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.

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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 – 4/15/12

Virginia/US

Navy: ‘Miracle’ nobody died in Virginia jet crash
A U.S. Navy admiral said Saturday that the fiery crash of a fighter jet into apartment buildings in the military community of Virginia Beach matches his definition of a miracle.
No one was killed and everyone was accounted for one day after the accident.

I’m glad no one died, but this could have been avoided.

Rick Santorum suspends campaign
The former Pennsylvania senator made the announcement at a news conference in the city of Gettysburg.
“While this presidential race is over for me, we are not done fighting,” said Mr Santorum, a social conservative.
He had been campaigning in Pennsylvania, his home state, ahead of its primary on 24 April.
But he was far behind Mr Romney in terms of funding and was in danger of losing the state for the second time in six years, analysts said.
In 2006 Mr Santorum lost his Pennsylvania Senate seat by an 18-point margin.
In the current race for the Republican nomination, Mr Santorum lags far behind Mr Romney in terms of the number of delegates needed to seal the nomination at the Republican convention in Tampa, Florida, in late August.

I’m glad he’s out.

Victoria hospital won’t hire very obese workers
A Victoria hospital already embroiled in a discrimination lawsuit filed by doctors of Indian descent has instituted a highly unusual hiring policy: It bans job applicants from employment for being too overweight.
The Citizens Medical Center policy, instituted a little more than a year ago, requires potential employees to have a body mass index of less than 35 — which is 210 pounds for someone who is 5-foot-5, and 245 pounds for someone who is 5-foot-10. It states that an employee’s physique “should fit with a representational image or specific mental projection of the job of a healthcare professional,” including an appearance “free from distraction” for hospital patients.
“The majority of our patients are over 65, and they have expectations that cannot be ignored in terms of personal appearance,” hospital chief executive David Brown said in an interview. “We have the ability as an employer to characterize our process and to have a policy that says what’s best for our business and for our patients.”

Makes sense for hospitals. You don’t want someone obese giving you advice on keeping your weight down, right?

Osama Bin Laden replaced on most wanted list
On Tuesday, the F.B.I. finally filled bin Laden’s place on the list, adding Eric J. Toth, a schoolteacher from the Washington area accused of possessing child pornography. It was the first time since 2009 that the F.B.I. had added a fugitive to the list.

Ew. I hope they catch him. This guy shouldn’t be allowed near children.

Attorneys for George Zimmerman DROP Trayvon’s killer after they ‘lost contact’ with him – and say he has LEFT Florida
The lawyers for the neighbourhood watch captain who shot Trayvon Martin in February said they are withdrawing as his counsel because he hasn’t followed their legal advice and they have not heard from him in several days.
Attorneys Craig Sonner and Hal Uhrig said during a news conference Tuesday that they haven’t heard from George Zimmerman since Sunday, and their calls and text messages haven’t been returned.
Sonner said: ‘I just can’t proceed to represent a client who doesn’t stay in contact with me’.
Uhrig added that the attorneys ‘started reaching out in every way that we knew how to get him,’ but to no avail.
Zimmerman is currently in hiding, and while Sonner and Uhrig claim they don’t know where he is, it’s far away from Florida.

Good news.

George Zimmerman charged with second-degree murder in Trayvon Martin case
After 45 days, one lawsuit, dozens of rallies, cries from thousands of protesters, more than two million petition signatures and countless media reports, the neighborhood watchman who shot Miami Gardens teenager Trayvon Martin was criminally charged Wednesday, capping a public outcry unmatched in recent memory.
The man who went free the night he shot the 17-year-old unarmed high school junior in a gated community in Sanford now faces the possibility of life in prison.
George Zimmerman, 28, was charged with second-degree murder, a first-degree felony — a far more serious charge than the manslaughter arrest most experts were predicting. The decision to file the charge was made by special prosecutor Angela Corey, the Jacksonville-based state attorney for Duval, Clay and Nassau counties, who vowed to fight a self-defense claim and insisted that she did not bow to public pressure.

More good news. 🙂 I think the FL state government needs to change the “Stand Your Ground” law.

Gov. Bob McDonnell says Romney will win

He also says Romney will defeat Obama and will be glad to serve as Romney’s running mate if given the honor. Just watch the videos.

