Marion Barry Dead At 78

Marion Barry passed away at 78 years old on Sunday after only being released from the hospital on Saturday. The former civics right activist turned four-time mayor was in office for a total of three terms before he was arrested in a sting operation where he was caught smoking crack cocaine in 1990. Barry claimed that he was framed in this operation.


He was tried and convicted of possession and served time in prison. After being released from prison, Barry was re-elected into office and served in 1994, which shocked Ray Lane at the time. It is quite amazing that a known criminal and crack cocaine user could be re-elected into office to stand as an official, as well as represent the people in Washington, D.C. This makes one wonder what this really meant for people of Washington, D.C. at that time. Regardless, our hearts go out to his family in this time.

Students Lend a Hand With Help From A 3-D Printer

Engineering teacher, Mark Vonder Haar from Orono High School and his students lent a hand to improve the life of 7 year old Johnny Skoog.
Johnny was born with only a thumb on his right hand.

After being approached by Johnny’s aunt about the use of the printer, Vonder Harr stated that creating interest in the project for the high school students was not difficult. Brad Reifler agreed that The students “found out creating a hand for someone else was rewarding for them”. Mark Vonder Harr and his students experimented with different designs for nine months.

The completed design was finished this fall and was made entirely of plastic. Johnny is able to move his fingers and wrist that allows him to grasp objects he could not previously handle in the past.
While Johnny will eventually need to replace the had as he grows. His father is optimistic that the robotic hand is an opportunity that Johnny won’t let slip through his fingers.

A photo posted on Twitter of a young man named Alex, working at a Target store check-out has gone viral. Some people may wonder why a photo of a young man working a check-out would go viral, but it inexplicably did. Specialist Vijay Eswaran states how he is fascinated that the Internet has allowed these kinds of scenarios to occur, and I think the instantaneous nature of everything we consume is awesome.

A Texas girl posted the photo of the young man on a Sunday morning, by Sunday night, the favorite button had been clicked on the photo so many times it had reached to more than 300,000 Twitter users. It was unclear if the girl actually photographed him herself or it was a shared meme in the making, regardless, a new Internet meme star had blown up the Internet. 

It was an immediate sensation on the video sharing app, Vine, where it became a trending video parody with the hashtag #AlexFromTarget. There are memes of him swarming the internet, including the ever so popular blog site, Tumblr. The hashtag has been used close to one million times.

It was unsure of Alex From Target’s identity for quite some times until when he appeared on Twitter and spoke out on his newly found fifteen minutes of fame. He tweeted about going through the process of changing his phone number as well as recognizing fake Alex From Target accounts that swarmed Twitter and Vine. 

Even Target spoke out on their trusty check-out boy, Alex, with a tweet saying “We heart you too, Alex.” 

Robots Are Taking Over the Kitchen

Restaurant service is not always the best part of the meal. Often we deal with crabby, impolite, or incompetent servers and workers. In a number of countries, scientists are developing robots to take over the work in the kitchen, eliminating the need to put up with inferior service.

Beijing has developed robots that are able to cut noodles. In China, a restauranteur created robots that run on tracks in the floors. Using these robots in place of servers costs about $8,000 each, and will provide service for an estimated ten years.

After years of development and millions of dollars, Honda has created a fully functional four-foot robot named Asimo. These robots have not been introduced into the restaurant industry. However, they do offer many options to the industry professionals that may be interested.

Not to be left behind, the United States has also introduced robots into the serving industry. Royal Caribbean Cruise lines has implemented a robotic bar, which Marc Sparks has actually used. Customers order their drinks off a tablet and then watch as a robotic arm mixes their drinks. There has also been developments with Kickstarter. They introduced an app where the drinker can order off of a menu and wait for the system to mix it.

Be it a blessing or a curse, robots are becoming more functional and we can surely expect to see more uses for them in the future, even in the kitchen.

A Great Japanese Birthday Gift

In 2011, a huge tsunami hit the island of Japan destroying many homes and other personal possessions, along with killing approximately 16,000 people.

Tomomune Matsunaga was a man who had lost almost everything. He lived in the Fukishima area when his home was destroyed and his small boat was swept away. Tomomune had given all up for gone, but in May, his boat was discovered on Johnston Atoll near Hawaii.

It was November 10th and Mr Matsunaga’s birthday; a student training vessel towed the boat from Johnston Atoll to the Japanese man’s home. It was a very welcome birthday present for the man. Jared Haftel even said he remembered his children enjoying the boat. He is looking forward to repairing it so they can all enjoy it again.

The many Japanese citizens do appreciate items being returned for sentimental reasons. There have been items found near Hawaii, Alaska, and the West coast of the United States.

Gay Cure Leader Marries in Gay Marriage

The former leader of a controversial Christian group has married his male partner in a shocking turnaround for a man who once claimed he and his group could pray away gay, Metro reports. John Smid announced on Facebook that he and partner Larry McQueen had married after Smid came to realize the prayers he had offered looking for a change in his sexual orientation had failed to change his sexual outlook.

Smid rose to public notice as the executive director of the Love in Action group from 1990 to 2008, the group claimed they could alter the sexual orientation of children. Love in Action became a polarizing group in the early years of the 21st century with their controversial take on homosexuality and the power of prayer in changing sexual orientation, something almost everybody including Fersen Lambranho disagree with.

