Hasan transported to Bell county

Maj. Nidal Hasan, who has been charged with the Fort Hood shooting, was transported to the Bell County Jail early this morning via airlift from the Brooke Army Medical Center to be held until trial. According to KCEN-TV, the army is paying the jail $207,000 to house him until what could be as soon as June 1. Hasan is paralyzed from the waist down as a result of being shot by security personnel after he killed 13 and injured 32 on his Nov. 5 killing spree at Fort Hood. Hasan’s room will accommodate his physical handicap, which includes amenities like an air mattress, a handicap-accessible shower and his own personal bathroom. A guard will be posted outside his room at all times. A press conference held at the Bell County Jail held answers for some of the questions that have been floating among the public. Bell County Sheriff Dan Smith clarified information about the treatment and care of Hasan. He said that Hasan would be receiving the same care that any other military inmate would receive, with a few arrangements to care for his health. He will be staying in a larger than normal cell, which is designed to provide more room for medical equipment if there was a need to provide services to Hasan. Smith added, “The majority of costs associated with this is because of the need to assign a jailer to him 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. If it is in everyone’s best interests to cut back on that, then we will do that.” Hasan will be allowed a copy of the Quran and meals provided by his family to accommodate a special...

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Bioshock 2 is a perfect sequel
Feb24

Bioshock 2 is a perfect sequel

Welcome back to Rapture. Bioshock 2 gives players a return to the underwater city of Rapture, the utopian dream city of founder Andrew Ryan. The 2007 game of the year, Bioshock, showed the flawed city in its raw form, and invited players to explore the underwater dream-turned-dungeon. The game made use of a mix of special powers called plasmids and heavy weaponry to combat the Splicers, Big Daddies and other opponents in order to escape Rapture. More importantly, the game offered an immersive experience, mixing in-depth storytelling, hi-def cinematic experiences and the ability to make moral decisions that would impact the end of the game. It’s sequel, Bioshock 2, delivers all the same extraordinary elements with a new story, new characters and an entirely new view of Rapture. Players begin the game as a Big Daddy, one of the most feared enemies of the original game. The main character, known only by its code name, “Delta” is a Big Daddy who just woke out of a coma and is in search of his Little Sister, who was taken from him more than 10 years earlier. The shift from being a human to becoming a fearsome Big Daddy is hard to describe. It is almost like the transformation from boy to man. It gives players more of a feeling of moral responsibility to the underwater world. The choices presented in the game certainly give Delta the chance to choose between the path of a ruthless, selfish killer and an upholder of the moral code, or somewhere in between. Each choice players make in the game has an effect on the ending, much like its predecessor and equally impressive Mass Effect 2. Bioshock 2 raises several moral and ethical questions, making you, the player, an authoritative fi gure in Rapture. This responsibility really pulls players into the game, inviting them to make the right (or wrong) choice; to be self-serving or to save lives. The relationship between a Big Daddy and Little Sister in the original game was never fully explained, but the story in Bioshock 2 gives players an insight into the strong emotional and physical bond between the two. Several new weapons and plasmids are introduced in the game. Players can use a 50-calibur machine gun, the rivet gun, a remote hacking tool, a grenade launcher and the Big Daddy drill to make their way through the depths of Rapture. Along with most of the plasmids from the original game, Bioshock 2 gives players the ability to use winter blast, an ice plasmid; cyclone trap, a defensive plasmid; Scout, which allows players to become invisible to survey the area;...

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Apple unveils the iPad
Feb10

Apple unveils the iPad

Apple released its newest gadget at its “Big Announcement” convention Jan. 27, revealing the iPad: a “slate” tablet computer meant to compete with the Amazon Kindle and other e-reader devices. Apple is marketing the product as an in-between technology. It is not a traditional computer, and it is not an iPod. However, many of the features of the iPad are not unfamiliar to iPod Touch or iPhone users. The iPad has a similar layout to the iPhone, using icons in rows and a dock to organize programs. The Safari web browser is almost exactly the same as well. Users will still be able to use the pinch-to-zoom and double tap to zoom in or out on photos, documents, Web sites and maps. The iPad also uses the same virtual keyboard as the iPhone and iPod Touch, but people interested in having a real keyboard can buy an additional docking station that puts the iPad in an upright position in a dock that includes a keyboard. The 9.5-inch glass touch screen allows for vivid display on the device and weighs in at just over one and a half pounds, making the iPad very portable. The battery life of 10 hours supersedes those of most laptops, but still falls short of the Amazon Kindle’s seven-day battery span. The product has received many negative reviews thus far, based only on Apple’s keynote address by CEO Steve Jobs. The exclusion of a webcam, multitasking, USB ports and incompatibility with Flash programming has caused tech enthusiasts to severely criticize the iPad. UMHB hardware engineer and iPhone user Angela Baker was unimpressed with the iPad, calling it a “giant iPod Touch.” “When you compare prices, you can get a lot more out of a laptop at the same price as opposed to what the iPad is providing,” she said. “It doesn’t really lend itself to a student’s needs, but it is a cute, trendy looking gadget.” Baker also added that some features could be added in future versions or other brands’ models to market to a wider audience and make the device more functional. She said, “I think it needs more peripheral ports like USB ports without the docking system. It needs more memory, more battery life and, unfortunately, the list goes on.” Junior visual communications major Colin Valerio is interested in the device but plans to wait until improvements are made. He said, “It’s just not worth it right now, plain and simple.” Senior Joseph Cantu has also decided not to invest, calling it an “oversized iPod Touch.” He said, “As the owner of both an iPhone and a MacBook Pro, the iPad will...

