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Innovation of the Week
June 29, 2014

A new health-tracking device may cut down on your doctor visits, said Ainsley O'Connell at Fast Company. The gadget, called Cue, "puts lab-quality medical testing in the hands of consumers." Using the swab-like wand, Cue users can take biofluid samples from their nose and "load the wand into a pale green cartridge roughly the size of a thumb drive." The sample is then analyzed, and test results are delivered to a Bluetooth-paired smartphone app within minutes. The system "will be able to test for fertility, influenza, inflammation, testosterone, and vitamin D." The Week Staff

Frenemies
8:31 a.m. ET
Scott Olson/Getty Images

What do you give to the man who has everything? Nothing at all — at least if Donald Trump is the recipient. The real estate mogul and leader of the 2016 GOP field is bound to lose your gift, then make a point of telling everyone about it.

In The New York Times, Trump points out how generous he's been toward his fellow presidential hopefuls; Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, for example, was the recipient of $10,000 of Trump's campaign contributions in 2014, and he thanked Trump with a plaque…that Trump promptly lost.

“It’s not hanging on the wall,” Mr. Trump said, trying to remember what he did with it. [The New York Times]

Marco Rubio fared no better:

[If] Senator Marco Rubio of Florida attacks him on immigration, Mr. Trump will be happy to point out the warm note Mr. Rubio wrote to him in a copy of his book, which Mr. Trump said was at the bottom of a pile somewhere. [The New York Times]

It all just goes to show, you can't go wrong with gift cards. Jeva Lange

The Daily Showdown
8:22 a.m. ET

Fox News has been no ally of Jon Stewart, but the soon-to-be-retired Daily Show host was at the end of his rope last night when he recalled walking in on his kids watching the network's Howard Kurtz and David Zrawik criticizing him for spreading Obama propaganda.

"Your hypocrisy isn’t a bug in the Fox model, it’s the feature," Stewart challenged, before launching into a segment that showed Fox hosts exclaiming that "even Jon Stewart" had discredited Obama. To top it off, Stewart went as far as to show Fox News' own shady "propaganda," such as when their managing editor and vice president, Bill Sammon, issued a memo to the U.S. troops directing them as to how to refer to ObamaCare.

But, with only three more days left on air, Jon had no patience for playing nice. "Adios, motherf--kers!" he told Fox in an epic sendoff. Watch below.

Jeva Lange

Clinton 2016
8:17 a.m. ET
Yana Paskova / Getty Images

Hillary Clinton's approval rating plummeted in a new NBC/The Wall Street Journal poll to its lowest level since 2008. The poll released Monday night showed that 37 percent of registered voters generally approve of Clinton and 48 percent disapprove. Just last month, Clinton's disapproval rating was 8 percentage points lower, with 40 percent disapproval and 44 percent approval. Back in January, Clinton's approval and disapproval numbers were essentially flipped from where they now stand, with her approval as high as 45 percent and her disapproval only at 37 percent.

In comparison to the leader of the Republican field's ratings, Clinton's numbers aren't looking too shabby, though. Donald Trump, at the head of the GOP field by a long shot, garnered an approval rating of 27 percent and a disapproval rating of 56 percent. The survey's margin of error across the 1,000 interviews conducted is plus or minus 3.10 percent. Becca Stanek

dang
2:04 a.m. ET
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Walk into any college bookstore and you'll likely get sticker shock, considering college textbook prices have gone up an astonishing 1,041 percent since 1977.

NBC News looked at data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and found that from January 1977 to June 2015, textbook prices have risen more than three times the rate of inflation. Experts say textbooks are being sold the same way pharmaceuticals are — like sales reps visit doctors, publishers are making trips to campus to woo professors. "They've been able to keep raising prices because students are 'captive consumers,'" Nicole Allen, spokeswoman for the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, said. "They have to buy whatever books they're assigned."

Publishers and college bookstore managers who spoke with NBC News say this isn't true, and argue that the study didn't look at used or rented books and didn't take into account "the law of small numbers," meaning an increase of $100 to $200 appears as a 100 percent increase, while a tuition increase from $10,000 to $11,000 is only 10 percent. Mark Perry, a professor of economics at the University of Michigan (where one specialized chemistry textbook is on sale for $400), has been studying the rising costs of textbooks for several years, and said that one thing is certain: "College textbook prices are increasing way more than parents' ability to pay for them." Catherine Garcia

Late Night Antics
1:39 a.m. ET

Thanks to Gawker leaking Donald Trump's phone number, anyone — including President Obama — can give him a ring. On The Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon decided to put on a bad wig and show us what it would be like if Obama actually did call The Donald to offer him debate advice. Not surprisingly, the clip involves a lot of bragging, interrupting, Chris Christie jokes, and auto tune. Watch the video below. Catherine Garcia

A little piece of history
12:56 a.m. ET

Not even astronauts can escape having to fill out expense reports and customs declarations.

