Monthly Archives: April 2013

Viral Video Alert: April Fool’s prank on Mom gone wrong!

Vitaly ZdorovetskiyYouTuber Vitaly Zdorovetskiy lives in Miami. On April Fool’s Day, the 21-year-old decided to prank his mother by announcing to her that he was addicted to heroin. Maybe he thought she’d cry… freak out a little bit… and then he’d tell her he was just kidding and everyone would have big laugh about it on YouTube. (He recorded her reaction.)

Well, she got mad… real mad, in fact… and took the belt to him! It wasn’t so funny then!

Social Media Matters: Number of Canadian seniors online jumps

Social Media MattersSocial Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Friday, April 26, 2013
Metro section

Number of Canadian seniors online jumps

According to a report published by the CBC on April 18, Statistics Canada says that Internet usage among seniors increased dramatically from 2000 to 2012.

Bertha Kronenberg is one of many Canadian seniors taking to the Internet to keep in touch with friends and family. (Photo courtesy of Revera Inc.)
Bertha Kronenberg is one of many Canadian seniors taking to the Internet to keep in touch with friends and family. (Photo courtesy of Revera Inc.)

The number of online Canadians aged 75 and older increased from five per cent to 27 per cent between 2000 and 2012. As well, according to the article, “A report last year by seniors’ services provider Revera Inc. in partnership with Leger Marketing found that more than half of online seniors older than 75 belong to a social networking site such as Facebook, and more than one-third of them go to those sites daily.”

Seniors who keep in touch with the outside world via social media tend to be healthier, as well, according to a researcher interviewed for the article. “We know from other research that keeping socially active can be very beneficial for wellness,” said Katherine Sellen, a post-doctoral researcher at the Technologies for Aging Gracefully Lab. “Keeping active physically is important but social activity also helps to elevate mood and to help to actually impact healing and it can keep cognitive function ongoing as well as one ages. So what we wanted to do was see if we could actually facilitate that social activity.”

According to Ms. Sellen, researchers have even tried out tablets (the computer kind, not the medication kind) with chronic pain patients, and “it’s had a lot of success,” she says.

YouTube facts and figures

YouTube1) More than one billion unique users visit YouTube each month; 2) More than four billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube; 3) 72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute; 4) 70 per cent of YouTube traffic comes from outside the United States; 5) YouTube is localized in 53 countries and across 61 languages. Source: YouTube.

Most popular Facebook check-in locations in Canada

FacebookAccording to socialbakers.com, here are the top five locations that Facebook users have check into in Canada over the past year:

1) Toronto Pearson International Airport (506,456 check-ins); 2) Vancouver International Airport (383,507); 3) Aéroport Montréal-Trudeau Airport (245,663); 4) Centre Bell (133,389); 5) Air Canada Centre (90,935).

Top quotations-related websites

Bombings, foiled terrorist attacks, devastating explosions. It’s been a very difficult couple of weeks for many people. The news has been filled with much negativity. While not forgetting those killed and injured who should (and must!) remain in our thoughts, it’s also important to remain positive and hope for the best despite the bad things happening. This week’s top 10 websites courtesy of Alexa.com focus on places where we can find inspirational quotations.

brainyquote1) BrainyQuote (World’s largest quotation site.); 2) Wikiquote (Quote database built collaboratively using Wiki software.); 3) ThinkExist.com Quotations (Thousands of searchable quotes by author, topic and contributor.); 4) Quote Garden (Inspirational, thought-provoking, humorous and literary.); 5) The Quotations Page (Nine different collections of quotes.); 6) Board of Wisdom (Share and debate famous quotes, sayings and witticisms.); 7) The Phrase Finder (Large archive of phrases, sayings, quotations and proverbs, along with their meanings and origins.); 8) Bartleby.com (Classics and general reference works.); 9) About.com — Quotations (Clichés, euphemisms, quotes from famous people, etc.); 10) Inspirational Quotes (Range of inspiring quotations on select topics.)

This week’s featured YouTube channels

Have a favourite YouTube channel? Let me know and I may feature it here. Statistics are current to April 23.

tokyo1) Life in Tokyo (31,683 subscribers): Ever wonder what it’s like to live in Japan? Kevin Cooney is an American who blogs and posts video about his life in Tokyo for the past 11 years “and counting.” You can also follow him on Twitter at @TokyoCooney. “Though I whine a lot, I love this city and Japanese culture,” he writes in his YouTube channel description. Kevin’s channel is immensely popular with nearly 6.5 million total video views to his credit. (Most popular video: Racism in Tokyo — 402,949 views.)

