Dateline: Week Of May 22, 2012 In News, Pop Culture, Tech News & Fascinating Facts
In The News -
The world's tallest tower and Japan's biggest new landmark, the Tokyo Skytree, opened to the public on Tuesday(May22). Nearly 8,000 visitors were expected to take high-speed elevators up to the observation decks of the 634-meter (2,080-foot) tower to mark its opening. Some reportedly waited in line more than a week to get the coveted tickets for a panoramic view, though Tuesday ended up being cloudy in Tokyo.
Dharun Ravi was sentenced Monday to 30 days in jail by a New Jersey judge who said he "acted out of colossal insensitivity" toward ex-roommate Tyler Clementi. Ravi, guilty of spying on Clementi, his gay college roommate, with a webcam, was convicted by a jury March 16 of invasion of privacy, bias intimidation, tampering with evidence, witness tampering and hindering apprehension or prosecution. Clementi jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge between New York and New Jersey Sept. 22, 2010, days after the spying.
Authorities have arrested an alleged Zetas drug cartel leader nicknamed "El Loco," AKA the Fool or the Crazy One, on charges that he dumped 49 headless bodies on a highway outside Monterrey, Mexico. When the Mexican Army came to arrest Daniel Elizondo Jesus Ramirez, say authorities, Ramirez attempted to elude capture by shooting at troops and throwing a fragmentation grenade. Zetas commanders nicknamed The Shrimp and The Speaker have also been linked to the body dump, but officials have not yet apprehended them. The mutilated bodies of 43 men and six women were found near Cadereyta, Mexico on May 13. Though the condition of the bodies made it difficult to identify any of them, some physical features and tattoos indicated that they may have been migrants from southern Mexico and Central America.
An Italian heart surgeon implants a tiny titanium pump, the world's smallest artificial heart, d in a baby, at the Bambino Gesu' Hospital in Rome.
The Syrian government vehemently denied it was behind a massacre that left at least 85 people dead, and it accused world leaders of conspiring against the regime.Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said he addressed the media Sunday "to make a clear stance against the tsunami of lies."International outrage grew amid new details on the attack in Houla, where at least 32 children younger than 10 were killed on Friday, said Maj. Gen. Robert Mood, head of the U.N. Supervision Mission in Syria. He said observers counted a total of at least 85 bodies.
Pope Benedict's butler has been arrested on suspicion of leaking confidential documents to an Italian journalist, the Vatican said. Paolo Gabriele, 46, was arrested for illegal possession of confidential documents, found in his apartment in Vatican territory, the Vatican said in a statement issued three days later.Gabriele, who has worked as the papal butler since 2006, is one of only a handful of people with access to the pontiff's private desk.
Sandy Dahl, who became one of the tragic faces of 9/11 after her husband was killed while piloting United Flight 93, died.. Dahl, 52, was found dead in her home in Colorado. Jefferson County Deputy Coroner Carl Blesch said that there was no indication of foul play. Dahl worked tirelessly running the Captain Jason Dahl Scholarship Fund and her death was a surprise, said David Dosch, a family friend.
After dumping more than a foot of rain in at least one location, Tropical Depression Beryl continued to soak the South on Tuesday(May29), prompting flood watches and warnings from Florida to North Carolina. Through Tuesday morning, the town of Midway, Florida, about 12 miles west of Tallahassee, had received a total of 12.65 inches of rain from Beryl, according to the National Weather Service.
International judges sentenced former Liberian President Charles Taylor to 50 years in prison Wednesday, saying he was responsible for "some of the most heinous and brutal crimes recorded in human history" by arming and supporting Sierra Leone rebels in return for "blood diamonds."
The 64-year-old warlord-turned-president is the first former head of state convicted by an international war crimes court since World War II and judges said they had no precedent when deciding his sentence.
Romney Clinches Presidential Nomination - Less than an hour after he officially clinched the 1,144 delegates needed to claim the Republican presidential nomination, Mitt Romney celebrated his win by mingling with high-dollar GOP donors at a $2 million fundraiser in Las Vegas.
Seattle Shooting Spree – Five Are Dead Plus The Gunman - The father of the man who opened fire and killed five people across Seattle, and later killed himself after a citywide manhunt, says his son was a very private person who was "disgruntled" and that he was a frequent customer at the coffee shop where his rampage began. Seattle's Harborview Medical Center confirmed that Ian Stawicki, died at 6 p.m. after shooting himself in the head.. After the initial shootings began at approximately 11 a.m. PDT, when Stawicki opened fire at Cafe Racer Espresso in Seattle's University District and eventually killed four people, he killed a fifth random woman in a subsequent confrontation and stole her car.
