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.

Advertisements

Weekly Roundup – 5/6/12

Virginia/US

Fixed Mortgage Rates Fall to All-Time Low on Weak GDP Report, Euro Zone Concerns
If you thought mortgage rates were as low as they could go, think again. Mortgage rates are dropping, this time to a new all-time low.

Average rates for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage sank to 3.84 percent, Freddie Mac reported Thursday, down from 3.88 percent last week and beating out the previous record low of 3.87 percent in early February this year.

Good news for homeowners.

Obama talks exit strategy, signs deal with Afghanistan
President Barack Obama, speaking early Wednesday at the tail end of a surprise visit, discussed the exit strategy from Afghanistan and promised a steady drawdown of U.S. troops.

Obama committed to pulling 23,000 troops out of the country by the end of summer and sticking to the 2014 deadline to turn security fully over to the Afghan government. He also said that NATO will set a goal this month for Afghan forces to be in the lead for combat operations next year.

This is a good thing. It’s time to bring our troops back home.

Poll: Obama ahead of Romney in Virginia
Fifty-one percent of voters said they would vote for the president if the election were held today, while 44% said Romney, according to the Washington Post poll released Thursday.

Looks like it’s going to be a tight race. I wonder who is going to win our electoral votes.

Virginia: For lovers, and for Romney and Obama
President Obama will make Richmond the site of his kick-off campaign rally this Saturday and, as he often does, will motorcade across the Potomac Friday for an official event in northern Virginia, this one devoted to student loans at an Arlington high school. Mitt Romney has two stops in Virginia lined up this week, Wednesday in northern Virginia and Thursday in Hampton Roads, and he will also be in Lynchburg to speak to graduates of Liberty University next week.

Obama is coming to the VCU Siegel Center on Saturday, and I can’t go see him because I have to work. :(. I can’t go see Romney either because he’s not stopping in Richmond. This sucks.

US adds 115,000 jobs in April, fewer than expected
The US economy created 115,000 jobs during April, down on the previous month and fewer than analysts had expected, official figures have shown.

However, the unemployment rate fell slightly to 8.1% from 8.2% in March, the Labor Department said.

The unemployment rate hit a three-year low, but part of the reason for the fall was a drop in the number of people looking for work, which reduced the size of the workforce.

“The drop in the unemployment rate was actually an unhealthy drop – you had less people looking for work, which shows a bad sentiment,” said Ron Florence at Wells Fargo Private Bank.

Things aren’t looking good.

Judge says Facebook ‘likes’ not protected by First Amendment
The “like” button on Facebook seems like a relatively clear way to express your support for something, but a federal judge says that doesn’t mean clicking it is constitutionally protected speech.

Everyone should be careful what they “like” from now on.

Nurse in Afghanistan dies in Skype chat with wife
The wife of an Army officer serving in Afghanistan witnessed her husband’s death as the two video chatted via Skype, his family said Friday.

The circumstances of Capt. Bruce Kevin Clark’s death were not immediately available. The Pentagon said it was under investigation, and his brother-in-law said he didn’t have details.

Wow, I can’t even imagine how hard that must have been for his wife to see.

Obama outlines case for re-election at first official campaign rally
The president said that in the final six months of 2008, “nearly three million of our neighbors lost their jobs.” But he said when he took office, “We didn’t quit. We don’t quit. Together we are fighting our way back.”

Obama touted the federal government’s rescue of the big auto companies, and he criticized his challenger, saying “when some wanted to let Detroit go bankrupt, we didn’t turn our backs.”

The president also touted his foreign policy achievements, saying that “for the first time in nine years, there are no Americans fighting in Iraq.” He said that “Osama bin Laden is no longer a threat to this country,” and “al Qaeda is on the path to defeat.”

He then pledged that “by 2014, the war in Afghanistan will be over,” and pointed out that Romney had opposed setting a troop withdrawal deadline in that conflict.

I like Obama and some of the things he has done, but sometimes, I feel like he makes empty promises he can’t keep.

Connecticut Passes a Marijuana Bill
The Connecticut Senate passed a bill on Saturday legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes, with tight restrictions intended to avoid the problems that have plagued some of the other states where it is now legal.

