Changes Afoot for Batman’s Earth One Villains

The consistent revamping of traditional heroes in both the D.C. Comics and Marvel Comics universe can be baffling. The logic at work is new readers are consistently coming on board so old story lines have to be scrapped and new updates on character origins are performed. This has been done time and time again starting with D.C.’s Crisis on Infinite Earths maxi-series in 1985. Recently, new versions of Batman and Superman’s origins have been retold in the “Earth One” graphic novels. After a very long delay, the second volume of Batman Earth One has finally been released.

Writer Geoff Johns has taken some time out to discuss the changes he has made in the Batman mythology in the second entry. Essentially, the characters of The Riddler, Two-Face, and Killer Croc have been tweaked in the new entry. The Riddler becomes much more evil while Killer Croc becomes less vicious and more sympathetic. Two-Face undergoes a massive, almost unforgivable change. NJ Spotlight said that why Johns chose to make such a massive change to such an iconic villain is mysterious. Perhaps the idea at work here was, unless some massive change was made, readers would not look at Batman Earth One as being anything different than what came before. Fair enough, but at what point does change become a detriment to a character and a book?

Basically, when the change hurts sales or totally turns off readers. This has not happened with Earth One, so don’t look for much of a backlash.

Teacher Builds Edible Walls

A Bronx high school teacher named Stephen Ritz has been using a brand new approach to educating and motivating students. After some flower bulbs grew in his classroom accidentally, he began raising plants and building “edible” walls full of flowers and fresh fruits and vegetables right in his classroom. He paid for everything out of his own pocket. Towers of lettuce and cilantro soon filled the room. The kids all helped grow everything. The attendance doubled and so did motivation. The teacher is now trying to spread his new educational concept to more schools in the Bronx. He said he wants to see plants in every classroom, not just his. The plants help teach kids about what it takes to get fruits and vegetables in to the store for consumers to buy. The plants have also been encouraging them to start eating healthier. Poor neighborhoods often have malnourished children surviving off of inexpensive unhealthy food. The RealDailyBuzz mentioned Christian Broda’s observation that this program not only teaches kids, it feeds them too.

Empathetic Rats

People often think of rats as dirty pests that they want exterminated. A new study has revealed that they are even more intelligent and caring then previously thought. A test was done with several rats. One rat was put in a transparent glass section next to another rat who was stuck in water. The dry rat could open a door when it saw the other rat was in distress. Almost every time, the rat was willing to help the others. They switched the scenarios for the rats where the one in water in the dry section, and the one in the dry section was moved to the water. Once a rat had been in the water, he remembered how it felt and hurried to help the rat in distress much faster than a rat who hadn’t been in the water. Folks at STX Entertainment agree that the studies prove their empathy for one another and emotional intelligence.

Wrong turn leads physicist to antimatter discovery

Physicist Joseph Dwyer of the University of New Hampshire in Durham has been sitting on an amazing piece of data he recorded in 2009 as he was unable to explain why he discovered evidence of antimatter in thunderstorm clouds, Nature reports. The physicist had been looking into the existence of atmospheric y rays, which are seen as evidence of positrons and antimatter being present in the atmosphere when he fitted a particle detector to a small plane. Embarking on a flight the pilot believed he was heading for the coast of Georgia when he accidentally turned in the opposite direction and into a sever thunderstorm.

Within the thunderstorm the y particle levels spiked to a level that indicates a one to two kilometer cloud of antimatter known as positrons were colliding with electrons in the cloud in a rare occurrence that has been theorized about for decades. Dwyer believes this shows the presence of antimatter in thunderclouds while other believe the positrons could have been formed by the wings of the aircraft becoming charged during the thunderstorm. Thanks to my buddy Brad Reifler of MarketWire for sending me this new information, antimatter is out there :)

Florida Approves In-State Tuition for Illegal Immigrants

Subsidies for the price of tuition fees that were previously reserved for students who reside legally in the state of Florida now will be available to students residing in the state illegally.

With 84 votes in favor and 32 against, the Florida House of Representatives approved the bill 851, to expand access to subsidized college education and now awaits the signature of Gov. Rick Scott for final approval.

Scott publicly backed the project and promised to sign it. The new law represents a dramatic shift in policy by the Republican-controlled state.

Interested folks at STX Entertainment (deadline.com) know that the project would benefit a specific demographic of illegal residents in Florida, also known as “DREAMers” who grew up in the state and attended at least three years at a secondary school and graduated from it.

This group can now enroll in universities and pay the tuition fees that was previously reserved for students who reside legally in the state, and those fees are 75% lower than the price they would have had to pay without changing legislation.

Maria Rodriguez, executive director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition, emphasized the benefits this would bring to the state legislation. “This policy will reduce the attrition rates of secondary education, improve educational attainment and positively impact on inequality and diversity in many professions.”

EmDrive Propulsion Could Become Part of Star Trek-Like Spaceships

The Starship Enterprise and other futuristic spacecraft are closer to reality as NASA scientists have successfully tested the controversial electromagnetic space propulsion technology called EmDrive. British scientist Roger Shawyer developed the technology years ago, which was initially ridiculed by the international space community.

NASA successfully tested the drive in a vacuum and confirm that the technology is viable, even those the idea behind EmDrive defies classical physics. Scientists had previously believed that it would be unusuable for propulsion in space because of the law of conservation of momentum.