Josh Sundquist2) Motivational Speaker Josh Sundquist (147,150 subscribers): When Josh Sundquist was nine years old, he lost his leg to cancer. As he grew, he decided to devote his life to inspiring others as a motivational speaker and author. When watching his videos, it doesn’t take long to realize that he has an infectious personality and great sense of humour. (Most popular video: Would you want your leg back? Do you have abs? (ask Josh) — 954,196 views.)

slowmo-guys3) The Slow Mo Guys (1,823,860 subscribers): Because everything looks way cooler in slow motion, you don’t want to miss this channel. Gav and Dan shoot their videos in HD using high-speed movie cameras. If you like to watch things blow up in slow motion, this is the channel for you. Apparently, you’d be in pretty good company with nearly two million subscribers who have propelled this channel to more than 200 million total video views. (Most popular video: Giant 6ft Water Balloon – The Slow Mo Guys — 32,328,970 views.)

Hump Day: Motives of marathon bombers remain tragic puzzle

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

What was I doing in mid-April in the year I turned 19? I do believe I was looking for work to help pay for university, if memory serves correct.

Actually, that’s exactly what I was doing. In fact, in a few weeks — early May, I think — I would hear that I finally landed my first-ever job working for the Moncton Kinsmen Club putting together a newspaper for the 1983 National Kinsmen Convention held here in Moncton.

I had no car — no driver’s licence yet, even. I was as poor as a church mouse. With the financial support of my parents (and the government), I managed to finish my first year of journalism school at the University of King’s College without having found a job the previous summer. Luckily, though, I managed to land a job in my field between my first and second years. Boy, was I happy! At least I’d have some spending money!

I hung out with friends. I may have even accidentally found myself sitting in a bar with them from time to time. Accidentally, of course. Completely accidentally. No idea how that happened!

Pretty much the furthest thing from my mind was blowing up a crowd of people — killing three of them, including a child, and sending limbs flying everywhere. But somehow, that’s what the now-infamous terrorist suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev allegedly decided to do on April 15 along with his older brother — and thought-to-be mastermind behind the heinous act — Tamerlan, age 26, who was killed during a shootout.

While it’s true that I don’t have an older brother to influence me, I have to wonder what the heck was going through this kid’s mind when he started going down the road toward the time he and his brother decided, if he is found guilty, on the evil path they took.

When I was 19, I worried about how to pay for university. I concentrated on saving money to pay for my second year. I thought about my career and the next three years of university — years that seemed like an eternity to me then. Thirty years later, they were but a blink of an eye. The perspective of time and age does that to you.

Many suggest that Dzhokhar, age 19, was brainwashed by his older brother, something that certainly seems quite plausible as time moves on. Was this the case of a radicalized older brother recruiting his impressionable younger brother into committing heinous acts? Is it just that simple? Perhaps. But behind that “brainwashing” is a ton of political and social history that I’m certainly no expert in trying to explain — so I won’t even try. The reasons why the older brother decided to do what he did may never be known unless his surviving younger brother decides to spill the beans.

Early reports out of Boston seem to imply that he’s ready to give some answers on why this happened. But will any explanation ever be good enough? Will any explanation ever be good enough for the parents of young Martin Richard, the eight-year-old boy who was killed? And do I need to mention that, with a last name like Richard, little Martin was perhaps descended from Acadian stock who originated from around these parts? Like I said in last week’s column, the Maritimes have many ties to Boston.

And what about those who were forever maimed by those pressure cooker bombs? Or the spectators who were simply there to cheer on runners? Or the runners who’d trained for months or years to fulfil their dream of running in the Boston Marathon? Or the people who spent their time keeping physically fit — staying healthy — setting fitness goals and working toward them day after day?

And what about those who were physically unhurt but who witnessed the carnage? I appeared on a local radio show last week to discuss the bombings and how they played out on social media. Before my interview began, I listened to Moncton lawyer and former New Brunswick cabinet minister Mike Murphy’s horrific account of what he and his wife saw since they were both very near the actual blasts. I was shocked at what I heard.

Anyone who knows Mike knows that he’s definitely no shrinking violet and isn’t easily intimidated, to say the least, but it was clear from that interview that he was deeply traumatized by what he’d seen. Who wouldn’t be? This wasn’t a television show. It was real life. Dead people. People with missing arms. People with missing legs. People covered in blood. How could anyone see that and not be deeply and powerfully affected?

It’s an understatement to say that Dzhokhar made some terrible choices that hurt many people and left an entire city and nation on edge. And I certainly don’t want to make myself sound terribly sympathetic, either. If convicted the guy deserves to be locked up until his last breath is drawn. Hopefully, one day he’d repent and beg for forgiveness.

