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TopFinds: From a $15-Billion Facebook Valuation to Earth’s Destruction

From Facebook’s deep-pocketed partner to Bush’s media shills, these are the top stories of the week from technology, heath, world issues and the Internet as well as the awards for top-notch citizen journalism.

Technology & Internet

One of the hottest tech stories this week concerned Microsoft’s stake in Facebook, a 1.6 per cent portion valued at $240 million. As cgull reported, that means Facebook is worth $15 billion, which also means Mark Zuckerberg could sleep on a pile of gold bullion.

Want to watch Internet downloads on your TV set? SanDisk launched a device to do just that, Nathalie C wrote, by offering a USB device and a video download service called Fanfare. There are 85 shows to choose from, but where’s The Wonder Years? (Showing my age).

Other intriguing stories in the tech and Internet world included Second Life’s celeb factor, Microsoft releasing a family-friendly Xbox 360, and Comcast got caught delaying transfers of torrents, angering its many users.

Health

The biggest story this week is undoubtedly the California fires, and pbrite wrote a follow-up article on Red Cross’s efforts in the region. He pointed out one of Red Cross’s noble causes that doesn’t get a lot of media attention:
They have managed to also distribute water and food to firefighters from all across the region as well as emergency responders.An eye-opening article exposed how doctors are oblivious to the cost of the medication they prescribe, Nathalie C discovered. The more expensive a drug is, the more a doctor underestimates its price. Should your family doc start reading drug-pricing catalogues for homework?

Two other health articles are worth highlighting: Well-educated people are more prone to Alzheimer’s Disease than those with low educational achievement (finally, a good reason to drop out of school…bad joke). And marijuana alleviates depression in small doses, but accelerates sullen moods in large doses. So the staff at High Times are not the happiest folks in the magazine business, after all?

World

George Bush wants an additional $42 billion for the Iraqi war, GotTheScoop reported, but will Congress give it to him? Also worth noting is the funding request came just after Osama Bin Laden released another video tape telling insurgents to unite against the US-led coalition.

In Venezuela, student protesters clashed with police to denounce President Hugo Chavez’s plan to allow him to run for re-election indefinitely. Protests in this country could escalate to unmanageable heights, as TFactor wrote:
The students are concerned and fearful that the authorities could detain citizens without charge during a state of emergency.Other world stories making headlines this week included the Italian Mafia growing to become one of the biggest “businesses” in the country, Bolivian prostitutes sewing their lips shut to protest the ban on brothels, and Alan Johnston revealing his ordeal of being kidnapped in Iraq.

TopFinds Awards

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What would you say if you found out President Bush hired media shills to go on air to promote an anti-gay agenda without letting broadcasters know the conflict of interest? For showcasing a buried story of utmost importance to U.S. citizens, GotTheScoop wins this week’s TopJournalism Award. Her story on conservative columnist Armstrong Williams was an exhaustive review of the controversy surrounding his hiring by Bush. There was also some powerful conclusive statements about media bias, giving rise to a discussion that was both fiery and illuminating.

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At 14 years old, Lance Droy is a rookie Citizen Journalist writing like a pro, and this wunderkind reporter deserves giant kudos for his article on the violent game Manhunt 2 being leaked on the Internet for children to download. This well-written report takes home this week’s TopTech Award, and the honour is undoubtedly deserved: Lance sums up the facts, includes key quotes on violence and video games, and bookends the piece with his opinion on the game’s publisher. We expect a flourishing writing career from this young scribe.

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Finally, there was an article about Earth’s perilous descent that featured thorough detail and graphics that broke down every aspect of environmental degradation. Winning this week’s TopEnvironment Award is cgull for his brilliant article about the UN’s Global Environment Outlook report. Want to learn about regional CO2 emissions or world access to drinking water? cgull nicely embedded maps and tables to complement his summary of UN’s findings. Journalism like this article could not only raise awareness for this integral hot-button issue, but also dissect the problems that need to be addressed immediately. Congrats, cgull, keep up the good work.

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