Weekly Roundup 7/22/12 & 7/29/12

Virginia/US
Mystery of suspect James Holmes’ missing Facebook account
As the investigation got under way in the shooting at the “The Dark Knight Rises” premiere, in which 70 members of the estimated 300-seat crowd were killed or injured, those looking for clues to make sense of it all went online for a digital footprint for the suspect – to no avail.

It appears that the suspect Holmes is not on any social networks – at least not under his legal name. The picture of Holmes that has been painted is not much different than a typical, perhaps disenchanted college student.

If he did, I would definitely write him some nasty message for being a(n) {insert insulting phrase here}.

Paterno statue removed from Penn State campus
The 900-pound bronze statue is being stored in a “secure location,” according to a statement from Penn State President Rodney Erickson. The tribute to Paterno had become an object of contention after the child rape scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

Paterno’s statue and legacy came under fire after the release of the Freeh Report, the scathing investigation led by former FBI Director Louis Freeh.

The report found several Penn State officials concealed evidence that Sandusky had sexually abused minors. Freeh concluded that Paterno could have prevented further sexual abuse had he taken action. Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of child sexual abuse involving 10 victims.

This is why you don’t hide what you’re doing. I hope other schools learn a lesson from all of this.

Aurora cinema shooting: Obama to pay tribute to victims
US President Barack Obama is heading for Colorado to honour victims of Friday’s gun attack at a Batman film screening that left 12 people dead.

The White House said Mr Obama would meet survivors and families of victims, as well as local officials in Aurora.

In his weekly radio address, he called for prayer and reflection on the gun rampage in the Denver suburb.

Pope Benedict has voiced “deep shock” over the attack which left another 58 people injured, some critically.

Glad to hear the President and the Pope are speaking out about this, although it’s so sad.

World
Spectators arriving for Olympics opening ceremony
Thousands of people are arriving at the Olympic Park ahead of the £27m opening ceremony of the London Games.

The three-hour spectacle in the Olympic Stadium will be viewed by a global TV audience of around one billion people.

Details of the ceremony remain a closely-guarded secret. Its artistic director, Danny Boyle, has dedicated it to the 15,000 volunteers taking part.

Holy cow!

Health
Controversy surrounds health care contract workers
Since a temporary radiologic technologist was accused of stealing drugs from a New Hampshire hospital and giving patients hepatitis C through infected syringes, troubling reports of his past have emerged — casting a spotlight on the staffing industry as a whole.

David Kwiatkowski worked in 13 hospitals in eight states between January 2007 and July 2012, when he was arrested in a Massachusetts hotel room “in an intoxicated state,” according to court documents. During that time he was employed by at least two staffing firms: Triage Staffing and SpringBoard Healthcare Staffing.

A surge of contract employees have entered the work force since 2009, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Businesses turned to staffing firms to handle their workload until they were more certain of their company’s future. More than 25% of all new jobs created were temporary.
Was there ever a background check?

Technology/Social Media
Chick-Fil-A Faces Gay Marriage Backlash on Twitter, Facebook
Chick-Fil-A president Dan Cathy sparked a social media firestorm among gay marriage supporters and opponents after taking a public stance on the divisive issue this week.

Speaking to Christian news site Baptist Press, Cathy called Chick-Fil-A “guilty as charged” in response to past criticism of its position on same-sex marriage; he said the company is “very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit.”

Cathy later added: “We intend to stay the course. We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”

I get what Chick-fil-A is saying, but I don’t know if I would publicly say something if I were them. Gay marriage is such a hot topic these days.

Apple to launch Mountain Lion tomorrow
The operating system was first previewed by developers in February and brings a number of iOS-inspired features to its computers, such as Reminders, Notes and even the Notification Center. There’s also a new security feature, Gatekeeper, which aims to reduce malware by blocking uncertified apps from being installed. In all, Apple claims that Mountain Lion will bring 200 new features.

I may look into it once I read reviews about it.

Business/Money
Toyota recalling 760,000 RAV4’s due to crash risk
Toyota announced the recall Wednesday of some 778,000 vehicles in the United States due to a suspension problem that could cause crashes.

The recall comprises roughly 760,000 Toyota RAV4’s from model years 2006 to 2011, as well as about 18,000 Lexus HS 250h’s from 2010.

Toyota said that if the nuts on the rear suspension arms of these vehicles aren’t tightened properly during a wheel alignment service, the arms may come loose or separate.

Manufacturers should definitely check their cars before selling them to the public.

Entertainment
Sherman Hemsley, TV’s George Jefferson, dead at 74
Sherman Hemsley, who made bluster an endearing character trait as George Jefferson on “The Jeffersons” and Deacon Ernest Frye on “Amen,” has died, People.com reports. The 74-year-old actor was found dead in his El Paso home Tuesday, according to the El Paso Times.

No cause of death was available.

RIP 😦

Sports
Sandusky’s retirement package revoked
Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant coach who was found guilty on 45 counts of sexual abuse, has had his retirement package revoked.

The retirement package was revoked in November, Penn State spokesperson David LaTorre wrote in an email. Sandusky was charged with 40 counts of child sex abuse on November 4.

According to a report released by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, an agreement was made on June 29, 1999 to pay Sandusky $168,000 –– a lump sum that was awarded to Sandusky the following day.

According to the report, Sandusky received “a net amount of $111,990.18” after taxes and various deductions.

I don’t blame Penn State for doing that.

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Weekly Roundup – 7/15/12

I’m going to do a condensed version. I didn’t spend a lot of time reading the news this week.

Penn State blamed over Jerry Sandusky sex abuse
Louis Freeh’s report, released on Wednesday, laid much blame in the hands of four of Penn State’s “most powerful people”: President Graham Spanier, Vice-President Gary Schultz, athletic director Tim Curley and head football coach Joe Paterno.

They “failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade. These men concealed Sandusky’s activities from the Board of Trustees, the university community and authorities,” Mr Freeh wrote.

The four men, including the university president, knew that Sandusky was under investigation by university police of allegations of child sex abuse on campus as early as 1998.

It’s easy to look back now and say that.

Boston ranks 19th worst in traffic gridlock study
According to TomTom, a manufacturer of GPS navigation devices, Boston is the 19th most congested city in North America, behind such cities as Vancouver and Miami. The company’s Congestion Index report for the first quarter of the year, which surveyed 26 North American cities, found the absolute worst traffic is in Los Angeles.

On average, Boston commutes take 16 percent longer than they would if traffic were flowing freely — like in the middle of the night. In the evening rush, however, Boston commutes take 35 percent more time than they do when everything is moving well, according to the TomTom report.

By comparison, Los Angeles commutes take an average of 33 percent longer than they would in free-flowing traffic and a whopping 77 percent longer during evening rush hour.
My commute isn’t too bad.

China’s Video Sites Ordered to Censor Content
If you run a video website in China, you will now be charged with a daunting task: watch all your content and censor out any questionable content before posting.

China’s new online video censorship rules came this week via the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), China’s official broadcast regulation bureau. SARFT made the pre-screening policy known through a statement released to Chinese press that was later reported on by The Register.

Chinese video websites can be held legally liable if they fail to comply with the self-screening and censorship policy.

Ouch.

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.