Welcome to my first regular feature, ‘Top 5 News stories of the Week’. Every Sunday, I’ll be reflecting on the news stories I’ve seen in the last week and listing my top 5. They can range from human or scientific achievement, to political greatness or stupidity, or just general news. I’ll also include my favourite nonsense story of the week. So,without further ado, let’s start with…
Felix Baumgartner jumps from the stratosphere
After over two and a half years of preparation and training, which included overcoming claustrophobia, Austrian skydiver and all round badass, Felix Baumgartner, jumped from a balloon over 24 miles high, breaking the speed barrier along with several world records.
“Let me tell you – when I was standing there on top of the world, you become so humble.” He said afterwards. “You don’t think about breaking records anymore, you don’t think about gaining scientific data – the only thing that you want is to come back alive.”
However, in typical fashion, not all of us are impressed. Many people are taking to their keyboards to proclaim the stunt ‘a giant waste of money’ and the like.
Personally, I’d buy that man a beer. Maybe even two. (source: EVERYWHERE)
Gary McKinnon wins his extradition battle after a decade
As I talked about earlier this week, 42 year old Gary McKinnon, who managed to hack into 97 US Government computers at NASA and the Pentagon in 2002, has finally got the decision his supporters have been waiting a decade for: he’s not being handed over to the USA.
After several courts, including the European Court of Human Rights, had turned down his request to be tried in the UK, Home Secretary Theresa May announced last Tuesday that she would be blocking the extradition, due to his severe depression putting him at risk. The UK courts will now decide if he is to be tried here, where the crime was committed. (source: The Guardian)
The State of Minnesota bans free education website Coursera…for a day
In a bizarre case of political stupidity, Minnesota’s Office of Higher Education banned Coursera, an online site that offers free online higher education courses in partnership with many top universities, from being used within the state using a longstanding state-law. Then the internet got wind of it, and the decision was reversed next day in a U-turn David Cameron would be proud of. Even better, they’re looking to update and remove the particular law that stopped them, which currently states ‘that prohibits degree-granting institutions from offering instruction in Minnesota without obtaining permission from the office and paying a registration fee’. Another point to the internet, me thinks. (sources: Huffington Post, Slate)
Lab-grown kidney found to function in animals
The Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research in Bergamo, Italy, have succeeded in creating kidneys grown from the cells taken from a mouse embryo, then transplanted it into adult rats successfully.
“This is the first kidney tissue in the world totally made from single cells,” says Christodoulos Xinaris, who headed the team. “We have functional, viable, vascularised tissue, able to filter blood and absorb large molecules from it. The final aim is to construct human tissues.”
While the creation of functioning human kidneys is still quite far away, considering that 7,300 kidneys are needed for transplants a year in the UK alone, this is definitely a step in the right direction. (source: New Scientist)
BNP leader Nick Griffin tweets the address of B&B case gay couple then defends it by saying ‘discrimination is a right’.
BNP leader, member of the European Parliament, and renowned bigoted, racist, homophobic idiot Nick Griffin, posted the address of Michael Black and John Morgan on twitter earlier this week, after the couple won their discrimination case against a B&B owner who refused to let them stay in a double room.
After asking for the address from his followers on twitter, Griffin posted “A British Justice team will come up to [their Huntington address] & give you [Black and Morgan] a … bit of drama by way of reminding you that an English couple’s home is their castle. Say No to heterophobia!”
Naturally (and rightly) the majority of the twitter community was in uproar, and the Cambridgeshire Police received numerous complaints, which they were ‘looking in to’. But then he put his foot in it again by saying ‘people have a right to discriminate’.
Nonsense story of the week: Kerry Katona ‘traumatised’ by Jimmy Saville looking at her in a ‘pervy way’
In what I can only assume is a bizarre attempt to cash in on the the Jimmy Saville pedophillia allegations, everyone’s favourite waste of space Kerry Katona has come out and said that she was traumatised by Jimmy Saville looking at her in a pervy way at a train station when she was in girl band Atomic Kitten. Worse still, the story was then published by OK! Magazine. Considering the amount of serious allegations from his abused victims, forgive me for not having any sympathy, Kerry. I’m pretty sure Iceland won’t have any either
So that’s my top stories of the week! If you have any suggestions for candidates for next weeks post, feel free to email them to me at email@example.com, or tweet them to @sociocuttlefish. Have a great Sunday!