Blog Posts by Mike Krumboltz

  • Earth Day's History

    Sunday, April 22, is Earth Day. The holiday wasn't initiated by stereotypical environmentalists; it was actually founded by a prominent Wisconsin politician named Gaylord Nelson.

    [Related: Deals for Earth Day 2012]

    Nelson, who passed away in 2005 at age 89, served as the governor of Wisconsin and, later, a three-term senator. Back in 1969, with the United States embroiled in the Vietnam War, Sen. Nelson witnessed the effects of a massive oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara, California. He left determined to help.

    His goal, says, was to harness the growing power of the antiwar movement and to "infuse that energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution." Sen. Nelson, a Democrat, didn't make it a partisan issue, recruiting Rep. Pete McClosksy, a Republican, to serve as his co-chair.

    [Related: Seven green cleaners that really work]

    The first Earth Day, on April 22, 1970, featured rallies and teach-ins across the United States.

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  • Botox Celebrates an Anniversary

    Ten-year anniversary of FDA approval of Botox. (Thinkstock)Ten years ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of Botox to treat frown lines between eyebrows. But by the time the FDA gave Botox its blessing, the injectable treatment had been around, in one form or another, for decades.

    "Botox" has become shorthand for explaining why the foreheads of certain Hollywood stars never move, but the treatment's origin can be traced all the way back to the 1820s. That's when German doctor Justinus Kerner identified a toxin in spoiled sausages that would come to be known as (drumroll, please) "botulism."

    Kerner speculated that small doses of the toxin might be helpful in treating nerve disorders. To test his theory he even injected it into himself. Dedication, thy name is Kerner.

    Of course, that was just the discovery. It took a lot longer for Botox (in one form or another) to hit the mainstream. It began to hit the big time in the 1960s, when a San Francisco Bay Area eye doctor named Alan Scott injected a related toxin

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  • Hidden Valley Ranch Wants to Slather Your Fries

    For decades, ketchup has been the undisputed king of condiments. People put it on burgers, fries, eggs, hot dogs, and even pasta. But now, a new (and thicker) challenger has emerged: Ranch dressing wants a shot at the title.

    Hidden Valley released a new, thicker ranch dressing, calling it "the new ketchup." In fact, it says, "The New Ketchup" right on the bottle. And speaking of the bottle, it looks a lot like a traditional ketchup bottle. Get the message? Hidden Valley sees an opportunity in convincing shoppers that ranch isn't just for salads and veggies.

    [Related: 10 condiments for your pantry]

    A buzzy article from the Wall Street Journal explains how the product came to pass. An executive at Hidden Valley got the idea for thicker ranch dressing when he saw his daughter slather the dressing on her piece of salmon. From such family dinners are new condiments born.

    What is apparently different about this version of ranch is its consistency. The makers wanted to make

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  • Daughter of Wanda Holloway Speaks Out

    Talk show host Phil Donahue, right, interviews Wanda Webb Holloway, left, and her daughter Shanna Harper Friday, Sept. 20, 1991 in New York on NBC’s “Donahue.” (AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler) In 1991, Wanda Holloway, the mother of a 13-year-old aspiring Texas cheerleader, was arrested for plotting to murder the mother of a rival cheerleader. Holloway had hoped that when her daughter's rival suffered the loss of her mother, she would leave the squad, clearing a space for Holloway's daughter, Shanna.

    Fortunately, her plan didn't work. The hit man Wanda attempted to hire recorded her propositions and turned them over to the police. Wanda was arrested, and the bizarre nature of the plot and twisted logic behind it turned both her and her daughter into media sensations.

    While nobody was physically hurt, the emotional toll on daughter Shanna was severe. She hadn't spoken publicly about the scandal until recently, when she sat down with People magazine. Now 34, Shanna told the magazine that she never actually wanted to be a cheerleader. It was her mother who drove her to become one. The U.K.'s Daily Mail summarizes the People story.

    Her mom's overbearing nature and

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  • Baby Chun Chun Weighs in at 15.5 Pounds

    In future years, when he's all grown up, we hope "little" Chun Chun remembers to be extra nice to his mother on her birthday, and Mother's Day, and, well, pretty much every day of the year. Weighing in at 15.5 pounds, the boy may be the heaviest baby in the country's history.

    Iowa woman gives birth to 13 pound baby

    Chun Chun's mother, 29-year-old Wang Yujuan, remarked that had she sensed something was going to be a little different about Chun Chun, who arrived via cesarean section in China's Henan Province, even before he was born.

    "I clearly felt that my body was more clumsy than when I had been pregnant with my daughter. My belly was bigger than it was then," Wang remarked to reporters. "I guessed the baby would be between 10 and 11 pounds. I never expected to hear that he weighs 15.5 pounds." The daughter, now 6, weighed a not insignificant 8.8 pounds at birth.

