Winter Storm Slams U.S. Again

Just a few days after Super Bowl XLVIII, a winter snow storm is passing through the central Plains, Midwest and Northeast. Up to two dozen states and at least 100 million people will be affected by the snow and/or ice. New York City is expected to get pummeled with some eight inches of snow and ice on Wednesday. It’s the third round of brutal weather due to hit the Big Apple and expected stick around throughout the weekend.

The weather service has issued winter storm warnings for the New York metro area, northeast New Jersey, southern Connecticut, and much of upstate New York. Forecasters predict more than 20 inches of snow could fall in some areas.

Website Flight Aware show that some 1,500 flights were  canceled by Tuesday. The most affected airport – with more than 150 cancellations – was O’Hare International in Chicago.

 

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Katie Couric’s Documentary Debut

Yahoo’s Global Anchor, Katie Couric makes her documentary debut at Sundance Film Festival exploring the issue of childhood obesity. Couric produced and narrates the film “Fed Up” that premiered earlier this week.

Couric teamed up with “An Inconvenient Truth” producer Laurie David to make the film. Directed by Stephanie Soechtig, “Fed Up” uses historical footage and news events to show the causes and costs of obesity in the United States.

“This generation of children is the first to live a shorter life span than their parents, and it has ramifications in every aspect of our lives,” Couric said. “Talk about skyrocketing health care costs: the obesity epidemic is behind these health care costs. And national security: these people are too heavy to join the military … It affects so many aspects of our country’s health that we really need to start paying attention.”

Couric hopes the film will encourage others to take action, so the food industry will become accountable for its harmful products.

Social issues is a topic she says she’ll continue to report on at Yahoo.

“I wanted to be part of the transition that we see happening all around us in media,” she said. “People … may want the immediacy of having things on their mobile phone or on their computers. But I also think they want quality content as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to provide some of that.”

Over 300 Western Australian sharks are now on twitter

The Surf Life Saving Western Australia (SLSWA) is using their Twitter feed to put a new, internet-savvy spin on wildlife conservation. The project uses radio transmitter tags on sharks combined with proximity monitors to report on shark movement near human-populated beaches.

A tagged shark within a certain radius of the monitor triggers a tweet informing beachgoers, helping to improve safety for both man and marine beast.

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Image courtesy of Allan Lee via flickrcc

Currently, 338 sharks have been tagged with radio transmitters including a significant number of the more dangerous tiger shark and great white shark species. The tweet states the breed and estimated size of the shark along with an approximate location. The Twitter also broadcasts shark alerts reported from other sources, such as helicopter sightings.

The system is reported to be much faster than traditional radio warnings, and allows lifeguards to shut down beaches in a timely manner with a minimum of panic and disruption.

As a bonus, the Twitter occasionally posts raw images of sharks and other marine wildlife in their natural environment off the Western Australian coast.

Edward Snowden named Guardian Person of the Year for 2013

Young American whistleblowers taking on the overbearing government are shaping up to be the heroes of the 21st century. Edward Snowden has been making international headlines for months by bringing NSA activities to light, and he has been voted the Guardian 2013 Person of the Year hot on the heels of Chelsea Manning (formerly Bradley Manning).

The voting audience found it to be an easy decision as Snowden won with a landslide 1,445 votes. Greenpeace activists Marco Weber and Sini Saarela came in a distant second with 314 votes followed by Pope Frances with 153.

Snowden currently lives in a tenuous situation in Moscow, on the run from US authorities and fearing extradition should he leave his only safe haven. Moscow is only grudgingly welcoming, and has stated that if Snowden were to leave he would not be allowed back in.

Earlier this year in November, Snowden was reported to be in communication with the German parliament discussing the possibility of asylum in exchange for testimony on the international spying habits of the US.

Katie Couric Joins Yahoo

Yahoo CEO Marissa Meyer announced on Monday via Tumblr post that famous news anchor Katie Couric had been hired as a “Global Anchor” that would lead a Yahoo News team to cover stories around the world. Meyers expressed enthusiasm, stating that “..her experience is unmatched. Katie is dynamic, savvy and has a way of connecting with viewers that I really admire.”

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Image courtesy of Image Editor via flickrcc

Katie Couric is certainly not hurting for experience. She has worked on-air for NBC, CBS and ABC while becoming the first female solo anchor of a news program during her time at CBS.  The post stated that Katie would continue to host her daytime talk show Katie on ABC daytime TV.

The hiring is the latest in a series of acquisitions of journalism stars, including New York Times tech columnist David Pogue, former New York Times editor Megan Liberman and New York Times Magazine political correspondent Matt Bai.