Weekly Roundup – 7/8/12

Virginia/US
WEATHER: Dangerous heat wave through weekend
But Saturday may end up being the hottest day of this heat wave, with an expected high temperature of about 104° in Richmond, with other high temperatures in central Virginia above 100°.
An excessive heat warning is in effect for much of the area Saturday for heat index values around or above 110°. More of the same is on tap for Sunday as well. With high heat and humidity like we’ll experience through Sunday, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing or where you are – even healthy people will be at risk for heat-related illnesses.

HOT HOT HOT!

Massive frozen meat recall
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced on Saturday that a New Jersey based company, Buona Vita., Inc., is recalling 324,770 pounds of frozen, ready-to-eat meat products due to a possible Listeria contamination.

Buona Vita, Inc. is recalling products produced on May 3, 4, 7, 8 and 9. The USDA says the products were sold to facilities all over the country. Brands infected include Napoli, Bullpen, Whorle’s, M&R Frosted Food Co., Argenta Pride, Silver Lake Brand, Dirusso’s, Buona Vita, and Mama Isabella.

Ew. Good to know though.

New York couple arrested, jailed for dancing at subway station
A New York city couple was arrested and jailed for nearly a day for dancing on a subway platform and attempting to film the police officers who apprehended them.
The New York Post reports that Caroline Stern, age 55 and her boyfriend George Hess, 54, have filed a federal lawsuit in Manhattan against the city of New York over the July, 2011 incident.
According to the suit, the couple was heading home late one night after a swing dancing event at Lincoln Center when they came across a busker playing steel drums. Captivated by the tropical beat, Hess, a film industry prop master and Stern, a dentist, began dancing with joyous abandon on the subway platform.

Dancing on a platform is unsafe, but they shouldn’t have gotten arrested over it.

Team Romney looking at women for running mate
As political chatter over Mitt Romney’s choice for running mate gets louder, the presumptive GOP nominee’s wife offered a new glimpse into the highly secretive process: the campaign, she said, is looking at women.

“We’ve been looking at that,” Ann Romney said when asked in a CBS interview whether her husband should select a woman to join him on the GOP ticket. “I’d love that option as well. So, you know, there’s a lot of people that Mitt is considering right now.”

Good news. More power to us women.

World
Russia Floods Kill At Least 103
Intense flooding in the Black Sea region of southern Russia killed 103 people after torrential rains dropped nearly a foot of water, forcing many to scramble out of their beds for refuge in trees and on roofs, officials said Saturday.

Aw, so sad! Mother Nature is taking a toll on everybody.

Report: Hitler ordered reprieve to Jewish man
Then there’s Ernst Hess, who was a decorated World War I soldier, former judge and, despite being raised a Protestant and marrying someone of that faith, a “full-blooded Jew” in the eyes of the Nazi regime.

According to a groundbreaking report, Hess was granted a reprieve despite this designation thanks to none other than Adolf Hitler.

Susanne Mauss, editor of the Jewish Voice from Germany newspaper, found the August 27, 1940, note from the Gestapo (the infamous Nazi secret police) that saved Hess — albeit temporarily. The order was revoked the next year, and Hess spent years doing hard labor in Nazi concentration camps and work sites.

Hitler is an evil man. It’s a shame.

Health
India to provide free generic drugs
India is set to provide generic drugs free to its people. In a country where public spending on health care last year was a mere $4.50 per person, the policy will make a vast difference to the lives of hundreds of millions.
The $5.4 billion policy will enable India’s public doctors to prescribe free medicines to all their patients. This is an immense improvement on the current situation, where only a quarter of India’s population can afford prescription drugs. The positive impact of the policy on the health of the population in a country characterised by extremes of wealth and poverty would be difficult to overstate. In India, forty percent of the population live on $1.25 per day or even less. For people in such circumstances, access to free medicine could well mean the difference between life and death.

Is anything ever really “free?” I’m sure taxpayers are paying for it.

Technology/Social Media
Mini-iPad coming this fall?
Rumors of a mythological miniature Apple tablet–smaller than the iPad but larger than the iPhone–have been circulating on the Internet for a while now, but if two new reports in the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg are to be believed, the myth will become a reality by the end of the year.

On Wednesday, both the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg reported that a smaller Apple tablet may be on the market by the year’s end.

We don’t need a mini iPad.

Thousands face internet loss as FBI shuts off servers
More than 300,000 people, including many in the US and UK, could lose internet access later as the FBI shuts off servers used by cyber thieves.

The FBI seized the servers in November 2011 during raids to break up a gang of criminals who used viruses to infect more than four million victims.

Victims’ web searches were routed through the servers so they saw adverts that led to the gang being paid.

Many machines still harbour the gang’s malicious code.

Some people have nothing else better to do. Instead, they spread viruses to harm other people’s computers.

Business/Money
Netflix exceeds 1 billion monthly hours of video viewing
Netflix, the internet video streaming company, boasts they are world’s leading internet subscription service for watching movies and TV programs after they seem to be gaining back popularity.

After achieving over a billion monthly views, Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings, posted a thank you to chief content officer Ted Sarandos on his facebook account.

That’s a lot of time spent watching stuff on Netflix. That reminds me that I need to utilize my account more. My sister uses my account to watch stuff more than I do.

British Airways program upsets privacy groups
A British Airways effort to improve customer service by letting airline employees look up passenger photos and other information on the Internet is ruffling feathers among privacy advocates.

Over the past year, British Airways equipped airline employees with Ipad devices to search passenger data such as previous travel arrangements, food preferences and even Google images. The London-based airline says the “Know Me” program was directed primarily to better serve VIP passengers.

Creepy.

Entertainment
Andy Griffith died of heart attack
The North Carolina native had long endured hypertension and hyperlipidemia, his certificate said, which can suggest high cholesterol or high triglycerides.

The heart attack occurred about 24 hours before he died, the certificate says. Griffith passed away at 7 a.m. Tuesday morning and was buried less than five hours later.
He was 86.