Like his uncle said on television, he’s brought shame upon his family and heritage. I’ll add that he’s also brought shame upon humanity and his religion. I know Muslims and they’re certainly not warmongers or terrorists. And if you look at the list of recent domestic terrorist attacks in the U.S., non-Muslims make up the huge percentage of perpetrators. Regardless, Dzhokhar didn’t do his religion any favours.

When I was 19, I was also young and stupid. At least we have that in common.

Social Media Matters: Boston bombings bring out best, worst in social media

Social Media MattersSocial Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Friday, April 19, 2013
Metro section

Boston bombings bring out best, worst in social media

The Boston Marathon bombings earlier this week brought out the best and worst in the social media world. From heroes to zeros:

It was clear that social media has made significant progress since the last time a major terrorist attack (domestic or foreign-led) was perpetrated on U.S. soil. On September 11, 2001, in the days before social media, finding loved ones online was virtually impossible.

Boston Marathon 2013 logoIn stark contrast, today, with high-speed Internet, texting and smartphones, relatives and friends worried about those at the site of the bombing were able to find their loved ones quickly. The Boston Marathon’s website also kept running tallies on who’d already finished the race, so those who finished a few hours prior to the attack were likely long gone from the site and safe.

The bad? Hoax photos of children reportedly killed posted to Twitter and Facebook and being shared willy-nilly. Charity scams telling Twitter users that $1 per retweet would be donated to victims. Companies for not understanding that business-related social media posts during tragedies is dumb. And the winner: Epicurious.com’s Twitter team for suggesting post-bombing recipes for you to try. I kid you not.

Top running-related websites

In honour of the runners out there — whether you just jog or participate in marathons — here’s a list of the top running-related websites online according to rankings by Alexa.com. The runners I know are resolute in their goals and dedicated to pushing themselves beyond their limits. It is by using these skills that I hope you continue running in marathons free of the fear of terrorism — or perhaps even despite the fear of terrorism.

Runner's World magazine
Runner’s World magazine

1) Runner’s World Online (Daily running news, tips for beginners and advanced, injury prevention, equipment reviews. U.S. race listings.); 2) Map My Run (Provides running enthusiasts with the tools and community they need to improve their training and become better runners through interactive maps, workout logs, fitness calculators, community groups, etc.); 3) Active.com — Running (Running, training information, racing tips, and race registration); 4) LetsRun.com (Links to news items covering running topics, nutrition and health information.); 5) About.com — Running and Jogging (Regular features, forums and chat as well as nearly 500 tested links to training tips, running gear, hashing, trail running, youth, masters, etc.); 6) Cool Running (News, fitness information, race event calendar, message board, online running log and training tips.); 7) Marathon de Paris (Race standings, merchandise, etc.); 8) New York Road Runners (Running, yoga, health-walking, deep-water running, stretching clinics and training.); 9) The Sports Coach (Brian MacKenzie, senior U.K. athletic coach who provides coaching and training information to improve performance.); 10) MarathonGuide.com (Complete marathon race directory, results, athlete and race news, results, history, etc.)

Top 10 mobile apps for running

CardioTrainer
CardioTrainer

According to an article entitled The Best Mobile Apps for Running written by Kissairis Munoz for HuffPost Healthy Living Canada on November 9, 2012 — so it should still be current — here are the top 10 apps available for runners to use when practising the sport they love. Unless otherwise noted, the apps are available for both Apple and Android versions.

1) CardioTrainer (free — Android only); 2) Couch to 5k ($1.99); 3) Fooducate (free); 4) Ghost Race (free version with fewer features or $0.99, Apple only); 5) iSmoothRun ($4.99, Apple only); 6) MapMyRun + GPS Running (free version with fewer features or $2.99, also available for Blackberry); 7) Nike + Running (free); 8) RunKeeper (free); 9) runtastic (free version with fewer features or $5.99, also available for Blackberry and Windows Phone); 10) Upbeat Workouts for Runners ($2.99, Apple only.)

This week’s featured YouTube channels

Keeping with this week’s theme, the featured channels this week focus on running. Statistics are current to April 16. Have a favourite channel? Let me know and I may feature it here.

1) Natural Running Center (2,323 subscribers): This is the companion YouTube channel for the website www.naturalrunningcenter.com. According to its channel description, its mission is “educating all runners on form, footwear, and running naturally.” In total, the channel’s videos have nearly 350,000 views. (Most popular video: Principles of Natural Running with Dr. Mark Cucuzzella — 293,799 views.)

2) insidenikerunning (14,172 subscribers): This is Nike’s official running-related channel that features a number of videos aimed at enhancing your running experience. The channel is very popular with nearly 11.3 million total video views. Playlists include Nike Running Race Coach, Nike Cross Nationals, and Inspiration. (Most popular video: Join the Nike+ Revolution — 3,934,430 views.)

