New Website Gives Chattanoogans A Look At Themselves… From Last Night

Have you ever gone out for the night, were sure you had a great time, but forgot to document the night in photos? Some local Chattanoogans have answered this problem with the launch of a new website. is the brainchild of Robert Parker and David Ruiz, two local amateur photographers who like to capture the Chattanooga night scene with a focus on the crowds that show up.

“ is basically, we’re free event or party photography, a promotion kinda thing exclusively for Chattanooga events,” said Robert Parker.

Parker and Ruiz can be found at almost any local show, whether it be a nightly showcase at JJ’s Bohemia, the monthly Banger’s Ball or even stand-up comedy nights. After taking hundreds of photos throughout the night, the duo promptly post the pictures on their website and on Facebook, where friends are free to tag themselves and save moments from the night before.

Look out for this orange hat on your next night out.

Look out for this orange hat on your next night out. Photo Courtesy of

Thursday November 19 marked the official launch day of the site, so Parker and Ruiz celebrated by throwing a party at JJ’s Bohemia complete with bands and DJs.

The audience was entertained by acts such as:

In between sets, DJs BNGRZ, Talk, and DrugMoney kept the crowd moving with dance beats.

Enthusiasm for the site is running high as evidenced by the tight crowd inside of JJ’s Thursday.

Parker said he was very excited about the turnout and where the site will be going in the future.

“If it turns out well we plan on having quarterly benefit shows for the site.”

Parker also hopes to use the site as a “springboard” for local designers.

“We’re gonna leave the initial design up for about six months but then every three months we want to bring in a local designer to totally re-do it and throw the benefit.”

“It’s great because no matter how messed up you get, you can count on the website to capture all the moments of the night,” said Jason Clark, senior, Franklin, TN and one half of Machines Are People Too.

The website already has a large collection of galleries going back to July 2009 which anyone is free to check out. Event planners are welcome to contact the photographers so they’ll know where and when to show up. The photos are available for personal use by any visitors and have been popping up on Facebook profile pages all over the Chattanooga network.

Related Story: Streaming Live To Survive

McPrank: 4 Utah teens cited for McDonald’s rap

AMERICAN FORK, Utah (TheLoop/AP) — A rap by four teenagers at a McDonald’s has gotten them a bad rap in one Utah city.

The teens were cited by American Fork police earlier this week for disorderly conduct after they rapped their order at a McDonald’s drive-through.

The teens said they were imitating a popular video on YouTube. They rapped their order, which begins with, “I need a double cheeseburger and hold the lettuce …” once quickly before repeating it more slowly.

Spenser Dauwalder said employees at the restaurant told him and his friends they were holding up the line and needed to order or leave.

The 18-year-old said nobody was in line. He and his three 17-year-old friends left without buying anything.

American Fork Police Sgt. Gregg Ludlow says a manager wrote down the car’s license plate number and called police. The teens were later cited by officers at a high school parking lot outside a volleyball match.

“We thought, you know, just teenagers out having fun,” Dauwalder told KSL Newsradio. “We didn’t think it would escalate to that.”

Disorderly conduct citations are issued when someone does something to cause annoyance or alarm, Ludlow said. The citation is an infraction similar to a speeding ticket, Ludlow said.

“It was not just that they were rapping, they continued to hold things up,” Ludlow said.

Ludlow said the teens were asked several times to speak plainly and that ultimately the manager came outside.

The owner-operator of the American Fork McDonald’s said in a statement that the issue was about employees’ safety.

“The employee in question felt that her safety was at risk as a result of the alleged actions of these individuals in the drive-thru, not as a result of them rapping their order,” franchisee Conny Kramer said in the statement. “As such, she contacted the local authorities.”

But Sharon Dauwalder, Spenser’s mother, said they will fight it nonetheless.

“We have to,” she told The Associated Press on Thursday. “The citation is there.”

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

Swine Flu Vaccine arrives in Chattanooga

Chattanooga (UTC/ TheLoop)- The first shipments of the H1N1 vaccine for Chattanooga are here and available to the public free of charge, according to the Chattanooga Health Department.

Vaccines, the easy way.

Vaccines, the easy way.