World

Titanic: The reality of the disaster
The true story of the Titanic, however, is quite different and as far as I know has never been told in a feature film. In Cameron’s version, he depicts the wealthy as asserting their privilege over third-class passengers and crew so they could escape in lifeboats not made available to all, a depiction that plays on issues of class warfare and social inequality.
In many cases, the opposite was true, according to documented historical accounts that include real-life examples of rich passengers coming to the aid of the less fortunate. Writing in the March issue of the Christian publication, “Tabletalk,” Dr. Harry L. Reeder, a Presbyterian minister in Birmingham, Ala., cites one such example of the selflessness of the rich and their sacrifices for the “lower classes.” Dr. Reeder laments the missed opportunity by filmmakers to tell a far more dramatic and compelling story, the real story of the Titanic.
Reeder muses on the “amazing event” chronicled in historic accounts, in which, “Men of power and prestige sacrificed their lives for women and children of the lower class, many of whom were indentured servants, day laborers, and domestic workers. On this flotilla of self-absorption, self-sacrifice became a prevailing virtue during a crisis moment, and the powerful chose death that the powerless might receive life.”

It’s interesting to read what really happened that night the ship sank.

Titanic: ‘Last photograph’ of ill-fated ship

Such compelling video.

Canada Post launches free online targeting tool for direct marketing
Small and medium-sized businesses across Canada can now find and better target prospective customers with an easy-to-use online tool offered by Canada Post. Precision Targeter allows businesses to zero in on their target customers at the neighbourhood level based on demographic information such as household income, education, age and marital status.
The free tool (canadapost.ca/precisiontargeter) combines Canada Post’s complete address database with Canadian census data to provide detailed information so direct marketing becomes more targeted. Users can plan, price and place their Unaddressed Admail orders in minutes, 24 hours a day.

Direct marketing = more junk mail

North Korea rocket launch fails
The rocket – seen by many as a banned test of long-range missile technology – was launched from north-west North Korea early on Friday.
The US, Japan and South Korea say it flew only for a short time before breaking up and crashing into waters off the Korean peninsula.
North Korea said its scientists were assessing what had caused the failure.
North Korea says the aim of the launch was to put a satellite into orbit – a move marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of national founder Kim Il-sung.

Embarrassing, especially since they are trying to prove that they can construct missiles.

Technology

Facebook Buys Instagram for $1 Billion
“For years, we’ve focused on building the best experience for sharing photos with your friends and family,” Zuckerberg said in the post. “Now, we’ll be able to work even more closely with the Instagram team to also offer the best experiences for sharing beautiful mobile photos with people based on your interests.”
Zuckerberg went on to say that the company will be building on Instagram’s strengths and features and growing the app independently rather than “just trying to integrate everything into Facebook.”
Facebook plans on keeping features within the app that allow photos to be published on other social networks, and the ability to have followers and follow people who are not necessarily your Facebook friends.

So basically Facebook wants to steal ideas from Instagram.

For Home Buyers, an App to Assess a House’s Attributes
Home buyers who are armed with nothing but a legal pad can track a fair amount of data, like size, location and the year of the last kitchen update, but it’s harder to thoughtfully assess and record multiple elements while on a walk-through, or while driving to the next house.
House Hunter enforces that sort of discipline by offering a detailed list of roughly 80 house features, along with an easy method for scoring each. It also lets homeowners add their own features to that list, in case an indoor pool or a backyard Jacuzzi is a priority.
You then rank each feature’s importance, on a scale from 1 to 10. After a house visit, you evaluate those features individually and the app assigns an overall score to the home.

If I was planning on buying a house, I’d get this.

AT&T allows some iPhone users to unlock
Once their phones were unlocked, owners can use them on other GSM cell and data networks by using other SIM cards, a change that will mainly allow users to take advantage of cheaper service when traveling abroad.

I wish I could take advantage of this, but my phone is still in contract. However, it’s great for those who travel.

Has Instagram made everyone’s photos look the same?
Instagram’s use of filters mimics some of the processes photographers used to push photographic boundaries – such as the super-saturated colours created cross-processing slides in negative chemicals, or using expired film’s palette of soft, muted colours, or playing around with camera settings or darkroom equipment to boost contrast.
The site’s co-founder Kevin Systrom has said: “The idea was to make mobile photography fast, beautiful and fun. We learned from experience that taking photos on the phone didn’t lead to the results that we wanted, so we created the filters and tools to achieve a more artistic experience.”

To answer the title’s question, yes and no. It depends on the subject of the photo. However, Instagram makes photo editing so much easier.

Entertainment

Mike Wallace, `60 Minutes’ star interviewer, dies
CBS newsman Mike Wallace, the dogged, merciless reporter and interviewer who took on politicians, celebrities and other public figures in a 60-year career highlighted by the on-air confrontations that helped make “60 Minutes” the most successful primetime television news program ever, has died. He was 93.
Wallace died Saturday night, CBS spokesman Kevin Tedesco said.
Until he was slowed by heart surgery as he neared his 90th birthday in 2008, Wallace continued making news, doing “60 Minutes” interviews with such subjects as Jack Kevorkian and Roger Clemens. He had promised to still do occasional reports when he announced his retirement as a regular correspondent in March 2006.

RIP Mike.