I guess it’s good if marijuana is used for medical needs.

World

Bin Laden’s last letters go online, showing dark days
A selection of documents seized in last year’s raid on bin Laden’s Pakistan house was posted online Thursday by the U.S. Army’s Combating Terrorism Center. The documents show dark days for al Qaeda and its hunkered-down leader after years of attacks by the United States and what bin Laden saw as bumbling within his own organization and its terrorist allies.

“I plan to release a statement that we are starting a new phase to correct (the mistakes) we made,” bin Laden wrote in 2010. “In doing so, we shall reclaim, God willing, the trust of a large segment of those who lost their trust in the jihadis.”

Until the end, bin Laden remained focused on attacking Americans and coming up with plots, however improbable, to kill U.S. leaders. He wished especially to target airplanes carrying Gen. David Petraeus and even President Barack Obama, reasoning that an assassination would elevate an “utterly unprepared” Vice-President Joe Biden into the presidency and plunge the U.S. into crisis.

I’m not surprised he had plans to kill Obama. What a shame. I’m glad he’s dead.

How to see the supermoon — and shooting stars, too
The moon will be at its fullest at 11:35 p.m. ET just after hitting perigee, the point in its orbit that brings the moon closest to Earth. The technical name for the event is a “perigee moon.”
The moon will be about 221,802 miles (356,955 kilometers) from Earth, about 12.2 percent closer to our planet than when the moon is at apogee, its farthest point. The average Earth-moon distance is about 230,000 miles (384,400 kilometers).

I didn’t see it. Overcast.

Technology/Social Media

Facebook Organ Donor Initiative Prompts 100,000 Users To Select New Option
Thousands of Facebook users have signed up to be organ donors this week, thanks to a new feature on the social networking site that makes it easier to register.

The new option was announced Tuesday by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as a way to boost the number of potential organ donors. By the end of the day, 6,000 people had enrolled through 22 state registries, according to Donate Life America, which promotes donations and is working with Facebook. On a normal day, those states together see less than 400 sign up.

I registered as an organ donor in Virginia today. 🙂 It would be great if this initiative goes worldwide. It looks like only people living in the US and Puerto Rico can register via Facebook.

Why Mac users should care about Windows malware
A Sophos researcher stirred up the Mac masses this week when he reported that 20 percent of Mac computers carry Windows malware. The good news is that even though Macs are capable of harboring Windows-targeting viruses and Trojans, those machines can’t be harmed by the malware in all but exceptional cases. The bad news, though, is that Mac users can still spread that malware to Windows machines in a number of ways.

Sucks for Windows users.

Text Message Marketing Is Still a Thing
If you compare mobile marketing with TV networks, text message campaigns would be PBS. They’re not sexy, and they’re not enormously popular, but they’re still kicking around, somewhat. According to a survey of 2,262 adults conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of location-based marketing firm Placecast, only four percent of mobile users receive marketing text messages.

I get them every once in a while, and they’re annoying.

Samsung unveils Galaxy S III smartphone with face, voice recognition
The new handset, with a whopping 4.8-inch screen and an 8-megapixel camera, was unveiled at a slick launch party in London on Thursday, complete with a backing orchestra.

Billed by Samsung as having been “designed for humans,” the phone features voice and eye-recognition technology that the company hopes will set the handset ahead of its rivals in the crowded smartphone market.

The new Galaxy handset, which runs the most up-to-date version of Google’s mobile operating system — Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich — recognizes when a user is looking at it, and ensures the screen doesn’t go dark while it has eye contact.

It looks like a really nice phone. If I didn’t have an iPhone, I’d probably buy the Samsung Galaxy S III.

New iPhone: Tantilizing Details Revealed
Adding to the existing rumor of a four-inch screen on the new iPhone is info obtained by Jeremy Horwitz of iLounge, who says not only will that screen be a larger 4 inches (measured diagonally), but it will have a new aspect ratio, which we would assume would be 16 x 9 — the same shape as typical HDTVs. It’s about time — since its inception, the iPhone screen has been shaped in the old-timey 4 x 3 ratio, the same as ancient standard definition TVs.

