Thursday, April 29, 2010

Newsy: Coast Guard Ignites Oil Slick, Sparks Environmental Concern

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The oil leaking from the rig that exploded in the Gulf is threatening the ecologically fragile Louisiana coastline, prompting the Coast Guard to light it on fire: "One week after that oil rig exploded off Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico, the oil which is leaking from that site is now spreading. Authorities say it's threatening wildlife and fishing industries along the Gulf coast." (Fox News)
The oil slick is drifting closer to the ecologically fragile Louisiana coastline, prompting the Coast Guard to remove the oil from the ocean surface by igniting it.
We're taking a look at how burning the oil will impact the environment, with perspectives from CBS, National Geographic, Fox News, Audubon Magazine and CNN.
Clean-up crews recovered nearly 50,000 gallons of oil-water mixture, but almost the same amount is pouring from a broken pipe at the site every day. Experts say that won't be repaired for weeks.
On CBS, a reporter says burning the oil is now the most effective way to remove it: "If the current measures fail it could be two months or more before a new well could be drilled that would seal off the old well. In the meantime, a fire may be one of the best ways to prevent the oil from reaching shore."
The oil slick is just 20 miles from the Louisiana coastline, threatening endangered species in the Delta National Wildlife Refuge.
But an article from National Geographic says the fire will threaten the environment too: "The heat generated by the burning oil—a temperature of 1,800°F (982°C) was measured at the top of the boom at the Newfoundland burn—will cause the smoke to rise several hundred to several thousand feet and at the same time be carried away by the prevailing winds." 
But on Fox News, an official from the Texas General Land Office says burning oil won't affect animals at all: "There would be no impact on the wildlife. Burning oil is an incredibly effective way from removing it from the surface of the water. What you have left typically would be a very, very hard tar-like substance, not gooey at all but very, very hard, some of it might in fact sink, but even the residue that's left floating can actually be recovered from the surface of the water."
In Audubon Magazine, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the fire will endanger wildlife, but not as much as the oil slick: “Based on our limited experience, birds and mammals are more capable of handling the risk of a local fire and temporary smoke plume than of handling the risk posed by a spreading oil slick. Birds flying in the plume can become disoriented, and could suffer toxic effects. This risk, however, is minimal when compared to oil coating and ingestion."
Finally, on CNN, a meteorologist explains how the Coast Guard is approaching the fire tactic cautiously: "This could be potentially a very dangerous situation. They're handling it in a very careful way. The way they go through this method is they use something that is called a fire boom, which is almost like an aquatic fence ... And what they'll do is they'll take off just the crude, not the sheen, the rainbow sheen which will actually dissipate on its own. But they're going to take some of that crude and what they're going to do is they're going to pull it off, and then just do a controlled burn."
So what do you think? Is a controlled burn the lesser of two evils? Or should more be done to mitigate the crisis?
Writer: Courtney Cebula


No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

Newsy: Stephen Hawking Warns Against Aliens

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British Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking says we should stay away from intelligent alien life that may want to conquer and colonize: "I imagine they might exist in massive ships like these, having used up all the resources from the home planet below. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they can reach." (Discovery)
Renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking says it's likely intelligent aliens could target our planet for resources and we should stop trying to contact them. His Discovery Channel show explores the scientists' ideas of what types of aliens exist and how similar to life on earth they would be.
But not everyone thinks aliens want to wipe us out 'Independence Day' style. A blogger on Science Blogs thinks Hawking's idea of an intergalacic war is unlikely: "My bet would be on interplanetary biowarfare ... Don't expect alien tripods with lasers, watch out for alien viruses and bacteria turning the soil and atmosphere poisonous or unsupportive."
An astrophysicist on CNN agrees there's probably some kind of life out there, but Hawking's theory of violent aliens should be a different kind of wake up call: "It says more about what we fear about ourselves than any real expectation of what an alien would be like. In other words, our biggest fear, I think, is that the aliens who visit us would treat us the way we treat each other here on earth."
Anchors on ABC's "America this Morning" are skeptical but say Hawking has a great imagination: "His theory is that they might be in massive ships because they ran out of supplies on their own planets.
"Very good imagination." 
"Yes, that's the theory at least."
"I believe they could be out there."
An MTV blog says while the Pod People might be out there, there's also nice ones, like E.T. and A.L.F.: "At least some aliens tuning in to Earth's radio chatter probably are on the lookout for their next potential slave race. But c'mon... let's not forget about the friendly ones. Better to put the word out and draw in a Superman or two than sit and wait for our inevitable subjugation..."
So should we all prepare for a War of the Worlds? Or will E.T. just want to phone home?
Writer: Erika Roberts


No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

Newsy: Study Links Chocolate and Depression

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A new study says chocolate consumption and depression are linked, though it's unclear how.
Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is good for your health, or so we think. A new study is claiming there's a link between chocolate — and depression.
A report on Connecticut's ABC affiliate WTNH points out it's still unclear which came first — the chocolate or the depression: "Researchers are not sure if depression stimulates the craving for chocolate, or if depressed people eat chocolate trying to improve their moods."
The researchers say more research is needed. A Washington Post blogger is surprised this isn't clear yet: "It seems obvious to me that we reach for the bag of Hershey's kisses when we feel blue, but apparently that's not been established after all."
A medical correspondent on Fox News says this study doesn't really prove anything: "Chocolate itself, it's not a reason to say, you know it could lead to depression. It is a comfort food, but you know what, at the end of the day chocolate is very good for your health in moderation."
A Cornell University based research blog, Evidence Based Living, says the media took the study out of context: "It’s clearly written, sound research. And it absolutely does not say that chocolate leads to depression... But because some media sources jump to the most 'newsworthy' (some might say sensationalist) presentation, there’s no substitute for going back to the actual source."
But a medical expert on Canada's CTV says the study does raise new questions: "But you know, you have ask yourself, does depression cause chocolate cravings because it maybe has a treatment benefit but there really is no treatment benefit? Or does chocolate cause cravings that have nothing to do with depression whatsoever and this is just fortuitous or is it possible that chocolate really does cause depression and the more you have, the worse it is?"
What do you reach for when your feeling down? Does chocolate make you feel better or worse?


