Blog : February 2011
Overheard on Duerson's last goal »


Comment of the day: "Mr. Duerson went out from his life running interference. He laughed at death by giving his death meaning."



What will happen to former NFL player's brain?


Often, we enjoy and support activities that have dangerous side effects. Football and tanning booths were in the spotlight today. Many commenters wrote to convey their sympathy and admiration for former NFL player David Duerson, who shot himself in the chest last week but requested that his brain be used for medical testing.


justinfo916 said, “How sad. This man was very brave to do what he did. I really hope that they find what they were looking for and his gift will further scientific knowledge.” Ladrikius said, “Once you are in that shape, very little can be done to help you. He probably knew this. I don't fault him a bit for the suicide. I do praise his bravery in saving his brain for study.” Nmgrrl said, “His death is a great loss, and I hope that finding some answers will provide some comfort to his family and friends.”


Some suggested that replacing modern hard football helmets with their softer predecessors might help players avoid injury. fishfry001 said, “It's time to go back to the original ‘soft’ leather helmets. This way players will not lead with their head when making tackles. All this brain trauma is mainly due to helmet-to-helmet contact. At least if you get those hard hats out of the game it can force players to be more protective of their noggins.”  Ryandote agreed. “Having played a little bit of D-2 college ball, I can confidently say your helmet makes your fearless.”


But, argued smc77, “helmets are considerably safer today than they were 30 years ago. The average player today plays considerably fewer years than they did 30 years ago.“ JAFOAgain said, “except that advances in helmet technology were probably negated by the increase in size and speed of player. It wasn’t common to have 230 lb guy running 4.5 40 yard dash 30 years ago.”


The discussion inevitably turned to whether football needed to be changed or even banned. snowboarderf wrote, “I love NFL but this kind of problem has got to be sorted. Hitting is part of the game but more and more players are getting such terrible brain injuries.” Wildeone said, “The NFL will be extinct or greatly changed in ten years. Eighteen Pittsburgh Steelers from the 1970s-1980s have died since 2000. These were men in their 40s and 50s.”


Cookieknits wondered, “If you had a young kid, and someone said to you, ‘Hey, we're going to take your son, twist his body in ways it was never meant to be twisted, slam him up against a moving object, and hit him on the head with a rubber mallet, but it's okay, because we will let him wear padding.’ Would you do it? Doubtful. But put it this way, ‘We want your son to go out for the football team,’ and no one objects. Something wrong there. And, are we all guilty for loving to watch pro football?”


Teens should be banned from tanning booths, doctors say


Meanwhile, the American Academy of Pediatrics called for laws banning minors from tanning parlors, saying the radiation was just too dangerous. Many commenters agreed.lotusleave said, “I tanned from age 24-27 once a month to keep a sunkissed glow. I stopped cold turkey after running into an aquaintance I hadn’t seen in years. She was a perfect blonde bombshell that looked a battered 35-year old. She still tanned 3-4 times a week.”


poupon said, “Untanned skin stays soft and smooth with even coloring for a lifetime. Tanned skin often looks dirty (it gets those smudges from dry patches) and holds up very poorly, even if you escape skin cancer.” RalfTheDog agreed: “A tan is nothing more than a side effect of radiation poisoning to your skin. While you are getting that nice glowing tan, perhaps you would like to munch out on some strontium 90.”


But others disagreed. AjaDiamond said, “I've been a sunbather most of my life, but always in moderation. I'm 60 years old and have great skin, barely a wrinkle and very soft and smooth. I am much more careful about the Sun now and am concerned about skin cancer.”


SuperJase said, “I am from Scotland and a tan is sign of wealth or it used to be. If you were tanned it showed you had money to holiday abroad but now it’s cheaper to travel abroad rather than stay in Scotland. Tans are out of fashion and it makes people look unnatural, not to mention the damage it does to your skin.” Ctim agreed, “It is accepted throughout the island. When I visit Britain everyone is pasty white and they all seem pretty okay about it, and a lot of them think it's more attractive.”


FireFly526 said, “This is not to start anything racial but African Americans think it’s hilarious that white people tan to get darker (just sayin)!”


European governments send rescue missions to Libyan desert


Many sent kudos to the UK and Germany for rescuing their citizens from the Libyan desert.  Kspace1 said, “Hats off to the British! They may serve their beer warm but they showed the world how it is done. In out quick and clean. Fantastic! God Save The Queen!   LarryRollins joined in: “Hats off the German Luftwaffe too (you don't get to say that often). This was a British-German joint mission; they work extremely well together. mintymint said, "Like a thief in the night! Wow! Libya's military must be extremely weak or they're gone over to the other side.”


There was a bit of back and forth about whether it was the proper thing to do. FMArouet said, “This might look as a humanitarian effort from the British Army, but one question: who gave the British the right to send planes to a country without authorization? Like it or not, Libya is still under Gaddafi's authority and they have not been authorized to send planes.” tinwatchman said, “So you think it's immoral for the British and Europeans to evacuate *their own citizens* out of Libya?”


DoubleW chimed in: “By that line of reasoning, I am not allowed to rescue a child from a vicious dog, because they are in somebody else' back yard? Screw that noise. When dealing with a criminal government, rescuing potential hostage victims takes precedence over diplomatic niceties.”


While they’re at it, suggested MikeV2011, the UK’s secret service “should take advantage of the chaos and arrest/abduct Abdelbeset al Megrahi (who was convicted of the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 but released two years ago by the Scots because he ‘had only 3 months to live’).”


Compiled by the moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

Posted by: leahpine // February 28, 2011
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CNN iReport Awards: Personal stories »

Personal stories make CNN iReport special.

iReporters often share painful, difficult and potentially embarrassing experiences with CNN because they want to help others who might be facing the same situations. It takes a lot of guts to open up to strangers – especially on the Internet, where people can be cruel.


That’s why we are so proud of all of the nominees in Personal Stories category of the CNN iReport Awards.


Nominee 1: My escape from Vietnam




Growing up in post-war Vietnam was a struggle for Faithe Chu, because she was born out of wedlock and her father was an American. Faithe wrote in her essay that she faced constant harassment and funny looks from her peers because she looked different and that her family had to move around a lot because the Vietnamese government didn’t look kindly on “Amerasian” children. Her mother dyed her hair black, burned her birth certificate and pretended she was adopted because of the shame. Faithe said she didn’t find out her mother was actually her biological mother until she was 18-years-old.


She eventually was able to come to the United States, but said it was difficult to fit in and that she felt like she didn’t belong anywhere. Faithe said she’s overcome that and has a great career, a wonderful family and is a proud American.


Nominee 2: My gay bullying experience




Ryan Basilio faced a lot of bullying as a child and it only got worse when he came out as a freshman in high school. He said other students threatened to beat him up and even rape him because of his sexual orientation. Ryan had a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, so when four guys cornered him in a bathroom, the fight ended much differently then they had expected.


He said the school administration wasn’t very supportive and that he almost got expelled for fighting. Ryan said he ended up going to the ACLU and the school board to demand that the school take action. He said he made this video because he wants other kids to know that they can stand up for themselves if they’re being bullied.


Nominee 3: My kids use the ‘N-word’




Trudy Stergiopoulos said she was torn when she heard her two oldest children using the ‘n-word.’ She wrote that she was raised to believe that the term was racist, derogatory and just wrong, but her kids and their friends – both black and white – don’t think it’s a big deal. Trudy said she’s come to accept that the word doesn’t have a negative meaning to her children and their friends.


Her story was controversial, to say the least. Trudy’s iReport sparked a passionate discussion about race and parenting.


Nominee 4: ‘I am not your joke’




Tara Elizabeth Grieb said she’s very lucky to be surrounded by loving family and friends, but that it still hurts when someone points or makes fun of her because she’s tall and has a deep voice and broad shoulders. She summed up her message in a hand written sign.


She said transgendered men and women are just like everyone else and should be treated with respect, not greeted with fear and ridicule.


Nominee 5: My coming out letter



Jeremy Johnson spent ten years in the U.S. Navy and said he hopes to return to the service once the ban on homosexuals serving openly in the military is lifted. Jeremy said he had a rich and rewarding career in the military and that he was proud of his service. He said the constant fear of being “outed” was a physical and mental strain and that serving in secret forced him to give up his integrity.


In 2007, Jeremy wrote an impassioned letter to his commanding officer explaining why he was coming out and requesting to be discharged from the Navy. He shared the letter with CNN iReport because he wanted to others to know what a difficult situation gays and lesbians face in the military.


We want to thank every iReporter, who has shared their personal story with the world. It is an honor that you trust us to handle your story with respect.


Please be sure to check out all of the nominees for the CNN iReport Awards and be sure to vote for the Community Choice Award. You can vote once a day until Monday, March 7. We will announce all of the winners on Tuesday, March 15 at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.

Posted by:
// February 28, 2011
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Overheard on Dying dolphins, falling eagles »


Comment of the day: "So Long and Thanks for All the Fish!"  --Iveeno


Deaths of baby dolphins worry scientists


Many readers wrote to share feelings and thoughts about Friday's news of the unusual number of deaths of members of two beloved species: bald eagles and bottlenose dolphins. "So sad," wrote lana. "With this and the article about the dead baby dolphins makes for a very unhappy Friday in the world of wild animals."


Readers argued over whether these were natural events or the result of human impact on the environment.  With regard to the dolphin deaths, most commenters blamed the oil spill. yellerdog said, "Gee, think the BP spill has anything to do with this? DUH. Poor sweet creatures." Winterowl said, "Cause remains a mystery"? This is just a guess, but I think BP's big oopsie is the answer to the 'mystery.' "


FxMercenary added, "It's not the oil, it's the dispersant they used." caroSatsuma agreed, "The dispersant is a huge part of the problem. It's been common knowledge that nobody knows what that stuff will do and if I'm remembering correctly, TPTB have refused to disclose what the dispersant is composed of. How scary (and telling!) is that?"


rockweed said, "This is terribly sad. Algal blooms could be to blame. Chemical poisoning seems highly suspect given the conditions of the past year. Whatever the cause I hope the truth comes out." en1ightened1 responded, "Algae blooms would also be affected by chemicals in the Gulf."


A few disagreed that the oil spill was at fault.  SC2Pilot asked, "Do you have any proof this was caused by the oil spill the government caused?" xVodKAx answered, "Drinking crude oil can be fatal."


bobthemoose wrote, "Did you know that as much petroleum leaks out into the oceans in two years as did in the entire recent BP spill in the Gulf? And over fifty percent of those natural seeps are right here in the Gulf of Mexico."


UpL8 said: "Millions of gallons of oil leach out of the ocean's floor every year. Nature can handle that. When a large amount is present quickly (as with oil spills), it has a lasting effect. These Bottle Nose calves are either sick and culling themselves or they have had to venture closer to shore for food. Either way, their deaths, and others, are telling of an ocean that is suffering."


HowlyBooyah added, "BP is not the only big oil company who has been drilling out there for decades. And Big Oil is only one of the culprits; Big Industry has been steadily poisoning this planet for years, so whatever caused those previous 'unusual mortality events' would've been man-made, too."


YankeeThundr said, "Tuna comes in oil ... and now apparently dolphins do too. I really hate BP and anyone who protects them."


Starving eagles fall from sky in Canada


Response was more balanced with regard to the eagles, with some pointing to the comeback of the species as good news.


RunForTheHills said, "It's not a sign of the times. This is natural. This is nature's way of maintaining equilibrium. When there's a glut of fish, the bird population will increase, eat more fish, and keep the fish population under control. When there is a glut of birds, they will eat too many of the fish, and the bird population will decrease from lack of food. This has been the way of things for hundreds of millions of years.


J responded, "Although that is true and may once have been true for these two species, you're talking about eagles and salmon - both of which have had their population dramatically depleted by human impact. These populations are not experiencing natural fluctuations. They are being wiped out."


SM wrote, "Google 'record salmon run' and you will find that all up the west coast last year there were record numbers nof salmon. The 'late fall' run was the only one low. Just another one of mother natures natural cycles."


JohnR agreed that pollution, overfishing, and environmental stress might be the cause but concluded, "On balance, however, eagle populations in general and bald eagle populations in particular have made a dramatic comeback and are one of the more impressive 'back from the brink' success stories. So SOME of the doom and gloom in the comments do seem more than a little over the top."


Not everyone cared that much, however, with the inevitable comeback.


ensue wrote, "So many of you sound so ignorant!!! Humans are what should be on earth! You cannot compare an animal to a human. I would much rather see a human race here than a eagle. Get rid of yourself if you think humans are so bad and the world will be better with just animals and cats. I would never find an animal more important than my child or any family. It's nature's way: they don't eat? Oh well, why don't you worry about all the starving children and adults in the world, not a damn eagle. Goofies!" perilous responded, "Shut up, you nitwit. It's people like you that ruin this planet for every other living thing on it. The idea that you have children terrifies me."


Bailoutsos concluded, "Time to leave earth before it becomes the ghetto of the Universe."


A microscopic look at hotel hygiene


Top comment: ""Add this to the list of things I'm better off not knowing about." --podbaydoors


You might think that an article warning of lack of hygiene in hotel rooms would elicit moans of disgust and fear from our readers. In fact, most took a no-nonsense view of the hazards of encountering other people's germs.


"Hope he didn't consider the germs he encountered in cab or on the subway getting to the hotel or he might lose it completely," wrote TooManyThngs.  "Big deal. Ditch the spread & shower. Use your own pillow with an allergenic cover. Keep your clothes in your bags & iron them before putting them on. Wash your hands. It's not rocket science people," ReallyJersey advised.


"We come in contact with all sorts of bacteria and bodily fluids all day long. Yeah it sounds gross when you think about it, but it's part of living. This is an absurd article from a guy with a germ phobia. It it isn't making you sick, don't worry about it," evines said.


"Places where people gather will ALWAYS have germs. Get over it," wrote eamryvan. "I see your bullet points and have to say that's bordering severe OCD," sacdaddy said. "You can make yourself nuts obsessing over this kind of stuff. Why not get yourself one of those haz/mat outfits?" suggested Guest.


"Are hotel rooms any worse than other places?" BillClint0n asked. "Living in a sterile cocoon is not a requisite to living. Would you hesitate to sleep in a friend or relative's guest room? I can assure you that it would not contain any less germs than the common hotel room." CurtX wondered "if people's own homes would pass the microscope test. I'm sure hotels are criticized for things that people's homes are even worse at." nursie said, "The microbiologist should check out college dorm rooms.That would really scare him."


Of course, a few did consider the benefits of sleeping elsewhere.


UCFKnightman wrote, "This is why I prefer camping. My own 'bed', fresh open air, and the only one to blame for hygiene issues is myself. Not to mention MUCH cheaper and MORE fun." WomenOnGuard agreed, "WOW, I'm just going to sleep in my car from now on if I go on a road trip!" SouthBeech said, "Durn. A tent in the wild sounds more than good right now even if it means an occasional rattlesnake."


Compiled by the moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

Posted by: leahpine // February 25, 2011
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Signs of uprising »

Technology may have played a major role in political protests from Egypt to Wisconsin, but good-old-fashioned paper signs remain a staple in the protest efforts. Although people around the world are protesting over different issues, they are expressing themselves in similar ways: With cardboard and markers.



iReporter Johnny Colt was in Amman, Jordan, documenting a large protest in support of the Egyptian people, when he spotted this little girl and her sign. The sign read in Arabic: "Stop the revolution, I want my Cartoon Network back." The girl’s father explained that because all the TV channels ware covering the unrest, his daughter couldn’t watch her cartoons.



In Isa Town, Bahrain, one iReporter attended a pro-government rally and spotted protestors carrying pictures of the country’s king, Bahrain’s King. "It was really awe inspiring and made me really proud," said Bahrainia, who asked not to be identified to protect her privacy.  At anti-government protests elsewhere in Bahrain, demonstrators echoed a common slogan: "We demand a trial not a dialogue. We demand the truth about the protestors who have been missing. People want to overthrow the regime."



In the United States, Wisconsin Governor, Scott Walker’s controversial budget bill apparently left a bad taste in one little boy’s mouth (if there was any doubt, iReporter Rachel Hanson added that the boy didn’t like broccoli.)


Plenty of others sided with Walker’s proposed budget cuts, including some Atlanta members of the Tea Party who carried signs reading "Gov. Walker U Rock" and "Wisconsin teachers need to learn how to spell broke" during a recent rally.


The messages from these three iReports may be totally different, but the creativity is similar.


If you spot protest signs that catch your attention, we’d love to see them. Share signs from the Middle East or North Africa here and the Midwest here.

Posted by:
// February 25, 2011
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CNN iReport Awards: Breaking news »

Breaking news is a vital part of CNN iReport's DNA . iReporters give important and unique perspectives because they see the news from the inside – as witnesses or even participants in the stories CNN covers.


The nominees in the breaking news category of the 2010 CNN iReport Awards are very different stories from different parts of the world, but they all have one thing in common – they put a face on a major news story.


