08 June 2009

Bi-weekly Reflections 2009 - Week 20 & 21 - Articles & Links

"Bi-Weekly Reflections" is my small journal of events that have gone on throughout the last 2 weeks that I've decided to keep. Articles and links were part of the main "Bi-weekly Reflections" segment of my blog for some time, but because of the large number of articles and links that I've been adding lately (along with my own commentary on them), I've decided to separate the links into their own posts. New updates to this will (hopefully) be posted as soon as possible.
  • One of the latest things that has the entertainment industry all abuzz is the "reality" show "Jon & Kate Plus 8" and the circus that it has become. Based on "information" that reporters have gotten, they say that the show is staged, which really isn't any surprise. Also, another "source" has said that Kate, the mother from the show, is a control freak and only gave her husband, Jon, $5 a day to spend. Even the state of Pennsylvania is getting in on the action as they have begun investigating any possibilities of the show violating child labor laws, which some believe it is. How about this: they've recently been seen doing their own seperate things (which I don't think is too big a deal, but hey, its the entertainment industry and they'll pick at anything to expand [incorrectly] on for a story). I just find this gossip about the two just disgusting (and the fact that they're selling out their family for money and fame), but somehow, I keep reading it. I don't know what's worse.
  • Other news (albeit less pronounced) in the entertainment world is that Mel Gibson is expecting a child with his recent girlfriend after only a short while since his wife filed for divorce. In a way, I'm not really surprised. Oh, and on top of this, a lot of people are very upset at Mel Gibson's apparent lack of adherence to the traditionalist Catholic doctrine that he was so ardent to support before. Mel, no offense, but your days are numbered if you keep acting out your mid-life crisis off-screen.
  • California is in some really deep trouble now that the voters turned down several proposals which were designed to somewhat help balance the budget here, where wellfare and other services may be eliminated from the budget due to the budget constraints.
  • When I say "bicycle," visions of a 2-wheeled machine come to mind with circular tires - not exactly very exciting. But this Chinese man managed to build a build a bicycle using a special type of pentagon and triangle for wheels. Definitely worth a look-see: [article]
  • Cancer is a horrible thing, killing thousands each year all caused by many different things. As noted in this article, most of the current methods used involve seeking out cancerous cells and destroying them, oftentimes also hurting the host. However, one doctor is proposing a "Cold War"-like solution: a stalemate in the battle for cancer. Instead of destroying the cancer, we instead control it - prevent its spread and growth. It seems like a good idea since cancer is so difficult to eliminate by today's understanding of biological systems. It seems to be like the answers to herpes - we can't exactly cure it without possibly harming the host, so let's manage it and keep it under control.
  • This article vaguely reminds me of my term project at CSUSM where we had to build a simple 4-bit computer. This guy definitely took it way farther though!
  • From the "Somebody lost his/her job over this" files: initial news reports say that the government of New Zealand has denied renewing a purchasing agreement for the next 3 years with Microsoft. From a business standpoint, this is a huge shortfall and one that will likely be echoed by other governments around the world for years to come. Doesn't look like Microsoft is in such a great position now.
  • From the "Wow" files: Russian police found a real-life "Feral" girl who apparently was raised by cats and dogs. There is so much I could say about this, but I have no idea where to start and how I would phrase my reactions to it. [article]
  • In what I believe is a huge slap in the face to people who believe themselves to be humanitarians (or a good example of why percentages are not good statistical indicators), a study was was issued that showed that people with lower incomes tended to give a greater percentage of their income to the poor.
  • Although I believe that this is a skewed source for an article, it is worth noting that it is said that 1 in 3 bees died last winter here in the US, which, even if the data is skewed, is definitely not a good sign for the food supply here.
  • From the "Strange & Unexplained X-Files", an article showed up with a cat in China that had started to grow "wings" at the age of 1. Very strange!
  • Did you know that they were considering a different ending to "Terminator: Salvation"?
  • Talk about being in the right place at the right time: "Pizza man leads cops to rape victim"
  • Yet another instance of the media creating more hype than is really necessary: "Experts warn cell phones face hacking threat"
  • Sad news comes that Air France flight 447 from Rio de Janiero, Brazil to Paris, France "disappeared" over the Atlantic ocean with over 200 passengers on board from what investigators believe may be due to the plane flying through a thunderstorm and possibly getting hit by lightning. As cynical as this may sound, investigators believe that the plane may have gone down somewhere near an archipelago and leads me to believe that this is some sort of real-life Lost. But despite this reaction of mine, I do pray for the families of those who lost a loved one on the flight.
  • And so ends closes the final chapter on the tragic story of the Titanic: "Last survivor of the Titanic dies, aged 97"
  • Although this is a very misleading article and leads me into confusion, it nonetheless is interesting to note the inconsistencies: "Religious school grads likelier to have abortions"
  • Can you believe that Tetris was made 25 years ago? And to believe that it is still an insanely popular game to this day is incredible!
  • From the "Are you serious?", "Are you that dependent?" and the "WTF were they thinking?" files, this article talks about how some parents set up generators so that their kids could play video games after a hurricane, only to end up with carbon dioxide poisoning because they didn't put the generators outside. Really? Are you that dumb? Can't you live without games for a little while?
  • Beware when digging: "Top secret Government cables, and why you should never cut them"
  • Yet another trend is starting, and its one that I've already seen and but so far, because its new, it hasn't bothered me much. However, I feel that the "twee" style is going to get overplayed quite quickly and will go the way of the dodo like many other trends have.
  • From the "Wierd" files: "Airport buzz: 10,000 bees land on plane's wing"
  • Stupid, brazen, and comically unique: "Chilean police find suitcases made of cocaine"
  • A quick blurb on Slashdot says that GM's Hummer brand may be sold off to a Chinese company, though the article says that the American HumVees are manufactured by another company and outside of this sell-off (thus those trucks are still American-made, securing our military secrets - we hope).
  • From the "Funny Twitter-related" files: "Historical Tweets Make History LOL"
  • I recently came across this article about a 10-year-old Southern California girl who is currently fighting a rare form of adult breast cancer and has begun chemotherapy treatment. I feel horrible about this story because of the fact that, instead of waiting for her hair to fall out, she has gone ahead and shaved her head (which, in a show of unwavering support of their daughter, her family has given themselves buzz cuts as well). I can imagine, at an age like that, it would be an extremely difficult time especially since she probably is about to enter middle school (or will soon) - one of the harshest times for a kid and the period of time that will make or break their character for the rest of their lives. She is a strong person and I hope nothing but the best for her.
  • OMG! Its a Dick Tracy wrist-phone!
  • I don't know why this is news, but "Octomom" was recently pulled over by cops for using her cell-phone while driving. I do know, however, why this was published, and that was because of the fact that people will think that she is not being safe with her kids around and not using a headset while talking on the phone (or just not talking on the phone at all), creating controversy, but, really, who cares?
  • This story is particularly bothersome to me not in the fact of what the business did to make money, but how some of the local residents reacted to it. I never like to wish ill on other people, even if they did something that I didn't agree to. From a business standpoint, this guy had a good idea, even if residents didn't like it. I personally have no problem with the business, but apparently some people have sticks up their a** so far that they forget that this is the Land of the Free and built on the principle of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness," and for this business owner, his pursuit lead him to establish this business. Treading on his dream just seems wrong to me.

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