Feds: We thwarted potential JFK Airport attack

Government authorities in New York today announced three arrests in connection to a ongoing investigation of a plot to blow up a 5-mile-long jet fuel pipeline that runs through numerous neighborhoods, all leading to JFK International Airport. The plot wasn't at an operational stage and the planners didn't have any means to execute it at the time they were arrested. ABCNews.com is reporting that the three men arrested may be linked to Adnan Shukrijumah, one of the most-wanted al-Qaeda leaders who has been known to operate out of Guyana and Trinidad, where the suspects have ties. Authorities have confirmed that there are links to a "overseas" terrorist group in this case.

Claim: "Deal or No Deal" game is illegal gambling

Four Georgia women have filed a class-action lawsuit against NBC Universal and Endemol USA, accusing them of running an illegal lottery over the airwaves. During the popular game show Deal or No Deal, viewers can "play along" at home, either by cell phone or by the Internet. The Internet site is free; texters have to pay a 99 cent "premium" fee to play. Prizes can be anything between $10,000 to $100,000. The complaint alleges that because of the "premium fee" for a slim chance at winning big money, it constitutes illegal gambling and is "actually a lottery" under at least three different state laws. (Report: TMZ.com)

The Missing Month

Yes, we've been gone for a long time. Yes, this may continue. No, we didn't give up this site for lent. It's just that I've been actually updating my personal blog once again and, well, I'm a full-time college student and I work part-time. Sometimes, you don't have time or willpower to spread yourself SOOO thin on the internet. Not when there's homework to avoid! So I hope you'll forgive our continued absence. I wish there was a way to make it up to you. (Besides back-logging a bunch of post.) In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the day and I hope you enjoy the lastest news, via the links section on the right-hand side of this page. (Those sites are where I find my stories anyways.)

Squirrel attacks 4-year-old over potato chips

If you had any doubts that squirrels were potentially nasty creatures, perhaps this story will sway your mind one way or another a little bit... In Mountain View, CA's Cuesta Park, a squirrel stole a bad of snack chips from a woman's purse while on a family picnic. The 4-year-old spotted the squirrel eating the family's chips, then did what probably any 4-year-old would do: she went to get back 'her' chips. Unfortunately, the squirrel was not so friendly and started attacking the girl, scratching her face up. Cuesta Park has been the site of multiple squirrel attacks in the past year. Park officials have increased patrols, posting warning signs all over, and euthanizing some of the more "aggressive" squirrels, to the irk and dismay of squirrel lovers everywhere.
(Click here to read the full article from MediaNews)

Genetically-modified embryos could be a reality

Under new plans laid out by the British government, UK scientist will soon be able to carry out genetic experiments on human embryos for the first time. Under proposed legislation, researchers would be allowed to alter the genetic blueprint of an embryo up to two weeks old. The government says that this isn't about tailoring perfect babies, but about learning about gene manipulation and inherited disorders. And after 14 days the embryo would be destroyed - never having been implanted in the womb - to ensure it can never grow into a genetically-modified baby. So basically, this testing would be "test tube" children, and if an embryo is made the natural way, there is a ban that prohibits experimentation on it.
(To read more on this controversial subject, read the full article by the Daily Mail's Julie Wheldon.)

It's Chicago vs. LA in Olympic Bid Fight

Chicago and Los Angeles arre taking potshots at each other. More specifically, the Olympic Chiefs of each city are, engaged in a bit of a fued over Chicago's weather. It would seem that Los Angeles has been mocking Chicago for it's 4-seasons weather system, while they live in a perpetual land of summer. Chicago is hitting back, saying that while the weather may not be as ideal, their plan isn't spread out as far as LA's is, and they can provide better security. Meanwhile, LA recently made a comment saying that it seems like the cities are competing for winter games, rather than the summer ones. HA! Of course, the Olympic committee could give the games to some other city like Cape Town or Monterry. The IOC will make a final decision on a host city for the 2016 Summer Games in the fall of 2009.
(Click here to read the full article compiled by Jay Levine of CBS2Chicago.)

