used-car prices would slide 2% in 2014, and perhaps further down the road as a result of leasing trends. “Many car shoppers might not realize how much the new- and used-car markets feed off each other,” explained Edmunds.com Sr. Consumer Advice Editor Philip Reed. “The boom in new car leases, for example, is leading to a higher number of lease returns, which adds to the growing inventory of used cars, forcing their prices down.”

The news isn’t all good for consumers, however. A decrease in used-car prices also means that drivers will get less for used vehicles they’re trading in or selling. That shiny new car you purchase is likely to lose its value more quickly than it would have in the recent past.

Individual car buyers also tend to simultaneously be sellers of their older cars, and from the looks of things, it’ll be a buyer’s market for quite some time.

Categories: Magazines

IKEA Will Soon Serve Vegetarian Meatballs

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 15:31

Everyone knows that the best part of a trip to IKEA is taking a break to eat those delicious signature meatballs. That experience has heretofore excluded vegetarians, but soon, the Swedish furniture chain will begin offering a meatless option.

IKEA is developing this eco-friendly “green” version of the Swedish dish to cut carbon emission and tackle climate change, the Guardian reports. Each year, IKEA sells an estimated 150 million meatballs, which are made from beef and pork. The concern is that the farming process leads to high carbon dioxide emissions — so creating ‘veg balls’ would reduce IKEA’s carbon footprint.

The company hasn’t announced an official date, but we should expect the veg balls — along with a new chicken version — next year. Don’t panic, though. The original meatballs aren’t going anywhere.

Categories: Magazines

See Marvel’s Avengers Like You’ve Never Seen Them Before

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 15:00

Mike Mitchell, an artist perhaps best known for his rendition of Conan O’Brien in his iconic “I’m With COCO” poster, has teamed up with Austin’s Mondo Gallery to present approximately 50 portraits of characters from throughout the Marvel universe. His subjects range from the popular Avengers such as Iron Man and Captain America to lesser-known characters within the Marvel pantheon such as Black Cat and Mysterio.

“My love for Marvel Comics was an integral part of growing up,” Mitchell said in a press release. “Not just the comics, but the action figures, video games and cartoons. My intention with this show was to take those characters out of their action-oriented world and give them a moment of silence to catch their breath. There’s a humanizing quality to that which I find extremely interesting.”

Mitchell’s Marvel portraits will be featured in the “Mike Mitchell x Marvel x Mondo” exhibit at the Mondo Gallery in Austin, TX from April 25 through May 17.

Categories: Magazines

Newlywed Boston Marathon Bombing Survivors Finish Race Holding Hands

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 14:49
Boston Marathon husband and wife bombing survivors Patrick Downes and Jessica Kensky, who each lost a leg in last year’s bombings, roll across the finish line in the 118th Boston Marathon, April 21, 2014 in Boston. Elise Amendola—AP

Patrick Downes and Jessica Kensky lost limbs as victims of the Boston Marathon bombing last year. One year on, they rolled across the finish line in wheelchairs, hand-in-hand.

After the first explosion on Boylston Street in 2013, the couple, watching the race together, suffered matching injuries: They each lost their left leg below the knee. Patrick’s memories of the crisis are murky but Jessica remembers the trauma clearly. In an interview with the Boston Globe, she recalled trying to block Patrick’s view from his own severed foot while a passerby extinguished her flaming clothes.

The couple recovered together, and returned to the marathon in 2014, side by side. “We’ve been married a year and a half,” Patrick told the Boston Globe, “but it’s like we have the knowledge of a couple that’s been married 10 years.”

Categories: Magazines

A Coach Is Cleared of Child Porn Charges, But His Ordeal Drags On

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 14:49

Todd Hoffner, the head football coach at Minnesota State-Mankato, a Division II school, can still recall that night he spent in jail. It was August 2012, and he had been arrested and charged with two felonies: using minors in a sexual performance or pornographic work, and possession of child pornography. That June, Jerry Sandusky had been found guilty of sexually abusing young boys while an assistant coach at Penn State. Colleges were on red alert, on the lookout for any sort of inappropriate contact between coaches and children.

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But Hoffner knew his university—which had placed him on leave after a technician found videos of naked or partially clothed children on his Blackberry—had overreacted. And that the authorities had arrested him under false pretenses. “There was shock, fear, and I gradually worked myself towards resolve,” Hoffner says. “I set two goals for myself as I sat in that jail cell. I wanted to be exonerated from the criminal charges, and vindicated by my university.

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“Now, it’s a clean sweep,” he adds. “Mission accomplished.”

Todd Hoffner is not a child molester. The videos on his phone were those of his own children. In dismissing the charges against him three months later, a judge labeled the videos “playful and silly.” They were taken after his kids, then ages 9, 8, and 5, had taken a bubble bath. And for the first time in two seasons, Todd Hoffner will coach the Minnesota State-Mankato football team this fall.

