Little Stories: Twinkies, Soda, Rich People, East End Painter

WOMEN SHOULDN’T DRINK SOFT DRINKS

It’s okay for men to drink soda. It’s not so good for women. At least according to a group of researchers at Osaka University in Japan who studied 39,786 people between the ages of 40 and 60 for 18 years and found that women who have at least one soft drink a day have an 80% higher chance of having an ischemic stroke than women who rarely drink one. The study included both men and women. The men’s stroke rate was unaffected, so it didn’t seem to matter if they drank soda or they didn’t.

TWINKIES COMING BACK

The bankrupt Twinkie company, Hostess Brands, has announced that a deal is near to sell the company and get those great snacks back on the shelves by summer. Hostess Brands went out of business in November and stopped making their great products.

The company that is buying the Twinkie brand is a partnership of two investment firms, Metropoulos & Co and Apollo Global Management LLC. Besides Twinkies, the new owners are picking up some of the other snacks, such as Ho Hos and Ding Dongs. And another part of Hostess, which makes Wonder Bread and other brands, is being sold to Flower Foods of Thomasville, Georgia. Still another company, McKee foods, has been picked to buy Drake’s cakes, including Devil Dogs and Yodels.

So yay!

TEMPERATURES HIT NEW HIGH

Long Island, like everywhere else, is experiencing new record highs every year. But in the middle of this the Brookhaven National Laboratory has announced a temperature that is right off the charts. At their research center in Upton, Long Island (near Yaphank), the lab recently sent two gold nuclei streaking around their 2.4-mile collider ring in opposite directions, resulting in their smashing to bits to create a sudden spike in temperature to 7.2 billion degrees Fahrenheit.

SHOW ALMOST OVER

An international team of astronomers working with telescopes in Chile and Hawaii has concluded that the universe, which was founded about 13.7 billion years ago, is about done making new stars. They’ve been counting them up, figuring out when they came to be born, and have concluded that 95% of all the stars that could be born have already been born and are up there. What remains to be born is just 5% of the stars. So if anybody wants to leave early, this is a pretty good time to do so because the show is just about over.

GREAT PAINTER

Hundreds of paintings made by a little known artist named Arthur Pinajian have been found in a garage in Bellport. They were put there after his death in 1999. He lived and worked in the house adjacent to the garage.

Art dealers and critics are ecstatic about the work, declaring Pinajian, who was 85 when he died, to be among the greatest painters who ever lived.

Pinajian had little success in his lifetime. At his death, he said that all his unsold works of art were to be carted off to the dump. They were never taken away. A recent buyer of the house, Thomas Schultz, found the paintings still in the garage and decided to have them appraised. He hired noted appraiser William Hastings Falk.

“[This work is] an exhilarating discovery,” he said. “Flashes of genius illuminate every stage of his 66-year career.”

The works are being cleaned up, and some of them have sold for huge amounts. The entire collection has been valued at $30 million.

RICH PEOPLE

The richest man who lives on Long Island is James Simons, a hedge-fund investor, whose net worth is $11.7 billion, according to Forbes magazine. The second richest man who lives on Long Island is Ira Rennert of Sagaponack, at $6.5 billion, and the third richest is Charles Dolan and his family, who own Cablevision and Madison Square Garden. Their fortune is valued at $3.1 billion

The richest man in the world is Mexico’s Carlos Slim Helu and his family, whose fortune is $67.2 billion. The second richest man in the world and the richest man in America is Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, at $67 billion. Gates would probably be richer than Helu if not for the fact that in recent years Gates has been giving much of his money away.

SAVING PEDESTRIANS

Volvo introduced the V40, a new sedan that has something completely unique in the airbag department. This airbag is located on the outside of the car, between the bottom of the windshield and the back of the hood. If you hit a pedestrian, the impact on the grille sets off this airbag, which puffs up to cover the windshield and make a soft place for where the pedestrian might hit the car if he or she gets thrown up onto the front hood.

Now we can all cross the street safely. Thank you, Volvo.

MICROSOFT SORRY

In 2009, Microsoft agreed to make it easy for users to choose a different browser than the one they offer (Explorer) after a European regulatory commission determined their system at the time went against European Union antitrust laws. Microsoft said they would present other browsers to users so they could choose their preferred browser easily, instead of entirely making their software in favor of Explorer. This satisfied the regulatory board, and changes were made to Windows so browsers could easily be selected by a user.
However, when a new version of Windows hit the shelves in 2011 (Windows 7 Service Pack 1), regulators discovered that Microsoft hadn’t fixed the problem. For a whole year, no one seemed to notice the absence of the browser choice screen, until finally in July of 2012, rivals of Microsoft alerted the commission that the ability to choose browsers easily was no longer showing up as an option.

Three weeks ago, the regulators fined Microsoft $732 million. A spokesman for Microsoft said, “We take full responsibility for the technical error that caused this problem and have apologized.” Fifteen million Microsoft users were involved.

FALKLANDERS VOTING

Thirty years ago, war broke out between Argentina and Britain over control of the Falkland Islands. Just over 2,900 people, most of them Englishmen, live there and have been there for hundreds of years. Many live in small white houses with picket fences and gardens. Many are farmers.

The reason the war started was because a military junta in Argentina invaded the Falklands. The islands are out in the Atlantic about 300 miles from Argentina. The Argentines occupied the islands without a fight, but a flotilla of British warships carrying marines came across the ocean, made a landing there a few weeks later and drove the Argentinians out, in the process sinking the only battleship that Argentina owned at the time. Argentina surrendered.

Two weeks ago, the Falklanders were allowed to vote on whether they wanted to remain a British Overseas Territory. It wasn’t that Britain didn’t want them. It was just that the UK is a democracy and the people with the most votes win, so they had to go to the polls to say if they wanted the status quo or not. They voted for England.

SIMCITY DISASTER

The new version of the SimCity video game came on the market two weeks ago. This is the game where you can construct skyscrapers, make farms, set up electric grids, build bridges, harbors and parks.

But no sooner was it on the market than practically everybody who wanted to play this game together was unable to do so. The power in the city had gone out. SimCity crashed.

Now, however, SimCity announced everything has been fixed and among the hundreds of thousands of gamers who have so far played 8 million game hours, the crash rate was down 92% from the first day.

Question: Can you buy individual electric generators for the residents of SimCity?

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