Daily Archives: August 24, 2011

On This Day…

In 1992, Hurricane Andrew smashed into Florida, causing record damage; 55 deaths in Florida, Louisiana and the Bahamas were blamed on the storm.

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Foreign Journalists Trapped in Tripoli Released

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Dozens of foreign journalists trapped in one of Tripoli’s hotels for five days walked free, ending what some feared was a hostage situation.

CNN Senior International Correspondent Matthew Chance said the journalists had been held “by crazy gunmen” waving Gadhafi flags and brandishing automatic weapons.

Meanwhile, Gadhafi’s whereabouts remain unknown.

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Americans Are Increasingly Relying on Food Stamps

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There are almost 46 million people, or roughly 15% of the population, in the United States on food stamps. That figure represents an increase of 74% since 2007, just before the financial crisis and recession that led to mass job loss.

The cost of the program has also doubled to $68 billion, more than a third of the amount the government received in corporate income tax last year.

About 40% of food stamp recipients are in households in which at least one member of the family earns wages. The government estimates that one in three people who are eligible for the food stamp program are not in it.

A family of four can receive food stamps worth $668 a month. They can only be used to buy non-prepared food and seeds and plants to grow food.

Republican leaders in the House of Representatives have proposed changing the food stamp program so the funding is through “block grants” to the states, and not allowing it to grow when needed due to an emergency such as a natural disaster.

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Filed under Economy, National, Politics

College President Writes Letter to Son Going Away to College

Lewis Center (exterior view), Oberlin College,...

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The Best Thing on the Net Today is a letter written by Oberlin College President Marvin Krislov to his son, who is just beginning college.

While it’s a personal letter acknowledging Krislov’s son’s life experiences, the letter also addresses the universal issues faced by each person facing the beginning of his or her college experience, seen through the lens of a Harry Potter fan. I hope you enjoy reading this letter!

Harry’s education, and yours: A father sends his son off to college, with wisdom from a boy wizard

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Filed under Education, Entertainment, The Best Thing on the Net Today

FCC Abolishes Fairness Doctrine

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On Monday, the Federal Communications Commission said it has abolished the controversial “Fairness Doctrine” that required broadcasters to present opposing views of controversial issues.

The Fairness Doctrine was implemented in 1949 when local broadcast markets had little competition. The regulation had not been enforced since the late 1980s and had been criticized as an overreach of media industry speech rights.

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Bill Clinton’s Life as a Vegan

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Bill Clinton was renowned on the campaign for his penchant for snarfing burgers and French fries. Heart bypass surgery convinced him to cut back on the grease. In the past year, the former President has even gone vegan. He says he has dropped more than twenty pounds and is healthier than ever.

Pres. Clinton had ongoing heart problems, which prompted a quadruple bypass in 2004. After he had surgery to open a blocked artery last year, Clinton decided to do something drastic.

Studies show that people on a vegan diet lose weight more than people on conventional low-fat diets. Diabetics have better glucose control and lower cholesterol on a vegan diet. Let’s hope the former President continues to see the health benefits of his new lifestyle!

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Why the Quake Was Felt on the Whole East Coast

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The quake that hit the East Coast on Tuesday was notable for the eastern half of the country. It measured 5.8, and the epicenter was 5 miles from Mineral, Virginia. The quake was about 3.7 miles deep.

The shaking was felt as far south as Atlanta and as far north as Ontario. It was felt over such a large area because the eastern part of the continent is different than the West Coast. It is colder and denser, so seismic waves travel farther than they do in the West, and the sediments along the East Coast make quakes feel stronger.

Faults that rupture east of the Rockies create quakes felt more than ten times the area than those west of the mountains.

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Filed under Environment, National, Science

Kate Winslet Saves 90-Year-Old from Fire

The coat of arms of the British Virgin Islands.

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Quick, somebody get Kate Winslet the starring role in an action movie!

Kate Winslet saved Richard Branson‘s mother from a fire that destroyed the Virgin Group CEO’s Caribbean home.

Winslet was vacationing at Branson’s island home in the British Virgin Islands with her boyfriend and two children when the fire (caused by lightning from Tropical Storm Irene) destroyed the home.

“Many thanks to Kate Winslet for helping to carry my 90-year mum out of the main house to safety,” Branson blogged on Monday. “Around 20 people were in the house and they all managed to get out and they are all fine.”

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Filed under Entertainment, Strange But True

John Tyler Still Has Living Grandchildren

John Tyler, tenth President of the United States

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John Tyler was born in 1790. He was the tenth President of the United States and served from 1841 to 1845.

You may be wondering why I’m sharing information on President Tyler. It’s for a piece I’m calling (for now) “The Best Thing on the Net Today.” Periodically, I’d like to present something I have found on the Internet that I think is interesting, educational, and/or just plain weird. In any case, it’ll be something I think is worthy of sharing with my friends, and so it’s also worthy of sharing here. (If you can think of a better title, I’d love to hear it; please leave any suggestions in the comments section below.)

So let’s get back to John Tyler. You can find the interesting information on him right on his Wikipedia page.

As of August 2011, President Tyler (who, let’s keep in mind, was born in 1790) has two living grandsons through his son Lyon Gardiner Tyler (1853-1935). Lyon Gardiner Tyler, Jr., was born in 1924. Harrison Ruffin Tyler was born in 1928.

Unbelievable! The tenth President of the U.S., who was born in the eighteenth century, still has grandchildren alive in the twenty-first century! Is anyone else as blown away by this as I am?

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Filed under Politics, Strange But True, The Best Thing on the Net Today

Amy Winehouse Toxicology Report Disclosed

Amy Winehouse‘s spokesperson has released a statement saying that toxicology tests show that no illegal drugs were in the singer’s body when she passed away.

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Filed under Entertainment, Notable Passings