But Hoffner’s road to reclaiming his job, and reputation, was a borderline nightmare. And where Hoffner’s career—and the Minnesota State-Mankato football team—goes now will depend on how Hoffner, the school’s leadership and the players on the team react and adapt to circumstances that, even in the already weird world of college sports, are almost unprecedented in their awkwardness.

Because without Hoffner on the sidelines, Minnesota State-Mankato went 24-2 the last two years under interim coach Aaron Keen, and made two appearances in the Division II playoffs. Hoffner may be vindicated. But that doesn’t mean he’ll be embraced. “No doubt, there are a lot of emotions on both sides,” says Minnesota State-Mankato athletic director Kevin Buisman, who hired Hoffner in 2008. “I don’t think anyone knows what’s normal now. And it’s going to be a little while until we can define normal, or experience normal.”

Although the child pornography charges were dismissed, Minnesota State-Mankato suspended Hoffner for 20 days, then reassigned him to an administrative role. In May, Hoffner was fired for undisclosed reasons. The Mankato Free-Prees revealed that, according to an arbitrator’s report, the school accused Hoffner of viewing pornography on a work-issued computer and also allowed his wife to use the computer. Hoffner denied viewing pornography, and the arbitrator noted that other people could access the computer. The arbitrator also ruled that the use of the computer by Hoffner’s wife was not grounds for firing, and ordered the school to reinstate Hoffner as coach and repay him, with interest.

In the meantime, Hoffner had accepted a position as head coach at Minot (N.D.) State back in January. “We were down to our last few hundred dollars,” he says. “They gave us an opportunity to feed our family.” But the Hoffners had roots in Mankato, so they decided to accept his reinstatement. “The whole ordeal was the ultimate test of toughness,” Hoffner says. “Given all we went through, I think a lot of people would have surrendered.”

Hoffner returned to Minnesota State-Mankato last Tuesday. But on Wednesday, his players refused to practice, as a show of support for Keen. “That took us by surprise,” Buisman says. “We definitely turned to crisis management mode.” Says Hoffner: “The players wanted to have a voice, wanted to be heard. They were showing their loyalty to coach Keen. There’s nothing wrong with that.”

On Thursday, the players held a team meeting with Hoffner. Keen has a more personable, player-friendly coaching style than Hoffner—and over the past two seasons, that approached paid off on the field. “The overriding question from the players was, are you going to adapt to us, or are we going to adapt to you?” Busiman says. “And coach Hoffner acknowledged that it would be foolish to upset the apple cart.”

The players have returned to practice, with Hoffner doing more observing than coaching. They’ve pledged their support for Hoffner, who says he plans to meet with each player one-on-one. For now, Keen is the associate head coach, though given his success leading the Mavericks over the past two years, he’ll be scooped up as a head coach elsewhere, at some point.

“The situation is still tenuous,” Buisman says. “There’s no guidebook how to handle something like this.”

It’s public record: Todd Hoffner got railroaded in the post-Sandusky era. Minnesota State-Mankato probably wasn’t on your college football radar screen for September. Now maybe the Mavericks should be. They’ll be an easy team to root for.

Categories: Magazines

HBO Just Created the Most Supremely Uncomfortable Ads of All Time

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 14:45

It’s a teenager’s nightmare: You’re watching a movie or TV show with your parents when, horrifically, the characters on screen start having sex. The only choice is to white-knuckle your way through the action and hope you don’t suffer any lasting trauma. HBO has smartly captured this painfully awkward experience in a series of new ads promoting its HBO Go streaming service.

In the ads, a pair of Millennials and their out-of-touch parents have a variety of cringeworthy conversations as they watch HBO shows in the living room. During a scene of adultery in True Detective, Dad reminisces on the other women he could have bedded over the years. Mom uses a make-out scene between two women on Girls to discuss her daughter’s sexual preferences with her. Perhaps most upsettingly, the mother shows no outward uncomfortableness watching an intense True Blood sex scene with her son in a spot titled “Appreciation.”

The solution to this ongoing crisis? Get HBO Go so you can stream shows from the privacy of your own tablet, laptop or smartphone. The ads’ narrator notes that the streaming service allows users to enjoy TV “far, far away from your parents.” HBO has made several moves to target HBO Go at Millennials. A previous series of deadpan ads argued that the service was more important than moms, and CEO Richard Plepler has said he doesn’t care if young people share passwords to use the service. HBO hasn’t released usage figures for Go, but the service has crashed multiple times this spring due to high demand for shows like True Detective and Game of Thrones.

Check out more of the awkward parent commercials below:

Categories: Magazines

Tons of People Are Hooking Up With Their Co-Workers, Survey Finds

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 14:40

Career experts generally advise against becoming romantically involved with a co-worker or boss. But there’s evidence that a lot of people seem to be ignoring that advice: A new survey claims that more than half of male bosses either want to sleep with their secretaries or already have.

According a survey of more than 44,000 men conducted by SeekingArrangement.com, 28% said they’d slept with their administrative assistants, and another 25% said they would if they got the chance.

