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July 31st, In the News

Exxon Mobil made nearly $1500 per second while we paid $$$ at the pump!
Exxon Mobil has reported the largest quarterly profit in U.S. history. They posted a net income of $11.68 billion on revenue of $138 billion in the second quarter. That profit works out to $1,485.55 a second. That barely beat the previous corporate record of $11.66 billion, also set by Exxon in the fourth quarter of 2007.
Dead woman found in Airplane Lav

Flight attendants discovered the body of a 61-year-old woman in the restroom of a plane shortly before the flight landed in Atlanta.

It was unclear how she died or how long she was in the restroom. The crew on the Los Angeles-to-Atlanta flight noticed the restroom was occupied on final approach.

Van Gogh Mystery

Undated handout picture shows a painting underneath Van Gogh's famous work 'Patch of grass' in Hamburg. Scientists have made a coloured view of an early rejected painting underneath Vincent van Gogh's 'Patch of Grass' painting, using advanced X-ray techniques, a Dutch university said on Wednesday. (DESY/Reuters)
There is a mysterious painting underneath Van Gogh's famous work 'Patch of grass' .Conventional X-ray techniques give a colorless, partial view of the hidden painting and only show vague contours of a person behind 'Patch of Grass'.

By recycling his work Van Gogh painted many layers over the original painting but the scientists managed to scan all the different elements in those layers of the relevant area with X-ray fluorescence.


The bear had head stuck in jug met his match.

A bear with a plastic jug on its head stands on a garbage bin last week in rural Minnesota.

Minnesota wildlife officials say that they tried for six days to capture a bear that had a plastic jar stuck over its head, but ended up killing the animal after it wandered into a city during a festival. The wild black bear -- whose head got stuck inside a 2½-gallon clear plastic jug presumably while foraging for food -- ambled into the city of Frazee, about 200 miles northwest of the Twin Cities, during the town's busy Turkey Days celebration.

Coincidentally, bear season opens September 1.

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Man's nose bitten off in fight

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There won't be uncensored internet access at Olympic media venues.

The International Olympic Committee has said that there won't be uncensored internet access at Olympic media venues.

In a statement Kevin Gosper, International Olympic Committee (IOC) press commission chair, said:
“I regret that it now appears BOCOG has announced that there will be limitations on website access during Games time (…). I also now understand that some IOC officials negotiated with the Chinese that some sensitive sites would be blocked on the basis they were not considered Games related.”

In reaction to the IOC statement, Mark Allison, East Asia researcher for Amnesty International said:
"The International Olympic Committee and the Organizing Committee of the Beijing Olympic Games should fulfil their commitment to ‘full media freedom" and provide immediate uncensored internet access at Olympic media venues. Censorship of the internet at the Games is compromising fundamental human rights and betraying the Olympic values."
"This blatant media censorship adds one more broken promise that undermines the claim that the Games would help improve human rights in China."

Foreign journalists working from the Olympics press centre in Beijing are unable to access the Amnesty International website. A number of other websites are also reported to have been blocked.

Amnesty International published the report "Olympic Countdown: Broken Promises" which evaluates the performance of the Chinese authorities in four areas related to the core values of the Olympics: persecution of human rights activists, detention without trial, censorship and the death penalty. They all relate to the 'core values' of 'human dignity' and 'respect for universal fundamental ethical principles' in the Olympic Charter. The new report showed there has been little progress towards fulfilling the Chinese authorities' promise to improve human rights, but rather continued deterioration in key areas.

In response to these and other related issues, a resolution calling on the Chinese government to end human rights abuses immediately passed the U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday.The resolution, overwhelmingly approved on a 419-1 vote, comes just ahead of the start of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing .

Amnesty International spokesman Sam Zarifi says human rights activists, including those whose work is directly linked to the Olympics, are being locked up. Zarifi says the authorities are being overly sensitive to any potential criticism.

"The Chinese government has become so obsessed with projecting an image of stability and harmony that they won't allow any voice of disagreement, however reasonable or peaceful, so we see human rights activists being targeted," Zarifi said. "Even the promise that foreign media would be allowed to report completely freely as has been the case in previous Olympics, that has not been met."

Zarifi says The Foreign Correspondents Club of China, FCCC, has documented approximately 260 incidents of reporting disruptions this year, up from 180 in 2007.

The blocked sites will make it difficult for journalists to retrieve information, particularly on political and human rights stories the government dislikes. The censoring of sites such as Amnesty International or any search for a site with Tibet in the address can not be opened at the Main Press Center at the Olympic site, which will house about 5,000 print journalists when the games open Aug. 8.

"This type of censorship would have been unthinkable in Athens, but China seems to have more formalities," said Mihai Mironica, a journalist with ProTV in Romania. "If journalists cannot fully access the Internet here, it will definitely be a problem."

IOC officials have said the Internet would be operational by "games time," which began Sunday when the Olympic Village opened.

In the News, July 30 2008

5.4 earthquake Hits Southern California

AutoZone manager Daniel Sanchez cleans up after the earthquake in Diamond Bar, California, on Tuesday.

"This earthquake reminds us to be prepared," California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said. "We were very fortunate that there were no serious injuries or property damage."

California has a 99 percent chance of experiencing a major earthquake within the next 30 years, according to a report by state and federal agencies. This quake caused no serious damage or injuries, but experts say it's a reminder that the "Big One" could happen at any time.


Two Holes in One in the Same Round!

Bob Hickey pulls the ball out of the cup after his second hole-in-one during the same round at Marsh Ridge Golf Course in Michigan. He has
been playing golf 50 years and never had a hole-in-one. The 66-year-old man used a 7-iron to card his first-ever ace on the 167-yard 10th hole at Marsh Ridge in Gaylord. Then he used an 8-iron to ace the 147-yard 17th hole.
According to a 2000 Golf Digest article cited by the Traverse City Record-Eagle, the odds of one player making two holes-in-one during the same round are 67 million to 1.
The letter finally got there- 60 years later.

