Blog Posts by Eric Pfeiffer

  • Facebook IPO launch set for May 18

    Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (Yahoo/Phoebe Connelly)Facebook will launch its initial public offering (IPO) on May 18, with a corporate roadshow to mark the announcement beginning on Monday, May 7.

    The IPO is expected to be the largest ever by an Internet-based company. The date of the launch has remained somewhat in limbo as Facebook awaited approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the social networking site's S-1 filing, according to CNET.

    The news was first reported via The Wall Street Journal's Twitter account.

    Forbes contributor Darcy Travlos questioned the move, saying it might trouble Facebook's investors after reports that the company has experienced "slowing metrics" and recently acquired the photo-sharing site Instagram for $1 billion.

    Facebook's roadshow, in which the company will offer a presentation to potential investors, is expected to be held in New York City, Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, Baltimore and Los Angeles, according to the New York Times. The first meeting will likely take place on Monday

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  • 13 years of perfect attendance: student nears 2,000 days in a row

    Konawaena HighSchool, Hawaii (Wikicommons)Since kindergarten, 17-year-old high-school senior Ciara Cetraro hasn't missed a day of school. That's more than 2,000 days of showing up for every day of school. And perhaps most impressive of all: She did it living in Hawaii, which is known for its "epidemic" of chronic absenteeism.

    West Hawaii Today reports that Cetraro has not only had perfect attendance, but the Konawaena High School senior is also one of her class valedictorians, president and treasurer of the school's National Honor Society chapter, captain of the Konawaena Wildcat cheerleading squad, senior class vice president and Go Green Environmental Club vice president.

    "I never did this for the recognition or awards. It's always been a personal choice and a hard habit to break," she told the paper.

    "School is very important to me and I like it. I've always been afraid of possibly missing something. I just wanted to try my best, learn as much as I can and continually improve myself. By not missing a single day of school, I get the opportunity to build on and broaden my knowledge."

    The days of consecutive attendance required for Cetraro to achieve her record puts her in some famous company. For example, Cal Ripken, Jr. holds the Major League Baseball record for games played in a row: lacing up for 2,632 consecutive games over more than 16 years. And despite a recent illness, "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest has shown up for every installment of the show over its ongoing 11-year run.

    Hawaii's Board of Education Vice Chairman Brian DeLima described the upcoming May 19 milestone as a "a remarkable feat."

    "Studies show academic achievement drops significantly for students who miss 10 percent or more of a school year," DeLima told the paper. "Chronic absenteeism is more than an early indicator that a student will eventually drop out of school; it's symptomatic of bad habits in life."

    DeLima said about 12,000 of Hawaii's public school students missed 15 or more days of school during the first half of the academic year alone.

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  • Grandparents allegedly tow 7-year-old behind SUV in toy car while drunk

    (Photo credit: Sarasota County Sheriff's Office)

    The grandparents of a 7-year-old Florida girl are facing several charges after they allegedly towed her in a plastic car behind their SUV—all while under the influence of alcohol.

    The Herald Tribune reports that Paul J. Berloni, 49, is charged with driving under the influence, child endangerment and driving with a suspended license. Sarasota Sheriff's deputies say Berloni has been convicted on three prior DUIs. His wife, Belinda Jean Berloni, 47, faces one charge of child endangerment.

    The granddaughter was reportedly not injured during the incident.

    According to the arrest report, the Berloni's "failed to provide adequate supervision for the child and put the child in a situation that could have easily resulted in great bodily harm, permanent disfigurement or even death."

    Police became aware of the illegal ride when a deputy spotted the couple towing their granddaughter in a plastic Hot Wheels car. The child was dressed in a swimsuit, without any protective gear. The Hot Wheels car was attached to the SUV's trailer hitch with two dog leashes and traveling at an estimated 5 to 10 mph.

