Tag Archives: Enterprise Organization News Coverage

El Chapo’s Infamous Prison Break

News of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s escape has exploded across North America. The notorious drug lord is credited as one of the most dangerous men of our time. Leader of Sinaloa Cartel, Guzman is considered the “most powerful drug trafficker in the world” by the United States Department of Treasury in 2014. He has also been listed as one of the most powerful men in the world and one of the richest men in Mexico with a net worth of $1 billion in 2011. El Chapo’s influence is so wide spread that in 2013, the Chicago Crime Commission named him “Public Enemy Number One”, even though there was no evidence of El Chapo in Chicago. The last person to have created such an extensive criminal record and criminal notoriety was Al Capone from the 1930s. Hunted by law enforcement agencies across the world, such as the Mexican PGR, US DEA, Interpol, and various other agencies, El Chapo was arrested in 2014 for the second time. His first arrest was in 1993 and he was placed in a maximum-security prison. Even during his time in prison, Guzman’s drug empire continued to operate successfully. While in jail, his associates brought him suitcases full of cash to bribe prison workers and to allow El Chapo to maintain an opulent lifestyle. However, on January 19, 2001, with the aide of bribed guards, El Chapo made his escape. A  guard opened his electronically operated cell door and Guzman hid in a laundry cart, which a maintenance worker rolled out of the prison. Once outside, Guzman was transported in the trunk of a car to a gas station, from where Guzman made his escape on foot. This escape plan seems to have come right out of an action movie and it is even more surprising that El Chapo was able to execute it successfully. This just goes to show the extent of one man’s power and influence. El Chapo was on the run for several years but was caught again recently in 2014, but he didn’t stay there very long.

El-Chapo-Arrest-Could-Incite-Violence-e1393177487876

Last week on July 11th, 2015, El Chapo escaped once again from a maximum-security prison. His escape and more importantly, how he escaped shocked the world. Guzman escaped through a tunnel dug in his cell’s shower. What’s more surprising is that the hole was placed such that the camera could not see him climbing down into the tunnel. The next part of his escape route, the tunnel, was even more incredible. The tunnel lead from the prison facility to a house construction nearly a mile away. The entire tunnel was dug through with proper equipment, a ventilation system, and installed lighting. In addition, oxygen tanks were found in the tunnel along with a motorcycle to take El Chapo across the tunnel quickly. The extensiveness of the tunnel and the coordination needed to make it possible have led many to call this tunnel a “feat of engineering”. If anything, this demonstrates the vast resources at Guzman’s disposal. Now several federal entities have begun the manhunt for El Chapo. Here’s the coverage of El Chapo’s escape route, covered by CNN. Sources:

“Joaquín Guzmán.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 17 July 2015. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joaqu%C3%ADn_Guzm%C3%A1n&gt;.
“Seven Are Charged in ‘El Chapo’ Escape – CNN.com.” CNN. Cable News Network, n.d. Web. 17 July 2015. <http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/17/americas/mexico-el-chapo-escape/&gt;.
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India’s MOM becomes first to make a successful maiden voyage to Mars

On Tuesday, September 24, 2014, a mere few hours ago, India became the first nation in the world to launch a successful maiden voyage to Mars as their MOM (Mars Orbiter Mission), or Mangalyaan, Hindi for Mars-craft, entered a successful orbit announced ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization.

A few weeks before MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, MOM had blasted off from Earth at the India’s Satish Dhawan Space Center in November 2013. Maven entered the Mars orbit just this last Sunday. The crew of the Maven sent a celebratory tweet to the crew of MOM just after they successfully entered orbit. Amazingly, India has accomplished their feat of sending MOM into Mars orbit at a cost of $74 million, a number that is dwarfed even by the making of the film Gravity (budget 100 million). To compare, Maven;s price tag is set at around  $671 million.

MOM (right) next to Maven. Photo taken form Maven's congratulatory Tweet
MOM (right) next to Maven. Photo taken form Maven’s congratulatory Tweet

The two missions both share a goal of unearthing answers to the scientific questions that are brought up with Mars. As they calibrate their positions over the next few weeks to prepare for scientific observations, Maven is set to examine the Red Planet’s upper atmosphere as MOM prepares to monitor the planet’s climate and weather, and photograph the surface and map the planet’s mineral composition.

