Interesting person you’ve probably never heard of: Norweigan Rock Climber Rannveig Aamodt

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I’m too scared and too fat to do rock climbing, and I live in a region of the United States (Illinois) that is not exactly known for rock climbing.

However, I managed to stumble on this story about a rock climber from Norway who not only survived a 50-foot fall, but came back from massive injuries sustained in the fall and returned to climbing for a living. Her name is Rannveig Aamodt, and, if anyone can tell me how her name is supposed to be pronounced, that would be greatly appreciated.

In April of 2012, Aamodt climbs for several clothing and rock climbing equipment manufacturers and blogs about her climbing experiences, fell 50 feet while rock climbing in Turkey, suffering massive injuries to her feet, pelvis, arms, and back which nearly killed her. Aamodt spent months recovering from her injuries and rehabilitating, which she chronicled here (WARNING: Link contains graphic images).

Aamodt didn’t let her injuries define her. Instead, several months after her fall, she returned to rock climbing. Since her fall, Aamodt has climbed in her native Norway, the United States, and Thailand, among other countries, climbing some of the most difficult cliffs and mountains in the world.

If there’s anyone in the world who personifies the phrase “never give up”, it’s Rannveig Aamodt, and that’s why I consider her to be an interesting person.

Why I’m offering to acquire U-Verse from AT&T for $1

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Recently, telecommunications giant AT&T announced its intention to acquire satellite television giant DirecTV for tens of billions of dollars, although the deal has yet to be approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and me and many other people are opposed to this acquisition because there’s little competition in the telecommunications industry the way it is now, and, if AT&T were to eliminate its U-Verse fiber-optic television/internet/home phone service, that would result in even less competition in the pay television market in this country.

I am offering to acquire U-Verse from AT&T for a single dollar. I’m seriously offering to do this.

Fiber-optic communications, which can provide television, internet, home phone, and other telecommunications services via internet protocol at high speeds, are something that I’ve long viewed as the future of telecommunication in this country. However, AT&T hasn’t invested all that much into U-Verse, which uses fiber-optic technology. Currently, U-Verse is only available in parts of 22 states with a total reach of roughly 30 million customers, or about one-tenth of the total U.S. population. With AT&T’s intention to acquire satellite television service DirecTV, AT&T is probably not going to want to run two pay television services competing against each other despite being owned by the same parent company. As a result, I’m offering to buy U-Verse from AT&T for a single dollar. If I successfully acquire the company (which isn’t likely, to be honest with you), I will invest as much as I can into the company, expand U-Verse into new markets (including rural areas), pay U-Verse employees a living wage and benefits, improve fiber-optic technology, and develop and offer new services which utilize fiber-optic technology. Most importantly, I’m not the least bit afraid of competition.

CBS threatens to pull itself from broadcast television if Aereo wins U.S. Supreme Court case

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In case you missed it, Leslie Moonves, the CEO of CBS, has threatened to take the CBS television network, which broadcasts a national slate of programming over local television stations covering the vast majority of the United States, off of broadcast television and start broadcasting network programming via the internet (in broadcasting parlance, this is known as broadcasting “over the top”, or OTT for short) in the event that the major TV broadcasting networks lose their appeal, which is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court, to Aereo, a service which transmits network programming over the internet for a monthly subscription fee.

Since Aereo does not have any licenses from the networks or the copyright holders of the programming to record or transmit, the networks have sued Aereo for what they view as copyright infringement. A federal appeals court ruled in favor of Aereo, ruling that Aereo’s retransmission of network programming over the internet is not a “public performance”, however, the case has been appealed to the Supreme Court, which will issue a ruling this summer.

Anyways, here’s the details about Moonves threatening to pull CBS off the airwaves if Aereo wins:

CBS CEO Leslie Moonves continued to downplay the threat posed by Aereo — the Internet startup facing a showdown with broadcasters at the Supreme Court — while also suggesting the Eye could respond by making drastic changes to its biz by delivering its own “over-the-top” service.

“If Aereo should work — if they can win, which we don’t think they can — we can go OTT,” said Moonves, speaking Tuesday at Deutsche Bank’s Media, Internet and Telecom Conference.

Added Moonves, “If the government wants to give them permission to steal our signal, we will find another way to get them our content and get paid for it.”

It’s not clear that Moonves was suggesting CBS would discontinue over-the-air broadcasts, which would be enormously disruptive to its business. Asked for clarification, a CBS rep said “it’s an option but nothing that we’re planning on or want to do.”

But his statement raises the question: Why hasn’t CBS offered a full live Internet stream of its programming already, to head Aereo off at the pass? Moonves didn’t say so, but clearly the Eye believes the current industry structure — in which CBS gets paid by pay-TV distributors for carrying its signal — is more lucrative than a direct-to-consumer OTT service would be.

In any case, if CBS does introduce its own streaming-video service, it would likely have to renegotiate rights with multiple partners, including sports leagues like the NFL. In addition, an OTT service would dramatically reduce CBS’s leverage in extracting retransmission-consent fees from cable, satellite and telco TV operators.

If the Supremes rule in favor of Aereo (given that one of the five conservative justices on the SCOTUS bench, Samuel Alito, has recused himself from the case for reasons that I am not aware of, and, if I’m not mistaken, a 4-4 tie would go in favor of Aereo in this case, it wouldn’t be unthinkable for the Supremes to rule in favor of Aereo), and CBS goes through with its threat to pull itself off of network TV and go over the top, that would drastically alter the landscape of broadcasting in this country, to put it mildly.

