Weekly Roundup – 4/15/12


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.