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TopFinds: From AIDS-Killing Lasers to GAP’s Child Labour

How has Apple’s Leopard OS been received? Who’s helping the California firefighters? What technology can kill the AIDS virus? Find out the answers to these questions and more in this week’s top news stories.

Technology & Internet

Another week passes, another iPhone rumour: Time’s Invention of the Year is suspected to touch down in Canada on Dec. 7, as cgull wrote. The article also included a supposed leaked ad from Rogers Wireless, the expected carrier, although it has yet to be confirmed when the iPhone will finally land in the Great White North.

Apple, where are you guys?

Other intriguing tech n’ Net stories included: Google launched a Facebook rival called OpenSocial, a project which malan informed us about before the actual launch; Will Wright’s highly-anticipated game Spore is confirmed for release on Nintendo Wii, omnithought discovered; and Apple’s new operating system, Leopard, won some favourable reviews but also endured some criticism from tech journalists.

Also worth noting was an article highlighting energy mismanagement, particularly pointing a finger at appliances that consume 5 per cent of power generated in the U.S. Wanderlaugh offered a few suggestions, among them:
It’d be better to have a power allocation system on power boards, with things like resistors and voltage controls so less power is used at source.


Strangely enough, one of the biggest political stories this week focused on a presidential candidate who is more comedy than policy. Nathalie C closely covered Stephen Colbert’s media-frenzied candidacy, finally letting us know his chances at being on the South Carolina ballot is up in smoke. Stephen Colbert: great candidate or greatest candidate?


On the flip side, a story that got little play was the UN report on biofuels having a negative impact on world hunger, as pbrite reported. How so? The report’s author wrote:
The amount of corn that needed to be burned to make enough ethanol to fill a single car’s fuel tank could fill a child for an entire year.Two other politics stories are worth another read: Ron Paul is helping his chances at winning the Republican vote by spamming people, malan found (at least Paul’s not flogging Viagra). And U.S.-Cuba relations took a step backward after President Bush’s policy speech hinted at using force against Cuba, Szplug wrote. Why can’t we all get along?


Did the AIDS virus come to the U.S. via Haiti? It’s a contentious issue, one raised by a University of Arizona study pinpointing how and when (1969) HIV-1 crossed overseas. permafrog explained the study’s methodology and also underscored the importance of studying the origins of deadly viruses.

Other health stories making headlines included: a stem cell service matching donors across the world, as Nathalie C reported; Suicide affects all generations, even seniors, faithwriter found; and health care services in several nations are in sore need of a major overhaul, despite the good press some countries receive about their world-class patient care.



When a company like The Gap is found to employ child labour in India, everyone takes notice. This breaking news, reported by omnithought, was another blight on an American company whose overseas labour practices are coming under close scrutiny.

Interested in how the world is passing by America? Then read Wanderlaugh’s op-ed on the topic, which looks at the internal criticism the U.S. faces. As the article states:
It’s always fascinated me that much of the debate among Americans is not that America is supposed to be the good guy, but how that’s to be achieved. Much fury is shown regarding the wars, economics, and political positions. Some reflect on a declining society, leadership, and insularity.Other world stories of interest to news junkies included: Somalia facing heavy battles once again, with insurgents resorting to guerilla tactics, as TFactor reported; still in Africa, low crop yields are being blamed on farmer errors rather than climate change, permafrog wrote; and now you can peruse the salaries of world leaders like Vladimir Putin ($82,000) and George Bush ($495,000). Is Bush doing five times a better job than Putin to earn his whopping paycheque?


TopFinds Awards

When a breaking news story hits the wires, Citizen Journalists are on it like…no, I’m not going to write wildfire, because that would be tactless in light of the award being given this week. Taking home the TopCurrentEvent Award is Picasso for her thorough coverage of the California fires and the prison inmates working as firefighters to help quell the blazes. What’s often lost in a big story like the West Coast tragedy is the lesser known story that doesn’t make print, and thanks to Picasso we were treated to an important story about the many people employed to battle the fires. Well done.


It was the headline that caught our attention first: Revolutionary Laser Technique Can Destroy AIDS Virus. What followed didn’t disappoint, as permafrog clearly explained the technology behind a medical laser designed to kill bacteria and viruses like AIDS, without hurting human cells. For this impressive find valuable to anyone interested medicine, health care or disease, permafrog wins this week’s TopScience Award. The article’s comments applauded the discovery, with Cat Lover saying:
…it was about time we heard of such a thing.


News about the Iraq war tends to focus on who got hurt and where, but what about soldiers just trying to survive? In a powerful expose, omnithought told us about U.S. soldiers faking their patrols to avoid roadside bombs and other attacks. This article was so hard-hitting, emotionally charged and under-reported, omnithought is honoured with the TopWorld Award. Kudos for penning a thought-provoking piece, and peppering the reportage with illuminating quotes that speak to the soldiers’ direct experiences on the ground.


In light of the many articles on consumer awareness on, we’re introducing a new award for journalism for the people, by the people. Winning the inaugral TopConsumer Alert Award is Amaranth for her well-written explanation of how users of the Dish Network can get the most out of their contract. Amaranth described her article as “How-To guide to survive the shifty practices of the commission/incentive grubbing customers service representatives of Dish Network” and the content lived up to its name. It’s always important to read service pieces that can affect your consumer lifestyle, and this Award will continue to honour the Citizen Journalists who use a news hook to help people heed the oft-told warning: Buyer Beware.

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