Weekly Roundup 8/12/12

Virginia/US
Romney tours key states with new running mate Paul Ryan
Paul Ryan was announced as Mr Romney’s choice for vice-president in one such state, Virginia, on Saturday.

The pair are going on to tour North Carolina, Florida, Ohio – and Mr Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin.

Mr Ryan vowed to save the country from “high unemployment, declining incomes and crushing debt”.

But Mr Obama’s campaign has said Mr Ryan stood for what they called “flawed” economic policies that would repeat “catastrophic” mistakes.

I hope Paul Ryan will be a good choice for Romney.

Romney makes accidental endorsement for 2013 election
During Saturday’s campaign rally in Ashland, Mitt Romney said he hoped that Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling would be the next Governor of Virginia. In doing so, Romney failed to recognize Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli – who also announced he was running for Governor.

Oops.

World
At least 250 dead, more than 2,600 injured in Iran quakes
The quakes, which had magnitudes of 6.4 and 6.3 respectively, hit just 11 minutes apart and levelled at least 20 villages, said state television.

Following the quakes, around 36 aftershocks rippled through the same area, jolting residents. The aftershocks were felt in a vast region near the Caspian Sea.

Oh my goodness! So sad!

Health
New parent? Watch the saturated fat
“Parents of younger children do tend to bring in more convenience foods into the home more often,” said Dr. Helena Laroche, the lead author on the study. “That may account for the difference in saturated fat intake.”

Not surprising.

Technology/Social Media
iOS 6 Beta 4 Removes Dedicated YouTube App
The reason for the removal is unclear, although speculation naturally turns to the strained relationship between Apple and Google. Aside from YouTube, Apple’s iOS 6 contains another high-profile departure from Google’s services with Apple rolling out its own mapping and navigation service to displace Google.

YouTube videos can still be played through the embedded viewer, but the removal of the dedicated YouTube app marks a significant reduction in the prominence of Google on iOS.

Gonna miss the YouTube app, even though it wasn’t the greatest.

US employers banned from asking for social media logins
Maryland and Illinois have passed legislation banning employers from asking for social media login information during interviews, a practice that has been growing across the US.

Watch the video. This is crazy. Invasion of privacy.

Business/Money
Google death benefits pay dead employees’ families for 10 years
Google treats its dead employees better than some companies do their living workers.

Google’s unusual “death benefits” include paying the deceased’s spouse or domestic partner 50% of their salary for 10 years.

What’s more, all of the dead Googler’s stocks vest immediately. Each child of the employee receives $1,000 per month until age 19, or age 23 for full-time students.

Entertainment
Viewers outraged after NBC cuts away from Olympics closing ceremony
NBC was pummeled by viewers who took to social media after the network cut away early from the closing ceremony of the London Games on Sunday to air a new television show, drawing outrage from those who tuned in for the highly anticipated musical spectacle.

The Twitter-sphere exploded, with “#NBCfail” and “#closingceremonies” trending worldwide, after NBC cut out performances by Ray Davies, Kate Bush, The Who and Muse in favor of a commercial-free airing of “Animal Practice.”

I seemed to have missed this part. Even though I had the TV on at my desk, I was busy working. Although I’m not surprised that NBC did this. Their coverage was just horrendous during the entire Games.

Nielsen: 2012 Olympics most-watched event in U.S. TV history
More than 219 million Americans watched the Games over 5,535 hours of broadcasting on NBC, NBC Sports Network, MSNBC, CNBC, Bravo, Telemundo, two specialty channels and NBCOlympics.com, Nielsen data show.
The figures eclipse those of the 2008 Beijing Olympics (also on NBC), which were watched by a mere 215 million viewers.

No matter how bad NBC’s coverage was, people are still going to tune in because it’s the Olympics.

Jennifer Aniston engaged to actor Justin Theroux
“Having experienced everything you don’t want in a partner over time, it starts to narrow down to what you actually do want,” the actress told InStyle earlier this year. “As I get older, I realize what qualities are important in love and what suits me. And what I won’t settle for.”
2011: Aniston: Hottest of all time?

Her quest ended Friday, when she got engaged to Theroux on his 41st birthday, Aniston’s representative Stephen Huvane said.

“Justin Theroux had an amazing birthday Friday, receiving an extraordinary gift when his girlfriend, Jennifer Aniston, accepted his proposal of marriage,” Theroux’s representative Ina Treciokas said Sunday.

Congrats to the happy couple!

Sports
Olympics: Team GB aims to top Beijing golds
Team GB, hoping to pass the 19 golds achieved in Beijing in 2008, stand third in the London 2012 medal table – behind China and the US – with 18 gold, 11 silver and 11 bronze.

That would be awesome. It’s always nice to see the host country doing well in the medal rankings.

Gabby Douglas Makes Wrong Turn on Bars, Fails to Medal
Gabby Douglas finished dead last in the individual uneven bars final Monday, the same event that earned her the nickname “The Flying Squirrel” for her gravity-defying height.

She apparently turned the wrong way in her routine and could not recover well enough to earn a high score.

She’s still a winner in my eyes.

