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June 25  |  Jon Bauer, Herald staff
I, for one, welcome our new pizza-making-robot overlords: A pizzeria in California is using a robot named Marta to make pizzas, eliminating the need for costly employees.

But don't think this means you'll get out of tipping; Marta's already been seen spitting WD-40 onto a stingy diner's sausage and mushroom pizza.



Speaking of working for tips: The wife of Maine Gov. Paul LePage, who makes only...

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June 23  |  Jon Bauer, Herald staff
Will the congressman yield the floor? And a pillow? When about 30 Democrats in the U.S. House staged a sit-in to demand a vote on gun control legislation, Republicans responded by turning off C-SPAN's cameras.

For those regular C-SPAN viewers who wondered what 30 Democrats sitting around and doing nothing looks like, it's about the same as when all 435 members of the House are in session and doing nothing.




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June 22  |  Jon Bauer, Herald staff
A win for the dead-tree media: Following the Cleveland Cavaliers' NBA championship on Sunday, Cleveland's daily paper, the Plain Dealer, was deluged with requests for reprints, running nearly a half-million copies compared to its usual 36,000.

Less successful were the would-be entrepreneurs who tried to sell screenshots from their iPhones of the Plain Dealer's coverage.



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June 21  |  
When dinosaurs ruled the world: Tribune Publishing Co., the company that owns the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, has changed its name to Tronc.

It's perhaps fitting that a newspaper company should give itself a name that sounds like some creature that went extinct during the Paleogene period.





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June 20  |  Jon Bauer, Herald staff
Buh-bye Boingo: Washington State Ferries is ending its contract with Boingo to provide fee-based Wi-Fi service. Few people paid to use the service and are content to use the cellular data they already pay for. One rider said she'd rather use her money to buy a beer.

That's a marketing failure; nobody at Boingo thought to offer a free beer with their Wi-Fi service?

Boingo, this is how it's done: Blue Origin, the private space...

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June 18  |  
What's it all about, Alfie: Perennially beleaguered retailer Sears has unveiled Alfie, a "voice-controlled intelligent shopper" similar to Amazon's Echo device, for Sears and Kmart customers.

If Alfie is truly an intelligent device, its primary function will be informing users of the latest Sears and Kmart store closures and suggesting alternative places to shop nearby.



Big hairy deal: In a new exhibit...

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June 17  |  
Donald Duck sauceGreat. Now North Korea will want one: Walt Disney Co. opened Shanghai Disneyland, its first theme park in mainland China. The park is expected to become the most-visited theme park in the world (Page A9).But expect some differences between Western Disney parks and China’s. To appease Communist Party leaders, Mickey Mouse is to be addressed as Chairman Mao-se.

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June 16  |  
There's always the Mitsubishi Mirage display at Wal-Mart: Tesla Motors is opening a display showcasing its new Model X SUV in the men's department at a Nordstrom in Los Angeles.

The display will feature trim options, test drives, and sophisticated scanners that sound an alarm if they detect somebody who doesn't have at least $100,000 open to buy on their Amex card.





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June 15  |  Jon Bauer, Herald staff
The house busts: The 24-story Riviera Hotel and Casino, one of the last ties to Las Vegas' mobster past, crumbled in a controlled implosion that brought down the 60-year-old building.

In a nod to its one-time Chicago mob ties, the implosion was set off by a sharply attired man who said: "Nice place yous got here. It'd be a shame if something unfortunate were to happen to...

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June 14  |  
You can check out but you can never leave: Microsoft said Monday that it is buying LinkedIn, the business social networking company, for a cool $26.2 billion.

LinkedIn has some 430 million members, about 429 million of whom now hope Microsoft will finally make it possible to completely delete their never-used LinkedIn accounts.





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June 11  |  
Bring plenty of potatoes: Entrepreneur Elon Musk, of SpaceX and Tesla fame, hopes to send an unmanned spacecraft to Mars in 2018, with the ultimate goal of establishing a human colony on the red planet.

Fun fact: Because voyages to Mars take so long, they are measured not in months or even years, but in Tesla 3 delivery times.





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June 10  |  Jon Bauer, Herald staff
Batteries included: Elon Musk is again expanding Tesla's electric car line with the Model S 60 sedan, which will sell for $66,000, less than the $100,000 Model S, but more than the $35,000 Model 3. The new model will have a range of about 200 miles and a top speed of 130 mph.

We'd suggest selling your home to buy one, but then where would you plug it in?

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June 9  |  Jon Bauer, Herald staff
Under pressure: Sure, you've used a pressure washer to clean your driveway, but have you considered other pressure-washing possibilities, including cars, trucks, outdoor furniture and your grill?

But why stop there? Tough grass stains on your kids' jeans? Line 'em up (remove kid, first) and hose 'em down. Documents you want to destroy but no paper-shredder? Blast 'em to bits.

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June 7  |  
But Twitter wars ARE his campaign: Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's outbursts about "Mexican" judges have frustrated GOP leaders, who say he should be rallying the party.

And that's not all. Trump hasn't even cracked the copy of "Nuclear Weapons for Dummies" that Sen. John McCain gave him to read on his plane.





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June 6  |  
Maybe start with a joke: The Coast Guard icebreaker Healy is set to leave its Seattle home port this week for a research mission in the Arctic Ocean.

It's not yet known if the Healy will be available for another demanding mission: breaking the ice at the first Hillary Clinton-Bernie Sanders unity meeting.





