Morning Buzz: 5 things to know for Jan. 24

1. The Final State of the State Address has been given by Michigan governor Rick Snyder.

Some of the topics covered include: infrastructure, job growth, and even PFA's, which are believed to have contaminated the water in northern Kent County. Those chemicals are believed to have seeped into groundwater, from old dumpsites that local shoe maker Wolverine World Wide used.

Last night, Snyder said the state will be leading the nation on establishing standards for those chemicals.

He also talked about the growth in Michigan since he took office eight years ago.

Part of Michigan's comeback of course, includes Detroit, which emerged from the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in U.S. history back in 2014.

 

2. A new restaurant is planing to open its doors in a few days.

West Side Social will open at 11 a.m. on Friday in Grand Rapids. It's on Lake Michigan Drive, where the Old Shawmut Inn used to be.

The owners have lived on the city's west side for more than 25 years, and own other businesses in the area. They say the menu will have classic comfort food.

The restaurant will also hold a job fair in the coming days. They're expected to post information about that on Facebook.

 

3. Are you a big fan of audiobooks? To ramp up its rivalry with Amazon, Google is launching its own dedicated audiobooks service on the Google Play Store.

Books are now available in 45 countries and nine languages.

Google won't offer a subscription pricing plan like Audible does. Audible's cheapest subscription is one book a month at $14.95. However with Google, people will be able to buy books on a one-off basis.

The audiobooks are available on Android, iOS, online, and with google-assistant-enabled devices like Google Home smart speakers.

Listening to audiobooks is among the most popular nighttime use for the smart speakers, a device growing more and more popular as a home appliance.

 

4. The way people eat bananas could be changing thanks to a new invention by some Japanese scientists.

A Japanese agricultural company has created a banana with an edible peel, called the Mongee. Scientists first plant the fruit in an environment with temperatures at -76 degrees. Then the group thaws them and replants the banana soon after.

The change in temperature makes the plant grow much faster and leaves the fruit with a peel similar to lettuce.

Don't expect to find them in your local grocery store though, production costs for these bananas are so high, only ten of them go on sale each week in Japan.

 

5. Happy National Peanut Butter Day!

The popular condiment is one half of the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Peanut butter celebrates its big day each year on January 24.

Although it's seen as a classic American food staple, it actually dates back to the Aztecs and Incas, around 1000BC, when it was more of a paste and not the creamy spread as we know it today.

However, it didn't become widely used until the 20th century when the first peanut butter making machine was patented in 1903.

A year later, it was introduced to audiences at the 1904 Universal Exposition in Saint Louis.

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