News from today in San Francisco… that caught my attention

February 19, 2009

in news, Uncategorized

Today I grabbed two newspapers: USA Today (for free at the hotel) and The Examiner (for free on the street). These are the news that caught my attention:

    San Francisco, today

  • General Motors will be discontinuing (or selling) the Hummer line of SUVs by the end of this quarter (yippie!!). It seems these guzzlers have been deadly wounded when the fuel price skyrocketed and now that Obama is in power, they’ve become politically incorrect.
  • Apple is selling online music lessons through the Garage Band software. The price is 4.99 USD. Some of the lessons are given by the artists themselves… think John Fogerty and Norah Jones.
  • Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz presented yesterday “Via“, a new instant coffee product that is said to taste just as the coffee brewed at the Starbucks shops. Howie, what about concentrating in the actual shops rather that launching new non-life-changing products? The “starbucks experience” in the US is really mediocre compared to that in Canada, Japan, Switzerland and Spain, other countries where the international coffee company is also present. For example, in Japan and Spain you can ask for a mug instead of a paper cup if you’re having your coffee at the store. That used to happen in the US but now it hardly does. In Tokyo, when you throw away your waste, you have to separate it in “burnable” (napkings, wooden sticks, papers, etc) and “non burnable” (plastics) for a better recycling and handling of garbage. In most shops abroad you have couches too. In Toronto I was surprised that they voluntarily don’t put a plastic cover on your beverage or the cardboard thing for handling hot cups, and you can decide if you need it or not. Saves money for them but also produces less waste.
  • Everyone is concerned about A-Rod being injected steroid by his cousin some years ago.
  • It seems that toilet torching (that is burning down portable toilets) is a big issue in San Francisco, as 23 have been set ablaze recently. I thought the Wii was the most interesting divertissement for young people here, but it seems I was wrong (again).
  • Meg Whitman, the ex-eBay CEO, is seeking to become governor of California in 2010 and in the meanwhile is promissing 2,000,000 jobs. It seems she will bid them on eBay…
  • Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the pilot who safely landed his plane in the Hudson river las Janaury, was declared an “international hero” by governator Mr. Schwarzenegger.
  • And talking about Scharzenegger, remember the spaceport scene in Total Recall? TSA will start testing body scanning machines in several airports as a trial. They cost aprox 170,000 usd compared to 10,000 usd of traditional machines, but they seem to be more successful at looking through clothing for hidden weapons (in particular non-metallic weapons or liquid explosives). There are some concerns about privacy or the fact that it might take about 60 seconds to scan each person, but I guess that once we get used to them it will be faster than now, in particular because we won’t have to strip down before passing through the scanner, as we actually do (specially in american ariports where you have to take off your shoes and other stuff).
  • Yesterday, about 25% of USA’s TV stations cut off their analog signals because they switched to digital. They’ve been preparing the viewers for the last 2 years, but many of them did not upgrade to a digital TV and now have nothing to watch to.
  • A woman in Salt Lake City used the “wedgie”  technique (pulling someone’s underwear from behind to smash his balls) she had learnt in school to stop a burglar from stealing a car.
  • My horoscope for today says” Taurus: making specific plans may seem frightening yo tou now. It’s because you’re playing with an idea and neet to work it through before you start mixing and mingling again. You need to feel free to chase your whims”. Btw, I actually feel free to chase my whims…
  • According to the weather forecast, the next two days will be sunny.

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