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April 24  |  
In Soviet Russia, social network watches you. Oh wait, it does here, too: The Mark Zuckerberg of Russia has fled the country after posting what he says are demands from the Russian security services for details on users of Russia’s version of Facebook.

The secret police reportedly wanted info about anyone with ties to Ukraine, and also folks who fail to click "like" on photos of a bare-chested Vladimir Putin wrestling bears.

Olympian...

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April 23  |  Jon Bauer, Herald staff
Not small potatoes: One of Eastern Washington’s largest farming operations, Taggares Agriculture, hopes to raise $48 million through an initial stock offering, a rare move in the agricultural industry.

As this is new territory for the farmers, the chairman and the rest of the board will be asked to use the boot scraper located just outside the boardroom.

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April 22  |  
Please pack up your ashtrays and go: An 89-year-old Ohio woman who says she prefers eviction to giving up cigarettes will have to move out of her apartment because the building no longer allows smoking.

The Buzz can’t decide which is more amazing: that someone would choose smoking over having a place to live, or that a smoker can live to the age of 89.

Don’t know much about history: On this day in 1952, the detonation of a 31-kiloton nuclear device...

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April 21  |  Jon Bauer, Herald staff
Stay turned for "Reheated": The Food Network’s latest competitive series, "Rewrapped," asks contestants to recreate a brand product, then use it as a key ingredient in an unexpected way, such as a meatball tucked inside a brioche roll encrusted with cookies or a cherry pie turned into an eggroll with dipping sauce

Of course, "plating" is...

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April 19  |  
See ya later, alligator: A ban on the sale of luxury goods made from alligator skin is unwarranted on environmental grounds, California legislators were told. That’s because Louisiana and Florida are crawling with the once-endangered reptiles, wildlife officers in those states say.

Fittingly, the shoes and handbags made from their skins will be sold on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, which also is infested with lizards.

She’s just not that into him: A...

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April 18  |  Jon Bauer, Herald staff
You’re darn tootin’: In the midst of an oil boom, North Dakota is desperate to lure job seekers, and not just oil-field workers but staffers for a range of white collar and service jobs. A software executive says Fargo doesn’t deserve its reputation as a cold and odd backwater. "Fargo is fun; it’s safe. It’s warm on the inside," said the exec.


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April 17  |  
Pack ratsWhat’s behind those doors? The Snohomish County Airport at Paine Field has warned hangar tenants that they aren’t allowed to use the facilities to store things that aren’t aviation-related (above).With all that non- aeronautical stuff, it’s only a matter of time until the reality TV show “Storage Wars” shows up to bid on the contents of a hangar, only to be bitterly disappointed when a hoped-for rare comic book collection turns out to be a Cessna 180.

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April 16  |  Jon Bauer, Herald staff
Does he carry a white Persian cat? High-tech entrepreneur Elon Musk and his company, SpaceX, which built and operates a space capsule to resupply the International Space Station, now is looking to wrest work for lucrative spy satellites from Boeing.

We're all for competition, but should we trust such sensitive work to someone whose name reminds us of a villain in a James Bond movie?

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April 15  |  Jon Bauer, Herald staff
Sweet disposition: A new study suggests that people are more prone to become angry when hungry. The theory was tested by asking married couples to stick pins in a voodoo doll that represented their spouse, then measured their blood glucose levels. The research found that those with lower blood sugar stuck more pins into the doll.

The researchers will now study what happens when each...

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April 14  |  Jon Bauer, Herald staff
Vox popular: Pope Francis continued his penchant for breaking with tradition, speaking off the cuff during his Palm Sunday address in St. Peter’s Square and leaping out of his popemobile to pose for "selfies" with young people.

The Vatican’s security team put its foot down, however, when Francis went to leap backward into a throng of people to do some crowd...

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April 12  |  Jon Bauer, Herald staff
Stupid human tricks: As the game of late-night talk show musical chairs continues with Stephen Colbert taking over for David Letterman in 2015, one TV writer is looking at how late night TV has changed since Letterman debuted his CBS show in 1993.

We’ll add one more:

Then: Letterman amused America by throwing TVs and other stuff off the top of a building.


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April 11  |  Jon Bauer, Herald staff
Wag of the Finger: CBS announced that Stephen Colbert will take over host duties on the "Late Show" when David Letterman retires in 2015. Colbert will also retire the faux conservative persona he used on "The Colbert Report" on Comedy Central.

Jumping on the pending opening at Comedy Central, Jay Leno began work on some fresh Obama jokes.




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April 10  |  Jon Bauer, Herald staff
So your lies add up: Leading up to the April 15 deadline to file federal taxes, a new poll finds that nearly 6 in 10 Americans believe that completing tax returns is easy, while most believe that up to a third of their fellow citizens cheat on their taxes.

Those who admitted to cheating on their taxes said it’s actually harder because you have to figure out how to get a big refund...

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April 9  |  Jon Bauer, Herald staff
#ExplodingCigar: A U.S. agency is having to explain its creation of a Twitter-like network with the intention of encouraging political unrest in Cuba.

Not until after the network was created, did it occur to the officials that they would also have to buy every Cuban a smartphone.



Amusing America: Sarah Palin recently

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April 8  |  Jon Bauer, Herald staff
It’s short for ‘expired’: Microsoft has ended support for Windows XP and will no longer provide security patches for the more-than-12-year-old operating system, even though it’s still in use by many people and businesses. Experts warn that those who continue to use XP could be vulnerable to hackers and malware.

