This news blog is an educational exercise involving students at the University of Minnesota. It is not intended to be a source of news.

I found this New York Times article on the Extra! Extra! section of and found it to be an interesting, compelling story.

The focus of the story was developed by looking at -- a gun-selling website that currently bypasses legal background check requirements.

The story begins with one specific case the Times found where a felon was trying to get a gun without a background check. The story uses clever multimedia options where readers can click text to get a picture of the specific postings from the website.

As the story continues, it discusses the 170,000 postings on -- a large data set. The writers and contributors likely used spreadsheets to analyze the postings and analyze them for trends and statistics. It is possible they wrote a program to help go through the site, but it is most likely they used more simple methods and put in a lot of time and effort.

The statistics and interactive graphics are effective because they take tons of information and make it relevant and interesting to readers. Everything is made more clear through their data analysis.

Minn. House funds tuition freeze

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In efforts to cut rising costs in higher education, the Minnesota House passed a budget bill that would freeze resident undergraduate tuition at the state's public colleges and universities.

The bill, designed by Rep. Gene Pelowski, DFL-Winona, received bipartisan support for its potential to control tuition rates and increase the Legislature's control on the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities and University of Minnesota systems, the Star Tribune reports.

Most of the $150 million in new money added to the $2.7 billion bill will go to the tuition freeze, the Session Daily reports.

Shakopee grain plant explodes, all safe

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An explosion at a Shakopee, Minn. biomass plant rocked the city, but officials say there were no injuries, news sources report.

The explosion happened at about 12:40 p.m. at a plant owned by Koda Energy and Rahr Malting Co., the Associated Press reports.

The city cleared everyone in a 1-mile radius, but said "there is no immediate danger," the Star Tribune reports.

The Associated Press Twitter account was hacked on Tuesday, resulting in erroneous messages going out to millions of followers.

The false messages said there were two explosions at the White House and President Barack Obama was injured, which didn't happen.

Even though this information wasn't true, the Dow Jones industrial average temporarily dropped 143 points on Tuesday afternoon.

However, the Dow was back to normal within an hour of falling.

"The @AP Twitter account has been suspended after it was hacked. The tweet about an attack on the White House was false," the AP posted on its corporate communications Twitter account page.

Though the Syrian Electronic Army claimed responsibility for the hack, that information hasn't been confirmed.

-This blog is a repost from the Minnesota Daily.

France legalizes gay marriage

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Amid national debate, the French parliament voted in favor of a bill to legalize gay marriage.

The bill makes France the 14th country to make gay marriage legal and also provides adoption rights for same-sex couples, BBC News reports.

According to the Associated Press, there have been attacks on gay couples and violent protests of the proposed law.

Int'l terror attack foiled

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Canadian officials arrested two men accused of planning a terror attack on train bound for the U.S., news sources report.

The planned attack is said to have al-Qaeda support, CNN reports.

"Each and every terrorist arrest the [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] makes sends a message and illustrates our strong resolve to root out terrorist threats and keep Canadians and our allies safe," RCMP James Malizia said, BBC reports.

Stillborn found in Regions Hospital's laundry

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Regions Hospital apologized Wednesday after a stillborn baby was found amid its linens at a commercial laundry facility in Red Wing, Minn., news sources report.

"I didn't get much sleep last night," Chris Boese, Regions Hospital chief nursing officer said at a Wednesday press conference, the Pioneer Press reports. "We're deeply saddened and troubled that this happened and want to make sure that it never happens again."

The hospital said it is working with the baby's family on how to handle the remains, MPR reports. Hospital officials declined to discuss the case further.

Leaders mourn Margaret Thatcher

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More than 2,000 people mourned the death of Britain's first female prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, on Wednesday at St. Paul's Cathedral in London, news sources report.

At least 170 countries were represented in the crowd, which included former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, CNN reports.

While 4,000 police officers were on duty near the funeral, only a small number of people showed up to protest with no arrests made, BBC reports.

Car hits Tea House in Stadium Village

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A car ran into the Tea House Chinese Restaurant in Stadium Village on Monday night.

There were no injuries, but a Minneapolis police officer and Tea House employee say the driver may have been intoxicated.

The driver of the Mercury car hit the 25th Avenue side of the building at about 8:15 p.m. on Monday, the restaurant's manager Andrew Abercrombie said.

The car made a large hole in the restaurant's side wall, leaving broken glass scattered out to the sidewalk.

Abercrombie said his staff told him a young, college-aged woman hit the building about ten minutes after the business's last customers left for the night.

The driver told Tea House staff she was t-boned before running into the business, but there was no visible damage on her vehicle, Abercrombie said.

University of Minnesota sophomore Sebastian Crump went over to the scene after hearing of the incident.

The driver -- who Crump said was drunk -- was arrested and driven away in a police car, he said.

"You could just clearly tell [the driver] was drunk," Crump said. "She wanted to have the handcuffs untightened and she wanted to know where her purse was."

The Tea House will be closed for business on Tuesday, Abercrombie said, as damage is assessed.

-This blog is a repost from the Minnesota Daily.

Surly Brewing expanding into Prospect Park

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Surly Brewing is riding the craft brewery wave and has purchased land for a "destination brewery" in Minneapolis' Prospect Park neighborhood, news sources report.

The company will open a new brewery and taproom on 8.3 acres of land on Malcolm Avenue and Fifth Street SE it purchased for $20 million, MPR reports.

Surly has applied for more than $2 million in environmental grants to help clean up the tract of land, with hopes of beginning work this fall, the Pioneer Press reports.