A letter detailing the mood after Truman defeated Dewey that was lost in the postal system for nearly 60 years recently turned up in the mailbox of a Kansas woman.
The letter, postmarked Nov. 11, 1948, was stamped with "Return to sender" and "Found in supposedly empty mailbox."

The letter states, "All Lawrence is in mourning since the election," during which Harry S. Truman beat Thomas E. Dewey for the presidency of the United States. The election would have taken place just days before the letter was postmarked.

Banning New Fast Food Restaurants in LA

The Los Angeles City Council has approved a one-year moratorium on new fast-food restaurants in a low-income area of the city. The City Council voted unanimously to place the moratorium on new fast food restaurants in parts of the city with a proliferation of such eateries and above average rates of obesity.

The yearlong moratorium is intended to give the city time to attract restaurants that serve healthier food. The action, which the mayor must still sign into law, is believed to be the first of its kind by a major city to protect public health.

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Where to Recycle Your Cell Phone

A problem with getting a new cell phone is what to do with the old one. Many of us have a stock pile of cell phones that we don't know what to do with. It may be a good idea to hold on to your most recent phone as you can use it as a back-up as long as it can take the card from your current phone.

Recycling your old cell phone, PDA, cell phone batteries, chargers, or other accessories, recovers valuable materials and reduces energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

Help EPA a recycle unwanted cell phones! Here's how:

Drop It Off

Drop off your old cell phone, PDA, cell phone batteries, chargers, or other accessories at one of the retailers or service providers below. Visit the links for detailed drop-off and collection event information.


Best Buy

Office Depot

Sony Ericsson




LG Electronics

Verizon Wireless

Note: EPA does not endorse the commercial services or products of its Plug-In To eCycling partners. All the previous links exit the EPA site .

Mail It In

Mail in your old cell phone, PDA, cell phone batteries, chargers, or other accessories at one of the retailers or service providers below. Visit the links for detailed drop-off and collection event information.






LG Electronics

Verizon Wireless


Note: EPA does not endorse the commercial services or products of its Plug-In To eCycling partners. All the previous links exit the EPA site

Learn More

  • Before you drop off or mail in your old cell phone, make sure that you have terminated your service contract for the phone and erased any data in the phone.
    • To ensure that personal information is cleared from the phone, you can: manually delete all information and remove the SIM card; contact your service provider or phone manufacturer for instructions; or use a data erasing tool such as ReCellular's Cell Phone Data Eraser
  • Go to the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association's recycling program Wireless...The New RecyclableTM for additional tips to consider when recycling your cell phone
  • Listen to EPA's podcast on recycling your cell phone to learn what happens to your cell phone once it's recycled and hear answers to common questions.
  • Learn the basics of the campaign in our campaign overview.
  • Have a question about recycling your cell phone? Visit our eCycling frequent questions page.
  • Visit EPA's electronics recycling Web site to learn about the environmental benefits of recycling, how to recycle other electronics, and what EPA is doing to help.

Resource Conservation Challenge (RCC)


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In the News July 29, 2008

Watch out Yogi!

Firefighters watch as flames rise from the bed of the Merced River along Highway 140, near Yosemite National Park in Midpines, California July 28, 2008. (Robert Galbraith/Reuters)

Wildfire threatens homes and Park

Yosemite National Park is battling destructive wildfires. The fires are raging for miles. The fires are leaving the wilderness threatened and thousands of nearby homes have been evacuated.


Pres. Bush goes ahead with execution of former Army Cook

This April 1988 picture shows Ronald A. Gray in handcuffs and chains, escorted by military police leaving a Fort Bragg, N.C. courtroom. President Bush on Monday, July 28, 2008 approved the execution of the Army private, the first time in over a half-century that a president has affirmed a death sentence for a member of the U.S. military. Gray was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg. (AP Photo/The Fayetteville Observer, Marcus Castro)
AP Photo

President Bush could have commuted the death sentence of Ronald A. Gray, a former Army cook convicted of multiple rapes and murders. However, Bush has decided that Gray's crimes were so repugnant that execution was the only just punishment.

Bush's decision marked the first time in 51 years that a president has affirmed a death sentence for a member of the U.S. military. It was the first time in 46 years that such a decision has even been weighed in the Oval Office.

Gray, 42, was convicted in connection with a spree of four murders and eight rapes in the Fayetteville, N.C., area between April 1986 and January 1987 while he was stationed at Fort Bragg. He has been on death row at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., since April 1988

She's Back

Amy Winehouse's husband was recently jailed for 27 months.

A statement from University College Hospital said Winehouse had been kept in overnight for observation. She had been suffering a reaction to a medication she was taking at home according to her spokeswoman.Troubled singer Amy Winehouse was released from a London hospital after an overnight stay to treat what her spokesman said was an adverse reaction to medication.

According to a spokespereson for the singer. "She was kept in overnight purely for observation."

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PETA wants military to stop using animals in medical training

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent a letter Monday to Defense Secretary Robert Gates asking him to replace the use of animals with non-animal methods such as human simulators.

In the letter, PETA said the military inflicts gunshot, burn and chemical wounds on monkeys, pigs and goats for training.

"This outmoded practice is not only cruel, but is a disservice to the men and women who risk their lives in defense of our country and who deserve the most effective trauma training methods available," wrote Kathy Guillermo, director of the PETA's Laboratory Investigations Department.

The Army said the training is critical to teach soldiers how to manage critically injured patients within the first few hours of their injuries when there are no medics, doctors or facilities nearby.


18 Children Later...

A Romanian immigrant has given birth to her 18th child in British Columbia, making her the province's most prolific mother in 20 years.