RIP Andy!

Declared Brain Dead by Doctors
Usher’s 11-year-old stepson has been declared brain dead by doctors following the accident yesterday when he was struck by a jet ski … TMZ has learned.

According to our sources, Kyle Glover (son of Usher’s estranged wife Tameka Foster) has not experienced any brain activity since he was admitted to the hospital. We’re told there has been no decision yet as to whether or not to take him off life support.

Oh wow, that’s so sad!

Did Scientology Eventually Bring Down Cruise-Holmes Marriage?
On Friday afternoon, Cruise and Holmes announced they were breaking up after five years of marriage. Holmes, who once claimed she and Cruise would “always be in our honeymoon phase,” filed for divorce in a New York court on Thursday, citing “irreconcilable differences” and seeking sole legal custody of their 6-year-old daughter, Suri.

The Internet wasted no time in speculating on what really wrecked their marriage: his religion.

“Scientology Was Her Breaking Point,” blasted TMZ, one of many gossip websites that made the allegation. Holmes filed her papers in New York (even though the couple lives in Los Angeles), perhaps a sign that she plans to move as far away from her soon-to-be ex-husband as possible.

Holmes, who converted to Scientology in 2005 before marrying Cruise, reportedly hadn’t been seen inside a Scientology Church for some time. Several years ago, she enrolled Suri in a Catholic preschool.

I don’t blame her. Tom Cruise and Scientology are just a bad mix.

Sports
Wimbledon grass faces Olympic race against time and nature
Just 20 days after the men’s final at the All England Club, the tennis competition at the 2012 London Olympics will begin — and the team working on the famous courts are keeping their fingers crossed that this week’s inclement weather does not cause any further delays.

Andy Newell from the Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI) gives Wimbledon head groundsman Eddie Seaward and his staff expert scientific advice on that preparation and admits that any delay into a third week would be a serious problem.

“They don’t want to lose time because they are already on such a fine edge and even a day would mean you lose 5% of your preparation, and that could be crucial,” he told CNN.

Ten of Wimbledon’s courts will be used for the Olympics and it’s going to prove Seaward’s biggest challenge — coming in his final year in the job, after more than two decades of involvement.

Preparation is the key, and the London Olympic Organizing Committee (LOCOG) insisted on a trial run at Wimbledon after the Games were awarded to the UK capital.

“We worked on them just a couple of years ago to prove to LOCOG that we could do that within a short period of time, get the courts back in pristine condition,” Seaward told CNN.

But trial run or not, it’s still a daunting prospect with little room for error. The grass must be cut to an exact 8 millimeters for optimum performance, and Seaward and his team have to keep a wary eye on that unpredictable British weather — ground temperature and humidity levels are constantly measured.

Wow, sounds like a tight deadline.

Advertisements

Weekly Roundup – 7/1/12

Virginia/US
U-Va. board unanimously reinstates Teresa Sullivan as president
The University of Virginia governing board voted unanimously Tuesday to reinstate Teresa Sullivan as president, more than two weeks after board leaders had forced her to resign and unleashed a storm of campus upheaval.

The board brought her back mainly because the governor gave them an ultimatum. He told the board to fix the problem or else they would all be forced to resign.

Gov. McDonnell declares state of emergency after deadly storms
McDonnell said Friday’s storms left at least six people dead in the state. He said two people died in Bedford County. Two were also killed in both Fairfax and Albemarle counties.
Officials said more than two million in the state are without power.
As a result, McDonnell said a state of emergency was issued for the Commonwealth Saturday morning. This gives localities power to implement curfew and also allows the governor access to up to 300 members of the National Guard.

We’ve been hit pretty bad this week, weather wise.

US Supreme Court upholds healthcare reform law
The US Supreme Court has said President Barack Obama’s landmark healthcare reform act is constitutional.

The court upheld a core requirement known as the “individual mandate” that Americans buy insurance or pay a fine.

Of the nine justices on the bench, Chief Justice John Roberts’ vote was decisive in the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling in favour of the law.

Obamacare sounds socialistic. Then again, universal healthcare works for Canadians.

World
Dozens saved after second Christmas Island sinking
More than 120 people have been rescued after a boat sank north of Christmas Island, a week after an asylum-seeker boat sank in the area.

Australian officials said merchant vessels had gathered 123 people from the water, after the boat sent a distress call early on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said between 123 and 133 people were believed to have been on board.

Two Australian navy vessels were on their way to the site.

Sounds like mostly everyone was saved. 🙂

Health
Role of stress in dementia investigated
A Swedish study that followed nearly 1,500 women for a period of 35 years found the risk of dementia was about 65% higher in women who reported repeated periods of stress in middle age than in those who did not.

Scottish scientists, who have done studies in animals, believe the link may be down to hormones the body releases in response to stress which interfere with brain function.

Lovely…

Technology/Social Media
We Know What You’re Doing: Website exposes Facebook stupidity
The site uses Facebook’s Graph API, as well as publicly available Foursquare check-ins, to automatically generate streams of brainlessness, vitriol, and over-sharing from publicly available Facebook posts. These posts are categorized into four columns: Who wants to get fired? (people ranting about their job, bosses); Who’s hungover?; Who’s taking drugs?; and Who’s got a new phone number? Each post includes the user’s profile picture, and lists their first name and last initial. In other words, there’s nothing anonymous about this — that’s the point.

This is why you watch what you post.

Entertainment
TomKat declawed: Katie Holmes divorcing Tom Cruise
But the couple’s romance was instant fodder for the tabloids, who chattered about everything from the couple’s fights and Suri’s clothing to Holmes’ conversion to Scientology.

Sounds like a hot mess marriage.

Sports
Michael Phelps makes the right call, deciding seven is enough for the London Olympics
Michael Phelps did a wise thing Monday: He gave up the chance to compete for another eight Olympic gold medals.