Nominee 1: Early images of the Deepwater Horizon fire




The BP oil disaster was a huge ecological disaster that affected hundreds of miles of beaches along the U.S. Gulf Coast, but it started with an oil rig explosion about 50 miles off shore. Captain Michael Roberts shot video of the fire from a rescue boat, braving flames that were hot enough to peel the paint on his boat.


Nominee 2: Car bomb in Bogata




Alex Kahn was fast asleep when a car bomb exploded about 200 feet from his hotel. He woke to the sound of the explosion, broken glass and people screaming. Then, he grabbed his camera and started filming the scene. Kahn was in Bogata to teach a digital filmmaking workshop to poor Colombian children, but he considered going home to New Jersey after the bombing. Ultimately, Kahn decided to stay and is finishing up the movie they produced.


Nominee 3: Buried alive in Haiti




Michael Andrew is professional photographer, who was working with the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division and a Canadian naval unit in Haiti. He was the first to tell us about the rescue of a man who was pulled from the rubble of a building four weeks after the earthquake that devastated Port-au-prince in January, 2010.


Nominee 4: President Obama heckled on bus




Brent Arbaugh was disappointed that President Obama's Memorial Day speech at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, Illinois, was rained out. Arbaugh was waiting on a shuttle bus when the President hopped on board and spoke to the cheering passengers. It was a fun photo-op that turned into a national news story when a man on the bus started heckling and yelling that Obama should be impeached.


Nominee 5: Machu Pichu flooding in Peru




Wes Milken and Robyn Symon were filming a documentary in Machu Pichu, Peru, when heavy rains triggered a mudslide that stranded them at the base of the mountain. They ended up being evacuated by helicopter.


Congratulations to all of the nominees and thank you to every iReporter who has shared their stories with CNN iReport. You can check out all of the nominees on the CNN iReport Awards page and be sure to vote for the Community Choice Award .

You can vote once a day until March 7th. We'll announce all of the winners on March 15th as part of our coverage of the South by Southwest festival.

Posted by:
// February 25, 2011
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Spectators turn out for Discovery's last mission »

From the ground and the sky, iReporters all over Central Florida treated us to their views of Space shuttle Discovery's final liftoff -- one of the last for NASA's space shuttle program.


First-time shuttle viewer Brittany Dupuis, 21, who recently moved to Orlando, captured the energy of the crowd watching from Space View Park in Titusville, directly across Indian River from the launch pad.


“The second it went off, everybody was cheering,” Dupuis said. “It was amazing -- the amount of light coming out from the bottom of the shuttle, the power, and how fast it went up.”


Minutes before Justin Henderson’s plane landed in Orlando from Seattle, Washington, the pilot announced they might catch a glimpse of the shuttle. Henderson figured he was on the wrong side of the plane – until “a bright flash” appeared through his window.


“Seeing it from the air was quite a treat,” said Henderson, 26. “Everybody was going, ‘There it is, there it is.’ You could see the tail of it and the entire thing. We actually saw it leave the atmosphere.”



Manny Bornia says he’s lived in Florida for most of his life and "totally grew up on" the space program. His 3-year-old daughter Sofia is really into space right now, but he knows that she won't even remember the shuttle program when she gets older. He snapped this photo as they watched the liftoff from their backyard beach in Daytona Beach Shores.


Two more shuttle missions are scheduled for later this year. How do you feel about the end of the 30-year space shuttle program? Share your thoughts and memories in the comments below, or contribute to our assignment here.

Posted by: dsashin // February 25, 2011
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Overheard on Scent of a woman »


Comment of the day: "P.S. If a man is doing housework it's super HOT." --Ihavetowashmyhair


When men don't want sex


When we read this story about men's sexual behavior, we were surprised to see that many commenters shared a common, and somewhat unexpected, turnoff not found in the article: artificially scented feminine products. Worse yet, some added, those scents lasted long after they were used.


too many said, "One issue though, is these feminine products. From many guys I speak with--it seems it has come up in so many conversations-these new feminine products emit a sweet smell which may be pleasant to women, but it is obnoxious and overbearing for men, and it seems those new chemicals that create the smell seem to linger in the nether regions for quite a while after the monthly, so i know of many who will lose the blood pressure as soon as a waft of that scent hits the nose. Sue Johnson and Johnson and the other feminine product makers."


True wrote, "I hate that nasty stench those products produce! Whew!!" meeting agreed: "OMG, i thought i was the only dude, its true, so true." Wrote stinkeeee, "The jumbo was ready to dock, then that scented product smell hit my nose, and voila ! Jumbo became a mini mini."


And what did women have to say? www agreed, "I'm a female and I HATE that smell. It is nauseating. If I accidentally buy a scented product, I either return it (if unopened) or throw it away. EWWWWWW. I don't understand how there is even a market for the scented stuff. Just bathe yourselves, ladies!"


But bitnar concluded, "Great. One more thing to be self-conscious about."


Tapes reveal Thurgood Marshall's rocky road to the Supreme Court


Readers responded to this story about newly surfaced tapes, and their comments were almost unanimously in support of President Lyndon Johnson and his promotion of Thurgood Marshall. Unlike many other presidents, they wrote, he really cared for the American people.


"If only we could delete Viet Nam from his history, LBJ would be remembered as one of our greatest presidents," said ongtooth. "LBJ was a rough cut fellow with a firm handshake and an even firmer will. He was well known for the "Johnson treatment" and getting his way. Which, years later was a very good thing for America and its citizens," EireannAlba said. "LBJ was the last of the strong-willed presidents whose concerns for his country were foremost in his mind," said Muddyshoes. "LBJ crossed all racial lines," wrote richunix. "He was the un-sung hero of all Americans."


And, of course, there was praise for Marshall.


"People normally associate Marshall only with the Brown decision," wrote yazzy, "but he had a number of impressive wins in other cases prior to and after Brown. It will be interesting to learn what the tapes reveal." "Thurgood Marshall epitomized judicial activism," wrote jennacs. "Wish we had more people like him on the Supreme Court. Sotomayor looks like she'll be one."


"Justice Marshall was a man that any American would have been proud to have known," wrote KENNNY. "I remember reading years ago that some retired Justices who served with, worked with and argued before him said he was not only a fair Justice but also one of the smartest ever to sit on the bench. LJB made the right decision appointing him to the Court and LBJ himself was a caring man. He really cared about this country and its people."


Somalia pirates increasing violence to raise stakes


Top comment: "This just in: The 15 pirates being held have attempted to escape. They were last seen bobbing in the ocean riddled with gunshot wounds. No search-and-rescue mission plans have been made. It is unlikely they will be found. Make it happen!" --MadJak


How to deal with the Somali pirates? Readers shared lots of ideas for what to do with these men.  "Hang em from the yardarm," wrote mooseman316. "Let's treat them like pirates of old, walk the plank. That fall from the flight deck of a carrier should be a thrill....once," wrote RockyMtnMan. "Short drop and a sudden stop," suggested hippediva. "Better yet, make pirate hunting an olympic sport," joked USAOverLord. "Time to declare open season on the pirate's mother ships," wrote Glider2001. "Navy can always use a little target practice."


"Why even give them a fair trial?" beak asked. "The whole point of a trial is to examine the facts and determine guilt. They're in the middle of the ocean -- nobody else could be to blame. Everyone on board the sailboat was murdered. What's to question here? Is there any possibility they could be innocent? Of course not. They have no rights under U.S. law, they're not citizens, and they're not in the U.S. "


"Give them a fair trial aboard the ship and feed them to the sharks," agreed buckydog. "Why should the taxpayers of the US pay to feed these sub humans Why is the American Judiciary Dept. getting involved?" oachL asked. "This is going to cost us taxpayers close to $6 million over the next 20 years if they go to prison in the detention hotels of America."


Almost alone and tireless in citing U.S. law was Wzrd1, who identified him (or her)self as with CENTCOM in the Persian Gulf for nearly five years and AFRICOM for a year.  When Snappy53 wrote, "I say, what goes around, comes around. We can "raise the stakes" too. Immediate execution at sea when caught," Wzrd1 replied, "That is called summary execution and is illegal on multiple counts of US law. This case is simple. They're on a U.S. warship; that is U.S. soil."


Wzrd1 repeatedly cited US code: "TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 81 > § 1651 § 1651. Piracy under law of nations Whoever, on the high seas, commits the crime of piracy as defined by the law of nations, and is afterwards brought into or found in the United States, shall be imprisoned for life."


A back-and-forth discussion ensued. "So, they'll get life in prison for piracy," Wzrd1 wrote. "They'll likely get a needle in their arms for murder. And to not put too fine a point on it, I have zero interest in repatriating their bodies. Stick them in a potter's field with no stone."


USAOverLord wrote, "Kill these pirates where you find them. Name one court in the world who will jail a pirate hunter."  But then, Wzrd1 responded, "Go ahead. We'll watch you get arrested for piracy. Pirating pirates is piracy. Mandatory life in prison sentence under US code."


InForAPenny said, "U.S. Federal laws do not apply in international law. Only international laws apply in those situations. We must follow it. Less we become as unlawful as pirates." Wzrd1 responded, "So, we no longer follow US federal law? We summarily execute people? Should we do it at home too? Better not be on a cell phone while driving!"

Posted by: leahpine // February 24, 2011
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CNN iReport roundtable: Thursdays at 3 p.m. »

Please join us here at 3 p.m. ET for our weekly roundtable discussion. We're looking forward to talking with you about what's going on in the CNN iReport community. If you've got a question, comment, suggestion or complaint, this is your chance to share it.


We know that the time isn't convenient for everyone, so we're going to try something new this week. If you have something to say, but can't make the meeting, you can go ahead and leave a comment now so we can address it when the roundtable starts. You can also leave a comment after the meeting and we will respond by tomorrow afternoon.


We'll be back at 3 p.m. ET and will look forward to talking with you.

Posted by:
// February 24, 2011
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Overheard on Young and jobless? Oh, well. »


Comment of the day: Thank you for caring. We need more folks like [David Frum] on both [political] sides. bringatowel


Does anyone care? columnist, David Frum—special assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2002 and the author of six books—takes on jobless rates among America’s young and why no one seems to care.   If the amount of responses from readers is any indication, there is reason to be concerned for youth’s job prospects.


Britney0224 said, “I was more independent when I was 16. Now with my 21st birthday tomorrow...I'm lucky to have this part-time job at minimum wage. And yes, I'm still stuck at home with my family because I can't afford to do anything else. If I were to move out at this very second, I would be homeless.” KaylPerr said, “I'm 24 and just graduated college. I'm at the same part-time job I've been with for the last three years because I can't find a full-time job. In this economy, you either need 5+ years of experience, or you need to know someone. It's tough. I have many, many friends with college degrees who are working in retail, in bars and restaurants, and I have one friend who is a parking attendant because there is nothing else out there.”


voter51 said, “With my two boys 21 and 20 still living at home, I feel for those who are struggling. The fact is that corporations are holding on to profits and not lending which would stimulate growth and hiring.” Bellanca said, “I graduated in '09 with a double-degree in Meteorology and Aviation with a minor in psychology, yet it is impossible to find decent employment. I really want to be an airline pilot, but we had literally two and a half years where the airlines did not hire anyone and they furloughed a ton of pilots. Now there is some movement in the industry but there all kinds of people lined up looking for work.”


Some readers’ offered general insight. David said, “The reason the young and jobless have no voice in Washington is because they are not seen as a large voting block.” rjk256 said, “I would say that this current crop of 20-somethings is more industrious than their parents.” BarryHussien said, “Anyone consider the major cause of teenage unemployment—minimum wage laws? Hear any politicians mention this when they talk about ‘jobs, jobs, jobs!’?”


Tree champions


Two of’s top stories involved planting and caring for trees. The first one is about a recent initiative and the second is about preserving an old tradition.


Thirteen-year-old Felix Finkbeiner, the head of his own organization, Plant for the Planet, addressed the United Nations General Assembly to talk about his mission of planting millions of trees around the world. With 100,000 children participating in 91 countries they’ve planted 3.5 million trees so far. readers commended him:


MrMajestik said, “Friend me Felix... I am totally on board! Nice story, wish there were more like this!” J1982 said, “Positive story for once highlighting that youth CAN make a difference. Why doesn't the news cover more of these events? immoral said, “Felix Finkbeiner. More mature than many twice his age. More power to him.” TimoReiss said, “Felix is way more developed than many adults.”


Auburn specialists are still working to remove poisoned soil—even though the chance of saving the trees is slim—after an Alabama fan poisoned them. readers were supportive of their efforts—particularly representatives from other universities.


CUBuff11 said, “Best of luck saving the trees, Auburn. Big college football rivalries are a very special thing. Hopefully these trees are miraculously saved, but regardless, we know the post-game tradition by Toomer's will never die. From your friends, the University of Colorado Buffaloes.” Guest responded, “May we join you with our hopes for the survival of Auburn's trees, Colorado? We also extend our congratulations to Auburn for making the effort to save them. From friends at Rice University and University of Houston.”


Hair care


Teen sensation Justin Bieber cut his hair and showed off the new look yesterday the same day that queen of coveted-hair-dos, Jennifer Aniston was spotted with a shorter look. So did readers care about their new looks? Yes and no.


Of Justin’s, MadCityBabe said, “Bye, bye career!” Brunna countered, “I don’t think his career will end because he got a haircut. He has a career because of his music not his hair.” Lab said, “It looks great. Hopefully all the teenage Bieber wannabees will chop theirs too. It was a dumb look.” steeve-0 said, “Ten bucks says he glued some of it to his chest.” Cheryl said, “Any hair cut that prevents him from doing the 'hair flip' and practically dislocating his neck is OK with me!”  But Fred said, “It is a sad commentary on the state of our country and society that the second most popular story of the day is: Justin Bieber debuts mature haircut.”


And what about Jen’s new do? Most readers couldn’t see much of a difference. Marie Claire said, “What new do? She has had that do since forever. Dcforlife said, “I think if she really wants a change she should try something like a chocolate brown [color].” arnold ziffle said, “Nope, nothing interesting here. Guess I'll go get a haircut.”





Do you feel your views align with these c.ommenters' thoughts? Post a comment below or sound off on video


Compiled by the moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

Posted by: kgriggs // February 23, 2011

Posted in: comments
Carnival season in full swing »




More than just a festival, Carnival is celebrated across the world in the days before Lent, which begins on March 9 and ends on April 23 this year. Though Lent is a period of fasting and prayer, the weeks leading up to it are about merriment, traditions and family. Charlies Rodriguez, an iReporter from Santiago, Dominican Republic, recently visited La Vega, which he says is "one of the most colorful places" in the Dominican Republic during the Carnival season.


Some of the perspectives he was able to capture show the level of creativity and passion that goes into these events.


"Every year I go to the Carnival festival to capture the colors. This year is different because there are more costumes and more towns that are joining," he said. "During the Carnival festival season the whole family gets together to have fun."


Carnival celebrations typically involve street parties and parades. Mardi Gras, held in New Orleans, is the most famous in the United States. The Carnival of Venice was the most famous carnival for a long time and was even referenced in literature such as The Count of Monte Cristo. Today's best known celebration may be the Brazilian Carnival held in Rio de Janeiro.

Are you attending Carnival celebrations? Please send in videos and photographs to share the colors and celebrations you experience!

Posted by: nancyt3 // February 23, 2011
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Posted in: stories
Overheard on Happy and single? »


Comment of the day: “Maybe some of us have realized you don't need to buy the pig to get a little sausage. I like my single life.” --estrella123


Single and not angry


In response to Tracy McMillan’s Huffington Post column that grouped single women into six distinct categories (from angry to slutty),’s Jessica Ravitz, who is single, fired back with a seventh, more broad-based reason: Life happens.


Many readers agreed and cheered her article:


NY727 said, “Bravo! I'm 47 and just found the love of my life. I've had several long-term relationships, have been engaged and even had a child, but never married because something wasn't quite right. I've got great friends and family and have had a hell of a life so far...I wasn't curled up in a ball at home crying 'cause I had no husband. No, not everyone desires to be married or have children. Sorry, not all people think alike and if we boring would that be?” RalfTheDog said, “It is one thing to expect people to contribute to making this world a better place. It is another thing to pressure everyone into living the same way.” auntieb9 said, “I'm in my 30's and single. I would love to be a wife and mother. However, I haven't had that opportunity as of yet. Instead of focusing on what I don't have, I'm trying to build myself into a person that can better contribute to society.” Masako52 said, “You go, girl. Also proudly single!” catNtheHAT said, “My 30's were the most difficult time in my life. Married people always wanted to know if I was gay, good grief. Their life is so great they have time to butt into the lives of everyone else?”


Others offered Ravitz advice:


Raevyn said, “Maybe it's not just you. Maybe you just refused to settle for the losers and jerks that wandered through your life and will find that amazing guy at 42 and will be still exceedingly happily married 10 years later.” Hokiegirl77 said, “Or maybe, Jessica, you just haven't met the one you want to spend the rest of your life with! There's nothing wrong with that. Being single and happy is better than being married and miserable. I'm your age and have never been married, and I'm happy! I don't care that people probably think I'm a lesbian or that I'm a bi#$^ or selfish, or that I will become the crazy cat lady- eh, I don't care anymore what people think about me!”