CHD received nearly 4000 doses of the vaccine in parts and plan to receive more in coming weeks. This batch is only the first part of the vaccine administered in a nose spray. The next shipments will be in a traditional needle form. All vaccines received at a CHD clinic are free of charge as the federal government bought the entire supply.

There have been reports of confusion over the introduction of the nose spray, but CHD spokesperson Jennifer Yim says there is little to worry about with this new vaccine.

“The same manufacturing processes and licensing processes have taken place for this new vaccine as the seasonal flu vaccine year after year,” says Yim. “The only difference is that this is a new strain, had it been identified earlier, it would have gone in the seasonal vaccine.”

The nose spray is just one form of delivering vaccine, but two doses (the recommended amount for children) can be administered in shot form, says Angela Frame, acting director of the CHD vaccination clinic. She says this is good in case someone doesn’t qualify for the nose spray such as children with asthma.

Priority groups for the vaccine have been identified and young children from six months to four years old are being singled out, but both Yim and Frame are urging anyone who qualifies to recieve the vaccine as soon as possible.

Sweat Lodge Deaths

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (TheLoop/AP) — More than 50 followers of spiritual guru James Arthur Ray had just endured five strenuous days of fasting, sleep-deprivation and mind-altering breathing exercises when he led them into a sweat lodge ceremony.

It was supposed to be a religious awakening, the culmination of a $9,000-plus-a-person retreat outside Sedona, Ariz., aimed at helping people find a new vision for life. But it wasn’t long before the ceremony turned into a terrifying experience.

People were vomiting in the stifling heat, gasping for air, and lying lifeless on the sand and gravel floor beneath them, according to participant Beverley Bunn. One man was burned when he crawled into the rocks, seemingly unaware of what he was doing, she said. Ultimately, three people would die.

When participants exhibited weakness, Ray urged them to push past it and chided those who wanted to leave, she said. “I can’t get her to move. I can’t get her to wake up,” Bunn recalls hearing from two sides of the 415-square-foot sweat lodge. Ray’s response: “Leave her alone, she’ll be dealt with in the next round.”

Bunn, a 43-year-old Texas resident, provided her wrenching description of the sweat lodge tragedy in an interview with The Associated Press, the first public account from a participant in the Oct. 8 ceremony.

It also marks a significant revelation in the criminal investigation into Ray over the episode because it portrays him as driving participants to stay in the lodge despite signs all around him that the situation had gone bad. Investigators are considering bringing charges against the guru and trying to learn about his actions that night in a case that has cast a harsh spotlight on Ray and his self-help empire.

Howard Bragman, a spokesman for Ray, said many people at the “Spiritual Warrior” event had “amazing experiences,” and noted that people should not rush to judgment about what occurred during an ongoing investigation.

“This is only one person out of many at this point,” he said.

According to Bunn, participants were given short notice before they were to enter the sweat lodge. As they readied for it, they removed their jewelry, placed prayer pouches filled with nicotine around their necks and ripped out pages in a journal they kept detailing what in life was holding them back.

A fire heating up rocks outside the sweat lodge consumed the journal pages.

Lightly dressed in bathing suits, shorts and tank tops, they received a blessing meant to cut away negative energy before crawling into the sweat lodge. Ray led the group inside and sat next to the opening. A second row formed, their bodies closest to what would be a pile of heated rocks.

Ray sprinkled them with sandalwood meant for aroma. He led the group in chants and prayers in a Native American tongue during the sweat lodge ceremony. He poured a 5-gallon bucket of water over the rocks, sending a rush of steam throughout the makeshift structure. That began a two-hour ceremony broken up into 15-20 minute rounds that some would later describe as “profound,” according to a transcript of a call Ray held with participants days later.

For others, it was terrifying.

Participants began to show signs they were weakening midway through the ceremony. By the time people started collapsing, Bunn had already crawled to a spot near the opening of the sweat lodge, praying for the door to stay open as long as possible between rounds so that she could breathe in fresh air.

At one point, someone lifted up the back of the tent, allowing light into the otherwise pitch-black tent. Ray demanded to know where the light was coming from and who committed the “sacrilegious act,” Bunn said. A man, yelling “I can’t take it, I can’t breathe, I can’t do this” had crawled out, Bunn said.

