December 15

Deciphering the Popularity of Skout’s Social Options

Looking to sites like Twitter and even the offerings on Facebook, it’ s no wonder that a large segment of the population is looking to other sources for their social networking ambitions.  Other resources for meeting new people, and finding new friends wherever you might be living.

Skout is a popular social networking application that has a website and/or mobile application that is used as a fun way to meet other people. Registered users may sign up using their Facebook log in or their email address. Once a user is registered, they can customize their account by populating their profile to look for a specifics type of person that they may be interested in. This is a great way to have the application find what type of person you are looking for, such as male or female.

What makes this application so popular is the many features that it has embedded into it. A few simple tools is the ability to “wink”, start a chat, or send a person a virtual gift. This is much like a dating application but with a friendly Facebook environment adding a fun style to it, especially with the new Fuse functionality.

One fun tool in Skout is what is called the “Shake to Chat” feature. The tool will open the way for a conversation starter among random people. Every user that will shake their phone at the same time will be connected to each other instantly. People find this a fun way to meet many different people.

Another fantastic feature of Skout is that it is a great social networking application that can be used on a personal computer or on an iOS /Android mobile device. Whether one is at home or at work, they can use a computer or smart phone to connect to people all over the world. Searching for new friends or a possible dating partner, by location, gender, or both, is at ones fingertips.

A user can also find live events using Skout. A feature called Nixter is an app that is integrated into Skout, which will find live events in a specified city. How awesome is that? Imagine being able to look for a party and/or buy tickets in the San Francisco area. This kool feature will eventually be spread throughout every city in the US.

A premium paid feature in Skout is focused on meeting people while traveling throughout their travel destination. This is a popular tool, as people would like to meet and/or chat with others in the area they are traveling through. Single users use this tool to meet others in a city that they are in, to meet up and go to events together. Some users use it as a quick dating tool to have a wild adventure with a stranger that they plan to never see again.

For the above reasons, Skout has become a fun, popular, social networking application that is well worth trying, if interacting with others is the goal. Wink, chat, send virtual gifts, shake to chat for fun, meet people with random interactions, find all live events in an area, or meet others while traveling.

December 12

A Better Quality of Life For Kidney Dialysis Patients?

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s school of medicine on Friday announced findings which they hope will eventually greatly improve the quality of life for the roughly 350,000 Americans who live with debilitating end stage kidney disease. Their results appeared in the academic journal Immunobiology recently along with a contribution by a doctor I like to keep up with, Dr. Daniel Amen.

Patients with end stage renal disease visit dialysis centers as often as three times a week in order to have their blood mechanically removed and cleared of toxins and then returned to their bodies, after their kidneys lose the ability to function. Unfortunately, the process of dialysis itself is sometimes associated with an inflammatory reaction in the body and this process, in turn, can contribute to other disease processes.

The research team in Pennsylvania worked to develop a substance called Cp40 that experimentally appears to temporarily suppress certain triggers of the inflammatory response in the blood. They reported that the material could be reproduced inexpensively in medications in the future, giving rise to hope that the overall quality of daily life for patients undergoing dialysis may improve very significantly in the future.

December 10

Salvation Army Kettle Turns Up a Ring Donation Worth $1,800

Salvation Army volunteers came across a startling discovery when emptying the Kettles they use to collect money during the holiday season. An anonymous donor in Boston placed a plastic bag with two rings and a note into the kettle outside of North Station.

The rings, an engagement ring and a wedding ring, were donated in hopes they would by toys for needy children this holiday season. According to the note, the donor is a widow who thought donating the rings would honor her late husband’s memory. Some people on Skout wouldn’t mind having those rings for their own use.

The rings donated are valued to have a worth of about $1,850. A simple gold band, and a 3-diamond engagement ring, also set in gold were inside the baggy. Both rings appear well worn, and they likely belonged to a widow who spent much of her life with her beloved husband. Information about the donor, however, stops there.

