Morning Buzz: 5 things to know for December 20

1. The average household in Michigan donated about 3 percent of their income to charity according to the IRS.

MLive reports that Michigan residents who filed taxes in 2014 deducted almost $5 billion in charitable contributions.

While those numbers from the IRS are the best window to individual giving, the data is limited to tax payers who itemize their deductions.

The IRS doesn’t have information on charitable giving for those two take the standard deduction.

 

2. Michigan State Police will turn 100-years-old next year.

To celebrate a century, they’re changing up their wardrobe. Troopers will wear campaign style hats starting December 22.

They stopped wearing them in the early 1920s, but this year members of the force voted to bring the hats back.

Most State Police agencies around the country wear the campaign style hats. Michigan is just one of six states that don’t wear them.

 

3. With such cold temperatures hitting parts of the nation this week, many forecasters are using it as an opportunity for some fun experiments.

The lead meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, blew some bubbles onto the bottom of a frying pan that had been sitting on his car.

The bubbles froze instantly, and he shattered them as though they were made of glass. With the wind-chill, it was reportedly 24 below in the area at the time of the experiment.

 

4. Merriam-Webster announced its word of the year for 2016: surreal.

It’s an adjective which means “marked by the intense irrational reality of a dream.”

Since the dictionary is online, researchers can track what words people are looking up. Most people looked up “surreal” after the presidential election and after the cubs won the World Series.

Oxford Dictionary chose its own word of the year: “post-truth,” which is an adjective that means “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”

 

5. A Reddit user got a huge surprise this year when she found out her Secret Santa was one of the richest men in the world.

Alicia did the Secret Santa gift exchange last year on Reddit, but her secret Santa stood her up. So it was a big shock when she got multiple packages from Bill Gates.

Gates enclosed a note with her gift that said “I can’t believe your Secret Santa left you hanging last year. To ensure you don’t lose faith in the Reddit community I’ve enclosed several gifts that I hope you enjoy.”

The gift included several video games, a classic NES video game system, a picture where Gates photoshopped himself with a picture of Alicia, her husband, and dog, along with a few other gifts.

This isn’t the first time Gates had surprised someone on Reddit, this is his fourth year participating in the gift exchange.

 

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