No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Daily Mirror Football:

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RC Celta are not having exactly a good season. The last straw has been the row between goalkeeper Yoel Rodríguez and midfielder Roberto Trashorras. Even the British newspaper Mirror Football published the news on its web:
Celta Vigo keeper Yoel Rodriguez was not a happy bunny at the weekend after conceding the only goal of the game against Villarreal B late on. In typical goalie style, however, it wasn't his fault. Oh no. He knew just who to blame, hence his 40-yard dash out of his area to push and shove team-mate Roberto Trashorras, whose culpability for the winner is not immediately obvious. Rodriguez was fined after the game and apologised to Trashorras, admitting that he "didn't know what he'd said to him". But if anyone knows the Spanish for 'you useless...', we suspect you're probably pretty close to the mark.


 No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Newsy: FDA Wants to Shake Out Salt

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“A recent study estimates that up to 150,000 lives could be saved if Americans would just cut about a teaspoon of salt a day.”(CBS)
Americans consume more than double the recommended daily sodium intake. Now, the FDA wants to cut that down. Their plan, which would take about 10 years, will gradually set limits for the amount of salt allowed in commercial food products.
We’re looking at perspectives from CBS News, ABC News, Fox News, CNBC and the Washington Post.
ABC News says for most people, less salt means better health — And if America wants to be healthier, someone needs to regulate our intake: “Now we can control the stuff we use ourselves in salt shakers, but the processed food stuff is so hidden, and we don’t know what it is, and we don’t read the label — so, the only way we’re going to make a dent in this is to have these processed food makers either voluntarily do it or the government require them to do it.”
Fox News’ Sean Hannity says the initiative is just another example of “too much government.”: “You know, this drives me nuts. Government, get out of my life. Leave my french fries alone. Leave my chips alone. Leave my cheeseburgers alone. Leave my Philly cheesesteaks alone. Leave me alone! I don’t need the government to tell me what to eat.”
MeMe Roth is president of National Action Against Obesity. She told CNBC that most Americans don’t have to worry about losing that salty taste — And the potential health benefits of cutting salt are too great to ignore: “We could save 100,000 lives or more a year if we just reduce the salt intake. And very few people will even notice the change in taste — you have maybe a 20 percent decrease. You need a little salt to live, but it takes a lot of salt to kill us, and we are eating A LOT of salt.”
A representative from the Salt Institute told The Washington Post he doubts the science behind the salt strategy: “If you consume a lot of salt, you also get rid of a lot of salt — it doesn’t mean it’s an excess ... I want to make sure they’re basing this on everything that is in the scientific literature, so we don’t end up being guinea pigs because someone thinks they’re doing something good.”
So, what do you think? Should the FDA slowly shake the salt out of America’s diet? Or should government stay out of our meals?
Writer: Steven Hsieh


No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

Newsy: NASA Releases Hi-Def Images of Sun

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NASA released the first high-definition images of the sun from the Solar Dynamics Observatory, launched in February to collect data about the closet star to Earth.
"NASA has released stunning, detailed images of the sun taken by the Solar Dynamics Observatory. These are the first pictures to be shown to the public."(Russia Today)
NASA launched the Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, on a five-year mission in February. The satellite is capturing data about the sun to help scientists learn more about the star's impact on Earth.
The solar satellite is sending ultra high definition images back to Earth with 10 times better resolution than hi-def TV. On HLN's "Morning Express," a meteorologist explains what exactly you're seeing: "It's huge. That's solar flare. It doesn't look like it's that big, but if you take into account the size of the sun, that is actually tens of thousands of miles off the surface as it rotates up and falls back in. It doesn't happen as rapidly as that. This is a time lapse, so it takes a couple hours for it to actually do that."
The SDO collects enormous amounts of data every day — enough to fill one CD every 36 seconds. On InformationWeek, a NASA rep says the observatory's latest data will have a colossal impact on the study of the sun: "SDO will change our understanding of our sun and its processes, which affect our lives and society. The mission will have a huge impact on science, similar to the impact of the Hubble Space Telescope on modern Astrophysics."
On ITN, a reporter says that in just two months, the SDO is lighting up space science: "Scientists say it's working perfectly so far and they're already learning new things. NASA says it's disproved at least one theory but they haven't said what yet."
So what do you think of the images?



No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

Newsy: Countdown to the World Cup

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South Africa celebrates as the countdown to the 2010 FIFA World Cup reaches 50 days.
"The biggest stage creates the biggest drama." (ESPN)
Soccer fans — prepare to start seeing that commercial a lot in the next few weeks. Today is the beginning of the 50-day countdown until the 2010 FIFA World Cup begins.
In Kimberly, South Africa citywide festivities marked the date and South African President Jacob Zuma spoke to press about the importance of the tournament to his country: "This is the single greatest opportunity we have ever had to showcase our diversity and potential to the world. We must rise and tell the story of a continent, which is alive with possibilities and resilient people who embrace people from other nations and cultures."
World Cup Organizing Committee officer Danny Jordaan told the Mail and Guardian Online that South Africa welcomes the attention: "This defining moment will last a full month, a moment where the attention of the world will be nowhere but right here in South Africa."
But not every citizen is looking to celebrate the upcoming tournament. Sky Sports News writes the opinion of some protesters who have led several violent rallies over the past month: "The government would have been better advised to plough resources into housing, health care and education instead of taking on an obscenely expensive and superfluous project such as the World Cup."
According to The Washington Post Soccer Insider blog, these protests aren't the only concerns the tournament organizers have: "The global economy is a mess. Airfare is expensive. Safety is a concern... What does it all mean for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa? Lots of unsold tickets."
And only about half of the 64 matches are sold out. However, this week, organizers predict ticket sales will soar. ESPN explains why: "Organizers today begin the final phase of sales, literally over the counter. This for a South African public not accustomed to buying tickets online."
What do you think? Will South Africa host a successful tournament?

Writer: Amanda Klohmann


No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non commercial purposes only.

