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Billy Gardner

Knitted Down there, Sewn to the boundless black stitches In our white spotted blanket. Creatures, Atop brown threads Puncturing the blue. The knots inside their tops Can't unravel what's true.

iOS 5.1 update has arrived for Apple users

See new features below

Apple announces the release of the new iPad Wednesday but with it they also released iOS 5.1 for the iPhone 3Gs, 4, and 4s.  What does this mean for iPhone users? With the new iOS 5.1 users will now see a 4G icon replace their 3G, a smarter Siri fluent in 6 languages (as if she wasn’t brilliant enough) and a tuned-up iTunes Match. Apple has also jazzed up the home screen with a new slide to unlock feature and capability of snapping photos quickly on the home screen.

Issues with the previous operating system iOS 5 included a quick draining battery. iOS 5.1 represents Apple’s attempt and has since corrected the issue.

With the iOS 5.1 automatic update feature, the operating system should be available “over the air” through the new 4G service or via iTunes.

Of course Apple has been known to stay on their toes and is in the midst of developing iOS 6. Although no reports have been released to the public, there is evidence that they are testing the operating system at Apple headquarters in California. Apple typically waits for their developer’s conference in the early part of summertime to release updates, and although iOS 5.1 is available now, iOS 6 is expected to release next fall. That is if its safe to say Apple stays on its toes.

Fiona Apple Announces 23 Word Album Title

Who has the longest title ever? See below

Fiona Apple draws media attention with the release of her fourth album. It is a 23-word title, The Idler Wheel is wiser than the Driver of the Screw, and Whipping Cords will serve you more than Ropes will ever do.

It’s been 9 years since Fiona Apple released an album. The jazz and alternative rock star won a Grammy award when she was only 19 for her single Criminal, which would debut on her first album Tidal. Another song on that album Sullen Girl, not to dampen the mood, alludes to the trauma Fiona Apple underwent we she was raped at age 12.

On a lighter note, Fiona Apple still couldn’t top her 1999 album titled,

When the pawn hits the conflicts he thinks like a king
What he knows throws the blows when he goes to the fight
And he’ll win the whole thing ‘fore he enters the ring
There’s no body to batter when your mind is your might
So when you go solo, you hold your own hand
And remember that depth is the greatest of heights
And if you know where you stand, then you know where to land
And if you fall it won’t matter, cause you’ll know that you’re right

And even still couldn’t top the longest album title in history, Chumbawumba’s The boy bands have won….. (yada yada yada)

Her newest album, which has been pushed back multiples and originally supposed to release in spring 2011, which some speculate was delayed because her label with held its release, is now set to drop in June this year.

Arthritis drugs halted after signs of bone decay

FDA tightens the reigns

A once promising arthritis medication is now linked to bone decay. The Food and Drug Administration released its safety analysis of recent arthritis drugs that show a clear association with nerve-blocking medications and incidences of joint failure.

Studies were halted on the drugs back in June due to reports of osteoarthritis actually worsening in some patients. The FDA backed this information up with their study. Some patients even suffered from complete joint failure.

Drug makers will bid to keep research and experimentation open based on the fact that used in lower doses; the drug did see little signs of bone decay. Coming Monday Johnson and Johnson, Pfzier Inc. and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals will present their case with studies of the drugs and safety precautions laid out to protect drug users.

The groups will also argue that the rare bone decay symptom was due to a simultaneous use of the arthritis drug and pain medications. Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson found exclusive evidence that bone decay occurred in patients taking the experimental drugs and painkillers like aspirin and Advil.

The analysis published by the FDA supported these findings but also found that the drug Tanezumab through Pfizer was associated with bone problems even when used alone. 

The market for such a drug is staggering, with 1-in-5 American adults suffering from arthritis, the groups are adamant on continuing research for the experimental drug with a potential multibillion dollar market.

Drug makers will argue for a modified drug with restrictions on concurrent pain medication use.

Bin Laden wives charged by Pakistan

Could be facing up to 5 years

Interior Minister Rehman Malik of Pakistan reports that Bin Laden had three wives who entered the country illegally and committed “several incidents involving deception and forgery.”

The three Bin Laden wives, one Yemeni and two Saudis, were charged today but a hearing has not been set. They were living in the compound when Navy Seal Team 6 assaulted the safe house.

The Bin Laden wives were taken into custody, along with 10 of the Saudi terrorists’ children. “The case has been registered only against the adults,” Malik told reporters in the capital Islamabad. “They can have a lawyer and they have full liberty to go to court and defend themselves.”

The children were kept in a five-bedroom house, “with proper facilities as if they were in their own home” and are free to return to their native countries if there guardians agree.

Recently Bin Laden’s brother in law published a documentary of the Al-Qaeda leader advising his children to go and live peacefully in the west and receive a good education. Only time will tell if they choose to do so.

As for the Bin Laden wives, speculation by lawyers says the maximum sentence could be 5-years in prison for their crimes. Bin Laden was suspected to have 6 wives, one of which was killed as a human shield during the Navy Seal assault.

