Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News – October 12, 2010

A recent study by the Institute for Research on Gambling Disorders shows that more than 70 percent of Americans between the ages of 14 and 19 are estimated to have gambled online in the past year.  Federal law says an individual must be at least 21 years old to gamble in the U.S., but that’s not deterring teenagers from doing it.  ***MARLAR: And I’ll give you ten-to-one odds no one is checking I.D.s.

The outspoken head of budget carrier Ryanair says co-pilots are not necessary on passenger planes and could be eliminated to save money.   Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary, in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek said “Let’s take out the second pilot. Let the computer fly it.”  He goes on to say a flight attendant on each plane could be trained to help with landing, in case something goes wrong.  ***MARLAR: But then, if something goes wrong on the flight who’s going to bring me my hot towel?

When you travel, be careful about your cell phone use!- Cindy Ivanhoe and her two children recently traveled to Israel and the kids spent countless hours on their cell phones.  Little did they realize the roaming charges were more than $9,500.  Ivanhoe says she was shocked by the bill because she never received any warnings about the charges.  ***MARLAR: A quick tip – no matter what you see on TV commercials, you really WON’T see charges on rolls of paper coming out of your teens’ cell phones.

Chemicals used to make non-stick coatings on cookware and to waterproof fabrics may raise levels of cholesterol in children, according to U.S. researchers.  Children in a study with the highest levels of these compounds in their blood had measurably higher levels of total cholesterol and LDL — the so-called “bad” cholesterol — compared with children with lower readings.  ***MARLAR: Here’s an idea… how about we teach kids not to eat their clothes and cookware?

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is asking everyone to get their Swine flu shot!  She says the vaccine is “safe and secure.” Sebelius unconditionally vouched for the safety of the vaccine, saying it “has been made exactly the same way seasonal vaccine has been made, year in and year out.”  ***MARLAR: Which is exactly what we’re afraid of.  Do they not remember the flu shots in the 70’s?

When Eric Hagen started Recession Ride Taxi in Essex, Vt., he took more questions than fares.  Everyone wanted to know if the sign reading “Pay What You Want!” on the back of his taxi was for real. It is, and Hagen says he hasn’t been shortchanged yet.  He offers pay-what-you-can bottles of water, Gatorade and soda and a free ride after six paid fares. He tells the Burlington Free Press that business has been good.  Most of his transactions are in cash. But he’s also gotten a CD from a musician and a $10 supermarket card.  Hagen has been offering his taxi service Thursday through Sunday nights since June. When he’s not a taxi driver, the 46-year-old Hagen works full time for the American Red Cross.  ***MARLAR: His fares are more-than-fare.

It’s fast food — but a long career. Marlene Wickerink and Janet Chapman are both saying goodbye to the Golden Arches. Wickerink and Chapman are retiring from the McDonald’s in North Muskegon, Mich. Between the two, they have more than four decades of experience with Happy Meals, Quarter Pounders and Big Macs. The franchise owner (Mark Dahlke) tells The Muskegon Chronicle the women were great examples for their fellow workers.  Chapman was the voice of the drive-though lane. She says she’ll miss McDonald’s. She adds she used to be shy before starting under the Golden Arches in 1988.  ***MARLAR: Actually, they don’t call it “retirement” at McDonald’s though – they call it “walking away from the heat lamp”.

Researchers plan to visit an uninhabited island in the Pacific next spring to search for clues that they hope will solve one of history’s most enduring mysteries: the fate of aviator Amelia Earhart. Researchers with the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery are slated to go to Nikumaroro Island, about 1,800 miles south of Hawaii, in May and June to retrieve the personal effects of a castaway who died there. Earhart was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, and she was the first pilot of either gender to fly solo from Hawaii to California. She and navigator Fred Noonan vanished over the Pacific on July 2, 1937, during an around-the-world flight.  ***MARLAR: That’s strange; I seem to remember her ending up at the Smithsonian with Ben Stiller…

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