Posts Tagged ‘United States’

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:

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Taylor P.

Three Storms: The Perfect Storm?

April 21, 2011

Extreme weather has affected three states in as many regions of the United States.  In the East Coast, North Carolina was hit by a tornado, while Texas wildfires scorched the Southwest, and a cold snap in the Midwest caused snow to fall in Michigan.  The tornado in North Carolina killed twenty-two people and damaged or destroyed more than 800 homes.  Meanwhile, wildfires have scorched Texas for days, consuming over a million acres and making the situation critical in the Lone Star State.  So far, 110 homes have been destroyed and hundreds more could be threatened.  In Michigan, record-breaking snow fell this April, bringing about seven to nine inches of wet, heavy snow, which has bent trees, snapped power lines and shut down schools throughout the Wolverine State.

April 2011 has been marked by extreme weather. Tornadoes ravaged North Carolina and the southeastern United States. A springtime snowfall has covered Michigan and the Midwest. Wildfires have scorched Texas. Is the country in the eye of the perfect storm?Can the tornado, wildfire and snowfall be related to one storm?  I believe that these storms could be related.  The cold front from the north can send tornadoes ripping throughout other regions.  April 2011 is said to go down as a record month for tornadoes.  The heavy drought in Texas may be due to the same cold front headed towards the east instead of the south, resulting in the spread of wildfires throughout the state.  The best thing you can do to prepare for these natural disasters is to have safety kits in your house and an emergency plan.  Don’t forget to set aside food and water that will last for at least two weeks.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine


Taylor P.


8.9 Magnitude Earthquake & Tsunami Strike Japan

March 12, 2011

On Friday, March 11, 2011, an earthquake struck off the shore of Northern Japan with a magnitude 8.9.  This earthquake created a 23-foot tsunami, devastating the mostly rural area.  More than 50 aftershocks have occurred since the main quake, some being over magnitude 6.0.  Friday’s earthquake ranked as the fifth largest earthquake since 1900.  Hundreds upon thousands of people were left dead, injured, or missing.  People in Tokyo and the surrounding metropolis were left stranded because the rail network went offline immediately after the quake.  33 shelters have been set up in city hall, university campuses, and in government offices so far.  Evacuations were ordered for those closest to nuclear power plants, requiring people to move at least 2-3 miles away from the plant.  Although the plant was not leaking any radiation, it was still hot even after shutdown.

On March 11, 2011, a powerful 8.9-magnitude earthquake struck the coast of Northern Japan, triggering a 23-foot tsunami, devastating farmland and leveling infrastructure in its path.

Natori City, Japan. Photograph: Kyodo/Reuters

The entire Pacific Rim area was put on alert, but the waves were not as strong as expected in the state of Hawaii.  At around 9 AM EST, a 7-foot high tsunami hit the island of Maui, while neighboring islands Oahu and Kauai recorded waves at least 3 feet high.  Jordan Scott, spokesperson for the California Emergency Management Agency, said that it could take 10 to 12 hours for the effects of the earthquake to completely fade away.  Evacuations were made all along the California coast, including 6,000 people near the town of Santa Cruz.  Coastal residents continue to stay on watch for any possible emergencies.  People are encouraged to make any donations they can to an international relief fund supporting the victims of this disaster such as American Red Cross’s “Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami” disaster relief page on

The tsunami wave, as seen from the sea before making its way inland:

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Taylor P.

Skippy Peanut Butter Recall

March 9, 2011

This week Skippy Peanut Butter was recalled for being contaminated with salmonella, a bacterial infection known to cause illness or fatality in children, the elderly, or those with a weak immune system.  The contamination was discovered during a routine sampling of the product.  The products that are affected are:

  • Skippy Reduced Fat Creamy Peanut Butter Spread
  • Skippy Reduced Fat Super Chunk Peanut Butter Spread

Skippy Peanut Butter has recalled two of its products over salmonella contamination. If you live in one of 16 states in the United States and your jar of Skippy peanut butter's UPC code or best-if-used-by date match those listed in the recall, throw away the jar immediately.This recall is in sixteen different states in the United States, such as Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Thankfully, there have been no reported illnesses caused by the product.  However, if you live in a state affected by the recall and own one of the products recalled, you should check either the UPC code on the label or the date code stamped on the lid.  The following codes are what you should look for:

  • UPC codes 048001006812 or 048001006782
  • Best-if-used-by dates MAY1612LR1, MAY1712LR1, MAY1812LR1, MAY1912LR1, MAY2012LR1, or MAY2112LR1

Skippy advises costumers to throw away contaminated jars immediately and to call a toll free number for a replacement coupon.  The number is 1-800-453-3432.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Taylor P.

