April 2012 Archives

Hidalgo reporters uncovered evidence that Municipal Judge William C. Romo has been excusing speeding tickets for his friends and their relatives left and right.

The Monitor submitted a public information request to receive a list kept by the court administrator, outlining 839 citations, mostly traffic tickets, that local politicians submitted to the judge for special consideration from January 2010 to April 2011.

It doesn't seem as if too many computer skills were needed to pursue this case. They received a list, counted up the citations and type of citations, and made a story out of it. They then went and tracked down a lot of the big offenders for statements on the subject, and that makes up the brunt of the story.

A convicted felon made a court appearance Friday after being indicted by a Washington County grand jury for the fatal stabbing and robbery of an Oakdale nanny, the Star Tribune reported.

Thomas James Fox was attempting to leave town under a false name when he was arrested, and had apparently begun dating the victim, Lori Baker, while using a false name, the Pioneer Press reported.

He faces a maximum penalty of life in prison without parole, the Pioneer Press reported.

Many of the state's witnesses are those who spent time in prison with him and heard his confessions, the Star Tribune reported.

John Beiswenger, author of the little-known 2003 science fiction novel Link, has filed a lawsuit against Ubisoft, the developer of the Assassin's Creed series of video games, the Escapist reported.

The first Assassin's Creed game was released in 2007, three years after Beiswenger authored his book, Venturebeat reported. However, many who have read his book fail to see much resemblance, the Escapist reported.

Beiswenger is seeking a minimum of $1.05 million in damages for 11 counts of copyright infringement, including all four core games, their spinoff games, the official encyclopedia, and the DC Comic book series, Venturebeat reported.

Worst of all for the fans of the franchise, Beiswenger is reportedly attempting to block the release of Assassin's Creed 3, due to be released this October, until the case is resolved, the Escapist reported.

Angry video game nerds have since gone online and posted terrible reviews of his book on Google Books, bringing down his average score to one star out of five.

The number of sexually transmitted diseases in Minnesota hit an all time high in 2011, up 8 percent from last year, the Star Tribune reported.

Most cases were in teens and young adults ages 15 to 24, Minnesota Public Radio reported.

Chlamydia was the most commonly reported disease with 16,898 cases, followed by gonorrhea with 2,283 cases and syphilis with 366 cases, the Star Tribune reported.

Everyone from the president to the defense secretary to the general population is condemning the soldiers pictured posing with dead Afghan insurgents, BBC reported.

The soldiers depicted in the 2010 pictures have not yet been identified, but they are from the 82nd Airborne Division, BBC reported.

Military officials asked the New York Times not to publish the 18 photos for fear that it would damage already shaky relations with Afghanistan. The New York Times agreed to an extent, but felt that Americans had a right to know about the incident, so they published the two least offensive photos that still got the point of the matter across.

Three Secret Service members, two of them supervisors, are leaving the agency to make way for the investigation into whether their shenanigans involving Columbian prostitutes caused a security breach, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Meanwhile, a joint effort in the house has requested that Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan provide members of congress with "a complete description and account" of anyone involved or who knew about misconduct by agents and officers on the night agents allegedly brought prostitutes to their hotel rooms, the Christian Science Monitor reported.

Eight other secret service personnel have also been placed on administrative leave, the Seattle Times reported.

After the virus Flashback exploited a weakness in Java in Mac computers and infected more than 600,000 computers over the last two weeks, Apple has finally deployed a detection an removal tool, the Washington Post reported.

The Flashback Trojan succeeded in creating a "zombie army" of remote-control Macs, but that number has shrunk rapidly, The Register reported.

The tools developed to fight the malware have been quite effective so far, with the number of infected computers dropping to 270,000 by April 6, Digital Trends reported.

A group of republican and democrat lawmakers joined business leaders Thursday for a push for Minnesota to require Internet retailers to collect state taxes, the Star Tribune reported.

State Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans says the state could expect roughly $4 million over the next year or more if purchases made through online retailers had Minnesota tax applied, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.

With more and more small businesses suffering in the recession, it is frustrating for many business owners, such as the owner of Creative Kidstuff Roberta Bonoff, to see people come in, find what they like in the store, then go off to buy it cheaper on Amazon, the Star Tribune reported.

She told the Star Tribune, "If we can just level that playing field and make it equal for all of us, no matter where you are buying your product, that would be fabulous."

Deaths caused by Heroin in Hennepin, Ramsey, and Anoka counties have almost tripled in the last year -- rising from 16 in 2010 to 46 in 2011 -- and sheriffs think they know the reason why, the Star Tribune reported.

More and more teens and young adults are getting addicted to prescription pills such as Oxycontin, and once those pills get too expensive to buy as regularly as they need, they turn to heroin, another cheaper opiate, Minnesota Public Radio reported.

Even worse, the heroin making its way around the metro area right now has been tested by police at over 90 percent purity -- making the heroin far more potent than before and far easier to accidentally overdose on, KARE 11 reported.

Authorities are not calling the heroin situation in Minneapolis an epidemic quite yet, but it is a growing trend that they say they would like to stop in its tracks, the Star Tribune reported.

Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, was returning home from a television interview late at night when he saw the flames from a nearby house, the New York Times reported. Since the fire department had not arrived yet, he abandoned his security and went into the house, picked up a screaming woman, and carried her out of the house, the New York Times reported.

