Facebook Helps Military Families Cope

At the beginning of the war in Afghanistan back in 2001 there was no such thing as Facebook. Today many spouses say that without Facebook they don’t know how they would cope.

One military spouse, Melanie McNicol explains: “I check the computer every five minutes,” for news and updates from her husband Jim’s Facebook page.
Jim McNicol is serving in Afghanistan as part of the Army’s 59th Mobility Augmentation Company, based in Fort Hood, Texas. And that unit has its own Facebook page which the captain regularly updates for the families back home.

One example of the kinds of things being written on Facebook dates from December 4, 2010:
“You should be proud of amazing work your Soldiers have done. We should be able to settle into a more predicable schedule soon. …”
The praise for the use of Facebook in this way has been resounding and unanimous.

“It has made all the difference in the world!!!!! (I cannot) express how much having contact like this has meant to all of our family while our soldier serves in Afghanistan,” one military spouse wrote.

History Breaking News from Amazon

According to a press release issued from the offices of Amazon, the giant online shopping center, the newest Kindle is now officially the “Bestselling Product in Amazon History.” A bit short on details, however, the press release did not specify exactly how many Kindle-Threes it sold to beat out the now second bestselling product in Amazon history, the last of the Harry Potter books, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Unfortunately, since Amazon never released how many of those Harry Potter books it sold to become Amazon’s bestselling product, we are still left in the dark about how many Kindle-Threes Amazon has sold.

In a moment of weakness quite out of character for the secretive Amazon executives they did tell the public in December 2007 that until that date over 12 million copies of all the seven Harry Potter titles had been sold at Amazon.

So now if we do the math we can figure that there were most likely more than one million, but less than 12 million Kindle-Threes sold at Amazon this year.

Amazing Innovations for 2010

1. Bionic legs were developed this year which can help paraplegics to stand up and walk. This device, called E-legs, is designed to help those who have been told that they will never walk again, to walk. Using sensors to interpret from the person to the electronic legs where the person wants to go, these legs can take him there.
2. Electric cars are beginning to make headway into the car marketplace, especially the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Bolt. There are still limitations like the price and the speed, but you can still just plug-in and go. Due to greater demand every car manufacturer has designed at least one model of these gas-saving wonders.
3. Apple’s iPad is one of the most popular new innovations of the past year. Steve Jobs called the iPad a truly magical and revolutionary product. This amazing device bridges the gap between laptops and smartphones, and in just the first month Apple sold over 1 million of these babies.

Three Fifteen-Minute-of-Famers for 2010

According to Andy Warhol, everyone at some point in their lives will experience ’15 minutes of fame.’ As we approach the end of the year Nifty Threads asks “Who were those lucky personalities in 2010 that received their 15 minutes of fame?”

1. Ever heard of Steven Slater? He experienced his 15 minutes when, as a JetBlue flight attendant, he lost his temper and deplaned only after first grabbing a beer and then deploying the emergency slide, his preferred way to exit the scene. After becoming an instant star as a ‘working class hero’ he was fired from his job and was summoned to court to explain his bizarre behavior. Now he has dreams of becoming a rap star.

2. Anna Chapman, ‘sex-symbol-for a day’ was accused back in June of working for the Russian’s as a spy while she dated New York’s pre-powerful crowd and held parties as a “foreign hostess with the mostest.” The media lavished some cute nicknames on her, including, “femme fatale,” “the modern day Bond girl” and “the stunning SoHo spy.”

3. My personal favorite momentarily famous person is not a person at all, but an octopus. Paul the Octopus, that is. This magical German mollusk was able to predict the winners of eight of the World Cup matches. How so? The competitors of each match offered the eight legged oracle a tidbit of food, and whichever snack he ate first was his pick to win. Quite amazing, but if you think you can get him to predict the upcoming winners in your own favorite competitive sport, or the stock market, you are out of luck. Poor Paul died this past October, of natural causes. He nevertheless has his place in history through T-shirts and a fun iPhone app.

Indian Satellite Explodes Soon After Take-Off

Indian-SateliteIn what was India’s second satellite launch failure this year, a rocket carrying an Indian communication satellite exploded soon after to take-off on Saturday. Just moments after the launch of the satellite television images show an exploding rocket in fire and smoke high above Sriharikota space center in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The failed rocket was carrying a GSAT-5P communication satellite into Earth’s orbit.

According to the chairman of the Indian Space Research organization K. Radhakrishnan the rocket developed a problem exactly 47 seconds after lift-off, when it also lost command. Due to the resulting higher angle there was higher stress on the vehicle, causing it to explode.

Back in April of this year a similar failure occurred when a rocket on a developmental flight crashed into the Bay of Bengal. Excessive pressure and thermal problems most likely caused the rotor to seize and the turbine casing to break apart, leading to the crash.