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Gabatron Morning Briefing – 7-14-16: I For One Welcome Our Alien Overlords

A group of eagle-eyed YouTubers have uncovered evidence of the greatest conspiracy in history: Aliens are approaching Earth and NASA is covering it up. Apparently they have been shutting off the live stream from the ISS at strategic times to keep people from seeing it. I for one welcome our new alien overlords.

These candidates make me want to vomit in terror. There’s only one option that will make all of us happy: Sweet Meteorite of Death 2016.

Donald Trump will announce his running mate on Friday. Can you feel the excitement?

Pokemon Go continues to dominate the news cycle, cementing its place as the “Ice Bucket Challenge” of the summer of 2016. Senator Al Franken wants an investigation into what kind of info they are collecting through the app. Because he’s a serious United State Senator.

Hoping to capitalize on nostalgic millennials who now have some extra spending money, Nintendo is releasing a working mini replica of their original gaming system.

Nearly 8 of every 10 U.S. drivers admit expressing anger, aggression or road rage at least once in the previous year. I’m guessing this includes middle fingers. I just wish some of those people would use their turn signals.

Remember how shocked Disney was when an alligator ate a small child on their property? Firefighters at Walt Disney World were warned to stop feeding alligators at one of the resort’s fire stations two months earlier.

Geek/CounterGeek – #60: The Summer of Geeky Discontent

Gird your loins for the impending month of nerd rage in July – Which is going to make more people angry: Ghostbusters or Star Trek Beyond?

Plus, adding to the intrigue surrounding Star Trek Beyond, the writers decided to make Sulu gay as a tribute to George Takei. There’s been some outrage over the decision though, from… George Takei. He’s not too happy about the writers messing with an original character, since Gene Roddenberry put a lot of work into developing each of them.

Each week Keith Conrad and Chicago’s Top Geek Elliott Serrano debate a controversial topic in contemporary geekery: Kirk vs. Picard? Was Douglas Quaid dreaming in Total Recall? No topic is off limits.

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Gabatron Morning Briefing – 7-13-16: Flyin’ With Mr. Cooper

The FBI has closed the books on their 45-year hunt for skyjacker D.B. Cooper. Cooper is an absolutely amazing story, no matter what happened to him. Over the years he has become a folk hero to some people – he swiped a bundle of cash before jumping out of a jetliner destined for freedom. He was also considered the world’s most infamous skyjacker – he held a plane hostage until his demands were met. Most experts say he probably died when he jumped out of the airplane, but they never found a body or all of the money. So I guess he officially got away with it.

How bad is the economy? Some towns have decided to abandon paving roads because it’s too expensive. So instead they’ll go old school with gravel roads.

The 9th circuit court of appeals has ruled that it’s a crime to visit a website if someone tells you not to. Basically, if I own a website and I for one reason or another ban you from visiting, and you do it anyway, you are actually accessing my computer without permission and that is a Federal crime.

The group that sang the Canadian National Anthem at the MLB All-Star Game is taking some heat for altering the lyrics. Instead of signing the original lyric of “With glowing hearts we see thee rise, The True North strong and free!” the group sang “We’re all brothers and sisters, All lives matter to the great” before eventually getting back to the actual lyrics.

Pornhub has announced that had a massive spike of Pokemon searches since Pokemon Go debuted. I realize that at this point there is a porn parody of literally everything, but that’s a little creepy.

Also, apparently most of the reported crimes involving Pokemon Go appear to be hoaxes.

Gabatron Morning Briefing – 7-12-16: The Great Pokemon Hunt

Thanks for taking a break from Amazon Prime Day to read some of my snarky comments…

We’ve all seen eyeroll-inducing stories about Pokemon Go this week. Stories have ranged from annoyances to people actually being robbed while they were distracted by their phones. Now the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC has been forced to ask visitors to put down their phones and stop chasing Pokemon in there.

Taylor Swift is the top-earning celebrity in the world. She earned an estimated $170 million in the past year, driven in part by her very successful 1989 World Tour. Swift more than doubled her take from last year, when she earned $80 million. If aliens landed on Earth tomorrow, how would we explain that?

A new survey says 62% of Americans don’t have at least $1,000 in savings. I currently do, but obviously that won’t be holding up for long… or will it?

Bernie Sanders has officially endorsed Hillary Clinton for President in 2016. So that means he’s finally done, right? The whole “Feel The Bern” movement gets talked up a lot, but keep in mind that if it weren’t for the Republican nominee, Hillary Clinton would be the least-liked Presidential candidate in history, and he couldn’t beat her.

Meanwhile on the other side of the aisle, Donald Trump tweeted about violence while he was on his way to Chicago for a fundraiser. Violence is always cromulent when you’re talking about Chicago. He said he’s going to make America safe again for everyone. So we have that to look forward to. Why didn’t any of our elected officials every think about just making thing safe again? Sad.

Cubs stud Kris Bryant says he’s never had an alcoholic drink in his life. He’s 24 years old. Luckily, he plays in Chicago so the fans are willing to pick up the slack.