He and the woman suffered from smoke inhalation, and he received second-degree burns to his right hand, CNN reported. Still, he tweeted his followers ""Thanks 2 all who are concerned. Just suffering smoke inhalation. We got the woman out of the house. We are both off to hospital. I will b ok."

Booker was once a college football player, and is known around his city for being a very hands on mayor: even shoveling during the blizzard that hit the Northeast in 2010, the Washington Post reported.

North Korea is preparing to launch a rocket for testing, going against United Nations sanctions forbidding Pyongyang from utilizing ballistic missile technology, Voice of America reported. The move has been condemned by the United States, South Korea, the European Union, and Japan, Voice of America reported.

Right on the heels of these rocket reports comes news from South Korea that North Korea is also preparing for another clandestine nuclear test, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Satellite images showing new underground tunnel North Korea is digging at one of its nuclear testing sites seem to confirm these allegations, much to the unrest of the international community, the Associated Press reported.

Analysis: Diversity

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I found a news story about an elderly British man who had been tricked out of thousands of dollars by a smooth-talking middle-aged man who had a history of victimizing old people. I then went to talk to Lois Swenson, a retired senior citizen. I read the story to her and then we discussed it, and she came to the same conclusion that I did on my own -- that any and all stereotypes about old people in this report were no fault of the reporter's, but were simply the way the events played out. The reporter simply reported the facts of the case, and the 88-year-old man victimized in the case happened to be very naive and gullible, a common stereotype of elderly people. However, while the story didn't add any unneeded perceptions and stereotypes, it also didn't work hard to move beyond the stereotypes into something more substantive. This story was simply dry crime reporting, and the reporter just wrote fact blocks about the case.

There was one quote that, I think, did more to make the elderly man look gullible than any other. "Mr. O'Leary said Mr. Watrous was not sure how much money he gave Mr. Price, but the prosecutor placed the total at between $4,000 and $11,650". The fact that he had no idea how much money he had given the man gave Swenson the impression that he did not keep track of his money nearly as well as he should have, which played into the elderly stereotype a bit. However, Swenson also thought that that sentence included some important facts of the case. If the reporter had left the quote out, it might have made the elderly man look less stereotypically naive, but at the cost of leaving out a crucial part of the story.

Sources: http://www.telegram.com/article/20120407/NEWS/104079887/1003/NEWS03
Lois Swenson, (507)450-6061

Google released a concept video Wednesday outlining "Project Glass", or Google's efforts to create Terminator-style glasses with an augmented reality hub, PC Mag reported.

The video made it seem like the wearer could pull up quick tasks lists, check the weather, send messages to their Google Plus friends, and use Google maps with a "snappy, icon-driven directional system", PC Mag reported.

However, the accompanying pictures showed that the "glasses" weren't really glasses at all, instead consisting of small rectangular pieces of glass hovering over the wearer's right eye, Wired reported.

Judging by the pictures, there is no way that the glasses could deliver the sort of experience Google outlined in their promotional video, MIT Media Lab researcher Pranav Minstry told Wired magazine. The director of the Augmented Environments Lab at Georgia Tech, Blaire McIntyre, agreed with him, telling Wired, "The small field of view, and placement off to the side, would result in an experience where the content is rarely on the display and hard to discover and interact with."

Fierce fighting broke out across the nation of Syria the other day, just three days before a deadline set by the U.N. to ceasefire, BBC reported amidst unconfirmed reports of over 100 deaths.

The U.S. Ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, told the Washington Post that the United States and the Friends of Syria group were closely monitoring the situation from above to ensure that the required actions take place, but that armored vehicles and artillery units are still within firing range of civilians.

Syria continues to claim that it is merely defending itself against foreign powers such as Saudi Arabia and the U.S., who have thrown their support behind the rebels, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.

Gary Tinsley, 22, a senior linebacker for the Minnesota Gopher football team, was found dead by his roommate early Friday morning in his room in Roy Wilkins Hall, the Minnesota Daily reported.

University of Minnesota Police Chief Greg Hestness said that it is being treated as a suspicious death, though so far there is no evidence of drug or alcohol use on Tinsley's part, nor is there any evidence of foul play, the Minnesota Daily reported.

Tinsley was due to graduate in May with a Business and Marketing Education Degree, the Minnesota Daily reported.

MarQueis Gray, quarter back for the Gophers and friend of Tinsley's, said in a statement to ESPN, "It's just weird how things work. Last night, we were just texting each other and today he's gone".

Mitt Romney won three primaries Tuesday -- Wisconsin, Maryland and the District of Columbia -- adding more votes to his already substantial lead over the rest of the Republican candidates, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Rick Santorum came in second in all three races, with Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul falling far behind, BBC reported. Santorum refuses to heed calls for him to step down in the name of party unity, as only half of all states have voted in the primaries.

This latest string of victories seems to validate his recent campaign strategy, which has been to ignore his GOP rivals and concentrate on defeating President Obama in the upcoming election, CNN reported.

A Trader Joe's store proposed for the Lyn-Lake area of south Minneapolis is encountering resistance, the Star Tribune reported.

Opposition to the building is lead by City Council Member Meg Tuthill, who says that her primary issue with the project has to do with current zoning laws, the Star Tribune reported.

Current zoning laws require stores selling liquor to be a certain distance apart from one another, and a liquor-selling Trader Joe's in the proposed spot would violate current laws, CBS Minnesota reported.

Tuthill told the Star Tribune that changing zoning for one business is bad policy.

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