See Mangalyaan/MOM’s journey to the Mars orbit here!

“Through your achievement, you have honored our forefathers, and inspired our future generations,” said Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, to the mission team. “We Indians are a proud people. Despite our many limitations, we aspire for the best. The success of our space program is a shining symbol of what we are capable of as a nation,” Modi stated in his speech after the live feed of the mission successful orbital entry.

The historic step established India as one of the technological powers of the world that everyone may have overlooked. Previously regarded as having the fifth largest space program, they may even jump to number 3 in the lists.

Questions? Doubts? Suggestions? Please comment below. I will respond!

The Stock Market is Coming Back

The stock market always has it’s ups and downs; but, for those who are bullish in the stock market, or those investing for the economy, it’s been a good couple of days. The S&P 500 has reached a record $2003 in the past 2 trading days and it seems like America is recovering from a slow couple of months.

What is the S&P 500 and What is its Significance?

The Standard & Poor 500, also known as the S&P 500, is a stock index that uses the top 500 companies in the United States and averages them out into one index that reflects the condition of America’s economy. Indexes like this include the Dow Jones Industrial Average, an index that combines the top 30 “blue-chip” stocks in the US, and the NASDAQ, an electronic stock market that works around the US. As displayed in the charts below, the indexes seem to be in good shape and that just means that America is doing well. 

Capture

The chart above presents the state of the top 3 indexes since June 26th, 2014 until August 26th, 2014. The indexes have shown consistent improvement with the S&P 500 jumping almost 2.5% since June 26th, the NASDAQ improving 5%, and the Dow Jones rising about 2%. All in all, this chart shows that investors are becoming confident about the United States once again and that companies are working harder than ever to boost sales and profits. Analysts state that companies are putting a lot of money into mergers like the Apple and Beats Headphones merger and the Burger King and Tim Hortons merger which is enticing investors to believe in these companies and invest in them. New data revealed in August points to strong economic growth, a strong earnings season, and low interest rates, which has brought more and more people to invest in America once again.

The stock market currently seems like it’s having a bullish season but will it continue to grow or is a recession looming in our future? In the scheme of things, bearish investors, or those investing against the economy, know that prices fluctuate and that companies will continue to work but there is always a drop that comes around every now and then. With the advancement of the economy now, the fact still remains that America is under trillions of dollars of debt and that America is also having trouble maintaining foreign relations. The question still remains but let’s enjoy it while we can.

Bibliography

“August blues? No way. Best Aug. for stocks since 2000.” Americas Markets. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Aug. 2014. <http://americasmarkets.usatoday.com/2014/08/26/august-blues-no-way-best-aug-for-stocks-since-2000/&gt;.
 
“Dow Jones Industrial Average.” DJIA Index Chart – INDU Stock Quotes – INDEX: DJI. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Aug. 2014. <http://www.marketwatch.com/investing/index/DJIA&gt;.
 
“S&P clears the 2,000 mark, reaches uncharted territory.” – MarketWatch. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Aug. 2014. <http://www.marketwatch.com/story/sp-clears-the-2000-mark-reaches-uncharted-territory-2014-08-26-111034930?page=1&gt;.

The Fleeting World of News

Do you remember the invasion of Ukraine? How about the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines’ Flight 370? Both events occurred a few months ago and aren’t being covered by any major news networks anymore. However, neither of these issues is even close to being resolved.

Most news networks fall into one of two categories: they either advocate beliefs and ideas of a certain political party, or they delve far too deep into unimportant details. Let’s focus on the second type because they at least try to inform the public of current events. Take CNN, for example. For the past week, the network has been covering solely the situations in Iraq and Ferguson. It invites contentious experts to discuss often irrelevant details, in a manner as churlish as the protesters themselves. Thus, the discussions reach no substantial conclusion, yet they are repeated multiple times.

But why should we care at all? The answer lies in the purpose of journalism, which is to empower the audience to make more educated decisions about their own lives, communities, and the world around them. Within the time span that networks have, they should allocate at least a fraction on covering unsolved issues of the past, because problems aren’t ephemeral, and neither are their solutions. In fact, issues of the past – the nation’s debt, gun laws, the invasion of Ukraine – will always come back swinging. It’s about time we asked ourselves,  was news created to instigate actions towards problems concerning the world, or to watch the world burn?

