10 brightest ideas of the week: Jan. 17, 2010 

Viral campaign raises awareness for breast cancer, book chain offers rentals for students, orphaned dogs quickly snatched up and a cabbie returns a bag of cash.


1. Bare it all — in text

Bra-color meme on Facebook helps Komen Foundation

The details: Wondering why anyone would tell the world their bra color on Facebook? Don’t be surprised — it’s a viral campaign to raise awareness for breast cancer. In recent days, many women (and some men) of Facebook have been posting the color of their underthings hoping to inspire others to do the same — and maybe donate to breast cancer research. The Susan B. Komen Foundation did not start the campaign, the origins of which are unclear, but they’re benefiting from new donors who are having fun sharing, and reading, all the colors of the lingerie rainbow.


2. Punishment deserved

Unruly flier who caused diversion of SFO-bound flight faces charges

The details: Formal criminal charges await Muhammad Abu Tahir, the Virginia man who caused a disturbance on a San Francisco-bound AirTran flight last week. Tahir drank five mini bottles of wine, and when he rang the call bell and asked flight attendants for another, they said he was cut off. At that point, Tahir allegedly became upset, and was given the wine. When he finished, he went to the lavatory, took off his shoes and socks outside the door, and was later revealed to be shirtless and giving himself a shave. Tahir reportedly became combative, grabbing and yelling at the attendant who asked him to return to his seat. The flight was diverted to Colorado Springs, and Tahir will be charged with interfering with a flight crew.


3. Rent-a-text

Barnes & Noble launches text rental service

The details: College students spend about $667 per year on required course materials, according to the National Association of College Stores. Sure, some people might want to keep that Bio 101 book, but others might be willing to part with it if it meant saving a little money. To address the cost concern, bookseller Barnes & Noble Inc. plans to launch a textbook rental program for college students.


4. Singles at sea

Norwegian Cruise Line’s next ship will have singles cabins

The details: The 4,200-passenger Norwegian Epic, the Norwegian Cruise Line’s biggest ship ever, will offer 128 singles cabins of 100 square feet, more than 30 percent smaller than the smallest cabins for two and starting at $799. The cabins will share a communal lounge, with private bar. The line expects to draw a wide demographic of single travelers, from 20-somethings to older retirees. There are full-size beds and separate areas for bathroom, sink and shower. Many cabins have connecting doors.


5. Slap on the wrist

Lawmakers ‘admonish’ South Carolina governor

The details: The house vote was 102-11 to censure Gov. Mark Sanford for those secret trips to see his Argentine mistress and improper use of state aircraft. But that’s apparently as far as it will go, since the state Senate promptly tabled the measure into a committee. This is Sanford’s final year as governor, as the two-term Republican is termed out. Sanford also faces up to $74,000 in fines for allegedly breaking some 40 laws involving pricey air travel.


6. Chihuahuas rule

SF’s 15 orphaned mini-dogs are the toast of NYC

The details: More than 100 New Yorkers lined up outside the ASPCA for hours in icy temperatures to get their chance at adopting a Chihuahua that had flown in from SFO in the cabin of a Virgin America jet. All 11 dogs were snapped up in the first day (four more were held back while minor health problems were fixed). Arrival of the Chihuahuas was a big hit on all New York’s local news shows.


7. Fully charged

GM will make pure-electric version of Chevy Volt

The details: General Motors plans to release a new all-electric version of the Chevy Volt, a hybrid vehicle that can currently travel 40 miles on a charge from a standard home outlet before switching to a small internal combustion engine. The new vehicle is expected to go on sale this fall at a cost of about $40,000, before tax credits. It will be comparable to Nissan’s Leaf which can reportedly get about 100 miles on an electric charge.


8. Back to court

San Mateo County teenager to be retried for murder

The details: Prosecutors have decided to retry a teen accused in the 2005 fatal shooting of a 21-year-old man in Redwood City. Josue Orozco, now 19, was 14 at the time of the shooting and became the youngest person to be tried as an adult for murder in the county’s history. He will return to San Mateo County Superior Court on June 28 to set a new trial date. Prosecutors say on July 12, 2005, Orozco shot Francisco Rodriguez, 21, over a perceived disrespect between rival gangs.


9. Taxi!

NY cabbie returns $21,000 to visitor

The details: An Italian tourist left more than $21,000 in a New York City cab on Christmas Eve and had the money returned to her soon after. Felicia Lettieri, 72, left her purse containing the traveling money for her and six relatives in the taxi. After the cabbie discovered the purse he located an address inside it and drove more than 50 miles to the location. He left a note on the door with his phone number and returned later with the money.


10. Powering off

Polluting power plant to finally shut down

The details: The aging Mirant Corp.-owned Potrero Power Plant, which belches air pollution in southeastern San Francisco and scalds Bay water, could be shut down this year. After the Potrero plant closes, residents will receive power almost exclusively from other cities. Much of that power will be piped through a new cable between Pittsburg and San Francisco, which could be switched on this month. Closure of the plant is contingent upon the cable’s reliable operation, under conditions outlined by the regulator — the California Independent System Operator Corp.


Bright light of the week

Larry Platt

What: The 62-year-old "General" was too old to be a contestant on "American Idol" but his audition aired this week to let viewers see his original song, "Pants on the ground," about people who wear their pants sagging low.

Why: With it’s all-too-true lyric "Looking like a fool with your pants on the ground," and catchy beat, Simon Cowell was right when he predicted the song, which has gone viral, "could be a hit." Platt, according to reports, was involved in the civil rights struggle in his teens and the Georgia General Assembly proclaimed Sept. 4, 2001, Larry Platt Day in Atlanta, because of "his great energy and commitment to equality and the protection of the innocent and for his outstanding service to the Atlanta community and the citizens of Georgia."

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Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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