WCIA-TV news coverage of Illinois Marathon is excessive and goes against standards of proper journalism

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Personally, I’m highly annoyed by the extensive coverage of the upcoming Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon on local newscasts on WCIA-TV, the CBS affiliate for much of Central and East Central Illinois.

Judging by how they’ve devoted large segments of virtually every one of their newscasts for the past month or so to mostly fluff pieces promoting the marathon, you’d think they’d televise the marathon itself. However, that’s not the case, in fact, the marathon itself is not televised on any television station.

Since a marathon is a sporting event in which public roads would have to be closed in order to allow the competitors to run 26.2 miles over public roads, local news outlets, such as WCIA, should stick to reporting about what roads would be closed to traffic due to being part of or near the marathon route, what security measures are being implemented at the event, and anything else that is in the public interest. Additionally, reporting about the marathon should be limited to the last couple of days before the event. Everything else, such as reports about how the University of Illinois Memorial Stadium’s jumbotron will be used during the marathon and other fluff pieces, is simply advertising for the marathon and not real journalism.

Sadly, this is only one example what happens when the mainstream media is more concerned about ratings than serving the public interest.

40 years ago today, one of the worst tornado outbreaks in history occurred

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The date was April 3, 1974. Four decades ago today, dozens of tornadoes, many of which were strong or violent, struck communities large and small in 13 U.S. States (Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and New York) and one Canadian province (Ontario) in what became known as the Super Outbreak.

Small towns like Brandenburg, Kentucky, Monticello, Indiana, and Guin, Alabama, small cities like Xenia, Ohio, and large cities like Louisville, Kentucky and Cincinnati, Ohio, among other communities, were hard hit by destructive tornadoes. 319 people were killed, and thousands of others were injured.

40 years ago, the warning system for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes was crude by today’s standards. Doppler radar with computerized displays were not available in 1974, and weather radar in those days consisted of a single-color reflectivity display, which made it very difficult to determine whether or not a thunderstorm was capable of producing tornadoes. Additionally, tornado sirens were only available in a few parts of the country in 1974, very few people used NOAA Weather Radios in those days, and weather warnings were issued by the National Weather Service via a teletype system. As a result, many of the tornadoes in the Super Outbreak struck with little or no warning.

In the past 40 years, the weather warning system in this country has been dramatically upgraded. Doppler radar has been in widespread use in the United States for the past two decades, tornado sirens are considerably more commonplace than they were four decades ago, weather warnings are sent out via a much quicker computerized system to TV stations/systems, radio stations, and the internet, and NOAA Weather Radios are more commonplace in the United States. The advanced severe weather warning system we have today in this country was developed and implemented because of the Super Outbreak that took place four decades ago.

Living with Asperger’s Syndrome can be very difficult

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At a very young age, I was diagnosed with a developmental disorder called Asperger’s Syndrome. While I usually don’t like to talk about it, I will say that living with Asperger’s Syndrome can be a challenge.

Let me tell you some of the traits that I have that are commonly associated with people with Asperger’s Syndrome. I can be very obsessive, often about people/subjects that few people care about. I often have extreme difficulty communicating with people, and I feel very uncomfortable being around other people. I tend to be physically clumsy. I rarely show emotion through body language, and I get tense, nervous, frustrated, angry, etc. very easily. When I get tense, nervous, frustrated, angry, etc., I tend to make odd facial expressions, hand movements, and sounds.

The fact that I have Asperger’s Syndrome is made worse by the fact that I do not take any medication for it due to the fact that I have no health insurance and neither I nor my parents can afford doctor visits and prescription medication. Few people are willing to hire me (in fact, I currently have no job), I dropped out of college due to the fact that I was unable to focus on coursework, I have no car or drivers’ license, and I still live with my parents despite the fact that I’m now 24 years old.

Since very few people know about the struggles that people like me face, I’d figure that I’d share the things that I, as someone with Asperger’s Syndrome, deal with on a daily basis.

Should the Olympics be held every two years instead of every four years?

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Currently, both the Summer and Winter Olympics are held every four years. The Summer Olympics are held in leap years, whereas the Winter Olympics are held in even-numbered non-leap years.

However, I support the idea of holding the Summer and Winter Olympics every two years, with the Summer Olympics being held in even-numbered years and the Winter Olympics being held in odd-numbered years.

It wouldn’t be unprecedented for there to be a two-year gap between a Summer Olympiad or a Winter Olympiad, although a regular two-year gap between Summer or Winter Olympiads would be unprecedented. In 1906, a Summer Olympiad now referred to as the Intercalated Games was held in Athens, Greece. However, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) no longer recognizes the Intercalated Games or medals that were awarded at the Intercalated Games as official. The Intercalated Games were held two years after the 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis and two years before the 1908 Summer Olympics in London. Between 1992 and 1994, there was a two-year gap between Winter Olympiads that were held in Albertville, France and Littlehammer, Norway, as the IOC transitioned from holding Winter Olympiads in leap years to holding Winter Olympiads in even-numbered non-leap years. Since 1994, the Winter Olympics have been held every four years in even-numbered non-leap years.

What do you think about the idea of holding the Summer and Winter Olympics every two years, with the Summer Games being held in even-numbered years and the Winter Games being held in odd-numbered years?

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