Now it’s fair to take these results with a grain of salt, considering the source. This is, after all, a self-proclaimed “sugar daddy and sugar baby dating site” — a premise that carries an “ick” factor for a lot of people. But even less-racy studies have found that apparently the smell of copier toner can be an aphrodisiac. In a February survey, CareerBuilder.com found that almost two in five American workers have dated somebody they’ve worked with—and almost a third of those got married.

Perhaps some of this was inevitable: We’re working longer hours and expected to be available on our mobile phones or email even when we’re not at the office. There’s already so much blurring of personal and professional boundaries, this is just one more way the office is following us home.

It’s not all happy endings, though: One in five people who hooked up with a co-worker did so when at least one of the two was already married — and 7% had to quit their job because the breakup was so acrimonious. While SeekingArrangement didn’t ask follow-up questions about how those admin-boss couplings worked out in the long run, CareerBuilder respondents found that office romance doesn’t necessarily mix with career ambitions. Although about a quarter of people who got romantically involved at work dated someone higher up the corporate ladder, including their boss — but only 3% said their workplace fling helped their career.

And sometimes, being the “hot” employee can backfire. An all-male state Supreme Court in Iowa last year held up the firing of a dental assistant who was dismissed because her boss found her “irresistible,” to the point of asking her about her sex life and saying lewd thing like, “If you see my pants bulging, you’ll know your clothes are too revealing.”

Categories: Magazines

7 Silly Tech Company Naming Trends

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 14:34

In Sunday night’s episode of HBO’s Silicon Valley, a new series that follows a fledgling startup, the main character fights to buy the (terrible) name “Pied Piper” for his company. Meanwhile, his compatriots seek out other names to hilarious ends.

The episode mocks a lot of the dumb name trends we’ve seen in tech companies over the past few years. One of the programmers points out that all the best names are carnal ones that you can yell out in bed. The other guys take turns mimicking orgasming to names like “Uber,” “Google” and “Hulu.” “Hooli”—the fictional Google-like tech giant in the show—also adheres to this rule.

In another scene, one character suggests the name “SMLLR” and then “SMLR” because “we make things smaller, and this would be like a smaller version of the world ‘smaller.’”

“Looks like ‘smeller,’” a programmer responds. Other suggestions written on the whiteboard include “SmushIt,” “Contractor,” “Konctractor” and “Kntrktr.”

Of course these satirical versions of popular tech company names aren’t any sillier than the real Silicon Valley naming conventions that have followed some pretty identifiable patterns over the last 15 years.

Here are our 7 favorite trends, from the silliest to the best:

1. Words that sound like noises a baby would make

  • Etsy
  • Skype
  • Zynga
  • Kaggle
  • Hulu
  • Venmo (slightly justified: rooted in the Latin word “vendere” or “to sell”)

2. Add a Dot

  • Visual.ly
  • Put.io
  • Parse.ly
  • Last.fm

3. Dropped Vowels (because who has time to type that extra “e”?)

  • Flickr
  • Tumblr
  • Grindr
  • Scribd
  • Honorable mention: Twitter called itself Twtter when it launched in 2006 because Twitter.com was taken, but luckily they eventually bought the vowels

4. Cute Suffixes

  • Napster
  • Friendster
  • Etsy
  • Artsy
  • Loverly
  • Feastly
  • Spotify
  • Shopify

5. Blended Words

  • Wikipedia (wiki + encyclopedia)
  • Zillow (zillions + pillow)
  • Hipmunk (hip + chipmunk)
  • Pinterest (pin + interest)
  • Instagram (instant + telegram)
  • Epicurious (epicurean + curious)

6. Intentionally Misspelled Words (hey, it worked for the Beatles)

  • Google
  • Digg
  • Lyst
  • Reddit

7. Compound words (pushing two seemingly unrelated words together)

  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • WordPress
  • LinkedIn
  • Grooveshark
  • PayPal
  • Urbanspoon
  • Fitbit
  • Foursquare
  • Snapchat
  • OpenTable
  • DropBox
  • Evernote
  • Flipboard
  • Groupme

Most of these sound ridiculous at first. As one Silicon Valley character concludes while high on shrooms, “It’s all just f***ing meaningless words.” But once a company becomes successful, we all end up using these nouns as verbs no matter how goofy they seem.

And to be fair, there’s a method behind the madness. We see a lot of compound words with capitals in the middle (like PayPal) because of early computer code, which didn’t allow for spaces. Plus there’s the problem of locking down a domain name: in 2013 the Wall Street Journal reported that 252 domain names were registered across the web, so there aren’t that many options left for startups, hence the trend of sites that end in “.ly” instead of “.com.” Trademarking a company name is a major issue too, and the trademarked name must work internationally—something that isn’t incomprehensible in Japan or offensive in Australia.

There’s also the diverging desires to come up with a name as original as “Google” and to take advantage of a trend: when Spotify, succeeded hundreds of other companies began tacking on “ify” to their names. The process is so complicated that there are companies—like Lexicon and Catchword—dedicated to coming up with a names that are original but not terrible.

