(Patrick Carlson)

Why You Should Rethink Buying Gift Cards This Year

Giving people gift cards has many advantages: you can take a loved one out to dinner from hundreds or thousands of miles away, or you can buy someone new clothes or shoes without guessing at their size. However, gift cards and prepaid debit cards aren’t always the one-size-fits-all gift option that they seem to be, since they can have some serious drawbacks. [More]

Amazon Signs 17-Year Lease On Manhattan Building That Is Totally Not A Store

Amazon Signs 17-Year Lease On Manhattan Building That Is Totally Not A Store

More than a month ago, there were reports that Amazon planned to rent space in Manhattan across the street from the Empire State Building to expand its own empire into brick-and-mortar retail. While Amazon has signed a lease on space in that building that includes ground-floor retail, the company says that it is not going to use that space. Nope. [More]

There’s A Bus In England That Runs On Human Feces – And Food Waste

There’s A Bus In England That Runs On Human Feces – And Food Waste

If you’re looking to take part in an adventure not unlike one you’d see on The Magic School Bus, then you might think about hitching a ride on the bus fueled by bio-methane gas, which is produced using materials most of us can’t get rid of soon enough — fecal matter and food waste. [More]

Kitten Escapes New Mexico Home On Halloween, Shows Up 2,300 Miles Away In Maine

(Portland Press Herald)

There is nothing more suited for a Friday afternoon than a heartwarming tale involving a lost kitten finding her way home against all odds, so I will go ahead and accept your thanks in advance. The starring cat of today’s story escaped her home in New Mexico during Halloween trick-or-treating, only to reappear in Maine a few weeks later. [More]

FCC Proposes Some Consumer Protections As They Inch Closer To Killing Off Copper Landlines

FCC Proposes Some Consumer Protections As They Inch Closer To Killing Off Copper Landlines

Phones are wireless, consumers are cutting back, and copper is expensive: all are reasons why the big phone companies want permission from the FCC to walk away from old-fashioned landline networks and to keep moving toward an internet-based future. The FCC tentatively agrees, and voted 3-2 today to take another baby step in the process that will end up making the nation’s century-old copper landline network obsolete. [More]

Pizza Hut Thinks That Old Italian People Hating Its Pizza Is A Good Thing

Pizza Hut Thinks That Old Italian People Hating Its Pizza Is A Good Thing

Pizza Hut is trying some new crusts and toppings in an attempt to coax Americans back under its formerly red roofs. We sent a colleague to try them out, and she reported back that the 21 varieties of new toppings and crusts she tried were nice, but not spectacular. Therefore, Pizza Hut has apparently turned to reverse psychology to sell their new offerings. [More]

New DoD Protections Aim To Keep Shady Businesses From Taking Advantage of Military Members

New DoD Protections Aim To Keep Shady Businesses From Taking Advantage of Military Members

Members of the military — particularly younger members from lower-income backgrounds — are too often the target of shady, predatory businesses looking to take advantage of their youth and inexperience with finances. The Military Lending Act offers some protections, but these operators find ways to get around the law. On Friday, the U.S. Dept. of Defense took steps to eliminate some of those exploitations by creating reforms to the current military discretionary allotment system. [More]

Pear Industry Super Psyched That Rick Ross Is Sharing His Love Of The Fruit With The “Young And Hip”

(themikepark)

While you might not have seen a Vine from last month wherein rapper Rick Ross praises the pear for its contribution to his recent weight loss, sending a shoutout to “all the pear,” there’s one group that pays close attention to all things pear, and it is pretty darn excited that such a cool guy is talking about the fruit. [More]

(Great Beyond)

Court Bars FCC From Diclosing How Much Comcast, DirecTV Pay Broadcasters

Last week’s last-minute legal battle between just about every major TV broadcaster and the FCC came to quietly disappointing conclusion this morning, with a federal appeals court refusing to allow the government to share confidential details about the mergers of Comcast and Time Warner Cable, and DirecTV and AT&T. [More]