Miss Universe Pageant allows transgender women to participate, could mean big ratings for NBC telecast
Five days after the Miss Universe Organization announced 23-year-old Talackova, who underwent a sex change four years ago, could compete in the Miss Universe pageant this year, organization officials announced Tuesday they are crafting language in the official rules to allow transgender women to participate in the Miss Universe pageant next year. Trials for next year’s pageant begin this summer.

Not sure how I feel about this, but it is a first.

Britney Spears joining ‘X Factor’
Britbrit, the tabloid darling who married childhood friend Jason Allen Alexander in 2004 and had it annulled 55 hours later, and who is now under a conservatorship (Dad) since a ‘08 breakdown, has not yet signed on the dotted line to become the new Paula Abdul, or maybe the new Nicole Scherzinger on the show. But hands have been shaken on a deal in which Brit’s paycheck would be in the neighborhood of $15 million per eason – aka, half of Matt Lauer’s new ‘Today’ show salary.
Icing on the cake: her fiancée/soon-to-be co-conservator may also, as part of the deal, become a producer on the show because, as one report explained, “he is her rock and will help guide her.”

I know Britney isn’t the best singer, but she can definitely offer a lot of advice on how to be a pop star. Plus, this will definitely help turn her life around.

J.K. Rowling’s first adult novel: ‘The Casual Vacancy’
The book, with a publication date of Sept. 27, promises to be very different from the world of young wizards. It’s an examination of small-town politics. The novel takes place in the fictional town of Pagford, an “English idyll” where not everything is as it seems. When one resident unexpectedly dies, his vacant seat on the parish council causes “the biggest war the town has yet seen.”

I’ll probably read it just because it’s from J.K. Rowling. Also, it seems like it will offer insight into small town politics.

Pottermore opens its doors for all, JK Rowling announces
“Many more Potter fans old and new will now be able to explore, discover and share the stories in a completely new way. At Pottermore.com, they will be able to join Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, get sorted into one of the four houses, and have a wand choose them, before starting a journey through the storylines of these extraordinary books and discovering exclusive new writing from J.K. Rowling.”
It added that Pottermore.com would begin with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone, “but will rapidly grow and develop, as new content, features and functionality are added. Users will be able to share their experiences and creativity as the storylines move on to subsequent books in the series in the months following opening.”

Finally. It took forever for them to release the site to the public. I’ve had some time to play around with it. It’s interesting to read what J.K. has to say, but I was hoping it would come with more features.

Health

Eat more ‘superfoods’ to lose weight
According to Pratt, a superfood has three qualifications: It has to be readily available to the public, it has to contain nutrients that are known to enhance longevity, and its health benefits have to be backed by peer-reviewed, scientific studies.
Pratt lists salmon, broccoli, spinach, berries and green tea as a few of his favorites. His website, SuperFoodsRx.com, gives 20 more examples.
“These foods were chosen because they contain high concentrations of crucial nutrients, as well as the fact that many of them are low in calories,” the website states. “Foods containing these nutrients have been proven to help prevent and, in some cases, reverse the well-known effects of aging, including cardiovascular disease, Type II Diabetes, hypertension and certain cancers.”

This is something I need to do more of. More fruits and vegetables and less candy.

San Jose Approves Limits on Outdoor Smoking
The San Jose City Council voted unanimously today to approve an ordinance that will further restrict outdoor smoking within city limits.
The ordinance amends the city’s municipal code to make smoking illegal in outdoor dining areas, outdoor common areas of multi-resident complexes and mobile home parks, and in service lines, city officials said.
The vote followed comments from about a dozen residents, all of whom spoke in favor of expanding smoking restrictions.

I’m glad they are taking the initiative to limit smoking. It not only damages the body, but it intoxicates the air in the environment.

Secret sugars in your food: From two cubes in a salad to 16-and-a-half in bottled water, what you’re eating without realising it
The sugars in milk, vegetables and pieces of fruit (as opposed to fruit juice), including dried fruit, do not wreak as much havoc.
On average, adults in Britain eat around 18 per cent more added sugars than is healthy
So if you’re getting most of your sugar from these sources, you can eat up to 18 cubes or 90g daily. For five to ten-year-olds, the figure is 17 cubes or 85g.
The two most common forms of unhealthy added sugars are table sugar (sucrose) and high-fructose corn syrup, a liquid sweetener made from maize.
Both are added to countless foods, turning up in everything from fizzy drinks to chicken korma.
Sugars in fruit juices and honeys are also the unhealthy ‘added’ type.
‘Added sugars are more likely to do harm as they aren’t safely bound in the structure of a food, as they are in fruit,’ says Sasha Watkins, a spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association.
But how can you spot a high sugar food? To interpret labels that list sugar (which is labelled as ‘total sugars’ and will include natural and added sugar), the NHS Choices website suggests that a food with less than 5g per 100g is classified as low.
More than 15g per 100g is high. Though we all need some sugar — it is the essential fuel that powers all cells in our body — excess levels have been linked with raised levels of the hormone insulin, which increases the risk of diabetes.

