Brian Banmiller's blog

Tackling Football

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China is tackling the American game of football, and they're hoping to score a profit.

GSG Sport is a company based in Beijing that is working to promote American football in a country that tends to favor basketball and soccer. The company is working to attract parents that might be seeking a different kind of game for their children to learn so it has started a 16 team future league that welcomes both boys and girls.

Right now one of the best players in the league is a nine-year-old girl named Lisa who plays running back and linebacker. Her father says since playing the game Lisa has become more confident and brave. Lisa, along with the rest of the league face off on Friday nights, in games complete with uniformed referees, cheering fans and a camera crew.  read more »

First Amendment Tweets

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There's a first amendment war brewing around Twitter and the most powerful tweeter of the free world is right in the middle of it.

In the month following inauguration day Twitter shares rose 13%. In part, analysts say to the president's daily habit of sharing his every thought in 140 characters or less. Considered the modern day version of President Franklin Roosevelt’s fireside chats, Mr. Trump's Twitter feed has an audience numbering in the millions. However it seems not everyone is welcome.  read more »

Mr. Met

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Actions speak louder than words; and they can cost you.

There is a new Mr. Met mascot parading the sidelines and entertaining the crowd for the New York Mets. This comes after the old Mr. Met was caught on camera flipping off a fan during a game. While major league baseball declined to get involved with the controversy the Mets club has let the old mascot go and now someone else will be wearing the oversized baseball head.

But despite the unsportsmanlike behavior fans are laughing it off. One person said Mr. Met was upset and got mad and that it was nothing but a New York thing. Another says it all has to be a mistake because the mascot only has four fingers making it impossible for him to flip someone the bird. And this isn't the first time the mascot has gone off script.  read more »

Apple's New Products

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It was reveal week for Apple and once again the tech powerhouse is adding a few more branches to the tree.

Earlier this week the worldwide developer's conference was held in Silicon Valley. And as expected CEO Tim Cook unveiled some of the hot new gadgets to add to your collection. That includes new versions of its operating system, a connected home speaker called the home pod and a new iPad pro tablet.

The home pod is expected to compete with Google Home and Amazon's Alexa. Small but powerful the speaker will sense the shape of your room and customize audio to maximize sound. It will play music, handle questions from weather to the stock market and work in sync with any smart home devices.  read more »

A Little Too Social

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You might think your social media activity is private, but remember the key word there is social.

If you were wait listed for next year's incoming class at Harvard you might want to check your email. According to the university's newspaper “The Harvard Crimson” ten students who had been accepted will now have their offers rescinded because of their online activities.

According to the newspaper about 100 students formed a Facebook group for incoming freshman. Then the ten students in question splintered off and formed a smaller group chat where jokes about sexual assault, the holocaust and child abuse were shared.  read more »

Pets for Vets

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How do you thank the people who fight to protect your freedom? How about a new best friend to welcome them home.

In 1991 Tony La Russa and his wife founded the Animal Rescue Foundation after a stray cat wandered onto the field while La Russa was manager of the Oakland A's. Then five years ago Tony and Elaine started the vets for pets program.

“We started out, our mission was a single mission, people rescuing animals about year three we decided that a lot of the people just didn't understand the magic of a companion animal so we made a compliment which is animals rescuing people.”  read more »

Pinterest Lens

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Wish you could cook up your favorite restaurant dish? Just take a picture of it.

Earlier this week the San Francisco based app Pinterest launched a new update aimed at all the wannabe chefs out there. Noticing that a lot more people are snapping pictures of their food the app will now send you a recipe based on what you're eating. For example if you're about to dig into a bowl of pasta, take a picture and upload it. Then Pinterest will analyze what's on your plate and suggest a recipe inspired by the dish.

The update is called Pinterest Lens and besides giving you a challenge in the kitchen it can also filter recipes by dietary restrictions such as vegan, gluten free or paleo. There is also a time filter to sift out recipes that take longer to make.  read more »

Unplug

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Its summer vacation season but this year more people are finding it hard to get away.

According to a new survey by the staffing firm Accountemps 54% of workers regularly check in with the office while on vacation. That's up from 41% percent this time last year. The people who can't fully unplug say they do it for peace of mind that things are under control, keeping projects moving along, avoiding extra work when they return and preventing colleagues from feeling extra stress. But even if your job demands a little more or you just can't let go there are ways to manage the urge and benefit from time off.  read more »

A Longer Weekend

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Feel like the weekend just flew by? There might be a way to add a little time to your time off.

David Eagleman is a professor at Stanford and author of “The Brain: The Story of You.” He says every Monday morning most people are left feeling that the weekend was wasted or simply not long enough. But he says there's a way to change that by tricking your brain into thinking its stretching time with things such as new activities, settings or experiences.

Eagleman says it all comes down to what your brain considers mundane. When you spend time doing something unfamiliar your brain focuses more on collecting the new data which creates a more thorough memory of the experience. Then when you reflect back on that memory it feels like you had more time.  read more »

Japanese Tradition

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Business owners in Japan are hoping to reverse a dying tradition with the help of a little education.

The manager of a Tokyo bath house is hoping to keep the idea of communal baths going by giving people another reason to show up. Now he is offering classes in a variety of topics in hopes of drawing in a younger crowd and getting them used to the tradition.

The manager says his family has owned the bath house since 1939. In its heyday about 500 people visited daily, now that number hovers around 100. The manager says most houses have modern bathrooms so people aren't showing up like they used to. He says since the late 1960's the owners of bath houses have been forced to come up with new ideas to keep people coming in.  read more »