People were not physically forced to stay inside but highly encouraged. “It was all about mind over matter, you’re stronger than your body,” Bunn said.

Bunn lasted the entire two hours in the sweat lodge but nearly two dozen others were hospitalized. Kirby Brown, 38, of Westtown, N.Y., and James Shore, 40, of Milwaukee, died upon arrival at a hospital. Liz Neuman, 49, of Prior Lake, Minn., died more than a week later at a Flagstaff hospital.

No drugs, alcohol nor stimulants of any kind used in the sweat lodge or during the retreat, Bunn said.

“These people, including myself were really just searching for a better way to live and a better life,” she said. “And I commend us for that.”

Looking back, she said it’s easy to see how so many people were overcome. No one was well-hydrated, the sweat lodge was poorly ventilated, no safety tips were provided and appropriate medical care wasn’t available, she said.

As the leader of the “Spiritual Warrior” event, Ray pushed for participants to go without sleep, enter into altered states of mind through breathing exercises and meditation, compete in a game in which he played God and fast for 36 hours during a vision quest, Bunn said.

Sheriff’s investigators in Arizona’s Yavapai County are treating the deaths as homicides but have yet to determine the cause. Ray has hired his own investigative team to try to determine what went wrong, and vowed to continue with his work despite criticism.

“I have taken heat for that decision, but if I choose to lock myself in my home, I am sure I would be criticized for hiding and not practicing what I preach,” he wrote.

Ray has become a self-help superstar by packaging his charismatic personality and selling wealth. He uses free seminars to recruit people to expensive seminars like the Sedona retreat that led to the sweat lodge tragedy.

Ray told participants the sweat lodge ceremony would be one of the most intense experiences of their lives.

As it neared the end, Bunn said some participants found themselves physically and mentally unable to tend to those around them. After the eighth round, Ray instructed them to exit the sweat lodge just has they had entered — going clockwise, a movement meant to symbolize being inside a mother’s womb.

What followed was a triage situation with people laid out on tarps and water being thrown on them to bring down body temperatures. Some people weren’t breathing and had bloodshot eyes. One woman unknowingly walked toward the fire before someone grabbed her, Bunn said.

Shouts of “we need water, we need water,” rang out. “They couldn’t fill up the buckets fast enough,” Bunn said.

Off to the side, a medical doctor participating in the retreat performed CPR on Shore and Brown with the aid of others. When Bunn asked if she could help because she knew CPR, she was told to stay back.

Ray was standing about 10 feet away, watching, Bunn said. “He didn’t do anything, he didn’t participate in helping. He did nothing. He just stood there.”

Ray has made appearances on Oprah, Larry King Live, and The Today Show.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

New Student Media Center Gives Comm. Students ‘Real world’ Experience

By: Thomas Ramsay

CHATTANOOGA (UTC/The Loop) — The Echo, Perch, and MocsNews have been moved from their separate facilities around campus into the new Student Media Center.

Media group staffers now have ‘arms reach’ access to one another’s resources and ‘know how’ in a newly constructed office space in the game room of the UC.

The center came about after the Echo office was needed for another department this semester. Dr. Betsy Alderman, acting head of the Communications Department, said she wanted a new space for all three of the student media groups to use.

“Our hope was that the media students would be able to work together and collaborate on stories if they were closer together in a shared space, which is what is happening out in the real world today, so it’s great for them to have that experience,” Alderman said.

The new media center features:

  • Separate rooms for each of the media groups (Echo newspaper, Perch Radio, and MocsNews TV.)
  • All of the equipment used by each group, allowing easier access for multimedia projects.
  • Outdoor access to give media students after-hours access to the center.
  • Full-pane glass walls so that anyone passing by can see the students at work.

“We wanted the glass walls so that other students could see their school’s media at work because that attracts their interest to become involved in student media,” Alderman said.

The center is still a work-in-progress, said Danny Butler, junior, Knoxville. Some equipment and furniture are still left behind from the move, but he said it is much better than the center’s barren beginnings.

“We didn’t even have internet when we first moved in… now we have that, all our shelves, all our desks, all our speakers… it feels more like a real office, not just some place to work,” said Butler.