The move will allow him to rest properly at the London Games and have time to recover between races, which is much more important now that he’s 27 years old, his body battered by a dozen years of high-level swimming. He’s out of an event that might be more loaded than any other, one he certainly could’ve won — never bet against Phelps — but appeared more competitive than his other races.

He needs all the rest he can get.

Weekly Roundup – 6/17/12 & 6/24/12

I’m combining these two weeks because I didn’t spend too much time reading stories on the web. 😦

Virginia/US
Dad changing tire on I-95, dies in front of 2 children
Police said Steven Ridley, age 35, was stopped on the right shoulder changing a flat tire on a 2010 Chrysler 300M, when Robert M. Krill, of Pennsylvania, ran off the right side of the roadway in his U-Haul and struck Ridley and his vehicle.

Ridley died at the scene. Police said his vehicle’s hazard lights were activated.

Police said that Ridley’s 14 year-old son was outside the vehicle assisting his father when the crash occurred. He was not injured.

Ridley’s nine-year-old daughter, who was seated inside the vehicle in the front passenger seat, suffered minor injuries and was transported to VCU Medical Center.

I can’t imagine what his children must be going through. It’s so sad.

GOP convention held in Richmond
The GOP also tried to unify their party, especially after a vote this week by the GOP’s State Central Committee. They decided to change their method for choosing candidates for statewide elections in 2013 from an open primary to a convention.

I wonder how this will play out.

Judge: Sandusky defense can call experts on personality disorder
Lawyers for Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach accused of systemic sexual abuse of boys, are expected to begin presenting their client’s case next week, when the high-profile trial resumes.

When they do, they will be able to call experts to testify about whether Sandusky suffers from Histrionic Personality Disorder, thanks to a judge’s ruling Friday.

He definitely has a twisted mind/personality for sure.

For Many Immigrants, Policy Offers Joy and Relief
For many immigrants here, especially students like Ms. Sochitl, Mr. Obama’s announcement on Friday of his plan to offer work permits to some illegal immigrants under 30 years old who came to the United States before age 16, unleashed a wave of joy and relief, undercut with wariness about if and how the policy might be implemented. The policy does not grant any permanent legal status.

I think it’s good news, especially since a lot of these people didn’t have a choice.

Rodney King dead at 47
Rodney King, whose beating by Los Angeles police in 1991 was caught on camera and sparked riots after the acquittal of the four officers involved, was found dead in his swimming pool Sunday, authorities and his fiancee said. He was 47.

RIP Rodney King.

Gas prices break below $3.00 at multiple SWVA gas stations
According to the GasBuddy.com price finder, stations in Troutville, Fancy Gap, and Collinsville are each at $2.99 or $2.98.

Wow, that’s cheap! I wish gas prices were like that around here. I don’t want to drive 4 hours for cheap gas.

Details of the Jerry Sandusky verdict
After nearly 21 hours of deliberations, the jury in the trial of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky reached a verdict Friday night. It found him guilty of 45 of 48 counts.

There originally were 52 charges against Sandusky. On Thursday, Judge John Cleland announced that three of the counts were dismissed, and earlier this week a fourth charge was withdrawn by prosecutors, bringing the total number of charges to 48.

Thank goodness.

World
Egypt awaits presidential election results
The results are due in the coming hours, after the election commission heard appeals by the two candidates.

Mohammed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood and former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq have both claimed victory and vowed to form unity governments.

Thousands of their supporters spent the night in the centre of Cairo amid increasing political polarisation.

Correspondents say the atmosphere has been peaceful, but tense.

Political divide. What else is new?

Daredevil Takes a Successful Walk Across a Popular Void
Mr. Wallenda, in a red shirt, seemed to float over the roiling waters beneath him. Shortly after 10:30 p.m., as he neared the end, the crowd of roughly 100,000 people in Canada roared; Mr. Wallenda took a knee, pumped a fist, and ran a few steps to the end. He hugged his family and then called his 84-year-old grandmother to assure her that he was all right.

That’s awesome! Way to go.

Japan to restart first nuclear reactors since tsunami
Japan’s government on Saturday approved bringing the country’s first nuclear reactors back online since last year’s earthquake and tsunami led to a nationwide shutdown, going against wider public opinion that is opposed to nuclear power after Fukushima.

Oh boy, this doesn’t look good.

Health
Deadly bubonic plague found in Oregon: Back to the Middle Ages?
A man has been hospitalized in Oregon who is believed to be suffering from the black plague, a disease that killed about one-third of the population of Europe during the Middle Ages.

The unidentified man in his 50s became ill several days after being bitten when he tried to get a mouse out of the mouth of a stray cat, according to OregonLive.com. The man was listed in critical condition in a Bend hospital on Tuesday.

Oh my goodness! I hope he will be ok.

Technology/Social Media
Nokia to provide incoming Seton Hall University freshman with Lumia 900
Nokia on Tuesday announced a new partnership with Seton Hall University that will see all incoming freshman receive a Lumia 900 smartphone. The handset will be equipped with SHUmobile, an app available across multiple platforms that provides access to campus news feeds, directories and maps. The Lumia 900s offered by the school will also have access to a custom Freshmen Experience section that allows users to communicate with their freshmen peers, academic advisers, roommates and to view housing information. The university will use Nokia Data Gather to conduct polls and gather other information from the students. The entire class of 2016 will receive a Nokia Lumia 900 with free service from AT&T for the fall semester, but they must foot the bill or rely on Wi-Fi networks after the semester ends.

Nice. Good way to move forward with technology.

Flirting App Under Fire, After Three Children Are Raped
Skout, a fast-growing and free flirting app for iOS, has come under fire recently, after it was discovered that a third child was raped by a man posing as a teenager in the app’s separate section for 13- to 17-year-olds.

Ew.

Ethiopia clamps down on Skype and other internet use on Tor
Users already face up to 15 years in jail if they use Skype or similar internet call services.

“The Ethiopian government is trying to attack every means of information exchange,” Ambroise Pierre from the Reporters Without Borders Africa service told BBC News.

