April 2012 Archives

Analysis: Computer Assisted Research

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I chose to examine this article about a misinformation campaign that used the names of a USA Today reporter and editor. The story discusses the activity of these fake accounts, used to convey false information at the expense of the reporter and the editor.

The reporter had to be relatively knowledgeable about the Internet, as he apparently looked up some Internet domain registries. In the article it says, "For example, Internet domain registries show the website TomVandenBrook.com was created Jan. 7 -- just days after Pentagon reporter Tom Vanden Brook first contacted Pentagon contractors involved in the program. Two weeks after his editor Ray Locker's byline appeared on a story, someone created a similar site, RayLocker.com, through the same company." The reporter had to know where to look to find this information. I'm not sure how I would classify the "skills" he needed to complete this story, but he somehow was able to view information in Internet domain registries. Knowing how to look up Internet domain registries is not something I would classify as common knowledge. He used the information available in the Internet domain registries to make connections with other events, adding depth to the story.

Public pot-smoking protest busted


Pro-pot protesters at the University of Colorado were forced to disperse on Friday, CNN reports.

Hundreds of people turned out for the event, but no one smoked at the rally, CNN reports.

According to CNN, the school closed the campus to outsiders and spread an unpleasant-smelling, fish-based fertilizer on the quad before enclosing it in yellow police tape and stationing police officers around the perimeter.

Three people were arrested for trespassing when they walked onto the quad, sat down and refused to leave, USA TODAY reports.

"Clearly they wanted to get arrested," campus police spokesman Ryan Huff said.

In past years the Norlin Quad on the campus of the University of Colorado at Boulder had drawn 10,000 to 12,000 people for the event that occurs on April 20, CNN reports.

According to USA TODAY, Huff estimated that the university would spend about $110,000 on law-enforcement Friday, about double the amount spent last year.

University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler announced Norwood Teague, currently the director of athletics at Virginia Commonwealth University, as the lone finalist for the athletic director position, the Pioneer Press reports.

The position was held for the past 10 years by Joel Maturi, who announced in February that he would be retiring.

Teague, 46, has more than 20 years of experience in intercollegiate athletics and has held his current position at VCU since July 2006, the Pioneer Press reports.

According to the Pioneer Press, Teague was one of about 40 candidates to interview for the position in a national search.

The Washington Post reports VCU's athletic annual fund has grown more than 119 percent under Teague. He has also led the campaign to build a $10 million practice facility for men's and women's basketball and other sports, the Washington Post reports.

Viking stadium plan still alive

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The possibility of a new Vikings stadium in Minnesota has been brought back to life after a 8-6 vote in the Senate on Friday, the Pioneer Press reports.

The vote came just hours after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell met with Gov. Mark Dayton and other legislative leaders, according to the Pioneer Press.

"We're very pleased with the progress," said Vikings vice president Lester Bagley. "It's been an up-and-down week."

The stadium bill proposal was shot down in the House in a 9-6 vote last week, the Star Tribune reports.

According to the Star Tribune, a NFL executive said last week that the lack of progress on a stadium was creating "ripe'' conditions for the Vikings to be sold and moved.

Under the plan approved Friday, the Vikings would pay $427 million while the state would add $398 million, the Star Tribune reports. Minneapolis would contribute $150 million to construction costs. The team would also contribute $327 million to the stadium's operation, and the city would add another $189 million.

CNN reports George Zimmerman may remain in jail until the middle of next week due to concerns about collecting enough money for his $150,000 bond, his lawyer said Saturday.

Speaking to reporters Saturday outside the jail, Mark O'Mara said his client is "focused on getting out" while still aware this is "a long, long process."

Zimmerman's defense team must worry about his safety once he leaves jail, FOX NEWS reports.

"He clearly puts himself in jeopardy unless he takes precautions," said New York attorney Barry Slotnick, who represented subway shooter Bernhard Goetz in the 1980s. According to FOX NEWS, defense attorneys for other high-profile clients who awaited trial on bail said the best way to protect Zimmerman was to get him out of Florida, keep him from the public eye and never leave him alone.

Zimmerman apologized to Trayvon Martin's family in court on Friday, CNN reports.

CNN reports Martin's parents were "completely devastated" over the decision to allow Zimmerman to post bond and eventually go free, said a family attorney, Benjamin Crump.

The U.N. Security Council voted Saturday to form a group of up to 300 unarmed military observers and an unspecified number of civilian specialists to monitor the cease-fire between the Syrian government and armed opposition forces, the Washington Post reports.

The U.N. Supervision Mission in Syria is set to reinforce a small team that began testing the nine-day-old cease-fire this week with visits to multiple Syrian towns, the Washington Post reports.

According to CNN, the cease-fire is part of a six-point peace plan laid out by U.N.-Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan and accepted by the Syrian government.

