Dispatches > Quick Takes
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Quick Takes

Issue: "Reassessing the genome," Oct. 6, 2012

Canning the cans

The reasoning is counterintuitive, but officials with New York City's transit authority say two subway stations have become cleaner since officials removed trash cans. The Metropolitan Transit Authority removed trash cans at the two stations last year as part of a pilot program. For years, managers of New York's subways have struggled to keep stations clean with straphangers ditching coffee cups and newspapers on the track or the ground. According to MTA statistics, workers haul 14,000 tons of garbage out of the system every year. MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota couldn't explain the reasoning for diminishing garbage in the two test stations, but told The New York Times that the policy of no trash bins would be expanded to eight more stations this year: "I'm actually very intrigued by this."

Crime and consequences

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A 10-cent crime committed nearly 50 years ago has finally caught up to Richard Eggers—again. In 1963, a local sheriff in Carlisle, Iowa, watched as Eggers put a fake dime into a laundry machine. After being arrested and convicted of operating a coin-changing machine by false means, Eggers served two days in jail and paid a $50 fine. Now, 49 years later, Eggers was fired from his job at a Des Moines, Iowa, Wells Fargo in July after they discovered his criminal record. The bank says federal regulation prohibits them from employing workers with criminal histories of financial impropriety.

Biggest burger

An Indian casino in Minnesota has produced not so much the unlikely as the absurd: the 1-ton cheeseburger. Workers at the Black Bear Casino Resort used a crane to flip the behemoth patty during its four-hour cooking process on Sept. 2, and casino officials flew in a Guinness World Records representative to witness their 2,014-pound cheeseburger when it was finally assembled. The burger, which bested the previous record by more than 1,100 pounds, contained 60 pounds of bacon, 50 pounds of lettuce, and 50 pounds of onions.

Shifting fortunes

Manual transmission cars may be fun to drive and economical—but an owner of one in Knoxville, Tenn., also found his car useful in fighting crime. Knox County officials say two car thieves attempted to jack a car in the early morning hours of Sept. 3. The two alleged perpetrators, 18-year-old Jamel Wilson and a younger boy, successfully chased the car's owner from the vehicle, but when the duo attempted to drive away, neither could unlock the mysteries of clutch and gear shifter. The pair ultimately gave up on working the stick shift, fled on foot, and were soon captured by sheriff's deputies.

Preemptive strike

An unidentified couple took a creative approach to loving their neighbors on a Sept. 2 airline flight. The couple, predicting the glares from fellow passengers as they boarded a flight from San Francisco with their 14-week-old twins, passed out goodie bags containing candy and a preemptively apologetic note for the crying that was certain to occur. The note, written from the perspective of the infants, invited passengers to visit their father for free ear plugs if the racket became unbearable. Andrew Merritt, a blogger from San Francisco, took a snapshot of the gift bag, and reported on his site that the babies were "fantastic flyers" while the parents were "brilliant and thoughtful."

Syrup caper

Thieves in Canada may soon find themselves in a sticky situation if they can't fence 10 million pounds of stolen syrup before investigators crack the case. Police officials in Quebec say thieves snatched a huge cache of syrup from a warehouse in Saint-Louis-de-Blandford, Quebec. Since the robbery was discovered during a routine inventory check, police can't say exactly when the break-in occurred. But according to the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers, which runs the burgled warehouse, the 10 million pounds of stolen syrup represents a major loss to what they term the "Global Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve."

Loyal worker

To say Rose Syracuse is a throwback is an understatement. When she first started working at Macy's 73 years ago, LaGuardia Airport had not yet opened, Pearl Harbor had not yet been bombed, and Yankees great Lou Gehrig would soon announce his retirement. Now, at age 92, Syracuse is retiring from her job as an accountant at the department store in New York City. Syracuse said she took the job after graduating from high school. More than seven decades later, Syracuse has opted to retire after suffering a broken hip in a fall earlier this year. "It breaks my heart [to leave]," Syracuse told the New York Daily News. On her last day at the store on Sept. 5, Macy's CEO Terry Lundgren got down on one knee and presented Syracuse with a parting gift: a dozen red roses.

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