Monthly Archives: April 2012

President’s Humor Goes to the Dogs

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The highlight of the 98th Annual White House Correspondents Dinner was the fake Super PAC Obama did about Romney and dogs.

The dinner, known as the “Nerd Prom,” and first used to boost communication between the president and the press, raises money for journalism scholarships. There was no limit to the famous faces at the table.

All eyes were on Obama, however, as he poked fun at the Secret Service Scandal, the general election, himself, and the political ad campaign done by Newt Gringrich about how Romney admitted he had put a family dog in a cage and perched it on top of his car.

After Obama, who also joked about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton,  was followed up by the comedian Jimmy Kimmel, star of ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live.

There was a break from the humor to memorialize Anthony Shadid of The New York Times and Marie Colvin of the Times of London, both who died covering the conflict in Syria.


For more jokes made, click here.

Electric Car Built to Help People Over 65 Drive

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Scientists at Newcastle University have built an electric car that hopes to help people over 65 stay on the roads for longer.

This “emotionally intelligent” electric car comes with eye-tracking goggles, biometric technology that monitors heart rates and cardiovascular health, as well as a system that will keep track of the drivers’ concentration, stress levels, and even driving habits.

The system, which has been aptly named “Granny-Nav”, is part of a reasearch project which deals with the safety of elderly drivers.

In Britain, elderly drivers are the highest-risk group for injury and death on the road’s.  There is currently six million drivers over 70, which is much higher than the million it was at over 35 years ago.

Scientists hope the findings will help lead to a bunch of new technologies to help elderly drivers.

Rethinking Social Security for Your Spouse

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An article recently published on argues that the early use of Social Security may prove to be detrimental for your spouse in the long run.

Specifically, the author of the article, Adam J. Wiederman, explains that the Social Security payments your spouse will receive can be based on his/her own earning record. However, if your earnings are higher, your spouse can receive a “spousal benefit”. This pertains to 50% of the higher earning spouse’s benefit.

Also, if the higher-earning spouse passes away first, the other spouse is eligible to receive 100% of his/her spouse’s benefit, which is referred to as a “survivor’s benefit”.

This number is not fixed; if the spouse with the higher earning record decides to seek Social Security benefits later on, then the monthly payments go up, since they are adjusted for inflation. Thus, even if the higher-earning spouse passes away, the surviving spouse can still reap the benefits of higher payments.

Wiederman advises couples to take this into consideration while planning for retirement in order to ensure maximum financial security and satisfaction.

Doctors Regretting Life Choice

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More and more U.S. doctors are regretting their career choices, though they make higher salaries than most average Americans. However, there has been a recent trend in doctors making less money. Specialists radiologists and orthopedists made 10% less this past year, with general surgeons making 12% less.

The doctors we see most often, pediatricians, family doctors, etc., tend to make less than these specialists, but recently the pay for these doctors is rising, while the pay for specialists is declining. There is fear in doctors that changes in the health care system will make for lower incomes.


For a list of the highest and lowest paid doctors, go here.

Senate Renews Violence Against Woman Act

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The Senate on Thursday passed the bill to renew the Violence Against Woman Act, the government’s main domestic abuse program.

It was the first time since 1994 that the bill faced opposition in the Senate, with the vote coming in at 68-31.

Majority Republicans are writing their own version of the bill, likely to face rejection from much of the Senate. Democrats are saying that Republicans are waging “war on women,” though Republicans see this narrative as a way to avoid the larger issues such as the economy and gas prices.

The Democrats wanted to extend the law by including protection for gays, lesbians, and transgender people, as well as raise the cap on visas for protection of immigrants and expand the authority of Native Americans to handle cases of Native American women abused by Non-Indians. All these sure to draw opposition from conservatives.


For reasons why some said no, click here.

NHL Decries Racist Twitter Comments

The NHL released statements on Thursday against the racial slurs aimed at Joel Ward, who scored the winning goal against the Boston Bruins.