You’ll know it’s time to upgrade when...

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April 7  |  Jon Bauer, Herald staff
Don't look down: Nik Wallenda, whose tightrope walk across the Grand Canyon was watched by 10 million viewers last year on Discovery, will perform an encore for the cable channel this November, this time in Chicago.


Wallenda and Discovery haven't announced what he'll cross this time, but early speculation is that Wallenda...

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March 22  |  
It won't go away! Disney is creating a global sing-along website for "it's a small world," marking the ditty's 50th glorious year of entrancing small children and driving parents insane.

The website invites people to submit videos of themselves singing the song. The "best" versions will be played on a continuous loop at secret CIA prisons in Eastern Europe.

Spark up before the Ciscoe Morris talk: CannaCon, a marijuana...

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March 21  |  Jon Bauer, Herald staff
Can I just get a coffee? A day after announcing its new Oprah Chai tea, Starbucks says its hitting the harder stuff and will expand the number of stores that offer an evening menu of alcohol and gourmet bites.

We hope they have a sommelier on hand, because we're uncertain about what you order with truffle macaroni and cheese: a Chardonnay Frappucino or a Cabernet Macchiato?

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March 20  |  Jon Bauer, Herald staff
You get a teabag, and you get a teabag: Oprah appeared at Starbucks shareholders meeting to help announce a tea drink called Oprah Chai that will be sold at Starbucks.

Starbucks has attempted to link celebrities and beverages before but with little success, including Coco Chanel Cocoa, LL Cool J Kool-Aid and Tyler Perry’s Yerba Madea.

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March 19  |  
Hold the eggs, butter and cream: The White House pastry chef says he soon will be leaving after seven years in the First Kitchen.

First lady and healthy eating advocate Michelle Obama now must find a new pastry chef. The successful candidate will be able to create a dessert whose primary ingredients are broccoli, sprouted wheat grain and unseasoned tofu slabs.

Doom generation: People in the 18- to 24-year-old age group face a...

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March 18  |  Jon Bauer, Herald staff
Are you going to eat that? Researchers in England, looking for the triggers that cause people to give in to food cravings, asked 80 people to use smartphones to record the circumstances behind temptation. Being around friends, alcohol and fatigue were found to work against willpower, while recording the cravings on the phones helped to fight them.

Respondents also found it easier not...

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March 17  |  
... but not for Ah-nuld’s money: NBC News special correspondent Maria Shriver executive-produced "Paycheck to Paycheck," a documentary about the working poor that airs tonight on HBO.

The film follows a single mother as she struggles to provide for her children, while steadfastly refusing to take the easy way...

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March 14  |  
Gone to potInquire within: Denver, Colo., held a marijuana industry job fair, with companies seeking employees with relevant experience (Page A13).Job-seekers looking forward to a similar career fair in Washington state should prepare their resumes now. We recommend a nice-quality paper stock made from hemp; a businesslike type font besides Comic Sans and no Doritos-dust fingerprints.

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March 13  |  Jon Bauer, Herald staff
Phoebe is not spelled Fibi: Starbucks customers who use its payment app on their iPhones soon will be able to tip their barista 50 cents, $1 or $2 by using a tipping feature on the app.

But wait to tip until you’ve got your coffee and can see how badly he or she has botched the spelling of your name.



Please...

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March 12  |  
The European Union wants to ban the use of European names like Parmesan and Gruyere on cheese made in the United States, arguing that the American products are inferior and cut into sales of European cheeses.

The Buzz calls on President Barack Obama to send a strong message to the despotic cheese snobs at the EU — preferably packaged in a green tube with an indefinite shelf life.

Do androids flip you off while driving 85 mph in rush hour...

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March 11  |  Jon Bauer, Herald staff
And how far flung? McDonald's is looking for ways to boost sales, including a new touchpad that allows customers to choose their bun, cheese and toppings for their burger.

Choose the Angry Birds option on the tablet and your McChicken will be launched by slingshot into your waiting mouth.



Once bitten, twice...

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March 10  |  By Mark Carlson, Herald staff
Cassettes will be sold on the grounds: The mayor of Monroe is balking at a request from organizers of a music festival at Lake Tye Park for $65,000 to help put on a show this summer — even though last year's event was a sparsely attended money-loser.

Last year's show featured members of Blues Traveler, Supertramp, Santana and Chicago. Sorry, but without Spin Doctors, Hootie and the Blowfish, and Ace of Base on the bill, The Buzz just doesn't see how this thing can...

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March 8  |  Jon Bauer, Herald staff
And Juan Valdez is on the faculty: The University of California, Davis, is hosting a research conference at its newly created Coffee Center where it plans to offer a major in coffee science.

For students interested in double majors, the Coffee Center will be located between the Institute for Half & Half and the School for Doughnut Sciences.




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March 7  |  
Nothing to see here, folks: As promised, prosecutors in Miami released police video Thursday of Justin Bieber giving a urine sample for a drug test after his DUI arrest, with the naughty bits blacked out as ordered by a judge, who said the pop star "still retains his expectation of dignity".

Not with that

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March 6  |  
Too bad it’s not a Sebring: Chrysler has ordered the automotive program at South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia to destroy a 1992 Dodge Viper that was donated to the school.

The automaker cited liability issues, though some might argue that most Chrysler products should be sent to the crusher.

No wrong answers: The SAT exam taken by millions of American students is undergoing an overhaul intended to open doors...

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