For more info on the Student Media Center, click here.

For info on UTC’s student-produced media: The Echo, The Perch, MocsNews.

Facebook Bust

SEATTLE (The Loop/AP) — Maxi Sopo was living the dream of a fugitive abroad, kicking back on the beaches of Cancun by day, partying in the clubs by night.

Then he did two things that are never a good idea when you’re on the run from authorities: He started posting Facebook updates about how much fun he was having — and added a former Justice Department official to his list of friends.

That kind of recklessness landed the 26-year-old native of Cameroon in a Mexico City jail, where he is awaiting extradition to the United States on bank fraud charges. Federal prosecutors say he and an associate falsely obtained more than $200,000 from Seattle-area banks and credit unions.

“He was making posts about how beautiful life is and how he was having a good time with his buddies,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Scoville, who helped find Sopo. “He was definitely not living the way we wanted him to be living, given the charges he was facing.”

Even in the hold-nothing-back world of social networking, where police search Facebook photos for evidence of underage drinking and watch YouTube videos to identify riot suspects, it’s rare that a fugitive helps authorities this much.

In status updates, Sopo said he was “loving it” and “living in paradise.”


Sopo, who came to the U.S. in about 2003, made a living selling roses in Seattle nightclubs until, according to prosecutors, he moved on to bank fraud. He apparently drove a rented car to Mexico in late February after learning that federal agents were investigating the fraud scheme.

Investigators initially could find no trace of him on social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace, and they were unable to pin down his exact location in Mexico.

But several months later, Secret Service agent Seth Reeg checked Facebook again — and up popped Maxi Sopo. His photo showed him wearing a black jacket decorated with a white lion as he stood in front of a party backdrop featuring logos of BMW and Courvoisier cognac.

Although Sopo’s profile was set to private, his list of friends was not, and Scoville started combing through it. He was surprised to see that one friend listed an affiliation with the Justice Department and sent him a message requesting a phone call.

“We figured this was a person we could probably trust to keep our inquiry discreet,” Scoville said.

The former official told Scoville he had met Sopo in Cancun’s nightclubs a few times, but did not really know him and had no idea he was a fugitive. The official learned where Sopo was living and passed that information back to Scoville, who provided it to Mexican authorities. They arrested Sopo last month.

The fugitive had been living at a nice apartment complex, working at a hotel and partying at Cancun’s beaches, pools and nightclubs, Scoville said.

Sopo does not yet have a lawyer, and it was not immediately clear how to contact him.

Prosecutors say he masterminded the bank fraud scheme with Edward Asatoorians, who was convicted by a federal jury in Seattle last week. Testimony at trial indicated the pair persuaded young co-conspirators to lie about their income to obtain loans for fabricated auto purchases, and then used the money to prop up Asatoorians’ business and to take an expensive trip to Las Vegas.

Asatoorians is expected to face at least five years in prison when he’s sentenced. If convicted, Sopo could face up to 30 years.

Citing privacy concerns, the former Justice Department official declined an interview request left with the U.S. attorney’s office.

Scoville said it was someone who left the department when the Obama administration arrived, and who had been taking some time off and organizing student trips to Cancun.

Facebook was not Sopo’s only computer activity during his time on the lam. An affidavit contains details from an instant-message conversation in March between Sopo and a low-level conspirator in the case. Sopo explained that he had fled to “the one safe place where i can actually think.”

Copyright Associated Press 2009.

Nobel Laureate Borlaug honored for agriculture, fighting starvation

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (TheLoop/AP) — Colleagues and friends of Norman Borlaug remembered the Nobel Peace Prize winner on Tuesday as a humanitarian who “built armies of agricultural workers” to combat famine in the world’s developing countries.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who was president of Texas A&M University during the scientist’s tenure at the school, told about 1,000 who attended the memorial that Borlaug was a teacher, a scientist and a warrior against hunger.

He “inspired thousands to work to feed the world, and inspired millions to believe it’s possible. Our most important observance of Norm’s passing,” Gates said, is to persist in that work and in that belief.

“This was Norm Borlaug the builder who at every opportunity encouraged learning, and built armies of agricultural workers,” Gates said.

