Weekly Roundup – 6/3/12

Virginia/US
John Edwards case mistrial declared
The judge in the campaign finance trial of former US presidential candidate John Edwards has declared a mistrial amid jury deadlock on most charges.

The panel in North Carolina found him not guilty on one of six charges of misuse of campaign funds, but could not agree on the other five.

It is not clear if prosecutors will retry Mr Edwards on the other counts.

I think he should be retried.

Judge revokes Zimmerman’s bond
A Florida judge revoked bond Friday for George Zimmerman, who is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Trayvon Martin.
Seminole County Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester Jr. ordered Zimmerman to surrender to the county sheriff no later than Sunday afternoon.

Lester accused Zimmerman of having misrepresented how much money he had when his bond was originally set in April. Prosecutors say he had $135,000 at the time Zimmerman’s wife, Shellie, told the court, under oath, that they were indigent.

Things don’t look good for Zimmerman.

Amelia Earhart: New evidence tells of her last days on a Pacific atoll (+video)
“Amelia Earhart did not simply vanish on July 2, 1937,” Richard Gillespie, executive director of TIGHAR, told Discovery News. “Radio distress calls believed to have been sent from the missing plane dominated the headlines and drove much of the US Coast Guard and Navy search.”

“When the search failed, all of the reported post-loss radio signals were categorically dismissed as bogus and have been largely ignored ever since,” Mr. Gillespie said. But the results of the study, he said, “suggest that the aircraft was on land and on its wheels for several days following the disappearance.”

In addition, several artifacts found years ago – some of it discovered by Pacific islanders who later inhabited the island – seem to confirm TIGHAR’s conclusion.

These include broken glass artifacts showing evidence of secondary use as tools for cutting or scraping; large numbers of fish and bird bones collected in, or associated with, ash and charcoal deposits; several hundred mollusk shells, as well as bones from at least one turtle; bone fragments and dried fecal matter that might be of human origin.

Wow! So it seems like she survived on the island for a short while.

World
Fatal shooting at Toronto’s Eaton shopping centre
One person has been killed and seven others injured in a shooting at Toronto’s main central shopping centre, Canadian police have said.

Witnesses described scenes of panic after gunfire broke out in the food court of the Eaton Centre.

“A herd of people were just running toward us, screaming, running, freaking out,” said one shopper.

Police said two of the injured were in a critical condition and warned that they were still hunting the shooter.

A 13-year-old boy was among those seriously injured.

Officials said a 25-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene.

What’s with people these days?

Official: No survivors after plane with 153 aboard crashes in Nigerian neighborhood
None of the 153 people on board a Nigerian airplane survived its crash Sunday into a residential neighborhood in the West African nation’s most populated city, a top emergency management official said.

Mohammed Sani Sidi, director general of Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency, described the scene as “devastation.”

While other structures were affected, the building hit most directly by the airliner was “totally destroyed,” Sidi said.

So sad. 😦

Health
New York to ban sale of large sodas
The proposed first-in-the-nation ban would impose a 16-ounce limit on the size of sweetened drinks sold at restaurants, movie theaters, sports venues and street carts. It would apply to bottled drinks as well as fountain sodas.

The ban, which could take effect as soon as March, would not apply to diet sodas, fruit juices, dairy-based drinks or alcoholic beverages. Nor would it include drinks sold in grocery or convenience stores. Food establishments that don’t downsize would face fines of $200.

I think it’s a good idea.

Technology/Social Media
Sex offenders fight for right to use Facebook
Registered sex offenders who have been banned from social networking websites are fighting back in the nation’s courts, successfully challenging many of the restrictions as infringements on free speech and their right to participate in common online discussions.
The legal battles pit public outrage over sex crimes against cherished guarantees of individual freedom and the far-reaching communication changes brought by Facebook, LinkedIn and dozens of other sites.

Not sure how I feel about this.

Business/Money
Want to close your bank account? It’ll likely cost you
Banks have been angering people for a long time now and there might be just one additional reason to add to the list. A new survey has found banks are charging fees to consumers wanting to close their accounts, along with a few other “hassles.”
Depending on the bank, these fees can total up to $55.

Don’t close your bank account then.

Eurozone crisis explained
The Association of British Travel Agents (Abta) says around 5% of the 36 million holidays taken by the British abroad are to Greece and its islands.