But that doesn’t excuse Pied Piper, which is still a terrible name with a terrible logo.

Categories: Magazines

Michelle Obama: I Love ‘Splurging’

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 14:34

Michelle Obama said Monday that “splurging is the key to life,” as long as it’s a small part of a healthy lifestyle.

“How would you appreciate vegetables if you never had chocolate?” the First Lady said during the White House Easter Egg Roll. “You couldn’t live without a little chocolate, a little French fries.”

The First Lady took questions from kid reporters during a question-and-answer session at the annual White House Easter event, and emphasized that occasionally splurging was okay as part of a balanced diet, alongside regular exercise, the Associated Press reports. “I still splurge when I can, but that’s why I try to exercise almost every day,” she told the young journalists, aged 6-13 years old.

Mrs. Obama also said that her favorite sport is tennis, and she plays with her daughter Malia about once a week. She added that Malia also likes track and Sasha likes basketball and dance.

[AP]

Categories: Magazines

Here’s the Leader of the Free World Making Monster Faces

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 14:22

President Barack Obama got really into character during his annual reading of Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are at the Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House today. He pretended to be one of the wild things — growling, gnashing his teeth, and rolling his eyes. We imagine that one sees a lot of these scary faces in Washington, particularly during heated debates on Capitol Hill.

Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty Images Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty Images Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty Images

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Categories: Magazines

5 Amazing Runaway Kid Stories

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 14:02

A 16-year old runaway survived over 5 hours hidden in the wheel well of a flight from California to Hawaii, despite lack of oxygen and temperatures as cold as 80 below. We don’t yet know why the teen ran away from home, but he’s clearly got some gumption. While many runaway kids end up trafficked or worse, there are some gutsy runaways that end up famous, or at least have a really good story.

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1) Ben Franklin: Ben Franklin only came to Philadelphia because he ran away from his family Boston. He worked as an apprentice in his half-brother James’s print shop, but the brothers butted heads when James wouldn’t publish Franklin’s writing. Ben got tricky and started writing well-received letters under the world’s greatest pseudonym, “Mrs. Silence Dogood,” but when James found out he was furious. So Ben Franklin ran away and ended up in Philadelphia, where he founded the University of Pennsylvania and did some other stuff (discovered electricity, signed the Declaration of Independence, etc etc.)

2) Harry Houdini: The master showman pulled his first disappearing act when he ran away from home at the age of 12. He left his family, who had immigrated to Milwaukee from Hungary, and jumped on a freight car. Little is known about the year Houdini spent away from home, but he may have spent time in Kansas City. He later re-joined his family in New York and helped support them by working as a necktie cutter and photographer’s assistant. He later became the world’s most famous magician/showman.

3) Frank Abagnale Jr.: The real-life teenage trickster played by Leonardo DiCaprio in Catch Me If You Can got his start in crime when he ran away from home at 16. He forged checks, played doctor, posed as a lawyer, and even pretended to be an airplane pilot to get free flights. When he was finally caught, he served time in French and Swiss prisons before he was handed over to American authorities, but escaped out of the airplane used to transport him. After he was captured again, he served 5 year of his 12 year prison sentence and then started working with the FBI to help them fight check fraud. He’s now a millionaire security consultant.

4) Barbara McVay: 17-year old Barbara McVay really wanted to go to England in 1966. Her dad was stationed with the Air Force in the U.K, and, as she told the the Sarasota Journal later, “I like English boys.” One problem: Barbara lived in Baltimore. So she did what any teen would do, and stowed away on a Britain-bound submarine that was visiting Baltimore. The 1,600 ton submarine (called the Walrus) had been at sea for four hours when Barbara left her hiding place, feeling groggy from carbon monoxide. Crew members say it’s good she left when she did, because she would have drowned when that compartment filled with water. The Walrus turned around and brought Barbara straight back to Baltimore. “We certainly can’t have that sort of thing going on in the British Navy,” Captain Douglas Scobie told the Sarasota Journal. “Taking away one of Baltimore’s citizens is rather overextending our appreciation of their hospitality.”

5) Semaj Booker: In 2007, Washington 9-year old Semaj Booker really really wanted to see his grandfather in Texas. So he stole a car (which he learned how to do from playing video games) and led police on a high-speed chase. Police caught up with him and brought him home, but the next day he hopped a bus to the airport and snagged a plane ticket to Phoenix by using a fake name. Police picked him up when he tried to get to Dallas. In 2010, the 13-year old Booker had another run-in with the police when he allegedly stole a yo-yo from a store.

Categories: Magazines

Man Proposes to His Girlfriend at the Boston Marathon Finish Line

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 13:52

Shortly after completing the Boston Marathon today, runner Greg Picklesimer decided to make the day even more memorable by proposing to his girlfriend at the finish line.

He also completed the marathon last year, just a few hours before the terrorist attack that killed three people and injured dozens more.

“After last year I realized the people you love and your life can be taken so quickly,” Picklesimer told CBS Boston. “I didn’t want to lose that so I decided to come back and seal the deal.”