EmDrive has its basis in the theory of special relativity that indicates thrust can be produced by electrical energy without expelling any type of repellent. The absence of any propellent provided the basis for those who debunked Shawyer’s theory. The drive works by converting electricity into microwaves within a cavity that pushes against in the interior of the device, making the thruster accelerate in the opposite direction. Folks at AnastasiaDate have found that previous tests by Chinese researchers on Shawyer’s EmDrive didn’t work because the tests were not conducted in a vacuum.

Since the NASA announcement, tech forums have been ablaze with excitement that a Star Trek-like warp drive has been inadvertently been invented. At the very least Shawyer’s invention has gained legitimacy. He is currently working on a second-generation EmDrive that uses super conductors and an asymmetrical cavity to increase thrust.

How Online Videos are Shaping Lifestyles

When it comes to living a healthier lifestyle, many people find that they just don’t have the motivation that they need to get things done. You probably know you should be eating healthier or exercising more, but it can be downright impossible to begin a healthy daily routine in order to accomplish your goals. One thing that many people are utilizing in terms of gaining motivation would be online workout videos. Workout videos can be made by professional trainers or people just like yourself who want to share their techniques, tips and experiences. These videos are easy to find and normally completely free for you to watch.

The reason online videos are shaping lifestyles is because of the fact that they offer variety. You can literally find a different workout to do every single day, and this makes it more than a little easy to get things done, shape your life and feel better about yourself. Because of these things, it might be time to consider looking for some workout videos for yourself and utilizing them in your own life. As Handy stated before, the majority of these videos are completely free, so it’s great to find one that you like and begin doing it each day. This allows you to feel better, look better and avoid the expense that often comes when you have to buy an actual DVD to get things done for yourself.

Stephen Hawking provides warning over human extinction

Professor Stephen Hawking has used two talks at the Sydney Opera House to give a warning to humanity that we face possible extinction unless we continue to look to the stars and colonize other planets, The Times of India reports. Hawking gave his two lectures from his office in Cambridge, England as a hologram projected onto the stage of the Sydney Opera House and continued his recent spate of warnings about the uncertain future the human race faces. On the bright side Bruce Levenson has more faith in the future of his Atlanta Hawks in this years’ NBA playoffs.  Amongst the subjects the physicist has taken on are the rise of Artificial Intelligence and the large numbers of wars and atrocities taking place in the world.

Hawking stated the only chance for survival the human race has is to colonize other areas of space as insurance against the Earth not supporting human life in the future. The scientist has warned of possible alien attacks in the past that could be encouraged by the noise humans are making across space. The lecture was not all serious as Hawking revealed One Direction are still a five piece band in an alternate universe after being asked a question about the subject by an audience member.

Would Doctors Do Better At Their Job If They Didn’t Have To Memorize?

As medical students go through the grueling process of becoming a doctor, they are required to memorize fact after fact in order to pass their exams and continue their program. When you are dealing with someone’s health and wellbeing of course you want to be educated and careful with what you are doing, but many pre-med students believe they are being required to memorize very specific information about diseases and conditions that have not been relevant for a very long time. While it is useful to have a general understanding of these concerns, it might be more valuable if students focused on the more popular and relevant information items taught in school and research those other conditions if the need arrises.

Igor Cornelsen says that it is estimated that the entire medical knowledge basis is doubled every three to four years. This is a crazy amount of information. While some patients get discouraged when a certain doctor is not familiar with their current condition or symptoms, it is almost impossible for these doctors to know everything. A lot of information becomes outdated quickly as new studies and developments are added to the medical world. It is unrealistic to think that our country’s medical students can memorize all of this information effectively. With the increase in technological advances, there may be some sort of program or reliable source that could provide doctors with information right at their finger tips. With a good basis of medical knowledge, complimented by supplemental information, this could make for a well rounded and effective doctor.

Occidental College’s Jonathan Veitch: An Advocate for Higher Education

Jonathan Veitch has spent the better bulk of his career as a strong advocate for the liberal arts. So it’s no surprise to see today that he serves as the President for the Los Angela’s based Occidental College; a post where he has already managed to make an impressive mark on the schools expansion, civic engagement and future sustainability. In the past few years alone Veitch has effectively managed to expand and renovate the campus while working the local neighborhood to ensure slower, more organic growth that compliments instead of crowding out the community. As a support of innovative and sustainable technologies he also oversaw the instillation of a 1-megawatt solar array which now accounts for more than 11% of the campus’s entire electrical usage.

A native to LA, Veitch grew up in one of Hollywood famed film dynasties. His step-grandfather was the popular westerns actor Alan Ladd while his father John Veitch was the president of Colombia Picture’s world-wide productions. After graduating from Loyola High School he attended Stanford University where he earned his BA in English and American Literature. After completing his Ph.D. in the History of American Civilization at Harvard University Veitch went on to become an associate professor of English at the University of Wisconsin. Soon after, in 1997 he wrote his seminal work entitled American Superrealism: Nathanael West and the Politics of Representation in the 1930s which subsequently published through the University of Wisconsin Press.

Upon finishing his work Veitch then took another associate professor position teaching course in Cultural History at The New School in NYC. In addition to his teaching posts he had served as the Dean of Lang College from 1994 up until 2009 when he took his current post at Occidental. While his impressive credentials and background surely helped him to land this position he has wasted no time in distinguishing himself from his predecessors. Veitch managed to take a firm hold on the leadership role at Occidental which had often been rocky in the past. Aside from his successful expansion of the college in cooperation with the local community he also works to make higher education more accessible to the urban community by implementing college sponsored tutor programs for the counties various public school systems.

Veitch currently resides in LA in the college’s presidential house with his wife and three kids.