Occasionally, there are too many hot news topics to limit this column to just one. Here are four short items that found their way across my mythical anchor desk over the past week.
• Artificial trans fats are on their way out, according to the Food and Drug Administration. The agency plans to require the food industry to eliminate any remaining use of the substances, which it claims threaten consumers’ health. Though trans fats can improve the taste and longevity of processed foods, FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg claims their usage could be responsible for thousands of deaths and tens of thousands of heart attacks each year. Artificial trans fats can often be found in microwave popcorn, frozen pizzas, refrigerated doughs, cookies, biscuits and ready-to-use frostings or, as I call it, lunch.
• The FBI added Carlos Enrique Perez-Melara, a former San Diego college student who developed an $89 program dubbed “Loverspy” and “Email PI,” to its list of most wanted cybercriminals. The program could be used to monitor another person’s email and instant messages or to hijack their webcam to spy on them. Also added to the bureau’s most wanted list: That woman who keeps clogging up the FBI’s Facebook page with Bitstrips cartoons.
• ESPN announced that the dates for the first X Games to be held in Austin have been changed. The extreme sporting event was initially slated for May 15-18, 2014. Those original dates were tattooed onto the arm of pro skateboarder Bob Burnquist, who was strapped to a rocket-powered flaming unicycle/skateboard combination vehicle and sent through an obstacle course including loop-de-loops, large metal spikes, poison darts and hungry alligators to arrive at the new dates of June 5-8.
• Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told Congress that the troubled Affordable Care Act website needed fixes when it went live and admitted that, as far as repairs go, “We’re not there yet.” Addressing suggestions that the site be taken down until it was fully functional, Sebelius said that “wouldn’t delay people’s cancer or diabetes or Parkinson’s” disease. No word on how keeping the site up as-is and letting users try to sign up for hours will affect their chances of incurring repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome.