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Elif Geris

I’m a Creative Writing major at the University of Illinois at Chicago, which does not have a journalism program. My (and your) response to that: WHUCK?! But it’s okay. Almost as much as I love to report world events to you, I love to write fiction stories that normally entail someone getting lost somewhere. And a lot of the time, I get my writing inspiration from music; Royksopp, Radiohead, Air, Regina Spektor. To me, music completes everything. On the side of writing, I play piano, sing and write music. And do impressions. My mockery inspirations range from Kristen Wiig’s "Penelope," to high school classmates, to Bill Hader’s eyebrows, to 1940s film actor voices. One of my favorite impressions is a kid in my high school senior year trigonometry class who didn’t seem to understand much of the concept. But he, nevertheless, would constantly utter the word, “Troo,” while the teacher was explaining an equation. A lot of the time, I just like to ridicule my own existence. I like to add a Southern twang while speaking Turkish or French; every Turk I’ve met has told me I have a very noticeable accent, and that my sister’s is...well...less blemished. And I enjoy acting like a Sim with her and fellow “ The Sims” players. Sool sool if you’re reading this! Speaking of Sims, my traumatic experiences with The Grim Reaper taught me how to really take care of myself. I recently do not like people who are too mysterious. The movie, Drive –which I give a 70% - taught me to stay away from attractive people, who stare at you for extensive periods of time with doughy eyes. I admire quirky people like Kristen Wiig – one of my greatest idols – who are unafraid to make themselves appear ugly or “Target Lady” to make other people laugh. I like to think that my insignificantly pathetic moments serve just that purpose. There’s a “pAAHsitive” spin!

Kyra Sedgwick recalls her years on "The Closer"

“The Closer” comes to an end and Kyra Sedgwick looks back

The season – and series – finale of The Closer, starring Kyra Sedgwick, aired Monday night, with an audience of 9.1 million. This summer has reeled in 7.2 million viewers for the show, helping gain it the title of number one for the season.

According to Philly.com, after the finale of the show, viewers remained seated to watch the premier of The Closer spin-off show, Major Crimes.

In Major Crimes, the character played by Kyra Sedgwick, Brenda Leigh Johnson, is replaced by Mary McDonnell.

The success of Kyra Sedgwick on The Closer Monday night topped the viewership of NBC’s new program Stars and Stripes. Advertisements for Stars and Stripes aired during the Olympics.

And after Kyra Sedgwick brought her career on The Closer to a close, she recalled why she almost did not want to join the show.

Before reading and falling in love with the script and Brenda Leigh Johnson’s character, Kyra Sedgwick’s first priority was the distance of filming set from her home. She was not willing to relocate her family nor did she wish to commute.

But looking back, “I love to work. I think I will miss that consistent work and intensity. You get a certain addiction to the adrenaline. It’ll be an adjustment. I’ll deeply miss my cast members and my crew, who have become a close family.”

Kyra Sedgwick ended up moving her family to the west coast to shoot the hit series.   

Sedgwick is proud of the profound effect she left on her female audience. Johnson is a strong female lead, and Sedgwick showed a large sum of women that women can be powerful through Johnson.

Groupon shares drop 27 percent

Groupon shares take a steep fall

Groupon, the daily deals hookup, fell 27 percent in trade Tuesday when additional investors were less than impressed by its previous results.

In the afternoon, Groupon shares dropped 72 percent below its November IPO of $20.  With the 27 percent fall in Groupon shares this time, the coupon company lost $1.3 billion already.

But in total, $9.4 billion have been lost since the November IPO release.

The Groupon shares problem is blamed on the current financial circumstances in Europe.

According to Chicago Tribune, Clayton Moran of The Benchmark Company deemed it most appropriate to buy, rather than hold his Groupon shares. 

Moran said, “It appears the daily deal business has run into a wall, with some blame going to the European recession. We believe the weak trends are likely to persist,”

Though Groupon was originally a booming enterprise in 2008, the sharp decline in Groupon shares was only subsequent. Forbes was among those who shared the opinion that Groupon would flourish, or was flourishing.

This was an easy assumption to make as people saw a company giving away substantial discounts for restaurant and spa trips.