Susan E. Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said that the Obama administration supports the decision but there should be "no illusions" that the observers will erase the tension in Syria, according to the Washington Post.

The city of Homs underwent another day of heavy shelling Sunday after a temporary pause in shelling on Saturday, when two U.N. monitors were in the city, CNN reports.

"Today is the first day since two months ... Homs (is) without shelling," one man told the monitors Saturday. "When you come, shelling stops."

19-acre fire started by three boys

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The Albert Lea Tribune reports a 19-acre grass fire that threatened several homes on the south end of Albert Lea on Monday was started by three pre-teen boys who were playing with matches, according to fire officials.

Albert Lea Fire Capt. Mark Light said the boys admitted to starting the fire.

The fire did slight damage to a radio tower owned by KATE radio, KIMT reports.

The blaze ventured as close as 100 feet from at least one home, the Albert Lea Tribune reports.

Crews were able to contain the fire before it got too close to any homes, but it was enough to frighten residents, KIMT reports.

"When the wind picked up like that it started to get a little close to the house and that, I was a little worried about it, yeah," said Mark Flesche, a resident of the area.

St. Paul man gets 12 years for setting teen on fire

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Curtis E. Reed, who set his girlfriend's son ablaze after an early-morning altercation in their St. Paul home last summer, was sentenced Thursday in Ramsey County District Court to 12 years in prison, the Star Tribune reports.

Reed, 55, pleaded guilty as charged on March 2 to first-degree assault on Antoine Willis, the Pioneer Press reports. Ramsey County District Judge Rosanne Nathanson called the attack "senseless and unconscionable."

The victim, Antoine Willis Jr., then 19, had been asleep when Reed sprayed him with lighter fluid and lit him on fire, according to the Star Tribune.

Willis attended the sentencing, but did not speak to the judge or with reporters afterward. He had scarring on the left side of his neck, but he appeared in good physical condition, the Star Tribune reports.

The Pioneer Press reports Reed apologized to Willis on Thursday, saying, "I made a stupid mistake."

Heroin use is up in Twin Cities

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A recent article in the Star Tribune reports heroin deaths in the Twin Cities made a large increase last year as the drug grew more popular and potent.

Heroin-related deaths nearly tripled in Hennepin, Ramsey and Anoka counties in 2011, prompting sheriffs in the Twin Cities area on Thursday to issue a public plea for help in combating growing use of the drug in the area, the Albert Lea Tribune reports.

"We don't want to see heroin claim more lives and we don't want another year with huge numbers like that," Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek said. "And even one death, of course, is way too many."

According to the Star Tribune, new test results showed that heroin purchased in the Twin Cities is 93.5 percent pure -- the highest potency in the nation.

"You don't know how strong it is until you get high," 21-year-old Will Connell said. "And then it can be too late. It's just one of the easier drugs to overdose on."

Connell is a former heroin user who has been sober for 20 months, the Star Tribune said. Analyzing his own pathway to heroin use, he said it is important to stop young teens from abusing drugs that are easier to access.

"It all starts with people being more conscious about prescription pill abuse," Connell said.

Newark mayor saves woman from house fire

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Newark Mayor Cory Booker rescued his 47-year-old neighbor from a burning house Thursday, CNN reports.

KARE 11 reports Booker says he didn't feel brave, but did feel terrified as he dashed through flames with the woman over his shoulder.

The Mayor was treated and released from a hospital after suffering from smoke inhalation and second-degree burns on his right hand, according to KARE 11.

"I'm a neighbor that did what most neighbors would do, which is to jump into action to help a friend," Booker said.

Zina Hodge, Booker's neighbor, is in critical condition, according to CNN. Three others were saved in the fire by officials.

As for being referred to as a "superhero," Booker does not view himself as such. "I think that's way over the top," he said outside his home. "There are people who do this every day."

CBS NEWS reports approximately 400 inmates - including at least 30 men with previous record of association with the Taliban - escaped from a Pakistan prison early on Sunday, according to accounts given by Pakistani officials.

According to CNN, 384 prisoners broke out of a prison in the city of Bannu in northwest Pakistan, an area known for a heavy militant presence. The facility held a total of 944 prisoners.

Four prison officials were wounded in the attack, which lasted more than two hours, said Iftikhar Khan, a senior police official in the city, CNN reports.

According to CNN, two of the prisoners who escaped were scheduled to be executed.

In response to the jailbreak, the Pakistani government ordered a high-level inquiry to "investigate the gaps in security arrangements," said the intelligence official who spoke to CBS News from Peshawar.

The jailbreak came hours before suspected Taliban militants launched what appeared to be a series of well-coordinated attacks in Kabul, Afghanistan, CBS NEWS reports.