High fructose corn syrup won't get a wholesome new name after all. The Food and Drug Administration rejected the Corn Refiners Association's bid to rename its sweetening agent "corn sugar." Given the sweetener's bad reputation in recent years, the association submitted an application to the agency in 2010 to have the product renamed on nutrition labels. But the FDA said that it defines sugar as a solid, dried and crystallized food — not a syrup.
Fascinating Facts May 22, 2012
A hapless bandit lost his wig, sunglasses and $115,000 worth of casino chips when security wrestled him to the floor during a botched weekend heist at a posh Vegas Strip resort, authorities said Monday. Two men attempted to rob the Bellagio on Saturday night by spraying a blackjack dealer and others with a caustic eye-burning chemical, police said. With the distraction in the air, Michael Q. Belton snatched up nearly two dozen high-value chips and took off for the door, according to a police report. The man who sprayed the noxious gas escaped, but Belton was tackled to the floor and held until police arrived.
In one of the more ostentatious displays of wealth we've seen in some time reports a residence at 66 E. 11th Street is selling the city's first $1 million parking space for anyone in the one percent bracket desperately seeking "complete privacy." The garage is described to be 12 feet wide, 23 feet long and more than 15 feet high and even have the ability to be duplexed in order to accommodate an elevator, if the buyer were to desire so.
Authorities say a 28-year-old man in upstate New York has been charged with driving his motorcycle at nearly 200 mph on a highway in the rain. State police say a trooper clocked Anthony Anderson of Poughkeepsie driving at 193 mph around 8 p.m. Wednesday in the southbound lanes of Interstate 87 just south of Albany — the same stretch of road where another motorcyclist was spotted doing 166 mph earlier this month.
Boxer Paul Williams, known as "The Punisher," has been left paralyzed from the waist down after a traffic accident Sunday in suburban Atlanta. Williams' manager, George Peterson said that Williams is facing surgery to stabilize his spinal column..
Former NBA star Dennis Rodman - the flamboyant former player known for his rebounding skills and wild, off-court behavior was sentenced Tuesday to 104 hours of community service after being found guilty last year of four counts of contempt for failing to pay child support.The ruling also placed Rodman, 51, on three years of informal probation on the condition he keep up his child and spousal support payments.
Technology News May 22, 2012 -
FaceBook IPO Problem - Facebook's lead underwriters, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs all cut their earnings forecasts for the company in the middle of the IPO roadshow. This by itself is highly unusual (I've never seen it during 20 years in and around the tech IPO business). But, just as important, news of the estimate cut was passed on only to a handful of big investor clients, not everyone else who was considering an investment in Facebook.
Facebook Inc and banks including Morgan Stanley were sued by the social networking leader's shareholders, who claimed the defendants hid Facebook's weakened growth forecasts ahead of its $16 billion initial public offering. The defendants, who also include Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, were accused of concealing from investors during the IPO marketing process "a severe and pronounced reduction" in revenue growth forecasts, resulting from increased use of its app or website through mobile devices. Facebook went public last week.
Apple Siri – Be Careful What You Say – Siri ships everything you say to her to a big data center in Maiden, North Carolina. And the story of what really happens to all of your Siri-launched searches, e-mail messages and inappropriate jokes is a bit of a black box.
IBM CIO Jeanette Horan says that her company has banned Siri outright because, according to the magazine, "The company worries that the spoken queries might be stored somewhere." spells this out: "When you use Siri or Dictation, the things you say will be recorded and sent to Apple in order to convert what you say into text," Apple says. Siri collects a bunch of other information -- names of people from your address book and other unspecified user data, all to help Siri do a better job.
Google officially completed its $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility. It's a watershed moment for the company, marking both its biggest acquisition ever and Google's transition from a search-and-software company to a consumer gadgets maker.
Microsoft has quietly launched So,cl, which it describes as a social-search tool to share information and meet people with common interests. What it's not, Microsoft says, is a rival to Facebook. "So.cl is an experimental research project focused on the future of social experiences and learning, especially among younger people," Microsoft said Monday in an e-mail. The tool was launched late last year for students at a handful of colleges and universities. Last week, the company quietly made it available to anyone for a public beta test period. Along the features of So.cl (pronounced, of course, "social") is a "bookmarklet" feature similar to Facebook's "Like" button. That lets users share sites or pages they find interesting with other users. You can share, comment on or tag other people's posts.