Bin Laden was suspected of living in the compound in Abbottabad for around five years before the CIA pinpointed his location. The raid angered the Pakistani army, who was criticized for having not known of the terrorist’s whereabouts. Last month the concrete compound was demolished, removing Pakistan’s relic of the worlds most wanted criminal.

Invisible Children: Kony 2012 gets hits but is there more to be learned?

They raised awareness but it is still early

Invisible Children is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to draw attention to the atrocities committed by Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in central Africa.

Invisible Children filmmakers originally traveled to Africa in 2003 to document the genocide in Darfur but stumbled across another horrific story they dedicated their mission to.

The LRA were abducting children in order to fill the army ranks and terrorize the Ugandan citizens. The documentary was named Invisible Children bringing to light the deplorable acts of Joseph Kony and his army. Invisible Children grew into a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness and setting up programs that focus on rehabilitation, education, and economic development.

The group published a recent YouTube video that has reached 30 million hits to date. Invisible Children gained support from the United States government and set their sites on social media to raise attention to Joseph Kony, titling the video Kony 2012. It is 30-minutes long and intended to raise awareness and encourage activism.

Controversy has been directed at the group on their methods. Some question the bias of Invisible Children by defining 30 years of a Ugandan problem with a 30 minute video. A problem solely resting on the shoulders of Joseph Kony and the LRA when that is not necessarily the case.

Joseph Kony is a war criminal no doubt but what Invisible Children fails to comment on is how the current Ugandan government came to power through use of kadogo (child soldiers) and fought alongside other groups employing child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Invisible Children is an outside group of foreigners that are raising awareness but have the potential to mislead, especially the twitter generation who tend to accept a sole interpretation of a slew of issues without any back story.

Be that as it may, the group has created a stir in the media. The fact of the matter is people, foreigners especially; need to understand the context and history of what they are blindly selling into before they can really have a positive affect. Invisible Children got the ball rolling but more needs to be said.

See the video below:

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Whitney Houston will leave assets and estate to daughter, Bobbi Christina

Estimated worth is a cool $20 million

When Whitney Houston died the pocket of her 19-year old daughter got a little fatter. TMZ reports that Whitney Houston will give Bobbi Christina (not to be confused with Bobby Brown) 100 percent of her assets and estate.

The specific assets left by the will of Whitney Houston are not clear in reports but she leaves all personal effects, cars, jewelry, etc solely to the 19-year old. This is estimated to have a $20 million dollar value.

Bobbi Christina now has a trust set-up and will receive the money in chucks over the next 11 years, one payout at 21, another at 25 and the rest will come at age 30.

Whitney Houston signed the will back in 1993, one month before she gave birth to Bobbi Christina, and it was filed yesterday in Atlanta.

It is estimated that since her death, Whitney Houston record sales have skyrocketed, and the family has made nearly $1 Million in royalties. Nine of the pop singers albums remain in Billboards top 200 list and according to Billboard, “The last time one act had at least nine out of the week’s top 100 sellers was on Oct. 17, 2009, when the Beatles racked 11 out of the top 100.”

Catch Bobbi Christina on the Oprah Winfrey Network for a special on the life and death of her mother March 11.

When Whitney Houston signed the will in 1993, she was named the third highest female entertainer, behind Barbara Streisand and, ironically, Oprah Winfrey.


Asteroid 2012 Da14 will miss the earth

Take that Mayans

Asteroid 2012 Da14, the rock that is causing panic to earth’s doomsayers, will definitely miss the earth, says NASA. Not a chance. Calculations speculate that the asteroid will miss Earth by 1.5 millions miles, or about six times the size of earth.

Asteroid 2012 Da14 is a medium sized asteroid that astronomers estimate to be 150 feel across. The rock is set to come in close contact, again no chance of hitting earth, in February 2013. And, who knows if it’s the bad weather or the Mayans 2012 prediction of earth coming to end that has made Asteroid 2012 Da14 more of a media spectacle making the threat out to something its not.

“One problem is that the Internet is wide open to anyone to say anything,” Yeomans told Life’s Little Mysteries, he continued, “In the case of this asteroid, you get hundreds of hits on the Internet, and in the case of the 2012 Mayan calendar business, millions of hits suggesting disaster. And you get a few folks in the media and at NASA who put out the truth. But people go online and see millions about disasters and a few saying ‘no disaster’ and they think, well, the majority of these say I should be worried.”

There’s bogus news tabloids all over the internet, some mumbo jumbo prediction dated back thousands of years, or there is science, by little organization named NASA. This author trusts the latter.

With so many sources of information Yeoman says, “The hope is that people will understand that we are the more trusted sources of information.”

Although Asteroid 2012 Da14 will miss, this does not rule out the threat of an asteroid in the future smashing into the planet. What wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago could still pose a threat to humanity, and astronomers say, it is only a matter of time before another one of these space rocks is successful hitting earth. 