The Ferguson Riots

For the past week, Ferguson, Missouri has experienced riots, looting, and violence which has been sparked by the shooting of Michael Brown, a teenager who was shot and killed by a police officer on August 9th, 2014. The circumstances of the shooting have been disputed but after 3 autopsies were performed on his body, the results have suggested that Michael Brown was surrendering before he was shot and killed. This event has caused major unrest in the town of Ferguson and ever since the shooting, events are becoming worse. 

Violence Sparks in Ferguson

On the evening after the shooting, a candlelight vigil was held in honor of Michael Brown in the area where he was killed. Protesters against the shooting recited that they wanted justice for Michael Brown and that the police officer, who’s identity was unknown, should be arrested. They chanted, “No justice, no peace” demanding for the officer to be apprehended and brought to justice. The officer was put out of the spotlight and police began to interrupt the protests that were slowly developing into riots.

Groups assemble to protest the shooting.

By August 10th, everything began to take a turn for the worse. That evening, social media sites were flooded with new information from protesters that rioting and looting had begun. The officers attempted to subdue the violence to no avail and the violence only got worse. The next day, violence continued and officials changed their attitude on the events that were taking place. The chief of St. Louis County Police asked for peace and to restore proper decorum to the town. Meanwhile, the FBI opened a civil rights case to figure out what really happened on the night of August 9th and the police tried its best to stop the protests. With no other option, officers began to use tear gas to disperse the crowd. When matters became worse, 31 people were arrested and 2 people were shot as police tried to calm down and disperse the crowd. The police used tear gas, rubber bullets, and arrested people with plastic handcuffs.

Police attempt to calm down protesters.

By the 13th of August, it seemed like the riots would never stop as protesters began to take extreme measures by throwing Molotov cocktails and shooting at police. More arrests were made including members of the press such as Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post and Ryan J. Reilly of the Huffington Post. Amid all the violence, Mr. Obama received word of the tensions mounting in Ferguson, Missouri. The President released a statement which criticized law enforcement for using excessive force and for letting things become worse than they should be. As protests continued and matters became worse, the official autopsy was released which stated that Michael Brown was shot 6 times and the results suggested that he was surrendering before he was killed. Instead of bringing peace, the news flared more violence in the streets of the town. The protests have not stopped as of the 19th and the National Guard has been called in to stop the citizens from revolting.

A Worsening State of Affairs

As riots continue, Ferguson turns into a state of turmoil with no way out. Local businesses are affected by the violence, children are affected by going to school, and the city is becoming what it should never be. Until when will this chaos continue? The time has come for Ferguson to become the city it once was and for Michael Brown to get the justice he deserves. As we all watch the events unfold on our TV and computer screens, we can only hope for the best for those who are stuck in the middle of the chaos in Ferguson, Missouri.

Police in riot gear prepare for the violence heading their way.

Bibliography

Davey, Monica, John Eligon, and Alan Blinder. “National Guard Troops Fail to Quell Unrest in Ferguson.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 19 Aug. 2014. Web. 19 Aug. 2014. <http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/20/us/ferguson-missouri-protests.html?_r=0&gt;.
 
“Ferguson, Missouri police clash again with protesters.” CBSNews. CBS Interactive, n.d. Web. 19 Aug. 2014. <http://www.cbsnews.com/news/tiny-minority-of-lawbreakers-blamed-for-latest-trouble-at-ferguson-missouri-protests/&gt;.
 
“The Shooting of a Missouri Teenager.”The New York Times. The New York Times, 11 Aug. 2014. Web. 18 Aug. 2014. <http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/08/12/us/13police-shooting-of-black-teenager-michael-brown.html&gt;.

First Woman to Win Math’s Most Prestigious Medal

As humans, we have always seemed to aspire for greatness. Competition seems to be apart of our nature. People compete with each other to create innovative products, inspire new ideas, and change the world. We have made it our custom to reward those individuals that contribute more to our very diverse human culture. These rewards include many awards, such as the Nobel Prize, the Person of the Year (Time Magazine), the Templeton Prize, etc. One such award is the Fields Medal. 

http://www.buzzreactor.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/picture/images/articles/fields_medal_back.jpg

The Field Medal is considered the Nobel Prize of Math. It is a great honor for its receipiants. In the prize’s 78 years, 2014 is the first in which a woman won. The honorary woman who received the Fields Medal this year is Maryam Mirzakhani.

