Blog Posts by Vera H-C Chan

  • Y! Big Story: The fuss over Cory Booker

    Everything you need to get up to speed on the big story of the day
    Cory Booker on "Meet the Press"

    No offense, New Jersey—but just why should we care what Cory Booker says?

    The Newark mayor, so familiar with the media spotlight, tripped when he criticized Obama ads targeting Romney's Bain days. The guy in charge of America's 67th largest city sure knows how to steal the spotlight.

    This time, the attention backfired after he appeared on "Meet the Press" to weigh in on the Euro zone, Facebook's IPO, and Obama's strengths. Since then, America's most popular mayor has taken a brutal political beating from the left and unwanted affection from the right. The turmoil hints at Democrat nerves over what some perceive as a close election, and Republican eagerness to gain a foothold against a presumptive nominee accused of being elitist. One thing might be faintly reassuring, at least to Booker: His words count.

    Booker Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube: Besides oodles of charisma, Booker is an exhaustive social media user: He

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  • Supermoon May 5, 2012Doomsday, schmoomsday.

    Why settle for dusty ol' Mayan calendars and 12/21/12 apocalyptic visions, when 2012 has been offering up so many stellar—and planetary—sightings? We Earthlings have already been treated to nice meteor showers as well as a magnificent supermoon, and this weekend brings an annular solar eclipse.

    That's not even the best treat: Venus will be ambling between Earth and the sun in a rare (though non-earth-shattering) planetary alignment. Sure, the event might look like a black pimple floating across the face of the sun, but this celestial rarity once guided adventurous astronomers in their quest to determine the size of the solar system and yielded the first-ever global scientific collaboration. Don't blink—Venus doesn't cross our path again until December 2117.

    Annular Solar Eclipse, Jan. 4, 2011An annular solar eclipse and that ring of fire: A solar eclipse happens this Sunday, except for the Eastern seaboard (sorry). It's an "annular" eclipse rather than a total one, which means the sun's edges peek

    Read More »from Y! Big Story: Annular solar eclipse, transit of Venus and other non-doomsday celestial phenomena
  • 'Glee': How did Lindsay Lohan do

    Lindsay Lohan[Warning: "Glee" spoilers aplenty]

    "Glee," where songs go for revival and former child stars for "image rebranding."

    Lindsay Lohan judged the New Directions on the penultimate season finale episode, along with frenemy Perez Hilton and "Entourage" star Rex Lee, to help rebuild her aura — but did anybody notice? The Twitterverse was largely mum on her cameo, except for one who noted she "chaffed 'The Voice' in the judges' room." That was when Lohan professed outrage that there were no cameras filming her judging a high school national chorus championships.

    'Glee,' Lohan fan reaction
    Searches for "lindsay lohan" on Yahoo! did pop up 132%, and measured more than double the searches for "glee" (That's including the panicky "glee cancelled" queries. The show's not cancelled—just moved to Thursdays). Lohan’s Facebook reminder to watch her on “Glee” received 1,469 likes, but the feedback was sparse: “[S]aw you!!!!!.........really good and hilarious as always. Just hope people wontt give you

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  • Mexico bodiesThe mass dumping of headless bodies administers a shock to Mexico, long numbed by a death count of nearly 50,000 brought on by president Felipe Calderon's war against the crime cartels. By the time his tenure ends this December, six years after his declaration, that number will likely surpass 60,000.

    What kind of headway has the country made since 2006? Of the seven major cartels, some have vanished, but smaller syndicates have scrambled into the vacuum. The two largest—Sinaloa and Los Zetas—remain in power and at each other's throats. A beefed-up federal force has supplanted Mexico's underpaid, poorly treated, corrupt police force, but corruption persists, and journalists are being killed.

    The U.S. has been guarding its borders closely against violence, although the demand for drugs hasn't deviated much since 2006.  Nor have the American gangsters who facilitate the network. Worse, the barbarism—with notes taken from the al-Qaida playbook—has escalated.

    Mexico crime siteMother's Day massacre in

    Read More »from Y! Big Story: Mexico’s six-year drug war behind the Mother’s Day massacre
  • Y! Big Story: Hazing rites gone wrong

    Everything you need to get up to speed on the big story of the day

    HazingPaddled. Forced to eat dog food or human vomit. Branded with a heated wire hanger. Thrown in a kiddie pool of human vomit, feces, semen, and rotten food. Deprived of sleep. Beaten until organ failure or death.

    These aren't acts done to prisoners of war, but to pledges. Hazing is Gang Initiation 101, done in the name of athletic teams, church groups, fraternities, sororities, even bands. It's a test of courage that puts hair on your chest (when it's not being pulled out).

    By its nature, recruiting by humiliation is secretive, more so these days as it's illegal in most states: Forty-four have anti-hazing laws. Often, a student suffered a mental breakdown or died to trigger legislation,  and past the defense that hazing is a voluntary rite (and therefore a right)—a way to ferret out who's made of sterner stuff in a mollycoddled society.