Proud dad said Saturday that his 44-year-old wife gave birth to a daughter who weighed in at seven pounds, 12 ounces.

"We never planned how many children to have. We just let God guide our lives, you know, because we strongly believe life comes from God and that's the reason we did not stop the life."

Knock Off Purse parties illegal, officials say

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Top Party and Top Sober US Schools

From the Princeton ReviewParty Schools

The Princeton Review has come out with their 2009 top party school list.Based on a combination of survey questions concerning the use of alcohol and drugs, hours of study each day, and the popularity of the Greek system.

1. University of Florida
Gainesville, FL

Other Rankings
Best Career/Job Placement Services
Best College Newspaper

2. University of Mississippi
University, MS

Other Rankings
Alternative Lifestyles Not an Alternative
Best College Newspaper

3. Pennsylvania State University--University Park

Other Rankings
Best Career/Job Placement Services
Best College Newspaper

4. West Virginia University
Morgantown, WV

Other Rankings
Best College Library
Best College Newspaper

5. Ohio University--Athens

Other Rankings
Lots of Beer
Lots of Hard Liquor

6. Randolph-Macon College
Ashland, VA

Other Rankings
Lots of Beer
Lots of Hard Liquor

7. University of Georgia
Athens, GA

Other Rankings
Best Campus Food
Best College Newspaper

8. The University of Texas at Austin

Other Rankings
Best Career/Job Placement Services
Best College Library

9. University of California, Santa Barbara

Other Rankings
Lots of Hard Liquor
Reefer Madness

10. Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL

Other Rankings
Jock Schools
Lots of Hard Liquor

Experienced Psychologist- Online Counseling 24/7

11. University of New Hampshire
Durham, NH

Other Rankings
Homogeneous Student Population
Little Race/Class Interaction

12. University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA

Other Rankings
Lots of Beer
Lots of Hard Liquor

13. University of Colorado-Boulder

Other Rankings
Great College Towns
Lots of Hard Liquor

14. Indiana University--Bloomington

Indiana University offers a classic college experience: academic challenge

Other Rankings
Best College Newspaper
Lots of Beer

15. Tulane University
New Orleans, LA

Founded in 1834 in New Orleans, Tulane is one of the most respected schools.

Other Rankings
Great College Towns
Happiest Students

16. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Champaign, IL

Other Rankings
Major Frat and Sorority Scene
Students Study the Least

17. Arizona State University at the Tempe campus

Other Rankings
Students Study the Least

18. University of Tennessee--Knoxville

Other Rankings
Alternative Lifestyles Not an Alternative
Least Beautiful Campus

19. University of Alabama--Tuscaloosa

Other Rankings
Students Pack the Stadiums
Students Study the Least

20. Loyola University New Orleans
New Orleans, LA

Other Rankings
Best College Library
Lots of Hard Liquor Home Page

Stone-Cold Sober Schools
Based on a combination of survey questions concerning the use of alcohol and drugs, hours of study each day, and the popularity of the Greek system

Brigham Young University (UT)

Wheaton College (IL)

United States Coast Guard Academy
New London, CT
College of the Ozarks
Point Lookout, MO

Grove City College
Grove City, PA

United States Air Force Academy
USAF Academy, CO

United States Naval Academy
Annapolis, MD

Wellesley College
Wellesley, MA

Thomas Aquinas College
Santa Paula, CA

Calvin College
Grand Rapids, MI

United States Military Academy
West Point, NY

Wesleyan College
Macon, GA

Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
Needham, MA

City University of New York--Queens College

Webb Institute
Glen Cove, NY

Berea College
Berea, KY

Agnes Scott College
Decatur, GA

City University of New York--Baruch College

Simmons College

Bryn Mawr College
Bryn Mawr, PA

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In the News July 28, 2008

The Dark Night Can Shatter Box Office Records-Surpassing Titanic!

Heath Ledger as the Joker and Christian Bale as Batman are breaking box office records with "The Dark Knight."

"The Dark Knight" continues to obliterate box office records, crossing the $300 million mark in the 10 days since it's release. The current Batman installment has grossed $75.6 million in its second weekend in theaters, pushing its domestic total to $314,245,000 according to Warner Bros.

  • It surpasses the record set in 2006 by "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," which took 16 days to make $300 million.
  • It has already had broken records for best opening weekend at $158.4 million and best single-day with $66.4 million.
  • It's also busted records in its showings on IMAX screens, making $16.3 million in its first 10 days.
  • "Dark Knight" could reach $400 million in about 18 days, which would beat the record "Shrek 2" set in 2004 when it made that much money in 43 days.

Where is the money coming from?

A businessman arrived at the Treasury Department carrying a suitcase stuffed with about $5.2 million. The bills were decomposing, nearly unrecognizable, and he asked to swap them for a cashier's check. He said the money came from Mexico.

The problem is that for the past few years, authorities say, he and his family have popped in and out of U.S. banks, looking to change about $20 million in buried treasure for clean cash. And the banks say that the money is always the same — decaying $100 bills from the 1970s and 1980s.

It's the story that keeps changing. Among the stories heard: It was an inheritance, somebody dug up a tree and there it was, it was found in a suitcase buried in an alfalfa field and a relative found a treasure map.

Authorities are investigating . "Given that the money is coming north from Mexico, that both conflicting and cockamamie stories have been told about its origins, and that all the stories of how it got to be found are fantastical, I strongly suspect that the Felhaber currency is the proceeds of illegal bulk narcotics sales," ICE investigator Stephen A. Schneider told the Federalmagistrate.
Another Hollywood DUI

Shia LaBeouf was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving Sunday after an early morning wreck in which the "Indiana Jones" star injured his hand and knee, authorities said.
Actor Shia LaBeouf faces DUI charges after being injured in a car accident in Hollywood, California, Sunday.