She said yes, luckily, because wouldn’t that be so awkward if she didn’t?

Finish line proposal! She said yes! #wbz #bostonmarathon http://t.co/ZF6BnxtPCE
Paula Ebben (@PaulaEbbenWBZ) April 21, 2014

Finish line proposal: "after last year I realized the people you love can be taken away from you" #wbz http://t.co/aOF2I04JAO
Paula Ebben (@PaulaEbbenWBZ) April 21, 2014

 

Categories: Magazines

25 Years Later, Field of Dreams Isn’t As Corny As You Think It Is

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 13:31
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It’s an embarrassing thing to admit, but here goes: Field of Dreams, which came out 25 years ago today, is one of my favorite movies. Not embarrassing the way that loving Blues Brothers 2000 would be, but embarrassing enough. Sure, Field got a best-picture Oscar nom — but it’s also got a reputation for being super cheesy. When it first came out, TIME’s Richard Corliss called it “shaggy doggerel.” Setting the film on a corn farm provided acres of ammo for puns.

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Loving a corny movie sincerely is slightly mortifying — like crying at an insurance commercial or sending a Hallmark card because it speaks to what’s in your soul — but you can’t love Field of Dreams any other way. The movie is sincere about everything, from what it means to have a dream that never came true to what it feels like when that dream comes up to bat, to why it matters when that dream is about baseball, the sport that gives you time to look for metaphors while you wait for the next play.

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Still, I’m willing to go public, because “sincere” doesn’t actually have to mean “sappy” — and, to me, Field of Dreams looks less corny than ever.

Here’s how I used to see the plot, based on seemingly infinite basic-cable viewings: Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella hears a voice; he plows under his corn to build a baseball diamond; that action summons the ghosts of Chicago Black Sox; Ray hears another voice telling him to go find reclusive writer Terence Mann; while at a Red Sox game with Mann, they see the words “Archibald ‘Moonlight’ Graham” on the scoreboard; later, they pick up a hitchhiker who turns out to be Moonlight Graham, a ballplayer who played just one game and had zero at-bats; returning to Iowa, Ray finds that his farm is about to be foreclosed on; when Ray’s daughter Karin almost chokes during a family argument, the ghost of Graham, who became a doctor after playing baseball, saves her; everyone lives happily ever after when the baseball diamond becomes a ticketed attraction for people who share Ray’s baseball dreams. In between, everyone talks about how much they love baseball, and I get all misty-eyed every time.

What’s missing from that retelling is the sequence between Fenway and the hitchhiker, when Ray tries to chase down Graham in the present day and finds that he’s already died. While visiting Graham’s hometown, Ray finds himself transported back to 1972, where he meets Graham — who by then had given up baseball to become a small-town doctor. It’s perhaps the weirdest scene in a movie full of weird scenes, the most unexplained moment in a movie that doesn’t bother to explain any of the mechanisms of any of its magic. “Baseball” is enough of an explanation for voices and ghosts and fate, which is all well and good. But those things happen to Ray within the real world. This scene is the one moment when Ray is the person who leaves reality. It’s an anomaly, shoehorned into a plot that’s otherwise consistent in its use of the supernatural, an excuse for him to tell a pretty little story that gives him a reason to play on the Field of Dreams:

But why not just skip from Fenway to the hitchhiker, since the audience already knows that Graham’s baseball dream didn’t come true in his lifetime? Why not avoid the weird time travel stuff altogether?

I think it’s because of what comes after the video clip above cuts off.

The reason Ray has to pick up “Moonlight” Graham as a hitchhiker is that “Doc” Graham says no when Ray offers to take him to Iowa to play with the Black Sox. He says no! Ray even uses the line about how it’s “supposed” to happen, but Doc refuses to leave his town, the place he loves more than any baseball diamond. Ray suggests that it’s a tragedy to get so close to a dream, to have it in hand for just five minutes, and then to let it glide away. “If I’d only gotten to be a doctor for five minutes,” Doc says, “now that would have been a tragedy.”

I used to think the takeaway from the Doc plot was that Ray was right, that it really would have been a tragedy for Doc not to get to play ball once again. After all, whatever fates conspire to make this Iowa magic happen, they arrange it so that Graham makes it to bat.

Except that Doc makes the same choice again when he steps off the diamond to rescue Karin, even though it means giving up his ghostly baseball career. That’s the moment it becomes clear that Doc, a relatively minor character, is the story’s hero; Ray makes an emotional journey but Doc makes a sacrifice to saves the damsel in distress. And this story’s hero is a realistic one, with a quest that’s anything but cheesy.

Doc most special place, as he puts it, is in the real world. It’s in an even realer version of the real world than the world real-life baseball inhabits. His magic is medicine, not sports. His story says that what happens to a dream deferred isn’t always something bad. His message is that when the long-shot life you imagine doesn’t work out, there are plenty of even better things you could be doing with your time. He says that not everyone makes it to the big leagues, but that everyone can make a difference.