Newsy: Texting Beats Calling for U.S. Teens

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A new study by the Pew Research Center says teen texting beats calling as the new means of communication. But what does that mean for teen communication away from the phone?
In a new report released by the Pew Research Center, not only has texting replaced phone calls as the primary way teenagers connect with friends, but a third of U.S. teens send more than 100 text messages a day. Media outlets are talking how this dependence on text messaging affects teen social skills.
In an interview with NPR, a teacher for a school in Los Angeles, which considered a ban last year, says she worries that texting as has not only had a negative affect on students' grammar, but their ability to talk with their teachers in person as well: "They can get up the courage to ask you for [a deadline] extension on the computer. But they won't come and speak to you face-to-face about it. And that worries me, in terms of their ability — particularly once they get out in the workplace — to interact with people."
An author for the study agrees. Amanda Lenhart tells TechNews Daily the lack of clarity in texting can create trouble among friends: "Teens are clever in thinking about interaction they want to have. Text messaging often causes problems because it is devoid of emotion and tone."
But in the same story, another author for the study says texting works because of its convenience: "Teens can [text] under the radar...your teacher or parents won't really know what you're up to and it doesn't bother people around you."
On CNN, the founder of RadicalParenting.com says getting rid of unlimited text messaging is one of the best ways to minimize addiction: "There is no reason for a kid to have unlimited texting on their plan. I know that it can be more cost affective for parents, but it's sending them the wrong message. So to have them either pay for extra text messages or have a limit on that is really important in teaching them boundaries." 
Another way to decrease teen dependence on text messaging is through a program called Mymobilewatchdog.com. It helps parents keep an eye on what their children send and receive through their phones. Investigator Mike Harris tells The Wall Street Journal using this program can control what information is shared.
HARRIS: "There was a young girl, her boyfriend asked her for a naked picture, she said don't show no one, she sent it. He then sent it to his two friends, he said don't show no one. Two weeks later she comes to school, that picture is taped up on her locker."
Reporter: "With the help of Mobile Watchdog, Investigator Mike Harris has helped arrest 26 predators just this year."
HARRIS: "A lot of people might say it's snooping or spying, I call it parenting." 
So do you think teen dependency on text messaging hurts their social skills? And should children under the age of 18 have restrictions placed on them?

For more video on the impact of texting and the increase of in the use of technology check this out:

RELATED VIDEO: 
"Generation Text"
January 23, 2010
A study is highlighting the multimedia lifestyles of America’s kids. While some in the media say it’s no big deal, others are worried.

“Texting and Driving: Your Right or a New Way to Crash”
June 4, 2009
After an increase in U.S. laws banning texting while driving, Newsy.com looks at the dangers of taking your eyes off the road.

“Sexting: ‘Flirting with Felony’”
March 16, 2009
Teens found sending or receiving nude photos of their peers can be charged with possession of child pornography. As legal experts debate the validity of the punishment.

Writer: Victoria Uwumarogie


No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Newsy: Garbage Island Found in Atlantic Ocean

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A garbage patch found in the middle of the North Atlantic could have huge repercussions on the environment. Countries across the world are producing enormous amounts of plastic. This plastic is piling up in our oceans. First it was the Pacific —now the Atlantic.
The garbage patch, located in the middle of the North Atlantic, is twice the size of Texas. It is mostly made up of tiny pieces of plastic that marine life mistakes as food. 
A documentary producer tells HLN how bad the plastic situation is in the Atlantic.
ANCHOR: "The problem with plastic is it doesn't biodegrade. It photodegrades, a process in which it is broken down by sunlight into smaller pieces. But they still remain plastics. 
THOMAS MORTON: "There's a ratio of plastic to plankton about 6:1. That's roughly average. We've pulled in samples that were like, where it was like 1000:1, where it's just overwhelmingly plastic." 
A columnist for the Examiner writes how ocean trash has affected marine ecologies: “...over a million sea birds die from ingesting plastic particles every year. Slow, agonizing deaths, as the plastic fills their stomachs, which they are unable to digest — so, they gradually die of starvation. Even single celled creatures have been discovered with tiny, colorful, specks of plastic lodged in their transparent bodies.”
A member of the Ocean Conservancy tells San Francisco's CBS affiliate how to best deal with garbage patches in the oceans: "There isn't probably a logical cleanup solution. The only thing that there is as a solution is prevention — to reduce the amount of plastic that we make, to make plastic that is biodegradable and to substitute for plastic products."
But a marine researcher gives David Letterman a bleak outlook about taking action against the garbage patches: "We're crisis-driven, and it's not a crisis yet. Hopefully, someday, we'll learn how to take action to stem situations before they become crises. Right now what we're seeing is, as you say, the tip of the plastic iceberg. The so-called canary in the coal mine is the albatross in the ocean. What's happening is plastic is overtaking the natural world." 
A writer for The Huffington Post agrees, saying people don't care enough about the issue — even if the evidence is right in front of them: “As debris is washed out to sea it brings with it high bacteria levels. Just ask any surfer. After it rains, the ocean can become so filled with bacteria that you have to stay out of the water for about three days. Yet most of us find this acceptable.” 
To learn more about trash in the oceans, watch our video "Oceans of Plastic" about the garbage patch in the Pacific.


No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Rapping Flight Attendant

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A rapping flight attendant has become a YouTube sensation. With his rapping he is turning the usual dry annoucements into the highlight of the trip:

This is the Flight 372 on SWA.
The flight attendants onboard serving you today,
Theresa in the middle, David in the back,
My name is David and I’m here to tell you that…

Shortly after takeoff, first things first,
There are soft drinks and coffee to quench your thirst,
But if you want another kind of drink, then just holler,
Alcoholic beverages, that’ll be four dollars.

If a Monster Energy drink is your plan,
That’ll be three dollars and you get the whole can.
We won’t take your cash; you gotta pay with plastic,
If you have a coupon, then that’s fantastic.

We know you’re ready to get to new places.
Open up the bins, put away your suitcases.
Carry-on items go under the seat,
In front of you, so none of you have things by your feet.

If you have a seat on a row with the exit,
We’re gonna talk to you, so you might as well expect it,
You gotta help evacuate in case we need you,
If you don’t wanna, then we’re gonna reseat you.

Before we leave, our advice is put away your electronic devices.
Fasten your seatbelt, then put your trays up,
Press the button to make the seatback raise up.
Sit back, relax, have a good time,

It’s almost time to go so I’m done with the rhyme.
Thank you for the fact that I wasn’t ignored.
This is Southwest Airlines, welcome aboard!