At present, they spend in euros. If Greece left the euro, and adopted the drachma again, it is likely that visitors on holiday will see their money go much further.

That is because the process of leaving the currency will almost certainly involve a simultaneous devaluation of the new currency against the pound.

So basically, the Greek currency won’t be worth anything if they leave the Euro.

Eurozone unemployment rate sticks at 11%
Unemployment in the eurozone was 11% in April, unchanged from March, but still the highest since records began in 1995.

Spain had the highest rate in the eurozone at 24.3%, while Austria had the lowest at 3.9%, according to the official figures from Eurostat.

A seasonally adjusted total of 17.4 million people were unemployed in the eurozone, up from 17.3 million.

In the 27-nation European Union, the jobless rate was 10.3%, up from 10.2%.

WOW! And we think things in the U.S. are bad! The E.U. definitely has it much worse.

Entertainment
12 best singles of 2012 (so far)
What have we been loving from January to June? We’ve narrowed it down to a dozen — Hot 100 smashes and scrappy indie-rock anthems alike.

I recognize a few songs, but I need to check out some of the others.

American Idol’s Philip Philips making history with song ‘Home’
The signature song of American Idol winner Philip Philips entitled “Home” has ranked No.2 on Billboard’s Digital Songs chart with 278,000 downloads.

Wow, that’s a lot of downloads.

‘American Idol’: Who REALLY Won Each Season?
Take heart, Jessica (and Joshua too)! Time proves the singer with the most votes doesn’t always end up on top. MJ Santilli looks at the show’s first ten seasons to judge which contender won in the post-”Idol” world.

I agree with this list, even though I didn’t really watch season 9 or 10.

Andy Samberg will not return to ‘SNL’
Not another one! Andy Samberg has become the latest comedian to leave Saturday Night Live.

In an interview with the New York Times Friday, Samberg said he would not return in the fall. “It’s an incredibly emotional and strange moment in my life,” Samberg said. “Obviously it’s not a huge shock, but I did officially decide not to come back.”

All the funny ones are leaving. 😦

‘American Idol’ moves toward lower payouts for runners-up
Wednesday night’s runner-up, 16-year-old Jessica Sanchez, doesn’t have a definite shot at producing an album and could be paid as little as $30,000 in advances for recording singles, according to the Idol contract she and other Season 11 contestants signed earlier this year.

The agreement appears to be the first time in Idol’s history that producers are not offering the show’s runner-up an album deal that in previous years came with a guaranteed advance of at least $175,000, an Associated Press review of the Fox show’s contracts reveals.

That’s not right. Talk about huge pay cuts.

Sports
It’s football vs. forest in Va. Tech sports facility controversy
When it comes to recruiting, Virginia Tech’s athletics department is taking an “if we build it, they will come” approach, with plans to construct a new $20 million indoor practice facility for its football and other sports teams near Lane Stadium on the university campus.

The Hokies have the third-longest college bowl game streak in the country, and have sold out every game since 1998. However, they have yet to win a national championship. The athletics department hopes a state-of-the-art facility nearer to the football stadium could help change that.

There’s only one problem: A densely wooded area chock full of old-growth trees, some older than the United States itself, is in the way.

Blueprint plans that have been in the works for over a decade would require chopping down at least 60 trees over the age of 150. Six of the trees have been found to be more than 300 years old.

It’s a hard call on this one.

With Stanley Cup Finals Underway NHL Still Trying To Attract Latinos
But when it comes to Latinos, Gallegos will be among a small minority tuning in to watch this year’s Stanley Cup. Demographics show that 9.4 percent of the NHL’s fan base is Hispanic. It’s important to note that’s just among the league’s fans, not 9.4 percent of Latinos overall. And hockey is pretty close to the bottom of the list of sports Hispanics participate in, both as players and spectators, Only one percent of Latinos have watched a regular-season NHL game in the last year, according to data from Scarborough Research.

“From the statistics and numbers that I’ve seen, NHL just does not resonate among Latino consumers and Latino sports fans,” said Mario Flores, managing director of Sportivo, a Latino-focused sports public relations and marketing agency.

Probably more than any other U.S. professional sport, hockey faces an uphill battle for breaking into the Hispanic market. The almost nonexistent presence of hockey in Latin America and barriers of entry to play (such as lack of rinks in many minority neighborhoods and cost to participate) are two huge obstacles.

I can definitely see why Hispanics have a hard time relating to hockey.

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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.