LaBeouf was trying to make a left turn at a West Hollywood intersection around 3 a.m. when his pickup collided with another vehicle, rolling the truck over, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Sgt. Scott Wolf said.

Gas under $4, down 12 cents over two weeks

The average price of gas dipped below $4 a gallon for the first time since the start of June, according to a national survey.

The average price of gas dropped to under $4 a gallon for the first time since the beginning of June, according to a national survey released Sunday.

The survey showed that the average price at gas stations across the nation was a fraction of a cent below $4.00 for a gallon of self-serve regular, said survey publisher Trilby Lundberg.

The price dipped about 12 cents over two weeks. The survey, which tallies prices at thousands of gas stations nationwide, found an average of $3.9959.

Woman becomes concecrated virgin

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Cuil- The new search engine

There is a new search engine out and they call themselves the "next generation search engine".

Cuil (pronounced COOL) provides organized and relevant results based on Web page content analysis. The search engine goes beyond today’s search techniques of link analysis and traffic ranking to analyze the context of each page and the concepts behind each query. It then organizes similar search results into groups and sorts them by category.

Cuil gives users a richer display of results and offers organizing features, such as tabs to clarify subjects, images to identify topics and search refining suggestions to help guide users to the results they seek.

“The Web continues to grow at a fantastic rate and other search engines are unable to keep up with it,” said Tom Costello, CEO and co-founder of Cuil. “Our significant breakthroughs in search technology have enabled us to index much more of the Internet, placing nearly the entire Web at the fingertips of every user. In addition, Cuil presents searchers with content-based results, not just popular ones, providing different and more insightful answers that illustrate the vastness and the variety of the Web.”

Cuil’s technology was developed by a team with extensive history in search. The company is led by husband-and-wife team Tom Costello and Anna Patterson. Mr. Costello researched and developed search engines at Stanford University and IBM; Ms. Patterson is best known for her work at Google, where she was the architect of the company’s large search index and led a Web page ranking team. They refused to accept the limitations of current search technology and dedicated themselves to building a more comprehensive search engine. Together with Russell Power, Anna’s former colleague from Google, they founded Cuil to give users the opportunity to explore the Internet more fully and discover its true potential.

Cuil’s methods guarantee online privacy for searchers. Since the search engine ranks pages based on content instead of number of clicks, personal data collection is unnecessary, so personal search history is always private.

Summary of Cuil’s features:

  • Biggest Internet search engine—Cuil has indexed 120 billion Web pages, 3x more than any other search engine
  • Organized results—Cuil’s magazine-style layout separates results by subject and allows further search by concept or category
  • Different results—Unlike other search engines, Cuil ranks results by the content on each page, not its popularity
  • Complete privacy protection—Cuil does not keep any personally identifiable information on users or their search histories

About Cuil

Cuil (pronounced COOL) is a search engine that combines the largest Web index with content-based relevance methods, organized results, and complete user privacy. The company’s next generation approach to search is the result of proprietary breakthroughs in search architecture and ranking algorithms.

Cuil searches more pages on the Web than anyone else—three times as many as Google and ten times as many as Microsoft.Rather than rely on superficial popularity metrics, Cuil searches for and ranks pages based on their content and relevance. When we find a page with your keywords, we stay on that page and analyze the rest of its content, its concepts, their inter-relationships and the page’s coherency.



After you perform a search, you may see a panel on the right-hand side that says “Explore By Category” with a list of subjects related to your search. If you roll-over a category, it will open and show refinements related to your search. If you click on one, Cuil will direct you to this additional information. By looking at these suggestions, you may discover search data, concepts, or related areas of interest that you hadn’t expected. This is particularly useful when you are researching a subject you don’t know much about and aren’t sure how to compose the “right” query to find the information you need.

Roll-over definitions

When you pause on a subject suggested by “Explore By Category,” a definition of that term may appear. This gives you additional information to help you decide whether or not to click on that term and so save you some time.




Cuil helps you to search by offering you other choices and suggestions. Cuil will show you “Tabs” that suggest ways to clarify your search. For example, if you search for “Jaguar,” there are a number of things you could be searching for, like Jaguar cars, Jaguar cats, a football team called the Jaguars, etc. Just click on the tab that reflects your interest and Cuil will narrow your search appropriately.

Search Term Suggestions

Search Term Suggestions

Navigation suggestion

When you type a query, sometimes you'll see a search suggestion with an icon representing a website. Click on this link and you will go directly to that website. We let you look before you leap, because not everyone feels lucky.

How do I change my browser homepage to Cuil?

If you use Firefox, grab the little globe icon beside Cuil’s address in your browser and just drop it onto the house image on your toolbar.

For Internet Explorer, click on the arrow beside the house and then "add or change home page". Select "use this webpage as your only home page" and click Yes.

If you use Safari, edit your “Preferences.”

If you use Firefox, you can add Cuil to your search toolbar by clicking “Add Cuil to Firefox” at the bottom of the search results page.

The first time you go to Cuil you will see that Safe Search is ON by default; you can double check by looking at the Safe Search indicator on the upper right hand corner directly below the Cuil logo . When Safe Search is on, Cuil filters out adult oriented search results, so adult oriented images and/or text should not be displayed. We can’t guarantee that adult content will not be displayed even when Safe Search is on; so we recommend that you always supervise your child when using an Internet connected computer, no matter what

Cuil is an old Irish word for knowledge. For knowledge, ask Cuil.

In the News July 27,2008

Eclipse Coming to a Sky Near You

The sun appears as a diamond ring as the moon passes over during the solar eclipse in Graz, about 200 kilometers (167 miles) south of Vienna, Austria on Wednesday, Aug. 11 1999. (AP Photo/Helge O. Sommer) wants you to know that there will be a rare solar eclipse on August 1st. This total eclipse is the first in nearly two and a half years. Those who will be able to see it will be in an area that includes western and central Asia, parts of northern and central Europe, all of Greenland and even a small slice of northeastern North America. During this eclipse the view of the sun will become completely blocked by the moon.