Basically, it’s a longer version of the iPhone4/4s. Still can’t wait to get my hands on one.

Verizon reps push 4G Android over iPhone
“The only drawback to the iPhone is it doesn’t have 4G, and Verizon is really pushing 4G,” another rep said on the phone. “Don’t get me wrong, the iPhone is a great phone. It just costs the company a lot of money for returns when customers find out that a faster 4G network is available and the iPhone’s only on 3G.”

I can see why Verizon is doing it. I’m sure the game will change when Apple makes a Verizon 4G phone.

Business/Money

Australia billionaire to launch “unsinkable” Titanic
An Australian billionaire announced plans on Monday to build an “unsinkable” version of the Titanic, 100 years after the original sank after hitting an iceberg.

Titanic II is expected to make its maiden voyage from England to North America, the old Titanic route, in late 2016.

“It is going to be designed so it won’t sink,” mining and tourism tycoon Clive Palmer told reporters. “It will be designed as a modern ship with all the technology to ensure that doesn’t happen.”

DOOMED! Sounds like the ship may be cursed. You sure as hell won’t find me on-board! Who knows, there might be a replica of the iceberg out there.

Man sues BMW after motorcycle seat allegedly causes 2-year erection
Viagra and Cialis apparently have nothing on a BMW motorcycle seat. According to a lawsuit filed last week in San Francisco Superior Court, the seat left its driver with a two-year erection.

Henry Wolf filed suit against BMW North America and Corbin-Pacific, Inc. He claimed in the lawsuit that the “ridged seat” of his 1993 BMW motorcycle caused him mental and emotional anguish after it left him with a severe case of priapism, aka a long-lasting erection.

Oh my God. I have no words…

WestJet’s ill-advised move to tablets
The winner of the “Dumbest Move Involving Technology Award” this week goes to WestJet for the airline’s plan to ditch its in-flight entertainment system in favour of renting tablets to passengers.

Yup, you read that right–for the low, low price of $10 to $12, WestJet will rent you a tablet pre-loaded with movies, TV shows and possibly games. And if you don’t want to pay? You’ll be stuck looking at the clouds for hours. Unless your flight is at night, in which case you won’t even be that lucky.

This is really not a big deal. Most passengers bring stuff to entertain themselves on the plane anyway.

Spirit Air to charge up to $100 for carry-on bags
Spirit Airlines will raise its fee for carry-on bags to up to $100, becoming the first U.S. airline to charge so much for a service that most other airlines offer for free.

Spirit said on its website that the new fees apply to carry-on bags registered at the gate and will become effective Nov. 6. Until that time, Spirit will continue to charge $45.

Ridiculous!!! I will never fly Spirit Airlines. End of story.

Facebook sets $28 to $35 IPO price range
It’s the day techies and investors have been waiting for: Facebook set a price range of $28 to $35 per share for its initial public offering. It also upped the maximum size of its offering to $13.6 billion, up from its previous $5 billion estimate.

Facebook currently has around 2.1 billion shares outstanding, so if its IPO prices at the top of the range, the company would be valued at just shy of $75 billion.

Many Facebook employees and executives, including Zuckerberg, hold unexercised stock options. The company itself is also holding some shares for future employee equity grants. If all of those shares were exercised, Facebook’s outstanding share count would rise to around 2.8 billion, pushing its valuation closer to $98 billion.

Cha-ching! Mark Zuckerberg wants to take over the world.

Entertainment

Jessica Simpson’s baby girl arrives
Jessica Simpson has given birth to a daughter in a Los Angeles hospital, the actress-singer said in a statement posted on her website Tuesday morning.

“Eric and I are elated to announce the birth of our baby girl, Maxwell Drew Johnson,” Simpson said.

The baby weighed in at 9 pounds, 13 ounces and measured 21.75 inches long, according to the website.

Congratulations!

‘Avengers’ Opens in U.S. After Conquering World Box Office
The movie is projected to open in the U.S. and Canada to at least $150 million in ticket sales — among the top five biggest openings of all time.