The Meaning Behind Presidents’ Day

February 21, 2011

As another Presidents’ Day draws near, let’s stop and think about the meaning behind this holiday.  Each person has a different perspective of it: for kids or teens, it’s a day off from school; for shoppers, it’s one more day of specials and sales at department stores.  However, these things aren’t the point of Presidents’ Day.  The point of the holiday is to recognize George Washington, one of the founding fathers and the first president of the United States, as well as Abraham Lincoln, the president who held the nation together during the American Civil War.

Before 1968, George Washington’s birthday was celebrated apart from Abraham Lincoln’s.  Washington’s birthday was on February 22 while Lincoln’s was celebrated on February 12.  Even though each of them deserves a special day of recognition, in 1968, the 90th Congress decided it wanted to make the federal holidays uniform so that they would fall on Mondays.  Thus, the original dates of each president’s birthday were changed.  However, some people feared that the identities of Washington and Lincoln would be lost considering the days set to commemorate their birthdays were not their actual birth dates.  Eventually, some states such as California, Idaho, Tennessee, and Texas decided to name the third Monday of February “Presidents’ Day”.  With a new title for the holiday, many now feel the holiday honors all United States presidents, not just Washington and Lincoln.  So however you decide to spend your Presidents’ Day, keep in mind the presidents you admire and recognize all the good they’ve done for our country.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Joie Montoya

The Public Launch of a “Private” Space Plane

April 23, 2010

Please retweet

The United States Air Force launches a spacecraft, but mission details and even its duration remain a mystery.

The evening of April 22 marked the launch of the United State Air Force’s spacecraft, the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, into space to test “a new batch of reusable technologies”, according to Gary Payton, deputy undersecretary of the Air Force space program.  Launched into space using an Atlas V rocket booster from Cape Canaveral in Florida, the test vehicle will undergo a demonstration mission.  Payton, however, would not go into further detail about the length of the mission or what exactly the demonstration will entail.  Following the mission’s end, the craft will land at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.  Following the renewed commitment of the government to the U.S. space program, we can expect more aerospace-related activity in the near future.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Francis M. Unson

Reality Check: The “Fast Lane” doesn’t exist

March 30, 2010

The United States does not "legally" have a fast lane, even though drivers may consider the carpool lane or traffic lanes not assigned a truck lane to be a fast lane.I have some bad news for the drivers of the United States, including myself: we don’t have “fast lane”.  The left lane of the freeway or highway is, in the minds of drivers, a fast lane if the state designates the rightmost lane a truck lane with a lower speed limit and, therefore, the “slow lane”.  Some drivers even consider the carpool, or high occupancy vehicle (HOV), lane as a fast lane because they can maintain a faster average speed on that lane, even in traffic.  Unfortunately, despite our relative speed to slower, trailer-pulling semi trucks or sole occupants in their vehicles, the idea of a fast lane is an illusion.  No jurisdiction in the United States assigns the leftmost lane of the highway a higher speed than the highway or city speed designated by the state.  In fact, the rightmost lane is usually assigned a slower speed limit for trucks.

Where does this misconception about the fast lane come from?  We must look to Germany, home of the autobahn.  Speed limits do apply on the autobahn in inclement weather or during construction.  Otherwise, speed limits do not apply in most places.  There are also no restrictions on overtaking.  Drivers must, as much as possible, use the right lane for general driving and use the lane on their left to pass other cars.  This suggests, then, that each lane is progressively faster when viewing highway traffic from the rightmost lane towards the left.  However, this also suggests that Germany, itself, doesn’t assign the leftmost lane as the fast lane.

Should we continue referring to the leftmost lane as the fast lane?  It’s certainly nice to think that, when traffic gets too heavy in the right lanes, we have the leftmost fast lane to retreat to and get away from it all.  However, what we consider faster moving traffic is our quicker relative speed to the slower traffic.  If we want to drive in that proverbial fast lane, we must move to Germany.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Francis M. Unson

Has anybody ever seen Niagara Falls frozen?

January 12, 2010

Please retweetI went to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls in October 2008, just after Maid of the Mist closed for the season.  I visited the falls twice: in the freezing night and the next morning when it was, well, also freezing.  The temperature above the Falls was very cold, but during Autumn visit, not yet cold enough to produce snowfall.  As I stared at the Falls, I wondered if it could get cold enough for the Falls to freeze and ice over.  In recent memory, the Falls have not turned to solid ice.

Or has it?  A photo in Snopes claims that the Falls became frozen solid in 1911.  I would like to know if Niagara Falls has, indeed, frozen over and if anybody has any photos of the Falls in this cold state.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Francis M. Unson