Thursday, September 30, 2010

Titanic Sinks: By Mistake?

Did you hear that the sinking of the Titanic could have been avoided?

Yup. After years and years of watching Jack and Rose never letting go, a new book comes out telling us what we have been watching is WRONG. (They actually could have lived happily ever after.)

Louise Patten is the granddaughter of Commander Charles Lightoller, the second officer onboard of the Titanic. She is releasing a book (published Sept 23, 2010) entitled Good as Gold, where she not only writes the story of a wealthy banker who escaped the Titanic's sinking, she reveals a family secret she once vowed to never break.

The story as we know it:

The Titanic crew saw the iceberg, tried to turn to miss it, & failed. The berg ruptured too many compartments, the ship stopped moving and the ship sunk.

The story as Lady Patten reveals:

The Titanic crew saw the iceberg, tried to turn and miss it BUT THE GUY BEHIND THE WHEEL TURNED IT THE WRONG WAY, hit the berg, kept on sailing, which caused the ship to fill up with water more quickly and the ship sunk.

Here's the scoop. Charles Lightoller's plan was to go down with the ship, seeing as he was the second officer. He was pulled under but then shot to the surface by an underwater explosion. Afterwards, he was asked by U.S and British investigative panels about the sinking, but he told them he had no idea why it sank. Didn't zip his lips tight enough, and his wife spilled the beans after he died.

The steersman on the ship got the commands mixed up. During the time of the Titanic's voyage, ships were going through the transition of steering with tillers (if you move it to the right, you go left, and vice versa) while sailing, to the new system on steamships where you turn the wheel in the direction you want to go.

However, Bruce Ismay (chairman of the White Star Line) actually was the ignorant man he is portrayed to be in the movie. After the ship hit the berg, he persuaded the captain to keep on going because it was unsinkable. 

This theory of the mix-up with steering mechanisms isn't new, it's just now being semi-confirmed.

Now, just to reminisce: 

Now ya heard, spread the word.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Do You Want Fries With That?

Did you hear about the Happy Meal Project?

Artist Sally Davies began a part art, part food experiment in search of finding out what will happen to her happy meal sized burger and fries after sitting untouched in her house. 172 days later, it has turned into waiting to see WHEN it will start to change. Pictures from the comparison of day 1 and day 137 show almost no difference in the appearance of the burger.

Picture from LA Times
As if Supersize Me wasn't enough.

Davies started this experiment on April 10, 2010 and the project is still ongoing.

Apparently, this isn't the first time that people have tested fast food burgers for science purposes. One lady has kept a burger for TWELVE years and still looks the same.


It's no surprise that McDonalds' food is bad for you. High in fat and salt, it's not on the top of your daily recommended food list. Gross but true, 50% of the 250 calories in one container of french fries is fat. According to Washington State University professor Barry Swanson, anything that is high in fat will be low in moisture. Low moisture on a surface means mold can't grow, which means the food can't decay. If you're into this stuff, more explanation at Salon.

You might want to think about adding the extra 5 minutes in the kitchen making a PB&J over the quick stop in the drive-thru.

Sally Davies Flickr

McDonald's spokeswoman Danya Proud said on Wednesday, "This is nothing more than an outlandish claim and is completely false."


Noteworthy Headlines/Articles:

REFINERY29: "Why we're scared of Happy Meals"
GRUBSTREET: "McDonald's Hamburgers: Almost Entirely Indestructible"
LA TIMES: "Blame the Fat"
SALON: "The secret to the Immortality of McDonald's Food"
NBC: "Half-life of a Happy Meal?"
THE STAR: "Davies realizes her Happy Meal Project may be hard to swallow"

Now ya heard, spread the word.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Did you hear about the celebrity auction called Twitchange?

Yes, all you with BieberFever, it's official. You can get him to notice you! ...If you win him through bidding. Eva Longoria is running the first ever Twitter celebrity charity auction to raise money for an orphanage in Haiti.

