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Since 1994, this is the 1548th issue of Randy Cassingham’s...

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11 February 2024: Imitation of LifeCopyright ©2024

You’re Gonna Pay, Pal: Baxter County (Ark.) Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a report of a robbery at a house in Mountain Home. Two men had pounded on the front door a half hour before midnight. When the three homeowners opened the door, they were confronted by two masked men with guns. The residents didn’t have cash, so one of the robbers said he’d take Paypal. One of the victims sent $120 while still at gunpoint, and the men fled. Investigators simply traced who the recipientaccount belonged to and arrested Jacob Gray and Skyler Henson, both 19, the next morning, charging each with three counts of kidnaping, aggravated robbery and burglary, and theft. (RC/KOLR Springfield) ...Paypal: the first choice of obliviot criminals.

Artificially Intelligent, Naturally Awesome: After the Covid-19 pandemic, Aubrie Vinzant, 8, of Las Vegas, Nev., struggled with her reading from missing so much school. “Really it was about halfway through the first grade that we realized that she couldn’t read,” said her father, Dave Vinzant. Tutors were prohibitively expensive and nothing else seemed to help until he found a solution: artificial intelligence. Vinzant, with no programming background, built WordStumble: a web app thatuses ChatGPT to build custom children’s stories. According to the app’s website, WordStumble works by “integrating words they already know with those they are currently learning.” “This is now my passion,” Vinzant says. “It is a dream that I see is working for her, and is starting to work for other kids.” (MS/KVVU Las Vegas) ...And along the way he’s teaching his daughter a lot more than reading skills.

Reader Contributions Got True a New Web Server. Really. The old one has been bogging down, and crashing a lot. Support tickets with the provider haven’t helped, so it is time to move on. When I asked Free Edition readers for help (without saying what for), enough came through that they covered the first three months of a much more capable server — a faster CPU and 6x the RAM. Conversion isn’t complete but things are already better, so thank you! go here to help with the second quarter. Or, of course, help with ongoing costs with a Premium upgrade. Either way, thanks so much!

Extra boring in black & white.Moving On: “Everything has a shelf life,” says David Fudge, executive director of the Nebraskaland Days festival in North Platte.And that includes the state’s tourism slogan: “Nebraska, honestly it’s not for everyone.” The slogan wasn’t for Gov. Jim Pillen, who criticized it in a State of the State speech, and now “It’s a thing of the past,” Nebraska Tourism Commission Director John Ricks says. Ricks does credit the slogan with getting more people interested in being tourists in a state whose reputation included being flat and boring. “The only way we could get their attention, honestly, was by agreeing with them, andthen counteracting it,” Ricks said. (AC/Nebraska Examiner) ...Honestly, let’s see Nebraska come up with a slogan that is for everyone.

The Gift That Keeps on Giving: The most spam-promoted meds of all — those that treat ED — may have a second benefit, research is showing. A study of 260,000 men found that those who take such drugs also have a reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s disease. It’s a significant difference: an 18 percent overall reduction, with those taking more of the drugs having the most reduction in disease. The next step is to see if the benefits apply to women, too. Of course “More research is needed toconfirm these findings,” says lead author Dr Ruth Brauer, to “learn more about the potential benefits and mechanisms of these drugs and look into the optimal dosage.” But it offers real hope for the aging population. (RC/BBC) ...So not only can they still do it, they can still remember they did it.

Frantic Day at Northwest Indiana Stable after Joe the Therapy Horse Gets Stuck in Tree
WGN Chicago (Ill.) headline

Did You Find an Error? Check the Errata Page for updates.

This Week’s Contributors: MS-Mike Straw, AC-Alexander Cohen, RC-Randy Cassingham.

Can You Believe it was twenty years ago that Janet Jackson “flashed” the Super Bowl?! I think of it as an eye-rolling triviality, but it dominated the news for weeks. What irked me is the laughable “wardrobe malfunction” excuse when it was plainly obvious that it was an intended stunt — which I proved with a page on True’s site. That was moved to the JJF microsite shortly after, yetwas controversial in at least one journalism forum.

In October, I told the story of an Oklahoma judge who Facebooked and texted her way through a trial — when she was supposed to be overseeing the trial regarding the murder of a 2-year-old girl. If that wasn’t bad enough, her texts were extremely partial to the defense. It’s an outrageous story with a new update: the judge has agreed to resign. More in the archive: Injudicious.

Ten Years Ago in True: When reading the stories to choose one, I chuckled when I got to the tagline — and it’s my story! Apparently, ten years is about long enough to forget what’s coming. Usually One must Go to a Bowling Alley to Meet Someone of this Stature. (If you know the cultural reference in that slug, you’re finelycultured indeed!)

This Week’s Sunday Reading: When a Fake Story makes it into True, I jump on it hard. Ethics Train Wreck.

This Week’s Honorary Unsubscribe goes to Seiji Ozawa. While studying to be a musician, Ozawa had an accident. His pivot created an international demand for his services. The story in about 2 minutes.

  • And So Long to programmer John Walker, author of the AutoCAD program, and co-founder of the company that published it. He moved to Switzerland after leaving the company in 1991. He died there on February 2 at 75.
  • Honorary Unsubscribe Archive.

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Copyright ©2024 by Randy Cassingham, All Rights Reserved. All broadcast, publication, retransmission to email lists, web site or social media posting, or any other copying or storage, in any medium, online or not, is strictly prohibited without prior written permission from the author. Manual forwarding by email to friends is allowed if 1) the text is forwarded in its entirety from the “Since 1994” line on top through the end of this paragraph and 2) No fee is charged. I request that you forward no more than three copies to any one person — after that, they should get their own free subscription. I appreciate people who report violations of my copyright.

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