Weekly Roundup – 7/1/12

Virginia/US
U-Va. board unanimously reinstates Teresa Sullivan as president
The University of Virginia governing board voted unanimously Tuesday to reinstate Teresa Sullivan as president, more than two weeks after board leaders had forced her to resign and unleashed a storm of campus upheaval.

The board brought her back mainly because the governor gave them an ultimatum. He told the board to fix the problem or else they would all be forced to resign.

Gov. McDonnell declares state of emergency after deadly storms
McDonnell said Friday’s storms left at least six people dead in the state. He said two people died in Bedford County. Two were also killed in both Fairfax and Albemarle counties.
Officials said more than two million in the state are without power.
As a result, McDonnell said a state of emergency was issued for the Commonwealth Saturday morning. This gives localities power to implement curfew and also allows the governor access to up to 300 members of the National Guard.

We’ve been hit pretty bad this week, weather wise.

US Supreme Court upholds healthcare reform law
The US Supreme Court has said President Barack Obama’s landmark healthcare reform act is constitutional.

The court upheld a core requirement known as the “individual mandate” that Americans buy insurance or pay a fine.

Of the nine justices on the bench, Chief Justice John Roberts’ vote was decisive in the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling in favour of the law.

Obamacare sounds socialistic. Then again, universal healthcare works for Canadians.

World
Dozens saved after second Christmas Island sinking
More than 120 people have been rescued after a boat sank north of Christmas Island, a week after an asylum-seeker boat sank in the area.

Australian officials said merchant vessels had gathered 123 people from the water, after the boat sent a distress call early on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said between 123 and 133 people were believed to have been on board.

Two Australian navy vessels were on their way to the site.

Sounds like mostly everyone was saved. 🙂

Health
Role of stress in dementia investigated
A Swedish study that followed nearly 1,500 women for a period of 35 years found the risk of dementia was about 65% higher in women who reported repeated periods of stress in middle age than in those who did not.

Scottish scientists, who have done studies in animals, believe the link may be down to hormones the body releases in response to stress which interfere with brain function.

Lovely…

Technology/Social Media
We Know What You’re Doing: Website exposes Facebook stupidity
The site uses Facebook’s Graph API, as well as publicly available Foursquare check-ins, to automatically generate streams of brainlessness, vitriol, and over-sharing from publicly available Facebook posts. These posts are categorized into four columns: Who wants to get fired? (people ranting about their job, bosses); Who’s hungover?; Who’s taking drugs?; and Who’s got a new phone number? Each post includes the user’s profile picture, and lists their first name and last initial. In other words, there’s nothing anonymous about this — that’s the point.

This is why you watch what you post.

Entertainment
TomKat declawed: Katie Holmes divorcing Tom Cruise
But the couple’s romance was instant fodder for the tabloids, who chattered about everything from the couple’s fights and Suri’s clothing to Holmes’ conversion to Scientology.

Sounds like a hot mess marriage.

Sports
Michael Phelps makes the right call, deciding seven is enough for the London Olympics
Michael Phelps did a wise thing Monday: He gave up the chance to compete for another eight Olympic gold medals.

The move will allow him to rest properly at the London Games and have time to recover between races, which is much more important now that he’s 27 years old, his body battered by a dozen years of high-level swimming. He’s out of an event that might be more loaded than any other, one he certainly could’ve won — never bet against Phelps — but appeared more competitive than his other races.

He needs all the rest he can get.

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Weekly Roundup – 4/1/12

Starbuggs? Strawberry Frappuccino Colored by Insects
In what the company, in a statement, says was a move intended to reduce its use of artificial ingredients, Starbucks has started using cochineal extract to supply its Frappuccinos’ strawberry hue. Cochineal extract is derived from grinding up insects, the dried bodies of cochineal bugs, found primarily in Mexico and South America. Cochineal dye has been used as a coloring agent since the 15th century.

I know it sounds gross, but this is also used in jam and some other things.

Harry Potter breaks e-book lockdown
When the Harry Potter books finally went on sale in electronic form on Tuesday, it was as if Harry himself had cast the “Alohomora” spell on them — the one that unlocks doors.

