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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Who Do You Think You Are?

(CNN) -- Forget the "NCISs," the "CSIs" and even "SVU." The most suspenseful hour on television is "Who Do You Think You Are?" And it doesn't rely on bullets, blood or a Bieber cameo to deliver thrills.
For those who haven't seen the show -- and hang your head in shame if you haven't -- this Friday-night NBC reality series follows celebrities as they discover their roots with the help of family members, genealogists and historians.

Last season, Sarah Jessica Parker learned that her 10th great-grandmother, Esther Elwell, was involved in the Salem witch trials. But was Esther the accused or the accuser? First, a commercial!

OK, now it's revealed that she was charged with using witchcraft to kill a woman, so Esther was sentenced to death like everyone else at that time, right? It turns out, Esther's case never went to trial because the court had been dissolved before her charges. So ol' Esther lived, and her 10th great-granddaughter would go on to play a Salem witch in the 1993 comedy "Hocus Pocus." Ain't Hollywood magical?

Each celebrity featured on the show -- including this season's subjects, Tim McGraw, Rosie O'Donnell, Kim Cattrall, Gwyneth Paltrow and Vanessa Williams -- is such a familiar face that very often, his or her journey feels like our own. And when those emotional revelations come, even the most hardened viewer is reduced to tears faster than James Van Der Beek.

In a recent episode, Williams learned that her great-great-grandfather, David Carll, was married to a Caucasian woman -- unheard of in 1870 -- and volunteered to serve in the Union Army, which was an even bigger risk because he could have been forced into slavery if captured by the Confederacy.

Williams visited the National Archives to find out more about Carll and was not only presented with a tintype photograph of him in uniform, she discovered that he was born a free man: Asked on his pension file whether he had ever been a slave, he wrote, "Never."

Whether they're finding out that George Washington once slept at their ancestor's house (McGraw) or learning that a long-forgotten relative was a bigamist (Cattrall), each celebrity's story is intensely personal and dramatic.

"They're going into their ancestral pasts and seeing exactly how brutal this planet is for human beings," said "Who Do You Think You Are?" executive producer Lisa Kudrow (yes, Phoebe from "Friends"). "It has been for a long time. If we're here, somebody suffered to make it possible."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Real Housewives of Miami

It hasn't even aired yet, but controversy is already hitting Bravo's "The Real Housewives of Miami." ET is getting the dish straight from the ladies themselves!

Alexia Echevarria, the executive editor of Venue Magazine who calls herself a “Cuban Barbie," is under fire for allowing her teenage son to consume alcoholic beverages.

In the premiere episode, the married mom of two talks openly with her son about buying a table at a club with bottle service, and she tells ET, “We see drinking with our children as something social, cultural, special occasions.” She says she's more of an older sister to her two sons and admits, “You never know if you’re doing the right thing.”

The ladies were coy when asked to reveal the villain on the show. Lea Black, a Texas native says, "I think collectively people have their opinions and maybe there are some mean girls, but I can't speak personally about it.

There is quite a bit of drama, but I wouldn't say it's hair-pulling table-flipping drama," Black said. Marysol Patton, who owns her own public relations firm in Miami, wants viewers to stay tuned past the third episode when things start to really heat up.

The ladies say they are ready for the spotlight and not worried about editing of the show. Black says, "I think you have to give people the material, no one can force you to say the things you say. If I said it in a mean spirit and it was portrayed in a mean spirit, then that's that." Echevarria adds that you are never prepared to hear something negative. "We chose to do this, this comes with the territory," she says.

Their friends and family are very supportive of them being on the show. However, Echevarria says her husband was not onboard in the beginning, "It was almost divorce," she explains. She reports that he is now very supportive and happy she decided to do the show.

On the other housewives, Black says Adriana De Moura, a newly engaged gallery owner, has a lot to offer the show. "She's controversial, upbeat and fabulous," Black adds. Larsa Pippen, wife of basketball star Scottie Pippen, is funny and witty, but tends to play it safe, according to Patton. Black explains she is still trying to figure out castmate Cristy Rice, a recently divorced mom of three who runs her own clothing store, but says Rice speaks several languages and is extremely intelligent.

“The Real Housewives of Miami” premieres on Tuesday, February 22 at 10pm ET/PT on Bravo.

