The discovery of thousands of dead pigs floating in the waters around Shanghai has turned up disturbing reports: of pig dumping and the sale of meat from diseased animals among pig farmers. In the village where some of the pigs came from, we found serial denials.
Nearly 70 percent of American drivers say they talked on their cell phones while driving at least once in the previous month, according to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And about a third admitted to reading or sending texts or emails while driving.
After the mass school shooting in Newtown, Conn., Wayne LaPierre, the NRA's CEO, called on Congress "to put armed police officers in every school."
"If we truly cherish our kids more than our money or our celebrities," he said, "we must give them the greatest level of protection possible and the security that is only available with a properly trained -- armed -- good guy."
But many schools already have "good guys with guns." They're called School Resource Officers.
Brad Pindel is the school resource officer in Westwood, Mass. That's quintessential "small-town New England," about half an hour south of Boston.
"It's 10 square miles, with a population of 14,000 people," Pindel says, noting he grew up here, and he has been a cop in Westwood for 12 years.
SROs -- that's what school resource officers call themselves -- are not security guards. They're police officers.
Pindel is responsible for the high school, the middle school, and all five elementary schools in Westwood. I ask him if he sees himself as the first line of defense, the guy who would stop a school shooter.
"It's difficult to say, because, I mean, being in charge of seven different schools, the chances of me being in that school when something happens are pretty slim," he says.
There are about 10,000 SROs in the U.S. -- that's one for every ten public schools. It would cost the Westwood Police Department a lot of money to put an officer in every school. On average, Massachusetts police make about $60,000 a year. Westwood used to have two resource officers, but there were budget cuts.
We drive by the Deerfield School, an elementary school, and Pindel mentions he has three young kids.
"Actually, one of them goes to that school we just passed," he says. "Certainly one of the things that ran through my head after Newtown..."
Since 2000, the Justice Department has spent almost a billion dollars to fund more than 7,000 SRO positions. President Obama wants to make more government money available so police departments can hire another thousand officers.
Several groups, including the National PTA, say no one should have a gun at school -- even a trained police officer. Other groups argue there is no evidence armed security at schools makes a difference.
So what does an officer like Brad Pindel actually do? He doesn't sit there and guard a school. Like many SROs, he doesn't have an office.
"I try and stay in the high school the most, and make myself visible, because those are the kids that are going to have the most questions or have issues," Pindel explains.
He deals with bullies. He goes to court with kids in trouble. He teaches D.A.R.E. He meets with parents. Pindel also updates the schools' crisis plan -- what teachers and students are trained to do if there is a gunman.
In his six years as an SRO, Pindel has never encountered a gun in a school.
Pindel went through basic police training that lasts more than a month. Every year, there's more training, on everything from firearms to first aid. And he has been certified by the National Association of School Resource Officers.
The association trains SROs across the country. Ernie Whiteman, an SRO from Medford, Ore., is teaching a weeklong course in Leominster, Mass., to about two dozen officers.
He says demand has increased since the Connecticut shooting.
"Last I heard we were scheduled for like 53 of them between now and the first part of August," Whiteman says.
One officer at the training is Steven Creamer. I ask him what he thinks of NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre's proposal, to put "a good guy with a gun" in every school.
"You know, it's good to have an armed person in a school," Creamer says. "But they should be properly trained."
Over the last three decades, there have been about 150 shootings in U.S. schools. But the argument for armed security defies cost-benefit analysis. This week, the board of finance in Newtown, Conn., added $400,000 to the town's budget, to put an armed police officer in every school.
Seriously, how am I going to do my job? Every morning I turn on my iPad and open Google Reader. And on one page, I can get stories from dozens of newspapers and blogs and that’s how I find stories, including this one.
And if I want to add another newspapers to my Reader, I just plug in the RSS feed. But when Google takes it away in July?
Joe Hall is an amateur coder and he says: chill out.
“RSS is not dying, RSS is not going anywhere,” Hall said. He says think of Google Reader as a mailbox and RSS as the postal service, or a way to deliver content. So Google takes your mailbox.
“That doesn’t stop the post office, the post office is still going to deliver mail,” Hall said. He adds get another mailbox or another reader, there are plenty of them.
“That’s not necessarily a surprise, it’s not something where loads of kids say, boy I can’t wait to get to my RSS feed,” Andrews said. Instead, they’re turning to Twitter and Facebook for news.
Google is a known for experimenting with loads of products from self-driving cars to the world’s biggest digital library. Andrews says since Google’s co-founder Larry Page took over as CEO in 2011, “it’s been pretty clear that he’s trying to streamline the company.”
So far, Page has killed about 70 Google projects. But one man’s cast-off is another man’s gold. Since the news broke of the Reader’s imminent death, competitors like Feedly and Flipboard have been stepping up.