But alongside the positive thinkers were those who feared that maintaining the company was up to maintaining strong daily deals, which they predicted to be a difficult feat.

But Groupon shares were not the only shares to take a fall Tuesday. Angie’s List Inc. fell 16 percent after its IPO release. Angie’s List Inc. is a website that offers consumer reviews of businesses, similar to Yelp.

Mark May of Barclays commented on the Groupon shares drop.

“While the company is still relatively young and much execution lies ahead, we continue to view Groupon in the early stages of what could prove to be a significant and long-term growth opportunity in the local commerce sector globally.”

A Kutcher and Kunis kombination

Kutcher and Kunis deny rumors of their dating

The clueless couple made up of characters played by Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher on That ‘70s Show may have materialized in real life.

Though Kutcher and Kunis deny assumptions of a possible union, the two were at a Jobs film-wrap party together recently, took a ride on Kutcher’s motorcycle together and vacationed together in Brazil.

Kutcher and Kunis were also photographed holding hands on their way to the wrap party and were also captured kissing.

Last Spring, Kunis said, “Listen, we hang out. We’ve known each other for 15 years. We have mutual friends. We’re comfortable with one another. That’s it!”

Kunis dismissed the Kutcher and Kunis rumor, adding that she is single – plain and simple.

Kutcher and Kunis inspired even more gossip when Kunis visited Kutcher on the set of Two and a Half Men. Kutcher is the replacement for Charlie Sheen in the hit television series.

A self-proclaimed stalker on Twitter, SarahMOnline, got on the set of Two and a Half Men, and posted a photo, with a caption highlighting the Kutcher and Kunis combination.

“I was so happy when I heard her and Ashton were together. They make such a cute couple! Looking forward to seeing her a lot on set this year! [sic]”

And according to Celebuzz, Kutcher told his parents that things were official with Kuni,s and he notified them that Kutcher and Kunis will be seen together often at family events.

Kunis recalled her first encounters with Kutcher on set of That ‘70s Show, and her nerves upon meeting him. Kunis was 15-years-old when the show was first aired.

Kunis said, “I was like, ‘I have to kiss him?’ I was so nervous and uncomfortable. I had the biggest crush on him.” According to International Business Times, Kutcher was Kunis’s first kiss.


Saudi Arabia women-only city will create 5,000 jobs

A women-only city will be constructed in eastern Saudi-Arabia

In an effort to attract more females to Sunni Saudi Arabia, a women-only city will be created, and will provide more employment to women.

The women-only city will be located in Hafuf, eastern Saudi Arabia, and the project will go underway by the Saudi Industrial Property Authority.

And according to The Guardian, the women-only city aspires to create more financially independent women in the middle-east.

According to International Business Times, the new jobs in the women-only city will gross 500 million riyals, which is about equivalent to $13.3 million. The added jobs will cater to the textile, pharmaceutical and food-processing skills of women.

On creating the women-only city, authority Deputy Director General Saleh al-Rasheed said, “I’m sure that women can demonstrate their efficiency in many aspects and clarify the industries that best suit their interests, nature and ability.”

Although the nation’s government does not protest against female employment, 15 percent of Saudi Arabian employees are female. The women-only city plan will boost that number.

The Daily Mail reported that “It is hoped it will allow women’s desire to work without defying the country’s Islamic laws.”

The efforts of the women-only city include polishing women’s existing skills, to help transition them to work in those textile or pharmaceutical factories.

Businesswoman Hussa al-Aun said, ”The new industrial city should have a specialized training center to help women develop their talents and train them to work at factories. This is essential to cut unemployment among our female graduates.”

The women-only city is expected to create 5,000 jobs without facing any punishment by the Sharia Law of the country.

Time Warner Cable affiliates with Pinterest

Time Warner Cable gives its customers the option to share

Time Warner Cable is now affiliated with Pinterest so customers can share their choice shows and movies with fellow Pinterest users.

The different selections of boards Time Warner Cable offers through the online shopping medium include movies, shows, sports, music, technology and Spanish TV pins.

According to The Inquistr, so far, Time Warner Cable has 70 followers via Pinterest, and it follows 68 of them.