Americans killed by pirates


The four Americans whose yacht was captured last week by pirates in the Indian Ocean met a tragic end early Tuesday. Their vessel was being shadowed by the U.S. military, but two days from the Somali coast, a gunfight broke out. Ship owners Jean and Scott Adam and Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle were found shot after U.S. forces boarded the vessel about 1 a.m. ET. Thirteen pirates have been arrested and will stand trial for their deaths.


Most readers questioned the Americans’ risky decision to separate from their original group and head into “troubled waters.” MatthewBen asked, “Why are two rich American's sailing between YEMEN and SOMALIA?” sdb618 said, “I hate the fact that they killed these people, however sailing in those waters is known to be dangerous for this exact reason and they knew that.” realtalker1 said, “If you sleep in the jungle the lions will seize the opportunity.” rain4st said, “This is so sad but every time I hear about Americans or anyone else being hijacked off the coast I wonder ‘why in God's name would anyone sail those waters knowing what we know about the pirate situation over there?’ Note to sailing enthusiasts worldwide: stop sailing off the coast of Somalia!”


In defense of the yachting foursome’s decision, goodadvice said, “Do you realize that most of the world's waters are 'pirate infested?’ Do you have any idea how many people sail those waters on a daily basis without incident? These people didn't just go sail off into a pirate cove or something. This has nothing to do with being stupid or having no common sense.”


Other readers had ideas on how to ward off future attacks.


Valpo02 said, “What we should do is put small military teams like the Seals on cruise yachts and take the pirates out that way.” Thawtpolice said, “This is clearly what happens when you pay ransoms. The pirates win. There is no easy solution.” Gopherit said, “The U.S./NATO should be able to devise strategies to deal with the piracy problem.” podbaydoors said, “Taking Americans as hostages never ends well. The US government will not negotiate for ransoms and yet the pirates can't get away. In the long run it helps Americans abroad but these poor folks had to pay the ultimate price so others can be safe. Very sad. May God bless them all.”


Gadhafi says he’ll die a martyr


Eight days into protests that have cost him control of eastern Libya and the support of some prominent Libyan officials worldwide, leader Moammar Gadhafi delivered a defiant, rambling speech Tuesday, refusing calls to step down and vowing to die "a martyr" in his country.


Nearly all readers had similar reactions to his speech: ms38654 said, “Two words for Gadhafi: Go ahead.” Crystaldove said, “Gadhafi and his sons brutal murderous reactions to Libya's peaceful protesters have been exposed to the world.” RAM05 said, “I'm not really sure what he'd be a martyr to except tyranny, which really isn't anything to be especially proud of.” Lexxvs said, “If he is already talking about martyrdom it’s because he’s already lost and can’t find a hole around the world to hide, as he is despised everywhere.” ortegara said, “I don't think this coward Gadaffi will fight to the end, he will run like the chicken he is.”  But 123magic123 said, “So much sad wishful thinking. Gadhafi is now bombing Benghazi from the sea. Most of the army is still loyal to him, as are his tribesmen. It's now a bloody civil war and he'll win because he has the power and cruelty.”


Do you feel your views align with these c.ommenters' thoughts? Post a comment below or sound off on video


Compiled by the moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

Posted by: kgriggs // February 22, 2011
 40 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: comments
Overheard on Facebook revolution in Egypt? »


COMMENT OF THE DAY: "You obviously don't remember learning about such revolts as the 'Memo Revolution' and the 'Pointy Stick Revolution' in history class." -- goodadvice


The faces of Egypt's 'Revolution 2.0'


Who or what gets credit for revolution in Egypt? Many enjoyed CNN's story but argued over whether technology played a major role. Said gl38, "It's disgusting how the media call this a Facebook revolution. Why not a Phone revolution? Why not a simply Being Disgusted with Life and Wanting a Better Deal revolution?" Others said the internet was simply the newest way to communicate. "The internet is the new newspaper. Revolution used to be printed in newspapers and by Benjamin Franklin, now it is the internet," Darthlawsuit wrote.


Most agreed, however, that unlike established forms of spreading information, the new technologies have allowed protesters to work around government censorship. "The internet IS the linchpin," wrote David70. "These governments have devoted huge resources to control media, censorship, jailing of reporters, full ownership of papers and radio and TV. The difference between today and ten years ago is they cannot fully control info the net -- specially on mobile phones."


Final thoughts about impending democracy in Egypt were mixed with hope and cynicism. Many, like PrayforMojo, congratulated the Egyptians from the heart. "Godbless the people of Egypt. Their revolution was one of the most compelling events I have witnessed. The bravery of the youth who started this should not be downplayed. They risked their lives for a chance at a better one for themselves and the poor in their country. I only hope my countrymen would show the same bravery if faced with such horrible oppression. Yalla said, "Egypt you've won your freedom. I pray it lasts for generations."


Others, apparently writing from functioning democracies, had their doubts. "Hate to be the bearer of bad news," dontfollow said, "but democracy isn't what it's cut out to be. Capitalist corporations and for hire politicians have ruined the dream. Good luck to Egypt though." doubtingdave agreed: "I hope that within a few months the same people aren't sitting around saying...'Oh my, what do we do now'?? 'let's elect so-and-so because he knows how to kiss a baby'....."


Why Toddlers throw Temper Tantrums


Runner-up comment of the day: Weep4America "Parents do NOT have the right to allow their children to make everyone else around them miserable. Parents have an OBLIGATION to make their children behave properly in public."


That's right, blame it on the wiring. Just about everyone agreed with the study that toddlers are prone to tantrums, but many thought that this mom's subjecting her toddler to such a long day was guaranteed to bring one about. "Thanks, lady, for subjecting everyone at the museum to your kids," wrote Thepook. "'Best. Mother. Ever?' No. A best mom ever would know that 3-year old twins can't tolerate that kind of activity. Maybe tantrums are expected of kids, but it's YOUR job to make sure to follow societal etiquette, which is don't force kids into participating in activities that are beyond their age level."


"Plenty of sleep, good food, lots of exercise, and stable routines will reduce the number of tantrum," ihmsaair agreed.


"Mom made several BIG mistakes that guaranteed a tantrum: steep subway stairs and four train transfers were too fatiguing for toddlers and they are too young to appreciate a large natural history museum," wrote potto527. And asking a 3-year-old to make a choice is also problematic. "They don't know about cost. All they understood was a bait-and-switch trick by mom (you can have any toy you want as long as it is the one I want to give you)," potto527 added.


But TeckieK disagreed: "A dinosaur exhibit is beyond a 3 year old's age level? I don't think so. Curiosity starts early, and if cultivated turns into a desire to learn."


Many thought the subject was ridiculous. "Are you kidding me!" omex1 said. "Who the hell spends ten years studying toddler temper tantrums? Tax payer grant money driving up the cost of higher education again! Study why supposedly "educated people conduct stupid studies."


"Stories like this make me incredibly glad that I have chosen to never have children. I commend those who desire to take on such responsibility," crosstf said.


Some suggested time-honored remedies. "Lets bring back the old-fashion woodshed," wrote Hoooch. "I was raised by the woodshed and I survived. Only once did I experience the woodshed and I never misbehaved again. I am now a 20 yr military retiree, with a grad and undergrad degree in computer science." Others argued that this was better left in the past: "Ah yes, how I yearn for those 'old fashioned' ways. Who needs running water, electricity, and modern medicine," Y0ssarian wrote.


Why America's Teachers are Enraged


Runner-up comment of the day: BD70: "A witch hunt against the teachers: so sad. Go after the ones who dictate how the teachers teach. Then go after the parents who refuse to co-operate with the schools. Seems the teachers are caught between a rock and a hard place: darned if they do and darned if they don't."


The Wisconsin protests uncovered a seething argument about American education: How good is it? How much is it worth? Who pays? Are the protests a matter of union busting or simply honoring past contracts? Many wrote to explain why teachers deserve respect, citing hard work and good results amidst poor working conditions and impossible expectations.


"You do know that Wisconsin students placed second nationwide on ACT/SAT tests last year? I'd say that these teachers are doing better than most of the nation," clsjey wrote. "Let them do their job in a drug-addled warzone," barciesjj668 said, "which is what most public schools are these days. Let them do it where the teachers have no rights and 'les petites crimineaux' and their sue-happy parents are in control. Let them teach in buildings falling apart."


"Public education is the single biggest expenditure for every state. As it dang well should be!!!!!!" 10PorkChops wrote.


Said gradstuden10, "Everyone wants the best education for their children but no one wants to pay a dime to the people who make it happen. You wouldn't let an overworked and underpaid doctor operate on you because you might die. You wouldn't want a tired and underpaid mechanic to fix your car because he could make a costly mistake. Yet everyone is willing to let their children, whom they want the best for, spend their formative years in the hands of people who are overworked and underpaid."


Some thought the market should decide, simmering over what they saw as an easy living. Others struggled with how teachers' earnings should compare to others'. "Teachers are lazy and want the taxpayer to pay for their outlandish benefits. Fire them," wrote thearmy19d. "The median national salary for plumbers is almost 50K - and that's ALL plumbers. Prices do go up you know." IxNay said, "Our society doesn't value kids, that is pretty obvious to me. To read people here say things like teachers are glorified hairdressers pretty well sums up the problem." jrm03063 wrote, "The best corrective is to go to a "free market" model." Daoudm said, "Give all parents vouchers. The best teachers wouldn't have any lack of pay, the worst would have to find other employment."


But perhaps this can be taken too far, as GeneralTarfu concludes, "Support outsourcing teaching! We can get better results from Chinese teachers!"


Do you feel your views align with these c.ommenters' thoughts? Post a comment below or sound off on video.


Compiled by the moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

Posted by: leahpine // February 21, 2011
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CNN iReport Awards: The judges »


When we started planning the CNN iReport Awards last year, we put together a list of the awesomest people we could think of and invited them to get involved. We were thrilled to get such a talented and panel of judges from the worlds of journalism, photography and collaborative storytelling. Picking the winners in each of the six categories is going to be a tough job, but we hope you'll agree that they will be perfect for it.


Meet the judges:


Ze Frank has been delighting people on the Internet for years with projects that are funny, clever and have a sweetness that you don't see every day. You can check out Young me/ Now me and the wonderful "Chillout song" to see why we love him.


Dave Isay is the founder and president of StoryCorps, an oral history project that gives everyone in America the opportunity to record, share and preserve their stories. They've collected more than 30,000 interviews since 2003. StoryCorps proves that everyone has an interesting story – something we believe strongly here at CNN iReport.


Rachel Campos-Duffy started her television career on MTV's "The Real World: San Francisco" in 1994. She's appeared on CNN, been a guest host on "The View", written a book on parenting and is an active blogger, columnist and pundit -- all while raising six children.


VICE co-founder and president Shane Smith has interviewed warlords in Liberia, been detained in Libya, and reported from North Korea. The results are raw, original and compelling stories with a really unique voice.


Tim Shey knows what people want to watch on the internet. He's the president and co-founder of Next New Networks, an internet television studio that churns out Webby Award-winning content and viral hits like  Auto-tune the News and Obama Girl. Next New Networks' programs have generated almost 2 billion views since 2007.


Laura Brunow Miner's Pictory shows that a single photo can tell a powerful story – especially if it's a huge, beautiful photo with an intensely personal caption. Pictory's Platonic Love Stories series offers her readers' touching perspectives on friendship.


Errol Barnett has been working with iReport since he came to CNN International in 2008 as an anchor and correspondent. Barnett has hosted CNNI's "iReport for CNN" program and frequently integrates social media into his reporting of breaking news stories from all over the world.


They'll be choosing the winners in the six award categories, but we want you to get involved, too. Check out all the nominees and vote for the one you think is the most compelling for the Community Choice Award. You can vote once per day until March 7th at noon. The winners will be announced on March 15th.

Posted by:
// February 21, 2011
 4 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: community
Overheard on Parenting in the wild »


COMMENT OF THE DAY: "Mr. Cheetah, I have this court order for cub support payments based on the paternity tests." --rxlawdude


Today we look at a cross-fostered cheetah cub and Josh Levs' narrative about delivering a baby that couldn't wait.


Cheetah cub thrives under foster mom


The little at-risk cheetah cub being cross-fostered by an unrelated female got commenters talking. The technique is rare, and many people empathized with the mother cat in different ways. Many thought like Burbank: "I feel sorry for the first mother cheetah that had her baby taken away. If they can't produce enough milk with only one cub no wonder they are endangered." IndInDallas said, "As a first-time mother, the odds are her cub would not have survived in the wild. Attrition rates are pretty bad for first-timers. Cheetahs are pretty solitary, but it has been seen where older female offspring of a mom hang around when she had her next litter. Not all moms will allow that though." The jokes we got illustrated a common thread among all these comments: People were imagining how they would feel if the same thing happened to humans like them. AnalystJay quipped, "This is definitely a case for the Maury [Povich] show." hostrauser said, "'Nkechi... you ARE the father.' He then proceeds to get upset and maul the audience."


Delivering my son: 'Breathe, baby, breathe!'


OTHER COMMENT OF THE DAY: "Why didn't the word 'love' appear anywhere within the article? Because one should not use the word that you are defining within the definition of that word! Thank you, Josh, for a beautiful definition of 'love.' " --HeadsOrTails


If you had to deliver a baby at home, on your own, what would you do? Readers opened up their hearts, poured out their memories and even debated home births. A lot of readers told us they really enjoyed the story, and that warmed our cantankerous journalistic hearts. spankie1 wrote, "I need stories like this to keep myself from ripping my heart out."


Some had tragedies in their families. fsulevine said, "At least he lived. My wife and I had our first child on January 5, 2011. Unfortunately, he was stillborn, with the umbilical cord wrapped tightly around his neck twice and it had a knot in it. He was a month early and everything was fine the previous week when we had ultrasound photos done. Then at the next appointment, he had no heartbeat. Labor was induced, and the rest is history. :( In memory of my little angel, John Evan Levine 1/5/2011."


Others could totally relate ... to the baby. agreen33 said, "Aww... I was born at home in an emergency situation, caught by my poor dad who could only follow his own 'briefcase' of knowledge while the paramedics continued to be lost in the snow. Between my mom giving birth and my dad stepping up to deliver, I feel like my parents really worked to get me into this world. Maybe that's why I got good grades in school." Some were uneasy about home births. MrsMichelle said, "My husband told me that if he had to deliver our twins on the floor of our bathroom all by himself with 911 on the phone, he would have assured that they were sending two ambulances before he hung for me and one for him. He's a fool, but he is hilarious at times."


But reiter331, who identified himself as Matt, a soon-to-be father of four, wrote, "Birth is a natural event and in the small percentage of births that need medical attention, an ambulance is a phone call away. They should be empowered to know that they had everything they needed right there at home. Each other. Child birth is not a condition that needs to be cured by a doctor. The medical community and television have deceived us into believing that only hospitals can safely deliver our sons and daughters, at a hefty price of course." Hemyola said, "Clamping the cord just stops the wonder blood from flowing into the baby as it should. It is best to wait till the cord is not pulsating any longer. And why appreciation for doctors? Why not for women? For the amazing nature? No doctor ever delivers a baby: The mother does, or simply, as my 3 year old said at his brother's home birth: 'The baby came out.'"


Is the internet killing empathy?


Some people wonder if the fast paces of our lives are causing people to feel less empathy for one another. Others wonder if it wasn't really there to begin with. Maybe it's worth meditating on this comment, and the responses it got: imgnepc said, "Think back. People brought family picnic lunches to hangings in recent history. Is empathy really changing, or is it just as common now to laugh at other's pain as always?"


automagic responded, "I'm imagining this scenario in my head. A 'Leave it to Beaver' style family packing up the family station wagon. The dad is smoking a pipe and the family is singing songs. They get there, and unpack the picnic basket and red checkered cloth. Then they watch DEATH!" imgnepc replied, "That's a pretty accurate image, automagic."


Or maybe the bombardment of imagery through the "media" (cough) is problematic? Professor72 explored that idea: "Absolutely, you could definitely argue that we are, as a whole, losing our sense of empathy. When you're constantly battered with only bad news (that is popular news), we begin to lose sight on what is good and right."


Or, maybe Bob Saget helped invent the internet. xklusivguy said, "Don't blame the young teens for not being sympathetic. 'America's Funniest Home Videos' have been around for 21 years, so that makes mostly 40- to 60-year-olds the ones who actually watched and laughed at people getting hurt first..."


Do you feel your views align with these commenters' thoughts? Post a comment below or sound off on video.


Compiled by the moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

Posted by:
// February 18, 2011
 3 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: comments
Overheard on Wisconsin protests stoke union debate »


COMMENT OF THE DAY: "Bad teachers, BAD!!!" -- NuYwk


Crowds swell in Madison as budget protests continue


Wisconsin is at a crossroads as protesters crowd the Capitol and its surroundings to oppose a bill that would strip teachers and other public employees of most of their collective bargaining rights, as well as require increased benefits contributions. Lots of readers in turn crowded our story's comments area, some vehemently opposed to unionization and others supporting it. We also received several iReports showing photos and footage of the protests in various places.