(frankieleon)

Texas Postal Worker Accused Of Delivering Meth On His Mail Route

While it might be convenient to tweak one job to allow for working a second at the same time, delivering methamphetamine while out on the postal route is the kind of thing that gets you arrested. A Texas postal worker attempted that kind of illegal multi-tasking, police say, dropping off drugs while doing his mail rounds. [More]

Square CEO Says Company Will Accept All Forms Of Payment, Even Apple Pay

Square CEO Says Company Will Accept All Forms Of Payment, Even Apple Pay

While Walmart and other major retailers are deliberately holding off on accepting Apple Pay because they are developing a competing mobile payment system, there are plenty of small businesses who want to offer Apple Pay but don’t want to invest too much in the equipment required to accept it. The folks at Square, which turns your smartphone into a card reader, hope to remove that roadblock early next year when they start enabling clients to accept Apple Pay. [More]

Boston Market: Official Caterer Of People Stuck At Work On Thanksgiving

Boston Market: Official Caterer Of People Stuck At Work On Thanksgiving

One company has definitely benefited from the trend of retailers opening before dinner time on Thanksgiving Day: Boston Market, the restaurant chain that serves fast casual poultry and traditional side dishes year-round. The chain does plenty of rotisserie chicken and mashed potato business year-round and has always been a popular spot for quick dinners and catering on Thanksgiving, but its catering sales have increased for the last few years. [More]

(Associated Press video)

93-Year-Old Woman Celebrates 75th Anniversary Working For The Same Company

She might be eight years younger than the 101-year-old man who’s worked for the same lighting company for 73 years, but at 93, an Alabama woman outstrips his number by two years, as today she celebrates 75 years working at a Birmingham jewelry store. [More]

This 9.75-carat blue diamond set two world records when it was auctions for $32.5 million dollars at Sotheby's Thursday.  (Sotheby's)

The Most Expensive Blue Diamond You’ll Ever See, But Never Touch Sold For $32.6M

In the past, Consumerist has reported on some high-priced, heavily sought-after auction items –– there was the most valuable stamp that sold for $9.5 million and the world’s most expensive bottle of whiskey priced at $628,205. But combining those two winning bid wouldn’t even get you close to half of the $32.6 million someone bid to win a blue diamond at Sotheby’s Thursday night. [More]

Expect To See More Ads Pretending To Be Editorial Content

This lovely story -- which grossly overestimates my affection for kale -- is currently sitting at the top of the Buzzfeed homepage. Expect to me 34% more of this kind of crap in the coming year... You were warned.

At the same time as Google is looking to give some sites a way to make money by not running ads, advertisers are ramping up their spending on ads that look like editorial content and can’t be avoided with any ad-blocking plugin. [More]

(SarahSphar)

McDonald’s Worker Accused Of Sticking Glass In Cop’s Big Mac In 2005 Wins $437K

It’s the end of a long story that started back in 2005, when a New York City police officer said he bit into shards of glass in his Big Mac after picking up food from the drive-thru a McDonald’s in the Bronx. [More]

Dish Customers Get Cartoon Network, CNN Back After Month-Long Blackout

Dish Customers Get Cartoon Network, CNN Back After Month-Long Blackout

Just hours after averting (for now) a blackout of CBS-owned stations in 14 markets, Dish Network has made nice with another of its foes in the broadcasting world, ending the month-long blackout of Turner channels like CNN, HLN, and the Cartoon Network. [More]

Why Big Companies Spend So Much Money On Washington: It Works Even Better Than You Think

Why Big Companies Spend So Much Money On Washington: It Works Even Better Than You Think

That money talks in Washington is conventional wisdom for a reason. Corporations, industries, and a handful of extraordinarily wealthy individuals spend big bucks on campaigns and on lobbying not for fun, but because they expect to get something back in return. And while adding up all those expenditures is comparatively straightforward, finding out who gets how much back has been harder… until now. A new study finds that billions of dollars might go into D.C., but trillions are coming back out. [More]