Borlaug was known as the father of the “green revolution,” which transformed agriculture through high-yield, disease-resistant crop varieties and other innovations, helping to more than double world food production between 1960 and 1990. Many experts credit the green revolution with averting global famine during the second half of the 20th century and saving perhaps 1 billion lives.

Borlaug, who was 95 when he died Sept. 12 from complications of cancer, was described Tuesday as a humble, compassionate, soft-spoken and dedicated man who believed all have a duty to contribute to the eradication of hunger worldwide. The Nobel Peace Prize he won in 1970 is the only one ever awarded for agriculture.

“He was in favor of anything that would keep hungry people fed,” Ed Runge, the retired head of A&M’s soil and crop sciences department and a close friend who persuaded Borlaug teach at the school, said before the memorial. “He used science to advance food production.”

The Iowa native wasn’t the sort of scientist who passed his life in a lab. He worked side by side with farmers in the fields of Mexico, India, Pakistan and in African countries.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the former governor of Iowa, said the Nobel laureate persisted against often great odds by relying on principles he learned as a young man. The first was to do his best, Vilsack said, and with it, Borlaug left a legacy.

“Norman Borlaug by any measure gave his best and expects us to do the same,” Vilsack said at the memorial. “It is my firm belief that his best work is yet to come.”

Recently, the U.S and other industrialized countries pledged $20 billion to help developing nations improve agricultural practices to alleviate hunger, said the Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, who spoke at Borlaug’s memorial.

“Agriculture has been neglected a long time,” he said afterward.

Borlaug began the work that led to his Nobel Prize in Mexico at the end of World War II. There he developed disease-resistant varieties of wheat that produced much more grain than traditional strains.

He and others later took those varieties and similarly improved strains of rice and corn to Asia, the Middle East, South America and Africa. In Pakistan and India, two of the nations that benefited most from the new crop varieties, grain yields more than quadrupled.

His successes in the 1960s came just as experts warned that mass starvation was inevitable as the world’s population boomed.

But Borlaug and the green revolution were also criticized in later decades for promoting practices that used fertilizer and pesticides, and focusing on a few high-yield crops that benefited large landowners.

Yohei Sasakawa, chairman of the Nippon Foundation which funded Borlaug’s work in Africa, said Borlaug’s efforts went beyond satisfying hunger in starving bellies. He promised to carry on Borlaug’s dream that African children would someday not have to go to bed hungry.

“You cultivated a dream that would empower the farmers, you planted the seeds of hope, you watered them with enthusiasm, you gave them sunshine, you inspired with your passion, you harvested confidence in the hearts of African farmers,” he said. “You never gave up.”

In 1986, two years after beginning to teach each fall semester at A&M, Borlaug established the Des Moines, Iowa-based World Food Prize, a $250,000 award given each year to a person whose work improves the world’s food supply.

He received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor given by Congress, in 2007.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

Related story: Three Americans awarded Nobel Prize for physics

Three Americans awarded Nobel Prize for phyics

NEW YORK (TheLoop/AP) — The next time you snap a digital photo and post it to Facebook, you can probably thank the three men who won the Nobel Prize in physics Tuesday.

They helped develop fiber-optic cable and invented the “eye” in digital cameras — technology that has given rise to film-free photography and high-speed Internet service, revolutionized communications and science, and utterly transformed the way we live, work and amuse ourselves.

Half the $1.4 million prize will go to Charles K. Kao, 75, for discovering how to transmit light signals long distance through hair-thin glass fibers. That led to fiber-optic communication networks that zip voice, video and high-speed Internet data worldwide in a split-second.

The other half will go to Willard S. Boyle, 85, and George E. Smith, 79, for opening the door to digital cameras by inventing a sensor that turns light into electrical signals.

These three Americans, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences declared, are “the masters of light” whose work “helped to shape the foundations of today’s networked societies.”

“What the wheel did for transport, the optical fiber did for telecommunications,” said Richard Epworth, who worked with Kao at Standard Telecommunications Laboratories in Harlow, England, in the 1960s.

Here’s one measure of the impact of Kao’s work: The academy said that if all the glass fiber that now carries phone calls and data were wrapped around the world, it would span the globe more than 25,000 times.

