Ray Van Horn, Jr. is a veteran entertainment journalist whose writing and live photography has been featured in Blabbermouth.net, Dee Snider’s House of Hair Online, Fangoria.com, Horror News.net, About.com Heavy Metal, MetalManiacs, New Noise, Music Dish, AMP, Hails & Horns, Unrestrained,Noisecreep, Impose, Pit, The Big Takeover.com, Rough Edge.com, Pitriff and others. His blog The Metal Minute won a “Best Personal Blog” award in 2009 from Metal Hammer magazine and he wrote and produced his own hard rock e-zine, Retaliate.

He has contributed essays to UK author Neil Daniels’ Iron Maiden and ZZ Top biographies. Ray’s fiction has been published in various periodicals and anthologies, including his flash fiction piece “Off the Record” for Akashic Books’ “Mondays Are Murder” noir series. His recent short stories “Before the Ball” and “Widow” were featured in subsequent editions of Alex S. Johnson’s Axes of Evil anthologies. Ray wrote serialized original superhero fiction for Cyber Age Adventures and five of those stories appear in the anthology Playing Solitaire. He was the winner of Quantum Muse’s fiction contest in 1999.

Ray is a former NHL game analyst for The Hockey Nut and one-time host of the forum “Comic Books” at ReadWave. He has done beat reporting, photography and lifestyle articles for Metromix, an affiliate of The Baltimore Sun, Carroll Magazine, The Northern News and The Emmitsburg Dispatch.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Good, The Bad and the WTF? 3/13/14

I look at it this way with the media.  News stories are pretty much subdivided into three main categories:  good news, bad news and bits that are so nutty or outrageous they're guaranteed to go viral and lock people in convo at the office Keurig or in their favorite social hub, be it live or virtual. 

Here at The Crash Pad, I'm going to dish a weekly dab of each from the news, relegated to the good, the bad and nuggets that can only be thought of as "WTF?"

First up, this week's good news.  Nidhi Subbaraman reports from the Intel Science Talent Search in California that $630,000 in prizes were issued to high school-aged science students.  The grand prize of $100,000 went to Eric Chen, who is working on the study of anti-flu drugs.  Chen already won the Google Science Fair last October and the Siemens Foundation's science contest this past December.  Other winners at the Intel talent search were bestowed endowments towards stem cell research, cancer study, heart arrhythmias, nuclear physics and x-ray emissions from Jupiter.  Cheers to Intel for investing so much money into our youth and our future as a species.  A link to the article is below:


Bad news is, unfortunately, the bread and butter of news media, but the most impactful seems to always be generated from impoverished and war-torn countries.  Bill Neely's visceral article "Living In a Box, Eating Weeds:  Syria's Children On the Edge" sends a shivery perspective to readers, no matter where they stand on the brutal conflict continuing to tear Syria apart and has thus far claimed the lives of over 10,000 children.  Described by one street survivor as "like living in an open prison," Neely's article depicts a family of six living in a wooden box on the side of a road and it gives a haunting depiction of war told from the eyes of Syria's youngsters.  Link up to the piece here:


In what could only be thought of as "WTF?" The International Astronomical Union is engaged in a pissing match against commercial fundraisers Uwingu over the latter's Mars crater naming initiative.  Uwingu's customers pay anywhere from five bucks to five grand to name one of Mars' 500,000-plus craters.  Uwingu issues the disclaimer that there are no real rights or sanctions to the craters staked in this game.  Meanwhile, the IAU, which has historically been responsible for naming celestial bodies and other galaxy and planetary phenomena is nevertheless fuming over Uwingu's pay-for-play name game, which seeks to raise ten million dollars toward one-way Mars colonization endeavors.   I don't know who's right in this debate, but you can just imagine the vindictive proclivities behind such future catty mud-slinging monikers as "Jenny's Gaping Hole."  To get a good flavor of the scrumming between Uwingu and the IAU, visit Alan Boyle's article here:


All photos courtesy of NBCNews.com.

                        Listenin' to:  Gojira - L'Enfant Savuage

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