Many commenters said they felt the workers were getting much better treatment than other workers or were unappreciative of their good fortune. gotowork said, "What is it with these entitlement junkies that they feel the world owes them something? Plenty of people have lost their jobs recently and gone out to get new ones instead of protesting in the streets about how unfair life is! Hey, who knew Wisconsin and France had so much in common!?! Hah!" PaleinPDX said, "I'm sorry, but I DON'T feel sorry for any of these state employees. They are complaining about having to contribute more to their pensions and health care, yet they fail to realize how LUCKY they are to even have a pension and health care. Cry me a river." NONcorrect said, "Sorry, but 'workers' rights' are covered in every state by a state-run entity (in Washington it's Labor & Industries). You have the right to have a job, and you have the right to find a different job if the one you have isnt suited to you. Your employer also has the right to fire you if you don't work for them. I never did understand why government workers or union workers should get more "rights" than the rest of us."


SallyinChica said, "All of a sudden the working man/woman is bad. For decades from the 1940s to the 2000s, everybody loved the working man/woman. Now all of a sudden workers are bad. Don't blame the workers. Blame the lying corporations and banks that a) sold the fraudulent investments to the states that caused them to lose money; and b) the bad legislators who couldn't read tea leaves and project into the future. Who didn't have a 'worst case' scenario and didn't have a rainy day fund." pvwiscon said, "Talk about hypocrites, I'm a Wisconsin state employee who make less than $40,000 a year. We've done our part with furlough days. We've foregone raises for years in an effort to work with the state legislator's, we are prepared to contribute more toward retirement, and insurance. But to take away are rights to collectively bargain......NO!!!!!!!!"


Man arrested in poisoning of Auburn University landmark live oaks


A 62-year-old man was arrested early Thursday and faces criminal mischief charges for allegedly applying a herbicide commonly used to kill trees and brush to landmark 130-year-old live oaks on the edge of the Auburn University campus in east-central Alabama, police said.


WTigert56 wrote, "This is terrible. I am not a fan of either team but to take out some idiotic revenge on 130+ yr old trees is stupid. I hope they catch this person and punish him severely and to the full extent of the law. ... I certainly hope they can do something to save the trees, although it doesn't look promising. Sad!" Many likes were given to Bama67Grad, who said, "As a Crimson Tide fan of 50+ years, I am appalled and embarrassed at the actions of a single imbecile, and sincerely hope that Auburn fans will show more class and reason than the idiot who did this. I would be willing to contribute to a fund for a donation to the Auburn campus, on the behalf of Alabama fans, for the replacement of the trees, establishment of a scholarship, erection of a plaque -- whatever Auburn would like to do with it. Would anyone else be willing to participate in such a venture?" Finally, in another thread, MatarLaRaza asked, "When is it a crime to "root" for a team?" This unleashed a response from 2tired2care and a few puns:


TJ14: I'll go out on a limb and say he was joking.
Fontroe: Some of these comments are cutting against the grain.
2tired2care: Sorry I've got to be leafing now.
Muddyshoes: Don't listen to 2tired2care - His bark is worse than his bite.
MatarLaRaza: It was just Oak-K...
Fontroe: No, it was knot.


'Wonder Woman' actress revealed


NBC says "Friday Night Lights" star Adrianne Palicki is going to be the Amazing Amazon in David E. Kelley's upcoming "Wonder Woman" pilot. Some commenters talked about her acting ability, but a few others were thinking about different things. RS was happy with the decision. "She's a very good actress, one of the best on FNL, a show which featured a number of very good performances. I think she has the ability to bring a very solid take on Wonder Woman. She showed great ranged and was really good in a number of different storylines. She was also very good in her recent guest stint on Criminal Minds. I 'm actually most worried about Kelley's ability to develop a solid series that will not only bring in comic fans but also mainstream viewers (being on NBC doesn't help)."


WonderLost said, "First, hire someone who understands who Wonder Woman was and still should be to write the scripts. Then let that person (probably a she) have final approval on the casting of WW. I doubt this actress is the best available. Why are we always turning iconic people into TV bad jokes? I'd rather have no Wonder Woman than a pathetic excuse for one." United States of Erica said, "Wonder Woman is first and foremost an Amazon. This means she is thick, curvaceous and looks like she can handle herself in any situation. Christina Hendricks would have been perfect for this role because she is exactly that. Wonder Woman had boobs, hips, butt and a figure that made mere mortal woman seethe with envy. Hollywood is too obsessed with these vomit queens with more fake parts than a Toyota." abby1 said, "It's hard to imagine anyone else playing the role of Wonder Woman besides Lynda Carter. The only other actress that I could possibly see doing a good performance in this role is Angelina Jolie." Mark replied, "Angelina Jolie would be exotic looking enough to have come from Paradise Island, but now way too old for the part...and the networks wouldn't be able to afford her salary."


Do you feel your views align with these commenters' thoughts? Post a comment below or sound off on video.


Compiled by the moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

Posted by:
// February 17, 2011
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Posted in: comments
CNN iReport roundtable: Thursdays at 3 p.m. ET »

Our weekly CNN iReport roundtable is coming up at 3 p.m. ET, so we hope you'll join us. We're looking forward to talking with everyone.


This is a chance share your ideas, questions, comments and concerns with the iReport staff and the CNN iReport community.


We'll open comments at 3 p.m. ET.

Posted by:
// February 17, 2011
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Posted in: community
Data Prospecting: Looking under iReport's surface »

Welcome to the first of what will become a regular feature here on the CNN iReport blog. We'll dig below the surface of the videos, photos and stories you submit and look for meaningful, interesting or just plain fun gems of information to share.


To start off, we're taking a look at the locations of iReport submissions. We created this map using the location data generated with most stories. The pink dots represent iReports and the darker areas represent higher concentrations of submissions.

Not every story has a location assigned in our database. This map reflects nearly 350,000 iReport stories submitted between February 9, 2008, and January 27, 2010, or about two-thirds of all iReports during that period.


The data makes it clear that more iReports come from the U.S. (particularly the eastern half) than other regions, but parts of Europe aren't far behind.


A fun feature of this view is that if we remove the background map, it's possible to mostly make out the shapes of the continents (except for Antarctica):

Location is just one of the topics we'll explore as part of this series. We've been inspired by other sites' self-examinations -- such as Foursquare, MetaFilter and the dating site OK Cupid -- and hope that by exploring our own data we can learn more about the iReport community, or at least have some fun.


If you have questions, thoughts or suggestions, please let us know.

Posted by: cmerrill // February 17, 2011
 6 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: community
Overheard on Coca-Cola's fizzy logic »


Comment of the day: "I love a good ol' cold coke as much as the next guy, but after seeing a deer steak dissolved overnight while soaking in coke, I've really cut down on my soft drink consumption. I've also heard that Coca-Cola uses the same acid that's in their product to degrease the engines on their trucks. You put enough sugar and corn syrup on a dog turd, you could most likely get it down." --Fric


Is Coca-Cola's secret out of the bottle?


"Givvvvve me de formulaaa! Givvvve me de formulaaa!" That's what Cesar said. The bigwigs at Coke say "This American Life" (and a newspaper clipping) hasn't given away the actual secret formula of their precious Coca-Cola. But the lore of this clandestine recipe inspired a sweet response from readers.


Old Vault Teller, who claimed to be a former SunTrust bank vault employee, said only the privileged have access to the written recipe. "I can assure you that there is no getting to that recipe." The recipe is commonly known to be closely guarded in a SunTrust-owned vault. The poster also mentioned avoiding Pepsi products on the premises, to which former SunTrust employee expressed agreement. And Brandon replied, "I believe this. It's hard enough to find a Pepsi in the gas stations in Atlanta! Row after row of Coke products, then one Pepsi row on the bottom, hidden away, near the microwave cheeseburgers."


SteveJ said, "I am conviced that the New Coke fiasco of the early '80s was a sophisticated ploy to mask the switch from cane sugar to corn syrup in the Classic Coke recipe. Distract people for a few months with a different and inferior product, then announce the triumphant return of the 'original' -- only it's not the original. Living in Texas, some local stores carry what we call Mexican Coke: bottled south of the border, it's sweetened with cane sugar, not corn syrup. A little more expensive but if you have a chance to try it I recommend it. The true original recipe." Daniel replied, "Agreed, Steve. 'Mexican Coke' is awesome ... but at $1 a (glass) bottle or nearly $20 for a case at Costco, a bit pricey for good taste."


Some poo-pooed Coke. Mare0568 said, "You guys can keep your secret formula. Pepsi all the way up here in northeastern Pennsylvania. Hardly anyone drinks Coke -- too sweet. Yuck." Mark said, "Honestly, I've found Stop N Shop's store brand cola is better than both Coke or Pepsi ... and less expensive too!"


Signs you might have a 'work spouse'


Some office denizens have a close, platonic relationship with their "work spouse." Readers debated the whole idea and shared their own experiences as well as a few snarky comments. enricorosan wrote, "I wonder if this so-called platonic stuff could lead to something more intimate. I don't like it and I don't think I would like my wife to tell me one day : 'Hey honey, my 'WORK SPOUSE' has gained a lot of muscle and goes to the gym everyday, you should his pecs when he takes his shirt off." opinalicious snapped back, "If you practiced choreplay and had a good relationship with her, she wouldn't care about anyone else's pecs. Women love men for who they are, not what they look like. They aren't men."


"I had what they call a work spouse," said one unsigned commenter. "We exchanged a ton of emails. We had lunch twice a week. We confided in each other over work-related and relationship issues. We even went so far as clubbing and concert-going. But nothing sexual. Shortly after I got married, I 'divorced' my work spouse. It was difficult, but all my attention had to be towards my wife. It's healthier that way."


oinkoink12 said, "This is about not being professional and seeking out approval the wrong way. I always went by one thing at work and realized that nobody here is my friend. Oh sure, we have things in common and such, but most coworkers would throw you under the bus if they had to. This whole spouse thing is an illusion to reality, and I'd suggest to anyone who truly has something like this, to grow up and come back down to earth." supertech5 said, "I was going to say you're a bit paranoid, but you're actually telling the truth. If I had to chose between my 'work spouse' and my job, work spouse goes under the bus and a few trucks."


Sayitisso was one of the cynics. "Talking about work to your coworker does not make you his or her spouse. If you are discussing personal stuff to your coworker that your home spouse would get mad about, you have crossed the line from colleague to creepy." Another unsigned commenter wrote, "I thought a person with whom you had a platonic relationship with yet you confided personal information to was just a friend. Why does the media have to coin cutesy names and act like it is anything new? Desperate for something to write about maybe?" Poupon wrote in agreement, "Marriage is an attitude. It's also a partnership, a team. No work friend will be taking care of one's children or elders, paying bills, etc."


Bieber talks sex, politics and puberty


Singing phenom Justin Bieber chatted with Rolling Stone about sex, politics and puberty. Readers discussed Bieber's comments as well as the idea of childhood celebrity. And Canada.


diwbd said, "I think he's a good-natured kid, but I honestly think that he should still be in school. I know he has 'people' for that kind of thing, but there's really no substitute for the school experience. I don't understand how he can become a functioning, intelligent adult if he's spending his teen years in the recording studio, but then again, I'm not in his position, so what do I know?" nonsmith wrote, "School is not an excuse to waste a good life. If I had a voice like he does, I would leave school. I think he makes more than any teacher." Mike313 noted, "@nonsmith, Money really isn't the point. Kids should have an education. For example, when asked about politics, all he said was, 'But whatever they have in Korea, that's bad.' A would-be junior in high school should know more about the world around them than that."


CdnJim said, "Once again it takes a Canadian to point out the lack of humour in the U.S. He was joking when he said, 'You guys are evil.' He was making fun of the interviewer. Americans son't get the punchline unless there's a laugh track. No wonder the funniest comics in the US are from North of the Border." anon182 replied, "Carlin, Pryor, Murphy, Martin, Rock, Seinfeld, and on and on and on ..." RabiaDiluvio said, "I hope his parents are paying attention. I give him two years before he is caught smokin' crack with Miley while his mommy whines about how constantly being in the public eye ruined him during his formative years. (DUH.)"


prplkat said, "While I don't care for Bieber's music either way (I let my daughter listen to it when she's in the car, but if she's not there I switch stations), I'm curious about the part where the article said his voice is changing. Earlier in his career people compared him to Michael Jackson (don't get me started), so this will make or break that comparison because MJ performed his entire life, not just as a child. Let's see what puberty does to his career and then make comparisons to one of the best known performers of our generation."


Do you feel your views align with these commenters' thoughts? Post a comment below or sound off on video.


Compiled by the moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

Posted by:
// February 16, 2011
 7 comments // Add a comment
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Meet the Fit Nation 'six-pack' »

Editor's note: Matt Sloane is a producer with the CNN Medical Unit and will be working with the iReporters as they train for their Fit Nation challenge.


After receiving more than 75 fantastic entries, I'm pleased to announce that we've picked the "six-pack" of iReporters who will compete alongside Dr. Sanjay Gupta in the 2011 Nautica NYC Triathlon.


The six people we picked range in age from 23 to 58, come from all different social and ethnic backgrounds, and like many of you who applied, are starting their fitness journeys from scratch.


Dr. Scott Zahn, a 46-year-old pediatrician from Green Bay, Wisconsin never considered himself a fit guy, but since he began training for the triathlon challenge in early January, has lost 25 pounds by making healthy food choices and exercising.


Cheeseburgers are a big weakness for Kendrick Henley, 25, from Chicago, Illinois. As soon as he landed back in Chicago from our kick-off training weekend, Kendrick went to the supermarket and purchased loads of fruits, vegetables and healthy food options.


Joaquin Brignoni, a 36-year-old father of three girls says he got so caught up in being a dad that he stopped taking time out for himself, and let his own nutrition slide. When his 6-year-old daughter told him to stop drinking so much soda, he took stock of his health and decided now was the time to get moving!


Information technology researcher Nina Lovel, 58, has more energy than most 28-year-olds. She's determined to prove that people only get better with age, and show other baby boomers that it's not too late to get moving.


Kas Seerla, a 34-year-old mother of two, says she was never encouraged to exercise growing up in India -- academic performance took priority of physical fitness. Now, she's very active, and wants to show the other moms her age that they can push outside their comfort zones and accomplish amazing things.


Anastasia Cirricione, 23, says she grew up on cheap, processed foods and soda pop.  When she looked in the mirror at 22, she wasn't happy with the image staring back at her, and decided it was time to clean up her nutrition. She's since lost weight, and wants to prove to herself that she can be a fit person, and show others that they can make up for lost time.


If you're not one of these six people, don't worry -- you too can train with us for the Nautica New York City Triathlon, or any other race! Keep checking our blog, The Chart for weekly workout schedules and nutrition plans; and to follow the progress of our new "six pack."


Thanks to everyone who participated.

Posted by:
// February 16, 2011
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Posted in: stories
Overheard on Meet Watson, the 'Jeopardy!' wiz »


Comments of the day: “When a machine begins to contemplate its origin, its purpose and its mortality, then and only then will it be intelligent.” – DanoMcRoo “I suppose 90 percent of the human race isn't intelligent by that standard. They are too busy watching Snooki.” – AlphaFour


Jeopardy challenge: Computer versus man


On Monday night, “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek directed questions to a new type of contestant: an IBM supercomputer named Watson. Playing against two of the show’s all-time winners, Watson is currently tied for the lead and will play two more rounds Tuesday and Wednesday. Watson has the processing power of 2,800 "powerful” computers and is considered a major advancement in machines' efforts to understand human language. readers were mainly intrigued by Watson, posting interesting, witty comments—and funny exchanges.


KingTriton said, “Watson is going to become SkyNet and build terminators!” Cb704 responded, “Oh, I called that awhile ago. Right now, I'm sitting in a bunker with John Connor and 20,000 rounds of ammo.”


Blesyk said, “Very cool episode! The technology that could potentially arise from this experiment could be astounding. Wonder what would happen if Apple entered the ring?” cranmalreign responded, “Trebek would turn hipster in a black mock turtleneck and try to bilk money out of you.”


jschmurr said, “Forget ‘Jeopardy’ or chess, what's really going to blow your minds is when they build a computer that successfully competes in ‘The Bachelor.’” jschmurr responded, “ANNA23471K, will you accept this rose?"


Of the technology itself, some readers either wondered what the fuss was about while others tried to set doubters straight or shared concerns about technology going too far.


dtboco3 said, “Great, you have a multi-million dollar super computer that is really good at trivia, now what?” And josh101 replied, “The idea of an interface with a computer system that is capable of interpreting human language is something that a lot of people think will be quite remarkable and pave the way for more interactive robots in healthcare, helpdesks, defense, and maybe even education.” dtboco3 said, “My fear is that we become so reliant on computers that if global networks go down, we go down. We are getting close to that point already. All of our power grids and water systems are run by computers. Those networks go down, and aren't restored quickly, society as we know it goes down.”