    Belinda Berloni was reportedly riding in the SUV's cargo area and "cheering on the child," according to the arrest report. The couple did not deny they were drinking or that Paul Berloni's license was suspended. Rather, Belinda Berloni reportedly said "that she understood that it was dangerous to drag a child behind the vehicle but stated they were just having fun and had been doing this all day," according to the arrest report.

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  • 6-month-old baby girl with Facebook ‘bucket list’ dies

    After Avery Lynn Canahuati was born last November with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) type 1, her parents wrote a "bucket list" for their newborn, citing things she would like to do if she led a normal, healthy life. Her doctors had said Canahuati wasn't expected to live more than two years.

    Unfortunately, 6-month-old Canahuati passed away on Monday after pulmonary complications related to her condition.

    "In short, one of her lungs collapsed and she went into cardiac arrest," Mike Canahuati wrote on the Facebook page he set up for his daughter. "I immediately performed CPR on her and was able to bring her back to life, but only for a brief period of time before she passed away shortly after arriving at the hospital."

    "Avery's passing this quickly came as a complete shock to all of us, as she had just been given a thumbs up at her last doctors appointment only three days ago," Canahuati wrote Tuesday morning.

    At first, Canahuati said he started writing the bucket list blog in his daughter's name as a way of helping family and friends stay updated on Avery's condition. But the Facebook bucket list page almost immediately became a viral sensation, with more than 100,000 fans and a blog set up in her name, "Avery's Bucket List" has more than  2.5 million page views.

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  • ‘Bullied’ dolphin hiding from pushy pod, officials say

    A lone dolphin has spent the past several days residing in a California coastal bay after several reports suggest it was "bullied" by a pod of fellow dolphins that were blocking its return to the open sea.

    "He was scared, he was intimidated, he was bullied," Peter Wallerstein of the Marine Animal Rescue told the Los Angeles Times.

    At first, wildlife officials tried encouraging "Bolsa Chica Bob" to return to sea. But when the dolphin, who is nicknamed after the section of wetlands he has been taking shelter in, tried returning to the ocean he was met by two other dolphins who blocked his path.

    "There could be tension among the dolphin pod, and dolphins can be very aggressive, even among themselves," Wallerstein said.

    Now, Wallerstein says officials are no longer pressuring the 7-foot dolphin to leave the bay, saying there is an ample supply of fish available should he choose to make the area his permanent home.

    "We're being very cautious about forcing it into harm's way," he said.

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  • Golden retriever guards owner’s bicycle, then hops aboard for a ride

    In this new video from China, a golden retriever guards its owner's bicycle as curious and amused spectators pass by. When the owner shows up, the very excited dog then actually climbs aboard the man's bike.

    But really, this video contains a third wonderful element. After the golden retriever hops aboard the back of the bicycle, his owner waits for the dog to bark, signaling that he is safely aboard. The owner then begins peddling away, with his guard dog in tow.

    However, you may have noticed that the golden retriever appears to be balancing on a pretty narrow space on the back of its owner's bicycle. One enthusiastic blogger noticed as well and has already started a site, Best Dog Ever, to help raise funds to purchase a larger and more comfortable seat for this very loyal dog.

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  • Man sues BMW, alleging motorcycle seat gave him two-year erection

    Professional French motorcyle rider Erwan Nigon (Michel Euler/AP)Commercials for erectile dysfunction medications like Cialis end with a warning that individuals should contact their doctor if they have an erection that lasts for more than four hours.

    After 20 months, Henry Wolf decided to contact a lawyer instead, claiming that the seat on his BMW motorcycle gave him an erection lasting nearly two years. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Wolf filed a lawsuit against BMW North American and Corbin-Pacific claiming that the "ridged seat" on his 1993 motorcycle left him with mental and emotional anguish after allegedly causing an extreme case of priapism, also known as a long-lasting erection.

    Wolf "has been experiencing continuing problems since his motorcycle ride," attorney Vernon Bradley of Sausalito wrote in the lawsuit, which was filed in California Superior Court in San Francisco last Thursday. "He is now unable to engage in sexual activity, which is causing him substantial emotional and mental anguish."