Shaun King, an Atlanta minister and activist, has a charity called A Home in Haiti, and his current project is to rebuild The Miriam Center using the money raised by Twitchange. The Miriam Center houses and educates Haitian children with cerebral palsy, severe autism, and other major life challenges. It's the only facility of its kind in Haiti. Since the earthquake, the Miriam Center is extremely overcrowded, but A Home In Haiti has provided over $1.5 million in tents to homeless Haitians. Twitchange is phase 2 of the project, aiming to rebuild The Miriam Center. If you go to their website, you can look at picture galleries of the construction in action, the tents that have been sent so far, some of the children that live in the Miriam center and follow the journey of a purchased tent.

...And I thought it was cool that tells you where you planted a tree.

So, what are you bidding for? A DATE with Justin? Not exactly. Since this is an auction based on Twitter, you are bidding to win a celebrity to follow you or mention you. You can bid on either a mention, a follow a retweet, or the package, which includes all three.

Celebs are also throwing in their own prize packages to motivate auctioneers. For example, Shaquille O'Neal (@the_real_shaq) is throwing in Celtics home opener tickets and 4 jerseys for his winner. The woman of the hour (@EvaLongoria), WILL CALL YOU, and is throwing in a signed Desperate Housewives totebag, a signed script from all the ladies of Desperate Housewives, a personalized signed picture, a Desperate Housewives canteen, an extra tweet AND will personally match the winner of her auction. Star Trek's @LevarBurton will come to your house if you win his mega auction.

For all of you up with Twitter lingo, Twitchange was no longer allowed to be on the trending topic list because it would have been a trending topic for TWO WEEKS. Eva Longoria has been marketing this like crazy and basically every celebrity that I follow on twitter has been updating about this nonstop. It's a great cause, and an awesome (& more realistic than dreaming) chance to meet your celeb hero!!

Bidding began on September 15, 2010 (this past Wednesday) and ends on September 25, 2010 (one week from today!)

So far, 735 people have donated $85,020 directly to A Home in Haiti...ontop of the auction. Within the first two days of bidding, Twichange raised over $139,145. A few of what the celebs are going for as of right now (only 4 days in):

  • Demi Lovato (Mega package) 114 bids, $1,725.00
  • Ryan Seacrest (Mega package) 23 bids, $1,525.00
  • Kim Kardashian (FOLLOW) 32 bids, $1,525.00
  • Dana White (Mega package) 83 bids, $15,000.000 <--?!?!?!?!
  • Jessica Alba (mega package) 53 bids, $3,075.00
There are also way cheaper ones, ie: Austin Nichols (Julian, One Tree Hill) can ReTweet you for only $4.25. But the mega packages and follow options are literally where the money is at. That's where the celebs are throwing in their extra deals.

Feel free to go to the official Twitchange website and check out other bids for yourself. The website also has a list of all the celebrities you can bid on. Right now, there are 337 different people/levels of prizes you can bid on.

Happy bidding!

Now ya heard, spread the word.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Storm Shuts Down Queens; Tornado Warning Issued

Did you hear about the severe storm that hit Queens today?

The city was struck by a serious storm but the National Weather Service has yet to classify it as a tornado. Regardless, there was a tornado warning until 6 PM tonight for the city, and the storm had pretty serious aftereffects. According to the New York Times, there were winds up to 80 miles per hour and one person was killed when a tree fell on her car. As of 8 PM tonight, 25,138 power outages were reported in Queens. Staten Island, Brooklyn and the Bronx were also hit.

Debris is scattered everywhere in the city, including on train tracks. If you're from the area and are interested, the L line, M train and 7 train have temporarily stopped running, and the Long Island Rail Road service has limited service. For more train schedules or delays check out the MTA website.

One of the most shocking things to see in the photo galleries across websites are the images of blocks of concrete that were ripped out of the sidewalks.
Click to enlarge
The side of a house

See more pictures at

Also heard today:

...2012 is COMING.