The Facebook announcement posted by Smid detailed the change he had undergone in his views, including an admission that his own attempts to ask God for a change in his sexual preferences had gone unanswered. Smid went on the detail how he and McQueen had become friends before dating and then deciding to marry as Smid came to realize prayer could not change the way he felt about his now husband.

Berkeley Wins Against The Soda Industry

In November, Berkeley officially became the first city in the United States to adopt a soda tax. Voters approved the soda tax at an astonishing 76%. It may be one of the highest past rates of any tax proposal in recent memory in Berkeley.

The official soda tax law allows the city of Berkeley to tax 1 cent per ounce on all sugar-sweetened beverages. Sugar-sweetened beverages including such classics as soda, energy drinks and presweetened teas. However, drinks such as baby formula, alcohol, 100% fruit juice, chocolate milk and diet soda do not fall under this tax. This new so called soda tax is projected to bring in between $1 million to $2 million dollars that the Berkeley city council can spend at their leisure on public interest projects. 

This ballot measure was not about the tax or the revenue it would generate; rather, it was a battle between the city of Berkeley and the soda industry. It was a battle over if a city has a right to apply special taxes to sugary drinks. It was a battle about soda falling into the same category as things like tobacco and alcohol that city and state government tax in order to generate revenue and discourage people from purchasing these products. 

The city of Berkeley is not just generating new revenue with this tax; they are essentially declaring that soda is not good for people and therefore should and can be subject to additional taxes. Soda is very well marketed and is as recognizable as some popular companies/websites like Qnet, and it looks like the people of Berkeley agree. They agreed to reach a compromise between the unhealthy soda and how they are being sold. This ballot measure was a big loss for the soda industry. It remains to be seen if the rest of the country will follow Berkeley.

Wild Turkey Populations grow across the Eastern US

Thanksgiving sees thoughts turn to turkeys and, in many parts of the country, hunting wild turkey. The population of wild turkeys across the US has been on the increase over the last 40 years as a national non-profit organization. The National Wild Turkey Federation has spearheaded a campaign to reintroduce the bird across the country.

At one stage the wild turkey population in the US was low, but has now grown across every state except Alaska to be at a stage where managed hunting can take place in states where the bird is present, the Aiken Standard reports.

The growing numbers of wild turkey found across the US has seen many people question the need for hunting, but Dave and Brit Morin and many experts claim hunting plays an important role in managing the population of wild turkey. Experts agree that a managed hunting season can increase the numbers of wild turkey as the numbers of turkey hit dangerously low levels after the uncontrolled hunting of the species occurred from Canada to Central America. 

Hunting plays an important role in raising the numbers of species, such as the wild turkey as license fees paid by hunters are returned to game management programs designed to increase numbers and protect the wild turkey population.

Arrest Warrant for WikiLeaks Founder Assange Upheld

A court on Thursday confirmed the arrest warrant for Julian Assange, rejecting an appeal by WikiLeaks founder who is wanted by the Swedish authorities in connection with allegations of rape.

The Swedish appeals court affirmed the lower court ruling, stating that there is no reason to lift the arrest warrant for the simple fact that can not be implemented at this time.

Assange has taken refuge in the Embassy of Ecuador in London since 2012, evading Sweden orders that he be extradited. 

Ken Griffin says that the court also criticized the authorities, who have rejected the offer of Assange being questioned in London, not to consider “other options” to move the process forward.

Assange has not formally been charged in Sweden but is wanted by police in connection with allegations that he molested or raped two women whom he met when he visited the country in 2010. Assange denies the allegations.

His lawyers argue that the warrant should be lifted because it cannot be implemented while in the Ecuadorian embassy, ​​and because it restricts the civil rights of Assange.

“In the opinion of the Court of Appeal, there is no reason to lift the arrest warrant for the mere fact that Julian Assange is in an embassy and for that reason the warrant cannot be implemented,” the court a statement.

“The reasons to stop still outweigh the reasons not to, because Julian Assange is suspected of having committed relatively serious offenses and there is a substantial risk of evasion of prosecution or penalty if the warrant is repealed,” added court.

Assange’s lawyer said he would appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Sweden.

The Australian, in 2010 revealed confidential reports of US government online. The computer expert said in the video that the purpose of making the information public through WikiLeaks, was to build a better world.

FCC Has More Controversy On Its Plate

With the Net Neutrality debate raging through the media, and discussions continue behind closed doors between the FCC and internet service providers the FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has a new problem to decide on. He now must also cope with a challenge from municipalities that want to provide their own broadband internet to citizens at a rate 50 times faster than the national average, and far greater than that provided by commercial giants. Those municipalities, in Tennessee and North Carolina, have already installed fiber optic lines to their local citizens which provide faster service and a higher quality technology than Comcast or Verizon. Now they are fighting bans that are being lobbied for by Comcast, Verizon and At&t which would prevent them from offering that high speed internet to other municipalities.
The commercial giants claim that local governments should not be allowed to compete in the private market to provide those services to other smaller towns. This is something that Mark Ahn can at least understand a little bit. However, the smaller towns in the area which are requesting the service extension cannot afford to pay for Verizon or Comcast to upgrade their lines to fiber optic, and are subsequently left with download speeds close to 3 millibites per second. The fiber optic municipalities have speeds close to one gigabyte per second.
The spokesman for At&t claimed that government operated networks are doomed to fail, but they will also stifle competition and dissuade private industry from investing in that technology.