    Celebrity baby bumps

    Chun Chun's father told the Sun that he is thrilled to have a dragon baby,

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  • Who was Susan G. Komen?

    An estimated 45,000 people participate in the Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure in Little Rock, Ark. (AP/Brian Chilson)The recent announcement that the Susan G. Komen Foundation, best known for its "Race for the Cure" events, will no longer support Planned Parenthood and the group's reversal today lit a firestorm on the Web. Many curious Web searchers sought more information on the woman behind the foundation. Who was Susan B. Komen?

    Komen died in 1980 at the age of 36 after a brave battle with breast cancer. Thirty-plus years ago, breast cancer, considered a taboo topic, wasn't often discussed. Similarly, screening and treatment options weren't what they are today. Komen's sister, Nancy Goodman Brinker, promised Susan that she would do what she could to help raise breast cancer awareness.

    The two sisters grew up in Peoria, Illinois. Their father was a real estate developer and their mother, Eleanor, taught the girls to help those in need. "When Brinker was 6 and Komen was 9, they organized a variety show to raise funds in the battle against polio. 'We had little friends who had polio, and it

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  • When Parents Prank, No Child is Safe

    Kids are cool. Pranks are awesome. Pranking kids? Really cool and very awesome.

    Earlier this week, "Jimmy Kimmel Live" aired a video segment of parents taping their kids opening underwhelming (to put it mildly) Christmas gifts. Several days later, the clip is still buzzing on blogs and social networks. Yahoo! searches on "jimmy kimmel christmas gift" surged 953% on Thursday.

    As the San Francisco Chronicle points out, the video has called into question whether this tactic is all in good fun or a case of parents emotionally abusing their children for the amusement of others. Is Kimmel a Grinch?

    The clip, which features kids excitedly opening presents, thinking they might be a new toy, and instead finding old bananas, empty juice jugs, and half-eaten sandwiches.

    The reactions of the kids are, of course, what makes the video a hit. Some good sports feign interest in their lame gifts. Others look very confused ("It's a hot dog?"), but most either cry or rage at the cruel

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  • The Story of John Hancock's Signature

    The story behind John Hancock's signature on the Declaration of Independence. (Thinkstock)The story behind John Hancock's signature on the Declaration of Independence. (Thinkstock)There are a lot of stories surrounding the Declaration of Independence. One of the most famous concerns John Hancock and his comically large signature. According to legend, the founding father signed his name bigger than everyone else's because he wanted to make sure "fat old King George" could read it without his spectacles.

    It's a neat story about American brashness, but it isn't very accurate. The truth is a tad less dramatic. explains that Hancock, president of the Continental Congress, gave a super-sized signature not because he was itching for a fight with the king, but because, among other things, he happened to be the first person to sign the document.

    Because Hancock was the first to sign, he did the sensible thing and put his name front and center. He was the leader of the Congress, after all. He didn't know his fellow patriots would sign their names on a smaller scale.

    So, why are some of the other signatures high and to the left while others are down

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  • How Sagging Started

    The recent incident at San Francisco International Airport involving a man's arrest for his saggy pants sparked a slew of web searches. Among the most interesting (to us, anyway) were those queries that seek to understand how the baggy pants trend began.

    If you've ever wondered why some people choose to wear their pants so low that their underpants show, you're not alone. There are quite a few blogs and articles dedicated to discovering the origin of the trend. According to the urban legend experts at The Straight Dope, this trend started in, of all places, prisons.

    The site goes on to explain that the style wasn't really born from inmates' desire to look cool -- it was just ill-fitting pants. It probably won't surprise you to learn that prisoners aren't allowed to wear belts. Often the pants they're issued in the big house aren't the right size (what, no skinny jeans?). So guests of the state are often seen shuffling around the prison yard holding their too-baggy pants up

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  • Pippa Middleton wears white

    Maid of honor Pippa Middleton wore white to the ceremony. (Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)Maid of honor Pippa Middleton wore white to the ceremony. (Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)Some consider it bad form for anyone but the bride to wear white on the wedding day. Not the Middletons. Kate's sister Pippa wore a white maid of honor dress on the world's biggest stage.

    [Photos: See more of Pippa's dress]

    Like Kate's wedding dress, Pippa's gown was designed by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen. The gown featured short sleeves, a low-cut neckline, and was form-fitting. Immediately following Pippa's appearance at Westminster Abbey, web searches soared. A blog from the "Today" show explains that a white dress for non-brides isn't as rare as it used to be. Bridal designer Reem Acra told "I like the idea that (Kate's) sister is wearing white... It makes the whole thing more thematic and looks clean and modern." Tom Mora, J.Crew's vice-president for bridal wear, told that "there is something quite beautiful about it... there's a purity about her sister wearing white." Pippa's dress had the same button detail and lace trim as Kate's wedding gown, Read More »from Pippa Middleton wears white


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