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Students’ guide to dining: don’t forget to leave a tip

As students grow tired of the cafeteria food and McDonalds, the idea of hitting up the local Mexican food joint or Italian bistro becomes more appealing. Almost everyone loves indulging in their favorite dishes at restaurants. Whether it is chicken crispers at Chili’s, pizza at BJ’s, or the soup and salad at Olive Garden, we all have a menu and food selection that fits our taste perfectly. The tips below are some unspoken rules for getting the most out of your favorite restaurant. 1. Please and thank you Politeness is key when dealing with restaurant staff. Servers, bartenders and hostesses have feelings just like anyone else, and appreciate when they are treated respectfully. It seems simple, but these little words go a long way in the service industry. 2. Call ahead When planning on visiting a restaurant with more than six people, call 30 or more minutes ahead to give them adequate time to make arrangements for your party. This helps the restaurant run smoothly and ensures that you will be seated quickly. 3. Speak up Mumbling is one of the hardest things to deal with when trying to figure out what someone wants. Make sure to speak clearly when your order is being taken. Confusion and miscommunication can ruin an outing with friends or even worse, a date. 4. Communicate your needs Drinks are bottomless at most restaurants, and many patrons take advantage of that. If you find that you go through more than three drinks during your visit on most occasions, let the server know that you tend to drink quite a bit so that they can be prepared to refill your glass often. This works in the patron’s favor by keeping the glass full, and gives food servers a heads up on the task ahead. If your food comes out wrong or doesn’t taste very appetizing, ask to speak to a manager. Most restaurants will be happy to pay for your dish and replace it with something better, even free dessert. 5. Tipping The green-eyed monster strikes again! The standard tip is usually 15-20 percent for good service. For bad service, a minimum of 10 percent is the going rate. Remember, servers in the area are paid $2.13 an hour and rely on tips to pay rent, bills and in many cases, their child’s food. Servers are also quite good at remembering faces, so leaving an appropriate tip can ensure that you receive good service the next time you...

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Christmas classic comes to life in 3D

In this modern retelling of the book A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, director Robert Zemeckis doesn’t quite hit a home run, but does enough to make the debut a solid base-hit. The movie doesn’t really add or take anything away from the story itself. Actor Jim Carrey voices “Mr. Bah-humbug” along with the spirits of Christmas past, present and future, and he does a good job delving into the personality of Ebenezer Scrooge, making the character believable. Scrooge is an interesting character to watch as the movie progresses. We see him grow as he revisits his painful past and the future that contains the products of his actions. His interaction with family and those closest to him proves to be endearing as his anti-Christmas spirit evolves. The film jumps into Christmas past without much more background on Scrooge than the fact that he is cheap, grumpy and pushes everyone away. Really, this is all you need to know about the man to begin the journey, but a little more setting would have been nice. Christmas past is absolutely brilliant. A candle-like spirit lights up his past, and it hits home with both the viewers and Scrooge. We see a softer, lighthearted Ebenezer in his childhood, who became more and more protected and hardened as he was left out by classmates. The loss of his wife also is a telling moment in his story. She remains as the last tie he has to a sympathetic way of life, and he ends up pushing her away just like everyone else. That being said, Christmas present and Christmas future were dismal. The scenes in both are over the top and seem like they are intended for rabid monkeys that are hyped up on Red Bull. God represents the spirit of Christmas present, and flies around in his deckedout holiday room with a transparent floor, showing the struggles of those who are less fortunate. The concept is timeless, but the scenes themselves were intended for low attention- span society. In Christmas future, Scrooge is followed by a Grim Reaper-like figure, and viewers get lost in the symbolism and (again) over the top presentation and execution of a crucial part of this story. Scrooge is the only bearable thing to watch during these two acts. There are several Christian themes that run the course of the movie, including forgiveness, grace, humility and love, which are woven subtly, yet effectively, into the persona of Scrooge. The movie was not necessarily bad. It starts off doing some great things but trails off in its own flashy displays of super-symbolism and loses much of the effectiveness...

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