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June 3  |  
Senior managersBring your bingo dauber, junior: U.S. workers still plan to retire, but more say they will wait long after 65. Almost a quarter of Americans say they will wait until they’re in their 70s to retire, up from 16 percent in 2009 (Page A7).Which could mean a change in on-the-job perks. Out go the millennials’ video games and foosball tables in the break room and in come bingo, bridge tournaments and TVs tuned to “The Price is Right.”

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June 2  |  
That was then, this is now: Ken Starr, who exposed President Bill Clinton's zipper malfunctions in great detail in the Monica Lewinsky scandal, has lost his job at Baylor University for blowing off sexual assault accusations against football players.

The resignation means Starr now has plenty of time on his hands to go after Hillary Clinton.





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June 1  |  Jon Bauer, Herald staff
One coffee, hold the bubbles: Starbucks is adding to the cold-brew trend by infusing cold coffee with nitrogen to create a drink with a velvety texture. Cafes in big cities, starting with Seattle, will see the nitro cold-brew drinks first.

For customers in smaller cities, we think the experience can be approximated by handing your iced coffee to a 7-year-old and asking him or her to...

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May 31  |  
Sealed with a kiss: Andrea Brown, The Daily Herald's What's Up With That columnist, tells us about a special pink mailbox on south Whidbey Island that accepts only one kind of mail: love letters.

The Buzz grants mail solicitors that wish to comply permission to copy and paste this: O my darling, how I long for your tender embrace ... and your sweet, sweet acceptance signature on this limited-time offer for a Platinum Visa Deluxe with a...

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May 30  |  
Bumper to bummer: The state wants to hear from citizens on whether to permanently make the I-405 express toll lanes open to single-occupant vehicles on nights, weekends and holidays.

Pro tip: Just as you shouldn't fire off an email to the boss in the evening after a few cocktails, don't bang out any messages to the state on your smartphone while stuck in I-405 traffic.





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May 28  |  
Law & PorterWill work for Beer Nuts: Two lawyers have launched a legal trade group to assist the makers of craft beers and other alcoholic beverages negotiate the differing and complicated raft of state and federal laws that govern the growing industry (Page A11).Take your pick: Two lawyers walk into a bar, then walk out with a retainer. How many lawyers does it take to form a trade group? Two: One to file the briefs; the other to buy the pitcher.

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May 27  |  
Drawing a blank: The state Supreme Court unanimously upheld a lower court ruling that strikes down Tim Eyman's anti-tax Initiative 1366 because it violates a state constitutional requirement that limits initiatives to a single subject.

The court, which has struck down other Eyman ballot measures, has instituted a new practice to save itself time in cases involving Eyman. It uses a boilerplate ruling that leaves blanks where the initiative number can be...

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May 26  |  
Daddy's gotta buy a new pair of handmade alligator shoes: CEOs at America's biggest corporations snagged an average 4.5 percent raise in their base pay in 2015, about double the typical wage hike for everyday workers last year.

Alas, the CEOs are hurting just like the rest of us. While it's more than twice the rate of inflation, their pay raise did not keep pace with...

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May 25  |  Jon Bauer, Herald staff
They're no dummies: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has released its latest crash-test ratings for Detroit's muscle cars: the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger. None did well, but the Challenger rated poorly in four of five tests.

All the same, the crash-test dummies said, the cars are great for picking up those shapely mannequins.

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May 24  |  
Hope he tipped 20 percent: Anthony Bourdain, host of the "Parts Unknown" food show on CNN, dined with President Barack Obama in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Monday — and then magnanimously picked up the $6 check.

Even one of the college kids who just sent Bernie Sanders their last 27 bucks probably could have covered that tab.


Channel-surfing the vast cultural wasteland: Winners will be named tonight on two of...

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May 23  |  Jon Bauer, Herald staff
And it's not a "Christmas tree" for funny cars: Our Street Smarts columnist unveils the answer as to why some traffic lights don't turn yellow when the crosswalk timer counts down to zero.

Turns out those timers are meant for pedestrians, not motorists, so you can stop pretending it's a countdown to blast off.



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May 21  |  Jon Bauer, Herald staff
Set course to Seattle, Warp Factor 1: Seattle's EMP Museum's new exhibit, "Star Trek: Exploring New Worlds," celebrates 50 years of the TV series and movies and includes spaceship models, costumes and other memorabilia familiar to many fans, including a phaser from the original series.

Our reporter recommends you boldly go, but we advise away teams to...

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May 20  |  
Squeeze in

Cozy up to your neighbor: After a couple weeks of relief, the SnoCo Squeeze is expected to return this weekend as northbound I-5 is reduced to two narrow lanes near Marysville and the onramp from Highway 529 to I-5 is closed as expansion joint work continues.

With a little cooperation we can get through this: If the folks in the back will push, the rest of us in front can close our eyes and get a nap in.


The $1.50...

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May 17  |  
Take it outside to the convention, folks: Wendell Pierce, actor on "The Wire" and outspoken Hillary Clinton supporter, was arrested and charged with simple battery in Atlanta over the weekend after getting into a dust-up with some Bernie Sanders supporters in a hotel bar at 3:30 a.m..

As Detective William "Bunk" Moreland would surely remind us, absolutely nothing good can happen in a hotel bar at 3:30 in the morning.



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May 16  |  
But will he do his homework? Top Republicans have decided that presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump needs to go to school for a crash course in foreign policy.

They're confident that the Donald will learn a lot — unless, of course, he gets expelled for sticking a "kick me" sign on teacher Lindsay Graham's back.

What won't change: Once they become ubiquitous in a couple of decades, self-driving cars will be so popular that they will...

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