“There’s already a very strict control over written press, and last year several journalists were arrested, and now the government is tackling communications over the internet.

Wow, that’s harsh.

Can living without the web increase the social divide?
One third of all Americans – 100 million people – have not adopted broadband at home. In South Korea and Singapore adoption rates top 90%, according to a 2010 study by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

And there is a growing divide between the digital haves and have-nots: Less than one third of the poorest Americans have adopted broadband, while more than 90% of the richest have adopted, says Digital Nation 2011, a US government report.

It’s hard to even function without the internet.

Facebook Now Lets You Edit Comments
But starting Thursday the site is also now offering the ability to edit your comment — and change that pappy back to the puppy you intended in the first place. The edit option appears in the form of a small pencil icon on the right side of your comment. Clicking on the pencil will bring up a drop-down menu the option to edit your comment as well as the option to delete it entirely.

Finally.

Kyck: the Social Network for Soccer Fans
Launched as a website last summer and iOS app [iTunes link] in April, Kyck lets you follow and be followed by other users and get content delivered based on the teams and players you support. Following users means their posts — whether photos, comments on live matches or takes on club or international squads — are delivered to a stream that resembles something of a cross between Twitter and Tumblr feeds.

You can tag your own posts by player or team so that they’re filtered into specific conversations. A Top Kycks section, meanwhile, delivers content the app’s algorithm deems most relevant to you for quick browsing according to the favorites you list in your profile. Checking in to specific club or international matches means you get game updates and stats delivered within the app or via push notification.

That’s pretty cool.

LinkedIn Slapped With $5 Million Lawsuit Over Password Breach
The news just keeps getting worse for LinkedIn. The social network for work professionals is being sued for $5 million after more than 6 million of its users’ passwords were leaked online earlier this month.

Katie Szpyrka, a LinkedIn user from Illinois, filed the lawsuit. She claims LinkedIn deceived its more than 160 million members by having a security policy “in clear contradiction of accepted industry standards for database security.” Szpyrka is seeking class-action status for the suit.
Ouch.

Bill C-11 passes Commons, allowing for U.S.-style copyright law
Bill C-11 passed a final vote at third reading on Monday night, bringing Canadians one step closer to SOPA-like regulation of their media consumption. According to the CBC, the bill was immediately introduced to the Senate after passing the vote, and will likely be sped through the Senate review process, meaning it stands a good chance of becoming law in the coming month.
Regular readers of The Right Click are likely quite familiar with what the copyright bill will mean to Canadians: Bill C-11 would allow rights holders to include ‘digital locks’ on their content, which includes music, video, e-books and software. Users can make copies for personal backups, but all other duplication could result in fines for doing so.

Oh boy… a bunch of Canadians won’t be happy about this.

Business/Money
Super Size It: McMansions Making a Comeback
Reverting back to a “bigger is better” mentality, interest in mega-mansions 3,200 square feet and larger has almost doubled from a year ago, according to new data from real estate website Trulia. About 11 percent of today’s house hunters say they want their own McMansions, up from just 6 percent last year.

How can people afford houses like these? I can’t even begin to fathom.

Entertainment
‘Call Me Maybe’ Tops 100 Million Views
Thanks in no small part to numerous tributes, Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” is up to 120 million views on YouTube. According to YouTube Trends, the video, which was released in February, has picked up momentum over the last few weeks as well, topping 100 million sometime this month.

Wow, that’s a lot of views.

Sports
Thunder face tough choices after loss in NBA Finals
The Thunder enter the offseason with coach Scott Brooks’ contract about to expire, Sixth Man of the Year James Harden and NBA blocks leader Serge Ibaka eligible for new deals and the future of veterans Derek Fisher and Nazr Mohammed up in the air.

It will be up to general manager Sam Presti to determine whether they all can still fit on a team where All-Stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are already locked into expensive, long-term deals.

It doesn’t look good for the Thunder.

Weekly Roundup – 6/10/12

Virginia/US
Redskins say ‘thank you’ to fans in Richmond
Some current and former players of the Washington Redskins visited the area this weekend as part of the 80th anniversary of their “Thank You Tour.”

That’s really nice of them to stop by and greet the fans.

CNN Electoral Map: Seven states up in the air in fight for White House
According to the CNN map unveiled Monday, the president leads Romney in 19 states and the District of Columbia, which if he carried those in the general election would give him 247 electoral votes. Romney, the unofficial GOP presidential nominee pending the party’s convention, leads in 24 states, which would give him 206 electoral votes.

Is it November yet?

Obama: No more Mr. Nice guy
Even some Democrats were stunned by a recent Obama campaign ad attacking Romney’s successful career at Bain Capital as a story of corporate looting and worker exploitation. “Like a vampire. They came in and sucked the life out of us,” says a worker in the cinematic campaign ad; it profiles a Kansas City steel mill that was shut down after Romney’s firm took over. Says another: “They came in and they destroyed—it was like watching an old friend bleed to death.”

Like the “Swift Boat” attacks that allies of George W. Bush unleashed in 2004, assailing John Kerry’s military record, Obama’s ads don’t highlight an opponent’s weaknesses, rather, they seek to reverse his biggest strength—in Romney’s case, a reputation as an expert in engineering economic turnarounds. The Obama ad focused on one company: Kansas City’s GST Steel, which Bain Capital bought in 1993, then shuttered in 2001. Bain, over those eight years, loaded the steel company with debt, using the borrowed money to pay itself dividends; when it eventually took the company into bankruptcy, workers lost jobs, benefits and some pension payments. PolitiFact, the Pulitzer-winning fact-checking website, rated the ad “mostly true.” What it left out was the broader picture. As CEO of Bain Capital, Romney helped successfully turn around other companies, creating thousands of jobs. Several business-friendly Democrats lined up to denounce the ad, among them, Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker, who called it “nauseating.” Obama’s former auto bailout adviser, Steve Rattner, labelled it “unfair.” Even Bill Clinton chimed in, defending Romney’s business career as “sterling.”