No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

BBC News: Internet football piracy alert

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More than one million people watch football games on the internet for free, not knowing that it is illegal.
The sites that show matches are now being targeted as Graham Satchell reports.


The Premier League is planning an aggressive campaign to protect its intellectual property rights in an attempt to clamp down on rogue websites that show football matches for nothing and pub landlords who broadcast foreign feeds, amid fears that they could damage its income from broadcasting rights.
Having recently recorded a surge in the number of people watching via websites that transmit live pictures from overseas broadcasters or allow users to share vision using "peer-to-peer" video sites, the league is determined to push the issue up the political agenda.
Premier League lawyers want the culture secretary, Andy Burnham, and the business secretary, Lord Mandelson, to crack down on copyright infringement by making internet service providers responsible for the actions of their subscribers, and appoint an "IP tsar" to coordinate action across government.
Having been vigilant for years against wholesale piracy the league's lawyers have recently taken a high-profile lobbying role in the UK, Europe and internationally. The league has been liaising with sporting authorities around the world, media owners and other affected parties to highlight the need for urgent action and more consistent enforcement.
The chief executive, Richard Scudamore, last week told the all-party IP group of MPs that the government needed to take a harder line and do more to implement the recommendations in a report on copyright by Andrew Gowers. Stephen Carter, the communications minister, is due to unveil a draft report on the future of Digital Britain next week.
"The ISPs have got to take more responsibility," said a Premier League lawyer. "We have sent over 700 cease-and-desist letters and had an 87% success rate this season. [But] one of our problems is that often the sites reregister a domain name, using false names and addresses, and sign up with an ISP in a less protected country – 60% of peer-to-peer activity has been coming out of China. ISPs have to take on a stronger role and have a better enforcement policy."
The league said that when officials from countries traditionally seen as "safe harbours", such as China, were confronted about piracy, they typically asked why more was not being done by the UK government or within Europe.
Already millions of computer users across the world watch matches live without paying a subscription fee. The Premier League fears that the mainstream use of broadband and the increased popularity of watching video online make widespread piracy a very real prospect, which could seriously reduce the amount broadcasters are prepared to pay.
Sporting authorities are terrified of following the path of the music industry, which saw its business model collapse after it failed to combat digital piracy. The league made £625m from its overseas rights deals last time around and a total of £2.7bn overall, and is banking on another increase after 2010 to compensate for a potential dip in domestic income.
The Premier League recently led a coalition of 27 sporting bodies to prepare a background report for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development at the behest of the G8. The report said unauthorised live streams of some sporting events were already being watched by more than one million people.
Websites that offer access to live unauthorised coverage from PCs, usually sourced from overseas broadcasters in the Far East or around the world, have been popular with a small minority of web users unwilling to pay for a TV subscription for some time.
Poor quality pictures and audio, combined with the determination required to track them down, previously made them a niche pursuit. But with feeds now of a higher quality and easier to access there are fears that more and more cash-strapped fans will turn to them.
And with many of the illicit feeds originating from China and elsewhere around the world, the Premier League is reliant on specialist internet firms to track them down and persuade internet service providers to punish individuals.
Late last year, the Premier League threatened action against the US website, Justin.tv, which allows its users to share and stream footage from all over the world. It has also launched a high-profile class action against YouTube, which is expected to be heard in the US later this year. The original class action, launched in 2007, was recently superseded by a second complaint at the end of last year.
Scudamore has been bullish about the prospect of the value of its media deals holding up despite the global economic slump that has affected media companies and their advertisers, because live Premier League crucial is considered so crucial to their business models.
Major US sporting bodies are also taking the prospect of revenue loss from illicit online viewing seriously. Major League Baseball, the National Football League and the National Basketball Association have all taken steps to stem the rising tide of online piracy. MLB employees three people full-time to monitor illegal broadcasts and last year recorded 5,000 separate incidents.

No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

1st, 2nd & 3rd ESO PBL task for the 3rd Term: "And then there were none"

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1st, 2nd & 3rd ESO students. Here is your Problem Based Learning (PBL) assignment for the 3rd term:
Nintendo has published a new game for their Wii console: And Then There Were None.


Your job is to translate the game COVER and find the best possible TRANSLATION for THIS GAME into Spanish. As usual, you should gather and include as much information as possible in order to back up and account for your translation.

You must submit your papers IN HANDWRITING (sorry, but no digital docs or printed papers will be accepted in order to avoid "copy & paste" policies!). Remember that you should use the three columns of the "KWL" method:
K - What do I KNOW?
W - What do I WANT to know?
L - What have I LEARNT?
You must also submit the game cover including your translation, as in this example:


The deadline is Wednesday, May 12th. That does not mean you have to wait until that date to hand in your assignments! Feel free to submit them as soon as you wish!
4th ESO students' contributions will be also most welcome, but you should only post them as comments on this blog or forward them to our e-mail.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Newsy: Ash Clouds Close European Airports

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A volcanic eruption in Iceland has created widespread flight cancellations for many European airports and it could last a while.
We have perspectives from BBC News, CNN, MSNBC, The Daily Mail, and The Guardian.
The ash clouds have many travelers angry -- The BBC talked to some people who were put out by Mother Nature: “Everything’s cancelled, so we’re all just kind of stranded in different places, thinking okay, what so we do now”
It’s not the visibility that’s the main issues – CNBC reports it’s the stuff that’s in the ash clouds: “They’re saying that at the levels that the airplane levels off at, there’s not only just the dust, but there’s also ice and glass and crystals that can, that get sucked into the engine…and failure…up into the sky.”
A blogger for The Daily Mail says officials should have known about it sooner and cancelled flights earlier: “They might not be able to predict a barbeque summer but surely they can tell 24 hours in advance from which direction the wind will blow. At least those of us who were able to move travel plans forward could have done so and thereby avoided the nationwide airport closure.”
It’s only a matter of time before the ash clouds clear out of the area and flights get back on track – only problem – no one knows when that will be. CNN and theBBC discuss very different timetables: “If this is it and its stopped right now and doesn’t do anything else, I would imagine, I’m speculating somewhat here, but I imagine you’re looking at sort of 24 to 48 hours to clear at least UK airspace.” (CNN): “Experts say the Icelandic volcano that caused airports across Europe to ground flights on Thursday could continue to erupt on-and-off for months, potentially meaning continued delays and closures.” (BBC)
One other note. Despite the large amount of coverage on how the volcano has inconvenienced British travelers, The Guardian is one of few sources to touch on the people directly affected by the eruption: “As many as 800 people had to be evacuated after the...volcano in southern Iceland erupted… Most of those evacuated were local farmers. Some were allowed to return to feed their livestock but much farming land has been destroyed.”
Ironically, MSNBC reports Iceland’s airport is still open and ready for business: “The cloud of ash and steam is actually blowing to the east and to the south, but the airport in Iceland remains open, so if you’re approaching it from the west, from the United States for example, you can still land in Iceland even though most of Europe is already been shut down.”