Who is volunteering and who is not

According to researchers for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), nationally, the volunteer rate fell in 2007 for the second year in a row, to 26.2 percent . Their report showed Miami with a volunteerism rate of 14.5 percent, replacing Las Vegas in last place among major metropolitan areas. By region, the Midwest had the highest volunteer rate at 31.1 percent, followed by the West at 26.1, the South with 24.7 and the Northeast at 23.4.

By state, Utah had the highest rate, 43.9 percent, followed by Nebraska, Minnesota, Alaska and Montana. Nevada had the lowest state rate, 17.7 percent; Florida and New York were the next lowest.

Minneapolis-St. Paul, Salt Lake City and Portland, Ore., were the highest-ranked big cities, while New York City and Las Vegas were the lowest-ranked after Miami. Among 25 mid-size cities, Provo, Utah, came first with a 63 percent rate — the highest of any jurisdiction in the report.


"Cat Fight" in the friendly skies

Drunken women disrupt flight to England

A flight headed to London, England, was forced to make an emergency landing after an 'altercation' involving two drunken women. One of the women is accused of hitting a flight attendant with a bottle of vodka and trying to open a cabin door in mid-air, police said. The aircraft was cruising over Austria at 10,000 meters (32,800 feet).The staff on the flight from Greece to England eventually forced the women back to their seats and the pilot made an emergency in Frankfurt .Both women were released from police custody.

Some See Virgin Mary In Floor Drain

Guest Blogger-Bella and Edwards Twilight

Hi there again.
The excitement is growing over the release of the new Twilight series book Breaking Dawn. In case you have not heard, there will be many midnight release parties sponsored by book sellers across the country. To find one near you, simply click on the link below or read on.

Find a Midnight Release Party

FRIDAY, AUGUST 2nd there are bound to be hundreds of book parties celebrating the release of the final installment in the Twilight Series. Judging from the pre-orders sitting at number one on most major book lists, these parties should be well attended.

So far, worldwide sales for the series books top 8 million. Putting this into some kind of perspective, this huge number is less than the first weekend's take for the last Potter book.

Twilight tempted the imagination. New Moon made readers thirsty for more. Eclipse turned the saga into a worldwide phenomenon. And now, the book that everyone has been waiting for... Breaking Dawn, the final book in the #1 bestselling Twilight saga, will take your breath away.

Stephenie Meyer's sophisticated teen vampire novels have created the kind of response from teens and adults that we haven't seen since the debut of Harry Potter. Barnes & Noble will be celebrating the August 2 release of Breaking Dawn by hosting special events in stores.
The initial printing for "Twilight," was just 75,000, increasing to 100,000 for "New Moon," and 1 million for "Eclipse," which came out last summer.

All four of the"Twilight" are in the top 20 with most major book sellers.

To find a party near you, you can check out these sights or your local library.

Borders or Waldenbooks

from Twilight to Dawn Breaking Dawn midnight release party
Join us at your favorite Borders or Waldenbooks beginning at 9:30 p.m. Friday, August 1, for a costume-and-trivia-filled party celebrating the release of Breaking Dawn

Also Check Out:
Barnes and Noble

Select stores are staying open late August 1 and hosting midnight release parties. To find out if your local store is participating and what events are taking place, simply Click Here . You can call or visit your local store to reserve your copy for the night of the party, or pre-order your copy online.

To keep updated on the latest news, visit my blog.

In the News, July 26 2008

Quantas Plane Lands With HUGE Hole in It

The gaping hole which appeared in the belly of a Qantas Airways Boeing 747 en route from London to Melbourne. Air safety investigators are searching for clues as to what caused a dramatic mid-air rupture which left a gaping hole in the fuselage of the plane which was carrying more than 300 passengers.(AFP/Edwin Loobrera)
Australian investigators began examining a Qantas jumbo jet which had to make an emergency landing after a large hole opened on its fuselage according to a Philippine aviation official. The Boeing 747-400 was cruising at 29,000 feet with 346 passengers when it was shaken by an explosive bang. The plane descended rapidly before landing safely minutes later at the Manila airport.

There were no injuries among the passengers and crew, but some of the passengers suffered nausea.
The Governator Bans Trans Fats

California, trans fats, fast food, ban
David McNew / Getty Images
Fast-food restaurants signs line a street July 24 in the South Los Angeles area of Los Angeles, California.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation that will ban restaurants and other retail food establishments from using oil, margarine and shortening containing trans fats. The new law, requires restaurants to use oils, margarines and shortening with less than half a gram of trans fat per serving by Jan. 1, 2010, and applies the standard to deep-fried bakery goods by Jan. 1, 2011.

California is the first state to ban trans fats from restaurant food, following several cities and major fast-food chains in erasing the notorious artery-clogger from menus.


5 Year Old Busts out of Day Care and Heads for HOOTERS

In Texas, investigators are looking into how the 5 year old managed to slip out of a day care center unnoticed, then cross two busy roads and end up a half-mile away at a Hooters restaurant.

With no chaperone for the boy in sight, the Hooters manager called police.

"We kept him in the back coloring and kept him pretty occupied until the police showed up," he said. Was he coloring in a Hooters coloring book?

The day care owner, said the boy had asked to go to the bathroom before he disappeared. When his father arrived minutes later to pick up the child, workers said they realized the boy was missing.

The five-year-old has not been back to the day care since the incident.

We've All Been there...

An angry man shot his lawn mower for not starting.The 56-year-old Milwaukee man is accused of shooting his lawn mower because it wouldn't start. Is this against the law in Milwaukee? He has been charged with felony possession of a short-barreled shotgun or rifle and misdemeanor disorderly conduct while armed.

