Archive for the ‘Current event’ Category

Rural Doctors Needed: The Road to Becoming a Doctor

August 3, 2011

The University of Kansas, in Kansas City, hopes that young doctors will be more willing to practice in small towns if they go to school in a rural area.  Eight students will be taking classes on a satellite campus in Salina, Kansas.  The university decided to take a distance learning approach in response to the shortage of rural doctors in the United States.  The idea is to show these students that life can be good outside of the big city and practice can still be stimulating as well.

The University of Kansas has taken a distance learning approach in response to the shortage of rural doctors in the United States.  What does it take to become a doctor?Becoming a doctor is a long and difficult process, with many years devoted to schooling.  Here is a summary of what it takes to become a doctor:

  1. Volunteer or work in a medical setting.
  2. Excel in high school. (Great grades and show responsibility.)
  3. Commit to your goal.
  4. Graduate from a four-year college or university.
  5. Take the Medical College Admission Test, or MCAT.
  6. Complete medical school.
  7. Enter your residency training period.  This is typically three years long and begins in July after you graduate from medical school.

I certainly hope I did not scare you away from you or your child’s dream of becoming a doctor.  On the contrary, I hope that knowing the road ahead will motivate you and your child to plan out what needs to be done so that you can create a bright future for you or your child in the field of medicine.

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Taylor P.

William and Kate’s Visit to North America

July 13, 2011

Over a span of twelve days, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge went on a trip through Canada and California.  The couple began their trip in Canada on July 1, just in time for Canada Day.  They traveled through most of the country, visiting pastry kitchens, rode in canoes, played hockey, and even planted trees.  A week later, on July 8, the couple arrived in Los Angeles.  They had a meeting with Hollywood studio executives as well as with some of Hollywood’s celebrities, went up the coast of California, and made sculptures with schoolchildren in Downtown Los Angeles.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge toured North America, beginning with Canada during the country's national holiday, Canada Day, and ending in Southern California.The famous royal couple showed that they were up to do anything over the weekend.  They were even patient when greeting fans.  The trip highlighted a number of philanthropic works, such as an event to support Tusk USA, an organization that raises funds for African wildlife, Inner-City Arts, a program that helps disadvantaged and homeless children through art, and an event for military veterans where they put together care packages.  The trip was a good time for the international icons.  At the end of the busy weekend, William and Kate opted not to fly home on a private jet.  Instead, they flew home from Los Angeles to London on a commercial flight with British Airways.  However, they did fly first class, but they were amongst civilian travelers.

William and Kate on the first day of their visit to Canada:

William and Kate on their visit to California:

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Taylor P.

ICANN’s Big Change

June 22, 2011

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) recently approved a change in their rules for domains.  They are allowing new domain names to be launched next year.  The changes will allow up to 1,000 new web domains.  The application fee alone is $185,000, with an annual fee of $25,000.  With these new domains, the existing regime with be greatly expanded in creativity but, with the high costs, gradually.

With ICANN easing rules on domain names, the sky's the limit--as long as you can afford it.The changes will be limited to websites with these domains: .com, .net, and .org.  However, they are expected to let companies register unique website names or better protect their existing brands.  Nonprofit groups could reserve the .school domain and hand out addresses to every elementary school.  Cities could consolidate their websites to .nyc or .losangeles.  And interest groups could stake out their own corner of the Web: .car for auto enthusiasts, .law for attorneys, and .food for restaurants.  This is a big, albeit expensive, change for the Internet, but it looks as if things will go smoothly.  Companies can now have fun, creative web domains!

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Taylor P.

Changes to California’s 529 college savings plan: What to expect

June 15, 2011

The 529 plan, implemented in 1996, it is an education savings plan operated by a state or educational institution formatted to help families set aside funds for future college costs.  Fidelity Investments, the mutual fund giant that has administered California’s 529 plan since 2006, has dropped out of the running to keep managing it, and a state board has met on Monday to pick a new firm.  With a new firm comes new changes leading to the 529 plan’s revamping.