Maryam Mirzakhani
http://readwrite.com/2014/08/18/fields-medal-woman-maryam-mirzakhani

Mirzakhani is a mathematics professor at Stanford University. When asked about how she feels about the award, she responded “I will be happy if it encourages young female scientists and mathematicians. I am sure there will be many more women winning this kind of award in coming years.” This brings up the popular topic of women in math and science. Schools often don’t encourage women into science or math careers. Many engineering fields are predominately male, yet this is fundamentally a fallacy. Diversity in any work field is necessary to promote creative ideas and execute them quickly. This is a noticeable flaw in math and science careers today, in which many new ideas take a very lengthy time to publish.

Back to Mirzakhani. Mirzakhani grew up in Tehran, Iran. Believe it or not but Mirzakhani wasn’t also interested in mathematics. As a kid, she was an avid reader and dreamed of becoming a writer. That all changed when she went to high school. There she discovered her love for solving math problems and proofs, describing them as “solving a puzzle or connecting the dots in a detective case”. 

Mirzakhani continued her new found interest at the Sharif University of Technology in Iran, where she studied mathematics as an undergraduate. Later she began her doctorate at Harvard University under the mentorship of Curtis McMullen, anotehr Fields Medal recipient. 

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/15/Curtis_T._McMullen.jpg

Today, Mirzakhani’s math specialty lies purely in mathematics. This involves abstract math concepts and has implications for physics theories. Her work that earned her the Fields Medal focuses on understanding the symmetry of curved surfaces (i.e. spheres).

 As of now, Mirzakhani is 37 years old and lives in the Bay Area with her husband and her 3 year old daughter. 

Sources:

http://readwrite.com/2014/08/18/fields-medal-woman-maryam-mirzakhani

Ice Bucket Challenge Raises over $15 Million!

If you are following social media recently, you may have heard of the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) or commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The challenge goes as the following: either dump a bucket of ice water over yourself or donate a sum of money to the ALS Association (usually $100 or whatever you can afford). Then, you nominate three other friends and they must do the same within 24/48/72 hours. This challenge according to Google Trends hit off towards the end of July. Today, participants of the challenge are world wide and include ordinary people like us and big celebrities too (i.e. Lady Gaga, Chris Pratt, Oprah, Mark Zuckerburg, Bill Gates, Jimmy Fallon, Oprah Winfrey, etc.) 

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http://money.cnn.com/2014/08/18/technology/social/als-ice-bucket-challenge/

Over the month (roughly) that this has been going on, a total of $15.9 million was raised, which is up from $1.8 million during the same time period last year. So as far as results go, the challenge is a success. Funding for a cure for ALS has dramatically increased and more people are aware of ALS –  but are they really?

Many people may know that a disease ALS exists and that its also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, but does everyone know what ALS does to an individual? ALS is a “progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.” (ALSA.org). Over time, victims lose controls of their muscles and eventually face death.  

What is so deadly about ALS is not only its impact on an individual, but also that fact that their is little victims can do. Currently there is no cure or treatment that halts or reverses ALS. To further add, the cause of ALS is not completely understood. 

However, there may be hope. According to the ALS Association, “there is one FDA approved drug, riluzole, that modestly slows that progress of ALS”. Could this be the answer we have been looking for? Or at least a start for a string of medications that will lead to a cure. 

http://cbs1019litefm.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/celebrity-ice-bucket-challenge.png?w=620&h=346&crop=1

Now, there are many critics of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Some say that the challenge is just an internet hype that isn’t educating the public about ALS. Even worse, the challenge may just make people associate ALS with an amusing challenge to do with friends and make videos of, rather than associating ALS with a condition that needs pressing attention. 