No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

Freediving World Record

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Freediving World Record - 88m without fins
William Trubridge breaks the freediving world record without fins with a dive to 88m (288 feet) in 3:30 in Dean's Blue Hole, Bahamas.
William Trubridge (born on May 24, 1980) is a New Zealand free-diver and world record holder. Trubridge currently holds the world record in Constant Weight without fins disciplines.
On 10 April 2009 during the Vertical Blue 2009 free-diving competition, Trubridge set the Constant Weight without fins world record with a depth of 88m (288.71 ft) and a dive time of 3:30, breaking his previous record of 86m (282.15 ft) set on the 10 April 2008. He broke his own record again on 3 December 2009 with a depth of 90 m (300 ft).


No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Newsy: South Korea Sets Gaming Curfew

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South Korea is kicking users under the age of 18 off online games for six hours every night.
A policy enacted by The South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism cuts access to online games for six hours every night for users under eighteen.
The policy comes after a series of deaths linked to online gaming addiction. Most recently, a couple was charged with negligent homicide after letting their infant daughter starve to death while they diligently cared for their virtual child.
Gaming addiction is a growing problem in South Korea. Nearly thirty percent of South Koreans regularly play online games. A professional gamer tells Russia Today he can't stop: "Once I played it for thirty-six hours non stop and then just fell asleep. This was physically difficult but I couldn't stop, it was so fascinating. Then, after I woke up, I spent another thirty hours playing again."
CNN editor Chris Anderson is skeptical of how the government expects to enforce the curfew: "When it comes to things like this, you have all those people who want to play these games and it seems to me like they're going to find ways to play these games. Whether it's through using their parents online registration cards, you know, getting their own credit cards, where there's a will, there's a way. They're very tech-savvy youth in South Korea."
The rule applies to 19 top games that make up about eighty percent of the Korean game market. The Korea Herald reports games based outside S. Korea and some of the most popular games are not on the list of games enforcing the curfew: "Games which fall under the [RPG (role-playing game)] are the ones which require gamers to heavily invest both money and time. However, popular titles of the genre such as 'Lineage,' are not being included under the new policy."
With so many loop-holes already being reported, The Financial Times says success depends on the government's ability to monitor identities: "Much of the success of the crackdown depends on whether users, who by law must provide their social security numbers, can be effectively policed from stealing adult identities." 
Do you think the curfew will help curb Internet addiction? Or are there too many loopholes for the policy to be effective?
Writer/Producer: Erika Roberts


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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Newsy: China Hit With 7.1 Magnitude Quake

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Four hundred are dead and thousands injured in the Yushu prefecture of Qinghai province.
Another earthquake has rocked China, this time in the northwestern province of Qinghai. Hundreds are dead, thousands injured and many people feared buried under rubble. Relief efforts are on the way, but the danger might not be over yet. 
We have perspectives from the BBC, Xinhua, CNN and CCTV.
The BBC says aid workers might have a hard time reaching the cold and isolated town that bore the brunt of the quake. 
Anchor: "The problem is going to be getting in there, because, the roads, it's very, very far from the capital of Qinghai. Local reports say the road to the airport is damaged and it's very high altitude, so very remote and very difficult to reach."
Chinese news agency Xinhua reports survivors are now missing both homes and family members: "Another resident ... and five members of her family were buried under the rubble of her home....She and four family members were dug out by her neighbors, [she] said, 'but my mother died.'"
Other residents told CNN they were afraid of more damage because the town's water reservoir had become cracked in the quake: "People were living in fear...and some were headed up into the mountains to escape the threat of flooding, should the reservoir break."
On CCTV, Chinese earthquake experts are predicting dangerous aftershocks after seeing similarities between this quake and one that hit in 2008.
Expert: "We think more aftershocks will happen. As we know, in 2008, the Wenchuan earthquake was followed by several strong aftershocks. This time, the biggest aftershock reached 6.3 in magnitude. So we think the intensity of aftershocks will be stronger than the Wenchuan quake."
But more help for the people of Qinghai is coming. The Chinese government pledged 29.3 million dollars to the area and the Chinese Red Cross is bringing shelters, blankets and clothes.
Writer: Elizabeth Eberlin and Derrick Ho


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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Newsy: Teen Suspended for Risqué Prom Dress

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An Alabama high school senior was suspended for three days for wearing a prom dress that violated the dress code.
Erica Deramous: “I was so excited. Because it was my senior prom and I’ve never been to a senior prom.”
Reporter: “She says she knew her school had dress code polices, but felt this dress was not in violation. But when she got to the prom Saturday, officials told her it was too short and too revealing up top.” (WBRC) 
An Alabama senior was suspended for three days after wearing a prom dress teachers deemed too revealing. Eighteen students violated the dress code, but the others chose to be paddled instead of suspended. 
We’re looking at perspectives from WBRC, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, CNN and SodaHead.
Oxford High School's dress code said dresses could not be more than 6 inches above the knee or show cleavage below the breastbone. The school's principal tells Birmingham's Fox Affiliate, WBRC, that the rules are for the student’s protection: “That expectation in our community is that it’s there for protection of kids and not for management of kids.”
“They’re young, and sometimes they make young people’s mistakes and we’re very patient when those things are made, including this. But we’re not tolerant of bad behavior or defiance.”
The mother of the suspended student defended her daughter and the purchase of the dress. A writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution agrees and says the school has no business determining what students can wear: “I just think this is a waste of everyone’s time and a losing battle … If the parents approve of the gown, the school should stay out of it unless the dress is made of clear plastic wrap, chain link or explosives.”
The student chose a three-day suspension over being paddled; saying seniors are too old for that kind of punishment. One SodaHead writer was more appalled by the penalties than the actual dress code: “… to suspend or paddle (I can't get over the fact that paddling continues to exist in 2010) kids for wearing things the administration doesn't agree with seems like a real tight-fisted way to go.”
One CNN blog question asked whether students should get paddled for punishment, and at least one commenter agreed with the school's corporal punishment stance: “This coming from Patti, ‘As a former high school English teacher, I wish that more schools would paddle kids. It’s hard for teachers to educate students in an environment with no discipline.’”
So, what do you think? Was the school district too harsh? Or was the punishment for students own good?