Born in the USA: Instant citizen?


Linda Kerber, May Brodbeck professor in the liberal arts and professor of history, lecturer in law in the Department of History at the University of Iowa, defended "Birthright citizenship" (and the 14th Amendment), saying chiefly that it “ensures generations of allegiance, equality, stability” and “clearly states that all people born in the United States are citizens.” readers posted their opinions about automatic citizenship.


moloa said, “To me, children born of legal residents are of course automatic Americans. Children born of illegal parents should not be automatic. Let them be citizens of their parent’s country.” But GTSixtySix said, “So the solution to illegal immigrants is to make even more illegals? Only in America.” And chidevil1 said, “Taking away the citizenship rights of children who are born in this country to undocumented aliens will not solve very many of this nations problems. There are a lot more important issues that politicians are neglecting because of their overzealous efforts to blame defenseless undocumented aliens for all of this nations problems.”


Is Charlie Sheen in Denial?


“Two and a Half Men” star Charlie Sheen, who has been undergoing substance abuse rehab treatments at home, said he is currently clean and spoke glibly to the syndicated "The Dan Patrick Show" Monday morning. Of drug use, he said people should stay away from crack cocaine "unless you can manage it socially," which he told a radio interviewer Monday he could.


Readers expressed concern and frustration about Sheen’s irresponsible behavior while others, some former drug addicts, took issue with what he said about using crack socially.


idiocracy82 said, “His justification is truly the sad mark of an addict. No concept of what his actions do to other people.” LookWithin said, “(He’s) in denial and I don't mean the river in Egypt.” FrostyOne said, “Why parents let kids watch this show is beyond my comprehension.” cobwebman48 said, “The producers of the show should fire his butt. This is not the kind of person one would want as a role model for anyone. The show can go away and the producers can come up with one as good or better than ‘Two and a Half Men.’”


BrewGoat said, “Using Crack socially is like trying to bring a Tiger into a day care for show and tell and think everything will be OK.” BobSherunkel said, “The quote ‘unless you can manage it socially’ tells me he still doesn't have a clue how deep he is in the doodoo.” But andylaughs said, “I'm pretty sure that was a joke, comparing "social drinking" to nonexistent "social crack smoking."



Do you feel your views align with these commenters' thoughts? Post a comment below or sound off on video


Compiled by the moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity

Posted by: kgriggs // February 15, 2011
 16 comments // Add a comment
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Introducing the CNN iReport Awards »

We're excited to announce the first-ever CNN iReport Awards. It’s our chance to celebrate iReporters' participation in CNN's global news-gathering efforts and to show off the most extraordinary iReport stories of 2010.


There are six awards categories that represent the things that make CNN iReport special -- breaking news, compelling imagery, commentary, interviewing, original reporting and, of course, personal stories.


Our producers looked at hundreds of iReports to find the most amazing stories, and then we worked with our friends at CNN, CNN International and to choose the five nominees in each category. It was a tough job, with hours spent agonizing over the lists. Picking the winners will be even tougher, so we've recruited a talented group of judges to make the final call.


CNN iReport is all about participation, so we want you to get involved by voting for the Community Choice Award. You can vote once a day for the iReport you think is the most compelling until noon on March 7.


We'll announce all the winners in March as part of our coverage of the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.

Posted by:
// February 15, 2011
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Posted in: community
Overheard on Why is it his job to propose? »


Comment of the day: “I thought this all changed after Monica Geller purposed to Chandler Bing.” –Insiteful


Why men propose


For Valentine’s Day, Kay S. Hymowitz -- who writes extensively on American childhood, family and culture -- ponders why, in our modern post-feminist times, it’s still up to the man to propose marriage.


After reading her article, readers posted their opinions and shared their own experiences. Manbearplg said, “I proposed on Valentine’s Day two years ago. Best decision ever and now the day takes on a whole new meaning.” PubliusNovus said, “My mother proposed to my father in the late 1970's (though not in the same decked-out manner, nor possessing any ring) and is hardly what someone would call a feminist.”


Insiteful said, “When the woman asks the man, does she give him the ring? Seems to be a good cost saving measure for the guys.” DP2010 said, “They ask because we tell them to.” But LanceSmith said, “Any woman who expects me to get down on one knee and beg for her attention is not the woman for me. I am happy to say that when I proposed to my wife, we stood as equals.”


Many readers said it’s all about the ring. fr0gp0nd said, “A large part of the reason why we still have this tradition is probably due to the diamond companies wanting to make a fortune on all those rings, as well as all the other business that profit from Valentine's Day!” menace8012 said, “I would love a woman to ask me to marry her. That way I could get a $5,000 to $10,000 present just for saying yes.”


On another note, ethos76 said, “For the first time, the proportion of people between the ages of 25 and 34 who have never been married exceeded those who were married in 2009—46.3 percent versus 44.9 percent. Women better start proposing!” And Goodna said, “My advice, as a 45-year-old male, to any young man who is thinking about proposing is, do not do it. I am single and could not possibly be happier. I can enter and exit relationships as I see fit, am not stuck making love to the same woman every night and am totally free to do what I want when I want.”


Wife rescues husband from tiger


When Han Besou, 55, heard the roar of a tiger and the screams of her husband, she grabbed a large soup spoon and charged. Luckily, it worked, and the tiger ran off, leaving her husband injured but alive in a Malaysian forest. readers praised the brave wife. Lovely mama said, “Never underestimate the power of kitchen tools and an act of true love.” leeintulsa said, “Reminds me of the old lady driving off jewelry store thieves with her purse. It's the year of the old ladies.” Julia responded, “55 isn't an old lady! One tough broad maybe...” crabby said, “Awesome woman with pretty big balls! My husband would have been dinner! JEff B responded, “I think MY wife would have given the tiger a fork and knife!” Maryland, USA said, “We could use fewer Tiger Mothers like Amy Chua and more Tiger Wives like Han Besou.” Really? said, “That tiger ran into a lioness!” And harimau said, “Umm, I'd like a wife like that.”


Grammy surprises


Whatever else you want to say about it, this year’s Grammy Awards weren’t boring. Lady Gaga arrived in an egg, for example. But the biggest surprise of the night was Arcade Fire, an independent rock band from Canada, winning album of the year. Oh, and Jazz bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding beat out Justin Bieber to win the best new artist award.


Many readers were dismayed by the Arcade Fire win, while some saw it as a welcome change.   Steelerguin said, “The Grammys became relevant when Arcade Fire beat Gaga and the rest for album of the year.” trav202 said, “I love that Arcade Fire beat out the big names. I find most indie music to be a tad pretentious but I've been listening to AF since around '05 and Win Butler is a genius.” But skullnrose said, “An indie band with no airplay whatsoever? Sorry that some people think the Grammys shouldn't be a popularity contest, but at least find a band that can put out at least one radio worthy tune!”


Not many readers were sympathetic that Lady Gaga lost the album of the year award. Jimmietee said, “Gaga wants a world where people don't judge yet she accepted all three of her Grammys? She means other than judging her art?” Ironhouse said, “I like that Gaga continues to shock and awe with her tricks that she stole. Dali was doing this stuff for his openings long before Gaga could even say her own name.” But talkiseasy said, “I like Lady Gaga. I’m sorry a group I never heard of won the big prize. She deserved it. Her album had several monster hits.”


And what about the Biebs? PapiBlogger said, “Not a Bieber fan here, but seriously he was robbed! The kid is more talented.” Others disagreed. Joot said, “The award is for the best new artist, not the most popular amongst the teeny-boppers new artist award.” Mike Ross said, “Bieber is a good performer, but Spalding is a true artist.”


Do you feel your views align with these commenters' thoughts? Post a comment below or sound off on video


Compiled by the moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity

Posted by: kgriggs // February 14, 2011
 36 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: comments
Egyptians display national pride throughout revolution »

Egyptians have again taken to the streets of Cairo today.


But they're not protesting. There would be no need, since their popular revolution successfully ousted former leader Hosni Mubarak on Friday, February 11. No, instead of brandishing signs and flags, today they're carrying brooms and paintbrushes. They're cleaning up after the rallies that went on for 18 days in Tahrir Square, sweeping and painting to make their symbol of freedom -- "tahrir" means liberation in Arabic, and, appropriately, it was the site of the most intense protests -- look like new.


It was "the most inspiring scene ever," said Mahmoud Ahmed Gomaa, who shot the above photo. "Very symbolic ... People from diverse backgrounds, ideologies and beliefs all shared passion to rebuild the country, all considered it a new start."


Yasmin Ali, who also ventured into the streets to help clean, said there were so many volunteers already that she could barely find anything to do.


"These pictures say a lot about the Egyptian people," she said. "This Egyptian revolution was something that brought out the best in all the people in Egypt."


The clean-up isn't the first display of national pride and responsibility that Egypt has shown the world during this revolution. When protests first broke out, citizens formed a human chain to protect the Museum of Cairo and stood guard outside other museums and historical sites. Egyptologists say this pride in their heritage was critical to protecting the country's national treasures. Citizens pled with tourists not to leave their country and promised to keep them safe. And throughout the protests, witnesses say the mood was surprisingly upbeat and positive.


"Very peaceful, festive mood," said Cairo resident Abdel-Maguid Ramzy of the Tahrir Square protests. He said it was more like being at a park than a protest, even as the people remained stern in their demands. "Biscuits and sandwiches distributed from ordinary people. Tea and beverages donated and for sale. You can buy food, banners, head bands, flags of all sizes, flag hats. You can sing along with different musical gatherings. Children having their own stage. And of course the most moving, the corner with the framed photos of our lost ones surrounded by flowers and silence."


Tourists noticed the positive atmosphere as well.


"All of the [protesters] we met, even at the neighborhood barricades, were warm and friendly," said Mike Miron, an American who spent four days in Cairo at the height of the demonstrations. "The protesters genuinely want a change in their country."


And it seems that when that change came on Friday, it only energized Egyptians more. Just watch this video of people flooding the streets to help cheerfully pick up trash, sweep, and repaint Tahrir Square.


"It's never been this clean," said Alexandra Stock. "The protesters are claiming their space by ... sweeping the streets and repainting the square."


Tarek Elmadany, whose father Ibrahim shot the above video, summed up the thoughts of Egyptians around the world:


"I am proud of you," he said. "And I am proud to be Egyptian."

Posted by:
// February 14, 2011
 2 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: stories
Overheard on Revolution in Egypt »


Uninstalling dictator COMPLETED successfully ██████████████████
Installing now: Egypt 2.0: █░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░

Note: Comments like this began going viral in the hours leading up to the revolution.


As the world's eyes turn to the revolution in Egypt, we're following the incredible conversations taking place on Thousands of comments have poured in, creatively and passionately demonstrating the global interest in this issue. Here are some of the best we've noticed, although it's impossible to even begin to summarize them all:


Quote gallery: Readers watch revolution unfold in Egypt


25891 said, "I have the utmost respect respect for the protesting Egyptians and congratulate them on their freedom! This could have turned into a bloodbath but they controlled themselves and by using passive resistance they have received their reward. Peaceful demonstrations do work." Neilcassidy wrote, "Congratulations, Egypt, from an Israeli who hopes to work together in peace and good spirit! Religion may distract us, but Democracy will unite us! "


Salymk added to the congratulations: "History created! Amazing Egyptian people, non violent protest, peaceful, mature army,understanding police, worlds must learn, you can achieve if you are together and united...Long live people's power!!" Finally, BillLumbergh said, "Does Egypt have a Facebook account? I'm totally going to friend them."


kwrad expressed concerns about the delivery of the message. "It worries me that the vice president said this, isn't this something that the president should announce?" WVLady63 said, "These ignorant people will not be so happy when the terrorists, i.e., Muslim Brotherhood, take over their country. They will then know the real meaning of fear. For those of you who are obviously in the dark about what is going on in Egypt, you have no idea what has happened. To coin an old phrase, 'what fools these mortals be.'"


Krozar was one of several who referenced other countries: "NOW IT'S TIME TO LIBERATE SAUDI ARABIA!" DoctorBombay suggested Kuwait, and a couple other commenters talked about China. Joes4evr2, wrote, "Whoever comes to power next must give Egyptian national issues priority over American agenda." BellyBums responded, "Egypt is the next Iran. History repeats itself. Everybody loses, even the people of Egypt." But Archbound said, "I doubt it, We acted faster in Iran and I dont think the people of Egypt are going to let the radicals take over."


We heard from lots of others with strong opinions, especially those of Egyptian heritage. MinaSherif wrote, "For all the Egyptians, this is a historic day, at least he gone away. Note: I am Egyptian and now I am proud to be Egyptian. The demonstrators that have been in [Tahrir Square] since the beginning are truly the founding fathers of a new, democratic Egypt."


And we heard from Americans talking to Egyptians. Reason2be sent this cross-cultural message: "Warmest congratulations to the Egyptian people from this American. You did it yourselves, without anyone's help. I salute you for that, and hope that my own government will start to let our ideals dictate our policies rather than our 'interests.' To be honest, I think living up to our ideals is in our interests.


Do you feel your views align with these commenters' thoughts? Post a comment below or sound off on video.


Compiled by the moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

Posted by:
// February 11, 2011
 13 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: comments
Overheard on Charting for 11-11-11 babies »


COMMENT OF THE DAY: "My father was born 11-11-11. 1911, that is. One of eleven children. He was always proud of his birthdate. His gravestone is marked 11-11-11, just to honor his special day." --luffing


11-11-11: How to get the coolest birthday for your baby


Simple mathematics says Valentine's Day lovers could end up conceiving children born on the above-mentioned numbers. Many commenters said they thought the whole idea of trying to have a child with a certain birthday was silly, but there were quite a few commenters who bragged about a special birthday of someone they know or themselves.


talleyhoo was excited: "My niece turns 11 on 11/11/11. Fun!" On the other hand, eygoodwyn wrote, "My daughter was born on 6/6/06. I am not very superstitious but she has had some pretty bad luck. ...But you couldn't tell her that because she is the happiest kid ever." IfUSeekMe wrote, "Our daughter was born 01/01/01 at 1 second past midnight. She was due Feb 2, 2001. No inducement, no c-section, just Mother Nature messing with our New Year's Eve party." An unsigned commenter noted, "My daughter's birthday is 06/07/08, which I think is pretty cool." Goss quipped, "I would rather try for leap year. 2/29/12." cyndirella wrote, "My mother in law's b-day is 10-20-30, I think that is very cool! Besides back then there wasn"t much 'planning' to having a child!" Finally, heyitsme had this to say about the trouble a special number can cause: "My daughter was born on 9-9-99. That is a cool number, but if you remember thats when everyone was running saying 'my computer is going to stop, blah blah.' It was horrible for me. I finally turned to the nurse and said, ya know, last I checked that computer cannot catch!!!! NOW GET OVER HERE!"


Not everyone was eager to have a special birthday. Smellie said, "My due date was 08/08/08. I hoped my baby would come early (or late) bc so many women were requesting/opting to be induced that day. I did not want to compete in a crowded maternity ward for resources, e.g. doctor, nurse and anesthesiologist availability, or for a overnight room on the high security maternity floor. Nor did I want an over crowded nursery with babies possibly getting less attention. Something to think about, in my opinion. My son was born 2 days early, when the hospital was not very busy. It can and did make a difference." LDRP said, "Just PLEASE don't get induced early to get the cool birthday. 37-week babies can get very sick from premature lungs, especially if they are electively induced." luvmychai said, "I second this! Elective induction is such a crime to these poor babies. On the other hand, I am trying to get pregnant. If it worked this month, I will be due on Oct 27. My last baby was 17 days overdue, so the 11th could be a possibility for me!" Nor was everyone successful. Elnok said, "At the risk of TMI, we conceived on Valentine's Day, were due on November 2, and had the baby on October 26. And we did a whole lot of the old wives' tale things in order to have a boy (the first time) and a girl (the second time). Luck (and only luck) allowed both to happen. But alas, no 11/11!"


Few customers lining up for Verizon's iPhone


Typical Apple product releases feature long lines that make for a crazy spectacle, but the release of the Verizon iPhone 4 wasn't quite like that. Commenters cited a variety of theories as to why that might be.


DudefromCali said, "Verizon screwed up. The introduction of this iPhone on their network has rejuvenated AT&T iPhone customers. And its all in the ad campaigns. As much as Verizon has captured better network status on the web and in the culture of techies, the lack of true multitasking -- No Data and Voice at the same time -- will be the phones' downfall." Tularockstar said, "Weather may have been a factor, but it's not the main one. People are smart and they know that iPhone 5 will be out this summer on Verizon 4G network. So, why would they pay $199 for an old 16gb iPhone 4? Let alone pay $299 for a 32gb version? The price of $199 for the 16gb is quite steep. Verizon should have debut this phone for $99, then they would have had more customers lining up!" tensor responded, "Precisely. Next gen is the one to watch. Apple haters also fail to take note that the company's primary customers going forward are global, not the matured U.S. market."