Here’s another measure: Just make a phone call across the Atlantic.

“It’s dirt cheap. It used to be expensive,” said David Farber, former chief technologist at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

Fiber optics “revolutionized everything. … It’s one of those technologies that, when it happened, it just took off like wildfire,” said Farber, a professor of computer science and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University.

Kao concluded in 1966 that it would take fibers of highly purified glass to carry light over long distances. He recommended making them from a compound called fused silica. That material was hard to work with, but in 1970, researchers in the U.S. succeeded in making fibers.

Kao said Tuesday he never expected the Nobel despite all the advances that flowed from his research. A native of Shanghai, Kao has both American and British citizenship.

One popular use of optical fibers is sending digital photos, which were made possible by a 1969 invention by Boyle and Smith at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, N.J. It is called a charge-coupled device, or CCD, and it is at the heart of most digital cameras, turning light into electrical signals. The CCD captures those signals in a way that makes it possible to create the pixel-by-pixel images displayed on a screen.

CCD technology is also used in some devices that doctors use to peer inside patients.

And the CCD “has done as much to revolutionize the way astronomy is done as the telescope did,” said U.S. Naval Observatory spokesman Geoff Chester. “It allows you to see deeper in the universe with the same equipment with a clarity that is unparalleled.

“Without a CCD there would not be anything like the Hubble Space Telescope and our current knowledge of the universe would be nowhere near what it is,” Chester said.

Boyle, who also holds Canadian citizenship, said he is reminded of his work with Smith “when I go around these days and see everybody using our little digital cameras, everywhere.”

But he said the biggest achievement resulting from his work was the transmission of images from Mars, showing features such as its red desert, taken by digital cameras in space.

Smith and his wife, Janet Murphy, were asleep in their Waretown, N.J., home Tuesday when the phone rang at 5:43 a.m. He couldn’t get out of bed to answer it in time, and the call went to voice mail.

“It was a message in a Swedish accent, so we knew something was up,” Murphy said.

Smith rushed to the Web site of the Nobel committee and saw that the announcement was to be made momentarily. The phone rang again shortly with the good news.

“It does do wonders for one’s ego,” Smith said. “People obviously like taking pictures. Look at all the cell phone cameras and cameras in your computer. That’s using this technology.”

On Monday, three American scientists shared the Nobel Prize in medicine for discovering a key mechanism in the genetic operations of cells, an insight that has inspired new lines of research into cancer.

Elizabeth H. Blackburn, who also has Australian citizenship, Carol W. Greider and Jack W. Szostak were cited for their work in solving the mystery of how chromosomes, the structures that carry DNA, protect themselves from degrading when cells divide.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

Related Story: Nobel Laureate Borlaug honored for agriculture, fighting starvation

Boston-area college bans sex with roommate around


BOSTON (TheLoop/AP) — Sex in a dorm at Tufts University is fine. Sex in a Tufts dorm with your roommate there? That’s a no-no.

Good roommates employ good manners... and clean socks.

Good roommates employ good manners... and clean socks.



The Boston-area school has a new policy this semester banning sexual activity while a roommate is in the same room.

A school spokeswoman said Tuesday that Tufts issued the rule after a dozen or so complaints in the past three years.

The school maintains the new policy is about respect and consideration, not about regulating students’ behavior.

The policy is aimed at the school’s 5,000 undergraduates. Officials say they hope it’ll get roommates talking about how to best share space.

Boston-area college bans sex with roommate around

Good roommates employ good manners... and clean socks.

Good roommates employ good manners... and clean socks.

By: Thomas Ramsay

BOSTON (AP) — Sex in a dorm at Tufts University is fine. Sex in a Tufts dorm with your roommate there? That’s a no-no.

The Boston-area school has a new policy this semester banning sexual activity while a roommate is in the same room.

A school spokeswoman said Tuesday that Tufts issued the rule after a dozen or so complaints in the past three years.

The school maintains the new policy is about respect and consideration, not about regulating students’ behavior.

The policy is aimed at the school’s 5,000 undergraduates. Officials say they hope it’ll get roommates talking about how to best share space.