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Newsy: Mickelson Wins Emotional Masters

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Tiger who? Phil Mickelson makes golf look good again at the 2010 Masters.
Phil Mickelson won his third green jacket at the Masters after firing a bogey-free 5 Under 67. The golfer known as ‘Lefty’ hit several jaw dropping shots, and held off the worlds best golfers on the grandest stage. 
But some of Mickelson’s biggest obstacles aren’t on the golf course. (ESPN)
Mickelson not only overcame the hype of Tiger Wood’s return to the sport—But both his wife, Amy, and his mother are battling breast cancer. Amy made a difficult and emotional appearance at the tournament. Carol Costello tells CNN that Tiger is no longer the talk of the golf world: “Phil Mickelson made it so emotional and you just forgot about Tiger Woods didn’t you? All that talk about Tiger Woods’ sex life—done. Now, we can talk about what happened to his swing. The story at this Masters turned out to be about the good husband.”
The New York Daily News also compares reports Mickelson is now man of the hour: “Forget about Tiger Woods and awful Nike commercials and idiotic comparisons… Not his Masters, not his sport. You saw Mickelson with his wife afterward...Good guy wins.”
MSNBC continued to sing Mickelson’s praises and blasted Tiger’s unsportsmanlike behavior: “And you don’t want to overplay this—But there was a real sense of purpose. He drilled every put. He played incredibly. This was a guy who understood that golf was just a game unlike Tiger Woods—And I’m just going to be really blunt here. Tiger still doesn’t get it.”
The Telegraph dubs Mickelson the golfer fans should be proud of: “…over the years we have learned to love Mickelson. The man who used to be the butt of Woods’s jokes is now standing on the moral high ground, a great champion and a decent man.”
And now we leave you with what the win means to Mickelson in his own words: “This was an emotional moment just because we’ve been through so many difficult and challenging times in the past year that to be able to share something so joyous was very special for us.” ESPN


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Monday, April 12, 2010

Newsy: Aral Sea Set to Disappear

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The Aral Sea has lost an estimated 90 percent of its water over the past three decades, and it's being called "one of the worst environmental disasters of the world."
"To look at it, you'd think boys like this had been raising their goats for thousands of years in this harsh desert landscape, but you'd be wrong. Thirty years ago, this desert didn't exist. This was the Aral Sea." (Live Earth)
Once the fourth largest freshwater lake in the world, the Aral Sea has been diminished to about one tenth of its original size. A personal visit to the area from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon has drawn attention to the global water crisis.
The Daily Mail reports Ban called the depletion of the Aral Sea, "one of the worst disasters, environmental disasters of the world."
The cause of its disappearance? A video posted by The New York Times explains how human interference is to blame: "To its south, the banks of the Amu Darya are lined with agriculture fed by irrigation canals like these. Large areas of irrigation were developed on both rivers in the 1960s, diverting much of the Aral Sea's inflow to grow cotton, melons, and cereal grains. Irrigation like this created a deficit of water flowing into the sea."
And according to A Pakistan News, the loss of all that water comes with severe consequences: "The region’s once prosperous fishing industry has been virtually destroyed. ... The retreat of the sea has reportedly also caused local climate change, with summers becoming hotter and drier, and winters colder and longer."
Film@11 says bordering Uzbekistan has had economic incentives to ignore the disappearing sea: "The Aral Sea's been mighty handy in building its $1 billion cotton industry, and a dry sea does have certain advantages over a wet one. For example, those large sections of exposed sea bed are significantly easier to explore for potential oil and gas deposits."
Finally, a writer for the Daily Kos says the United States should take heed, especially when it comes to possible depletion of its five Great Lakes: "As parts of the U.S. continue to get drier and the climate warms up, there's going to be an increasing temptation to divert water from our own massive sources of fresh water for agriculture and survival. ... Don't imagine it can't happen here."

Writer: Tracy Pfeiffer


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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tiger: Did you learn anything? + Newsy: Nike Releases New Tiger Ad

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Here's the latest Nike ad for TV featuring Tiger Woods and a voice-over by his late father, Earl Woods:


Did you learn anything?
And now a parody using The Lion King's soundtrack. Mufasa and Tiger:


Newsy: Nike Releases New Tiger Ad

The latest Nike ad featuring Tiger Woods has critics crying foul. They say Woods and Nike are playing the "daddy death card."
FOX News calls it "creepy." CBS News says it plays the "daddy death card." The latest Nike ad featuring Tiger Woods is out. In it -- Tiger says nothing -- he just listens to the voice of his now deceased father. And the ad -- is almost universally being panned.
Here's a clip: "I wanna find out what your thinking was. I wanna find out what your feelings are. And did you learn anything." (Sky News)
While criticism has come from near and far. Donny Deutsch told the Today Show's Meredith Viera -- he LOVES this ad: "Brilliant. I'm not prone to hyperbole. One of the marking strokes of genius of the last 10 years. (What was so good about it?) My mouth dropped. It would have been so easy for Nike kind of just not to advertise for no, and then six months from now -- show him playing golf. It walks right into it -- and it takes his father -- who is the conscience, who's the voice of God. And it just kinda walks right in and says, this guy Tiger, he is transforming himself, reflective, obviously what he did was very wrong. But to have his father's voice as the conscience, is, I just think it's brilliant."
NBC Chicago says. It's brilliant alright. Brilliantly despicable: "Here's how the ad unfolds: Curtain up, Tiger's face in black and white. He looks...tired? With a near-wetness in his eyes. Not crying, maybe about to cry? Not contrite. Maybe confused? Embattled? This is the point: you're not supposed to know what emotions he's feeling. Nobody knows. That's why we're going to watch the Masters, right?"
The ad has resonated all the way Down Under where the Aussie paper The Age says it HAD been prepared to say Tiger's PR debt had been paid until this: "Mostly it is the sheer opportunism that astonishes. The commercial carries the insinuation Woods believes he can elicit sympathy and perhaps even redemption by fronting a camera lens supplied by a sponsor."
On CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, Lisa Bloom says the ad has a short shelf life -- on purpose: "And the questions that his father is asking him -- what were you thinking? -- what have you learned. He really hasn't answered those questions. So is that going to be the next set of Nike ads? Or are they just gonna move on. And by the way, these ads are only running for a day and a half on a couple of sports channels, ESPN and The Golf Channel. It's gotta be one of the shortest ad campaigns in history."
So what do you think? I Nike's ad brilliant? Or a bogey?


No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non-commercial purposes only.

Newsmap

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Newsmap is an application that visually reflects the constantly changing landscape of the Google News news aggregator.

A treemap visualization algorithm helps display the enormous amount of information gathered by the aggregator. Newsmap provides a tool to divide information into quickly recognizable bands which, when presented together, reveal underlying patterns in news reporting across cultures and within news segments in constant change around the globe.
Newsmap's objective is to simply demonstrate visually the relationships between data and the unseen patterns in news media.
Google News automatically groups news stories with similar content and places them based on algorithmic results into clusters. In Newsmap, the size of each cell is determined by the amount of related articles that exist inside each news cluster that the Google News Aggregator presents. In that way users can quickly identify which news stories have been given the most coverage, viewing the map by region, topic or time. Through that process it still accentuates the importance of a given article.
Newsmap also allows to compare the news landscape among several countries, making it possible to differentiate which countries give more coverage to, for example, more national news than international or sports rather than business
Currently, the internet presents a highly disorganized collage of information. Many of us are working in an information-soaked world. There is too much of everything. We are subject everywhere to a sensory overload of images, bombarded with information; in magazines and advertisements, on TV, radio, in the cityscape. The internet is a wonderful communication tool, but day after day we find ourselves constantly dealing with information overload. Today, the internet presents a new challenge, the wide and unregulated distribution of information requires new visual paradigms to organize, simplify and analyze large amounts of data. New user interface challenges are arising to deal with all that overwhelming quantity of information.

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The known Universe

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The Known Universe takes viewers from the Himalayas through our atmosphere and the inky black of space to the afterglow of the Big Bang. Every star, planet, and quasar seen in the film is possible because of the world's most complete four-dimensional map of the universe, the Digital Universe Atlas that is maintained and updated by astrophysicists at the American Museum of Natural History. The new film, created by the Museum, is part of an exhibition, Visions of the Cosmos: From the Milky Ocean to an Evolving Universe, at the Rubin Museum of Art in Manhattan through May 2010.

Data: Digital Universe, American Museum of Natural History:
Music: Suke Cerulo
For more information visit

http://www.amnh.org

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Newsy: Solar Powered Plane Marks First Flight

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Solar Impulse, a solar powered aircraft, made its first successful flight in Switzerland.
Flying slowly over the Swiss countryside, the Solar Impulse completed its first solar powered flight over curious spectators. 
Its maiden voyage drew many enthusiasts who marveled at the plane's build. Some in the media are just as excited and some are a bit skeptical. NBC has more: "Flying at about the speed of a bicycle, the solar plane has a wingspan of a 737 and the weight of a small car."
"In its maiden test flight, Solar Impulse ... completed a series of turns, slip maneuvers and bank angles reaching 5 degrees."
A writer for news blog Popular Fidelity says the success of Solar Impulse in 2012 could be huge: "If successful, the widespread adoption of solar power could revolutionize mass transit as we know it."
But a report for the BBC says while the Solar Impulse may be on the fast track to success -- its impact will be slow: "Solar powered planes are unlikely to replace conventional air travel anytime soon. It flies at just 70 kilometers an hour and can carry only two people, the pilot and the co-pilot."
The flight marked a huge milestone for Bertrand Piccard, whose team spent six years building a plane they hope will travel the world in 2012. On Telegraph TV, the founders of the project say the success of the flight is important to reaching that goal: "It's important to know the exact performance of this airplane to be able to improve the design of the second one. It will be the second airplane that will fly around the world."
What kind of effect do you think the Solar Impulse will have? Will it be one for the history books or a flash in the pan?
Writer: Marlena Kopacz


No copyright infringement intended. For educational, non commercial-purposes only.

Newsy: Scrabble F-U-R-Y

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Mattel recently announced the planned release of Scrabble Trickster, a version of the classic board game with relaxed rules, much to the ire of Scrabble purists.
Colbert: "It's just like the Scrabble you grew up with, minus what made it Scrabble."
Mattel, owner of the vocabulary-stretching board game Scrabble in the U.K., has announced plans to release "Scrabble Trickster" which, among other changes, allows players to use proper nouns -- and it has Scrabble purists a-n-g-r-y.
We're looking at perspectives from Huliq.com, Comedy Central, The Daily Telegraph, Fox and Kotaku.
A writer on the website Huliq.com says this just might be what Scrabble needs to attract new players: "The new rules may sound like a game catering to the ADD and dyslexic crowd, however, it does give Scrabble a new lease on life. After all, the game isn’t exactly selling out in stores."
Comedian and talkshow host Stephen Colbert was excited about the news, especially because it would finally allow him to play his favorite word: "This will be so much more fun than the way I used to play Scrabble, passing until I got the letters to spell 'Reagan,' being told that wasn't allowed, then flinging the board at the wall and storming out of my daughter's room."
But in a blog on The Daily Telegraph, a Scrabble enthusiast calls the potential rule changes: "An act of desperation by the makers, who have presumably noticed that not only can younger people not spell, read or write, they will cry off to their Playstations if asked to cope with the simple and necessary rule prohibiting proper nouns."
Anchors from a local Fox affiliate wonder how the rules would be enforced on such a version of the classic game.
Seymour: "Suppose I know something that you don't know, is that just tough luck for you?"
Perkins: "Well yeah, but if you know a word that I don't know, you've always had an advantage."
Seymour: "but I should know a word, but suppose it's some remote place in like, you know..."
Perkins: "So you have the advantage."
But a writer for gaming website Kotaku says the outcry over a potential rule change might not be related to the rules at all: "There are those who will vehemently protect the sanctity of a game, wanting it not to be changed. Sometimes they have a point. Sometimes they are snobs."
If you plan on picking up a copy of Scrabble Trickster or just enjoy making up your own rules, keep in mind that "Newsy" is worth 11 points.
Writer: Tracy Pfeiffer