On The Hook For Posts –A bill introduced by New York State Sen Thomas F. O'Mara (R—Big Flats), S6779 would require that any anonymous post online is subject to removal if the poster refuses to post — and verify — their legal name, their IP Address, and their home address. From the bill : "A web site administrator upon request shall remove any comments posted on his or her web site by an anonymous poster unless such anonymous poster agrees to attach his or her name to the post and confirms that his or her IP address, legal name, and home address are accurate. All web site administrators shall have a contact number or e-mail address posted for such removal requests, clearly visible in any sections where comments are posted.
The maker of a new DVR that lets consumers zap away broadcast TV commercials at the touch of a button suggested Tuesday that the networks are being short-sighted in opposing the technology. The Dish Network, which has offered its new Auto Hop feature on new digital video recorders since March, said it believes that people who buy the machine are watching more network television than they had before. The Auto Hop automatically records every minute of prime-time programming on ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox and stores it for eight days. Network executives are angry about how Auto Hop allows viewers to eliminate commercials on the recorded shows through one button, no fast-forwarding required.
Major Newspaper Downgrades - The Times-Picayune, which won a Pulitzer Prize for its Hurricane Katrina coverage, announced on Thursday a plan to slash its print publication to three days a weeks—effectively leaving New Orleans without a daily newspaper. As part of the move, the New York Times reports that there will be "massive" layoffs at 175-year-old Times-Picayune as the paper focuses its efforts on NOLA.com. The Newhouse family, which owns Advance Publications, the Times-Picayune's parent company, shuttered the Ann Arbor News in similar fashion in 2010.
PayPal has made deals with 15 retailers including Toys R Us, J C Penney and Barnes & Noble that will allow consumers to pay for purchases with their cellphones while expanding the online payment company's service into additional physical stores.
Earlier this year Home Depot began accepting PayPal in about 2,000 stores.
For retailers, the service may attract more shoppers, provide more information about consumers, and help reduce costs associated with credit card payments.
Facebook launched a photo-sharing app called Facebook Camera, which aims to make it simpler for the social network's users to upload and browse photos on smartphones.The news comes only weeks after Facebook spent $1 billion on a similar photo-sharing app called Instagram. And only days after the company's initial public offering got a lukewarm reception from Wall Street and raised the eyebrows of regulators.
The company says the app, which will be available late Thursday for Apple iOS devices, makes Facebook photos more fun and accessible.
FaceBook Phone - Facebook hopes to release its own smartphone by next year, quoting anonymous sources at the company and others who have been briefed on Facebook's plans. Facebook has already hired more than half a dozen former Apple engineers who worked on the iPhone, the report said.
Google Places is gone, replaced by a new feature that combines its Google Plus social site and renowned restaurant reviewers Zagat. Announced Wednesday, is the latest push by Google to incorporate its networking site into more of its other products, with the goal of creating a single, seamless Web experience. Plus Local is designed to let users discover and share information about local restaurants, shops and other sites.
"Finding the best places to go is an essential part of our lives, as are the people and resources that help us make those decisions," Google product manager Avni Shah wrote on. "In fact, the opinions of friends, family or other trusted sources are often the first we seek when looking for the perfect restaurant for date night or the cafe that makes the best latte ever."
Entertainment News May 22, 2012 -
Passing – New York City radio legend Hal Jackson at 96. He spend 72 years in the business and was still on the air doing a Sunday show over WBLS-FM.
Robin Quivers, Howard Stern’s sidekick for the past two decades, has announced she’ll undergo a procedure to have a tumor removed that’s pressing against her bladder.
Lady Gaga canceled her sold-out show in Indonesia after Islamist hard-liners threatened violence, claiming her sexy clothes and provocative dance moves would corrupt the youth.
The controversy was a blow to the predominantly Muslim country's reputation for combining free speech and democracy with a mostly moderate brand of the faith.
Britney Spears makes her X-Factor Debut - Britney Spears has been on the job just two days and she's already proving to be a popular judge on "The X Factor." "The X Factor" staged its first auditions for the upcoming season Thursday and Friday in Austin, Texas, and judging by the boisterous cheers and the "I love you Britney!" calls from the crowd.
Gregg Allman - The rocker revealed on Piers Morgan Tonight that he plans to give the institution one more shot-- this time with fiancée Shannon Williams, who is 40 years his junior. Williams, 24, joined her soon-to-be husband on the program as he promoted his new memoir, My Cross to Bear, and when asked what she might think of becoming wife number seven, he quickly rose to defend their May-December romance.