Solar Flare Smashes Into Earth

First in 5 years

A storm moving at 4.5 million miles per hour, spawning the largest solar flare in 5 years, is set to arrive this Thursday.

“It’s hitting us right in the nose,” said Joe Kunches, a scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder.

This solar storm is part of an 11-year cycle by the sun. This season’s solar weather, consentient with the rest of earths storms, is set to have a harsh season. Solar storms have been rather weak recently and Bill Murtagh, program coordinator of the federal government’s Space Weather Prediction Center agrees, “This is a good-size event, but not the extreme type.”

This solar flare is just apart of the sun’s normal 11-year cycle and although will bring no harm to people it can disrupt technology. There are three phases to expect with a solar flare.

The first came last Tuesday when two flares moving at nearly the speed of light struck earth. These flares are known to cause radio disruptions.

The second phase is when solar radiation struck Earth’s magnetic field, lasting for days. This radiation could impact air traffic in particular.

And, the final phase is a plasma cloud sent by the coronal mass ejection. This in laymen’s terms is a part of the suns atmosphere that is set to hit earth early Thursday. This phase is capable of disrupting oil pipelines, satellites, power grids, GPS systems and some agricultural operations.

Don’t worry about low tech GPS- your Range Rover will still have turn by turn navigation, it is the high tech systems that could be affected.

The positive to the storms is the auroras or Northern Lights that will be seen late Thursday evening.  Auroras are “probably the treat we get when the sun erupts,” Kunches said. A full moon will make them hard to see this time but with the solar flare, the sights could be seen on the northern part of the United States.

Donald Payne, U.S. representative from New Jersey, dies at age 77

Memory of the humanitarian lives on

United States Representative Donald Payne died Tuesday at age 77. Payne, who is often considered the most progressive Democrat, is known for his work in human rights on behalf of the poor. His brother William reported that he died in a St. Barnabas Hospital in Livingston, New Jersey.

President Barack Obama ordered flags lowered in Payne’s honor, and commented on his death saying Payne was a “leader in US-Africa policy, making enormous contributions towards helping restore democracy and human rights across the continent.”

Prudential Financial Inc offered financial services with around $901 billion in assets and “benefited directly from Rep. Payne’s insights and dedication during his distinguished tenure.” The CEO of Prudential continued by saying, “While never wavering in his commitment to his home state and district, Rep. Payne was a compassionate and energetic voice for people in need around the world. As a steadfast champion of education and civil rights, as well as a passionate advocate for aid to Africa, he had an impact far beyond the borders of his district, state and nation. Thanks to Rep. Payne’s devoted efforts, children and families around the world can enjoy happier, healthier lives.

Donald Payne received numerous awards for his humanitarian work including the Visionaries Award bestowed by the Africa Society and the coveted Democracy Service Medal given by the National Endowment for Democracy.

Donald Payne reported he was undergoing “colon cancer treatment” last month. After falling “gravely ill” in March he was flown from Washington D.C. to a hospital in New Jersey were he perished.

He represented the 10th district of New Jersey and was elected to a 12th term in 2010. He was a widower and is survived through his three children and four grandchildren.

LifeLock stands by Rush Limbaugh

Shady past promotes shady future

Rush Limbaugh is losing sponsors left and right after the right-wing conservative called Sandra Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute on his radio show. The security company LifeLock has decided to remain on the outspoken side of Rush Limbaugh.

The company committed to “relentlessly protecting the identities” of its members was pressured by media sources to comment on the Rush Limbaugh situation, telling the Huffington Post, “At this time, we are not making any changes to our advertising program.”

Yesterday Carbonite, GoToMeeting and AOL pulled all of their advertisements from the Rush Limbaugh radio show due to his comments. GoToMeeting issued what could be called a politically correct statement, “We have listened to our customers & have decided to cease our advertising on The Rush Limbaugh Show immediately.”

The surprising statement came when David Friend, the CEO of Carbonite, issued his own personal statement in a company blog, “No one with daughters the age of Sandra Fluke, and I have two, could possibly abide the insult and abuse heaped upon this courageous and well-intentioned young lady. Mr. Limbaugh, with his highly personal attacks on Miss Fluke, overstepped any reasonable bounds of decency. Even though Mr. Limbaugh has now issued an apology, we have nonetheless decided to withdraw our advertising from his show. We hope that our action, along with the other advertisers who have already withdrawn their ads, will ultimately contribute to a more civilized public discourse.”

LifeLock stands by Limbaugh and this is not the first time the company has been in the media for questionable acts. After making promises to compensate costumers who were victims of identity fraud, the company was hit with a huge fine. In 2010 Wired Magazine reported that the Federal Trade Commission, “claims were bogus and accused Lifelock, based in Arizona, of operating a scam and con operation. The commission announced, along with 35 state attorneys general, that it had levied a fine of $12 million against the company for deceptive business practices and for failing to secure sensitive customer data.” Not to mention the arrest and jailing of LifeLock founder Robert Maynard, according to Phoenix New York times, for $16,000 in unpaid Casino markers at the Mirage in Vegas.