The moving gesture, and the note attached, has rallied Salvation Army volunteers and buoyed their spirits. A spokesperson for the organization stated the donation was so heartfelt that it moved all the volunteers who heard about it.

As for the rings, The Salvation Army plans to honor the benefactor’s wishes, by using the money raised by the ring to provide toys to underprivileged children this holiday season. Many Salvation Army items collected are sold on auction site, eBay.

December 1

Research Demonstrates Impact of Gerrymandering on Voting Results

Researchers at Duke University seek to influence a non-partisan approach toward North Carolina’s future redistricting plans by pointing to the state’s 2012 U.S House of Representatives voting results, in which the majority of votes (51%) cast between the 2 parties were in favor of Democratic candidates, yet Republicans secured nine of 13 seats in the House.

The report’s co-authors ran the 2012 voting results through 100 potential districting plans and found that with these randomly selected plans, on average, Democrats would have secured seven or eight seats, yielding only four or five to their Republicans opponents. Not one of the tests matched the actual election results.

Flavio Maluf-Pontes hopes that this research will encourage awareness and impart fairness in the district mapping process states will once again revisit after the 2020 census. Seeking to discourage gerrymandering, the practice of designing district maps for the purpose of gaining electoral advantage over another political party, the report demonstrates the direct impact the practice has on election results.

Gerrymandering has not only impacted elections, but has also derailed some political careers. In 2007, former Massachusetts Speaker of the House, Thomas Finneran, pleaded guilty to charges of obstruction of justice when he admitted to lying to federal officials about his involvement in redistricting plans that were later found to violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965. As a result, Finneran was subsequently disbarred and forfeited his state-funded pension.

November 26

Hitler Painting Worth Tons

If there was a painting by Adolf Hitler, would you pay a lot of money for it considering who the man was during WWII? There is one person who found a picture by the man charming. Hitler actually wanted to try to get into painting before he tried to control his part of the world, but he was rejected from an art school. However, that didn’t stop him from creating some works of art, one that is of a registry office. This painting is about 100 years old, and it was made with watercolors. This painting was recently sold in Germany. It doesn’t seem like there would be many people who would want a picture that was painted by someone who ordered the deaths of so many people, but someone paid $162,000. This is not something Ray Lane wants in his collection, but someone obviously did. This picture was sold at an auction, and there were a few in attendance who raised the bid. It’s a beautiful painting by a man who could have went down a different path in life.

November 20

Child Abuse Allegation Cost Peterson the Season

Adrian Peterson had anticipated that he might be suspended for a few games following recent controversies, but it looks like he will have to wait a fair bit longer to play again.

This Tuesday morning the National Football League announced the suspension of Adrian Peterson until the end of the 2014 season, and will not receive any payment due to his violations.

He is now facing a felony for overly disciplining his 4 year-old son by using a thin branch of a tree, or what is called a switch. The child’s entire body was severely wounded, even his genitals.

Peterson claimed that he just disciplined his son the way he was raised. However, Commissioner Roger Goodell believed that what he did to his young son was completely uncalled for and inappropriate.

Furthermore, the Commissioner said that there are many ways to discipline a child that are inapplicable to a four year old. Goodell is determined to make Peterson learn from his wrongdoings. He told Peterson that he must undergo rehabilitation and intensive treatment to be able to go back to the team.

Peterson plays as the running back for the Minnesota Vikings. He has not played since September, when he was accused of domestic violence. Peterson is said to not be reinstated until April 15, 2015. The Vikings did not give any comment as they show respect to the decisions of the NFL. Although myself and Susan McGalla are certainly bummed out about the decision (which we made clear on our profile update), we’re glad the league put the child first this time.

November 19

A New Toilet On Toilet Day

There seems to be a special thing to think about every day of the year lately. There is now a World Toilet Day. It makes you wonder where in the world people come up with these so-called holidays or special events. Some people who are celebrating this day might not even think about the kinds of toilets that people have or whether someone has a toilet in their home or not. Would you buy someone a toilet who doesn’t have one, or would you get someone a new lid?