And the tech thinking is that the Reader’s end might be the beginning of something better.
As parents know, the job is never done. But now, a new study from the Pew Research Center says a certain group of parents wants to work even more. The number of moms who say they want to work full-time has gone up significantly, from 20 percent six years ago to just over 30 percent last year.
It seems like that old saying, tied to your mother’s apron strings, is long overdue for a modern day makeover. But what would the update be -- glued to your mom’s laptop? Because more and more of today’s moms want to work.
“Families now feel like they really need two breadwinners,” says Jennifer Sabatini Fraone, associate director of Boston College’s Center for Work and Family. “The recession has caused families to feel like both parents need to be in the workplace and both parents need to be working full time,” she says.
Almost 40 percent of today’s moms who are already working say it would be ideal to work full-time. That’s almost double the number since Pew’s 2007 survey. Myra Strober, emeritus professor at Stanford, says not to put all the blame on the recession.
“When you think about it, part-time seems like it would be just the right answer,” she says. But Strober notes that while part- time work might conjure up a vision of the perfect life/work balance, part-time jobs often comes without benefits or the opportunity for promition, but with expenses like childcare and transportation.
“So instead of turning out to be the best of all possible worlds, for some women, it turns out to be the worst,” she said.
Then there’s society’s opinion. The Pew Center says only 16 percent of parents agree that working full-time is best for kids. And that number hasn’t changed in recent years.
But, according to the Pew survey, working moms say they make better parents. Sabatini Fraone notes that they already feel like superwomen.
“I think there is some level of confidence that comes from the ability to juggle it all,” she says.
So, as mom might say, look on the bright side. Stay-at-home moms -- they say they're happier than moms with jobs.
Jeb Bush got headlines last week when he opened the door to a presidential run, after years of insisting he was not interested. So it's of some note that when attendees at this week's Conservative Political Action Conference vote in the group's straw poll for 2016, they will not find his name on the ballot.
The Jesuits are the single-largest Catholic order, known for their dedication to education and devotion to the poor. But in the past, they have also proved controversial.
The orange-and-black butterflies that winter in massive numbers in central Mexico each year have declined precipitously since a census count began 20 years ago.
Americans are paying down their auto loans and home mortgages. But one kind of debt is rising fast -- student loans. And it’s a heavy burden for many young borrowers. Now, a New York City startup called Pave is offering a new funding model for people at the start of their careers.
It’s an unusual deal. Instead of borrowing money, young “prospects” get a pile of cash from a group of “backers,” to pursue some goal -- directing movies, for example.
In exchange, the prospect agrees to fork over about five percent of their income for the following decade.
The backers have no guarantee they’ll make a profit. They could even lose money. But if the young go-getter does become the next Jerry Bruckheimer within a decade, investors could get rich.
“When you’re young you have initiative, you have energy, you have you have ideas, talent, but you don’t have resources,” says Sal Lahoud, co-founder of Pave. “So it’s about connecting those two stages of life. Between an accomplished backer and a young prospect for the mutual benefit of both.”
Terrance Ross is one new prospect. He’s 22, and he graduates college this spring. With a total of $20,000 from eight backers, he plans to travel to Kenya and start his career as a journalist.
“The way I will see Africa is different from someone who is much older than me,” Ross says. “To be able to do this now is exciting.”
But even if he finds a steady job in journalism, Ross could draw a pretty modest salary. So what makes his situation different from indentured servitude?
“I actually think it’s the opposite,” Pave's Sal Lahoud says. “You are giving young people...the financial freedom to basically pursue their passions. I think loans, on the other hand, dictate choices” because borrowers must repay their debt, plus interest, in full, and on a fixed schedule.
In recent years, there have been many attempts to reinvent the way we pay for big projects, through crowdfunding and peer-to-peer loans.
Anya Kamenetz, author of the book "Generation Debt," remembers a lender that connected student-borrowers with wealthy funders back in the early 2000s. It was called MyRichUncle.
“Very quickly the model that they were trying to do -- which is like what Pave is trying to do now -- they found that they couldn’t make it couldn’t work financially,” Kamenetz says. “So they switched over to more conventional private lending.”
A few years later, MyRichUncle folded.
Kamenetz believes Pave may face similar pressures. But there is one thing she likes about the program: you can use the money to just get started on your career. You don’t have to get a degree.
“I remember talking to friends of mine who got MFAs in playwriting, MFAs in novel writing. If only they could have gotten money just to sit down and make the thing that they needed to make, they would have been much better off, they would have saved a lot of money,” Kamenetz says.
So far, eight young people are participating. They’ve each raised between $3,000 and $50,000. And Pave is looking for more prospects.
A new Pew survey finds that an equal number of working moms and dads — 48 percent — wish they could quit their jobs to raise their kids.