3) The B.A.A. Boston Marathon (751 subscribers): This is the official YouTube channel for the Boston Marathon. Current total channel views are slightly less than 300,000. (Most popular video: 2012 Boston Marathon — 37,667 views.)

Hump Day: Nightmare in Boston brings terrorism closer to home

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

As I write this, it’s Monday evening going on 11:30 p.m. The news of the Boston Marathon bombings has taken over everything on the news. The Conservatives have launched attack ads on newly minted federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau. And New Brunswick Liberal leader Brian Gallant has just won the byelection in Kent.

For a newshound like me, it’s not easy to concentrate on work. I personally didn’t know anyone who attended the Boston Marathon (at least to my knowledge), but apparently the New Brunswickers who attended, at least from what I understand at the time I’m writing this, are all present and accounted for, which is good.

Despite that, there are many families and friends who are grieving for the dead and injured today, and wondering how such a happy event could turn so tragic. Unfortunately, terrorists show no respect and attack when people are least expecting it. When people are at work. When people are travelling for business or pleasure. Or when people are just watching a popular sporting event such as the Boston Marathon.

We Maritimers have close ties to Boston. We send a Christmas tree to the city every year. Many of us travel there on a regular basis since it’s only a day’s drive. Their sport teams rank right up there with Canadian teams as far as local favourites go. The Boston Bruins and the Boston Red Sox see their fair share of Maritimers attending their games every year. From what I see on Facebook, the Red Sox, especially, have many very ardent fans among New Brunswickers.

Like many of you reading this column, I have relatives in the Boston area – cousins we would only see from time to time. They’d ask us why we Canadians always said, “Eh!” We’d ask them why they said “ka” when they mean “car”. Neither one of us knew the answer.

On cable, we get the Boston stations. If there’s a snow storm coming, we know about it the day before. “Did you see the storm on the Boston channel? We’re getting it tomorrow.”

It seems unfathomable that a terrorist act could take place in a place that is like a second home to many Maritimers. New York City in 2001 was one thing. It was still remote for many of us. But Boston? Seems to me like most of us have been there. Heck, I’ve even been there and I’m not even a traveller.

I’m not one who’s prone to nightmares. Oh, I’ll have the odd bad dream here and there. I suppose those are normal. But an honest-togoodness nightmare that scares the toenails right off ya? Well, I had one the other night. This week, the latest episode of the Fox show Glee aired and featured a shooting in the school. In the end, no one was hurt and the gun going off was an accident (you would have had to see the show for the reason why the gun was in the school in the first place), but I found the acting was quite powerful by those portraying the students caught in one of the classrooms.

Glee is usually a happy show. There’s some crying from time to time, of course, due to teenage angst, but for the most part people are cheery. But this episode was the exception. The abject terror portrayed by the actors holed up in the classroom while the police were scouring the school for the gun was something to behold. They didn’t know who was trying to get in through the classroom door. They didn’t know if their friends had been shot. They didn’t know if this was there last day alive.

After watching the show that night, I slept well. But it was the next night when I had the nightmare. I dreamed that someone had started shooting my house with a very powerful gun. They were very angry. They wanted to kill me. They were strong. They were not going to give up. Holes were being blown out of the house as I cowered on the floor. The noise was deafening. I distinctly remember feeling terrified.

I remember waking up and giving my head a shake to remind me that it was just a dream, but when I fell asleep again, the nightmare took over. It was a rough night until the alarm finally went off at the usual 5:55 a.m. Let’s just say that I wasn’t exactly well rested that day. Despite knowing it wasn’t real, it still left me shaken.

When I was a kid, I remember one hot summer night late in August when my family was gathered around the television watching Little House on the Prairie when, all of a sudden, we heard the distinct sound of gunshots from up the street. Came to find out later that one of the neighbourhood hoodlums (there was an entire family of them) decided to chase his father through the park while taking potshots at him with a rifle.

Pretty much tells you that my upbringing was pretty “vanilla” compared to people who lived just a few houses away, huh? Or should I say, “Eh?” I was watching Little House on the Prairie with my father. The kid up the street was running after his father in the park and shooting at him. I’ll take the vanilla upbringing any day over the much more “exciting” Wild West family life, thank you very much.

Boston is a big city, but it was considered a pretty safe city to many of us, I bet. Today, that image is lost. Someone came through their town bearing bombs and looking to hurt the innocent. I feel for them. They won’t wake up from this nightmare. It wasn’t just a sound they heard in the distance. Bostonians are our friends. Our cousins. Our neighbours. Our fellow sport fans and cable buddies. Courage, my friends! Courage!