Old Dogs, an Upcoming Film

This is a human interest feature from the Star Tribune about an upcoming film.



Old Dogs is an upcoming comedy about two men, John Travolta and Robin Williams, who are both high-rolling sports marketing partners and have their own personal life problems.


The author of this review, Orlando Sentinel, says this movie really bit it (not in a good way). The plot was uninteresting and harmless, according to Sentinel. "There's nothing offensive here," Sentinel said.


This feature was insightful, as it advised readers not to see this movie. But I also couldn't really understand the plotline very well because the only thing Sentinel seemed focused on was ripping apart this film. It's hard to understand features when the author is so negative. That creates a lot of clutter and detracts from what the feature is trying to do, in this case write a movie review.


Next time, I would hope to see more focus on the plot, instead of the author's rude feedback.





Michael Beard

This feature is interesting because of the writing style of the author. The New Yorker's writer Ian McEwan wrote a humorous biography on Michael Beard, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in physics. McEwan talks about Beard's life in a chronological fashion.


McEwan takes readers to the childhood of Beard, talking about how his mother, Angela, shoved food down Beard's mouth.


Then, McEwan Beard got a scholarship to oxford. Then, he served as a junior officer to a variety of different countries.


McEwan adds humor to this story by saying things about Beard, like "took up pornography and masturbation full time, and then girls.


McEwan finishes the feature by talking about Angela's battles with breast cancer and her son's final visit to her in the hospital.



This feature was interesting but it was very hard to read because each paragraph was very dense. Some paragraphs only consisted of a sentence or two, but each was highly detailed. I would recommend this article to a more advanced reader, because I had difficulties reading and understanding the material.


Link: http://www.newyorker.com/fiction/features/2009/12/07/091207fi_fiction_mcewan#ixzz0Yb9rAra8

Meryl Streep, fabulous at 60

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I found this feature to be very interesting. Vanityfair.com seems to specialize in profiles about celebrities, but this one just seems to stand out. The story is about Meryl Streep, a very accomplished actress, who has won several awards.



Streep is still standing strong in Hollywood. "In the cover profile of Vanity Fair's upcoming January 2010 issue, Leslie Bennett's investigates the mystery of how, at age 60, Meryl Streep has become the industry's 'new box-office queen.'"



Her most recent films include: 2008's Mamma Mia, the Devil Wears Prada, and this year's Julie & Julia.


This is a profile feature because it focuses on one subject and it shows the reporter's interpretation of a person. Many popular magazines interview celebrities to paint a clear picture on whom this person really is.



Meryl Streep said in an interview, "it's incredible--I'm 60, and I'm playing the romantic lead in romantic comedies!" Streep is a beautiful, smart, and talented actress but she seems really down to earth, saying things like, "I hate to have my picture taken!"



I think the ending could have been stronger to this feature. Also, the feature seems to focus on Streep as an actress but not as a person.



Link: http://www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2009/11/cover-story-preview-leslie-bennetts-on-meryl-streep.html

Wikipedia loses 49,000 editors, but says it's not struggling

The famous online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, has lost over 49,000 editors, but has denied allegations that the site is struggling, according to BBC News.


Wikipedia encourages editorial changes from anyone who comes onto the site.


Wikipedia UK, a chapter of the organization that operates Wikipedia, has denied that the website is struggling, just simply, "seeking more expert contributors."


"We're trying to engage a bit more at the moment with people who are very knowledgeable, people who are experts, so working with museums was the obvious next step," said Michael Peel of Wikimedia UK.


Peel also claims that Wikipedia is not dying. "It's freely licensed which means that content that has been added will be there forever," he added in an interview with The New York Times newspaper."


Felipe Ortega, researcher from the University Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid, said if the downward trend continued there will be issues with the site.


"If the negative trend is maintained for too much time, say one or two years, eventually the project could enter a problematic phase," he said.









Boy Spent 11 Days alone in the New York subways

CNN reported Wednesday that a boy with a rare social disorder spent 11 days in October wandering New York's immense subway system until a police officer recognized him from a missing persons' poster, according to police and the child's mother.


Francisco Hernandez Jr., 13, has Asperger's syndrome, a developmental disorder that affects the ability to communicate and socialize. The child disappeared on Oct. 15, after he thought he was in trouble at school, according to his mother, Marsiela Garcia of Brooklyn. 


Garcia told CNN that she contacted the police when her son went missing, but she felt that was unproductive.


Garcia and her husband took matters in their own hands and posted signs and fliers around the neighborhood about their missing son.


The teen was identified by a transit police officer in the Coney Island section of New York, who identified the missing child from the flier. The child then returned home unharmed and hungry, since he lived off of potato chips and other small snacks he bought at the transit station.


"Francisco told his mother he didn't ask for help or communicate with anyone, which experts say is not uncommon for people with Asperger's syndrome."


"The New York City Police Dept. originally treated her son's case as a runaway, according to his mother." Garcia was so frustrated with police that she consulted the Mexican consulate for help. Police involved in this case have stated that they have taken the appropriate actions to find the child.





U Student 'Rescues Animals' and Earns a Conspiracy Charge

The Minnesota Daily reported Wednesday that two Minnesota activists are being held in Iowa on charges of vandalism in a University of Iowa research lab in 2004.


Scott DeMuth, a University of Minnesota sociology graduate student, and Carrie Feldman, a former student at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, were summoned separately to appear in front of a grand jury in Davenport, Iowa, regarding the incident.


Both students were actively involved in the group, Animal Liberation Front, prior to this incident. In November 2004, "ALF, claimed responsibility for vandalism at the University of Iowa, where they broke into research laboratories, released test animals, and destroyed computers and research data," causing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage.


On Oct. 13, 2009, Feldman was subpoenaed by FBI agents to appear in court two days later. DeMuth's subpoena came Nov. 9 to appear Nov. 17. 


Both DeMuth and Feldman refused to testify in front of a grand jury on their joint appearance Nov. 17. Judge John Jarvey ruled they were in contempt of the court and decided to detain them both. There were roughly 40 protestors that demonstrated outside the building during the proceedings.


On Nov. 18, DeMuth was indicted for conspiracy and the contempt charges were dropped. The federal government is charging DeMuth under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act of 2006. DeMuth pleaded not guilty to the charge, and his attorney is requesting that he be released.


A fellow activist of the defendants, Luce Guillen-Givens, accused the constitutionality of the grand jury and the fact that the jurors aren't screened for bias. However, University Law School professor Stephen Cribari said there is not a screening process because the grand jury isn't conducting a trial.