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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tiger Returns

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Tiger Woods returns to the field of play at The Masters
"Coming into today, I didn't know what to expect with regards to reception, but I'll tell you what, the reception couldn't have been better...it was incredible."(NBC Sports)
He's back. Tiger Woods will be teeing off once again this week at The Master's -- after enduring weeks of criticism about his personal life.
A CNBC host interviews Golf.com's David Dusek -- who followed Woods through his entire first practice round today. And he was surprised by the reaction Woods got: "It was dead silent for the first four holes. There wasn't a peep out of anyone. People didn't know what to do. They didn't know if it was going to be okay to clap. Was it cool? Now, since Tiger Woods is right there. They didn't know what to do. Is it morally wrong, somehow, to show support for this guy?" 
CNN talked with another analyst from Golf.com -- who saw a nervous Woods: "I thought Tiger showed a human side. He looked humble. He looked nervous at first. He actually called his playing partner from today, Fred Couples, by the name Craig. And his voice squeaked when he did it."
And while some criticized the crowds, the press and the PGA for treating Woods with kid gloves... Steven Smith told ABC's The View -- people wouldn't want him on the sidelines: "Oh no -- because you wanna see Tiger play. You wanna see Tiger win. I don't care how much people despise him or find him repugnant at this moment in time. When it comes to him playing golf -- you wanna see him out on the course. I don't want to see no Ernie Els."
ESPN's Gene Wojciechowski says that might be so, but Woods' trustworthiness does still matter. He suggests Woods press conference was a good first step: "Woods has gone from baby steps to fuller steps, but I'm still not prepared to take that full Tiger plunge. ... Let's see if Woods can sustain this personal transformation. Talk is cheaper than an Augusta National pimento sandwich. Time for Woods to prove the actions match the words."

Writer: Tracy Pfeiffer


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Global Warming: Climatologists vs. Meteorologists

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Who is right in the debate over global warming: climatologists or meteorologists?
"Yes, it's climatologists verses meteorologists in tonight's science cat fight." (Comedy Central)
Stephen Colbert may be able to joke about it, but for climatologists and meteorologists, the debate over global warming is a serious issue. 
A recent study found only about half of weathercasters surveyed believed global warming was happening -- and fewer than a third believed climate change was caused mostly by human activities. 
On San Diego’s KUSI, Joe Coleman posted an article titled "The Amazing Story Behind Global Warming,” saying: "I am totally convinced there is no scientific basis for any of it. Global Warming: It is a hoax. It is bad science. It is high-jacking public policy. It is the greatest scam in history."
But The Scientific Activist reports climatologists readily defend their side in a press release by the Union of Concerned Scientists: "Global warming is real and its consequences are becoming increasingly apparent as sea levels rise, glaciers melt, and extreme weather events become more prevalent."
While both sides back their arguments with scientific data, some say the disagreement stems from professional differences: "I believe that meteorologists don't believe in the long term 15 year computer models because our friends at Wright Weather here just gave, this is a ten day computer model. I doubt that this one is even right. So meteorologists are thinking there is no way we can get 15 years from now right if we can't get 15 days from now right." (CNN)
And Psychology Today says there may also be an entertainment factor as well: "Meteorology, at least on TV, is part of news, and news today is part of entertainment… That has little to do with the job of climatologists, who pore over data, write reports, talk to each other and occasionally testify at Congressional hearings."
This debate hit those outside of the science world as well. Meteorologists dominate communications channels to the public and, according to Fox News Watch, this is a problem: "It explains why so many Americans still think there is no such thing as global warming. If your local weather person says it, half of whom turn out to have no advance training in meteorology, no wonder America's confused."
So whose side are you on? Meteorologists or Climatologists?

Writer: Amanda Klohmann


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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Newsy: India Announces Largest Census in the World

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Big Brother is here, again: India is conducting a biometric census of its 1.2 billion people, collecting fingerprints, and taking photos of everyone over the age of 15:
“India's launched a massive biometric census to gather information on its billion-plus population. Some two million people will work to photograph and fingerprint every citizen over the age of 15. (Flash) This biometric card is what you will need to have in order to authenticate your identity. (Russia Today /Bloomberg)
That’s right, the worlds largest head count is happening in India. Its the first biometric census to be done on a colossal scale. India hopes to create a database for its people – recording as much information as possible. 
We’re following coverage from Russia Today, Bloomberg, the BBC, and the Hindustan Times.
A Bloomberg correspondent in India reports how the country is making an effort to eliminate the caste system: “The government has no intention of opening the Pandora’s box by going in for a caste-based census. According to the government, there is no way of authenticating the caste of individuals besides what he or she claims. … The census itself is not going to conduct the caste. At least let me be blunt, I think in the future, you have to go into a casteless system in India.” 
With a census of this magnitude and level of intricacy the Hindustan Times says -conducting the survey will be extremely difficult: “The exercise has formidable challenges -- coverage of a vast geographical area, left-wing rebels and separatists, widespread illiteracy, and people with a bewildering diversity of cultures, languages and customs.”
But as the BBC shows, India’s home minister is determined: “An exercise of this kind has not been attempted anywhere in else in the world. This exercise must succeed. This exercise will succeed, but I need your support… (flash) We will leave no stone unturned, to reach every village, every habitation in this country, and count every person.”
So what do you think? Can India pull off the massive census?


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