Dateline: Week Of August 1, 2012 In News, Pop Culture, Tech News & Fascinating Facts
In The News -
The top housing regulator rebuffed a plan by the Obama administration to cut mortgages held by struggling homeowners, a blow to the White House, which is keen to show voters it can help fix the housing market. The regulator for government-run housing finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac said on Tuesday that using taxpayer-funded bank bailout money could encourage defaults and not make a big improvement in reducing foreclosures in a cost-effective way for taxpayers. "The anticipated benefits do not outweigh the costs and risks," said the Federal Housing Finance Agency's head Edward DeMarco, who has come under intense pressure from the government to agree to the plan.
President Barack Obama ramped up sanctions on Iran as senior aides disputed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's contention that such punitive measures in the past have not slowed Tehran's nuclear program "by one iota."
Chik-Fil-A Protests - On Wednesday(Aug1) hundreds of thousands of traditional marriage activists ate "mor chickin" to support Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day. On Friday(Aug3) same-sex marriage allies' get into the action as gay marriage supporters put a romantic spin on traditional sit-ins, organizing "kiss-ins" outside of Chick-fil-A restaurants from Dallas to New York City to celebrate National Same-Sex Kiss Day. "Basically what you're going to get is a bunch of pretty normal, average, everyday people that just happen to be gay or lesbian give each other a kiss or a hug, hold each other's hand, and really show them that we stand up for what we believe," said Marci Alt, who is organizing a protest outside the Chick-fil-A in Decatur, Ga., about 20 miles from the company's Atlanta headquarters. The the spark for this week's protests both for and against Chick-fil-A stemmed from comments the company's CEO, Dan Cathy, made supporting traditional marriage.
The new unemployment numbers show that private employers added 163,000 jobs in July, the best pace of hiring in five months. The jobless rate rose, however, to 8.3 percent from 8.2 percent in June. Romney jumped on the report, calling the figures a "hammer blow" to middle-class families. "We've now gone 42 consecutive months with the unemployment rate above 8 percent," Romney said in a statement. "Middle-class Americans deserve better, and I believe America can do better." No U.S. president since World War II has been re-elected with unemployment above 8 percent.
Residents who sifted through their charred belongings Saturday found little that was salvageable after a roaring wildfire that may have been deliberately set swept across the dryOklahoma landscape. The fire destroyed nearly five dozen homes and other buildings in and around Luther before firefighters were able to gain some measure of control overnight. Video from news helicopters showed orange-bright flames flickering in the darkness, and daybreak Saturday revealed a broad path of destruction. The fire was one of several burning Saturday in Oklahoma, where a severe drought has parched the landscape. Authorities suspect it may have been intentionally set. The Oklahoma County sheriff's department said it was looking for someone in a black pickup truck who was seen throwing newspapers out a window after setting them ablaze.
At least seven people were killed, including the suspected gunman, in a mass shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., south of Milwaukee on Sunday. According to police, 911 dispatchers received multiple calls from the temple at approximately 10:25 a.m. local time. An officer who responded to the scene was treating a victim when he was "ambushed" by the suspected gunman in the parking lot, Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards said. The veteran officer was shot multiple times and rushed to Milwaukee's Froedtert Hospital where he underwent surgery, Edwards said. The suspect was shot and killed by a second officer, police said.
Wade Michael Page, the man identified as the gunman in Sunday's shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., was eyed by federal investigators "more than once" because of ties to white supremacist and extremist groups, the Los Angeles Times reports, but federal officials "determined there was not enough evidence of a crime to open an investigation."
Egypt began work to seal off smuggling tunnels into the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, a security source said, two days after gunmen shot dead 16 Egyptian border guards in an attack blamed partly on Palestinian jihadi militants. As officials weighed how to strike back after the deadliest assault along Egypt's tense Sinai Peninsula frontier with Israel and Gaza in decades, crowds of angry mourners wept at the military funeral for the slain guards in Cairo.
NASA's Curiosity rover has transmitted its first color photo and a low-resolution video showing the last 2 1/2 minutes of its white-knuckle dive through the Martian atmosphere, giving earthlings a sneak peek of a spacecraft landing on another world. As thumbnails of the video flashed on a big screen on Monday, scientists and engineers at the NASA Jet Propulsion let out "oohs" and "aahs." The recording began with the protective heat shield falling away and ended with dust being kicked up as the rover was lowered by cables inside an ancient crater. It was a sneak preview, since it'll take some time before full-resolution frames are beamed back depending on other priorities.
Sports News – August 1, 2012 -
Olympic Games - Britain captured its first gold medal of the London Games when Helen Glover and Heather Stanning won the final of the women's pair at the Olympic rowing regatta on Wednesday. Under intense pressure, the hot favorites crossed the line in a time of 7 minutes, 27.13 seconds.Australia won silver and New Zealand won bronze.