Droid fans also spoke up. dixie12 said, "I was lusting for an iphone for years on Verizon Wireless. Since having the Droid X for 7 months now, you couldn't pay me to get an iphone--would seem like a major downgrade (screen size, voice commands, etc.). And all this hype about the pre-orders selling out, every droid phone released sold out sometimes for weeks. It is part of marketing strategy." Lastholdout said many iPhone fans use "faulty logic" to justify their preferences: "Absolutely lovely. There'll be an explosion for the next iPhone. In the meantime, Droids will still continue to outsell the iPhone and rightly so." jec2004 replied, "Now that is outright labeling. I have had both and still have both and each have their high points and low points."


Or ... Blammie wrote, "I am still waiting for the technology of attaching a small chip to my brain when I crave a Starbucks, I will just know where to go. Same with Apple, I just think about Angry Birds and it just plays in my head."


Guitar Hero: What went wrong?


Falling sales have led Activision to shutter the division that created "Guitar Hero" and its sequels. The comments on this story were a battle between people advocating playing the real instrument and those who said the game was good fun.


aaarrrgggghh said, "People discovered you could spend the same amount of money and have more fun with a real guitar. Girls seem to like the real one better, too." someguy02 said, "Answer is easy, 'Call of Duty' happened. Instruments were expensive and after you master them it was not satisfactory anymore, I wanted to really play the guitar but felt more like a wannabe. Also, all it tested was accurate timing of notes, which is not what music is about. I remember a good guitarist saying the game was hard even for them, but in no way it tested their ability." ProSe22 said, "It's pathetic to spend countless hours pretending to play guitar when the time invested could make you a guitarist. Now, if Activision HAD A BRAIN it would convert these wannabes into guitar lessons and starting guitar purchases. BUT that would take a vision, a brain, and a staff -- which as I understand it -- is now unemployed. What a mess. Someone 'took the billions ROI and ran.' That is my opinion."


But a lot of people said the game is just for fun. ThreeDotOne4, whose avatar is quite appropriately the pi character, said, "Wow! So many bitter, failed musicians in the house today. Listen, it's just a fun party game. That's all. It's not meant to threaten your now-dim dream of becoming Johnny Rock Star, so there's really no rational cause for all the outbursts. I've been playing guitar for 22 years and I love these games. They're cool because they let me share something musical with my non-musician friends, which make up the majority of them. I also know a few people who have been inspired to try the real thing after playing the games. How is that not a net positive?" Billclam said, "A lot of people here can't seem to separate the idea of people wanting to play a video game and get instant satisfaction as opposed to putting hundreds of hours into becomming a decent guitar player. The latter of which is something you can't pass around at parties. That's like suggesting that I should become a real serial killer as opposed to just playing most shooters. Way to go, guys." rlaracuente said, "I hate how some want to make players of these games feel somehow 'guilty' and apologetic just because this isn't 'the real thing.' Video games are works of fiction, which means 'not real.' Most things you can do on a game can be done in real life, specially sports and other simulation type games."


Do you feel your views align with these commenters' thoughts? Post a comment below or sound off on video.


Compiled by the moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

Posted by:
// February 10, 2011
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CNN iReport Roundtable: Thursdays at 3 p.m. ET »

Please join us here in the blog for our weekly roundtable discussion. We're looking forward to it.


We're planning to try an experiment with the fun, new Instagram app, so if you have an iPhone you can go to and get it for free. There's plenty of other stuff to talk about in the community, so non-iPhone users won't be left out.


We'll open comments at 3 p.m. ET and will talk to you then.

Posted by:
// February 10, 2011
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Posted in: community
Banana hammers, bouncing bubbles: Winter experiments »

From freezing bubbles to banana hammers, two iReporters in Montevideo, Minnesota, have impressed us with their cold-weather science experiments. Angie Steinbach and Holly Sherod, friends and coworkers at the Montevideo Area Chamber of Commerce, have been surfing the internet to find different experiments they can attempt in the snowy conditions and freezing temperatures. Over the past several days they have experienced temperatures between -20 and -30 degrees with even colder wind chills, but have still braved the elements in the name of science.



In one of Steinbach and Sherod’'s latest experiments, they placed a rotten banana outside in -18-degree temperatures for an hour to reach optimal hammering temperatures. That’s the point at which the fruit becomes hard enough to pound nails into a wooden board -- otherwise known as "banana hammer cold."



Another demonstration involved blowing bubbles on a sidewalk with the help of a bubble machine. As they showed us, bubbles last much longer and are even able to bounce and roll down the sidewalk when they get extremely cold.



The pair first caught our attention by showing us what really happens when you throw boiling water into the air in sub-zero temperatures. By recreating an experiment they had seen on the internet, they made it bigger by throwing three gallons of boiling water into -17º F that felt like -29º. The ensuing cloud of vapor formed instantly.


These experiments show how innovative iReporters have become in combating the winter blues. The number of wintery iReports we've gotten has covered a wide range, and we’ve learned lots of lessons here while going through all of them. What kind of weather do you have near you? Share your thoughts in the comments area below, or share photos and video of your own.

Posted by: nancyt3 // February 10, 2011
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Overheard on Tributes to WWII's female 'computers' »


COMMENT OF THE DAY: "In spite of the downer of how the women computers were ignored by their male superiors, this is an uplifting story. I am surprised, however, [filmmaker LeAnn] Erikson did not know about them. They are mentioned in Richard Feynman's 'Surely you are joking, Mr. Feynman.' In fact, the term 'computer bugs' comes from that time -- they literally had to vacuum out the dead bugs that messed up their computer cards." --mcmo2


Rediscovering WWII's female 'computers'


LeAnn Erickson was interviewing sisters Shirley Blumberg Melvin and Doris Blumberg Polsky when the twins mentioned a job they'd held during World War II: Female "computers." As in a job title, not a piece of technology. Besides all the resulting yakking back and forth about where a woman's place is and whether gender equality is still a big deal, etc., it was fun to read about people's personal stories and memories. mtrisler said, "My aunt graduated from Wellesley College in the early 40s with a degree in math. She joined the Air Force and plotted trajectories for rockets. She is 89 years old and is now in a nursing home. I have printed out this article and will read it to her. How wonderful that the work these women did is being recognized." JeanneS5 said, "My mother did this! She didn't program the computer; she sat in a room above it and did more math with the results (she was a human computer)."


LAB1 was surprised by the comments on this story, saying times have changed and the "Loose Lips Sink Ships" mentality was big during wartime, adding that people had to endure challenges that are very different than today. "My own parents both worked in the war industry (dad was medically disqualified from active service) and they did work that is now declassified. HOWEVER, both died not having told me exactly what they did. They only spoke of the wonderful comraderie they enjoyed during those days where they worked and of the true sacrifices the people on the homefront made to bring WWII to its successful conclusion. Today, with all of the communications access, the United States' strategies in any conflict are at risk for the opponent to see, study and counter. Wikileaks is a prime example. Before you criticize these people, try to imagine yourselves in the position in which they found themselves. Depression to rationing, austerity to some level of prosperity. I doubt the younger generation of Americans could do what this generation did. They truly are the Greatest Generation."


As for the future of women and computing, living4life said, "Don't worry too much about women. They play video games and use tech just as much as boys now, so once this generation gets out of high school (and university), you will see most of the differences between boys and girls in the tech industry pretty much become zero." But ndTimmy wrote, "I doubt it. I graduated recently from college in a science major and there was about 4 women in a class of 50 men." dangster said, "Girls playing video games and using tech now is no indication that they'll find careers in the tech industry. The ratio of women to men in tech is not going to suddenly improve over the next decade. What we need is a change in attitude towards learning math and science, and eradicating the stereotypes that dissuade women from going into technology. I agree with ndTimmy. I graduated 6 years ago with a degree in computer science, and women comprised about 20 percent of the major, similar to most other engineering majors at my school. Not much has changed since then, and I don't see that percentage improving anytime soon."


Hawaii pilot spots badly injured whale


Gerry Charlebois, who takes student pilot/tourists for coastal excursions in ultralight aircraft, spotted an injured humpback whale from the air Monday in shallow water near Kauai. Commenters debated weighty issues such as the value of human vs. animal life, the appropriateness of euthanasia and the whale's place in the food chain. We received lots of thoughtful commentary (and an occasional comment from folks like the troll). Some debated natural selection versus man's intrusion on the natural world. There was also some talk about whether the photo was a hoax, but the majority of the commenters thought it was real.


Linda wrote, "There is no need to kill it. It will provide food for much of the sea life. This is a normal process. When we try to get involved we just tend to make matters worse. I don't blame the boats. I'm sure nobody decided to run this poor guy over. Now mother nature should be allowed to take its course and feed the others. We need to just respectfully stay out of the way." JimmyD said, "Sure there's no need to kill it, but it would be best for the whale if it were put out of it's miserly instantly. It will still end up as crab food, the only difference is it will not suffer for days. Probably a moot point anyway, as the whale hasn't been spotted recently per the article. Hope it's at peace." kado responded: "Linda, seems obvious but, here goes: If you kill the whale to release it from its continued misery, it will still provide food for birds and sea life, as long as you don't poison it. Ichthyologists: I think this is a good time to begin establishing a method for euthanising a large whale."


Denizen Kate said, "Mr. Charlebois calls this one of the most disturbing sights he's ever seen, so why is he eager to go back and look for it again? I should think one disturbing sighting would be enough. Let nature take its course for this poor creature, no need to gawk if you can't do anything to help. Seems morbid to me."


Art said, "To deny the natural process of a dying whale into the cycle of the life of the parasites and sharks that would dine on it, perhaps, would equally deny the shark, that also has as much domain as nature gives it, a freedom to exist in nature! Just because the whale is warm blooded and can sing, does not mean that the shark is any less a passenger on our little spaceship we call Earth."


Why more Americans don't travel abroad


Whether because of a lack of vacation time or a shortage of cash, this article takes on the reasons why American's aren't as big on international travel as those in some other countries. Commenters were all over the place, offering passionate explanations, whatever their perspective. It's hard to pick leading threads, but we'll give it a shot. There's plenty enough to see right here in the United States, many wrote. RT06 said, "It is a matter of convenience. The U.S. spans four time zones with desirable destinations in each. Road trips are as American as apple pie." dougt1 said, "I've been to Europe twice and Central America several times, but there is so much U.S. attractions that want to visit here in the U.S. that I just can't justify traveling around the world until all the U.S. place are done. Vegas, DC, NY, SF, LA, New Orleans and Miami are all a must see. I wouldn't go exclusive world traveling until you've checked these off the list."


For some, it's about politics. spydermax said, "Two reasons: Americans don't have the leisure and paid vacation time like Europeans. Also Americans listen to all the right-wing mythology about how everything and everywhere outside of the USA is dangerous, inferior, or just not worthy of our interest." jcondon26 said about the article, "You missed the real reason U.S. citizens don't travel abroad. Foreign countries take all the U.S. aid they can get, but look down on any US citizen traveling in their country and insist we respect their customs and beliefs when we are in their country. But if they come here, they expect us to accept their customs and behaviors without question. The only area I'll visit is the Caribbean and some areas of Mexico. The rest can go to hell."


Finally, there were some that like to travel abroad. Rick1948 said, "Traveling outside the United States is 100 times better than traveling inside the US. There's more interesting things to see, travel is cheaper once you get away from the domestic US airlines, and the people in foreign countries, with very few exceptions, treat you as if they're glad you're there -- rather than treating you like a walking paycheck for them. Some of my fondest memories of, for example, England, were sitting in pubs talking to older gentlemen who were in England during WWII. Their stories about the skies being black with formations of bombers, how the people coped with air raids -- all incredibly interesting. Americans don't travel a lot because it puts them out of their comfort zone -- different foods, languages, customs, etc. They miss a lot." In the words of someonenyc, "The world is big and beautiful. You only get to live once. See it, experience it, embrace it. Be a bird."


Do you feel your views align with these commenters' thoughts? Post a comment below or sound off on video.


Compiled by the moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

Posted by:
// February 9, 2011
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Overheard on Dude, where's my cubicle? »


Comment of the day: "I can handle a smaller cubicle as long they don't take my stapler." –Keksi


The shrinking American cubicle


A combination of the troubled economy and the influx of mobile technology is changing the workplace landscape and companies across the country are shrinking work areas—or scrapping the notion of the once-ubiquitous cubicles altogether.


CNN readers shared their concerns about the changes and how they’re experiencing them firsthand.


Midloo said, “I work for a Fortune 500 as a developer. My desk in a low-cube is going away and I'm moving into a converted closet with three other people next month. This is after a promotion. It is a nice closet, but definitely more cramped. I guess I'm just glad that the execs are getting more room; they need it to fit their growing wallets and fat heads. vintel7 said, “I once worked for an idiot that didn't have enough cubes for his top engineers because he took a 50 x 50 office for himself. shadman First my cubicle shrank. Then I was moved into an office with two other women! Now there is absolutely no privacy and 100 times more distraction. lauisifer said, “I used to have a cubicle too. Now I work from home and love every minute of it. There is one simple solution to shrinking cubes, just send your employees to their home office. My production is up 50 percent and I’m happier than I ever was dealing with office drama.”


Other readers discussed the idea of “open space” work environments.


guymcc1 said, “Dump the cubicles and go with the open office concept for promoting communications, sharing of ideas and team work. I hate it when the new hire is told ‘you're part of the team now and then directs them to a cubicle, not to be seen or heard of again!’” er632 said, “I got a lot more work done with a cubicle. I have tried both and what I noticed is that the type of people who tend to prefer open space usually spend more time sitting around terminals talking about the latest reality show or last night's drinking jag. I have yet to hear a great ‘idea' come from working in an open space.” chedar said, “I gave my employees open space. No cubicle. We are a group of 8 people so we can talk informally. It's more efficient.” But SoulardGuys said, “(That) may work for eight people who all like working with each other but I can assure you that it doesn't work in an office of 800.”


kaleani45 simply said, “WHO CARES! Consider yourself lucky if you have a cubicle at all these days regardless of the size.”


Woman leaves baby in toilet at circus


About the baby boy who is clinging to life at a South Carolina hospital three days after being abandoned in an arena toilet after a circus show, CNN readers were mainly saddened.


JimMNH said, “The particularly sad thing is that he appeared abandoned for 1-1.5 hours. No one else noticed or heard anything after the show? This person was the last person in the bathroom? How incredibly sad. And the video coverage of this is just sickening and cold.” texasgirl19 said, “It is very possible someone did hear but did not want to become involved. Some people are selfish and cruel and would rather look the other way.” CincyCat said, “For all we know, this could have been a 13 or 14 year old kid or someone who was the victim of rape. Let's put down the crosses and nails.” fuzzy4034 said, “Hang in there baby boy!” jcReliever said, “From the lowest beginnings, where will life take him now?”


Other readers either tried to understand the mother’s situation or shared their disgust for her actions.


josmith0110 said, “I was driving through South Carolina a few months ago and there were four or five billboards calling abortion a sin, saying abortion is murder, etc. With an environment like that, this story is heartbreaking, but not surprising. When a young mother feels trapped on both sides, not want to have a child, but feeling like she will go to hell if she aborts, it doesn't shock me that she chose to abandon the baby.” While andreamojay said, “Who the heck can look down and see a newborn struggling in a toilet full of water and just walk away? And don't tell me she didn't know she had a baby. As a mother of three kids, you know when you have had a baby.”


Olbermann going to Current TV


He’s back! On Tuesday, former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann announced that he'll be joining Current TV to be host and executive producer of a new primetime nightly news and commentary show. He’ll also be Current Media's chief news officer and will have an equity stake in the company, according to a statement.


Many readers were happy to hear the news while others were hoping Olbermann was on permanent vacation.


CJPA said, “Good-O for you, Keith. I miss you and your relevant commentary, as well as your take on Washington. I'll be looking for you!” imjustme said, “It's been too long Keith! Can't wait to see you back on the air once again! Hmb said, “So thrilled that Keith Olbermann will be returning to television – I so looked forward to watching him every evening – his insightfulness and honesty was so refreshing and can't wait to have him back! Karen said, “I can’t wait until you are free to return to blunt, non-restrictive comments and insight into our political arena. Our household misses you and can't wait for your return.”


But david-eye said, “Yo, Keith, a bit of advice. Try to learn the difference between "fact" and "opinion." Look it up in the dictionary if you must. And then, once you're settled in your new job, tell us the facts and keep your opinions to yourself. Your opinions are not "news." And Tom said, “Current TV? LOL! In other words, we'll never see Keith again. Good riddance.”


Do you feel your views align with these commenters' thoughts? Post a comment below or sound off on video


Compiled by the moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

Posted by: kgriggs // February 8, 2011
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Posted in: comments
Overheard on Readers take Christina and Groupon to task »

Comment of the day:  “If she had spent as much time going over the words as she did with that tortured arrangement or her makeup, then there might have only been two mistakes.” –Atlanta


Super Bowl: Chinese offended while Christina Aguilera takes heat


Nearly 24 hours after it ended, people are still talking about Super Bowl XLV—not the game necessarily, but Christina Aguilera’s lyrics flub and Groupon’s Tibet-themed commercial.