You know it’s already very ugly when some people in your own party disagree with you. It’s just going to get uglier.

Massive Japanese dock washes up on Oregon beach
Oregon is working with other West coast states, the Federal government, non-profits and others to coordinate cleaning up the debris. Japan has estimated that as much as 1.5 million tons of debris could still be afloat.

The 66-foot-(20-metre-) long dock is made mostly of concrete and metal, with a small metal plaque with Japanese writing attached.

It washed up early on Tuesday morning on scenic Agate Beach, just north of Newport, Oregon, about 110 miles (177 km) southwest of Portland.

Who would’ve thought debris from Japan would wash up on a beach in Oregon?

World
Forced marriage to become criminal offence, David Cameron confirms
“Forced marriage is abhorrent and little more than slavery. To force anyone into marriage against their will is simply wrong and that is why we have taken decisive action to make it illegal,” said Cameron.

Agreed. It violates human rights.

US calls on China to free Tiananmen prisoners
The US statement, issued by the Department of State, called on Beijing to “provide a full public accounting of those killed, detained or missing; and to end the continued harassment of demonstration participants and their families.”

“We renew our call for China to protect the universal human rights of all its citizens; release those who have been wrongfully detained, prosecuted, incarcerated, forcibly disappeared, or placed under house arrest; and end the ongoing harassment of human rights activists and their families,” said the statement, issued by Mark Toner, the Department of State’s deputy spokesman.

The 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations in China gained international coverage, with an image of a lone protester obstructing a column of tanks, bringing the protests to the attention of the world at a time when citizens of the Soviet Union and Communist countries in eastern Europe were gaining greater freedoms.

But on June 4 the Chinese military dispersed the protesters using tanks and live ammunition. No official toll has been provided, but estimates range from hundreds to more than 1,000 killed, with up to 10,000 injured and thousands detained.

This is so sad.

Buckingham Palace rocks in queen’s honor
With a military band, a string orchestra and electric guitars on full blast, London’s Buckingham Palace was transformed into a rock venue on Monday as some of the biggest names in music celebrated Queen Elizabeth II’s diamond jubilee.

Former Beatle Paul McCartney headlined a colorful evening of flag-waving entertainment that also saw Stevie Wonder, Elton John and Tom Jones take the stage alongside younger acts.

Sounds like my kind of party.

Magnotta probe widens to include Vancouver remains
Montreal police have confirmed the remains sent by mail to two Vancouver schools came from Montreal, but said today they’ll have to wait for DNA testing before they can determine if the hand and foot belong to slain Montreal student Jun Lin.

Cmdr. Ian Lafrenière told a news conference in Montreal on Wednesday morning it’s still unclear what, if any links exist between Lin’s alleged killer, Luka Rocco Magnotta, and the elementary schools that received the packages Tuesday afternoon.

Ew.

Health
Fitness trainer gains and loses 70 pounds in 1 year — on purpose
Manning says he didn’t realize the effects of his weight gain would be more than physical. It altered his relationships and his self-confidence. Returning to the gym after the Fit2Fat portion of his journey made him nervous. The fact that he had to do push-ups on his knees was almost humiliating.

“The biggest thing [I learned] is that it’s not just about the physical. It’s not just about the meal plan and the workouts and those things. The key is the mental and the emotional issues. I realized those issues are real.”

You don’t know what it’s like, until you walk in other people’s shoes.

Technology/Social Media
RIM’s 16G Playbook destined for the dumpster
Little more than a year after it launched its foray into the tablet market, Research In Motion announced it is getting rid of the 16-gigabyte version of its struggling Playbook.

In a statement e-mailed to several media outlets Thursday, the Waterloo, Ont. company said it will “remain committed to the tablet space” and that it intends to keep selling the 32GB and 64GB models of the PlayBook.

I wonder how long Blackberry will last. Seems like no one is interested in any of their products.

6.5 Million Encrypted LinkedIn Passwords Leaked Online [REPORT]
A Russian forum user claims he has hacked LinkedIn, uploading 6,458,020 encrypted passwords (without usernames) as proof.

The passwords are encrypted with the SHA-1 cryptographic hash function, used in SSL and TLS and generally considered to be relatively secure, but not foolproof. Unfortunately, it also seems that passwords are stored as unsalted hashes, which it makes it much easier to decipher them using pre-computed rainbow tables.

It’s a shame that some people have nothing else better to do than hacking into people’s accounts.

Twitter’s bird logo gets a makeover
“Starting today you’ll begin to notice a simplified Twitter bird,” Twitter said in a blog post Wednesday. “From now on, this bird will be the universally recognizable symbol of Twitter. (Twitter is the bird, the bird is Twitter.) There’s no longer a need for text, bubbled typefaces, or a lowercase “t” to represent Twitter.”

Twitter gave no reason for the refreshed bird, which is less chubby, has fewer feathers and is angled more towards the sky than its predecessor. But jokesters in the Twittersphere, where #twitterbird was trending Wednesday, were only too happy to offer some.

I didn’t even notice until after I read this article.

Licence to text
But the biggest reason for the move away from driving is the Internet—in some ways, it has replaced the need for a car, since how we connect has completely changed. According to the Zipcar survey, 68 per cent of 18- to 34-year-olds said they sometimes use social media to connect with friends and family instead of going out to see them. The Michigan study found that having a higher proportion of Internet users is associated with lower licensing rates among young people. If given the choice between having Internet access or a car, 46 per cent of all 18- to 24-year-old U.S. drivers say they’d take the Internet, according to technology researcher Gartner Inc. “Virtual contact through the Internet is replacing the need for physical contact,” says Michael Sivak, head of UMTRI’s Human Factors Group and the Michigan study’s co-author. “They just don’t need to be with others as often as they did in the past, because they can connect other ways than physically.” Car manufacturers are all too aware of the shift. “For many baby boomers and Gen Xers, the car was a really important status symbol,” says Sheryl Connelly, manager of Ford global consumer trends and futuring. “Today, it’s a cellphone, and a lot of kids are getting one before they turn 16.”