Wow, that’s huge!

Health

Taking E-Mail Vacations Can Reduce Stress, Study Says
A new study released Thursday by the University of California, Irvine, which was co-written with United States Army researchers, found that people who do not look at e-mail on a regular basis at work are less stressed and more productive.

The study, “A Pace Not Dictated by Electrons: An Empirical Study of Work Without Email,” looked at 13 workers in a typical office setting and asked them to discontinue e-mail for five days. The results were that during the e-mail hiatus, these people spent longer periods of time focusing on a single task at work and shifted between computer windows much less than those who were slaves to their in-box.

The researchers also tested people’s stress levels by attaching wearable heart rate monitors and found that their stress levels were much lower when not checking e-mail on a regular basis.

I need to try this at some point. Sometimes, it’s good to go “off the grid.”

Sports

Hokies introduce James Johnson as new head coach
After 19 years as an assistant coach at nine schools, James Johnson was introduced Tuesday as the new Virginia Tech men’s basketball coach.

I hope Jim Weaver selected the right guy for the job.

Morris: BCS got it right on playoff
Just as it had done for most of the past 15 college football seasons in determining the pairing for the national championship game, the BCS knew what it was doing when it decided last week on a four-team playoff to begin after the 2014 regular season.

BCS officials, conference commissioners and TV executives met in Florida with a two-pronged order of business. First, they needed a college football playoff that would satisfy university presidents who generally oppose the idea because the sport already is spiraling out of control. Next, they needed to quell the annual uproar by media and fans who clamor for a playoff of any kind.

The BCS just got a little more exciting. College football is awesome.

More players file concussion lawsuits against the NFL
More than 100 former professional football players, including former Atlanta Falcons Jamal Anderson, Chris Doleman, and O.J. Santiago, are adding their names a growing list of players suing the NFL.

They join more than 1,500 other players who claim that the National Football League hid the dangers of concussions from them.

The latest lawsuit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Atlanta by attorney Mike McGlamry, states that the NFL “repeatedly refuted the connection between concussions and brain injury.”

It goes on to assert that the organization failed “to take reasonable steps necessary to protect players from devastating head injuries. Moreover, the NFL has downplayed and misrepresented the issues and misled players concerning the risks associated with concussions.”

Way too many players are suffering from a brain injury/concussion. Something needs to be done.

Weekly Roundup – 4/22/12

Virginia/US

Shuttle Discovery retires with Washington flypast
Discovery flew over the monuments along the National Mall in Washington DC at about 10:00 EST (14:00 GMT).

Piggy-backing on a modified Boeing 747, Discovery was flying at an altitude of about 1,500ft (457m), Nasa said.

The shuttle programme ended in 2011. Discovery will be on show at the Air and Space Museum in Virginia.

I wish I gotten up early enough to see it.

George Zimmerman Tells Trayvon Martin’s Parents ‘I Am Sorry’
George Zimmerman stunned a Florida court today by taking the stand and apologizing to the parents of Trayvon Martin, who were sitting in the courtroom during Zimmerman’s bond hearing.

“I am sorry for the loss of your son. I did not know how old he was. I thought he was a little bit younger than I am. I did not know if he was armed or not,” Zimmerman said addressing Martin’s family directly.

His surprising testimony came the same day that ABC News exclusively obtained a photograph showing the bloodied back of Zimmerman’s head, which was apparently taken three minutes after he shot and killed Martin. The photo could give credence to Zimmerman’s claim that Martin had bashed his head against the concrete as Zimmerman fought for his life.

The release of this photo certainly helps Zimmerman and his defense, but it still doesn’t answer who initiated the confrontation.

World

Norway killer sharpened aim by playing video game
Anders Behring Breivik knew it would take practice to be able to slaughter dozens of people before being shot by police. In a chilling account, the far-right fanatic claimed that he sharpened his aim by playing the video game “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare” for hours on end.

Breivik told an Oslo court on Thursday he also took steroids to build physical strength and meditated to “de-emotionalize” himself before the bombing and shooting rampage that left 77 people dead. He figured he had no more than a 5 percent chance of not being killed by police.