Of Aguilera fumbling on the National Anthem, CNN readers were split:


Annsrum said, “Oh come on, she messed up the words a little, big deal. She kept going and made it work which is what you are supposed to do when performing.” Alex said, “Get a life, she was caught up in the moment and made a mistake, life goes on. Those putting her down need to remember: nobody is perfect, not even you! You were amazing, Christina! Thanks!” chaseurdream said, “Christina was awesome! I thought it was one of the best anthems I've ever seen performed, despite its imperfections. Gave me goosebumps! Nobody's perfect.”


But Barry said, “I believe she shouldn't have personalized the song, but as far as the lyrical mistake goes, I'd take that over lip syncing any day.” 0beaumartin0 said, “I believe that Aguilera's performance was poor not because of her mistake in the Anthem itself, but rather her personalization of it. This is our nations Anthem. When it was written in 1814 as a part of a poem, Francis Scott Key meant for this to be a beautiful song. Christina Aguilera's version was far from beautiful.” Paul Willson said, “I thought she would have known the lyrics. Maybe celebs doing the anthem should be replaced by a military band leading the anthem.”


Readers weren’t as divided about the Groupon ad -- nearly everyone thought it didn’t work:   Marsetti said, “The commercial should have upset both the Chinese and the Tibetans. It was just in really bad taste.” Jess2010Jess said, “I unsubscribed from Groupon after I saw the ad and I bet I'm not the only one. The ad’s offense wasn't about "being PC" or not. Anyone who spends five minutes researching what's happened in that country for the last 60 years isn't going to think the ad was "awesome." Would we think it was an "awesome" commercial if references to the Holocaust were used to sell discounts on kosher pickles? Subsist said, “Kind of sad really. Not only did the commercial completely miss its mark, but try as it might it wasn't even humorous. It was in poor taste, ill-conceived, and ill-advised.”


A few readers encouraged people to lighten up about the ad. Goss said, “I bet the Dalai Lama has a sense of humor and wouldn't have minded this one.”


Assange attorneys plead for money on Facebook


The lawyers for Julian Assange, head of the WikiLeaks’ site, are asking for financial help via Facebook. Assange is currently under strict bail conditions in England and faces a hearing this week on possible extradition to Sweden. And based on reader comments, not only are most going to skip making donations, they won’t be supporting him in any way.


opus512 said, “He wanted fame, now he's got it. Too bad for him it goes both ways.” jrseygypsy48 said, “Not one cent to this smug, pompous idiot! You are no hero for releasing pages of information that are out of context and no one knows how one thing connects with another. Information without explanation is just as dangerous as no information or perverted information. Those of you who think he is some sort of hero are just as blind and twisted as he is, so go ahead and carry your ‘information’ king on your shoulders and fund his personal bank accounts.” Rick1948 said, “$5,700? Guess the number of people who think WikiLeaks is a great idea isn't as huge as everyone claims.” IMUSAPatriot said, “The lawyers themselves have their hands out for the donations?! ‘Our client needs donations so that he can afford the hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees that we're going to charge him. Please help!’ LOL!”


Other readers support Assange and plan on giving. Camar0RS said, “Both Manning and Assange are international heroes. Their action revealed the long corrupt and deceptive nature of the West and compelled more transparency among Western governments. The international community and Human Rights Watch group should call for the immediate release of these two political prisoners.” geoffwood61 said, “I’ve given money to WikiLeaks and I pay for a WikiLeaks mirror site and if you or anybody else, including the FBI, don’t like it, tough.” Cthulhu said, “I will certainly help Mr. Assange. If you don't want to know what your government is doing and like the lies you are being fed, don't read WikiLeaks. Simple.”


Passengers mutiny over baggage fees


A group of students on a Ryanair flight heading from the Canary Islands to Brussels, Belgium, on Saturday caused a ruckus after some of them were told to pay a fee for oversized luggage at the gate. The Irish carrier is famous for its low-base fares and variety of fees.


Some readers reported firsthand experience with the airline: gebby12 said, “I flew Ryanair with five friends once. They weigh your bags when you get to the check-in counter. The first five of us checked in no problem, but then they decided the last girl in our group had to pay the absurd extra baggage fee, even though her bag weighed the same as ours and wouldn’t let her on the plane until she did. It really put a damper on the trip since we were all pretty low on funds at the time. They always appear to have the cheapest fares but then smack you with all these hidden fees after you book.” Wobbles said, “Flying Ryanair is like being forced to ride in a cattle car of a train while being poked with an electrical prod even on its best days. I'd rather ride a donkey to my destination than to fly with them. Better customer service at the DMV. “


Other readers sided with the airline. PNWwriter said, “You want cheap, you get cheap. They are the Walmart of the sky.” james1095 said, “I hate the fees as much as the next guy, but to act up the way they did is like picking up a bunch of stuff in a store marked with prices, getting rung up and then flipping out at the clerk.”


Do you feel your views align with these commenters' thoughts? Post a comment below or sound off on video


Compiled by the moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

Posted by: kgriggs // February 7, 2011
 3 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: comments
The world celebrates the Year of the Rabbit »


Asian communities around the world are celebrating the Lunar New Year with temple visits, parades, traditional lion, dragon and folk dances. With the Year of the Rabbit now in full swing, iReporters have been capturing the colorful celebrations.


“It’s hard not to get caught up in the celebrations,” says Neal Moore, an iReporter in Taipei, Taiwan. On Sunday, Moore visited the Songshan Tsuhui Temple, a popular Buddhist temple located in the hills just above Taipei City, where crowds gathered to pray, eat and celebrate. Temple spokeswoman Tina Kuo told him the Year of the Rabbit will bring luck in love.



It was perfect weather for the Chinese New Year parade in New York’s Chinatown on Sunday, says Emad Karim, who spent several hours documenting the festivities. He saw children playing with firecrackers and elderly people participating in large groups, playing drums and waving flags from the U.S. and China.



Families in China celebrate the Lunar New Year as their most important holiday. Peng Yao's family joined thousands of other people at Mount Jiuhua, about 250 miles from Shanghai, to “pray for a peaceful new year and wish for good luck.” He saw not only Chinese, but Koreans, Japanese and Tibetans praying for good fortune.


Yao, 22, hopes his family members stay healthy, his relationship “remains firm and tight,” and he receives a job promotion in the new year.



In Paris, France, iReporter Lawrence Langner inadvertently found himself thrust into the festivities when he went to a Chinese grocery store for noodles and rice vinegar – and encountered dancing dragons in the aisles.


The Lunar New Year continues through February 17. How are you celebrating? Share your photos and footage.

Posted by: dsashin // February 7, 2011
 1 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: stories
Overheard on Treacherous Super Bowl travel »

Editor's Note: We thought we'd take a look at some of the conversations taking place on about Super Bowl Sunday. We also have a bunch of awesome iReports along similar lines, so we decided to wrap it all into one succinct little package. Behold the result.


Dieter Sturm and Mark Madson show off their snowy, icy window of their PackerMobile as it pauses during the long and chilly trip from Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin, to see the Super Bowl in Texas. The two buddies departed on their slow-and-steady trek Thursday morning after being delayed two days by weather conditions. They hoped to be in Dallas by Friday evening to make the Packers fish fry. They also became just a few of the iReporters who shared perspectives on this year's epic Super Bowl matchup.


COMMENT OF THE DAY: "I thinks it's cool that they're trying to make both teams feel like they're at home, now that's a nice Super Bowl host. GO PACKERS!" --jj20091991


Icy weather stifles pre-Super Bowl fun


One big talker right now is all the snow and ice in Dallas with the Super Bowl happening in just a couple of days. Many offered alternate suggestions for locations, and several said Super Bowls should not be restricted only to warm-weather places:


pokerstarr noted, "Here in Anchorage, Alaska, it is sunny and a balmy 30 degrees F." busybiz chimed in that temperatures could hit the 40s for Super Bowl Sunday. ChefWahoo said, "It would be nice if this leads to 'cold weather' cities being given a chance at hosting the Super Bowl. It might not be sunny in Seattle, but it's quite a bit warmer here than it is in Texas. Our airport is open, the roads are clear, and all of our hotels and restaurants have electricity. Too bad we're just too far north to be in consideration." PLoudmouth wrote, "All NFL franchise cities should host Super Bowls, it is unfair to the cities and stadiums of the cold teams to never get to share in that revenue and exposure. it sure would not have hurt the economies of Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Chicago, Green Bay, Denver, Cincinatti, Buffalo, Foxboro, Baltimore, Philidelphia, and Kansas City as most of those cities sure could use some big events as well. It's football and it's played in the winter time. Suck it up and play it like its suppose to be played."


Still others advocated the warm places. screenname35 advocated Phoenix, Arizona, as did detroitjames. (Note: Phoenix is having its own version of a cold snap right now.) BlueLucy said, "They should've held the Super Bowl in South Florida again! Hey, it's 78 degrees and sunny here! Gorgeous tourist weather and a place fans would really like to go." MAXIMUS5150 described "a cool 79 degrees outside right now with birds chirping and gorgeous women walking around ten fold! Ha ha ha!" BobHopeGhost replied, "Real football fans like cold weather games. Especially Steelers and Green Bay fans."


Starskristen defended Dallas' response to the weather. "For the 15,000th time: No, DFW was not prepared for the worst winter weather in 30+ years. It is rather hard to prepare for something that no one has ever seen. Yes, people up north have worse weather than this all the time. They also have an army of snow plows, chains and, best of all, the experience of an entire community to know how to deal with it. It is just really bad luck that this happens to be the week when the Super Bowl is happening." Rulerocks01 asked, "What would you expect? The NFL has pushed further and further back into basically middle winter the Super Bowl in trying to milk the season for all it's got. Now they want an 18 game season. That would help in their case since it would probably push the Super Bowl further back into probably the desired spring weather."


Your Super Bowl tributes


While we're talking about it, we just wanted to give a shout to all the fantastic iReports we received about the Super Bowl. We saw a lot of snow creations, which seems appropriate given the above story.


Steelers fans gave us some solid posts, like the solid steel from whence they came. Ronnie Ray Jenkins, currently on holiday in British Columbia, sent us a song he composed called "Creamed Cheese." In his song, he suggests that the Packers will be wrapped in foil packs. David P. Fulmer took a photo of a festive Storm Trooper at a rally for the Steelers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Storm Trooper was wearing a "Terrible Towel" cape. Waving the Terrible Towel is a fan tradition for the Steelers. David Roscow of Bethesda, Maryland, shared a video of his kids waving Terrible Towels as well. He said he remembers the Steelers' heyday when he was growing up in Pittsburgh and is excited that his kids will get to see the team succeed as well.


But the Packer showing was very, very strong. Nell Gelhaus shared this photo of her family's snow helmets in Medford, Wisconsin. Gelhaus says everyone is a Packers fan, despite this agnostic creation. Funda Ray of Hibbing, Minnesota, shared a photo of the two Super Bowl snowmen at her home, and also declared allegiance to the Packers. We also saw a straight-up cheesehead snowman from Vivian Knoble of Roscoe, Illinois. Finally, we were intrigued by photos sent by Cindy Schultz that show all manner of costuming and fandom as her Packers family attended a skiing competition in Eveleth, Minnesota.


The other big game this weekend: Puppy Bowl


OTHER COMMENT OF THE DAY: "Who wants to watch this stuff? All the puppies are roided out, there's so much trash talking and primadonna antics. Puppy bowl I was very pure hardnosed dog football. Nowadays it's just whining overpaid puppies and medical freaks. Thanks but no thanks." --SadPanda


People love the Puppy Bowl. The comments we got on this story were some of the most passionate and funny and huggable and cuddly that we've ever seen.


sunkenroad62 said, "My 5-year-old daughter simply loves the Puppy Bowl. We've watched this for the past three years. It's usually the highlight of my Super Bowl Sunday too since my team (the Eagles) can't seem to get in. I usually DVR this so she can watch it again and again. She can't wait 'till Sunday!" The commenter then added, "BTW...I miss Harry Kalas. He was one of, if not the original, commentator for Puppy Bowl. Phillies games just aren't the same ..." themoi said, "Puppeh Bowl is LOL funny! And the kitteh cheerleaders are a riot! I think I'll have a cheezburger with that show!"


laojsemz aptly observed, "This may be the first comment board I've read with no snarky comments. I guess that it's hard to be mean when faced with puppys." JustAreader replied, "Yep, the puppies are too young to have chosen a political affiliation, so for now they are all independents. Makes for a much nicer game and much nicer comment board." But maybe EarthPlanet said it best? "Puppy Bowl is eventually going to get so big that they're going to have to start calling the other one the Human Bowl."



Do you feel your views align with these commenters' thoughts? Post a comment below or sound off on video.


Compiled by the moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

Posted by:
// February 4, 2011
 2 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: comments
Overheard on Google + Bing + sting + hiybbprqag »


COMMENT OF THE DAY from user sunpacific:

You have to admire Bing's succinct programming:
answer Bing(question) {
answer = Google(question);
return answer;


Google: Sting proves Bing copied us


The story of the Bing sting has been a big thing on the interwebs, and the result seemed to ring true for a lot of people, except those who thought this was an article about Sting and that other Bing.


Scatology wrote, "I thought this was an article about Sting (formerly of '80s band The Police) and Bing Crosby. I must say I am a bit disappointed." What th'? asked, "How can Sting possibly prove this? Bing has been dead since 1977. That was long before Al Gore invented the internets." Among those not thinking of music, Banned4NoRsn said, "Who doesn't appreciate a good hiybbprqag once in a while?" The commenter was referring of course to one search term traced from Google to Bing. RckStrBeauty said, "Never liked Bing, I actually avoid it, so I'm happy to read this." FarCenterGuy observed, "But I thought it was BING Because It's Not Google." fishkitty asked, "I primarily use Google. But sometimes I can find results I'm looking for on Bing that I can't seem to get to on Google. I don't know why any one 'search engine' thinks it needs a bleepin' monopoly.' " holkudla said in response, "I care. If I want to use Bing, I'll use Bing. But if I'm using Bing, I don't want Bing using Google and claiming it as their own. If we accept this type of behavior, where would be the motivation to be innovative? Why not just have Bing go directly to Google?"


Badorties said the technology needs further exploration: "This discussion is 95 percent emotion (Microsoft = Bad; Google = Good) and maybe 5 percent logical. ... There isn't much chance of a rational discussion in this forum." TomSki wrote, "Google created a fake result in their engine for a website. On a Google database. Somehow that result made it into Bing's database. The result on Bing's engine could not have occurred through searching the Net. Meaning Bing is using Google's data to create their own database." A few commenters wondered what this might mean. Paganone said, "Microsoft, No longer a business of innovation, only duplication. They duplicate Google (Bing), Apple (Windows 7), Adobe graphics and many many more. Microsoft is a failure in today's technology. They might as well hand the torch to Apple, people that actually innovate new ideas and think differently."


Kepler space telescope spots five Earth-sized planets in our galaxy


Readers talked about the science of planets and the philosophy of wondering about life "out there" and why human beings are compelled to gaze at the stars. elmo218 said, "So we find life on a planet 2,000 light years away. Now how does that help us here on Earth. We can't even go to Mars yet and we are spending money trying to find life 2000 light years away. Even if we were able to develop a way to get to these far distance planets, human nature on Earth tells me that we will only try to exploit anything that will benefit us or go to War with them. How about taking all of these funds and trying to better our life here on Earth. Not to mention trying to learn more about things that are a lot closer, like our own souls."


AstronomyGuy replied, "Studying planets like ours adds directly to our knowledge of how our home works. Traveling to those places is not a main concern. Learning from them is, and you can learn quite a lot from afar." He said in a different post, "Over billions of years our planet has experienced drastic changes -- catastrophic impacts, temperature swings, super volcanic activity blotting out the sky, ice ages, etc. Now imagine you've tracked down a bunch of planets like Earth. You could potentially catch any of those Earth-like planets in any of those Earth-like states and watch them happen in real time." CAlbertson continued, "Better Answer: Humans evolved and survived for a million years because they had this odd ability to walk long distances, remember what they saw and go back and tell others about it. ... A compulsion to do that is built into our genes. So we will look at far away things and tell people what we see because we can't stop ourselves from doing it."


Obama delivers major speech on personal faith


A common theme among responses to this blog post about President Barack Obama's faith was that religion is a choice, not something that someone embodies or is born into. For example, read this pointed exchange: Rob Johnson said, "I was born a Christian. I respect the Bible. I recognize Christianity as a legitimate religion. Are you really going to say that makes me a Christian?" white rose said, "You can't be BORN a Christian! Jesus doesn't automatically come into your heart the day you're born. You can be born into a Christian home, you can go to a Christian church, but you CHOOSE to be a Christian once you believe and accept that Jesus died for our sins and repent. That's the only way you can be a Christian!"


