Stats of our lives
February 5, 2013

Cost to the average American commuter, in wasted fuel and time, of sitting in traffic in 2011

5.5 billion
Extra hours that commuters spend on the road each year due to traffic

56 billion
Extra pounds of carbon dioxide released into the air each year as a result of idling in traffic

Source: The Associated Press Samantha Rollins

that's a good boy
1:42 a.m. ET

Authorities in Mississippi say Lucas, a black Belgian Malinois police dog, likely saved the life of Deputy Todd Frazier after he was ambushed by three suspects on Monday.

Sheriff Ricky Adam of the Hancock County Sheriff's Department said that while driving on a remote stretch of Highway 90 in Pearlington, Frazier saw a car at a deserted rest stop. He decided to pull over to check on the driver, and after he got out of his vehicle "two individuals surprised Deputy Frazier from the shadows and an altercation ensued," Adam told ABC News. "One cut him across the forehead with a razor, one choked him, and one grabbed his legs to carry him to the edge of the woods."

Frazier was able to hit a button that released Lucas from the car, and he bit the attackers, even remaining attached to the leg of one as they tried to drive away. Lucas chipped a few teeth and has a bruised shoulder, while Frazier has a gash on his forehead, but both are recovering. "Deputy Frazier is a good deputy and takes his job seriously," Adam said. "He is also an excellent dog handler — he trained Lucas himself." The suspects are still at large, and authorities say they don't have a motive for the attack. Catherine Garcia

1:38 a.m. ET

Actor and woodcraft enthusiast Nick Offerman has a book out with profiles of people he admires, and he sat down with Time to discuss what its title, Gumption, means to him. Gumption is a quality that connects a diverse group including Conan O'Brien, Willie Nelson, and Yoko Ono, he explained, and "it involves spunk and courage and stamina and character and integrity." And if openly expressing your admiration for Yoko Ono isn't brave enough, Offerman broached the subject of feminism:

Feminism is an important quality, I think, in society, and something that needs to be talked about until we can legitimately complain — until the guys are, like, "Hey, hang on, you're making more money than us." That's when we can stop talking about feminism. We are slowly evolving. [Offerman]

Ono and Eleanor Roosevelt worked tirelessly to promote the idea that we can get along rather than fight, facing down "boys around a table, like, wanting to throw spears at each other," Offerman said. And with his book he's "hoping to do my little bit toward helping us evolve toward a place where we stop shooting at each other." Watch the short interview below. —Peter Weber

someone call the hamburglar
1:02 a.m. ET

Could toasted buns be the trick to turning McDonald's around?

CEO Steve Easterbrook said during a conference on Wednesday that while the company will make organizational changes in an attempt to stop decreasing sales, "at a more fundamental level we are recommitting to hotter, tastier food across the menu." When it comes to burgers, McDonald's will soon alter "the way we sear and then grill our beef so the patties come off juicier," and buns will get toasted for five more seconds to bump the temperature up 15 degrees. "It's the little things that add up to a big difference for our customers," Easterbrook said.

McDonald’s isn't stopping there when it comes to bread, BuzzFeed reports. In Australia, they're testing a brioche bun, and in India, customers can request a focaccia bun made with olive oil, rosemary, and oregano. Catherine Garcia

12:19 a.m. ET
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

On Wednesday night in Oakland, the Golden State Warriors sealed their first trip to the NBA finals since 1975, beating the Houston Rockets 104 to 90. The Warriors started out shakily, trailing Houston at the end of the first quarter, but they pulled ahead for good in the fourth quarter, led by Harrison Barnes, who scored 13 of his 24 points in the final period alone. Stephen Curry scored 26 points for the Warriors.

The Warriors will face LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first game of the NBA finals on June 4. Peter Weber

natural disasters
12:11 a.m. ET

At least three people in the Texas panhandle were injured after a tornado hit a natural gas drilling rig.

Hemphill County Sheriff James Pearson said in a statement that one person was impaled in the abdomen, another had non-life-threatening injuries to the face, and the third suffered minor injuries. The drilling rig is near the small town of Canadian, where highways were closed due to flooding and fallen debris. Pearson said that there was "extensive damage to the doghouses," referring to general purpose rooms adjacent to the rig floor. Catherine Garcia

Crime and punishment
May 27, 2015

A French bartender was sentenced on Wednesday after being convicted of manslaughter over the death of a customer he served 56 shots to during a drinking contest last October.

Renaud Prudhomme, 56, broke the drinking record at the bar Starter in Clermont-Ferrand, Agence France-Presse reports. He was served by bartender Gilles Crepin, 47, who said during a hearing that he had made a mistake by tallying how many shots Prudhomme was drinking on a board, encouraging him to continue. Prudhomme was severely inebriated when he went home, and he died in the hospital the next day.

Crepin received a suspended sentence of four months and was banned from working in a bar for a year. His attorney, Renaud Portejoie, placed the blame on Prudhomme and his daughter, saying the man had respiratory and alcohol problems and his daughter wanted him to break the record. "We can't ask every customer who buys alcohol to present their medical certificates," he said. An attorney for Prudhomme's daughter said she was not at the bar when the drinking competition took place, and hopes this case reminds people that it's illegal to serve drinks to customers when they are extremely intoxicated. Catherine Garcia

early humanity
May 27, 2015

Researchers in the Afar region of Ethiopia have found ancient human fossils from 3.3 million to 3.5 million years ago.

The species has been called Australopithecus deyiremeda, the latter part meaning "close relative" in the language spoken in Afar. The researchers wrote in the journal Nature that they discovered jaw bones and teeth that they believe belonged to four individuals with both ape and human-like features. "We had to look at the detailed anatomy and morphology of the teeth and the upper and lower jaws, and we found major differences," lead researcher Dr. Yohannes Haile-Selassie, curator of physical anthropology at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, told BBC News. "This new species has very robust jaws. In addition, we see this new species had smaller teeth. The canine is really small — smaller than all known hominins we have documented in the past."

Because of the age of the fossils, this species likely lived with three other different species of early humans, and Haile-Selassie said more fossils need to be found to fully understand this stage in human evolution. He also said if more bones are unearthed, it could shed insight into how Australopithecus deyiremeda lived and interacted with other species. Catherine Garcia

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