Others, however, counter this by staying regardless of it the public understands ALS completely or not, there is funding. These people say that the general public won’t be able to contribute towards a treatment for ALS other than providing funding. The world’s leading scientists would then use the funding to come up with a solution. In other words, it does’t matter is ordinary citizens understand the disease completely, as long as they donate. 

http://www.alsa.org/about-als/2013-aam/assets/images/logo-als-campaign-2013.jpg

Regardless of what side you are on (if you are actively involved in the debate), the fact that the internet was able to raise so much money in such little time is amazing. Perhaps this challenge gives us hope that the world can work together on any task in harmony to achieve a common goal. Who knows? Maybe this is just over speculation, or maybe its not? What you choose to believe is your opinion. Overall though, we are all together in hopes of eliminating amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Sources:

http://time.com/3136507/als-ice-bucket-challenge-started/

http://money.cnn.com/2014/08/18/technology/social/als-ice-bucket-challenge/

http://www.alsa.org/about-als/what-is-als.html

Do You Trust Your Brain?

As amazing and versatile our brains are, they’re not perfect. Although our brains interpret objects generally well, there are a few moments where it makes a false interpretation. A prime example of our brains making mistakes is through the use of optical illusions.

What is an optical illusion?

An optical illusion is a series of colors, lights, and patterns meticulously placed in a way to deceive our brains. For instance, let’s say there is an image of a stagnant bird. If the image uses the right colors and patterns, our brains may interpret the bird as moving, even though the bird is sitting still. The brain creates a perception (“the interpretation of what we take in through our eyes“) that is different from the true image.

Think your brain is perfect? I’m going to place you in a scenario for each of the following images.

Try to solve each case- don’t be surprised if your brain fools you!

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Scenario 1: You are an undercover cop. There have been news reports of a murderous saxophone player on the loose. One night, you notice a person lurking in the dark. At first, you believe it’s an innocent woman. After examining the person a bit more, you realize that it may also be the saxophone player! Do you charge at the person and arrest him/her?

1-9

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Scenario 2: You are saving money for the new iPhone, which is going to be released in the coming weeks. However, you only saved up $51. Luckily, a friend tells you that he will give you $10 for every black dot you locate. How many black dots can you count?

1-1

Plot twist: All of the dots are white!

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Scenario 3: After a long day at school, you come home to find your pet rabbit missing from its cage! You look all over town and after countless hours of searching, you finally find it sitting next to the pond. Wait a second… is that animal your pet rabbit, or is it a duck?

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Scenario 4: You are the general of an elite army. After thousands of people applied to join your forces, you can’t decide between Larry, Henry and David. As a result, you decide to pick whichever troop is the tallest. Which troop do you pick?

illus2

Plot Twist #2: They’re all the same height!

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Scenario 5: A giant temple is being built in the city of Rome. As manager of the project, you come to see the building’s progress. You wish to talk to the people on top of the building. However, you can’t decide: Who do you talk to?

image001

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Explanation

Evidently, our brains can have trouble interpreting objects in their unadulterated, true form. Most likely, you had a difficult time deciphering the cases shown above.

The image shown in Scenario 2 is called a scintillating grid illusion, which was discovered by E. Lingelbach in 1994 and was a modification of the Hermann Grid illusion. The reason why our brains interpret the white dots being black is explained by a theory called lateral inhibition, or “the capacity of an excited neuron to reduce the activity of its neighbors“. Essentially, the black squares trick our brains into thinking the white dots aren’t white.

Scenarios 4 & 5 cleverly use different perspectives, dimensions and depths to create a false interpretation of the image. In scenario 4, the room appears to be at an angle. Although all the troops are the same size, the artist positioned them in a way that makes it seem the one closest to the left is the shortest.

In scenario 5, the artist uses the environment to create an illusion of height (ex: the sky and the ground). The railings of the building can be interpreted as both facing towards and away from you. Combined with the positioning of the people, the image can be interpreted in two ways and as a result, there is no definitive answer.

In Scenarios 1 & 3, the artists ingeniously illustrate two beings into one. Similar to Scenario 5, there isn’t a correct answer to the illusion. Some will believe the image displays a woman/duck, while others will believe it is a saxophone player/ rabbit.

Here’s one last optical illusion (try to interpret the real image using the knowledge above):

rotsnake2

 Although it may seem like the circles are rotating, they’re actually still.

Ultimately, our brains can be fooled with the precise combination of colors, perspectives, depth, height, dimensions, etc. The next time you look at an apple, think to yourself: Is this apple actually red?

Sources:

http://kids.niehs.nih.gov/games/illusions/

http://www.optics4kids.org/home/content/illusions/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grid_illusion

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lateral_inhibition

http://www.michaelbach.de/ot/