Keith Walendowski told police he felt he had a right to shoot his mower.

He told police: "I can do that, it's my lawn mower and my yard so I can shoot it if I want."

A woman who lives at his house reported the incident. She says he was intoxicated. Now he can

face up to an $11,000 fine and six years and three months in prison if convicted.

Raw video: Teams brawl at minor league game

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Back to School: 2008-2009

Summertime winding down and summer vacations coming to an end signal that back-to-school time is near. It’s a time that many children eagerly anticipate — catching up with old friends, making new ones and settling into a new daily routine. Parents and children alike scan the newspapers and Web sites looking for sales to shop for a multitude of school supplies and the latest clothing fads and essentials. This edition of Facts for Features highlights the many statistics associated with the return to classrooms by our nation’s students and teachers.

Back-to-School Shopping

$7.5 billion
The amount of money spent at family clothing stores in August 2007. Only in November and December — the holiday shopping season — were sales significantly higher. Similarly, sales at bookstores in August 2007 totaled $2.3 billion, an amount approached in 2007 only by sales in January and December. Source: Monthly Retail Trade and Food Services <>

For back-to-school shopping, choices of retail establishments abound: In 2005, there were 24,659 family clothing stores, 6,305 children and infants clothing stores, 26,416 shoe stores, 9,501 office supply and stationery stores, 23,195 sporting goods stores, 11,077 bookstores and 9,589 department stores. Source: County Business Patterns: 2005


75.2 million
The number of children and adults enrolled in school throughout the country in October 2006 — from nursery school to college.
Source: School Enrollment – Social and Economic Characteristics of Students: October 2006

Pre-K through 12 Enrollment

Percentage of 3- and 4-year-olds enrolled in school in October 2006.
Source: School Enrollment – Social and Economic Characteristics of Students: October 2006

Percentage of children 3 to 6 enrolled in kindergarten who attended all day, as of October 2006.
Source: School Enrollment – Social and Economic Characteristics of Students: October 2006

56 million
The projected number of students to be enrolled in the nation’s elementary through high schools (grades K-12) this fall.
Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009, Table 211 <>

Number of students 30 and older enrolled in elementary school, as of October 2006.
Source: School Enrollment – Social and Economic Characteristics of Students: October 2006

Projected percentage of elementary through high school students enrolled in private schools this fall.
Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009, Table 211 <>

Percentage of elementary through high school students who were minorities, as of October 2006.
Source: School Enrollment – Social and Economic Characteristics of Students: October 2006

Percentage of elementary through high school students who have at least one foreign-born parent in October 2006. Five percent were foreign-born themselves. Source: School Enrollment – Social and Economic Characteristics of Students: October 2006

Percentage of children 6 to 11 who participated in lessons as of 2004. Lessons include those taken after school or on the weekend in subjects such as music, dance, language, computers or religion. The corresponding percentage a decade earlier was 24 percent.
Source: A Child’s Day: 2004 <>

Percentage of children 6 to 11 who had ever attended or been enrolled in first grade or higher and had changed schools at some point as of 2004, down from 30 percent a decade earlier. For children 12 to 17, the corresponding rate declined from 52 percent to 42 percent over the period.
Source: A Child’s Day: 2004 <>

The percentage of children 6 to 11 who had ever repeated a grade as of 2004, unchanged from a decade earlier. For children 12 to 17, the rate declined from 16 percent to 11 percent over the period.
Source: A Child’s Day: 2004 <>


10.9 million
Number of school-age children (5 to 17) who speak a language other than English at home; 7.8 million of these children speak Spanish at home.
Source: 2006 American Community Survey <>


30.5 million
Average number of children participating each month in the national school lunch program in 2007.
Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009, Table 551 <>

9.3 billion
The nation’s total apple production, in pounds, in 2007, down from 9.9 billion in 2006. The chances are good that the apples your children present to their teachers or enjoy for lunch were grown in Washington state, which accounted for more than half of the nation’s total production.
Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service <>


18.4 million
The projected number of students enrolled in the nation’s colleges and universities this fall. This is up from 13.5 million 20 years ago.
Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009, Table 211 <>

Percentage of all college students 25 and older in October 2006; 55 percent of these older students attended school part time.
Source: School Enrollment – Social and Economic Characteristics of Students: October 2006

Percentage of undergraduates enrolled in four-year colleges in October 2006. Of those enrolled in such schools, 80 percent attended full time.
Source: School Enrollment – Social and Economic Characteristics of Students: October 2006

Percentage of 18- and 19-year-olds enrolled in college in 2006.
Source: School Enrollment – Social and Economic Characteristics of Students: October 2006

Percentage of undergraduates who were women in October 2006.
Source: School Enrollment – Social and Economic Characteristics of Students: October 2006

8.6 million
Number of people who hold bachelor’s degrees in business. Twenty-five percent of bachelor’s degrees were in this field.
Source: What It’s Worth: Field of Training and Economic Status in 2004

5.6 years

Average amount of time it takes people to complete bachelor’s degrees. It took 4.4 years to complete an associate’s degree.
Source: What It’s Worth: Field of Training and Economic Status in 2004

How Many Schools?

Number of public schools in 2005-06. The corresponding number of private schools was 28,996 in 2005-06.
Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009, Tables 231 and 254 <>

Number of institutions of higher learning that granted college degrees in 2005.
Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009, Table 269 <>

The number of public charter schools nationwide in 2005-06. These schools, exempt from selected state and local rules and regulations, enrolled 1 million students.
Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009, Table 230 <>

Teachers and Other School Personnel

7.1 million
Number of teachers in the United States in 2007. Some 2.9 million teach at the elementary and middle school level. The remainder includes those teaching at the postsecondary, secondary, and preschool and kindergarten levels.
Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009, Table 596 <>

Average annual salary of public school teachers in California as of the 2005-2006 school year — the highest of any state. Teachers in South Dakota received the lowest pay — $34,709. The national average was $49,026. High school principals earned $92,965 annually in 2006-07.
Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009, Tables 244 and 247 <>


Is Elephant Poop the Largest Poop in the World?