Now ya heard; spread the word.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Just Call Me Rachael Ray: Recipe #1

This week's adventure in the kitchen was:
Parmesan Crusted Chicken Breasts with Tomato and Basil and Potatoes with Peppers and Onions

Onions make me cry
On the recipe, it says this is a 30 minute meal: prep time 15 mins and cook time 12 mins. Unfortunately, I wasn't kidding when I said I can't cook, and the prep time turned into approx 2 hours. It involved running across the Sunchase Apartment complex looking for a cookie sheet (If you saw a girl with sweatpants, a T-shirt and flip flops sprinting across the streets with a cookie sheet...Hi! I'm your neighbor), igniting my stovetop on fire (literally, FLAMES), and sobbing from chopping the onions.

A messy process
My mom's advice to me whenever we were in the kitchen growing up was to clean up as you go along. Clearly, as you can tell by this picture, I listened to her.

Besides the extreme delay in feeding my roommates and judges, I got all positive feedback! The meal was delicious, and I highly recommend it. My advice to myself for next week's meal is to actually read the recipe in advance, so I know what to expect. You learn something new everyday, right?

In case you are wondering how much this meal costs, I have my handy dandy Walmart receipt: (P.S, I doubled this recipe, so if you're cooking for 4 people, like it regularly says, divide this by half)

Ingredients/Price at Walmart:

1 1/2 to 2 pounds finerling potatoes or red skin baby potatoes: 3 1/2-4 lbs= $3.48
2 small red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips: 2 at 1 for $1.68= $3.36
1 Italian mild green pepper, cubanelle, seeded and thinly sliced: 2 at 1 for $.74= $1.48
1 medium yellow skinned onion, thinly sliced: 1.58 lbs @ 1 lb/$1.78= $2.81
4 large cloves garlic, cracked away from skin: 1 box of garlic= $.68
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes: 1 bottle= $2.98
1/4 cup tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided: 1 bottle= $4.88
Coarse salt and pepper: $.93
(1 bottle coarse pepper= $2.08
2 cups shredded Parmesan, available in tubs near deli-make sure to get shredded cheese, not grated: ($1.96/bag) x4 (I only used 3) $7.84
4 (6-8 ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts: 8 breasts=$15.00 
4 plum Roma tomatoes or small, vine ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped: 2.59 lb at 1 lb/$1.98= $5.13
15-20 leaves fresh basil, pile leaves, roll then thinly slice-chiffonade: $2.28/container= $4.56


(side note: a lot of this was stuff you might already have in your kitchen, like salt & pepper, olive oil, red pepper flakes, etc)

Here is a picture of the finished product!
Meal #1! Complete with a flamed-upon stovetop

Compare it to Rachael Ray's picture on her website here and let me know what you think! (The actual directions for the recipe are also on this link.)

Now ya heard, spread the word.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hate It Or Love It, The Underdog's On Top

Did you hear that JAMES MADISON UNIVERSITY beat VIRGINIA TECH in football yesterday?

You probably already have, but I would just like to reiterate it because I am that proud of my school.

I went to the game in Blacksburg, VA, and my friends and I decided on the drive over that we would be extremely happy if we even got a touchdown against Tech. I mean, Tech is (was?) ranked 13th in the nation, and even though we are a D1 school...we are D1-AA. It doesn't even compare; the game was supposed to be a blowout.

Luckily, we scouted tickets for seats around Tech alumni/parents/families (and directly behind the JMU sideline.) Apparently, sitting in the student section involved getting harassed if you were wearing the color purple. Karma's a bitch, Tech.

I am not into sports enough to give you the highlights and technical details one by one, but here is a link to ESPN's video of the highlights, (which were twice as exciting to see in person, mostly due to shock), and if you're really interested, a link to the stats of the game courtesy of The Washington Post.