Everyone can now shop, watch movies, play games, listen to music and catch up with friends online. When kids do leave the house, many would rather take the bus and stay connected. Texting is the dominant daily mode of communication for teens, according to the Pew Research Center—but in every Canadian province, there’s a ban on using hand-held cellphones while driving. “When you talk to people about why they don’t drive, they’ll say that when they’re driving, they’re not connected,” Baxandall says.

I think driving is a necessity, along with all those things mentioned above, especially if you live in the suburbs where it’s hard to catch a bus or bike to work.

Privacy, Please: This Is Only for the Two of Us
Curious, I tried it — even though I’m single. I recruited a friend to help me test it. And, after a few hours, the app started to grow on me. Something was thrilling about the secret little notes that Shaun, my temporary beau, and I sent to each other throughout the day.

The secrecy was welcome. We weren’t cluttering up anyone else’s feeds on Twitter, and didn’t have to worry about random high school friends seeing and commenting on our exchanges on Facebook. In addition, there were gestures distinct to the app. It let us share information about our locations, and to exchange doodles, to-do lists and virtual nudges — all conveying that “I’m thinking about you.”

The app highlights the best elements of social networking — the warm, fuzzy feeling of being connected to people you care about when you’re physically nowhere near them. And it says it eliminates some of the worst — the worry about who can see the content you’re posting and how they may interpret it.

I’d like to try this out with someone eventually.

Facebook Will Disappear by 2020, Says Analyst
Facebook‘s sliding stock price has at least one hedge fund manager predicting a dismal decade ahead for the social network.

“In five to eight years they are going to disappear in the way that Yahoo has disappeared,” Ironfire Capital founder Eric Jackson told the CNBC show Squawk on the Street on Monday.

Everything comes and goes. It’s expected. Just look at MySpace.

Did Paul Otlet, Belgian Entrepreneur And Bibliographer, Invent The Internet In 1934? (VIDEO)
In 1934, Paul Otlet realized that the wires and radio waves connecting the world could be used for more than chatter and entertainment, but also to bring the world’s knowledge into any home.

In his Radiated Library vision, people would place a telephone call requesting information to a great library. It wasn’t as easy as typing a question into Google, but Otlet was making the most of the technology he had.

Wow! He was definitely on to something. It’s always cool to see how people back then predicted the future. Click on the link to watch the video.

Facebook Launches App Center for Android, iPhone
What this means: You’ll soon be able to customize your mobile Facebook app. Will Facebook be charging for the apps? Here’s a clue: the company explicitly doesn’t want to call it a “store,” according to ABC News.

“The App Center is launching tonight with more than 600 social apps, including Nike+ GPS, Ubisoft Ghost Recon Commander, Stitcher Radio, Draw Something, and Pinterest,” Facebook reps wrote in an email.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens with their app center. Maybe it might somewhat help them recover from not doing so well on the stock exchange. Although, it’s kinda annoying that every service is requiring everyone to have a Facebook just to use their product. It’s like all these companies want to access your Facebook data. Also, we really don’t need another app center.

Business/Money
Post This on Your FB Page: Interns Get $6K a Month
On average, 20 U.S. Facebook software engineer interns who reported their earnings on the online career information sharing community averaged a monthly salary of $6,225. Another six Facebook software engineer interns reported earnings that averaged $6,883 monthly.

Glassdoor.com’s data further breaks down across U.S. cities in which Facebook’s offices are located. At the Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters, the reported average income a software engineer intern pockets comes in at $5,800 a month.

That’s insane!

Rent In Manhattan Reaches Record High In May 2012, Report Says
The average rent in Manhattan hit a record high of $3,438 per month in May, according to a new report from Citi Habitats, a residential brokerage firm. That’s largely because there are too few apartments available to meet growing demand: The Manhattan vacancy rate was just 0.89 percent in May.

Wowza! Who can afford that?

Entertainment
Former ‘Family Feud’ host Richard Dawson dies
Richard Dawson, the longtime host of “Family Feud” known for planting kisses on female contestants, has died, his son said in a statement Sunday. He was 79.

RIP Richard! Family Feud isn’t the same…

John Mayer on being the subject of Taylor Swift’s ‘Dear John’: ‘It’s cheap songwriting’
In a new interview with Rolling Stone, the reformed playboy went public with his feelings toward the Taylor Swift Speak Now track “Dear John,” a song-letter Swift wrote for the older singer, following their brief (and apparently not awesome) love affair.

“It made me feel terrible,” Mayer said of the song. “Because I didn’t deserve it. I’m pretty good at taking accountability now, and I never did anything to deserve that.

Obviously, I don’t know what happened in their relationship, but what was Taylor thinking? John Mayer of all people…

Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth are engaged! Which celeb married too young?
“I’m so happy to be engaged and look forward to a life of happiness with Liam,” Cyrus told the mag.

The Australian hunk popped the question on May 31 with a 3.5-carat diamond ring from jeweler Neil Lane, three years after he started dating Miley, People reports. The couple met on the set of “The Last Song” in 2009; at the time, Miley called Hemsworth her “first serious boyfriend.” They’ve since broken up and gotten back together multiple times, according to reports.

She’s way too young to be engaged, and she makes me feel old. Besides, if she and Liam have broken up and gotten back together multiple times, then how on earth is this marriage going to last? Oh Hollywood…

Megan Fox Is Pregnant — See Her Bump!
Megan Fox and her husband of two years, Brian Austin Green, are expecting their first child together, multiple sources confirm to Us Weekly. Fox revealed an unmistakable baby bump wearing an off-the shoulder sweatshirt and jeans during a sunny stroll in L.A. on Thursday.

Congrats!

Sports
Olympic swimmers in trouble again over gun photos
The photo of Monk holding two pump-action shotguns and standing beside D’Arcy, who had a pistol in each hand, in a U.S gun shop spread quickly in social and traditional media Thursday, with Sydney Daily Telegraph taking to Twitter to ask: “Are you offended by this photograph of Nick D’Arcy and Kenrick Monk in a US gun shop?”