Tim Duncan has decided to call it a career after 19 seasons in the NBA. The NBA kind of lost my after Jordan’s second retirement ended the Bulls dynasty, which actually makes this one significant even for me because Duncan was one of very few players from that era still playing. You have to be impressed by the way both he and the Spurs stayed together all these years. It’s rare in sports and even in life, I’ve had three employers in the last 2 years.

Gabatron Morning Briefing – 7-11-16: Vlad Is Listening

I appreciate you taking time away from Pokemon to read some of my thoughts this morning…

A Russian company has devised a gadget that allows employers to monitor cell phone calls made in their office. That seems like an invasion of privacy, but at the same time if you’re using said cell phone on company time don’t they have some right to know what you’re doing and who you’re talking to? Of course if you don’t want your employees to hate you, this probably isn’t the way to go.

The aftermath of the attack in Dallas has led to an unlikely debate: Some people are upset that police used an armed robot to kill the suspected shooter. It was a bomb disposal robot with a bomb on it. The robots have done amazing work in battlefields as well as situations here at home, keeping soldiers and police officers safe. But to some people, the idea of using a robot to proactively kill a suspect is a step too far and little too “Terminatory.” The worst part is that robot was only three weeks away from retirement.

A Delta Airlines flight landed at the wrong airport over the weekend. It was supposed to be going to South Dakota’s Rapid City Regional Airport, but instead landed at Ellsworth Air Force Base. They are about 10 miles away from each other and their runways face the same way. So if you’re doing some dead reckoning navigation. I can see how that would be somewhat confusing. How do you think that in-flight announcement went?

A group of inmates broke out of a holding area to help a guard who was having a heart attack. Other guards thought it was a fight and the jail went on lockdown. Thanks, now get back in your cells.

Gabatron Morning Briefing – 7-7-16: I Am (Iron) Woman, Hear Me Roar

Today’s completely pointless controversy? Marvel has announced that the new Iron Man will be a woman. Her name will be Riri Williams. Some people will undoubtedly be upset about it. I’m just happy there’s a nice role model for young women who want to be snarky engineers.

A South Carolina town passed an ordinance on Tuesday banning saggy pants that “intentionally” display undergarments. The ordinance bans people from being naked in public, showing pornographic material and from wearing pants that show their underwear. Good to know the lovely town of Timmonsville doesn’t have any more pressing issues to deal with.

A man captured on cellphone video scaring his dog with fireworks on the Fourth of July is now facing animal cruelty charges. He says the video is “not reflective” of him at all. I’d say the fact that there’s video evidence of it would suggest otherwise.

It’s been a year since Indiana decided to start ticketing drivers for being “slowpokes” in the fast lane. They’ve issued about 100 or so tickets at this point.

Disney has responded to the death of the small child in a completely reasonable manner: They’ve removed all crocodiles and alligators from their theme parks.

A new study says the dinosaurs died from a “one-two punch” of an asteroid strike and climate change. Really, they were the same thing. Giant rocks slamming into the Earth tend to change the climate. Either that or dinosaurs invented SUV’s.

The KKK is trying to adopt-a-mile in Georgia, and the state isn’t too happy about and are trying to block it. They’ve taken it all the way to the Georgia Court of Appeals, who will rule on Thursday. Here’s a potentially controversial idea: Wouldn’t you like to have the KKK spend all of their time cleaning up roadsides as opposed to their other activities?

Gabatron Morning Briefing – 7-5-16: People You May Know

Every once in a while, another story surfaces that makes Facebook look even more creepy and big brothery. Now they were tracking users to see who they were in close proximity to in order to suggest potential new friends. The feature used to be automatic, but will now be up to the user to turn it on. I was wondering how some people seemed to be showing up in the “People You May Know” area, especially when I didn’t actually have any common friends with them.

There has been lots of speculation about what President Obama will do when he leaves office. He’s obviously one of the youngest people to take on the role of “former President.” There have been serious suggestions, like running for Illinois Senator again and actually completing a full term this time, and a few people have thrown out the idea of Obama serving on the Supreme Court. But it turns out he may have slightly less ambitious plans: He and Rahm Emanuel used to talk about moving to Hawaii and opening a t-shirt stand. In an effort to avoid having to make any tough decisions, they’d only sell medium-sized white t-shirts.

According to a new survey, more than 50% of Americans are now streaming content on their TV’s. A quarterly study of audience viewing habits by The Nielsen Company said that for the first time on-demand subscription services have reached a 50% penetration rate in American TV households. According to Nielsen’s Total Audience Report Q1 2016, the use of subscription-based services in the home has caught up to the number of households that use DVR devices to watch content on demand, both of which now show 50% penetration rate in the home.

Remember the guy last week who became the first person killed when their car was in “autopilot” mode in his Tesla? It turns out he was watching a Harry Potter movie at the time.

NASA’s Juno spacecraft arrived at Jupiter after a five year trip. Juno’s supposed to take a close look at Jupiter and hopefully give scientists an idea of how the planet was former, and whether it actually has any solid mass or really is just all swirling gasses.

