The Day Radio Died, Congressional Fools, John Bull & Stephen King's Better Half


From the Did Ya Know Department: John Bull is a figure who stands for England in literary and political satire and in cartoons. He's described as "a stout, feisty man, often shown in a suit made out of the British flag. John Bull is the British equivalent of the United States' symbol Uncle Sam.

I'm dropping even more knowledge in this edition of the grind. The stars of this one include the Dutch, the death of FM radio, Chipotle, Walgreens, FedEx, American Apparel, PBS, the United States nuclear program, Congress (or lack thereof), Italy's Art Police, Stephen King's better half, wind powered trains and Academy Award nominated special effects.  A potpourri of things you could say. We all should be more like John Bull...well-rounded.

The Day Radio Died

Norway has many mountains and valleys that the robust nature of Digital Audio Broadcasting can help with. Additionally, FM radio infrastructure was coming to the end of its life, so they would’ve needed to either replace it or fully commit to DAB anyway.
— Stephen Lax, University of Leeds, UK

Norway will be the first country to shut off FM Radio and go digital only by the end of 2017.

Shop Talk

First, it was E. Coli. And now the avocado is trying to sink Chipotle.

FedEx customers can now pick up and drop off packages at Walgreens.

American Apparel brand...well...isn't.

Nuclear Fallout

For me the scariest statement in the film is [former Secretary of Defense] Harold Brown saying accidents are not unusual in the defense department, they happen every day. There are numbers and numbers of these accidents. For me, the scariest thing is that this is just one of many.
— Robert Kenner, Producter/Director Command and Control

The new PBS documentary, Command and Control, examines the role human error played in a near-miss at a nuclear facility in Arkansas. One man dropping a socket from a socket-wrench nearly led to a wave of radiation across the entire U.S. Eastern seaboard. It's scary to think about, but even scarier to pose the question of how safe are we today?

Congressional Oversight

In an effort to save money over the past twenty years, lawmakers have cut funding for educators and advisors in Congress which has led to woefully uninformed (nice word for dumb) legislators. Gone are economists, issue experts, researchers, analytic experts and agency veterans to inform Congress members on the issues, in hearings or to prepare for oversight committees. This article suggests it's time for universities to step in and educate our elected officials.

Italy's Art Police

We tail suspects or use wiretaps so we can listen to the bad guys’ phone calls or we check their bank accounts. And when we’re out in the field,” he said, “we look like everyone else, we don’t wear uniforms.
— Lt. Sebastiano Antoci

In 1969, Italy created the world's first specialized police force to combat art crime. It now numbers 280 investigators.  The squad's recovery record is high. In 2014, it managed to recover 137,000 works with an estimated value of $500 million. How do you go from cop to art expert?

The Real Heroine of "Carrie" by Stephen King

You write all those macho things,” one reader told him. “But you can’t write about women. You’re scared of women.
— Early Stephen King Reader Critique

Imagine if Stephen King had become a teacher, never a writer. What would his millions and millions of readers done with their time instead of reading one of his over fifty best sellers? If not for his wife, Tabby, the "K" author section in every bookstore in the world would be as barren as the Gunslinger's desert.

Blown Away

Since 1 January, 100% of our trains are running on wind energy.
— National Railway Spokesman Ton Boon

One windmill running for an hour can power a train for 120 miles and all Dutch trains now are powered by wind energy. There's no FM radio...but still impressive.

...The Last Drop