Usain Bolt is the fastest man in the world again. Now he wants to be a legend.After all the talk about Bolt falling off his elite pace and being outclassed by fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake, Bolt outraced the 22-year-old for gold, winning in an Olympic-record 9.63 seconds to Blake's 9.75. The United States grabbed bronze with 9.79 from Justin Gatlin. "There was a lot of people saying that I wasn't going to win. There was a lot of talk," Bolt said. "For me, it was an even greater feeling to come out and show the world I'm still the No. 1. I'm still the best."
Gold medal Olympic swimmer Cameron van der Burgh admitted to cheating in his 2012 world record win in the 2012 London Games Sunday. After winning in the 100-meter breaststroke, he said 99% of the competitors break the rules due to loopholes, leaving him no other choice. Tuesday, the USA Today reported on what is turning out to be another page in the chapter for Olympic scandals during the 2012 Summer Games. Van der Burgh won the gold medal title in his event and set a world record, beating out Australia's Christian Sprenger and besting the time set by Aussie Brenton Rickard in the past. an der Burgh, based on underwater footage, is seen using at least three dolphin kicks before coming to the surface. However, because there are no cameras monitoring the actual live race, swimmers are able to cheat their way to victory, citing the Sydney Morning Herald.
As opening night continues to draw closer, the Nets are continuing to say, “Hello Brooklyn.”In the latest stage of their rollout as the Brooklyn Nets, the team launched a marketing campaign in Brooklyn yesterday involving their top four players – Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace and Brook Lopez.“We are delighted to continue building a connection between Brooklynites and the players on their new home team,” said Brooklyn Nets CEO Brett Yormark in a statement. “This phase of the ‘Hello Brooklyn’ campaign is a creative way for the players to share something about themselves in advance of their debut at Barclays Center this fall.“It’s clear from the big crowd at our recent public celebration at Borough Hall Plaza, as well as our successful ticket and merchandise sales, that the borough is excited for their Brooklyn Nets. We’re thrilled to be part of the community as we get ready for opening night.”
2K Sports has announced a partnership with hip-hop impresario and part-NBA owner Jay-Z, who is the executive producer of the upcoming "NBA 2K13" video game. The megastar, whose real name is Shawn Carter, has been focusing his efforts on the game's presentation and entertainment elements away from the ball -- the music, crowd reactions and interactive in-game menus. He is part owner of the Brooklyn Nets, so his involvement is one that is personally appealing, he said. "This has been a unique opportunity to collaborate with 2K Sports and be a part of one of the best sports video games in history," Jay-Z said in a statement. " 'NBA 2K13' will be the next evolution in sports and basketball culture, and I'm ready to usher in the new era of the franchise."
Music News August 1, 2012–
Interesting Research - Comforting news for anyone over the age of 35, scientists have worked out that modern pop music really is louder and does all sound the same.Researchers in Spain used a huge archive known as the Million Song Dataset, which breaks down audio and lyrical content into data that can be crunched, to study pop songs from 1955 to 2010.A team led by artificial intelligence specialist Joan Serra at the Spanish National Research Council ran music from the last 50 years through some complex algorithms and found that pop songs have become intrinsically louder and more bland in terms of the chords, melodies and types of sound used."We found evidence of a progressive homogenization of the musical discourse," Serra told Reuters. "In particular, we obtained numerical indicators that the diversity of transitions between note combinations - roughly speaking chords plus melodies - has consistently diminished in the last 50 years."They also found the so-called timbre palette has become poorer. The same note played at the same volume on, say, a piano and a guitar is said to have a different timbre, so the researchers found modern pop has a more limited variety of sounds.Intrinsic loudness is the volume baked into a song when it is recorded, which can make it sound louder than others even at the same volume setting on an amplifier.
The music industry has long been accused of ramping up the volume at which songs are recorded in a 'loudness war' but Serra says this is the first time it has been properly measured using a large database.
Technology News August 1, 2012 -
In an announcement today, Microsoft has finally said that Windows 8 is now complete. Microsoft has begun delivering RTM versions to manufacturers and the general availability of the tablets and computers using Windows 8 will be on October 26th. 'Microsoft's final milestone concludes almost two years of development for its new Metro-inspired Windows 8 software and marks the beginning of the release phase. Microsoft says MSDN and TechNet customers will be able to download it from August 15th. Windows Store will go live on August 15th.