Why Is the Ocean Salty?

Why is the Ocean Salty?
By W. Rex. Level: Platinum.

Experts say that our oceans contain chemicals and rain water. They also contain dissolved chemicals which scientists call "salts." But not all water tastes salty.

In the beginning, the seas must have been only slightly salty. But experts say ever since the first rains fell upon the Earth hundreds of millions of years ago and ran over the land breaking up rocks and transporting their minerals to the seas, the ocean has become saltier. Research says that rivers and streams flowing from the United States alone empty 225 million tons of dissolved solids and 513 million tons of sediment annually to the sea. This turns into salt.

The ocean compared to the water we use daily, contains unacceptable amounts of dissolved chemicals; it is too salty for humans to drink.

How salty is the ocean? Some scientists estimate that the oceans contain as much as 50 million billion tons of dissolved solids. These solids are how the ocean is salty.

They say that sea water is 220 times saltier than a fresh lake water.

Sea water has been defined as a weak solution of almost everything.

Ocean water is a solution of mineral salts and of decayed biologic matter that results from the circle of life in the seas. Some of the ocean's salts have been dissolved from rocks and sediments below its floor. Other sources of salts include the solid and gaseous materials that escaped from the Earth's crust through volcanic vents or that originated in the atmosphere.

The Mississippi, Amazon, and Yukon Rivers empty into the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Pacific Ocean, all of which are salty. Why aren't the oceans as fresh as the river waters that empty into them? Experts say the saltiness of the ocean is the result of several natural influences and processes, the salt load of the streams entering the ocean is just one of these factors.

One would think that all the fresh water coming into the oceans by the fresh water rivers would eventually over years and years of moving that the oceans would be less salty. As long as rain continues and rocks continue to wear away due to rain water and empty into rivers the oceans will remain salty.

So when you are swimming in the ocean and it seems to be saltier than usual think of the above reasons and you will understand why.

W. Rex has been writing articles for a while. To see his new website over at which helps people find the mini stair stepper That will best meet their needs.

Monday, February 14, 2011

One in 5 Americans believe Obama is Muslim

USA Today
WASHINGTON, Feb 14: The (false) claim that President Obama is a Muslim looks like it will be a permanent part of the political landscape.
About 10 Iowa Republican caucus-goers who attended a recent focus group organized by Fox News said they believe that Obama is a Muslim, despite the president's repeated testimony of his Christian beliefs as recently at this month's National Prayer Breakfast.

On Sunday, Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, rejected the challenge of NBC's David Gregory to "stand up to that kind of ignorance," saying on Meet The Press that "it's not my job to tell the American people what to think."

"Our job in Washington is to listen to the American people," Boehner told NBC, adding that he personally doesn't believe claims about Obama's religion or his U.S. citizenship.

"The state of Hawaii has said that he was born there; that's good enough for me," Boehner said. "The president says he's a Christian. I accept him at his word."

A Pew poll last year showed that nearly one in five Americans believe Obama is a Muslim.

In his Feb. 3 appearance at the National Prayer Breakfast, Obama said his faith is rooted in his years as a community organizer in Chicago.

"It was through that experience working with pastors and laypeople trying to heal the wounds of hurting neighborhoods that I came to know Jesus Christ for myself and embrace Him as my lord and savior," Obama said.

Christianity has been "a sustaining force" of his presidency, Obama added.

"All the more so, when (wife) Michelle and I hear our faith questioned from time to time," Obama said. "We are reminded that ultimately what matters is not what other people say about us but whether we're being true to our conscience and true to our God."

Verizon Iphone Preorder

A really big start to Apple and Verizon's relationship.
Verizon said it sold more iPhones in the first two hours of preorders than it sold of any phone on a launch day. The previous record for a Verizon launch was 100,000 DROID phones in November 2009.

If this number is accurate, it could be the biggest launch for any one carrier. Last summer, when the iPhone 4 was released, Apple announced that it had 600,000 preorders, but that was with a few carriers.

For some context on how big 500,000 preorders is, Piper analyst Gene Munster (who admittedly has a tendency to miss Apple estimates low) forecasted 1.1 million Verizon iPhone sales for Q1. Apple could be half way there after day one.