Jeffrey Hirsch, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Time Warner Cable’s Residential Services said, “Connecting with our customers through social media is a great way to do just that, and we are very excited be a part of such a fun, new social media platform. We look forward to hearing from customers as they explore our new page.”

The media company has more than 15 million users. Time Warner Cable is one of the biggest providers of video and high-speed data among other qualities the company homes.

In the meantime, Time Warner Cable is joining Level 3 Communications, while keeping its channels to itself and away from Google Fiber TV, while also keeping its eyes on Google Fiber TV’s methods.

According to WebProNews, Time Warner Cable posted requests for people to spy on Google Fiber for network information.

But the expansion into Level 3 Communications was made in hopes of connecting with more users and to improve its network. Time Warner Cable’s affiliation with Level 3 Communications will give the company access to more IP addresses.  

Mike LaJoie, executive vice president and CTO for Time Warner Cable said, “The strength of our Network is at the center of all the services we provide our more than 15 million customers and we continue to expand the reach and capacity, as well as improve the reliability of that network to best serve our customers today and in the future.”

Texas A&M University area shooting kills three

A gunman opened fire Monday near Texas A&M University

The fourth shooting in two months took place at Texas A&M University Monday when Thomas Cafall shot down at least six people, leaving three dead including himself.

The shooting took place on Fidelity Street down the street from the Texas A&M campus.

Shots were exchanged between law enforcement officials and the gunman. Shortly thereafter police took the gunman into custody and Cafall died.

The Texas A&M shooting lasted approximately 30 minutes.

One of those killed was Brian Bachman, Brazos County constable. Cafall shot the constable after he approached the gunman’s home.

The third person killed was a bystander, Chris Northcliff, 43. Two of those injured included a police chief of the Texas A&M area, as well as a female civilian, who underwent surgery the night of the shooting.

Rigo Cisneros, a neighbor living across the street near Texas A&M, took a video of the incident from inside his home, while taking cover.

Everyone in the Texas A&M area were advised to stay indoors and away from Fidelity Street.

The loss was a heart wrenching one for the College Station area, as Bachman was a celebrated individual, having been a sheriff’s deputy since 1993, according to CNN.

Scott McCollum, an assistant chief at College Station said, “He was a pillar in this community, and it’s sad and tragic that we’ve lost him today,” referring to Bachmann.

Signs of the approaching devastation could be found on Cafall’s Facebook page. According to CNN, he expressed a profound interest in guns and fighting on the social medium.

Cafall wrote that, “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”

Cafall also exhibited photos of firearms on his page, and shared that his inspirations were several firearms designers.

Cafall’s mother, Linda Weaver, joined those grieving the losses of their loved ones in the Texas A&M shooting.

Weaver said, “We mourn them and the loss of Tres. He had been ill. It breaks our hearts his illness led to this.”

A 2,000-year-old shipwreck holds undamaged food

A 2,000-year-old shipwreck that carried trade between Italy and Spain found

A 2,000-year-old shipwreck was found beneath the mud of the sea in Italy, off the coast of Varazze, its contents untouched.

The ship is believed to have been making its journey between the first century B.C. and the first century A.D. when it took its 200 foot fall.

Lt. Col Francesco Schilardi of the police divers’ group said, “The peculiarity of this is that the wreck could be almost intact.”

Jars of food were found in the 2,000-year-old shipwreck, still covered, and their contents well-preserved.

Though a name for the ship still has not been found, the 2,000-year-old shipwreck was determined to be a commercial ship. It most likely carried trade from Italy to Spain.

The mud surrounding the 2,000-year-old shipwreck protects the contents and the exterior of the ship.

Food-carrying amphorae, jars that transported both solid and liquid foods were found, most likely part of trading. Foods the amphorae carried included wine, oil and olives.

According to Batangas Today, discovery of the 2,000-year-old shipwreck was incited when fishermen reported tools and shards of clay in their fishnets.

Though no plan to investigate is fully set, nobody is currently permitted to dive in the area where the 2,000-year-old shipwreck was found, to protect the vessel.   

Why Saturday's Powerball jackpot amounts to $253 million

Paying an extra dollar for Power Play can work wonders

Wednesday marked the 13th stagnant Powerball jackpot in a row, leaving Saturday’s Powerball drawing with a prize of $254 million.

