Every second millions of people worldwide are using Twitter to send 140-character messages – tweets. Tweets convey what people are thinking at any given minute; and because there's open access to public tweets, researchers are studying them to interpret the mood of the U.S. For example, tweets sent on weekends are happier; and tweets from users in Florida, California and Hawaii use happier words. Twitter data provides much more detailed information about local, national and international events than traditional methods of polling – such as predicting movie box-office success. In fact, the endless possibilities are causing a "twitter" among academic researchers.
The Best Friends Pet Resort, which opened at Disney World in August 2010, also offers many possibilities. With 50,000 square feet – half outdoors – the luxury facility can accommodate 270 dogs, 30 cats and assorted other animals. Standard indoor boarding for dogs is $37 a night. However, vacation villas with flat-screen televisions and patios ($59) and 226-square-foot luxury suites with a personal concierge and a play yard ($76) are available. For cats there are 2- and 4-story condos. Services include playgroups, bedtime stories, a water park and walking trails. "Going to the dogs" doesn't sound so bad when the dogs are going to Disney World.
People going to London will have the world's best – and most expensive – taxis. According to a 2010 poll by the travel website "Hotels", London's friendly taxi drivers actually know where to go. New York City's yellow taxis ranked second – up 10% from 2009, in spite of tying with Parisian taxi drivers as the rudest. Rome's taxi drivers, however, ranked as the worst drivers. Tokyo's taxis ranked third overall, Berlin's fourth and Bangkok's fifth. Taxis were ranked by 1,900 travelers on cleanliness, value, driving, knowledge, friendliness, safety and availability – in other words, by which country's taxis were least "taxi-ng".
State and local police departments across the U.S. are using more unmarked cars to catch speeders. Officers are driving Chevrolet Camaros, Ford Fusions, SUV's and sports cars in places like Fargo, North Dakota; South Bend, Indiana; and Westchester County, New York. Fifteen to 20% of Iowa State Patrol cars are unmarked. "Ghost" cruisers – cruisers without roof lights and with markings that can be read only at close range - are also being used. Considering speeding caused 31% of fatal crashes in 2008 – 11,674 deaths at a cost of $40.4 billion – it's hoped unmarked police cars will "make their mark".
Knight Pierce Hirst has written for television, newspapers and greeting cards. Now she is writing a 400-word blog 3 times a week. Knight Watch is a second look at little new items that make life more interesting and take only seconds to read at http://knightwatch.typepad.com