Or this one: Tafa said, "I have been reading for years about skepticism of the faith of a president who is admired by all nations around the globe. ... Why do we twist the truth America? He is our Christian brother in Christ. God bless him again and again! Matt said, "Even if he were born a Muslim, and converted Christian, he would be a Christian nonetheless, because he believes in the Christian religion. I personally think he is neither, and rather an agnostic, who knows that he must fake faith to hold the presidency. I wish that it were possible for we agnostics/atheists to come out of the closet and show the world that many people that they hold to be truly good are non-believers."


HPV vaccine effective in men


There were two big issues being hashed out with this story: the difference in each gender's health care and the safety and utility of vaccines in general. roginac said, "I am glad steps are being taken in men and women to lessen the spread of HPV. My sister-in-law passed away 1.5 weeks ago due to uterine cancer. She was only 31 years old. There is no way to know if the cause was HPV, but even if there was a small chance that it was, it makes me relieved to know there is a vaccine out there that could possibly prevent the same fate for other women in the future. Or a man from a different type of cancer. NAK- I am not sure how men are checked, but women are checked yearly as part of their physical . Maybe there is a way men can be tested yearly as well." kmcg replied, "No way to check in males, right now at least! (unless it's affected their throat or mouth) ... and just like in women, sometimes you can carry a wart or cancer-causing strain and you yourself will never have a negative symptom... but it's always good to know you can try and keep you partner(s) safe as well as yourself!"


xula1996 said, "Folks, we need to be careful as our government is practically run by big business with pharmaceuticals being one of them. I just find it very interesting how our kids suddenly need so many vaccinations. While what they claim these drugs offer sound amazing, we have to be careful not to allow our children to be used as test cases and a means for folks to make a lot of money." candymancoug said, "They need the vaccines because they prevent the diseases that were common in past generations, including our own. Vaccines are the main defense against many diseases, and the more there are, the better the progress we have against these major diseases."


Do you feel your views align with these commenters' thoughts? Post a comment below or sound off on video.


Compiled by the moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

Posted by:
// February 3, 2011
 10 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: comments
CNN iReport roundtable: 3 p.m. Thursdays »

Our weekly CNN iReport roundtable is coming up at 3 p.m. ET, so we hope you'll join us. We're looking forward to talking with everyone.


This is a chance share your ideas, questions, comments and concerns with the iReport staff and the CNN iReport community.


We'll open comments at 3 p.m. ET.

Posted by:
// February 3, 2011
 61 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: community
Overheard on Weird Al's path to success »


COMMENT OF THE DAY: "True story. I'm 10 and at my best friend's house. We are in his bedroom listening to a Weird Al album. Suddenly it sounds as though his cat is singing along with the music. My friend and I look at each other. Next thing I know my friend is yelling "Don't throw up, don't throw up" at the cat. The cat barfs up a furball all over the rug. To this day I can't hear Weird Al without thinking of that day." --ScholarCat


What happened when Weird Al grew up


Lots of awesome comments came in on this story, ranging from memories to musings on the path to success or what might have been. What can Weird Al teach us about success?


vonspoo said, "I saw Weird Al in concert when I was 13 and he rocked the place! It was a tiny, tiny venue but he gave it his all! He used to sing in the bathroom at Cal-Poly too, I've been told. It was one near the campus radio station ... the acoustics in there were indeed incredible."


HGrumpford wrote, "...I had a guidance counselor talk me out of my dream of being a cartoonist for MAD Magazine. NEVER TRUST GUIDANCE COUNSELORS!" depo136 said, "Now a 51-year-old application developer. Been working at IBM since I was 18, but always wanted to do what Al does. It's a darn shame. Trying to bridge the gap keeping track of my 'humorq' at a website I made."


adamante82 says, "People should be cautiously encouraged to follow their dreams. Al, congrats, you made it! But when every kid tries to be Michael Jordan or Barry Sanders or a voice over for Sponge Bill Circle Foot and only 0.001 percent succeed ... well, maybe being a coach or a teacher, or something else related to your dream isn't such a bad idea." blueparadise replied, "People who 'cautiously' follow their dreams, don't get their dreams. In fact, people who 'cautiously' do anything in life, don't go very far. apstar said, "Weird Al is a very smart individual -- the article neglects to mention he skipped two grades in high school. Comparable in some ways to Alice Cooper, who is also an intelligent individual, the image is very carefully crafted and executed, only showing what talent is really behind it all."


'Big Lebowski 2' in the works?


Some speculation is in the air about a "Big Lebowski 2," especially on the heels of actor Jeff Bridges' acclaimed appearance in the Coen brothers' latest film, "True Grit." We got lots of spirited commentary: back-and-forth about whether a sequel should be made, and colorful references to bowling and peeing on rugs and White Russians and tying a room together.


Thomas in Vancouver wrote, "You can't be serious. A sequel to Big Lebowski will probably go over as well as Blues Brothers 2000 did. Classics should be left alone. George Lucas proved this beyond all doubt." Thomas also posted a list of what he called "hideous sequels": "The Sting II; Highlander II; Basic Instinct II; Both Matrix sequels; Clerks II; Caddyshack II; Grease II; Speed II; Dirty Dancing II (for those who liked the first one - I did not); The Godfather III; Heavy Metal II; The Next Karate Kid; Conan the Destroyer; Jaws: The Revenge. ... Most of these films had the same creative forces behind them as the originals and they failed miserably. And don't think for a second that the Coen Brothers are infallible. Remember 'The Ladykillers' with Tom Hanks and 'Intolerable Cruelty' with Clooney? They're hoping you don't."


Thomas' multiple comments got equally passionate replies. Beth said, "Oh, Thomas, Thomas, Thomas -- You CANNOT compare the Coen Brothers and Jeff Bridges to the Wachowskis and Keanu Reeves. Yes, there are lots of terrible sequels out there, but not all sequels are bad. So the Coens' made two bad movies out of 18. Hardly cause to pan the possibility of a new Lebowski movie. THE DUDE MUST ABIDE. Besides, Jeff Bridges is good even in a terrible movie. Case in point: 'Tron' and 'Tron: Legacy.' Really just terrible movies, but he's so good in them you kinda like them anyway."


the_dude said, "Please don't destroy the legacy of the Big Lebowski. There is no way you could possibly top the original. No way in hell." Hmmm... said, "Agreed that you can't top the original, but as long as the Coens are writing/directing and you can at least get Bridges and Goodman back, I think you can make a solid flick out of it.


And, well, drap said, "Great news ... I feel like peeing on rug..."


Lunchtime poll: Where do you get your recipes? (and a bacon meatloaf bonus)


We're always impressed with the comments that come in on these lunchtime polls. Eatocracy has a wonderful community. There was a memo circulating that bacon is all the rage these days, but we were a little surprised at the passionate responses about bacon meatloaf. Commenters took this post and ran with it, expressing their love for bacon and waxing nostalgic for old bacon meatloaf recipes or food-making techniques.


Me was one of the bacon lovers. "Love anything with bacon. Love the rich, smoky flavor it gives it's 'host' food. Plus, it's a great way to keep other meats tender and moist -- self basting!" SMA suggests, "Try frying sliced bacon, drain the grease, and then add to your meat mixture." Lian said, "I have made the bacon meatloaf many times in the past and it's always a big hit around here. I have changed it a bit by flattening out the hamburg on parchment paper and layering ham, cheese and spinach and then rolling it and sealing the ends. Delish!" Susan wrote, "I tend to read cookbooks like novels -- then go create my own version. I often use or sometimes I google a particular ethnic specialty. I LOVE old cookbooks, and have a ton of them, plus family recipes. I like to cook from scratch, so I usually make up my own version when a recipe calls for canned or processed stuff. LOVED the bacon meatloaf! I'm pretty sure I ate this at my grandmother's house when I was growing up. We ate fried Spam for breakfast there, too!"


Do you feel your views align with these commenters' thoughts? Post a comment below or sound off on video


Compiled by the moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

Posted by:
// February 2, 2011
 2 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: comments
Snowy conditions bury cities, halt travel »

Groundhog predictions notwithstanding, massive winter storms are sweeping much of the nation. The Midwest and Ohio Valley have been walloped with major snowstorms, and Chicago, Illinois, is at the epicenter.


We put up our assignment asking readers for photos capturing this event, and in a span of less than 24 hours, you responded with more than 500 new iReports showing just how much snow and ice you're contending with.


We then made a map of iReports with the images we've approved for use on CNN, and it's interesting to see that they lined up in a similar pattern as the official CNN weather map. The map is constantly changing, but a rough line of iReports can be seen running from the plains to Michigan, with a separate stripe on the East Coast and sometimes a dot in New Mexico. Here's a sampling of some of the images we've received:



In Chicagoland, iReporters struggled to dig out. Sruthi Swaminathan lives downtown and took this picture of the famous "Cloud Gate" structure reflecting the snow in the city. Roy von Helms of Arlington Heights, Illinois, spent an hour and a half trying to clear the snow at his home. He estimated that 22 inches of snow had collected. Even his snow blower wasn't tall enough to do the trick. "I had to use a shovel and a snow blower. Knock it down, flatten it, then snow blow it." Inside the city, Saskia Harak ventured out to Lake Michigan and found an eerie frozen scene outside, as well as several feet of snow piled up inside the tunnels under Lake Shore Drive.



Texas saw a significant splattering of snow and ice, and some iReporters were left baffled. Mary Hudnall of Carrollton, Texas, wondered if the cold-weather dwellers going to the Super Bowl in Dallas were responsible for the pervasive chill, and shot photos of the frozen conditions around her home. Dallas drivers, and fliers, were stalled by icy conditions. Hudnall said she's been staying at home due to all the ice and snow, echoing many other iReporters who said the storm system was affecting travel in their area.



Blizzard conditions provided a prime photo opportunity for Jill Wellington of Saginaw, Michigan. She says she was awakened at 3 a.m. by thunder and snow, and felt like she had to get a picture of herself. She threw on her coat and went out, still in her pajamas, to capture the scene.



Some places got more deep freeze and less of the white stuff. Caroline Esch of St. Louis, Missouri, sent us photos of ice coating branches and berries throughout the city.


The amount of snowy iReports we've gotten is almost too difficult to summarize, and it's a bit awe-inspiring to thumb through all of it. What kind of weather do you have near you? Share your thoughts in the comments area below, or share photos and video of your own.

Posted by:
// February 2, 2011
 4 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: stories
Overheard on Avoiding bad cats »


Comment of the day: “Do not name your cat anything that can be associated with 'crazy.' I named mine Luna and she's nuts.” –missjuju


Good kitty?


One of the most popular stories on today was an article that included tips and advice about how to choose a good cat -- or avoid a rotten one. readers, including cat lovers, shared stories about their furry friends, how they drive them crazy and how they (usually) love them anyway.


meow7 said, “I am a cat lover to the core, but there are a few bad ones out there. My grandma adopted a small kitten several years ago. She was meek and quiet at first, but as her personality developed we discovered she had the surliest, nastiest attitude ever. She was vicious; biting (drawing blood) and scratching every day for no reason whatsoever. Grandma and Grandpa were both cat people who doted on their animals, but this cat was just a rotten apple. If you let her be, she'd attack. If you tried to pet, she'd attack.”


miamigrrrl said, “I let my daughter adopt a kitten from a shelter for Christmas a few years ago and from the moment we brought her home, she has peed all over the house. No infections, no health issues, spotless cat box. She just likes to pee everywhere but her box, which she uses when it strikes her fancy. Pees on our beds, in our laundry baskets, has even worked her way into drawers. And she isn't even that nice.”


TNopinion said, “I have a mischievous one as well and wouldn't trade him for anything. I come home to a new "find" every day, whether it be a Christmas tree on its side, an unpotted plant, a roll of toilet paper that has been killed, or stolen stuffed animals found in odd places. I walked in the door one day and he had a Barbie doll head in his mouth just sitting there waiting to show me his kill. Never a dull moment.”


Neoneocon said, “The first day I had my new kitten she peed in my shoes. I loved that cat.”


Unrest in Egypt and al Qaeda


What will the mass protests in Egypt mean for al Qaeda? Paul Cruickshank, an analyst on terrorism for CNN and Alumni Fellow at the NYU Center on Law and Security, say it spells bad news for the terrorist cell.


Many CNN readers appreciated Cruickshank’s knowledge, while some disagreed with his conclusions.


heather2011 said, “This is actually a great piece! I hope readers make it as far as the 5th paragraph, which ends with hugely important insight: ‘…for energized Arab populations, never has the group (al Qaeda) seemed more irrelevant. The Obama administration should not let the moment get away.’ Obama are you hip to this? You could end the threat of terrorism. This is YOUR sputnik moment!” NorthE said, “I'm glad to see rays of hope. I can't see any radical religion taking over this country. The younger generation wants change without religion in the government.” MeThinketh said, “This article clearly (and hopefully) illustrates that al Qaeda has preyed on the downtrodden with no future, and helped their cause by making sure their "brothers" had no future, other than with them.”


Shipdriver54 is not so sure about the demise of al Qaeda: “Al Qaeda will continue to recruit from Egypt. In the meantime, perhaps this author could enlighten us as to how many ‘democratic’ revolutions in Muslim countries have actually succeeded. I can't find one and I have a Masters Degree in European History and over 20 years service as a Naval officer with a political military subspecialty in Europe and the Middle East. Rule No. 1: You overstate the demise of al Qaeda, you do so at our peril.” sandpeople agreed: “Egyptians fuel al Qaeda. What makes you think there will not become a five-star hotel for al Qaeda when they finally wrest control? Osama will get penthouse accommodations instead of that dirty, drippy old cave.”


Super bowl causes heart attacks?


When you watch the Super Bowl this year, you may want to add an hour of mediation—before and after the game. A recent study published Monday in the journal Clinical Cardiology shows that the emotional stress fans feel after a loss may trigger fatal heart attacks, especially in people who already have heart disease or for those who are at risk due to factors such as obesity, smoking and diabetes. readers mainly scoffed at the study.


PaddyWagon said, “Easiest way to avoid the heart attack: Root for the Bears.”  SarahInTexas said, “It probably has less to do with emotional stress or excitement related to the game and much more with lazy, chip-eating, beer-drinking couch potato football fans.” ScotsSlant said, “Now that's a relief: Since my team didn't make it to the big game I'll be around for another year.” Byrd33 said, “Well, I am a Lion’s fan. I never have to worry about Super Bowl stress!” erik99 said, “This is why the entire greater metropolitan Buffalo area died in early 90s. I'm not sure why I survived. Damn u Scott Norwood. Damn you.” Wabbit said, “There are worse ways to go out.”


YOUR TURN: Now that you've read what other people are saying, do you find that your views align with theirs? Think of this as a wishing well in need of your two cents. Post a comment below or sound off on video.


Compiled by the moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

Posted by: kgriggs // February 1, 2011
 17 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: comments
Meet our newest interns »


You may have noticed a couple of new faces popping up around the site lately. We welcomed two new interns, Nancy Thanki and Jareen Imam, to the team last week and they’ve been busy approving great iReport content ever since.


We asked Nancy and Jareen to write short bios to introduce themselves to the community:


Nancy: My name is Nancy Thanki. I am an Indian with an “American” name … it often confuses people. I have loved reading and writing ever since I moved to the U.S. I was the kid reading books the size of her head in elementary school as well as the one librarians knew by name. Even though I have grown since then, the size of the books I read have seemed to too. Regardless, I am a girl that needs creative outlets in her life the same way people need sleep. I love drawing and photography. Most of my notes from class are generally covered in doodles. '


However random these interests may seem, they have all helped nurture my interest in media and the news. I am a third-year Science, Technology, and Culture major with a Media concentration at Georgia Institute of Technology. I have written for my school newspaper, the Technique, since fall 2009 and was the study abroad columnist from May to December 2010 while I was studying in Europe. The CNN iReport internship is an amazing opportunity to get my first taste at both journalism and the media industry. It is a great combination of professional news and everyday people. I am really looking forward to the semester and working with some extremely talented people.


Jareen: My name is Jareen Imam, and I very excited to be a CNN Intern!


When I was in elementary school, I remember being asked what I wanted to be when I grow up. You know that generic question that seems to trail behind you until you actually get a job. Well, at the tender age of nine I wasn’t quite sure how to sum up my career goals. I just knew I wanted to tell stories, and that eventually brought me to journalism.


Currently, I’m a senior at Emory University, where I am finishing up my Creative Writing and Journalism double major. Besides writing for my school paper, I am also the managing editor of Emory’s Political Review, an editor for Emory’s notoriously funny satirical magazine, and an executive producer at Emory’s student-run television station, where we just started our first student run news program. Just recently I finished an internship with CBS 48 Hours, where I worked on over 18 episodes primarily doing field reporting, interviews, and filming with a CBS Producer.


For this last semester I plan to produce two student films, and expand my graphic design and digital illustration blog. As for what I want to do when I grow up, telling stories still ranks at number one.


We’re thrilled to welcome them to the exciting world of iReport. Be sure to say hello and give them a warm welcome!

Posted by: katie // February 1, 2011
 7 comments // Add a comment
Posted in: site
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