Ward is moving on and putting the comments behind him, whose victory of scoring the game-winning goal was quickly overtaken by the racist comments on Twitter. He understands he is a minority, and will take this chance to be a leader and an example for the rest of the minorities.

Though not necessarily a good thing, racism isn’t new to the sport of hockey, dating back as far as 2005 with the aboriginal coach Ted Nolan of the Moncton Wildcats.

The Bruins and the rest of their fans are disappointed with these comments, and hope that it won’t reflect poorly on the majority who don’t agree with the slurs.


For more of the statements from the NHL and others, click here.

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HIV Prevention Pill May Soon Be Approved

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A pill called Truvada is being tested by the University of California as a potential HIV prevention.

The UC-based California HIV/AIDS Research Program, or CHRP, has been awarded grants that equal to around $11.8 million to see if the current HIV drug can actually be used to prevent the virus.

Truvada was originally approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration in 2004 to treat HIV patients.  Since then, an international trial has revealed that it has worked as a preventive measure in a select few gay and bisexual populations.

The trial has revealed that overall, it prevented HIV infection in 44 percent of the population, and those who took the pill more consistently, had a reduction of 73 percent.

The current study being performed will take place in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Long Beach on nearly 700 gay and bisexual men, as well as transgender women, who are at high-risk but not infected.  Another team is also in Oakland, Richmond, Berkeley, and other East Bay locations and will test it on young gay and bisexual men of color.

Truvada’s manufacturer, Gilead Sciences, Inc., has sent in an application to the FDA to be reviewed.  They hope that by summer, the drug will be approved as an HIV prevention pill.

Women Are More Likely to Start Businesses for Social Change

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A new study on gender has revealed that women are more likely then men to start businesses as a mean for social change, while men do it for the money.

According to Diana Hechevarria, who co-authored the study with Amy Ingram, Rachida Justo, and Siri Terjesen, women are 1.17 times more likely then men to create social ventures then economic ventures.  Women are also 1.23 times more likely to invest in environmental ventures than economic ventures.

The study involved more than 10,000 people from 52 countries, all who had started their own businesses.  Their research has been published in the book “Global Women’s Entrepreneurship Research: Diverse Settings, Questions and Approaches,” which was recently released.

Small Sea Creatures Shut Down Power Plant

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The Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant has stopped operations after jellyfish-like organisms were found clinging to the structure. The organisms, called salp, are smalle sea creatures with a consistency similar to jellyfish.

According to Tom Cuddy, senior manager of external and nuclear communications, the influx of salp was discovered as part of the plant’s routine monitoring system. The salp were clogging the traveling screens in the intake structure, which are meant to keep marine life out and to keep the unit cool.

“We then made the conservative decision to ramp down the affected unit to 20 percent and continued to monitor the situation,” said Cuddy. “When the problem continued, we made another conservative decision that it would be safest to curtail the power of the unit.”

The plant’s solution to the salp is to wait until the organisms move on and resume production once the filters are clear.

Click here to read more.

Rare Meteorite found in California

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Scientists have confirmed that a space rock found in the Sierra foothills dates back to the early formation of the solar system, 4 to 5 billion years ago.

The meteorite was found by Robert Ward, of Prescott, Ariz., on Tuesday along a road at the edge of Lotus, near Coloma. Ward has been hunting and collecting meteorites for more than 20 years and goes by the name “AstroBob” on his website.

“ [The meteorite] is one of the oldest things known to man and one of the rarest types of meteorite there is,” said Ward. “It contains amino acids and organic compounds that are extremely important to science.”

Experts say the flaming meteor was probably about the size of a minivan when it entered the Earth’s atmosphere with a loud boom and about one-third of the explosive force of the atomic bomb. It was seen from Sacramento, Calif., to Las Vegas and parts of northern Nevada.

To read more about the meteorite, click here.

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