With mutual fund giant, Fidelity Investment, out of the running for managing California's 529 college-savings plan, the newest firm to administer the plan for California is expected to provide more investment options than was previously available.The state board responsible for California’s ScholarShare Plan sought bids from outside providers in March.  Fidelity, which manages 529 plans in four other states, did not bid. “Fidelity made a strategic business decision not to bid,” said Vin Loporchio, a company spokesman.  “We just made a decision that our best strategy is to focus our efforts in California.”  California’s 529 plan has been considered pretty average in comparison to other plans.  With the new changes, California is hoping that not only will the modified 529 plan help with college funds but also go above and beyond the previous plan to achieve more.

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Joie Montoya

$150 Million Donation to USC Medical School is Keck Foundation’s Largest Ever

June 15, 2011

The University of Southern California (USC) received a $150 million donation from the Keck Foundation for its medical programs.  This donation is set out to help scientific and clinical research at the university’s medical school and its two hospitals.  USC received a donation of $110 million for its medical programs 11 years ago, also from the Keck Foundation.

The $150-million donation to USC's medical school by the Keck Foundation comes after the $200-million donation to USC's College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences from alumnus David Dornsife in March and $110-million donation for undergraduate financial aid by alumnus John Mork in April.With the donations, USC hopes to improve the school’s medical research rank as well as add new faculty in the fields of stem cells, cancer, liver disease, and preventative health.  This is USC’s third donation since March 2011, even though the $150 million donation is the Keck Foundation’s largest donation it has given in its 57-year history.  USC will be attaching the Keck name to its medical school and the university hospital.

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Taylor P.

May Gray, June Gloom: Where is the Summer Sun?

June 13, 2011

I’m sure most of you who live in Southern California have heard of June Gloom as well as May Gray.  The former refers to the first couple weeks of June, where weather conditions interfere with summer plans made earlier in the month.  The gray clouds that cover the sun and coolness in the air have a name and it’s called June Gloom.  It seems pretty fitting considering, for some, it’s an unwelcome pause before the sunny, clear skies that we come to expect in the summer.  Others may like it because it’s a nice, cool break before the scorching heat that comes in the second half of June and July.  You may be asking yourself why exactly it is called June Gloom.

May Gray, June Gloom - whatever you want to call it - lingers around Southern California just before the sunny days of summer. How does the gloomy weather pattern work?The answer to this question is quite simple; June Gloom represents the weather that comes at the beginning of June.  Cloudy, cool, perhaps with a bit of humidity but it certainly contrasts with ordinary sunny weather, resulting in gloomy weather.  June Gloom (sometimes May Gray) is a Southern California term for the weather pattern that results in overcast skies with cool temperatures during the late spring and early summer in the mornings and afternoons.  For example, June is the cloudiest month of the year in San Diego.  In the early 20th century, this phenomenon was sometimes known as “high fog”.  So for everyone who lives in Southern California, enjoy the nice, cool break before the summer heat takes over!

The video, below, shows what June Gloom looks like high above the coast-hugging clouds from aboard a passenger jet just after takeoff at LAX:

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Joie Montoya

The 405 Freeway Closure: Alternate Routes You Can Take

June 8, 2011

Interstate 405, or I-405, will be closed July 16-17, 2011 for 53 hours, affecting ten miles of the 405 Freeway in the Westside of Los Angeles.  This freeway is heavily traveled and is bound to disrupt people’s travels, especially mid-summer.  The Metro is offering free subway rides during the 405 closure to help people get around the anticipated traffic build-up.

On July 16-17, 2011, a 10-mile section of the 405 freeway, which is one of the most congested highways in the U.S., will be closed for 53 hours. Here are some alternate routes you can take.The construction for the freeway widening and the partial demolition of the Mulholland Bridge (map | street view) over the freeway will cost $1.3 billion.  A northbound carpool lane will be added to the 405 Freeway between the 10 and 101 freeways, while the bridge will be widened and more resistant to seismic activity.  The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority says 500,000 vehicles travel the 405 on a typical mid-July weekend.  Officials are advising people to use the Metro Rail service to bypass the massive traffic pile up that is expected during the construction.  There will be alternate route solutions posted on the project’s website as well as a few suggestions below.

Google Maps: Section of 405 Freeway closure

Maps of alternate routes from San Fernando to the South Bay

Map of routes to the Westside

If you are flying into LAX on July 16 or 17 and headed to all points north or west, take the following route through Downtown Los Angeles.

