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August 29, 2008

Summing up the Democratic National Convention

I love word clouds. You know what I'm talking about: the little graphic made up of different sized words, based on the number of times they're spoken in a speech.

Well, already we're seeing word clouds circulating on the Democratic National Convention. In fact, here's an analysis I found on

But I found this today as I was poking around in the Associated Press' graphics wire, and I love, love, love their take. Check it out, and if you have time ... make your own!



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Florida lighthouses: Jupiter Lighthouse gets major honor

In May, the Jupiter Lighthouse in Palm Beach County was given the federal Outstanding Natural Area designation. This means the historic lighthouse and its surrounding park has the same protection as a federal monument.

And what's so great about that?

For starters, it's only the second lighthouse in the country to have this designation — Yaquina Head lighthouse in Newport, Ore., is the first. And, not to mention, it's really, really hard to get this federal stamp of approval.

So check out the Sunday News Illustrated page highlighting the Jupiter Lighthouse's features and history.

And coming soon, an updated multimedia gallery showcasing seven of the state's lighthouses, including Jupiter's.


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August 24, 2008

Burmese pythons on the loose

So you want a pet snake, huh? Well, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission expects you to know what you're getting yourself into. Below is the first page of the official questionnaire that you'll have to fill out to get a permit to own a python. Do you know the answers?

Find out why they are a problem in South Florida in our Snakes Gone Wild News Illustrated.
Download PDF here.

POSTED IN: Environment (52), Renee Kwok (24), Science (44)

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August 20, 2008

Kite surfing

Surfers are known to ride the waves from stormy weather but it can be fatal. Take the man who was injured during Tropical Storm Faye and is now in critical condition.
To prevent from being blown around, read up on our News Illustrated about the basics of kite boarding here. KiteBoarding.jpg

POSTED IN: Fun and games (21), Renee Kwok (24), Safety (10), Sports (15)

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August 16, 2008

GFDL computer model puts Fay over South Florida

UPDATE: The GFDL model has shifted west. You can see a newer animation here.

The GFDL forecast model is predicting Fay will make landfall over the Everglades and the eye will pass over South Florida. This is only one of several models used to predict the storm's path so Fay could still miss South Florida. But the images do provide insight to how the storm could look if it did hit us. Click the image to view an animation. When the page opens, hit the "FWD" button to start the animation.



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Got Oil? Interactive map shows oil and gas nationwide

This cool map offered by the USGS lets you look anywhere in the country to see past and current oil and gas production. How rich (in oil) is your state?
TIP: For an interactive map, go to the pulldown box in the center of the page and select Choose Map Size.

Here's a look at South Florida.


UPDATE: Download my News Illustrated page to see where undiscovered oil and gas deposits stretch beneath South Florida into the Gulf of Mexico.


POSTED IN: Cindy Jones-Hulfachor (46), Environment (52)

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August 14, 2008

A venomous lionfish - the ultimate predator?

This venomous lionfish, native to the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific spilled into the Atlantic in 1992 and it has spread rapidly up the U.S. coast and into the Caribbean. It is 18 inches long and could certainly hold its own in an eating contest. That's the problem. This dangerous fish is eating up a lot of reef fish at a pretty quick pace. Mark Hixon, an Oregon State University marine ecology expert compared the invasion of lionfish to a plague of locusts. To control the invasion, researchers are trying to figure out what would eat it for breakfast - and lunch, and dinner. It's not the tastiest fish and even sharks steer clear. Surprisingly though, grouper will take the bait.

Check out the video below to see how quickly it attacks its prey.

POSTED IN: Environment (52), LIndsay Dubois (35)

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August 12, 2008

Green laser pointers: Playing with danger

High-powered lasers are dangerous and can cause severe eye injury. This image from the FAA shows eye damage from lasers. Even Class IIIa, laser pointers can cause temporary visual effects causing short-term blinding and disorientation.


The high-powered pointer below was listed for sale online. The Class IIIb laser has 50 milliwatts of output power, 45 milliwatts above the legal limit of 5 milliwatts, for a laser pointer.



Contact the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health at (240) 276-0326. Some laser pointers purchased online do not meet federal safety guidelines. They may have lasers too powerful. The FDA has more information.

Green lasers are used in:
Class I: CD players
Class II: Bar code scanners
Class IIIa, less than 5 milliwatts: Laser pointers and some gun targets
Class IIIb and IV, more than 5 milliwatts to 500 milliwatts: laser light shows, industrial lasers, research lasers.

POSTED IN: Cindy Jones-Hulfachor (46), Safety (10), Science (44), Technology (27)

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August 8, 2008

Cast your vote with our voting simulator


Above is an interactive that I did which allows you to go through the voting process in Broward and Palm Beach counties. New optical scan machines will be used in Florida this year, but the machines and ballots do not all look the same.

There always seems to be some kind of voting process issue surrounding election day. Use this simulator to help prepare yourself for voting day so that there will hopefully be no confusion this year.

Also, check out our elections page to view other helpful information and articles about voting and the candidates.

POSTED IN: Fun and games (21), LIndsay Dubois (35), Politics (29)

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August 5, 2008

How to play dead: A serious topic

A man recently skirted death by "playing dead." Shots were fired into his car, he slumped forward and didn't move, saving his life.
Quick thinking can save your life too. Here are some positions worth knowing. Have any tips you want to share?
For more information you can also check out Associated Content.


POSTED IN: Cindy Jones-Hulfachor (46), Safety (10)

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See how lasik procedure is done

Laser correction surgery could be your ticket to perfect vision.

Click here to check out a video of how the procedure is done, provided by Millennium Laser Eye Centers.
UPDATE: You can download the News Illustrated graphic to learn more.


POSTED IN: Health (21), Renee Kwok (24), Science (44), Technology (27)

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August 4, 2008

Back to School Fashions for fall

Looking for the latests trends to wear back to school without breaking the bank?
Check them out here. We'll tell you how much they cost and where to find them.


POSTED IN: Fun and games (21), Renee Kwok (24)

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