Average hourly wage for the nation’s school bus drivers in 2006-07. Custodians earned $13.78, while cafeteria workers made $11.16.
Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009, Table 247 <>


14.2 million
Number of computers available for classroom use in the nation’s schools as of the 2005-2006 school year. That works out to one computer for every four students.
Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009, Table 252 <>

The Rising Cost of College

Average tuition, room and board (for in-state students) at the nation’s four-year public colleges and universities for an entire academic year (2006-07). That is more than double the corresponding figure in 1990.
Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009, Table 282 <>

Average tuition, room and board at the nation’s four-year private colleges and universities for one academic year (2006-07). That also is more than double the corresponding 1990 figure.
Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009, Table 282 <>

The Rewards of Staying in School

Average annual 2006 earnings of workers 18 and older with an advanced degree. This compares with $20,873 for those without a high school diploma. In addition, those with a bachelor’s degree earned an average of $56,788 in 2006, while those with a high school diploma earned $31,071.
Source: Educational Attainment in the United States: 2007

Average starting salary offered to bachelor’s degree candidates in petroleum engineering in 2007, among the highest of any field of study. At the other end of the spectrum were those majoring in the humanities, who were offered an average of $31,345.
Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009, Table 287 <>

Average monthly earnings for full-time workers 18 and older with earnings who had a bachelor’s degree in engineering.
Source: What It’s Worth: Field of Training and Economic Status in 2004

Average monthly earnings for full-time workers 18 and older with earnings who had a bachelor’s degree in education.
Source: What It’s Worth: Field of Training and Economic Status in 2004


3.3 million
Projected number of high school diplomas that will be awarded in the 2008-09 school year.
Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009, Table 213 <>

3.1 million
Number of college degrees expected to be conferred in the 2008-09 school year.
Source: Upcoming Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009, Table 213 <>

Government Spending on Public Education

The per-pupil expenditure on public elementary and secondary education nationally in 2006. New York ($14,884) spent the most among states or state equivalents, followed by New Jersey ($14,630) and the District of Columbia ($13,446). Utah ($5,437) spent the least per student, followed by Idaho ($6,440) and Arizona ($6,472).
Source: Public Education Finances: 2006 <>

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In the News July 25th, 2008

Obama wins hearts, not minds, in Berlin
Obama in Berlin
Barack Obama touched hearts during an impassioned speech to a 200,000-strong crowd in Berlin, German newspapers agreed, but suspicions remain about the White House contender's motives for courting a European audiences. Obama 's campaign has received roughly 10 times more money from declared U.S. donors living in Germany, France and Britain than his Republican rival, reflecting his popularity in Europe as he makes his first tour of the continent as the presumed Democratic nominee.

Federal Election Commission reports show Obama has raised at least $1 million from donors who identify themselves as Americans living in Great Britain, Germany and France, while John McCain has taken in at least $150,000.

Obama has raked in $338 million to $126.3 million for McCain.
They fell asleep on the job.

Three ballistic missile crew members in North Dakota fell asleep while holding classified launch code devices this month, triggering an investigation by military and National Security Agency experts, the Air Force said Thursday. The three crew members, who are in the 91st Missile Wing, were in the missile alert facility about 70 miles from Minot. That facility includes crew rest areas and sits above the underground control center where the actual keys can be turned to launch the ballistic missiles.

Officials said the three officers were behind locked doors and had with them the old code components, which are large classified devices that allow the crew to communicate with the missiles. Launch codes are part of the component, and the devices were described as large, metal boxes.


US home foreclosures leapt nearly 14 percent
in the second quarter from the previous quarter, according to research group RealtyTrac. This is a sign of deepening housing woes as foreclosures continue to soar. 220,000 homes were lost to bank repossessions in the second quarter, according to a housing market report Friday issued by RealtyTrac. That's nearly triple the number from the same period in 2007.

A total of 739,714 foreclosure filings were recorded during that three-month period, up 14% from the first quarter, and 121% from the same period in 2007. That means that out of every 171 U.S. households received a filing, which include notices of default, auction sale notices and bank repossessions.
Another Teen Caught on Video
A teenager shown on a video coaxing his 2- and 4-year-old nephews into smoking marijuana was sentenced Thursday to eight years in prison.
He pleaded guilty to two charges of injury to a child/causing bodily injury and agreed to testify against his co-defendant, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported online .

The video shows one teen lighting a marijuana cigarette in the 2-year-old's mouth, then laughing as the toddler coughs. One teen then tells him to pass it to his brother, who also smokes it and coughs. Parts of the video showed someone calling the children "potheads" and asking if they "have the munchies."

Drug tests showed the youngsters had marijuana and cocaine in their bodies. When the video was made, the children's mother was sleeping in another room, police have said. She was not arrested. The children have since been placed in foster care.

Fort Worth police found the video while searching the house in connection with a burglary investigation in which the teen also was charged. He pleaded guilty to two burglary charges and received eight-year sentences that he will served at the same time, the newspaper reported.


Federal court approves student's decision not to stand during pledge

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The Northern Lights

July aurora July aurora
Aurora over Hancock, MI looking north, July 25, 2004, 2:18am
Photos by Claudia Perko

Aurora Borealis is a natural colored light displays in the sky, usually observed at night, in the polar zone of Alaska. Aurora Borealis was named after the Roman goddess of dawn, Aurora, and the Greek name for north wind, Boreas. It often appears as a greenish glow or sometimes a faint red, as if the sun was rising from an unusual direction. The aurora borealis, also called the northern polar lights, because it is only visible in the North sky from the Northern Hemisphere. These lights most often occurs from September to October and from March to April.