According to CNN, the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, according to its spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan.

"We will go where we need to go" said Ehsan, promising to continue attacks that would result in the release of other Taliban members.

Analysis: Diversity

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I chose to analyze this article which discusses changing the trends of Mexican migrants. The U.S. is no longer "the magnet it once was" to Mexican citizens aspiring to advance their socioeconomic status. Migrants are now "casting themselves across a wider range of cities and countries in the region (Mexico/Latin America), pitting old residents against new, increasing pressure to create jobs and prompting nations to rewrite their immigration laws, sometimes to encourage the trend." The story says that Mexicans are increasingly avoiding the U.S. and the border region in favor of safer cities like Mérida, Oaxaca City and Querétaro. The appeal of Chile, Argentina and Brazil is also strengthening.

I talked about this article with Juan, a university student who is of Mexican descent. He said that this article reflects what he observed when he was last in Mexico. Juan explained that the next generation of would-be immigrants does not view the U.S. "as a haven" like before. Juan thinks that the change in attitude in young Mexican citizens comes from a new source of wealth that their parents did not have access to. Reflecting on the new Nissan factory mentioned in this article, he said a new plant will create more jobs and more incentive to stay in Mexico. He views staying in Mexico as a more logical option for his younger cousins, as opportunities within the country continue to appear.

The report moves beyond stereotype into something substantive by using quotes from experts who have insight on the subject as well as personal accounts from citizens who have relocated within Mexico. The author also included statistics and thorough information which strengthened the article. It is very informative and fact-based, and does not come of as a story that relies on stereotype to convey a message.

Bubba Watson wins U.S. Master's

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Bubba Watson won the 76th U.S. Masters as he beat South African Louis Oosthuizen at the second hole of a sudden death playoff at Augusta National on Sunday, ESPN reports.

Watson, who was winning his first major title, played a remarkable shot from the trees at the 10th to find the green, according to a CNN article.

"I never got this far in my dreams," said Watson.

Oosthuizen's highlight of the afternoon was his double-eagle on the par-5 second hole, ESPN reports. The miraculous shot resulted in an albatross, one of the rarest occurrences in the sport of golf.

It was only the fourth in three-under-par double-eagle the history of the Masters.

The Star Tribune reports Minneapolis police ordered Occupy movement activists to take down their tents at a downtown plaza on Saturday night, causing protesters to march through busy streets and block traffic. Later, police arrested about 15 people for public nuisance and impeding traffic.

Activists left the Peavey Plaza near Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, carrying tents and stopping cars from moving across the intersection of 10th Street and Nicollet Mall, according to the Star Tribune.

Police had asked the activists to dismantle their tents at Peavey Plaza because it violated a city public nuisance ordinance.

The group of roughly 60 people eventually reassembled at Loring Park, where they had also set up a gathering spot, the Star Tribune reports.

Saturday marked the six-month anniversary of the Occupy Minneapolis movement, and organizers plan to occupy both locations Minneapolis throughout the spring and summer, WCCO News reports.

Gopher football player Gary Tinsley dead at 22

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Gary Tinsley, a recent University of Minnesota football player who dreamed of turning pro after graduation this spring, was found dead in his Minneapolis dormitory room Friday morning, the Pioneer Press reports.

Authorities are treating the death of Gophers linebacker Gary Tinsley as "suspicious," University of Minnesota Police Chief Greg Hestness said at a press conference this afternoon, City Pages reports.

Hestness says there was nothing about the scene to suggest a crime had been committed, but "the death of a young athlete is out of the ordinary."

According to the Pioneer Press, Tinsley's roommate found him about 7:40 a.m. on the floor of their room in Roy Wilkins Hall, not breathing, and called for help. Police officers and medics responded but could not revive Tinsley, who was pronounced dead at the scene about 8:15 a.m.

"It's a very, very sad day for our football program and for our young men," Gophers coach Jerry Kill said at a Friday afternoon news conference. "We lost one of ours today in Gary Tinsley, who I know is in a good place."

Tinsley was a senior at the University of Minnesota, originally from Jacksonville, Florida. He played linebacker for the Gophers since 2008, and has started every game for the past two seasons. Tinsley was just weeks away from graduating, City Pages reports.

Navy jet crashes into apartments in Virginia

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A U.S. Navy fighter jet crashed into apartment buildings in the military community of Virginia Beach on Friday, CNN reports. No one was killed.

"I don't speak for anybody's religious beliefs, but the mayor and I both agreed that if you want to define a miracle, what happened here yesterday meets that definition for me," Adm. John Harvey, the four-star head of the U.S. Fleet Forces Command, told reporters.

CNN reports at least seven people, including two pilots who ejected, were injured in the crash. All were released from the hospital as of Saturday, said Harvey, and are in "good shape."