His lack of remorse and matter-of-fact description of weapons and tactics — he even considered using a flame thrower — were deeply disturbing to families of the victims, most of whom were teenagers.

I wonder what drove him to randomly kill people. Crazy. I’m not against video games, but some people should definitely stay away from them.

Entertainment

Dick Clark: ‘American Bandstand’ Host and TV Icon Dies at 82
Legendary TV host and producer Dick Clark died Wednesday of a massive heart attack at the age of 82.

According to his publicist, Clark had entered St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica last night for an outpatient procedure. Attempts to resuscitate were unsuccessful.”

RIP Dick. New Year’s Eve won’t be the same without you.

Technology/Social Media

Olympics Unveil Social Media Hub to Connect Athletes and Fans
The Olympic Athletes’ Hub aggregates the verified social media feeds of more than 1,000 current and former Olympians. It will post content directly from their Facebook and Twitter accounts and incorporate a gamification layer incentivizing fans to interact with the site. Users will be able to access exclusive training-tips videos and gain virtual and real-world prizes according to how many athletes they like and follow online.

“Another interesting thing that might come out of the hub is that Olympic Athletes will be able to connect not only with their fans but with each other before, during and after the Games are over, if they so desire,” IOC social media head Alex Huot told Mashable in an email. “If we take a step back we have a pretty cool scenario of fans connecting with athletes, athletes connecting with athletes and the IOC becomes a platform of sorts connecting everybody together.”

This is awesome because I’d love to see the athletes engage with their fans.

How ‘Liquidmetal’ Could Give the Next iPhone Its Special Swagger
Liquidmetal was discovered at the California Institute of Technology in 1992. It’s a class of patented amorphous metal alloys (basically metallic glass) with unique properties including high strength, high wear resistance against scratching and denting, and a good strength-to-weight ratio. Apple was granted rights to use it in August of 2010.

“Liquidmetal allows precision parts to be fabricated similar to plastic injection molding, but with similar properties to metal,” IHS senior principal analyst Kevin Keller said.

I can’t wait to get my hands on this.

Sports

PSU pays Paterno estate $5.5M-plus
A breakdown provided by Penn State included the use by Paterno’s family of a Beaver Stadium suite for 25 years and $900,000 from television and radio revenue from last season. Half the broadcast revenues were paid in February, and the rest will be paid later this year, the school said.

The university also said it would pay the coach’s widow, Sue Paterno, $1,000 a month for life, and provide her with on-campus parking and access to university hydrotherapy equipment.

Other elements of the package include a final paycheck of $34,000, a death benefit of $51,000 and $350,000 — payable over five years — under a 1986 consulting agreement. The university also agreed to forgive $350,000 in outstanding loans and debt. No explanation was provided regarding Paterno’s debts to the school.

While the school said in a news release the total value of the package was “over $5.5 million,” added together the various elements are worth about $6.7 million. The stadium suite was valued at $1.5 million.

I’m glad that Penn State is paying their dues to the former coach and his family.

Fenway at 100: Love it, revere it, blow it up
Two years later, damn near to the day, a new Boston place of business opened its gates to the public. April 20, 1912, turned out to be a big day in that city’s history, even if most of the folks from the Fenway district 100 years ago were still talking about a big tub in the Atlantic that went down with poor Leo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet on it.

I am pleased to acknowledge that Fenway Park’s centennial is upon us. I am less pleased to confess that — at the risk of offending any Red Sox fan who feels as if you have just spat on his or her great-grandfather’s grave — what I love about Fenway is, to be perfectly frank with you, nothing.

I really want to visit Fenway when I go to Boston in November.

Business/Money
Prepaid Cards Double As Student IDs On College Campuses
These student IDs grant students access to campus buildings and let them check out library books, have campus meals, pay for laundry and go to the gym. Since the cards are offered by prominent lenders, they can be used to pay for products at retailers that accept those cards.

North Carolina State University announced on Wednesday that it is partnering with U.S. Bank to give the Wolfpack One Card to incoming freshmen this fall. Current students, faculty and staff can pay $10 to get the new card.

