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September 28, 2008

UK military: 3 disks of soldier's data lost

Computer disks that contain data on Royal Air Force personnel went missing, said Britain's Ministry on Sunday.

The disks went missing on September 17 from a secured area. They appear to be stolen, said the ministry in an Associated Press article.

Two of the three disks contained information on the RAF individuals, but the third did not.

The ministry set up a hot line and e-mail address for any former and present RAF members who are concerned about the thefts.

Laramie, Wyoming remembers 10th anniversary of slain gay student

Saturday marked the 10th anniversary of the death of the slain gay student Matthew Shepard.

The University of Wyoming, the college that Shepard attended, commemorated a bench to him in his memory, reported an AHN Media article.

Shepard was a victim of a hate crime where he was tied to a fence and left to die back in October 1998. The two men who killed Shepard are currently serving life sentences.

Since the brutal act, the university established many foundations and support centers for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and others, according to an article from the Associated Press.

Cyclist killed in Blaine

Monday morning, a bicyclist was struck and killed by a pickup truck in Blaine.

The pickup truck was traveling westbound on Clover Leaf. Authorities are not sure which direction the cyclist was going.

The Blaine Fire Department, Allina Medical Rescue and the Blaine Police Department responded, but the cyclist was pronounced dead at the scene, according to a report from WCCO News.

The truck driver was cooperative.

Police are still trying to contact relatives of the victim.

University identifies gene linked to collapse in dogs

The University of Minnesota has discovered the mutant gene in dogs that leads some to collapse during vigorous activities.

The neurological syndrome exercise-induced collapse (EIC) effects 3 to 5 percent of Labrador retrievers.

Till recently, there was no known way of finding EIC but scientists, owners and veterinarians had a feeling it was becoming more common, according to a .

Patterson and the study's co-authors have submitted a patent for the test. They plan to make the university's Veterinary Diagnostic Lab the exclusive license holder in the United States, according to the same PB article.

September 21, 2008

Attribution Analysis

The article I chose to write about is about the weed-killer atrazine being found in Minnesota lakes.

This article uses six sources, a couple of which are somewhat connected to each other. For example, one source is a study the government conducted, and another source is one of the scientists that participated in the study. The article names four people and loosely sources the study and government scientists. For the most part, the sources are scattered enough so the reader won't confuse one attribution with another, but there are enough sources to deem the article as a credible one, in which research was conducted. In addition, when there is a source present, it is after what is being quoted or it is before the quote in order to make clear the credentials of the source.

Nearly 13,000 Chinese children sick from tainted milk

China announced Sunday that the number of infants hospitalized due to tainted milk has greatly increased. Of the 12,892 children, four have died.
The government is doing their best to assure parents that the offending company will face the consequences.

The Health Ministry announced late Sunday that the number of 6,244 children nearly doubled to 12,892 children as reported in a http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080922/wl_nm/china_milk_dc;_ylt=ArnlXHgeBXFVnhOPIXvvEedvaA8F">Reuter's article.
The contamination stems from an industrial chemical called melamine, which is used in making plastics.
"Melanin is high in nitrogen, but registers as a protein in milk tests," reported Min Lee from the Associated Press, "it can cause kidney stones, which can lead to kidney failure. Infants are particularly susceptible."
The chemical in the tainted milk is the same chemical found in the recalled pet food.

Musicians expected to recover from plane crash

Late Friday, two musicians, Travis Barker from Blink-182 and DJ AM were in critical condition after their plane crashed in South Carolina.
The two are expected to make full recoveries stated the medical director of the burn hospital in an Associated Press article.

The two musicians are being treated in the burn unit in Augusta, Georgia.

The Los Angeles Times reported: "The crash happened before midnight on Friday. A twin-engine private Learjet with six passengers onboard never left the ground, overran the runway, struck an antenna array and several lights, and began sending up sparks." The plane caught fire on impact.

While Barker and AM survived the crash, the two other passengers and the two pilots did not.

The two men are being treated for second- and third-degree burns. AM was put in a doctor-induced coma in order to undergo skin grafting.

The recovery from the burns could take up to a year, but there were no other injuries noted Dr. Fred Mullins in an Associated Press article.

Two Rochester firefighters suing city for discrimination

Two years ago, two firefighter applicants filed a lawsuit against the city of Rochester, Minnesota claiming they were discriminated against because they were not "white men," reported ABC 6 News.

Friday a federal judge heard from the Rochester city attorney and the two-former firefighter candidates.

"We selected the most qualified candidates without regard to their gender or nationality," said the city in response to the lawsuit.

Rochester City Attorney Terry Adkins asked for the case to be thrown out saying "there is no evidence of discrimination."

But Rochester City Councilman Pat Carr says the results can be misleading.

"The list was approximately the top 50 applicants and the scores are only a few points apart from the number one person to the number 50th person it's very, very close," he said.

Adkins expects the judge to make a decision on whether to throw the case or not in a couple months.

Weed-killer found far from farm sources

The herbicide weed-killer atrazine is showing up in northern Minnesota. Scientists believe it is being carried by the wind and rain and it is falling from the sky, reported the Star Tribune.

Government scientists conducted the first statewide study of pesticides and found small amounts of atrazine in 9 of the 10 lakes studied.