Man sets new record - on an elephant's back

An American man set out to break another world record by doing the most Squat Thrusts recorded in history. And he did it while on the back of an elephant in Thailand. Ashrita Furman is actually no stranger to world records. By his own count, he currently holds 54 records and has held 144 in total, records like the fastest mile balancing a cue pool on his finger. "To me the real beauty of this record is that I did it on the back of a live elephant," he told the Associated Press. "I've had this dream of doing a record on the back of an elephant for many, many years but I've had no way of really accomplishing it until I came to Thailand."
(Click here to read the full article written by the AP's Jerry Harmer and to see photos of this stunt.)

Minors exempt from new U.S. passport rules

The Bush administration announced on Thursday that children under 18 will not have to have a passport when entering the U.S. at land or sea borders. For kids 15 or younger, they will be able to cross with parental consent, as well as certified copies of their birth certificates. Young adults aged 16-18 traveling with school, religious, cultural or athletic groups and under adult supervision will also be allowed to travel with only their birth certificates. This relaxation in rules comes as a result of Canada and U.S. border states expressing concerns that the stricter passport requirements could hurt legitimate travel and commerce.
(Click here to read the full article written up by Beverley Lumpkin.)

Engineers Warn: 122 levees at risk of failing

The Army Corps of Engineers issued a warning recently stating that 122 levees from Maryland to California are at risk of failing. Communities near those levees have been notified that the structures have received an "unacceptable maintenance inspection rating," and as such, homeowners could perhaps be required to purchase flood insurance in the future. Leading the list is the State of California, with 37 suspect levees. Washington state came in second with 19 levees. The Army Corps construct levees, but turned most of them over to local communities for upkeep. A reason many of the levees are flagged as "suspect" may just because the local towns lack proper documentation for upkeep, and may not necessarily be neglecting their maintenance duties.
(Click here to read the full article by the AP's Beverley Lumpkin.)

Study: Diet, exercise take off equal pounds

It's not as simple as you think. We all know that reduced portions and increased exercise is the best way to help keep your body in shape, no matter what those informercials tell you. (Although, they are certianly more attractive to listen to!) Well, the Pennington Biomedical Center, which is part of Louisiana State University, wondered if people could lose more or less calories by dieting or exercise. According to their findings, a calorie is just a calorie and can be lost either way. Also, they concluded that adding muscle mass does not boost metabolism. All it does is increase muscle mass.
(Click here to read the full artilce, written by Reuter's Maggie Fox.)

Memorial Fund for "Earl" Character Helps Make-a-Wish Foundation

Once upon a time, a television character posted on a real-life Internet forum. Then that fictional character died. Now there is a real-life memorial fund set up in his name. On the hit NBC television series My Name is Earl, a character named Josh appeared on the Television Without Pity show forums in 2005, posting somewhat infrequently under the handle "whojackie". On January 18, 2007, an episode of the TV program airs and the Josh character dies in a murhpy bed accident. (Whoops. Uh, spoiler!) The next day, a post from the character Joy, using the "whojackie" account, announces to the "Wide Wide World of Web" that Josh has passed away. That's when someone from Glarkware contacted the Earl series creator, where he pitched treating Whojackie as a 'real' person and creating a WhoJackie Memorial Charity Drive in his honor. The creator said yes, and he chose the charity (Make a Wish) that people could donate to.

So now, you can go and donate money to a fund created for a fictional character, who posted on a website, and whose website now host the fund drive, only the money isn't going to anybody related to the show, but to Make a Wish. It's complicated, contrived, but very clever and a great way to get people involved with a charity.

To read all about this saga, click here for a in-depth explanation from the man who runs Glark Industries.

U.S. warns of Canadian spy coins (Yes, seriously)

The U.S. Defense Department has cautioned its American contractors about seemingly normal Canadian coins that may have a tiny radio frequency transmitter hidden inside. So far, the high-tech coins have been found planted on U.S. contractors with classified security clearances on at least three separate occasions between October 2005 and January 2006, the government is claiming. The U.S. isn't suggesting who might be behind this latest act of espionage, or even which Canadian coins carried the transmitters. No word yet on if Sydney Bristow or Jack Bauer will be involved in the investigation.
(Click here to read the full article by Associated Press writer Ted Bridis.)