    Bradley said the alleged case of priapism began after Wolf took a four-hour ride on his motorcycle.

    As those erectile dysfunction commercials so regularly note, priapism can technically be onset after just four hours and is generally considered an emergency medical condition. The condition is named after the Greek fertility god Priapus, who is commonly depicted as having an unusually large erection.

    According to USA Today, Wolf is seeking monetary damages for lost wages, medical expenses, emotional distress and "general damage."

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  • Key witness to RFK assassination says Sirhan Sirhan didn’t act alone

    A key witness to the 1968 assassination of Robert F. Kennedy has retracted her official statements in the case and now claims that convicted assassin Sirhan Sirhan did not act alone.

    Nina Rhodes-Hughes, 78, tells CNN that the FBI "twisted" her original statements to authorities. In recent court filings led by California Attorney General Kamala Harris, state prosecutors argue that even if there were a second gunman on the scene, Sirhan is still guilty of murder.

    "What has to come out is that there was another shooter to my right," Rhodes told CNN. "The truth has got to be told. No more cover-ups."

    Rhodes' original FBI statement says she only heard 8 gunshots at the time and makes no mention of a second shooter. However, Rhodes, who was just feet away from Kennedy says she never claimed to have only heard 8 shots.

    "I never said eight shots. I never, never said it. There were more than eight shots," she told CNN. "There were at least 12, maybe 14. And I know there were because I heard the rhythm in my head."

    Last November, Sirhan's attorneys announced they were filing a challenge to the verdict, alleging a conspiracy by authorities in the case. They are asking that Sirhan be released from prison. His attorneys argue that Sirhan was the victim of a malicious form of "hypo programming" that falsely caused him to believe he was RFK's assassin.

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  • UPDATE: Story of dentist who pulled boyfriend's teeth likely a hoax

    In this unrelated photo, a patient receives dental treatment. (AP/Esteban Felix)

    UPDATE: A new report from MSNBC suggests that the original report is a hoax. Contributor Erin Tennant claims to have received a translated denial from Polish authorities calling into question the report first run by The Daily Mail and Austrian Times.

    Several outlets, including Yahoo News, The New York Daily News, Fox News, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Huffington Post and MSN itself, which has now retracted its original story, carried the report. Here are some of the new details from their investigation:

    • In a translated email, a police spokesperson in Wroclaw, Poland says they are not investigating such a case.
    • A legal adviser for Poland's Chamber of Physicians and Dentists also tells MSNBC they are not investigating such a case and are not aware of a dentist named "Anna Maćkowiak" in their records.
    • The article's original bylined author, Simon Tomlinson of the Daily Mail, says he does not know where the original story originated, despite bearing his
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  • Obiwan Kenobi arrested on charge of hit-and-run

    Obiwan Kenobi's mug shot (The Smoking Gun)Obi-Wan Kenobi was always a bit of a rogue Jedi, even lamenting his own former lack of patience during a dramatic exchange with Yoda in "The Empire Strikes Back."

    But a California man who legally changed his name to match that of the fictional "Star Wars" hero may have given in to the temptations of the dark side of the Force, as he was charged with a hit-and-run.

    According to the Auburn Press Tribune, Obiwan Kenobi was allegedly responsible for a five-car accident and is charged with leaving the scene after the wreck occurred.

    And as Yoda warned the fictional Kenobi, "Told you I did. Reckless is he. Now, matters are worse."

    In fact, things are far worse for the 37-year-old, who has been charged with a felony in the case by Roseville police. According to the paper, Kenobi was already wanted on an outstanding misdemeanor petty theft charge.

    Born Benjamin Cale Feit, Kenobi changed his name to that of the "Star Wars" character as part of a 1999 radio station contest. At least up until the hit-and-run charge, formally associating himself with "The Phantom Menace" may have been the biggest accident in Kenobi's life.

    After spending five days in jail, Kenobi was released from custody on Thursday without bail and is scheduled to appear in court on April 30.

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