December 2012 Archives

Analysis-Large Data Sets: Twilight of the Twinkies

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In this article from the Economist, the author examines the afterlife of the Twinkie. With the Hostess company in bankruptcy, the world supply of Twinkies has reached the edge; from this time on, there will only be a decrease.

Twinkies have a very extended afterlife, so after the collapse of the company, aspiring entrepreneurs snatched up as many as they could and have been selling them on Ebay. Prices range between $0.40 to $100,000, with the average being around $2000. The most common bid is around $3.

In order to handle the amount of information in this range, the author has created a chart showing the range of prices x number of Ebay listings within that price range. A simplified chart like this is the most convenient way for a reader to digest such a large data set.

A Minneapolis two-year-old was accidentally killed on Wednesday after his 4-year-old brother was playing with a loaded handgun he found in their parents bedroom, according to the Star Tribune.

Someone in the house called 9-1-1 after shot were fired. Two-year-old Neegnco Xiong died in the ambulance. Parents Kao Xiong and Ma Vang were immediately taken for questioning and the other three children were taken into protective custody, according to the Star Tribune.

A vigil was held on Saturday to honor the boy, and the boys' father spoke, according to CBS Minnesota.

Father Kao (Lue) Xiong pleaded guilty to charges of negligent storing of firearms, according to the Star Tribune. Sentencing will be on December 13.

Two Australian radio hosts have come off the air indefinitely after a prank call to the hospital treating pregnant Kate Middleton may have led to the suicide of the nurse who answered the phone, according to the New York Times.

On Tuesday, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, hosts of the 2Day FM show, called the King Edward VII hospital where Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, is being treated for acute morning sickness, according to Reuters. The pair successfully convinced a nurse, Jacintha Saldanha, 46, that they were the Queen and Prince Charles asking about her medical state, according to the New York Times.

On Friday, Saldanha, a mother of two, was found dead after a suspected suicide, according to Reuters. The radio hosts were immediately taken off the air and are currently receiving counseling, according to the New York Times.

"I spoke to both presenters early this morning, and it's fair to say they're completely shattered," said Rhys Holleran, the network's chief executive, quoted on The Lede blog. "These people aren't machines, they're human beings. We're all affected by this."

Gay marriage finally lands on Supreme Court floor

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Several gay marriage cases have been brought before the Supreme Court, and decisions are expected by summer, according to the Pioneer Press.

One of the two cases comes from California, will likely establish or reject a constitutional right to same-sex marriage in the state, or nationally, according to the Star Tribune. The other case, from New York, will challenge the federal law preventing same-sex couples from receiving the same benefits of heterosexual couples, even in states that recognize the marriage, according to the Pioneer Press.

While the trend seems to be an increase in support for legalizing same-sex marriage, many supporters are nervous about the issue being in front of the Supreme Court. Nine states now allow same-sex marriage, but 41 still do not, and 30 of those have a ban written into the state constitutions, according to the Huffington Post.

"Mindful of history, I can't help but be concerned," said Mary Bonauto, director of the Civil Rights Project at Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, according to the Huffington Post.

Sen. Franken pushes bill against stalker apps

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Senator Franken used Thursday's senate hearing to provide examples of the importance of cracking down on "stalker apps," according to the Star Tribune.

During the hearing, according to the Star Tribune, Franken read the homepage promises of the app ePhoneTracker: Worried that your spouse might be cheating?" "Track every text, every call and every move they make using our easy cell phone spy software..."

Other companies, such as EasyCell Spy Phone Software promise similar, according to Secrets of the City.

Franken's bill would require consent before providing collected data to a third party, as well as make it a crime to use a stalking app, according to CBS Minnesota.

"Tens of thousands of women are stalked annually through the use of GPS technology," Franken told the committee, according to CBS Minnesota.

Iran captures American drone, Navy denies

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Iran claimed to have captured an American unmanned drone on Tuesday, and displayed it on national broadcasts, though American Navy says that all aircrafts in the region have been accounted for, according to the Washington Post.

The conflicting accounts have led to controversy about intelligence and reconnaissance efforts in the region. According to the Washington Post, there have been doubts about the capture of the drone, because of its good condition, despite its lightweight carbon-fiber body.

There is a possibility that the drone was taken from the sea or from another country in the region that uses drones, according to the Washington Post.

According to the Reuters, White House spokesman Jay Carney said: "We have no evidence that the Iranian claims are true."

Russian snow causes 125-mile traffic jam for days

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Snow outside of Moscow has had vehicles trapped on the road for more than two days, according to Reuters. Police have said that field kitchens are running, but many of those trapped said that supplies were not reaching them. In the subzero temperatures, many are running out of gasoline to heat their cars.

Efforts to remove the snow were showing signs of progress, according to CNN. By Sunday evening, the jam line was down from 125 miles to 34. In other areas, a lane on each side had been partially cleared, allowing trucks to crawl along at 3-6 mph.

Snow and traffic problems in December are not new to Russians, but many had other complaints as well, according to CNN. According to many social networking sites, cafe's along the route were taking advantage of the situation by raising prices. Many gas stations ran out of fuel, and trucks were not getting through to refill them, according to CNN.

The Emergencies Ministry was on site offering what help it could, including psychological help for those struggling to cope, according to CNN.

Casper, Wyo police are calling Casper College teacher James Krumm a hero for saving his students after his 25-year-old son attacked him in his classroom Friday, according to the Star Tribune. Christopher Krumm of Vernon, Conn. shot his father with a bow and arrow, stabbed himself, and then fatally stabbed his father, according to NBC. Both men were dead or dying when police arrived, but all of the student had already escaped.

Before driving to the college, Christopher Krumm had fatally attacked his fathers live-in girlfriend outside of their home. The body of Heidi Arnold, 42, lay outside the home for 11 hours, NBC quotes neighbor Heather Maier as saying.

"He told me his dad gave him Asperger's (syndrome), that his dad shouldn't have passed it on," said the younger Krumm's neighbor in Conn., according to NBC. "He said his dad should be castrated. I didn't know him that well, he just kind of said it out of nowhere, so that kind of threw me off a little."


Cold Springs police officer Tom Decker was responding to a call of a potential suicide when he was killed behind a local sports bar, according to the Star Tribune. Local community college student Ryan Michael Larson, 34, is being held as a suspect.

According to the Huffington Post, investigators believe the killing to have been an ambush, but would not elaborate. The officer had been wearing a bulletproof vest, but according to the Star Tribune, Decker had been shot in the face.

Larson had a permit to carry a weapon, and owned several guns, but according to the Star Tribune, many who knew Larson were surprised by the news that he was a suspect. Jeff Scoles, who owns the bar with his parents and had spent much of the day with Larson, said he hoped Larson is cleared. "I don't see him as a murderer," Scoles said, according to the Star Tribune.

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

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