Bill VanRyswyk, an Agriculture Department hydrologist, said some of the lakes probably got herbicides from runoff.

But the northern lakes aren't anywhere near farms. Which points to transmission through the atmosphere being a likely cause.

The amounts of the herbicide found aren't considered to be a risk to people, plants or animals.

"The concentrations are low, very low," said Steven Heiskary, a research scientist with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), in the same article.

Atrazine has been controversial because some research has linked it to deformities in frogs.

Efforts to pass tougher state regulations failed in the legislature last year.

September 15, 2008

TRL's last days

MTV has decided to cancel its hit television show, "Total Request Live." After 10 years on the air, the show will see its last this November.

The show will conclude in a two-hour special said Dave Sirulnick, executive producer of "TRL."

The show, which began in 1998 as ‚ÄúTotal Request Live,‚Ä? helped many musicians jump start their careers. Musicians like Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears.

On May 22, 2007, the show marked its 2,000 episode.

Sirulnick decided that ended the show in its 10th year would be the best choice.

"10 is a great number. And 10 is the number that `TRL' counted down every single day for 10 years, and we hit this 10th (anniversary) and we thought, `You know what? This feels like the right time and let's celebrate it and let's reward it."

MTV has already found alternatives to replace the show.

September 14, 2008

Leads Analysis

The article lead that I will analyze is from a CNET.com article about hackers creating fake YouTube-like sites.

The news elements in the lead are the who and the what. The what at first may seem like the part of the sentence that states the hackers are becoming more busin ess-like. However, the "real" what is the tool that is creating fake YouTube sites that can be used to deliver malicious viruses and adware onto people's computers. The who is more obvious. The cybercriminals are the who.
The what in the lead is a rather detailed lead that describes what the tool does. Instead of just saying the tool installs viruses and adware, it specifies what kind of viruses are installed. But, it isn't super detailed to the point where only a tech-savvy person would know what is being reported. So I'll just say it's general but detailed enough to get a reader to want to find out more. The other general part to the lead is that it doesn't state whether the cybercriminals are from some kind of organization or if there is a specific person, just that they're cybercriminals.

Kim Jong-il falls seriously ill

North Korea's leader Kim Jong-il recently suffered from a stroke but has "recovered enough to brush his own teeth," according to an Associated Press article through CBS2.

Kim's health first started to wane back in April when he began losing consciousness.
South Korean media reported that Kim, 66, collapsed around Aug. 15. He was not present at last week's 60th anniversary celebrations, which led to long speculated thoughts that Kim may have diabetes and heart disease.
Foreign doctors were also rumored to have flown to Pyongyang to conduct surgery on the leader, reported an article in the Herald Tribune.

More information sought in L.A. rail crash

Who is to blame for the deadly train wreck that left 25 people dead. Was it the operator? Was it the lights? The signals? Or is it too soon to be jumping to conclusions?

This rail accident is the nation's deadliest in 15 years. In a San Diego Union Tribune article, the engineer may be at fault for the disaster.
Before colliding head-on into a freight train at 40 mph, the engineer received a text message shortly before the crash. According to an Associated Press report, the National Transportation Safety Board said they have yet to officially conclude the engineer was text messaging at all.
In both articles, Metrolink confirmed that a dispatcher did try to warn the train's engineer that the freight train was coming at him.
The investigation on this disaster may be a yearlong one and officials are careful not to overlook anything or end up with incorrect information.
NTSB investigators will be looking at recorders that measure time and speed and also examining pictures from the wreckage.
So far they have figured that the two switches that control whether the train goes onto a siding were open. One of them should have been closed, said Mary Higgins from the NTSB.

New 35W Bridge to be unveiled

It's been a year and about a month since the fall of the 35W Bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota. On Monday, Gov. Tim Pawlenty is scheduled to unveil the new 35W Bridge, and its opening can be as early as this Tuesday.

According to a report from WCCO News, the new bridge is being praised for its simplicity.
Instead of creating a signature bridge, the city opted for a more practical design instead of one that would stick out more.
In the same WCCO report, Mayor R.T. Rybak said, "The first goal was to have a bridge that was safe and effective."
The new bridge structure will have a more elevated center to recreate the view one received on the old one. In addition, the guardrails will have wider spacing in the sections over the water.
There will not be any public open house on the bridge said MnDOT spokesman Kevin Gutknecht in a Star Tribune article.
An event such as that could potentially delay the opening; and it may not be pedestrian-safe due to low, freeway style guardrails.

Washington Avenue Bridge Closures Update

The Minnesota Daily reported that the closures on the pedestrian bridge will continue throughout the whole school year.

Hennepin County officials announced the news after discovering construction was necessary to bring the bridge up to new federal weight standards.
Although the bridge is in need of extra support braces, it is safe enough to remain open during the school year. In a Minnesota Public Radio article, Dan Wolter, spokesman for the University of Minnesota, said "the bridge is a critical university artery."
The outside parts of the bridge were closed on Aug. 21, moving pedestrians and bicyclists to the sheltered inside area.
Due to the large amount of students who use the bridge, congestion has started to become a problem. So much so, that on Sept. 11, the UMPD has announced an $80 fine for bikers who refuse to dismount their bikes.
The feelings on the bridge's restriction among students has been mixed, reports the Twin Cities Daily Planet.