In a break with industry practices, the books aren’t locked down by encryption, which means consumers can move them between devices and read them anywhere they like.

If “Pottermore,” J.K. Rowling’s new Web store, proves a success, it could provide a model for other authors and publishers and undermine the clout of Amazon.com Inc., which dominates e-book sales.

This is huge for the Harry Potter franchise. It shows that they are moving ahead.

Google to Launch Third-Party
The Google comment system, which will almost certainly rival that of Facebook, will have deep links to Google’s network of services and websites, indexing comments in Google Search, and most significantly, the system will be available for use on third party sites.

I’m not surprised at all. Seems like Google and Facebook are copying each other these days.

Newt Gingrich cuts staff, aims for Tampa
After twice resurrecting his campaign from dire situations, Gingrich has effectively skipped big primary states since his loss to Mitt Romney in the Florida and Nevada primaries. He focused on the South but won only two states in the entire GOP primary contest: South Carolina and his former home state of Georgia.

Honestly, if I were Gingrich, I’d drop out. It’s hard to beat Mitt Romney now.

Supreme Court questions validity over Obama healthcare law
The legal challenge has been brought by 26 US states which say the individual mandate violates the principles of freedom and liberty enshrined in the US constitution.

Backers of the law see the provision, which does not take effect until 2014, as crucial for reducing the numbers of Americans living without health insurance.

As the latest session got under way, protesters for and against the law once again held demonstrations on the steps of the court in Washington DC, reflecting the bitterly divisive passions aroused by the law.

People shouldn’t be penalized if they don’t have healthcare.

Apples Are Growing in American Homes
Half of all U.S. households own at least one Apple product, according to CNBC’s All-America Economic survey.

That’s more than 55 million homes with at least one iPhone, iPad, iPod or Mac computer. And one-in-10 homes that aren’t currently in that group plan to join it in the next year.

But Apple doesn’t have to worry about brand saturation any time soon. Americans don’t stop with just one device. Homes that own least one Apple, own an average of three. Overall, the average household has 1.6 Apple devices, with almost one-quarter planning to buy at least one more in the next year.

I personally own three Apple devices (MacBook Pro, iPhone, and iPod Touch.) Total for our household = 6 (the family’s iMac, my mom’s iPhone, and my sister’s iPod.)

Witness details Trayvon Martin’s killing
The witness recounted seeing two men on the grass, one on top of the other. “And at that point, not looking out the window, I heard the yell for help, one yell for help, and then I heard another … excruciating type of yell. It didn’t almost sound like ‘help.’ It just sounded so painful. But I wasn’t watching out the window during that. And then the next time I looked out the window, there’s the same thing: two men on the grass, one on top of each other. I couldn’t see a lot of movement. It was very dark, but I felt like they were scuffling. And then I heard the gunshots, which, to me, were more like pops than they were like a bang.”

The witness recalled hearing more than one shot. “It definitely was more than one pop noise, so I don’t know if it was an echo or anything else. But it definitely made more than one pop.”
The witness said the shots were audible as one man was on top of the other. But the witness recalled not having been able to see clearly which man was on top because it was dark.
Within a couple of seconds after the shots, one of the men “was walking toward where I was watching, and I could see him a little bit clearer. Could see that it was a Hispanic man. He didn’t appear hurt or anything else.”

But the man, who by now had left the grass and was walking on the sidewalk, did seem worried, “with his hand up to his forehead,” the witness said. “Now, a couple of seconds later, in the dark, you see that person that’s alive walk away; you know, obviously, OK, he must’ve got up and he walked away, where the other person is still laying there, face down.”

This is why George Zimmerman needs to testify before a grand jury. Zimmerman has been saying one thing. Now, this witness is saying another. There needs to be some justice here. It’s not fair for Trayvon or his family.

Winning Mega Millions ticket for $640 mil jackpot sold in Maryland
Forget about how the $640 million Mega Millions jackpot could change the life of the winner. It’s a collective wager that could fund a presidential campaign several times over, make a dent in struggling state budgets or take away the gas worries and grocery bills for thousands of middle-class citizens.

And it’s a cheap investment for the chance of a big reward, no matter how long the odds — 1 in 176 million.

That’s just insane.