Maybe it’s because I’m older now, but Doc’s rosy view of reality is more moving to me today than Ray’s love of baseball is. It’s not that I don’t love baseball or that I think Ray’s dreams — or Shoeless Joe’s, or Terry’s, or anyone’s — are less worth dreaming. The baseball diamond is undoubtedly worth more than a few acres of corn, and there’s no question that Ray should have listened to the voice. But most of us are Docs, not Rays. The voice in the corn doesn’t call to us. Still, in its absence, our dreams can be no worse for being pragmatic.

“We just don’t recognize the most significant moments of our lives while they’re happening,” Doc tells Ray, but he doesn’t say that those significant moments have to be on the baseball diamond, or whatever the equivalent place is for each of us. It’s worth looking for dreams off the field too, in our homes and communities and workplaces — and, like Field of Dreams, that’s something worth getting sentimental over.

Categories: Magazines

How the Teen Stowaway Survived His Trans-Pacific Flight in a Wheel Well

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 13:30

Authorities are still investigating the case, but a 16-year old stumbled out of a Hawaiian Airlines flight from San Jose, Calif., to Maui on Sunday, after apparently hitching a ride in the wheel well of a Boeing 767. Officials say he was unconscious during most of the five-and-a-half-hour flight, and is lucky to have survived.

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The plane reached an altitude of 38,000 high feet, at which point oxygen is scarce and the brain shuts down, say experts. Without enough oxygen to keep brain cells functioning, people at high altitudes first develop lightheadedness, and, if they don’t receive oxygen, lose consciousness in a matter of minutes.

Here’s what the teen faced, and experts’ best guesses as to how he survived:

Lack of oxygen

Without oxygen, nerve cells in the brain start to falter, resulting in dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, and loss of appetite and energy. Because the brain regulates much of the body’s metabolism, a de-oxygenated brain can lead to other organ failure as well. Fluid can build up in the lungs and brain and lead to potentially fatal swelling.

In this case, the teen’s youth could have been an advantage. “The brains of young people are more adaptable, and recoveries of kids who were comatose for a long period of time are more likely than recoveries among older patients,” says Dr. Ben Honigman, medical director of the Altitude Medicine Center at the University of Colorado.

Researchers are also finding that some genes that can predict who suffers from altitude-related sickness. That may explain why certain people experience more symptoms in mountain regions, while others, perhaps such as this teen, could pass out but regain consciousness when back at sea level.

There may be psychological contributors as well. According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) report [PDF] of 10 such cases involving 11 wheel well stowaways, five survived flights that reached as high as 39,000 feet. Many were politically motivated to escape, which FAA officials believe may have contributed to their ability to reach a “virtual ‘hibernative’ state” in order to survive. In a more recent study by researchers at the FAA and Wright State University, two passengers survived flights at 35,000 feet – one from Havana to Madrid and another from Bogota to Miami. The scientists speculate that the gradual climb of the plane allowed the stowaways to acclimate somewhat to the changing air pressure and low oxygen conditions, although Honigman notes that such acclimation occurs over just 10 to 20 minutes, while most mountain climbers take days or even weeks to acclimate to altitudes higher than 20,000 feet.

Frigid temperatures

At plane-flight altitudes, temperatures can drop to 80 degrees below freezing, another way stowaways can die. But according to the Wright State study, some heat from the hydraulic lines powering the wheels and residual heat from the tires can warm up the well slightly, and that same source of heat during descent may help some stowaways regain consciousness. “I have to think that the temperature in the wheel well wasn’t around minus 40 degrees,” says Honigman. “I can’t conceive that he could have survived those temperatures for five hours; he would have been frost bitten or turned into an icicle.”

Even if it were that cold, there is a remote chance that the cold may have helped the teen survive the journey. Some research on survivors of near-drownings in lakes suggests that extremely cold temperatures and a lack of oxygen may put the body into a hibernation state as the heart rate slows and the body’s metabolism drops to minimal levels. But those experiences generally last only a few minutes, not the five hours that the teen endured on his oceanic flight.

If the boy’s story is confirmed, he joins a small group of flight stowaways who found some way to survive on low oxygen, low temperatures, and low air pressure under conditions that weren’t meant for human beings. “He’s a really lucky boy,” says Honigman.

Categories: Magazines

Meb Keflezighi Wins 2014 Boston Marathon

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 13:24

Meb Keflezighi became the first American man to win the Boston Marathon since 1983 on Monday. He completed the race in 2:08:37.

Keflezighi has a long list of running achievements. He won a silver medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics marathon and in 2009 became the first American to win the New York City marathon in 27 years.

His win in Boston was unexpected: Keflezighi will turn 39 next month and many believed that his age would prevent him from beating out his foreign competitors. Since 1991, a Kenyan has won the Boston marathon 19 times.

Born in Eritrea, Keflezighi moved to the United States when he was 12 years old. When he won the New York City marathon, there was some debate over whether he was “really” American. A CNBC.com commentary claimed that claiming Keflezighi as American was like taking pride in “a ringer you hire to work a couple hours at your office so that you can win the executive softball league.”