American Idol runner-up, 16-year-old Jessica Sanchez, doesn't have a definite shot at producing an album and could be paid as little as $30,000 in advances for recording singles, according to the "Idol" contract she and other Season 11 contestants signed earlier this year. The agreement appears to be the first time in "Idol's" history that producers are not offering the show's runner-up an album deal that in previous years came with a guaranteed advance of at least $175,000. If Sanchez is given an album deal following the show, she will receive the same $175,000 bonus that Lauren Alaina was paid after placing second in the show's 10th season. But 19 Recordings Inc., which has the option to handle the albums and recordings of Idol contestants for several years after they appear on the show, has replaced a guaranteed album deal for the runner-up with a staggered "Development Period" that requires less music and pays out less in advances. Sanchez could be paid as little as $30,000 if she is asked to perform four single songs, or $60,000 if she records an "EP" of between four and 10 songs.
Duets doesn't have a lot to sing about. The series premiere of ABC's venture into singing competition shows bowed to 6.7 million viewers and a 1.7 in the adults 18-to-49 demographic Thursday. While it beat So You Thinks You Can Dance in viewership, Duets was down almost 30 percent in the demo fromWipeout's performance last year. Lead-out Rookie Blue (6 million, 1.4) was down from last year's premiere.
Phillip Phillips Crowned "Idol" winner - but ratings are down - Nearly 22 million TV viewers seems like a lot — but for an "American Idol" season-ender, it's a new low. The crowd that tuned in Wednesday night when bluesy guitar man Phillip Phillips won the "Idol" crown constituted the smallest for an "Idol" finale in its history, according to final Nielsen Co. figures. The audience of 21.5 million was down by nearly one-third from the 29.3 million viewers who saw country singer Scotty McCreery's victory a year ago, an audience total that had rebounded by 20 percent from the finale in 2010.The Fox singing competition has experienced ratings erosion during this entire season, its 11th. And, this even as J Lo and Rihanna gave performances on this year's "American Idol" /finale.
Justin Bieber sings on TV's "Ellen" performing his hit single Boyfriend to diehard fans with Bieber Fever!
Snooki is packing her bags — but that doesn't mean she's off Jersey Shore. The expectant mom is leaving the house shared by the cast ofJersey Shore because of her pregnancy. Snooki, whose real name is Nicole Polizzi, will be moving to a nearby location and will still be a part of the sixth season, which is currently filming in New Jersey.
CBS declared victory in the 2011-12television season, saying it was the most-watched U.S. network for the 9th year thanks to hits like crime drama "NCIS" and the nation's top comedy "TheBig Bang Theory". According to the most current Nielsen ratings data, Fox will win the season in the 18-49 age group coveted by advertisers, although it has seen a nine percent drop in those viewers in the past year.
Top Movies For May 22, 2012 -
Men In Black (1st week - $55 million)
Marvel’s The Avengers
What To Expect When You’re Expecting
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
The Hunger Games
Think Like A Man
Passing - Jim Paratore -- the man who founded TMZ and created a slew of hit shows including "Ellen" and "Rosie" -- died of an apparent heart attack Tuesday during a bike trip in France. Jim was President of Telepictures -- a division of Warner Bros. -- when he dreamed up the idea of getting into the digital business back in 2006. Jim and Harvey Levin developed the concept of TMZ ... and Jim sold it to the big wigs, which was no small feat. Jim was a driving force behind TMZ.com and then was critical in creating the TMZ television show.
Passing - Doc Watson, the blind guitarist whose speedy flatpicking made him immeasurably influential, died Tuesday in Winston-Salem, N.C. He was 89. In addition to leaving an indelible mark on American folk and country music, Watson was beloved by area bluegrass fans.
American Idol Champ Phillip Phillips' "Home" sold 278K digital copies in its first week, more than any other coronation song (an official single celebrating the winner's victory) in American Idol history. The old record was held by David Cook's "The Time Of My Life," which sold 236K copies in its first week in 2008.
Looks like a winner for History Channel’s “Hatfields and McCoys” starring Kevin Costner.
Top Music Albums - May 22, 2012 -
21 – Adele
Trespassing - Adam Lambert
Blown Away – Carrie Underwood
Rize of the Fenix – Tenacious D
… Little Broken Hearts – Norah Jones
Bloom – Beach House
Tuskegee – Lionel Richie
Glee: The Music: Season Three
Up All Night – One Direction
SMASH – soundtrack
Making Mirrors – Gotye
Blunderbuss – Jack White
Tailgates & Tanlines
Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded – Nicki Minaj
Not Your Kind of People – Garbage
Heroes – Willie Nelson
Shape Shiter – Santana
Live & Inspired – Godsmack
Strange Clouds – B.o.B.
Chief – Eric Church
Love Is A Four Letter Word – Jason Mraz
My Kinda Party – Jason Aldean
The Only Place – Best Coast
Neck of the Woods – Silversun Pickups