Looks like I need to eat/drink more milk, fruits, and vegetables and lay off of the Arizona Iced Tea and orange juice.

Weekly Roundup – 3/18/12

Yahoo Sues Facebook For Patent Infringement
The lawsuit, filed in a San Jose, California federal court, marks the first major legal battle among technology giants in social media and a major escalation of patent litigation that has already swept up the smartphone and tablet sectors and high-tech stalwarts such as Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp and Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc.

Seems like Facebook is under fire lately.

Full Titanic wreck site mapped
Researchers have pieced together what’s believed to be the first comprehensive map of the entire 3-by-5-mile (5-by-8-kilometer) Titanic debris field and hope it will provide new clues about what exactly happened the night 100 years ago when the superliner hit an iceberg, plunged to the bottom of the North Atlantic and became a legend.

I’d like to see this map. It’s interesting to see all of this unfolding.

Virginia’s jobless rate hits 3-year low
The unemployment rate declined in January even though non-farm payroll employment fell, which normally happens from December to January, particularly in the trade sector as retailers cut back on holiday staffing, the Virginia Employment Commission reported. All of the state’s major industry sectors saw declines from December to January as payroll employment dipped by about 64,500 jobs to 3.65 million.

Ugh.

VCU dances past Wichita State into NCAA third round
VCU Mania is officially back in session, thanks to the Rams’ thrilling 62-59 upset victory against No. 5 seed Wichita State Thursday in Portland’s Rose Garden arena. A No. 12 seed has won in 22 of the last 24 tournaments.

I wish they didn’t lose to Indiana. Sigh…

10 things the internet killed
The book-form of Encyclopaedia Britannica has been in print since 1768, but will stop being available when the current stock runs out. Digital versions of the encyclopedia will still be offered. Is it a bad sign that we’ll no longer have the heavy books to consult? Look on the bright side, now you’ll have extra room on your bookshelf for more books…err…iPads.

The world is changing as we know it. I miss the old days.

New iPads hit stores Friday
It will cost the same as the iPad 2 — from $499 to $829 based on storage capacity and Wi-Fi capability. Apple also will be slashing the prices of the iPad 2 by $100, making a 16GB Wi-Fi only model $399 and putting it closer to the price point of some less expensive tablets, such as Amazon’s Kindle Fire, that have hit the market in the past year.

Is it really worth all that $$$ to purchase an iPad? I can get a laptop/desktop PC with 3x the amount of storage, a CD drive, and USB ports for that money. Geez.

Afghanistan massacre: Hamid Karzai chides US on probe
Men, women and children were shot and killed at close range as the soldier apparently went on a rampage in villages close to a Nato base in the remote Panjwai district of southern Kandahar province.

This is so sad. Something should have been done to prevent this.

George Clooney arrested in Sudan protest
“We are protesting to make sure the Sudanese government knows that the world is watching,” McGovern said. “The United States Congress is watching. And we will be back again and again until they stop using food as a weapon; stop slaughtering innocent men, women and children; and stop spitting in the face of the world community.”

I support those protesting the Sudanese government. It’s just not right.

New Pinterest Profile Pages
In this grab, there four centered columns vs. the former five, although if you stretch your browser’s window, you can accommodate more. The tab on the left detailing who is following you and who has recently repinned your photos and videos is gone. Instead, a horizontal bar on the top of the page details that information. You’ll also note that there’s more blank space on the side and top, giving the page a less cluttered look. In another change, the default for the profile page shows recent pins, rather than Pinboards.

I really like the new look. Very clean.

How Iceland is building its economy with social media
Overall, the Internet has played a big role in modern day Iceland. The government recently asked citizens to post online comments and feedback about what they thought of its new constitution proposal. And although the president actually said he wouldn’t be running for re-election earlier this year, he changed his mind after Icelanders gathered thousands of signatures online as a part of an effort to keep him in office.

This seems like a good idea. I wish we could do that here.

KONY 2012: How Social Media Fueled the Most Viral Video of All Time
Just watch the video.

Kony 2012 Director Is Detained and Hospitalized
“Police said they received several calls Thursday at 11:30 a.m. of a man in various stages of undress, running through traffic and screaming,” the NBC affiliate reported. A police spokeswoman, Lt. Andra Brown, told reporters: “During the evaluation we learned we probably needed to take him to a medical facility because of statements he was saying.”

I’m not sure what to think. Either all the stress has gotten to him or he got extremely drunk the night before.