    Recent tragedies underscore that hazing (inevitably) continues. What might be changing

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  • Y! Big Story: The state of matrimony and other unions

    Everything you need to know to get up to speed on the big story of the day

    Put a ring on it. Or not.North Carolina's Amendment 1 reaffirmed the "defense" of marriage, but for whom are we saving the hallowed institution?

    These days, barely half of eligible Americans are yoking themselves to each other, an all-time low. A half century ago, 72% of Americans took marriage vows. The recession, a scapegoat for many societal ills, has been blamed for accelerating these rates, but marriage was already in decline. The way things are going, spouses will be a minority group.

    So what does it take to put a ring on it? And will this handwringing stop when the millennials come of age? (Answer: Maybe. Maybe not.)

    Japanese newlyweds, a less common breedThe new global singles: The United States isn't the only country with abandoned wedding aisles. Nuptials are passé in Britain. The French don't see the point. New Zealand says the breakdown of the traditional family costs $1 billion a year. In Asia (Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and Hong Kong), women aren't hooking up

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  • Report: Sofia Vergara breaks up with boyfriend

    Sofia Vergara, attending the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute gala benefit solo on May 8.

    Sofia Vergara may be on the rebound.

    According to the New York Post, the "Modern Family" looker attended a Monday-night museum gala and after-parties solo, after yet another fight with her boyfriend of two years, Nick Loeb. The two met January 2010 at a Golden Globes party. While friends have said the two have had various spats, the beautiful funnywoman reportedly told them that one might be the deal-breaker.

    Who is Nick Loeb? The twosome have certainly been an interesting couple. While Loeb's a red-carpet junkie, the Florida businessman with high-powered family ties has long harbored aspirations for higher office. Loeb, whose father was ambassador to Denmark during the Reagan administration and a UN delegate, lost a 2005 bid for a city commission spot in his town of Delray, cut short a 2009 state Senate campaign because of his divorce, and, after serious consideration, recently decided against launching a U.S. Senate campaign. Loeb blamed the decision on injuries from a serious car

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  • Y! Big Story: The high price of “The Scream” and other art sales

    Everything you need to know to get up to speed on the big story of the day

    Edvard Munch "The Scream"

    Can't afford $119,922,500 for a pastel? A poster will run you about $19.99.

    The 12 minutes of art-auction hysteria has led to yet another re-evaluation of, if not outrage about, the price we put on art and who gets to "own" it. The bidder(s) for the pastel of Edvard Munch's "The Scream" remains anonymous, but hammer prices like that in an economy like this has raised questions on who's driving up these high-profile sales lately. For some critics, the lopsided economics highlight that yawning gulf between art buyers and artists (that 1% thing again), with art lovers lost somewhere in the middle.

    In the case of Munch, though, the $119 million isn't just getting renewed respect for the revered artist right before his sesquicentennial birthday: Devotees will be able to visit the source of "The Scream" for themselves.

    Why the record-breaking art sales: Aside from "The Scream," Sotheby's did gangbusters in its May 2

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  • Y! Big Story: Hollywood makes America wait for the big movies

    Marvel's The AvengersAmerica created instant gratification. Now we have to wait for our own movies?

    "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island." "Battleship." Even "The Avengers"— starring good ol' American superheros. (Well, except Thor and Black Widow). All those blockbusters premiered in other countries days, or even weeks, ahead of their U.S. debut.

    We may have ourselves to blame.  Hollywood blockbuster budgets get bloated with special effects and A-list actors (with their A-list salaries), but domestic box office has been in a decline. Man cannot live by 3D alone, and we ungratefully angle for intangibles like plot and dialogue. Overseas cinephiles meanwhile, queue up for whatever rat-a-tat 3D adventures are thrown up on the screen. Movies, after all, have long been America's leading cultural export, and why shouldn't studios reward the most appreciative customers with the first peek?

    Smurfs at the Belgian premiereLook at the size of that international box office: The earnings potential can be exponential, as Hollywood learned in 2010, a

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  • Ron Bufalini, from Ambridge, Pa., looks over the free comic books available at the New Dimensions Comics store on Free Comic Book Day, Saturday, May 7, 2011 in Cranberry, Pa. Bufalini says he likes to take advantage of the annual give away to look into different genres of comic books as well as get a few of his favorites.
    The weekday report for the topics and people that are trending on
    Yahoo! and across the Web for Friday, May 4, 2012

    Research by Search editor Liz Streng

    A cease-fire has done little to stop the bloody clashes in Syria, where residents in the country's largest city have decided to take a stand against the government violence. Far above the madness, a double astronomical event will occupy night-watchers the whole weekend. And those who like a bargain — as in free — may want to check into the neighborhood comic book stores this Saturday for an annual event that has spread to 40 countries. For more reading, here are the searches — and the stories behind them — that you readers have pulling up across the Web.

    STANDOUT SPIKES (a deeper dig into three trending terms)

    Syria: Aleppo had not participated in the civil war against President Bashar Assad, but the country's largest city became the site of the largest protests against the Syrian president since March 2011. Thousands gathered

    Read More »from Syrian protests, meteor show, Free Comic Book Day: What’s Spiking (Friday)

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