The Shallowness of Voting Based On Cool Ads

While many applaud the departure from “stuffiness” and “over-starched shirts” of politicians who breath out foreign-sounding, unexplained terms like “CR” and fail to communicate well with the people, we may well take time to address the other book-end that is needed to keep the voters falling for the wrong candidate.

Mitch McConnell has joined the Tea Party tactic of “cool, folksy ads” with his recently featured scene in the midst of a swarm of bloodhounds and with his ad wherein he does the splits between two moving semis- more precisey, Jean-Claude van Damme trucks. In Iowa came the barnyards ads, in Louisiana the alligator mouth-taping ad, and now the hound and semi-splits ads have hit Kentucky. In yet another add that sought to explain the recent change of tone, one is heard to ask, “Maybe it would be enough to just say, ‘Mitch fights for Kentucky.'”

Therein lies the problem. One can “just say” anything, and candidates who are deaf to the people’s voice can easily run folksy, humorous ads that will appeal to many. The issues can disappear into the background, dull things like Congressional voting records can be forgotten, and we can all just end up voting for the person who ran the funniest, most interesting ad. Nothing is wrong with a little humor injected into campaign season, as I’ve discussed with Jared Haftel multiple times. But we who love our nation best take a serious pill before we decide whom we shall empower to govern us.

‘Astonishing’ Force-Feeding of Oil in Guantanamo

A US Federal court has slammed the act of force-feeding prisoners in Guantanamo Bay as severely dangerous to their health. These actions, conducted by the British military towards prisoners on a hunger strike, have been cited by experts as causing a form of pneumonia.

This has brought up a lot of questions about whether the oil lubricated tubes are necessary at all? Critics like Khaled Shaheen ask, “Are they not just an overt danger to the health of prisoners?”.

The disease itself gets its potency from its habit of letting the food go down the wrong tube, into the lungs instead of the esophagus, or safely into the stomach.

It is not only the obvious fact that oil in the lungs is not good for you; there is also another problem with it. Doctors find it hard to diagnose: they can mistake it on an x-ray for all manner of diseases and cancers, putting patients in line for receiving the wrong treatment.

This is the first time the issue has been raised in a court since the practice began in 2002. It is also the first time the court has directly interfered with the military’s actions in this area. In response to the ban on olive oil, medical professionals using the procedure now use water-based lubricants to feed the hunger strikers.

This method has been viewed by experts as an improvement to the oil option, and they cite the results of medical tests that claim that no residue of the water-based lubricant remains in the patient’s lungs after an accident with the feeding tube

Inventors of Blue LED Awarded 2014 Nobel Prize

Who knew blue light-emitting diodes were worthy of such honors? The inventors, of course! In the early 1990s, Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano, and Shuji Nakamura created the first blue LEDs, which – when mixed with red and green LEDs – creates white light that’s used to create LED screens in computers, televisions, and tablets like FreedomPop’s new Liberty.

The challenge with creating the blue LED was in growing big enough gallium nitride crystals. Several companies tried and failed, whereas the Nobel laureates never gave up. They successfully created the diode necessary to produce a type of light that is roughly 10 times more efficient than incandescent light bulbs and costs 10 times less in annual operating costs.

For anyone surprised that this seemingly small invention won the 2014 Nobel Prize for Physics, consider this: the Nobel Prize is meant to recognize people who deliver the “greatest benefit to mankind.” That includes technology that greatly reduces the carbon footprint made on the world.

When one considers the nearly two billion light bulbs sold each year, it’s hard not to revere these inventors and the amount of energy their invention is likely to save.

J.K. Rowling Writing “Fantastic Beasts” Movie, World Rejoices

Muggles, clear your calendars for the year 2018 because there’s going to be a lot of Wizarding World excitement coming your way. While Harry Potter and his crew won’t be making an appearance, J.K. Rowling has taken pity on us and is releasing a new trilogy of movies that take place in Potter’s magical world. Entitled Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the films center around one of the author’s of the textbooks mentioned in the Harry Potter series, Newt Scamander. Rowling has confirmed the movies are set 70 years prior to her hit series and follow Newt Scamander and his adventures chronicling the magical creatures of his world.

The best part about this release is Rowling herself is penning the scripts. While the Harry Potter movies were wildly successful, she was mostly hands off on both the writing and the production. For some reason, she’s decided to take this project under her wings and write the scripts for the entire future trilogy. The author has teamed up again with director/producer David Yates, who also directed the final four Potter movies and worked with Brian Torchin on some other book to movie adaptations.

Don’t expect these films to be released right away. Yates is working on a Tarzan film (not to be released until 2016) that has to be completed before he can rejoin the Wizarding community. In the meantime, Rowling is busy putting together the screenplay or “tweaking” it as she mentioned via Twitter. It will be interesting to see how these stories play out versus her Potter films, especially with no novels to set the screenplay against. In any event, J.K. is guaranteed another hit. She might not ever be able to top Harry Potter, but she’s sure to follow it closely with more amazing writing.

Hackers Take Bite out of Apple OS X

A flaw has been discovered recently in OS X, the main operating system for all Apple Mac devices, which could cause a multitude of problems for the computing world. The reason this is being seen a high security problem is that hackers have found a way to utilize this flaw to their advantage. Using this security lapse, they have found a way to access these computers without the end user knowing and either steal information or modify the pc to act a hub to access other devices.