Amazon is getting into the game-making game. The Seattle-based company announced its first major social-game title, "Living Classics," on Monday.The free Facebook game is the first from its Amazon Game Studios, a new department at the e-commerce giant that was also unveiled Monday."Amazon Game Studios is exactly what it sounds like: a new team at Amazon that's focused on creating innovative, fun and well-crafted games," said the company in a blog post on the new site. The department is currently hiring, but few other details are given.
Google expanded its mobile payments platform, Google Wallet, to accept multiple credit cards. Users can now connect their Visa (,), MasterCard (, ), American Express (, ), or Discover (, ) cards with the new version of Google Wallet. It's an update from the company's previous partnership with MasterCard, Citigroup and Sprint. Instead of swiping a card, users enter their card info into the service and are able to tap their phones at venues accepting Google Wallet payments. It's a step forward for the company looking to delve into the mobile payment realm - an increasingly crowded space.
Apple App - released a new version of its iOS 6 software on Monday, and one of the platform’s core apps was missing: YouTube. Some speculated that the omission was a bug, while others suggested that Apple’s dedicated app for the Google-owned service had been ousted for good. As it turns out, the latter is in fact the case. “Our license to include the YouTube app in iOShas ended, customers can use YouTube in the Safari browser andGoogle is working on a new YouTube app to be on the App Store,” an Apple spokesperson said.
Pandora's share of overall radio listening now 6.13% about double from last year.
Entertainment News - August 1, 2012 -
An arrest warrant issued for Cuba Gooding Jr. was lifted on Wednesday after the "Jerry Maguire" actor met with police in New Orleans regarding an incident in which he allegedly pushed a female bartender. New Orleans police spokeswoman Remi Braden told Reuters that Gooding and his lawyer met with police on Wednesday and Gooding was summoned to appear in court at a later date.
Stevie Wonder has filed for divorce from his wife Kai Millard Morris after 11 years of marriage. The blind soul singer filed papers in California to bring an end to his 11-year marriage to the fashion designer.
Music Passing - Marvin Hamlisch, who composed the scores for dozens of movies including "The Way We Were" and the Broadway smash "A Chorus Line," has died in Los Angeles. He was 68.Family spokesman Jason Lee said Hamlisch collapsed and died Monday after a brief illness. Other details were not released.
Passing - Judith Crist, a blunt and popular film critic in the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s, has died. She was 90. Her son, Steven Crist, said his mother died Tuesday at her Manhattan home after a long illness.
Justin Bieber makes a comment on Prince Harry’s thinning hair problem:
“I mean, there are things to prevent that nowadays, like Propecia," Bieber, 18, told the U.K.'sRollercoaster magazine about the 30-year-old royal's thinning hair. "I don't know why he doesn't just get those things, those products. You just take Propecia and your hair grows back. Have you not got it over here?"
Top Pop Hits - August 1, 2012 -
Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen
Payhone – Maroon 5 fea. Wiz Khalifa
Whistle – Flo Rida
Wide Awake – Katy Perry
Lights – Ellie Goulding
Somebody That I Used To Know – Gotye fea. Kimbra
Where Have You Been – Rihanna
Scream – Usher
Titanium – David Guetta fea. Sia
Blow Me (One Last Kiss) – P!nk
Want U Back – Cher Lloyd
Some Nights – fun.
Good Time – Owl City & Carly Rae Jepsen
We Are Young – fun. Fea. Janelle Monae
Mercy – Kanye West, Big Sean, Pusha T, 2 Chainz
What Makes You Beautiful – One Direction
Give Your Heart A Break – Demi Lovato
Let’s Go Calvin Harris fea. Ne-Yo
Everybody Talks – Neon Trees
Starships – Nick Minaj
Top Movies Week Of August 1, 2012 –
The Dark Night Rises
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
Ice Age: Continential Drift
Step Up: Revolution
The Amazing Spider-Man
TV listings/TV Guide/TV Ratings – August 1, 2012 –
1."America's Got Talent" (Tuesday)NBC2."The Big Bang Theory"CBS3."The Bachelorette" (Sunday)ABC4."The Bachelorette After the Final Rose"ABC5."America's Got Talent" (Wednesday)NBC6."60 Minutes"CBS7."Two and a Half Men" (Thursday)CBS8."NCIS"CBS9."The Bachelorette" (Monday)ABC10."Hell's Kitchen" (Monday)Fox11."Masterchef" (Monday)Fox12."Big Brother 14" (Thursday)CBS13."Masterchef" (Tuesday)Fox14."Hell's Kitchen" (Tuesday)Fox15."NCIS: Los Angeles"CBS16."Big Brother 14" (Wednesday)CBS17."Hawaii Five-0"CBS18."Person of Interest" (Tuesday)CBS19."CSI: Crime Scene Investigation"CBS20."Big Brother 14" (Sunday)CBS.