Unlike most prepaid cards, the Wolfpack One Card has no monthly fees, no fees for point-of-sale purchases, no fees for withdrawals at U.S. Bank ATMs, no enrollment fees for new students, and no minimum balance to keep the account active, according to the press release and the WSJ.

This definitely makes it easier for students to manage all of their cards. I don’t know about you, but I have so many cards in my wallet. I wish Virginia Tech did something like this.

Weekly Roundup – 3/25/12

Victory for Mitt Romney in Republican Primary
Mr Romney has won 47% of the votes, compared with 35% for Rick Santorum, with nearly all votes counted.

Ron Paul polled 9% in Illinois and Newt Gingrich was on 8%; neither candidate campaigned extensively in the state.

“I’m running for president because I have the experience and the vision to get us out of this mess,” said Mr Romney, as his victory became evident.

It’s really hard for anyone to beat Romney at this point.

Mississippi teen gets two life sentences after pleading guilty to hate crime
Dedmon, a slight, blonde man wearing a blue jumpsuit, looked down as prosecutors described the killing. Dedmon admitted that he and a group of white teens were partying in Puckett, a small town outside the capital city, when he suggested they find a black man to harass and went to Jackson because of its majority-black population. They found Anderson before dawn outside a hotel. He was beaten before Dedmon ran over him.

Why can’t everyone get along? Dedmon deserves the life sentences.

Future iPhone May Be Made Out of Glass
Some problems immediately come to mind. While the glass material used in modern smartphones is quite tough, a smartphone made entirely out of glass could easily be damaged in a fall. Furthermore, the iPhone is chock-full of sensors, some of which might have problems functioning in a (transparent) glass enclosure – though Apple’s application addresses this problem by suggesting some parts of the glass case can be made opaque.

Great… iPhones are fragile enough as it is. This is a stupid idea.

Florida Protesters Could Deny Justice for Trayvon Martin
The case is as follow; Trayvon Martin was walking back from the store when Zimmerman spotted him. Zimmerman called 911 and told the operator he saw someone suspicious in the neighborhood. A police car was dispatched. A physical confrontation ensued, causing more 911 calls, this time from neighbors. At some point Zimmerman shot Martin, who died at the scene. Zimmerman told the police he shot Martin in self-defense, and the police took a report, but did not arrest Zimmerman.

Because Martin is black, and Zimmerman white, the claim of racism began almost immediately, both aimed at the police and Zimmerman. But in the rush to declare a racial bias, within two hours of the incident, the snowballing of racially motivated protests, the true issues at hand has not been thoroughly examined by many in the African-American community.

The first issue is that Zimmerman was not arrested, claiming self-defense. In the state of Florida exists the “Stand Your Ground” law. This law states that you can use deadly force if you believe that your life is in danger. African-Americans have dismissed the self-defence claim as a poor excuse because Martin was not armed, but this is the result of unfamiliarity with the law.

Under ‘Stand Your Ground’, you do not have to be physically attacked — you just have to believe that your life is in danger. If I’m walking home after a night on the town and someone stops me and demands my wallet, I can shoot them. If they turn out not to be armed, I’m not going to be arrested. In this case, Martin did not approach Zimmerman, but we do not know what occurred immediately before he was shot. Without witnesses accounts, Zimmerman’s word did not serve the police with grounds for arrest.

Which brings us to the second issue; The protesters are confusing the police with the district attorney. In the days that followed the shooting, the 911 call was released. Here are an outtake of Zimmerman’s words:

“This guy looks like he is up to no good. He is on drugs or something […] These a**holes always get away.”

Zimmerman was told not to pursue Martin, but did so anyway. As a neighborhood watch member, Zimmerman was not supposed to be carrying a gun, and he was known to have made 41 911 calls at different times—usually about a black person he suspected of ill intent. The victim, on the other hand, did not have a weapon, had no record, and had every right to be in the neighborhood. All this adds up to suspicion of bias in the police. But that is the wrong assumption.

This is very messed up. Zimmerman should be charged because he shot someone who had no intention of shooting him. If Martin wanted to walk around the neighborhood at night, he should have the right to.