But in a 2012 interview with TIME’s Sean Gregory, Keflezighi said he might not have become a runner had he not become an American citizen. “I ran my first mile here,” Keflezighi said. “I didn’t know the sport was an option in Eritrea.” The marathon champion learned to run cross-country in elementary school in San Diego and attended UCLA.

Keflezighi’s American pride was on display Monday as he made history just one year after the Boston Marathon bombings. After crossing the finish line, he raised his arms, looked up at the sky and kissed the ground three times before taking a bow, according to USA Today. He then began to cry. He didn’t race last year but watched in the stands, departing only five minutes before the bombs went off.

Keflezighi lives in San Diego with his wife and three daughters.

Categories: Magazines

1 Shot in Apparent Utah Courthouse Scuffle

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 13:21

An altercation in a federal courthouse in Utah ended with a defendant shot Monday, after a U.S Marshall opened fire when the defendant allegedly tried to stab a witness with a pen.

Salt Lake City police responded to reports of shots fired in the courthouse at about 10 a.m., the Salt Lake Tribune reports. Authorities confirmed that the defendant was shot and critically wounded as he rushed the witness stand.

An FBI spokesperson said that defendant Siale Angilau, a suspected member of the Tongen Crips gang, was hospitalized with at least one chest wound, the AP reports. His was the last in a series of Crip-related cases. Melodie Rydalch of the U.S. Attorney’s Office told the Tribune that the shooting was related to gang violence.

Witnesses at the scene reported seeing an apparent gunshot victim carried out on a stretcher. The courthouse was put on lockdown shortly after the incident.

[Salt Lake Tribune]

Categories: Magazines

This Is Google’s Dead-Simple Formula for a Perfect Resume

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 13:19

For soon-to-be college graduates or anyone else currently on the job hunt, Google’s head of human resources has some advice for impressing potential employers. Laszlo Bock, who oversees the hiring of 100 new Google employees each week, offered some more morsels of wisdom to the New York Times’ Thomas Friedman this weekend (a conversation earlier this year between Bock and Friedman touched on the same topic). Here’s a quick breakdown of his key insights.

Be specific on resumes: Bock points out that many people’s resumes are overly vague. Instead a resume should offer specific details about a worker’s job experience that help contextualize his accomplishments. Bock explains: “Most people would write a résumé like this: ‘Wrote editorials for The New York Times.’ Better would be to say: ‘Had 50 op-eds published compared to average of 6 by most op-ed [writers] as a result of providing deep insight into the following area for three years.’”

Choose hard courses over straight A’s: Bock says a lower grade in a more challenging course can be more impressive to employers than a stellar performance in an easier class. He said a B in computer science could be more significant than an A+ in English “because it signals a rigor in your thinking and a more challenging course load.”

Explain your thought process in job interviews: Much like resumes, Bock says that specificity here is important. Employers want to know how a potential worker thinks to see whether they will be good at solving problems on the job. He recommends using this structure to explain your experiences to an employer: “What you want to do is say: ‘Here’s the attribute I’m going to demonstrate; here’s the story demonstrating it; here’s how that story demonstrated that attribute.’ ” Using this method shows a worker’s ability to think logically and evaluate their own performance in a critical way.

Read the full interview over at The Times.

Categories: Magazines

30 Crazy Things You Didn’t Know About Sleep

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 13:13

Sleepy’s mattress retailer is pretty pro-sleep. So to help educate a consumer base —and, you know, promote — the company came up with a list of 30 “insane” facts about it. They range from the awesome (gamers are more likely to be able to control their dreams) to depressing (a new parent will lose about 1055.6 hours of sleep in the first year of their child’s life… that’s almost 44 days.)

Explore more visuals like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.
 

Categories: Magazines

Doh! Government Proposal Could Make Beer Prices Soar

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 13:12
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There’s a lot to hate about changes proposed by the FDA, which could push prices higher not only for beer, but for milk and meat as well. The new regulations are being bashed as wasteful and anti-recycling to boot.

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For centuries, beer manufacturers and farmers have enjoyed a mutually beneficial arrangement, in which the barley and other spent grain that’s left over in the brewing process is sold or given to farmers to use as cheap feed for animals.

“I get free waste removal and he gets free feed — it doesn’t get any better than that,” Kyle Williams, owner and brewer at North Carolina’s Brevard Brewing Co., who works with the nearby Busybee Farm, explained in a recent (Hendersonville) Times-News story. “It’s a perfectly symbiotic relationship.”

This relationship is in jeopardy, however, due to changes proposed by the FDA that are part of the broader Food Safety Modernization Act. Brewers say that if the proposal is approved, they would be required to dry and package spent grain before it’s shipped off to farmers as feed. The equipment needed and administrative hassles required to handle that extra step in the waste removal process would cost a bundle—as much as $13 million per brewing facility, Scott Mennen, vice president of brewery operations at Widmer Brothers Brewery in North Portland, Ore., told the Oregonian. “That would be cost prohibitive,” Mennen said. “Most brewers would have to put this material in a landfill.”

