Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013
A Philadelphia first-grader, Zora Ball, has become the youngest-ever person to develop a mobile game app. Ball attends the Harambee Institute of Science and Technology Charter School, which is becoming renowned for training young, successful computer programmers and designers, including Ball’s old brother. More from The Philadelphia Tribune:
Ball has become the youngest individual to create a full version of a mobile application video game, which she unveiled last month in the University of Pennsylvania’s Bodek Lounge during the university’s “Bootstrap Expo.”
Seven-year-old Ball has also become a master of the Bootstrap programming language, and when asked, Ball was able to reconfigure her application on the fly using Bootstrap.
“We expect great things from Zora, as her older brother, Trace Ball, is a past STEM Scholar of the Year,” said Harambee Science Teacher Tariq Al-Nasir, who is also the founder of Harambee’s successful STEMnasium Learning Academy. “I am proud of all my students. Their dedication to this program is phenomenal, and they come to class every Saturday, including holiday breaks.”
Image: Smartphone, via Shutterstock
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Monday, January 21st, 2013
A star-studded concert event, featuring Katy Perry, Usher, and cast members from the show “Glee” took center stage as the presidential inauguration festivities kicked off this weekend, with First Lady Michelle Obama and the Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden hosting the “Kid’s Inaugural Concert” for the children of military families. More from The Hollywood Reporter:
Obama and Biden took the stage near the end, calling in groups of military kids on video chats broadcast on the big screens. The first lady in particular was earnest in her words, appealing to all ages.
“You see, when we said we wanted to host a concert to honor our military kids, let me tell you, everyone wanted to be here. Usher wanted to be here,” she said. “Katy Perry wanted to be here. Nick Cannon, the folks from ‘Glee,’ and all the other amazing performers — they wanted to be here, too. And let me tell you, they’re not here for me. They’re not here for Dr. Biden. They are here for all of you. Because they know the kind of sacrifices that you all make every single day.”
Image: Usher, via s_bukley / Shutterstock.com
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Thursday, January 17th, 2013
An 18-year-old man was arrested in Florida for filming himself giving strangers “wedgies” and filming the pranks for YouTube. From The Associated Press:
Bradenton Police arrested Charles Ross on Sunday. A police report says Ross likes to video pranks and is known for harassing and annoying people in Manatee County then putting the footage on YouTube, similar to a “Jackass”-style show.
One of his recent videos — of Ross kissing strangers — has gotten nearly 400,000 views.
Police say Ross grabbed people by the back of the pants and pulled them up, hard. Several victims said they were too embarrassed to press charges.
Image: Arrested man, via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, January 9th, 2013
Walt Disney World is revealing plans to launch a new way of experiencing its parks–an electronic bracelet encoded with credit card information and technology to enable guests to make purchases within the parks and be notified when they are at the front of the line for popular rides. But even though Disney says the “MyMagic+” initiative will make a Disney vacation far less complicated for its estimated 30 million annual visitors, the system is raising some eyebrows among those who are concern with the privacy issues inherent in any data collection and “customized” marketing. From The New York Times:
The initiative is part of a broader effort, estimated by analysts to cost between $800 million and $1 billion, to make visiting Disney parks less daunting and more amenable to modern consumer behavior. Disney is betting that happier guests will spend more money.
“If we can enhance the experience, more people will spend more of their leisure time with us,” said Thomas O. Staggs, chairman of Disney Parks and Resorts.
The ambitious plan moves Disney deeper into the hotly debated terrain of personal data collection. Like most major companies, Disney wants to have as much information about its customers’ preferences as it can get, so it can appeal to them more efficiently. The company already collects data to use in future sales campaigns, but parts of MyMagic+ will allow Disney for the first time to track guest behavior in minute detail.
Did you buy a balloon? What attractions did you ride and when? Did you shake Goofy’s hand, but snub Snow White? If you fully use MyMagic+, databases will be watching, allowing Disney to refine its offerings and customize its marketing messages.
Disney is aware of potential privacy concerns, especially regarding children. The plan, which comes as the federal government is trying to strengthen online privacy protections, could be troublesome for a company that some consumers worry is already too controlling.
Image via Marketplace.org
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Thursday, January 3rd, 2013
Aimee and Ashlee Nelson, 19-year-old identical twins from Akron, Ohio, welcomed the new year in remarkable fashion–by each giving birth to a baby within hours of the other on New Year’s Eve. From Cleveland’s FOX 8 News:
The twins say they were born just 15 seconds apart themselves, but learned about two days apart that they were both expecting.
Their due dates were five days apart in early January.
On Monday, the two sisters ended up at Summa Akron City Hospital.
Aimee, whose expected due date was January 6, got to the hospital at 3:30 a.m.
Ashlee, who was due on January 1, was still at home.
“My mom told me that she was here and when I got up to go to the bathroom, my water broke so I had to come in too,” said Ashlee.
At a little after noon, Aimee was the first to deliver, welcoming a 7lb, 2oz son named Donavyn Bratten into the world.
A little less than two hours later, it was Ashlee’s turn, giving birth to an 8lb, 12 oz girl named Aiden Dilts.
“We didn’t think it was going to be this close at all,” said Aimee, admitting that they hoped it would turn out this way.
“We tried getting induced together but they wouldn’t let us. That was like two weeks ago, but it happened anyway,” added Aimee.
“We’re best friends,” said Ashlee of herself and her sister, who adds “Now our babies are going to be best friends.”
Image: Two pregnant bellies, via Shutterstock
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