London 2012: Games set for grand finale
The finale will feature about 4,000 performers alongside artists such as George Michael and the Spice Girls.

The US topped the medal table with 45 golds, followed by China with 38 golds. GB came third with 29 golds – their best tally for 104 years.

I feel like this year’s Olympic Games went by so fast.

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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.

Weekly Roundup – 4/1/12

Starbuggs? Strawberry Frappuccino Colored by Insects
In what the company, in a statement, says was a move intended to reduce its use of artificial ingredients, Starbucks has started using cochineal extract to supply its Frappuccinos’ strawberry hue. Cochineal extract is derived from grinding up insects, the dried bodies of cochineal bugs, found primarily in Mexico and South America. Cochineal dye has been used as a coloring agent since the 15th century.

I know it sounds gross, but this is also used in jam and some other things.

Harry Potter breaks e-book lockdown
When the Harry Potter books finally went on sale in electronic form on Tuesday, it was as if Harry himself had cast the “Alohomora” spell on them — the one that unlocks doors.

In a break with industry practices, the books aren’t locked down by encryption, which means consumers can move them between devices and read them anywhere they like.

If “Pottermore,” J.K. Rowling’s new Web store, proves a success, it could provide a model for other authors and publishers and undermine the clout of Amazon.com Inc., which dominates e-book sales.

This is huge for the Harry Potter franchise. It shows that they are moving ahead.

Google to Launch Third-Party
The Google comment system, which will almost certainly rival that of Facebook, will have deep links to Google’s network of services and websites, indexing comments in Google Search, and most significantly, the system will be available for use on third party sites.

I’m not surprised at all. Seems like Google and Facebook are copying each other these days.

Newt Gingrich cuts staff, aims for Tampa
After twice resurrecting his campaign from dire situations, Gingrich has effectively skipped big primary states since his loss to Mitt Romney in the Florida and Nevada primaries. He focused on the South but won only two states in the entire GOP primary contest: South Carolina and his former home state of Georgia.

Honestly, if I were Gingrich, I’d drop out. It’s hard to beat Mitt Romney now.

Supreme Court questions validity over Obama healthcare law
The legal challenge has been brought by 26 US states which say the individual mandate violates the principles of freedom and liberty enshrined in the US constitution.

Backers of the law see the provision, which does not take effect until 2014, as crucial for reducing the numbers of Americans living without health insurance.

As the latest session got under way, protesters for and against the law once again held demonstrations on the steps of the court in Washington DC, reflecting the bitterly divisive passions aroused by the law.

People shouldn’t be penalized if they don’t have healthcare.

Apples Are Growing in American Homes
Half of all U.S. households own at least one Apple product, according to CNBC’s All-America Economic survey.

That’s more than 55 million homes with at least one iPhone, iPad, iPod or Mac computer. And one-in-10 homes that aren’t currently in that group plan to join it in the next year.

But Apple doesn’t have to worry about brand saturation any time soon. Americans don’t stop with just one device. Homes that own least one Apple, own an average of three. Overall, the average household has 1.6 Apple devices, with almost one-quarter planning to buy at least one more in the next year.

I personally own three Apple devices (MacBook Pro, iPhone, and iPod Touch.) Total for our household = 6 (the family’s iMac, my mom’s iPhone, and my sister’s iPod.)

Witness details Trayvon Martin’s killing
The witness recounted seeing two men on the grass, one on top of the other. “And at that point, not looking out the window, I heard the yell for help, one yell for help, and then I heard another … excruciating type of yell. It didn’t almost sound like ‘help.’ It just sounded so painful. But I wasn’t watching out the window during that. And then the next time I looked out the window, there’s the same thing: two men on the grass, one on top of each other. I couldn’t see a lot of movement. It was very dark, but I felt like they were scuffling. And then I heard the gunshots, which, to me, were more like pops than they were like a bang.”

The witness recalled hearing more than one shot. “It definitely was more than one pop noise, so I don’t know if it was an echo or anything else. But it definitely made more than one pop.”
The witness said the shots were audible as one man was on top of the other. But the witness recalled not having been able to see clearly which man was on top because it was dark.
Within a couple of seconds after the shots, one of the men “was walking toward where I was watching, and I could see him a little bit clearer. Could see that it was a Hispanic man. He didn’t appear hurt or anything else.”

But the man, who by now had left the grass and was walking on the sidewalk, did seem worried, “with his hand up to his forehead,” the witness said. “Now, a couple of seconds later, in the dark, you see that person that’s alive walk away; you know, obviously, OK, he must’ve got up and he walked away, where the other person is still laying there, face down.”

This is why George Zimmerman needs to testify before a grand jury. Zimmerman has been saying one thing. Now, this witness is saying another. There needs to be some justice here. It’s not fair for Trayvon or his family.

Winning Mega Millions ticket for $640 mil jackpot sold in Maryland
Forget about how the $640 million Mega Millions jackpot could change the life of the winner. It’s a collective wager that could fund a presidential campaign several times over, make a dent in struggling state budgets or take away the gas worries and grocery bills for thousands of middle-class citizens.

And it’s a cheap investment for the chance of a big reward, no matter how long the odds — 1 in 176 million.

That’s just insane.