News stories the mainstream media missed : 11/20/10

Here are some news stories from this week that I think the mainstream media completely missed out on. All links are from legitimate news sources and not the fringe / wacko sites.

* Those Amish heaters that are advertised on the late late night commercials? Turns out they’re 90% hooey, 6% baloney and 4% shenanigans. Or something like that. Consumer Reports exposes the funk. [MSNBC]

* What do McDonald’s, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Denny’s, Jack In The Box, Aetna, Cracker Barrel, Dish Network and Uncle Julio’s have in common? They’ve all been granted waivers from insuring their employees under ObamaCare! Wait, what? How did that happen? [HHS.GOV]

* I can sum up this next big expensive scientific study in four words and two punctuation marks… “Eat less. Live longer.” Do scientists need a TL;DR writer? And if so, where can I sign up? [MONTREAL GAZETTE]

* Speaking of scientific studies, scientists are absolutely baffled about this one woman from Texas who has to eat 8,000 calories a day just to stay alive. Thing is, she has a BMI of 10.9! For reference, “A body mass index (BMI) value of 20 to 25 is considered normal. Someone with a BMI of less than 16 is considered critically underweight.” If scientists can figure this major medical mystery out, this can have major implications for the whole world. Seriously. [SPIEGEL]

* A “cascading failure” is pretty much when one thing messes up another, and soon you’ve got something that wants to go all explodey-like. That happened on the emergency Qantas jet landing recently. It wasn’t just a “problem” engine that went thbttttt. “Kerosene was leaking from two of the 12 fuel tanks… an automatic extinguishing system failed to activate… the machines were unable to pump kerosene from the back to the front of the aircraft, causing it to become increasingly unstable as kerosene escaped… and one of the two hydraulic systems failed and important connecting cables were severed, including those leading to the outer engine one. Although the pilot could still control the engine manually, it could no longer be shut off AND the aircraft tire’s anti-lock system also stopped working, which caused three tires to burst when the plane touched down as a result, sending sparks into the air.” In related news, I ain’t never flying on no Quantas jets. [SPIEGEL]

* Speaking of cascading failures, the Euro may be in store for a cascading failure of their own if more Euro-based countries’ economies keep failing. This would be a “9” on the bad-chit-o-meter scale. [BLOOMBERG]

* George Bush says he authorized waterboarding in his new book, and paraphrasing somewhat, pretty much says waterboarding isn’t really torture and everybody else can suck it if they think it is. OK, Dubya, here’s a slow pitch for you to swing at… if waterboarding isn’t torture, why does it kill someone if you keep doing it? [THE ATLANTIC]

* And finally, the Pope said it’s OK for male prostitutes to use condoms. Nobody else, though. I’m just going to leave that right there and back away sloooowly. Very slowly. [THE STAR]