Swimming Australia issued a statement saying it became aware of “inappropriate photos” and “instantly contacted the athletes involved to ask for them to be removed.”

This is why you don’t post inappropriate photos. They’ll get you in trouble later.

Charlie Sheen barred from re-entering Stanley Cup Final game
The actor was blocked Wednesday from re-entering Staples Center during Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils, the Los Angeles Times reports. The arena has signs stating that those who leave through certain exits are not permitted to re-enter.
Why do stars think they are above the law?

Stanley Cup Finals TV Ratings: Game 4 Still Down Year-To-Year, But Up From Game 3
The New Jersey Devils’ Game 4 victory over the Los Angeles Kings drew 2.06 million viewers on NBC Sports Network. That’s a 24 percent drop from last year’s Game 4, which saw 2.71 million viewers check out the Bruins and Canucks. It is, however, a solid 16 percent growth over Game 3 (1.74 million). The game will go down as the most-watched contest on NBC Sports Network this season.

You’d think events like these would draw in millions of viewers. I guess not.

Maria Sharapova sits among greats after French Open win
After four years, 17 major tournaments and a career-threatening injury, Maria Sharapova is back.

The 25-year-old Russian beat Sara Errani on Saturday to lift her maiden French Open title and complete the career Grand Slam.

Yay! Congrats!

I’ll Have Another’s career suddenly ends with injury
I’ll Have Another’s bid for the first Triple Crown in 34 years ended stunningly Friday when the chestnut colt was retired on the eve of the Belmont Stakes with an injury to his left front tendon.

So sad! I hope he comes out of retirement once he heals.

Redskins moving training camp to Richmond in 2013
“The Washington Redskins bringing their summer training camp to Richmond is beyond exciting,” said Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones. “This will have a great economic impact for Richmond and the region! I thank the owners and senior executives of the Redskins for their ongoing work with us to determine the right facilities to meet the team’s needs. I thank Governor McDonnell for his leadership. Hail to the Redskins!”

In addition, the Redskins will keep their corporate headquarters in the Commonwealth. They will also expand Redskins Park in Loudoun County, where their training facility is located.

It’s about time. We need some national sports presence here.

Weekly Roundup – 6/3/12

Virginia/US
John Edwards case mistrial declared
The judge in the campaign finance trial of former US presidential candidate John Edwards has declared a mistrial amid jury deadlock on most charges.

The panel in North Carolina found him not guilty on one of six charges of misuse of campaign funds, but could not agree on the other five.

It is not clear if prosecutors will retry Mr Edwards on the other counts.

I think he should be retried.

Judge revokes Zimmerman’s bond
A Florida judge revoked bond Friday for George Zimmerman, who is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Trayvon Martin.
Seminole County Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester Jr. ordered Zimmerman to surrender to the county sheriff no later than Sunday afternoon.

Lester accused Zimmerman of having misrepresented how much money he had when his bond was originally set in April. Prosecutors say he had $135,000 at the time Zimmerman’s wife, Shellie, told the court, under oath, that they were indigent.

Things don’t look good for Zimmerman.

Amelia Earhart: New evidence tells of her last days on a Pacific atoll (+video)
“Amelia Earhart did not simply vanish on July 2, 1937,” Richard Gillespie, executive director of TIGHAR, told Discovery News. “Radio distress calls believed to have been sent from the missing plane dominated the headlines and drove much of the US Coast Guard and Navy search.”

“When the search failed, all of the reported post-loss radio signals were categorically dismissed as bogus and have been largely ignored ever since,” Mr. Gillespie said. But the results of the study, he said, “suggest that the aircraft was on land and on its wheels for several days following the disappearance.”

In addition, several artifacts found years ago – some of it discovered by Pacific islanders who later inhabited the island – seem to confirm TIGHAR’s conclusion.

These include broken glass artifacts showing evidence of secondary use as tools for cutting or scraping; large numbers of fish and bird bones collected in, or associated with, ash and charcoal deposits; several hundred mollusk shells, as well as bones from at least one turtle; bone fragments and dried fecal matter that might be of human origin.

Wow! So it seems like she survived on the island for a short while.

World
Fatal shooting at Toronto’s Eaton shopping centre
One person has been killed and seven others injured in a shooting at Toronto’s main central shopping centre, Canadian police have said.

Witnesses described scenes of panic after gunfire broke out in the food court of the Eaton Centre.

“A herd of people were just running toward us, screaming, running, freaking out,” said one shopper.

Police said two of the injured were in a critical condition and warned that they were still hunting the shooter.

A 13-year-old boy was among those seriously injured.

Officials said a 25-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene.

What’s with people these days?

Official: No survivors after plane with 153 aboard crashes in Nigerian neighborhood
None of the 153 people on board a Nigerian airplane survived its crash Sunday into a residential neighborhood in the West African nation’s most populated city, a top emergency management official said.

Mohammed Sani Sidi, director general of Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency, described the scene as “devastation.”

While other structures were affected, the building hit most directly by the airliner was “totally destroyed,” Sidi said.

So sad. 😦

Health
New York to ban sale of large sodas
The proposed first-in-the-nation ban would impose a 16-ounce limit on the size of sweetened drinks sold at restaurants, movie theaters, sports venues and street carts. It would apply to bottled drinks as well as fountain sodas.

The ban, which could take effect as soon as March, would not apply to diet sodas, fruit juices, dairy-based drinks or alcoholic beverages. Nor would it include drinks sold in grocery or convenience stores. Food establishments that don’t downsize would face fines of $200.

I think it’s a good idea.

Technology/Social Media
Sex offenders fight for right to use Facebook
Registered sex offenders who have been banned from social networking websites are fighting back in the nation’s courts, successfully challenging many of the restrictions as infringements on free speech and their right to participate in common online discussions.
The legal battles pit public outrage over sex crimes against cherished guarantees of individual freedom and the far-reaching communication changes brought by Facebook, LinkedIn and dozens of other sites.