(MORE: That Craft Beer You’re Drinking Isn’t Craft Beer. Do You Care?)

The proposals, as well as the Food Safety Modernization Act in general, are obviously designed to protect consumers and make food safer. But no one has made much of a case indicating that using spent grain as feed is unsafe for animals or humans—an FDA spokesperson cited in the Oregonian piece couldn’t a single example in which the age-old practice has caused problems.

The Brewers Association declared the FDA proposal an “unwarranted burden for all brewers,” arguing that if the regulations would approved, costs would rise for brewers—and, inevitably, for drinkers who buy products made by those brewers—and that the changes would also be bad for the environment:

Brewers of all sizes must either adhere to new processes, testing requirements, recordkeeping and other regulatory requirements or send their spent grain to landfills, wasting a reliable food source for farm animals and triggering a significant economic and environmental cost.

Right behind brewers in the protest over the new regulations are farmers, who are potentially losing an inexpensive stream of feed for animals. The system of recycling a nearby brewer’s spent grain “saves me so much money in feed costs it’s incredible,” one small farmer in North Carolina, who uses the grain to feed cattle, pigs, and chickens, said to the Times-News. “If I couldn’t get the grain, it wouldn’t be justifiable for me to be in the hog business, because it keeps the cost down to where it’s affordable for me to feed them — that would be one more industry I would be out of.”

To recap, the new FDA proposal would raise the costs and complications in the of production process for beer brewers, and would also make it more expensive for farmers to feed animals, perhaps even to the point of putting some out of business. The proposal wasn’t created to address some specific safety problem, nor out of concern for the environment—in fact, approval of the new regulations could result in more waste at landfills, which is less than ideal for the environment.

(MORE: The Resurgence of Cheap Old-School Mass-Market Beer)

And horror of all horrors, your beer could wind up costing more down the line. Same thing for meat, dairy, and a wide range of products that originate at farms, as the rise in feed prices is a prime reason why there’s been such as steep rise in beef prices lately.

The FDA is currently reviewing the proposed rule changes, and it is including the overwhelmingly negative feedback it has received from brewers and farmers in this process. A revised proposal is expected sometime this summer.

Categories: Magazines

Immigration Activists Try to Ramp up Pressure on Obama Again

Mon, 04/21/2014 - 13:02

For months now, the pattern has been the same. Immigration activists, frustrated with inaction, latch onto some small glimmer of hope: a new campaign to pressure the powerful, or an approving remark by someone who can break the legislative stalemate. Each time the prospect of progress fades as quickly as it appeared.

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In the 10 months since the Senate passed a comprehensive reform of U.S. immigration law, it has become abundantly clear that the GOP-controlled House won’t follow suit before November’s midterm elections. A report last week that House Speaker John Boehner was “hellbent” on passing an immigration overhaul in 2014 was swiftly shot down by his spokesman. “Nothing has changed,” said the spokesman, Brendan Buck.

With reform stalled in the House, immigration reformers have once again ratcheted up pressure on President Barack Obama. They hope to convince Obama to take executive action to slow the tide of deportations.

A memo released Monday by the AFL-CIO outlines the steps it believes the Obama Administration can take to ease the impact of immigration enforcement on immigrant families. The memo comes as Jeh Johnson, Obama’s new secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, conducts a review of the Administration’s enforcement policies. The document calls for DHS to take four concrete steps: granting work permits to certain undocumented immigrants; reclaiming federal authority over enforcement policy from the states; reforming the removal process; and protecting undocumented workers who file workplace grievances. (Read the full memo here.)

Obama has repeatedly resisted calls for him to use executive authority. He says he lacks the discretion to make the changes activists have sought—an argument that many top Democrats reject. “The only way to truly fix it is through congressional action. We have already tried to take as many administrative steps as we could,” Obama said in a news conference last week.

But with House Republicans refusing to budge, proponents of reform on both sides of the aisle have warned that Obama will act if Congress won’t. Exercising executive authority to ease deportations, the top concern of Hispanic groups, could help mend fraying ties with Latino voters and nudge them toward the polls before November elections that look grim for Democrats. Obama has made a similar move in the past: In the summer of 2012, with his reelection hanging in the balance, Obama signed an order that granted relief from deportations for certain young adults who had been brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

“I’m convinced that if we don’t get it done by the August break, the president, who is feeling a lot of pressure from having not done anything on immigration reform, will feel that he has to act through executive action,” Florida Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart told the Washington Post last week.

Obama is staying coy about his intentions. “We’re going to review it one more time,” Obama said last week of the DHS review, “to see if there’s more that we can do to make it more consistent with common sense and more consistent with I think the attitudes of the American people, which is we shouldn’t be in the business necessarily of tearing families apart who otherwise are law-abiding.”

For activists still searching for signs of hope, the answer seemed to contain a warning to Republicans: Help fix the broken immigration system, or the President will do it without you.

Categories: Magazines