The crash happened in the Hampton Roads area, which has a large concentration of military bases, according to USA TODAY.

According to CNN, the fighter jet experienced a "catastrophic mechanical malfunction" during takeoff Friday, leaking jet fuel over Virginia Beach before diving into a cluster of apartment buildings.

USA TODAY reports a series of bad decisions led the pilot -- a student -- to bypass a potentially safe landing at a coastal Navy base after his engine failed. The pilot ejected and told investigators he screamed in horror as he watched the jet crash in a fiery explosion.

A federal judge ordered the U.S. government to pay the family nearly $18 million in restitution, USA TODAY said.

Peru mine collapses, 9 trapped

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A mine collapse in southern Peru on Thursday has left nine trapped, CNN reports.

According to the Washington Post, Peruvian authorities say they are providing food and drink to the miners through a tube.

CNN reports a cave-in on Sunday has interfered with progress.

Police chief Jose Saavedra in southern Peru's Ica region says the miners are not trapped very deep under the surface. He says the miners are behind debris about 20 feet wide that collapsed when they set off an explosion to dislodge copper ore, the Washington Post reports.

The rescue could reportedly take another day or two, CNN reports.

According to the Washington Post, the miners were working on their own at a mine about 175 miles south of Lima that reportedly shut down commercial operations in the early 1980s.

Analysis: Numbers

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This CNN article on the American prison system relies on numbers and statistics to prove a point: No other country comes close to America's rate of incarceration.

This article does a good job summarizing the statistics it uses to convey a clear message to the reader. The numbers they use are not confusing and are rather straightforward. For example, the article says "(Americans) make up 5 percent of the world's population, but (American prisoners) make up 25 percent of jailed prisoners (in the world)." Furthermore, it says "No other country comes even close to our rates of incarceration. We have 760 prisoners per 100,000 people."

It also includes this piece of information: "In the past two decades, the money that states spend on prisons has risen at six times the rate of spending on higher education. In 2011, California spent $9.6 billion on prisons, versus $5.7 billion on higher education. Since 1980, California has built one college campus; it's built 21 prisons. The state spends $8,667 per student per year. It spends about $50,000 per inmate per year."

The information is clearly presented (though it is not clearly cited) so that a person as young as 11 or 12 could understand the basic concept the article is about.

The article is well written, as it is not extremely long yet expresses a clear message. Including the data that they did is crucial for the success of the article; without these stats and facts to back it up, the article is useless as it would provide the reader with no scope on the issue.

To me, it seems that the reporter did not do all the math himself. It looks as if he obtained this information from some sort of public record database or from what other people said. The author of the article cited an article in the New Yorker by Adam Gopnik and quoted Pat Robertson multiple times. I feel that more direct citations would have strengthened his argument.

Kentucky and Kansas to face off in NCAA title game

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Kansas overcame a 13 point deficit in a comeback victory over Ohio State on Saturday, propelling Kansas to the NCAA title game, ESPN reports. Kansas outscored Ohio State 13-7 in the final five minutes to win by 2 points.

Despite its 9 point lead at halftime, Ohio State was unable to regain its lost momentum as the Kansas Jayhawks took control of the game.

"It was two different games," Kansas Coach Bill Self said in the ESPN article. "They dominated us the first half. We were playing in quicksand it looked like. And the light came on. We were able to play through our bigs; we were able to get out and run, but the biggest thing is we got stops."

Kentucky, who will also be featured in the championship, ousted in-state rival Louisville 69-61. Kentucky entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed in the South bracket and a heavy favorite to win it all, CNN reports.

The title game will be held in Mew Orleans on Monday evening. Kentucky is clearly the favorite, but Kansas, who has won a handful of close games in the tournament, has proved to themselves and the nation that they are not a team to be underestimated.

Synthetic drug lab busted in St. Paul

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The Star Tribune reports Ramsey County authorities say they busted the first synthetic drug lab in the county, and possibly the state, on Thursday.

Thousands of dollars' worth of drugs were found in the apartment of a 32-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman. A 4-year-old that was living with the couple has been placed under the care of protective services.

According to the Pioneer Press, the apartment covering the entire second floor of a building at 101 Douglas St., above an antiques store, contained chemicals shipped from China, grain alcohol and ether.

The suspects were taking prescription drugs and turning them into "club drugs," using ether, paint thinner and grain alcohol to alter them, the Star Tribune reports.

In the Pioneer Press article, the county sheriff's office spokesman Randy Gustafson said that the duo was using high-grade chemicals. "It wasn't like your dirty meth-lab operation," Gustafson said.

Charges have not been filed, and the case probably won't be forwarded to the county attorney's office until the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension tests are complete, according to the Star Tribune.

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This page is an archive of entries from April 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

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