Weekly Roundup – 4/29/12

Virginia/US

Secret Service prostitution scandal: Lieberman calls for wider investigation
A U.S. senator who caucuses with Democrats joined a Republican colleague Sunday in calling for an expanded probe of the Secret Service prostitution scandal, saying the investigation should also include a look at White House personnel assigned to prepare for President Obama’s trip to Colombia.

There is no evidence that White House employees knew about the misbehavior. But Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) urged the Obama administration to conduct an investigation “just to make sure that none of them were involved,” echoing demands from Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa).

The scandal has implicated 12 Secret Service employees and 11 members of the military. Six of the Secret Service employees have lost their jobs, five are on leave and one has been cleared of “serious misconduct” but will face administration action, officials have said.

This is why you don’t mix business with pleasure, unless you want to risk your job.

Vehicle flips, 7 die near Bronx Zoo
Seven people, including three children, died Sunday when a vehicle flipped over a guardrail and plunged up to 60 feet to the ground, landing upside down in an area of the Bronx Zoo that is closed to the public, officials said.

All the victims were inside the vehicle, a New York police spokesman said. The crash occurred near the Bronx River Parkway and East 180th Street.

“The vehicle hit the median and went across all lanes of traffic in the opposite direction,” the spokesman said. He described the drop from the ramp as “substantial.”

The victims include an elderly couple; two other women, including a 45-year-old driver; and three girls, ages 15, 5 and 3, NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne said. It was not immediately clear how they were related to one another.

Such terrible news. I can’t even imagine this happening. I guess this is why we all have to be careful when driving.

31 shot in April in Richmond
More people have been shot in Richmond this month than in any month in at least five years, which authorities attribute in part to several violent robberies and a pair of ruthless men believed responsible for at least three shootings — and one of those men is still at large.

Thirty-one people have been shot this month in the city, five fatally. That surpasses the 30 shootings in April 2010, although that month remains the city’s deadliest since at least 2007, with nine homicides.

What’s with all of these shootings?

Obama White House Correspondents’ Dinner speech pokes at GOP
President Barack Obama on Saturday night held true to the rule that the talent at the annual White House Correspondents’ dinner is supposed to “singe not burn” the opposition when he put some fire on Republican targets during his comedic routine at the gala event.

“We gather during a historic anniversary,” Obama began in his remarks at D.C’s event of the year, held at the Hilton hotel with more than 2,000 attendees. “Last year at this time, in fact on this very weekend, we finally delivered justice to one of the world’s most notorious individuals” – Bin Laden? Nope. The ballroom’s screens showed huge pictures of Donald Trump, and the crowd ate it up.

Sounds like a fun night.

World

Deadly attack on Nigeria’s Bayero university in Kano
At least 16 people have been killed in a gun and bomb attack at a university in Nigeria’s northern city of Kano, Nigerian Red Cross officials say.

Six others were in a serious condition following the attack at Bayero University campus where Christian worshippers were holding a service.

These kinds of acts need to stop.

Technology/Social Media

Follow-Up: The Tablet Really Is Killing The E-Reader
E Ink Holdings, the firm behind the allegedly easy-on-the-eye daylight readable electronic paper that once made your Kindle or Nook so great, has just reported its first loss in 10 successive quarters.

The company made a net loss of NT$787 million (a little under $27 million) for the first three months of 2012, after it saw a 63% slump in revenues from the previous quarter to NT$3.84 billion. The company says it’s due to “off-season effects and inventory adjustments at clients.” Yes, we’re inclined to believe that the shift from the always-lucrative holiday season quarter to the dim, wintery first three months of the year could quite definitely adjust how many e-reader devices the average consumer buys. But a 63% slump in revenues is pretty enormous.

Blame the Kindle Fires and the iPads. Honestly, I much rather have an eReader than one of those tablets. If I want to use Facebook or surf the internet, then that’s what my laptop is for.

Business/Money

A VERY Big Mac! World’s biggest McDonald’s with 1,500 seats to be built for games
The biggest McDonald’s restaurant in the world will open for six weeks during the London 2012 Olympic games.

More than 50,000 Big Mac burgers and 180,000 portions of fries will be served from the outlet in Stratford, east London.

The huge temporary branch will have seating for 1,500 customers and will employ more than 2,000 staff.

What’s going to happen after 6 weeks? Talk about a loss of jobs.

Entertainment

Dark Knight and a Vampire-Slaying President: Summer 2012 Movie Preview
The 25 most-anticipated movies coming (soon) to a theater near you

I can’t wait to see “The Avengers” and “The Darn Knight” sequel.

Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift to Collaborate on New Song
Justin Bieber has revealed that his upcoming album Believe, his third, will feature a songwriting collaboration with Taylor Swift. The U.K.’s Capital FM Radio posted audio yesterday from a recent conversation with Bieber on the program Vodafone Big Top 40 in which Bieber announced the country-pop singer-songwriter will join Believe’s all-star guest list.

When asked whether the Swift collaboration would have a country flavor, Bieber replied in the affirmative and explained that Believe will reflect a diverse range of styles. “It doesn’t stay in a box,” he explained. “Everything is so different and that’s why I’m so happy with this album.”

I kinda want to listen to this.

Sports

Hokies basketball ccoach Seth Greenberg fired
Virginia Tech fired Hokies men’s basketball coach Seth Greenberg Monday afternoon. Director of athletics Jim Weaver said he and associate director Tom Gabbard fired Greenberg Monday at 1:30 p.m. and then announced the decision at a 4 p.m. press conference.

Two of Greenberg’s three assistant coaches left earlier this offseason. In the press conference, Weaver cited the lack of a staff as a chance to start over. He said the decision was made last week after it “hit him” that the basketball program didn’t fit with the rest of Tech’s teams.

The 2012 recruiting class that brought in Tech’s first-ever five-star recruit had the school excited for basketball yet again this season. It was Greenberg’s first season where he could use a new state-of-the-art practice facility to lure recruits and had come through with the No. 12 class in the nation.

But yet again, the product Greenberg put out on the floor couldn’t meet expectations. The Hokies finished with a losing record (16-17) for the first time since the 2005-06 season and started the conference schedule by losing six of their first seven. Tech finished the ACC schedule with a 4-12 record, although nine of those losses were by five points or fewer.

He will be missed, but at the same time, I’m not surprised he was fired. His track record hasn’t been great the last few years.

Health

Coming to New Zealand: $100 Packs of Cigarettes?
While the US has been trying to disgust smokers into giving up tobacco, New Zealand has been considering a more direct idea: raising the price of cigarettes to $100 a pack. The Ministry of Health wants a smoke-free NZ by 2025, and the $100 price tag—which would be implemented by 2020—is one of the ideas being discussed … although officials admit it is “probably unrealistic.” The plan seen as the most likely would make a pack of cigarettes a still-sizable $60 by 2025, Sky News reports. But, 3 News adds, Prime Minister John Key is concerned that higher prices may simply encourage a black market.

I don’t get why people like smoking. It’s gross and is a waste of money. Anyways, $100 is insane. The government can restrict smoking in certain areas, but I think it’s impossible to make everyone quit.

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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.