Friday, December 11, 2009

Wall in Rio, Segregation or Environmental?

The citizens of Rio de Janeiro are divided physically and mentally because of a new wall put in place by the government. This wall officials say is to, save the rainforests by building a wall surrounding them to prevent residents from creating houses which knock down the trees. The less fortunate people living in Rio, claim this wall is an attempt to shut them out, just a way for the city to get rid of the "eyesore" their homes create. The poor people live in shantytowns, which the new "eco-wall" coincidentally runs right around and blocks peoples view into the less fortunate housing complexes.
Many residents feel that Rio de Janeiro is establishing this wall to help stop the expansion of these slums before the 2016 Olympics. The people feel the shanty towns already created a subconscious barrier between the upper and lower classes, and they believe this wall is further cementing the division of society. In this CNN article, many residents and officials comment on the construction of this new wall in Brazil.

Picking Your Child's Gender

Usually parents who are expecting a child are in for a surprise on the day of the birth, will it be a girl or a boy? Now thanks to huge scientific leaps people can have the option of picking the gender of their new baby. A new technology called, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, allows parents to mainly test the embryos for genetic diseases that might have been passed down from the father or mother. This process is done through in vitro fertilization, in which the egg fertilization is completed outside the body, therefore allowing the parents to select the gender.
This process is, like other controversial topics, having to withstand debates from each side of the spectrum. Some people feel this new procedure is uncalled for and allowing us to "play God." Others believe this is just another "cosmetic procedure," for which we should be able to pay the $18,000 fee if we want and if we are financially capable. This debate is not going to end any time soon and more details are available in this CNN article. Now all that's left to think about is if you would determine your child's gender?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Google Introduces Search By Sight

Normally Google offers a search engine in which users type in text and results are compiled according to the "keywords" entered. The company launched a new technology yesterday, which will offer the ability to search the web by submitting a photograph. Google has numerous applications the public doesn't even know about, most of the companies immediate users are only aware of the main search engine. This new technology called, Google Goggles, can recognize images anywhere from album covers to landmarks. The users simply take a photo with their camera, submit it as a search, then the computer runs it through its database.
The database can recognize faces but is not right now because of the millions of images it's holding right now. The brains at Google decided to not do facial recognition at this time but it may very well be an option soon to come. In this CNN article an example they show, was a user snapping a picture of a wine bottle they weren't familiar with, Google Goggles presented them with, "hints of apricot and hibiscus blossom." That description is in depth and far beyond what the user could come up with himself, all from uploading a mobile picture to Google.

U.S. Offers Native Americans $1.4 Billion for Their Mistake

In 1996, American Indians filed suit against the U.S. Department of the Interior, because they failed to give the Indians their revenue from a fund of Indian assets, which the department managed. Now the lawsuit is trying to come to a close as the U.S. Department is offering the American Indians $1.4 billion, to try and make up for the mismanagement of their trust and lands. If the Indians were to accept this offer, each would get as much as $1,000. According to Cobell, a member of the tribe, the Indians who really needed the money are already old and on their way to death.
The Indians feel horribly mismanaged and have lost huge amounts of faith in the U.S. and our government. This money will not make up for the fact that many of the people involved in this suit lived their entire life in severe poverty. In this article, CNN goes into more detail about the specifics of each side of the American Indian case. Hopefully our government will learn from this and take more action in future cases like this.

Victoria Principal to Space!

The actress from the TV show "Dallas," Victoria Principal, is going to be one of the first celebrities to make it into outer space. The star paid $200,000 to be one of the passengers on the Enterprise, a two-pilot space craft with room for only six people. She is one of the daring people who wants the once in a lifetime experience of seeing the Earth's shape, going to the edge of space, and feeling weightless. Although she paid for a ticket to be on this shuttle, by the Virgin Galactic company, the first passengers will be chosen at random.
The first commercial space shuttle was introduced Monday by Sir Richard Branson and Burt Rutan, both innovators in the world of space. Principal says this has always been her fantasy and she will get to fulfill it sometime in 2011, after the company begins testing in early 2010. Just like this first article, CNN will be sure to cover the next events as they unfold.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Single Drug Execution Used In Ohio

Today in Ohio the execution of Kenneth Biros took place and for the first time in the U.S. it was completed by a single drug method. He was sentenced to the death penalty for raping and brutally killing a woman in 1991. This execution was the first in Ohio since September because the governor put capital punishment on a hiatus due to a failed attempt to find a prisoners vein. This new one-drug method of capital punishment uses only one of the drugs, sodium thiopental, normally used three-drug method. Some people are concerned that using on this one drug, also used to euthanize animals, might keep the inmates alive enough to feel the end of the killing procedure.
In this CNN article, Biros's entire execution is described and many experts add their insights of the pros and cons of using this new way of capital punishment. He was the first but not the last to have only this one drug injected during the execution, although a two-drug injection was there for backup. There will be many more debates regarding this controversial topics, which should all be interesting.

Cheaters Beware

With all of the recent publicity of Tiger Woods and his alleged affair, the media unveiled a law that many people aren't aware could be done. If a person is cheating with someone who is already married, they could be served an expensive lawsuit by the spouse of their lover. These lawsuits are known as "alienation of affection," and are used to sue the person interfering in the already established marriage. Even though these suits are only allowed in seven states such as, North Carolina, New Mexico, and Illinois, they are still something to think about.
This law is rooted in older times when a wife was considered the husbands property, giving the hurt party a way to receive some sort of justice. Although in today's world these suits are only filed for the two reasons of money and revenge. Many people are watching to see if Tiger's wife will go down this path but the more interesting road will appear if any of Tiger's mistresses were married. In this article, it describes the way the husbands of Tiger's lovers could come after the insanely rich golfer.