Not sure how I feel about this.

Business/Money
Want to close your bank account? It’ll likely cost you
Banks have been angering people for a long time now and there might be just one additional reason to add to the list. A new survey has found banks are charging fees to consumers wanting to close their accounts, along with a few other “hassles.”
Depending on the bank, these fees can total up to $55.

Don’t close your bank account then.

Eurozone crisis explained
The Association of British Travel Agents (Abta) says around 5% of the 36 million holidays taken by the British abroad are to Greece and its islands.

At present, they spend in euros. If Greece left the euro, and adopted the drachma again, it is likely that visitors on holiday will see their money go much further.

That is because the process of leaving the currency will almost certainly involve a simultaneous devaluation of the new currency against the pound.

So basically, the Greek currency won’t be worth anything if they leave the Euro.

Eurozone unemployment rate sticks at 11%
Unemployment in the eurozone was 11% in April, unchanged from March, but still the highest since records began in 1995.

Spain had the highest rate in the eurozone at 24.3%, while Austria had the lowest at 3.9%, according to the official figures from Eurostat.

A seasonally adjusted total of 17.4 million people were unemployed in the eurozone, up from 17.3 million.

In the 27-nation European Union, the jobless rate was 10.3%, up from 10.2%.

WOW! And we think things in the U.S. are bad! The E.U. definitely has it much worse.

Entertainment
12 best singles of 2012 (so far)
What have we been loving from January to June? We’ve narrowed it down to a dozen — Hot 100 smashes and scrappy indie-rock anthems alike.

I recognize a few songs, but I need to check out some of the others.

American Idol’s Philip Philips making history with song ‘Home’
The signature song of American Idol winner Philip Philips entitled “Home” has ranked No.2 on Billboard’s Digital Songs chart with 278,000 downloads.

Wow, that’s a lot of downloads.

‘American Idol’: Who REALLY Won Each Season?
Take heart, Jessica (and Joshua too)! Time proves the singer with the most votes doesn’t always end up on top. MJ Santilli looks at the show’s first ten seasons to judge which contender won in the post-”Idol” world.

I agree with this list, even though I didn’t really watch season 9 or 10.

Andy Samberg will not return to ‘SNL’
Not another one! Andy Samberg has become the latest comedian to leave Saturday Night Live.

In an interview with the New York Times Friday, Samberg said he would not return in the fall. “It’s an incredibly emotional and strange moment in my life,” Samberg said. “Obviously it’s not a huge shock, but I did officially decide not to come back.”

All the funny ones are leaving. 😦

‘American Idol’ moves toward lower payouts for runners-up
Wednesday night’s runner-up, 16-year-old Jessica Sanchez, doesn’t have a definite shot at producing an album and could be paid as little as $30,000 in advances for recording singles, according to the Idol contract she and other Season 11 contestants signed earlier this year.

The agreement appears to be the first time in Idol’s history that producers are not offering the show’s runner-up an album deal that in previous years came with a guaranteed advance of at least $175,000, an Associated Press review of the Fox show’s contracts reveals.

That’s not right. Talk about huge pay cuts.

Sports
It’s football vs. forest in Va. Tech sports facility controversy
When it comes to recruiting, Virginia Tech’s athletics department is taking an “if we build it, they will come” approach, with plans to construct a new $20 million indoor practice facility for its football and other sports teams near Lane Stadium on the university campus.

The Hokies have the third-longest college bowl game streak in the country, and have sold out every game since 1998. However, they have yet to win a national championship. The athletics department hopes a state-of-the-art facility nearer to the football stadium could help change that.

There’s only one problem: A densely wooded area chock full of old-growth trees, some older than the United States itself, is in the way.

Blueprint plans that have been in the works for over a decade would require chopping down at least 60 trees over the age of 150. Six of the trees have been found to be more than 300 years old.

It’s a hard call on this one.

With Stanley Cup Finals Underway NHL Still Trying To Attract Latinos
But when it comes to Latinos, Gallegos will be among a small minority tuning in to watch this year’s Stanley Cup. Demographics show that 9.4 percent of the NHL’s fan base is Hispanic. It’s important to note that’s just among the league’s fans, not 9.4 percent of Latinos overall. And hockey is pretty close to the bottom of the list of sports Hispanics participate in, both as players and spectators, Only one percent of Latinos have watched a regular-season NHL game in the last year, according to data from Scarborough Research.

“From the statistics and numbers that I’ve seen, NHL just does not resonate among Latino consumers and Latino sports fans,” said Mario Flores, managing director of Sportivo, a Latino-focused sports public relations and marketing agency.

Probably more than any other U.S. professional sport, hockey faces an uphill battle for breaking into the Hispanic market. The almost nonexistent presence of hockey in Latin America and barriers of entry to play (such as lack of rinks in many minority neighborhoods and cost to participate) are two huge obstacles.

I can definitely see why Hispanics have a hard time relating to hockey.

Job

So it’s been three months since I’ve started my job. Where has the time gone? It feels like I just started yesterday. I really like it, even though it can be stressful sometimes. It’s the broadcasting/news/media industry, so it’s expected.

For those of you who don’t know what I do, I am a production assistant for a local TV station. Basically, I work behind the cameras during the newscasts and lottery tapings. I also operate the prompter and audio board (lottery only). I’m still training on audio for the newscasts.

In addition to being a production assistant, I am the “web producer” on Saturdays (or whenever they need someone to fill in.) Basically, I take the stories from the newscasts and post them on the web, which involves cutting video and making the scripts more “web friendly.” Sometimes, I copy verbatim from the scripts if I can’t find any additional information, but I always try to look up more information and add things that weren’t in the script. I also update reporters’ scripts if there’s any information that needs to be added. Then, I take the stories I’ve posted and post them to the station’s Twitter feed.

Click here to see what I’ve posted.

*Side note: I love doing the web stuff.*