The last time a Powerball jackpot even came close to this value was a $336.4 million prize that went to an 81-year-old woman from R.I.

According to WebProNews, the winning numbers Wednesday were 3,7,11,15,28, with the Powerball number, 12. In Wednesday’s Powerball drawing, 22 people took home one million dollars.

But the Powerball contestant who paid one extra dollar for Power Play took home one-million extra dollars.

The Power Play option benefited more than one person Wednesday night. Of the 145 winners of $10,000, 29 won an additional $30,000 because they paid that extra dollar.

Twitter is buzzing with hopeful comments – as well as offers – concerning the Powerball jackpot. Saundi Gabe Faulk wrote that, “I need a #favor from everyone: PlEase play a#powerball tix for ME & when it win I’ll pay you back out of the #253million we’ll win! <3 [sic].”

Another tweet regarding the Powerball jackpot read, “Powerball is $253 Million on Saturday. I know I am not old or an illegal immigrant but will still buy a few tickets just in case.”

According to Lottery Post, all of the first five numbers, as well as the Powerball number were less than 31, which is typical for lottery. Normally people enter the birth date numbers of their relatives, which is why a winner is more likely when low numbers are entered into Powerball jackpot.

Also according to Lottery Post, Saturday’s Powerball jackpot is valued at $42 million more than the previous Powerball jackpot reward, while the cash value rose $27.6 million from $142.9 million.

Amgen cancels study on pancreatic cancer drug

Results for the pancreatic cancer drug seem hopeless

Amgen, a drug company, stopped studies of a pancreatic cancer drug just shy of the study’s end due to results that did not live up to expected standards.

The drug was not found to affect patients’ longevity, and the study was stopped during the final step of the human trial process. 

According to Bloomberg.com, the addition of ganitumab to the pancreatic cancer drug, gemcitabine, is meant to target the type 1 insulin growth factor receptor. The other name of the pancreatic cancer drug is AMG 479.

The main goal of this ingredient in the pancreatic cancer drug is to regulate cell growth.

Previous test trials for colorectal and small-cell lung cancer are currently being reviewed, as they too involved the pancreatic cancer drug.

Sean Harper, executive vice president of research and development at Amgen, said, “These disappointing results underscore the difficulty of treating pancreatic cancer, which remains a major unmet medical need.”

According to Reuters, while the pancreatic cancer drug showed no endangering results, the study did not predict any potential for success.

According to The Associated Press, the Amgen trading share fell from $81.37 to $81.09 for trade closing.

Psychotic JetBlue pilot rants about religion

Should the JetBlue pilot psychotic be set free or sent to a mental institution?

A judge determined that a reevaluation of the psychotic JetBlue pilot is necessary. This was deemed the appropriate option when Clayton Osbon had another psychotic episode in prison.

In March, Osbon, dubbed the JetBlue pilot psychotic, left the cockpit of an airplane on its way from New York to Las Vegas, and yelled at passengers about Jesus and Al-Qaeda. Osbon also lowered the contrast on cockpit monitors and encouraged a leap of faith.

According to New York Post, a forensic neuropsychologist said the JetBlue pilot psychotic was only undergoing the effects of a “brief psychotic disorder,” and lack of sleep.

No one was severely injured, but a flight attendant’s ribs were bruised when a passenger tried to restrain the JetBlue pilot psychotic.

According to International Business Times, a survey conducted by The National Sleep Foundation showed that one in four pilots suffer from lack of sleep. 

The JetBlue pilot psychotic episode lasted until about a week after Osbon’s tirade of religion.  

Osbon had a difficult time understanding what was wrong with his actions due to what the neuropsychologist testified as sleep deprivation and delusions.

The JetBlue pilot psychotic incident is the second one involving airplane personnel. During the first incident in 2010, flight attendant Steven Slater helped himself to two beers, and dropped down the emergency landing chute to head home.

Being deliberated currently is whether the JetBlue pilot psychotic should be checked into a mental health facility or set free under the claim of insanity.

A decision is required by an Amarillo federal court judge by the end of October.