In celebration of the 46th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, Buzz Aldrin has spent the past week sharing photos from the historic event, including snapshots of his travel voucher and customs form. The pictures show that Aldrin claimed $33.31 for the trip to the moon and back, and declared on his customs sheet that he brought back samples of moon rock and moon dust. Both Neil Armstrong and Aldrin said on the form that they were not "suffering from illness other than airsickness or the effects of accidents," but noted it was "to be determined" if they had "any other conditions on board which may lead to the spread of disease."

One thing's certain — when you're returning from the moon, the line at customs isn't long at all. Catherine Garcia

voters first presidential forum
August 3, 2015
Darren McCollester/Getty Images

On Monday, 14 Republicans participated in the Voters First Presidential Forum, and shared their plans for reforming immigration, combating terrorism, and uniting the country.

The event was held at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, moderated by Jack Heath of "New Hampshire Today," and attended by Jeb Bush, Dr. Ben Carson, Gov. Chris Christie (R-New Jersey), Carly Fiorina, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-Louisiana), Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio), George Pataki, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, and Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin). Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) were in Washington, D.C., and appeared via satellite. Donald Trump and Mike Huckabee elected not to attend, and Jim Gilmore announced his candidacy too late to participate.

The forum lasted roughly two hours, and was not a debate. Each person was allowed to speak twice:

  • Sen. Rand Paul said if elected, he would either visit China or Russia first, and said that he doesn't think "we should go to war as a game of risk...it shouldn't be the first resort, it should always be the last resort."
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham said as president his foreign policy would be a "clenched fist and an open hand," and he would "push back against China" and Vladimir Putin.
  • Sen. Marco Rubio stated that he does not support legalization of marijuana or "any other additional intoxicants," but said he would not be opposed to the FDA doing trials on medicinal marijuana.
  • George Pataki said his first three priorities would be getting rid of ObamaCare and Common Core and reducing the size of the federal workforce by at least 15 percent.
  • Jeb Bush called ISIS militants "barbarians," and said he wasn't sure if "boots on the ground" were necessary to fight them, but thinks special forces should be embedded and training anti-ISIS soldiers. He also said he would grow the economy at 4 percent "instead of this anemic 2 percent...the fact that Paul Krugman disagrees with me warms my heart."
  • Dr. Ben Carson spoke out against ObamaCare, saying it "flies in the face of what we are as a nation, a nation that is for and by the people. ... ObamaCare comes along with the government saying, 'We don't care what you the people think, we're shoving this down your throat and if you don't like it, too bad.'"
  • Gov. Scott Walker called himself "pro-worker and pro-taxpayer" and said he was against Obama's plan to cut carbon emissions.
  • Gov. Bobby Jindal said he would be the one to unite the country, adding, "We're all Americans. We're not hyphenated Americans, we're not African-Americans or Asian-Americans...we're all Americans."
  • Carly Fiorina said it's time to challenge the status quo, and she has a "proven track record" of doing so in her executive roles.
  • Gov. Chris Christie touted the fact that New Jersey was the first state in the country to place non-violent drug offenders in mandatory inpatient drug treatment rather than prison. "The war on drugs has been a failure," he said. "Well intentioned, but a failure."
  • Rick Perry said the border with Mexico needs to be secured, and compared illegal immigration to a "serious wound, you want to staunch the flow."
  • Rick Santorum told the audience he would focus on restoring manufacturing jobs, and enact a flat tax for corporations and individuals.
  • Sen. Ted Cruz said the nuclear weapons deal with Iran is "the single greatest national security threat facing America," and would lead to billions of dollars being sent to "jihadists."
  • Gov. John Kasich said he would eliminate sanctuary cities and determine how many people are in the U.S. without documents. "We need to find out who they are, if they're law-abiding, God-fearing folks," he said. "They're going to have to pay a penalty toward legalization, and wait." Catherine Garcia
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