The state of New Jersey has decided that being murdered is no reason to stop paying off your student loan. They’ve ruled parents have to pay for the loan they co-signed for despite the fact that their son was murdered.

A Minnesota man decided it was a good idea to stop on the interstate to allow a group of ducks to pass. He ended up causing a Blue Brothers-like multiple car crash. The driver and his teenage son were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Interesting/Slightly Horrifying Stat of the Day: More than 5,300 U.S. water systems violated lead-testing rules last year.

Gabatron Morning Briefing – 6-30-16: Scholarship Contest

The Miss Teen USA pageant has announced that they are eliminating the swimsuit portion of their contest. Don’t get too excited though, they are replacing it with slightly less revealing “athletic wear.” I would expect that the Miss Teen USA pageant will be announcing a sponsorship agreement with Lululemon any day now.

The minimum age in Chicago for buying cigarettes and other tobacco products goes up to 21 at the end of the week. So that should solve the problem.

Lead levels in the drinking water at the US Capitol Building are higher than is considered safe. Anyone actually have a problem with that? That’s mean, I apologize.

Mike Huckabee is paying $25,000 for playing “Eye of the Tiger” at a rally last year without the band’s permission. I’m all for bands making money, so this one doesn’t bother me too much. It’s when bands decide to make some political statement because a politician they don’t like is at an event where some poor staffer for the venue plays it when they come out on stage. That’s just dumb. A Conrad’s hot take.

Another example of people meddling with mother nature: Some people say a seal pup laying off by itself and decided to pick it up and take it to authorities. It had to be euthanized. They thought it was abandoned, but really it was just resting and moving the poor little guy basically killed him.

Gabatron Morning Briefing – 6-27-16: Inevitable Robot Uprising

Google’s holding company, Alphabet, has a new robotic dog from its Atlas-making Boston Dynamics subsidiary capable of clearing up after its human masters.  The new small robotic dog has a articulating arm on its back, which is capable of lifting and holding objects as fragile as a glass. Robots cleaning up after us. This is literally exactly how the First Cylon War started in Battlestar Galactica.

A restaurant owner fired the bartender for insulting a customer on a credit card receipt as “fatty.” It was a significant move, because the bartender was his own son. He’s gone as far as banning him from the property altogether.

The Battlecreek Bombers minor league baseball team decided it was a good idea to hold a “bring your gun to the game” night. They officially called it “2nd Amendment Education Night.” As my colleague Garry Meier says, “timing and good lighting are everything.” Maybe they should have rescheduled that after the Orlando terror attack. That reminds me of the time I won a gun rack at a Huntsville Stars game… I was 11 years old at the time.

Last week, I mentioned the story of the guy who was released from prison after years when it was proven he did not do it. I somewhat tongue-in-cheek asked if you’d take the $30 million he’s asking for in exchange for spending 13 years in prison. This week there is a guy who has served 20 years in prison for a murder he apparently didn’t commit. Rather than having the charges against him thrown out, he wants to stand trial again to prove in a court of law that he did not do it and the prosecution did not do its job. That’s strange, because it leaves the murder conviction in place until the trial proves his innocence. He’s that set on making a point about the job the prosecution did in his trial. Also, at this point is there anyone in prison who is actually guilty?

Say what you want about special interest groups, but a new poll says Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are less popular than the NRA and Planned Parenthood.

In science news, NASA has authorized five more years for the Hubble Space Telescope.

Gabatron Morning Briefing – 6-23-16: Come Fly The Friendly (And Empty) Skies

A man had a unique experience on a Delta flight Tuesday. He was the only passenger on the plane. Delta gave him the option of rescheduling for the next day, but the airplane was going on anyway, so he figured he might as well catch a ride. Once when I was flying on New Years Eve (Because that’s how I roll), there were only about 6 people on my flight. There were so few of us that they actually had to re-arrange all of us several times to get the airplane balanced. That’ll make you feel safe. Both flights landed safely without incident.

The Marines came up with new fitness requirements for combats roles, since those jobs are open to women now. The results are in: 1,500 recruits vying for combat jobs between Jan. 1 and May 20, only seven of them were women. The six women and 40 men who failed were reassigned to noncombat jobs.

Left me preface this story by saying that I can’t describe how bad I feel for this guy, because even if he’s an idiot he never intended to harm his child. That having been said… A guy in California left his 6 month old daughter in a hot car when he forgot about her after dropping off his other children at daycare. When he found her in the car, he put her in the refrigerator to try to revive her.

There was a chaotic scene in the US House on Wednesday as Democrats staged a sit-in to demand a vote on gun control legislation. The protest comes in the wake of the recent shootings in Orlando, the deadliest in modern US history.

Meanwhile, Iowa congressman Steve King has proposed legislation that would block Harriet Tubman from replacing President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. He hasn’t provided a reason, but it stands to reason he is probably one of very few remaining Old Hickory fans. Either that or he really hates Harriet Tubman.

Interesting Stat of the Day: The number of renters dedicating at least half of their income toward housing hit a record high of 11 million people in 2014. A total of 21.3 million are spending 30% or more of their paycheck to cover the rent — also a record high.