What causes these lights?

NASA launched a fleet of five satellites called THEMIS, the Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms to find out what causes the shimmering, ethereal Northern Lights to suddenly brighten and dance in a spectacular burst of colorful light and rapid movement.

Researchers have discovered that an explosion of magnetic energy a third of the way to the moon powers substorms, sudden brightenings and rapid movements of the aurora borealis, called the Northern Lights.

The culprit turns out to be magnetic reconnection, a common process that occurs throughout the universe when stressed magnetic field lines suddenly "snap" to a new shape, like a rubber band that's been stretched too far.

Substorms produce dynamic changes in the auroral displays seen near Earth's northern and southern magnetic poles, causing a burst of light and movement in the Northern and Southern Lights. These changes transform auroral displays into auroral eruptions.

Ground station observations of an aurora
A collection of ground-based All-Sky Imagers (ASI) captures the aurora brightening caused by a substorm. Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

Substorms often accompany intense space storms that can disrupt radio communications and global positioning system signals and cause power outages. Solving the mystery of where, when, and how substorms occur will allow scientists to construct more realistic substorm models and better predict a magnetic storm’s intensity and effects.

Artist concept of a substorm Artist's concept of a substorm. Credit: NASA

Artist concept of a THEMIS satellite
Artist's concept of one of the THEMIS satellites in orbit of Earth. Credit: NASA

The THEMIS team’s findings will appear online July 24 in Science Express and August 14 in the journal Science.

In the News, July 24 2008

Warning Limit cell phone use because of the possible risk of cancer.

The warning from Dr. Ronald B. Herberman, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, is contrary to numerous studies that don't find a link between cancer and cell phone use, and a public lack of worry by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Adults should keep the phone away from the head and use the speakerphone or a wireless headset, he says. He even warns against using cell phones in public places like a bus because it exposes others to the phone's electromagnetic fields.

Electromagnetic fields generated by cell phones should be considered a potential human health risk. Sufficient time has not elapsed in order for us to have conclusive data on the biological effects of cell phones and other cordless phones—a technology that is now universal.

Studies in humans do not indicate that cell phones are safe, nor do they yet clearly show that they are dangerous. But, growing evidence indicates that we should reduce exposures, while research continues on this important question.

These measures are also likely to be important for people who are already suffering from cancer and who must avoid any external influence that may contribute to disease progression.

  1. Do not allow children to use a cell phone except for emergencies. The developing organs of a fetus or child are the most likely to be sensitive to any possible effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields.
  2. While communicating using your cell phone, try to keep the cell phone away from the body as much as possible. The amplitude of the electromagnetic field is one fourth the strength at a distance of two inches and fifty times lower at three feet.
    Whenever possible, use the speaker-phone mode or a wireless Bluetooth headset, which has less than 1/100th of the electromagnetic emission of a normal cell phone. Use of a hands-free ear piece attachment may also reduce exposures.
  3. Avoid using your cell phone in places, like a bus, where you can passively expose others to your phone’s electromagnetic fields.
  4. Avoid carrying your cell phone on your body at all times.
  5. If you must carry your cell phone on you, make sure that the keypad is positioned toward your body and the back is positioned toward the outside so that the transmitted electromagnetic fields move away from your rather than through you.
  6. Only use your cell phone to establish contact or for conversations lasting a few minutes as the biological effects are directly related to the duration of exposure. For longer conversations, use a land line with a corded phone, not a cordless phone, which uses electromagnetic emitting technology similar to that of cell phones.
  7. Switch sides regularly while communicating on your cell phone to spread out your exposure. Before putting your cell phone to the ear, wait until your correspondent has picked up. This limits the power of the electromagnetic field emitted near your ear and the duration of your exposure.
  8. Avoid using your cell phone when the signal is weak or when moving at high speed, such as in a car or train, as this automatically increases power to a maximum as the phone repeatedly attempts to connect to a new relay antenna.
  9. When possible, communicate via text messaging rather than making a call, limiting the duration of exposure and the proximity to the body.
  10. Choose a device with the lowest SAR possible (SAR = Specific Absorption Rate, which is a measure of the strength of the magnetic field absorbed by the body). SAR ratings of contemporary phones by different manufacturers are available by searching for “sar ratings cell phones” on the internet.

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50 Cent has sued Taco Bell, claiming the fast-food restaurant chain is using his name without permission in advertising that asks him to call himself 99 Cent.

The rapper says in a federal lawsuit filed that the Mexican-themed chain features him in a print ad asking him to change his name to 79 Cent, 89 Cent or 99 Cent. His real name is Curtis Jackson.

Omaha Animal Horder

Humane society workers have found 117 cats, a raccoon and a rabbit in a north Omaha house. The discovery came after Council Bluffs, Iowa, police caught the 54-year-old woman who lives at the house reportedly stealing cat food. Officials say she smelled like cat urine.

How to Avoid getting a Speeding Ticket.

AOL has published these tips on how to avoid a speeding ticket.

  • Drive within 5-10 mph of surrounding traffic
  • Try to stay in the middle of the pack

  • Find a 'rabbit' - a solitary driver traveling the speed you'd like to drive that you can follow discretely, about 50-100 yards back. If there's a cop using radar, hopefully the rabbit will trip the trap and get a speeding ticket, not you.

  • Don't change lanes frequently, tailgate, drive aggressively
  • Always use your signals and be courteous to fellow drivers. It's safer, and it will help you fade into the background.
  • Avoid the fast lane. Use the far left lane to pass when necessary, but try to stay in the middle lanes when possible.
  • Watch for cutouts and modulate your speed accordingly

  • Don't speed when you are the only car on the road
  • Get a radar detector
  • Drive a nondescript vehicle

If you do get pulled over while driving a fancy, high-profile car, your odds of getting a speeding ticket versus a warning have probably gone up.

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