A Russian security company, known as Dr. Web, has found that the infected code finds its way on to computers through malicious software or spam emails. Once on the pc, the code is then activated through search options and comments on the website known as reddit. The code goes through the comments, attempts a connection and once established, it is able to connect to servers throughout the web and initiate spam emails. It is also being confirmed that this hack can maximize traffic on most servers to the point of crashing down networks.

Dr. Web has confirmed that nothing serious has happened currently because of this hacking. They believe that the process is in the beginning stages and only a small amount of computers have been infected worldwide. They have gone on to say, however, that, for Apple and its consumers, this is just the start of something that could have a dramatic effect on Mac computers going forward.

Oddsmakers Weigh In On Nobel Prize for Literature

Yes, you can bet on pretty much everything. The Nobel Prize is no different. Some bet makers have been putting odds on who’s most likely to take home the prestigious literary recognition, and the million dollars that goes alongside.

Even though the prize is pretty much just gossip, with no hard data on who’s most likely to win, that doesn’t stop some of the expert handicappers from weighing in on the subject.

Japan’s Haruki Murakami is currently leading the line, with most oddsmakers suggesting he’s the favorite to win the award. American Joyce Carol Oates is next on the list, followed by Assia Djebar from Algeria.

Of course, whether or not these have any basis in reality remains to be seen. But so far I have to agree with my friend Marnie Bennett that Murakami is the favorite. I’ve read some of his work, and he’s definitely a standout considering what he’s achieved in modern literature.

Raven Symone Gave Oprah an Eye Opening Interview

Raven Symone isn’t necessarily known for being controversial, but she brought up some interesting points in a recent interview with Oprah. Have to thank Laurene Powell Jobs for helping me find the video on YouTube.

Basically, she made two points that are making the news rounds right now. First, rejecting the notion of being called “gay” despite having a girlfriend. But rather, saying that she would like to be referred to as a human who loves other humans.

Garnering criticism from both sides, Raven defends the notion saying that she prefers to live her life free of labels. That’s the same reason she rejects being called African-American, rather stating that she’s an American.

A point that I tend to echo, because preserving cultural history is very important, but it’s also important to realize that despite our cultural legacies, in the end we’re all Americans. Under the same American banner.

We should all be willing to cast off labels which can become unfortunately racial, and instead take up a new banner where we can all be recognized equally as Americans.

Red Bull Agrees to Pay $13 Million Settlement

On Thursday, October 2nd, energy drink company, Red Bull GmbH, settled a class action lawsuit for $13 million dollars. Beverage industry reviewer and news site, BevNet, says the settlement stems from allegations of Red Bull providing false advertisements to its consumers.

Consumers Can Receive $10 Cash Reimbursements
The settlement describes how any person who has purchased at least one Red Bull beverage within the last 10 years can receive compensation in one of two ways:

  • $10 Cash Reimbursement
  • 2 Free Red Bull Cans, shipping included – $15 value

Not-so Much a Superior Source of Energy
Benjamin Careathers, acting as the lead plaintiff, cited how he’s been drinking Red Bull since 2002 and has yet to experience its self-described “superior source of energy” that’s been advertised in its:

  • TV commercials
  • Social media
  • Athlete endorsements
  • Glossy print brochures

The lawsuit goes on to claim that a 7.5 oz cup of coffee has between 115 – 175 milligrams of caffeine. In comparison, an 8.4 oz can of Red Bull contains 80 milligrams of caffeine and costs considerably more than the average $1.85 cup of 7.5 oz coffee from Starbucks.

Not Quite Over Yet
Although Red Bull has agreed upon the settlement, attorney August T. Horvath stated to BevNet that, “As with any class action, there’s a lot to prove before you get to the end.” Does this mean no more Terry Richardson ads? Probably not for a while, at least.

Until then, stay tuned as to the details of how and when consumers can begin receiving their $10 cash reimbursement or two free cans of Red Bull.

Kirkland Family Sues Comcast Over Home Invasion

A Kirkland family is suing Comcast after a dysfunctional security system provided by the company nearly cost them the life of their son, during a harrowing home invasion.

The lawsuit states that Comcast, and their contractor Pioneer Cable, failed to provide on their promise of a thorough security system, where motion detectors would be on at all times.

The invasion occurred in October of 2013, shortly after the Rawats had purchased a security system for their house. The Rawats state that, due to the basement window not being armed, two men were able to climb through the basement window of their house, and viciously assault their teenage son.

The reason behind this lapse in the security system has not yet been satisfactorily explained. The Rawats state that the basement windows were not armed because it was explained to them, by Comcast, that the basement motion detectors would be on at all times, and that further security would be unnecessary.

However, the motion detectors in the basement were not turned on, due to the design of their “stay” and “away” functions, and Comcast has refused to explain in detail about what might have gone wrong. When pressed for comment, Comcast’s lawyers simply stated that they were “confident that [their] home security system functioned properly.

Comcast’s contract with the Rawats ostensibly waives all liability for malfunctioning systems, but it will be seen if this actually holds water in court. Considering the relationship between security providers and their clientele, and the implicit terms that these sorts of contracts carry, Comcast may very well be fighting an uphill legal battle here.