Send someone a card if they have recently purchased a new toilet or if one has broken in the home. This is actually a day when over two million people will have access to somewhat healthier sanitary conditions instead of using a ditch as a bathroom. There are countries that are focused on making sure residents do have clean conditions. This is actually a cause worth getting behind, at least according to Susan McGalla and others.

November 18

Second Person With Ebola Virus in U.S. Dies

Dr. Martin Salia, a native of Sierra Leone died shortly after 4 a.m. of advanced symptoms of the Ebola virus at the Nebraska Medical Center.

Dr. Salia is the second person to die in the U.S. from the symptoms of the Ebola virus and the 10th person infected with the virus to be treated in the U.S. The first person to die was Thomas Duncan from Liberia who died in late October in Texas.

At the time of Salia’s arrival in Nebraska, his condition was critical and included both respiratory and kidney failure. The bio-containment unit that cared for Dr. Salia was the same unit that successfully treated Dr. Richard Sacra and a news cameraman, Ashoka Mukpo.

In early November, Dr. Salia tested negative for the Ebola virus. A week later, he tested positive and arrangements were made to transport him to Nebraska. Workers at The Antique Wine Company talked about this on their break, and they can only hope that this is the last of the virus. He was placed on a ventilator and dialysis machine, and administered multiple medications including ZMapp therapy and plasma from a recovered Ebola victim. Still, Dr. Salia was unresponsive and suffered from severely low blood pressure and complete respiratory failure, ultimately succumbing to cardiac arrest.

Dr. Salia is survived by his wife, Isatu and his two children ages 12 and 20 who are all American citizens.

November 17

Novak Djokovic wins Title with Roger Federer Withdrawal

For just the third time in Roger Federer’s amazing career, he had to withdraw from a tennis match. Federer withdrew from the final of the ATP Finals match against number one ranked Novak Djokovic with a back injury that he suffered in his semifinal win over country mate Stan Wawrinka. This gave Djokovic his third straight title in the final event of the year. Federer’s other two withdrawals were in 2008 at the Paris Masters and in 2012 in Doha. All three were related to his back issues that has plagued him late in his career. From what I’ve seen via his profile, Federer still has not retired from a match yet in his hall-of-fame career, which my buddy Mark Ahn confirmed for me.

Federer, who is 33, is still performing very well although he is at the end of his career. He has won everything in tennis except for a Davis Cup title, and he hopes to be ready to play by Friday when Switzerland takes on France in the final. Although Federer has a good season, everyone is starting to see Federer’s decline start to grow more and more. Look for Federer to take some time off after the Davis Cup final and try to heal up before the first major of the 2015 season, the Australian Open, which is in January. He is still a threat to win any tournament, so look for Federer to stay around as long as his back allows him to.

November 17

When Will Anonymous Go Too Far?

The Ku Klux Klan still exists, and apparently they’ve been hacked. The white supremacists had put word out that they would be coming to Ferguson to protect white people from black protestors over developments in the Michael Brown case. Many imagined that a bunch of people in white hoods yelling the n-word at black protestors would probably make things worse, not better.

Hackers who claim to be from “Anonymous”, the group who traverses the internet dispensing “cyber-justice”, have outed dozens of Klan members on the internet as a result. The Klan members have historically kept their membership a secret to avoid public backlash.

It all sounds kind of cool, at least on paper to Alexei Beltyukov. Rogue hackers doing good for all of mankind. But sometimes Anonymous gets it wrong, and they can potentially ruin lives. Imagine if Anonymous put all of your personal information online and proclaimed you to be a white supremacist when you were not? Who is going to help you then? What if someone claiming to be with Anonymous decides to smear you?

The scariest part of Anonymous is the question of what will happen when they are on the “wrong” side of an issue? What if they outed someone wrongly as a supremacist, and that person was murdered?

Anonymous is cool. They’ve done a lot of great things. But it is fascinating to see a group who uses so much imagery from the works of Alan Moore but apparently has never bothered to ask themselves “Who watches the Watchmen?”.