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article imageTopFinds: From Dirty British Knickers to Robots Walking on Water

By David Silverberg     Dec 14, 2007 in Internet
Robots designed to mimic water-striding spiders. Ireland banning light bulbs. The negative side of gun control. Dive deep into the most interesting articles on with the weekly round-up of what got people talking around the water cooler.

Technology & Internet

Internet privacy will continue to be a pressing issue as long as people create profiles on social networks or post personal data online. But what can you do to stop advertisers from finding out your private info? That's a question at the heart of clixy123's invaluable article on's "erasor" tool that scrubs clean your tracks on the Internet. Are the Facebook Beacon people taking notice?
Many other tech and Net stories made headlines this week: Close to 63 per cent of the U.S. population play video games, Amaranth noted (are Guitar Hero stadium concerts that far behind?); scientists are teaching robots to mimic a spider's ability to walk on water, cgull reported (lemme guess, these machines will be called Jesus Robots); and porn actress Mary Cary is selling her leftover breasts on eBay for more than $15,000 (now that's a FedEx delivery difficult to explain to the mailman).
And finally, if you're an Epicurean, you may want to find out how to search effortlessly for recipes spread all over the Internet. Read cgull's article on how a subdivision of Google's search function can help you dig up recipes on chocolate cheesecake, for example.


While the Bali climate change meeting got the lion's share of media coverage this week, many other environmental stories are worth bookmarking. Such as China quietly launching 2,000 satellites into orbit to monitor Earth's ecosystem health.
And several other stories deserve attention: Canadian salmon could be extinct within 10 years thanks to harmful sea lice, Wanderlaugh told us; more than 150 scientists are pooling their expertise to improve computer climate models, permafrog reported; Ireland is the first country to ban incandescent lightbulbs, according to cgull; and okieboy alerted us to Oklahoma's ice storm blast that knocked out power in 650,000 homes. The Citizen Journalist wrote: "Sooners can take pride in the fact that there were no reports of looting and only isolated reports of suspected price gouging."


Is American turning into a police state? momentsintime explores that issue in a thought-provoking op-ed full of concrete examples and quotes. There's also an intriguing debate in the comment section, led by Jebediah Redman, in case you wanted to throw in your own two cents.
Political stories peppered, including these articles: in an act of diplomatic goodwill, the New York Philharmonic will perform in North Korea in February, Mike Simmons reported (will the Great Leader attend, though?); Hillary Clinton is sliding down the public-opinion polls, Susan Duclos wrote; Russia is paranoid about the U.S. directing missiles at Soviet land, phree reported; and the U.S. House of Representatives banned the use of water-boarding and other harsh methods of torture, which NationalSecurityGuy hopes will be vetoed by Bush. This debate isn't going away anytime soon.

TopFinds Awards

One of the duties of alternative media is to point out the flaws inherent in government administration.
And so the TopPolitics Award goes to Susan Duclos for giving us the story about a White House press secretary who admitted she knew nothing about the Cuban Missile Crisis. It sounds unbelievable, but Dana Perino truly did not know about the historical moment when she was questioned by a reporter earlier this year.
The article exposed Perino to be uneducated, and prompted Susan to write: "The Cuban Missile Crisis was the closest we ever came to nuclear war and is not just a random piece of history and it's something that everyone should learn about, especially someone that holds the position of White House Press Secretary."
Abolish gun free zones. Gun control advocates warp facts. Those are some of the arguments found in the recepient of the TopOpEd Award, a powerful piece on gun control written by LewWaters.
Lew pointed out many incidents of gun-related crime and how the onus rested on the owner and not necessarily on the weapon. He believed in the right of defense and the second amendment freedom to bear arms.
As expected, the op-ed attracted many dissenting opinions, so half the fun of perusing the article is finding out what other readers think about this contentious issue.
If there's any writer who's followed the Wall Street Journal-Murdoch saga like a beat reporter, it's the winner of this week's TopBusiness Award, Wanderlaugh.
This time, he earns kudos for dissecting a recent report about a shake-up at WSJ, and as expected Wanderlaugh doesn't pull any punches. He critiques the New York Times for attacking Murdoch for the makeover. As he writes: "Excuse me if I don’t shed too many tears of grief when any business news medium gets a shake up. If there’s a part of news media which can be described as corrupt to the core, it’s business media."
Once again, this Citizen Journalist brings humour and sharp writing to a business topic that could have easily been drier than Melba toast.
There's something about an emotionally-charged, informative and well-written article on cyber-bullying that warrants attention. And the 1,100-word piece also warrants the TopInternet Award, given to Amaranth.
Referencing a past article on a bullying mom, Amaranth launched into a detailed discussion of the harmful effects of this practice, explaining the dangers of adults posing as cyber bullies. Definitely worth a read whether you know about the issue or not.
Copyright law and DMCA issues in Canada are on the top of the minds (and blogs) of people these days, and Ringwraith provided an excellent overview of a topic bound to ripple for months to come.
He takes home the TopTech Award for summarizing the controversy, clearly explaining the various positions of Internet activists and journalists. A balanced copyright reform isn't too much to ask for, Canada, is it?
The honour of TopArts Award is given to a Citizen Journalist who explored a piece of art that was resuscitated due to a reworked version of the original. Congrats to lensman67 for his wonderfully detailed dissection of the The Millenium by Bosch, which got the modern treatment by Spanish artist Luis Barba.
Filled with eye-popping photos of the painting, the article was also attractive for its attention to detail: lensman wrote about almost every panel of the classic painting, and even threw in some art theory for good measure. Art lovers, take notice, and hopefully this will inspire you to pen your own review sometime.
Britons change their underwear once a month? They barely wash their hands after doing their deed in the bathroom? It's a streak-stained picture that clixy123 painted, but it gave her the TopLifestyle Award for highlighting an overseas sanitary issue that barely got any press in North America.
Some readers appreciated the news, but others...not so much. As Susan Duclos wrote: "Good find although it cost me my appetite."
Product recalls are a fact of our lives now, but when a Citizen Journalist pens an exhaustive article on the five Ws of a recent vaccine recall, it deserves recognition. And an award.
Taking home the TopHealth Award for her piece on the Hib vaccine controversy is GotTheScoop.
The piece was nicely complemented with a video report and a table of a child’s immunization schedule. As GTS notes, this issue should be on the minds of parents who worry about the danger of inoculating their children with something harmful. And not only was this article solid journalism, but it also acted as a medical emergency post to anyone who may be considering the Hib vaccine.

The Annual Digital Journal Awards is currently working on a massive, year-end roundup of the top news stories and top contributors from around the world. staff will publish this in the last week of December, 2007.
In addition to staff-chosen awards, we are opening up the Digital Journal Awards to include a number of people's choice awards. We would really appreciate all Citizen Journalists, Citizens and casual readers to take a moment to fill out the following survey (it takes a few minutes) with whatever information you wish to provide.
Click Here to take survey
Thank you all for your input.
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