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Mourners left more than 600 pairs of sneakers at the site, shoes that held deeply personal meanings for runners before the race.
In 1995, a relatively unknown company called Pixar released the first animated movie made entirely on a computer. The movie was called "Toy Story" and one of the guys at the head of that company was Ed Catmull.
But Catmull downplays the importance of the computer in "Toy Story's" success.
“It’s not about the technology,” he says. “We use the technology, we develop it, we love it, [but] it’s about the story.”
Catmull’s new book, “Creativity Inc: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration” takes a look at the company’s history and their creative process.
The key, says Catmull, is being prepared to deviate from the plan: "Every one of our films, when we start off, they suck... our job is to take it from something that sucks to something that doesn’t suck. That’s the hard part.”
Sometimes, those "deviations" are more like "overhauls": “Almost half our movies have gone through complete restarts.”
He cites "Ratatouille" as an example where of a dramtic reboot. The original version follows a rat who wants to be a chef -- and it also followed the rat’s mentor, a French chef whose star has faded in the culinary world. The Pixar team found themselves stuck. Who was the story really about? The rat or the chef? They brought in Brad Bird of “The Incredibles” who killed the chef. Literally. Catmull credits Bird with saving the film.
“The trick is, in everything we do, there are things we love. And sometimes the things we love get us stuck. And it’s only if we let go of some of those things that we free the movie up to become greater.”
External forces also helped make Pixar successful – including Steve Jobs and the sale of Pixar to Disney, their longtime partner.
“As we developed, we needed to have other resources,” says Catmull, about how Disney got involved. Jobs at this point knew he had cancer, and was trying to set Pixar up for long term success.
Jobs already had a good relationship with Disney’s Bob Iger. Catmull says he felt Iger “was the right guy to go with” after Disney and Apple made a groundbreaking deal to release episodes of "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives" on iTunes, back when most people felt uneasy about putting their content on the web. Catmull says he realized Iger was someone who could take risks – something he values at Pixar.
When asked to summarize Pixar's theory on innovation, Catmull says: “Everything’s interconnected. That’s the way life is.”
Counting ballots in the presidential election is a painfully slow affair. The voting took place Saturday, but results are still weeks away. And a runoff election is widely expected in June.
The townhouse where Robert Witherspoon and his eight-year-old son live is in a quiet cul-de-sac in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Witherspoon greets me as I drive up, telling me he’s lived here for 10 years.
The brick townhouse is solidly built, like Witherspoon, a 52-year-old Navy veteran who now manages a small IT company and works from home.
This house is lived in, but it was sold in a foreclosure auction last September. Witherspoon says his bank bought the house, and that he hasn’t paid his mortgage in a couple of years.
Witherspoon first fell behind on his mortgage payments when he was laid off in 2009. Now, he’s squatting – not so unusual in Maryland, which has the second-highest foreclosure rate in the country, the forefront of a second wave of foreclosures across the U.S.
Approximately one out of every 540 homes is in foreclosure in Maryland, says Marceline White, the executive director of the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition.
She says it’s not that unusual for people to keep living in foreclosed homes, since the foreclosure process takes so long. On a recent afternoon in Prince George’s County, she pointed to one example.
“It’s clearly occupied,” she said, pointing out a jet ski. “There are cars in the driveway.“
At one point, while banks were negotiating a national settlement, they stopped foreclosing in some states. And still, the average foreclosure in Maryland takes almost two years. That’s because Maryland requires foreclosures to be approved by a judge. And new laws slowed things down even more by allowing things like mediation.
Opinions vary on whether that's helpful for homeowners.
“The longer process has definitely helped,” says Lisa Butler-McDougal, executive director of Sowing Empowerment and Economic Development, a group that helps homeowners avoid foreclosure.
Butler-McDougal says foreclosures in Maryland used to be rushed.
“Some people’s homes were being foreclosed in 15 days, 30 days," she says. "Where before they could even understand the notice of intent to foreclose, they were receiving notice of a sheriff’s sale.”
But there's a flip side.
“There’s so many people that come in here that have medical issues as a result of the stress of trying to hold onto a house, that isn’t worth it,” says Manny Montero, an attorney who represents homeowners in foreclosures.
Montero says many homeowners don’t realize that living rent-free in a foreclosed house could eventually cost them, because it makes it much tougher for them to file for bankruptcy and wipe out their debts.
The pace of foreclosure proceedings in Maryland appears to be picking up, says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.
“I would guess sometime this year Maryland would turn the corner and we’d see the numbers go back down,”
Back in his townhouse, Robert Witherspoon says he doesn’t want to file for bankruptcy, and he says he’s tried to start making mortgage payments again. He couldn’t because the bank wanted a lump sum up front, which he didn’t have. Witherspoon’s bank, JP Morgan Chase, wouldn’t comment other than to say it made several attempts to reach out to him. Now, Witherspoon is afraid he’ll get an eviction notice.
Witherspoon says he plans to move after the end of the school year, but he’s hoping to avoid being evicted – something that happened to him as a teenager.
“When you’re in high school and you come home and you see your bed outside the house and not in the house – I was totally embarrassed by that,” he says.
Of course, Witherspoon says his current situation is embarrassing, too. But even after the pain of foreclosure, he still wants to – someday – buy again.
The government has reported 42 percent fewer foodborne illness cases in the past decade and solved less than half of them, a report finds. But that doesn't necessarily mean the food supply is safer.