GBA: Your News, From Waco, TX to J.P. Morgan
The Good: We’ll go ahead and start with the good news. Here are this week’s highlights:
David Letterman: Late night TV’s longest running host is finally saying good night for the last time this week. While it is sad to see such a familiar face say goodbye to his host chair, the memories are coming out of the woodwork. Old laughs from years past are flooding your TV as CBS brings out the throwbacks from David Letterman‘s past 30 years as the host of Late Night and the Late Show. Celebrities from years past, including a messy farewell from Bill Murray’s 44th appearance earlier this week, recall their most candid and outrageous nights with Letterman. His farewell comes at a time when late night TV continues to be a beloved part of celebrity mingling, including all the shameless plugs, not to mention countless bands who got their start playing on Letterman’s stage. Along with Johnny Carson, Letterman set the bar for what the entertainment community expects late night fun to be. Thank You, Mr. Letterman, the celebs will miss you.
Thought-Controlled Prosthetics: A milestone for prosthetic research, engineers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab have created a robotic prosthetic that can be controlled by a patient’s mind by connecting remaining nerves that would have gone into missing limbs. The socket picks up brain signals, allowing the amputee/patient to even pick up sensation and texture through the prosthetic. As awesome as this sounds, there are a few setbacks before patients open their wallets. The arm has yet to go through clinical trials and hasn’t been approved by the Food and Drug Administration at this time. Plus, with a price tag of $500,000+ it’s also not yet marketable to the general public. But, the technology created here opens the door for a ton of research on making these electrical connections that can be controlled simply by thought. Pretty cool, huh?
Facebook Messenger: Facebook Messenger Video has announced that they have expanded their reach to almost every country. Certain countries like UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia still have not gotten connected, and I’m sure less developed countries without regular access to internet and cell phone towers are also in the dark, but “almost everyone” opens the door for many international families and businesses. Communication is getting more advanced as research pushes on, it feels like our neighbors are a click away, they can now be a continent away with the same closeness with Facebook Video for Android and iOS users.
The Bad: Sometimes we forget how fragile our everyday lives can be. Here is the not-so-good news.
“The Cartel”: 4 huge global banks: J.P. Morgan Chase, Barclays, Citigroup, and Royal Bank of Scotland have pleaded guilty to criminal charges of manipulating exchange rates between the Euro and the dollar in their favor since 2007, paying fines upwards of $4 billion. Another bank, UBS, plead guilty of rigging benchmark interest rates and is paying almost $1 billion for that. As if that wasn’t enough, Bank of America is being fined $205 million for foreign exchange-rigging. This is the largest fine brought to world banks in history. The group involved in this monetary conspiracy called themselves “The Cartel” and communicated via private web chats online. Money rules the world, and when the people who hold onto your money are manipulating the market to favor themselves rather than the consumer, its pretty scary. The market is full of people attempting to make more money, and when the entire system is being manipulated, the world is in the palm of these banks’ hands. The banks involved insist that those responsible have been let go, and that their fundamentals of operation are going through an overhaul. Whether or not one can trust this is an entirely different story. This is one of the most profound conspiracies in money today, we’re glad it might now be brought to an end. The entire world’s economy was effected by the actions of these greedy individuals, at least someone blew the lid off of it, kinda.
Waco Bikers: Hundreds of members of two large biker gangs were involved in a shootout at a restaurant in Waco, TX earlier this week. Over 100 bikers came to a meeting at Twin Peaks Sports Bar when another rival gang showed up and started talking turf. A brawl then ensued which quickly escalated into a violent gun fight. 9 members of the Bandidos and Cossacks gangs were killed, with 18 others injured. Over 190 arrests were made after the full investigation (all that paperwork!). Most of the members were charged with crimes revolved around organized crime and it is still unclear as to who was specifically responsible for the deaths. Guns, ammo, bullet proof vests and the lot were all discovered at the scene, only making the charges against the bikers more severe. 3 suspects were charged and released on bail, only to be arrested again later in the week with higher bail and harsher charges.
California Oil Spill: 21,000 gallons of crude oil was spilled along 4 miles of California coast after a pipeline burst earlier this week. The line has since been shut off, but the damage has of course already been done. The coast has been covered in oil and cleanup crews as well as the company responsible are scrambling to prevent any further environmental damage. The damage could have been much worse had authorities not been the ones to find the broken pipeline a few miles North of the source of the discovery.
And The Awkward: Take it as good news, take it as bad news, but uh…here ya go.
Airbag Recall: One of the world’s largest makers of vehicle airbags, Takata, has recalled about 34 million airbags over several major car manufacturers due to a dangerous defect. Instead of protecting the driver of a vehicle, these airbags can explode and throwing shrapnel and other objects to cause serious harm. The vehicles involved range from Saab to Honda to Ford and far beyond. Some cars like the 2001-2005 Honda Civic, which are all over the roads are included in the effected list. Why is this in the awkward news? Recalls are basically monumental “oops’s” in the automotive industry. It reminds one of Fight Club and the formula for what actually is required for a recall, baffling and terrifying if in fact true. So far, 6 deaths have been reported as a result of these airbag malfunctions. Take a look at the full list of effected cars here to see if you need to get your vehicle inspected for a replacement. Drive safe, guys.
Cancer Conspiracy: It seems as though this week’s news is all about conspiracies and organized crime. Well, even our beloved cancer research people are skimming a little too much off the top of their charity money meant for “research.” A family involved in gaining charity money for the Cancer Fund of America, the Children’s Cancer Fund of America, Cancer Support Services, and the Breast Cancer Society were allegedly skimming off the top for their own gain. This resulted in $187 million dollars in charity money not used for charity! The Federal Trade Commission has called these charities “sham charities” and a deeper investigation is likely underway. This will probably put a damper on all charity organizations at least for a little bit after this one. Good job, douches.
Reality TV Winners: For those who love prime time TV, a few of your favorite shows are finally coming to a close, and your reality TV winners are finally being voted into stardom. How long they stay in the spotlight is probably less than your average 15 minutes of fame as contest shows like Dancing with the Stars and The Voice get more popular and abundant. Do you remember who won 2 seasons ago? Probably not. But hey, at least some people get to gain some extra confidence, get some recognition, and maybe even rub shoulders with their favorite celebrities before they’re kicked off and forgotten, right? Good Luck to this year’s winners.