Final score: 21-16: ESPN GAME HIGHLIGHTS (youtube)

Some noteworthy comments, articles and headlines about the game:

  • "Congratulations to Virginia Tech for winning the 'disappointment of the year' award..Here I thought the Hokies were going to take their frustrations out on JMU but apparently Virginia Tech forgot they actually had to play the game."
  • "Yes, it really happened. What was even more stunning is that it wasn't a fluke. There were no strange bounces of the ball, there were no questionable calls by the officials, there was no luck involved. The dukes just flat-out-whipped them." -CSN Washington
  • "Congratulations to James Madison, I'll tip my cap to them. I'll tip my cap to their fans, that traveled in droves and were seated throughout Lane Stadium today. I'll tip my cap to their coaching, their players, their will to win. Because today, all of their trumped all of ours. On this day, the better team won. I don't necessarily believe that they are better than Tech. But, I absolutely believe that they were today. That's all that matters. Rain is no excuse either, because obviously, JMU hung onto the ball." 
  • "J-M-Upset! Coming into the game, JMU's head coach Mickey Matthews said the idea of beating Virginia Tech was 'comical.'"
  • Virginia Tech paid James Madison's football team $425,000 to play a game at Lane Stadium on Saturday. But the Dukes left town with much more than cash."
  • "James Madison's best work since the Federalist Papers." -ESPN
  • No joke: No. 13 Va. Tech falls to James Madison." -NBC Sports
Look at this album on Facebook by JMU Dukes/Athletics. The pictures are awesome!!
AMAZING pictures from Tech Game!

I just have one question: Drew Duzdik...will you marry me?

Now ya heard, spread the word.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Rock n Rollover?

Did you hear about the man who died at the Dodge Rock 'N' Roll 1/2 Marathon at Virginia Beach?

Sure, you might have just generally heard about the Rock 'N' Roll annual half marathon at the beach this past holiday weekend. If you couldn't tell by my Facebook, I ran it with friends from school. But for the SECOND year in a row, the race has claimed a life.

According to NBC12, the 27-year-old male Sean McCarthy finished the race (13.1 miles), and then headed over to the medical tent. He was taken to Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. His cause of death has not yet been determined. He was on one of the marathon training teams, and was placed in the "intermediate cobalt group." Translation: before he even started that training program, he could run 20-25 miles a week.

Last year, 23-year-old Erik Wellumson was running the same race and collapsed on the boardwalk near 8th street. He too, was in good shape and was pronounced dead at the hospital.  Medical examiners reported he died from an acute cardiac collapse.

A 50-year-old runner also died during the 2005 Rock 'N' Roll 1/2 Marathon, making the count 3 runners in the past 5 years.

For all of you revamping your New Year's Resolution lists, again, and making it a goal to achieve something such as a half marathon, don't forget about these runners! It scared me beyond belief to find out the same race that I participated in on Sunday was the cause of death for another person. If you're feeling overworked doing anything with your body, think of my blog, and stop. Now.

When running this past weekend, the last 3 miles seemed to take the entire 2 hours. All I knew for sure is that no part of me ever desires to run a full marathon. I'm guessing that about 95% of people reading this agree. The rest of you, well, you're overachievers.

Read more:
NBC12 Article
LINK757 Article

Now ya heard. Spread the word.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The FIRST post

For the next three months, this blog will mostly be directed towards all temporary residents of Harrisonburg, VA...aka the JMU student body. Hopefully at the end of this semester and my SMAD 322 class, I'll have enjoyed blogging enough to continue in London. But that's getting ahead of myself. Rewind to now: Here's what to expect/my plan for this whole shin-ding as of right this second:

I'm going to gossip to all of you! Not about who hates who today, or who wore the same outfit as someone else to class, but about headlines you might've missed, organizations that do awesome things and events you probably overlooked that I deem important and significant enough for you to know. Hence the, "Did you hear?", portion of this blog.

I also just moved off campus and into an apartment this year. To my surprise, I cannot cook anything beyond pasta and chicken nuggets. So, once a week I'll be testing out Rachael Ray's 30 minute meals and giving you your very own, live Julie & Julia story. Look for the weekly special in entries labeled, "Rach[a]el Ray and Rachel Ra[mse]y"...celebrity judges are my 2 five-star chef roommates...who you will meet later.

This blog is basically a huge broad spectrum of everything. Come here when you get bored of Facebook, Twitter, or TFLN...or trying to do homework.

Now ya heard. Spread the word.