  • Route (From the airport): South Sepulveda Blvd., I-105 E, I-110 N, I-5 N

From I-5 N:

If you are from Ventura, Santa Barbara, or San Luis Obispo and you are headed to LAX, take Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) from Oxnard and head east.

Before you head out in or around the Los Angeles area, go to the following website and watch traffic maps of the LA area in real time:

Sigalert.com

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Taylor P.

Hackers’ Next Victim: Nintendo

June 8, 2011

On Sunday, June 5, 2011, it was reported that Nintendo Co. had been hacked.  The security breach on their network was not as severe as the one on Sony’s PlayStation Network.  Hackers were not able to obtain any sensitive information, nor have the attacks caused any damage to internal systems that would inconvenience their customers in any way.  The latest attack has raised questions over who exactly is responsible for hacking these online servers.

Nintendo is the latest victim in a string of high-profile attacks on its servers and network, which should serve as a wake-up call for other companies to bolster security defenses on their own computer network.Unlike many security breaches which are done anonymously at the hands of obscure hackers, the group who took public responsibility for hacking Nintendo is called LulzSec.  LulzSec has claimed responsibility for hacking other websites, as well, including some of the Sony websites.  LulzSec stated on Twitter: “We’re not targeting Nintendo…we sincerely hope Nintendo plugs the gap.”  The group also confirmed Nintendo’s claims that no important customer data was lost in the breach, stating, “we [sic] just got a config file and made it clear that we didn’t mean any harm.  Nintendo had [sic] already fixed it anyway.”  The recent string of security system breaches serves as a wake-up call for other companies to bolster security defenses on their own computer network.

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Joie Montoya

Do consumers spend more for moms on Mother’s Day than dads on Father’s Day?

June 6, 2011

Naturally, we love both our parents equally, but when it comes to their special days of recognition, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, who are we spending more on?  Whether it is time or money, do moms and dads get equal attention or does one beat out the other?  In one of my previous blogs, I wrote about the differences between the way we celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.  Based on my research, I found that more time went into Mother’s Day, but does that also mean that more money was spent on mothers?  Many studies have been done to figure out the answers to these very questions.

Do we spend more on our moms for Mother's Day than our dads on Father's Day?In certain studies, many people gave testimonials based on how things work in their household.  For example, some said that they like to make Mother’s Day much more special because moms are the ones who have nurtured and cared for us since conception.  On the other hand, some argued that dads work just as hard to provide for the family.  To get to the bottom of this, these questions can be better answered by looking at the statistics.  In 2008, the projected consumer spending for Father’s Day was close to $9.9 billion, which happened to be $5.9 billion less than what we spent on our moms that year.  This year, consumers were expected to spend $16.3 billion on moms and did, in fact, surpass that expectation.  Will we surpass expectations and spend $11.1 billion on our dads this year?  We shall wait and see.

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Joie Montoya

Memorial Day Celebrations; Canoga Park’s Memorial Day Parade Returns

June 2, 2011

Memorial Day always takes place on the last Monday of May, which was May 30 of this year.  The holiday honors American men and women who died while serving in the military.  On Memorial Day Weekend, millions of people visited cemeteries and memorials honoring their war dead.  At national cemeteries, American flags were placed on each grave site.  At 3:00 p.m. local time, a national moment of remembrance took place while a bugler from the United States Army Band played a haunting rendition of “Taps“.

Americans celebrated Memorial Day, a national holiday honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military, with parades, festivals, and live entertainment. Most people see Memorial Day Weekend as the official start of summer, so there were plenty of things for you and your family to do in your local area, especially here in California.  Canoga Park’s Memorial Day Parade made a triumphant return this year after being cancelled last year due to the down economy.  The parade included military marching units, bands, floats, dignitaries, antique cars, classic cars, youth groups, flyovers by military aircraft, and equestrian units.  After the parade, there is a festival at Quimby Park with music, food and vendors.  In Garden Grove, the Garden Grove Strawberry Festival took place during the holiday weekend, where people were treated to carnival rides, pageants, a Strawberry Idol Karaoke Contest, a Red-Head Roundup Contest, a Berry Beautiful Baby Pageant, and a strawberry-themed parade on Saturday.  There are so many things you can do to celebrate Memorial Day.  If you did not want to go to a big public event, a nice BBQ would have kicked off the summer for you and your family or neighbors nicely!

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Taylor P.

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