Friday, May 21, 2010

Lehigh Acres crime statistics, is it that bad?

Back in August of 2007, I posted a concern about criminal activity in Lehigh Acres. Lehigh Acres is part of Lee County and an area right outside my hometown of Fort Myers. With a population of 49,000 (est 2009), I was shocked with the amount of violent crime being reported daily on the news.

May 2010 - fast forward

So has things improved since I first highlighted Lehigh Acres as an area of concern in my county? According to the News-Press and other sources, violent crime continues to make the headlines in Lehigh Acres. A quick glance of the news in the area clearly showed there's still lingering problems with violent crime.

Here's a quick scan for just May alone:

May 21, 2010: Manual Rosales arrested for attempting to kill a 20 year old and her 3 month old son. Both victims remain in critical condition.

May 21, 2010: A 15-year old boy was found dead with a gunshot wound to the face. His mother found him.

May 12, 2010: A homicide investigation on 21st Street SW, near Susan Avenue. The neighbor, Eddie Maurice said, he heard gunshots, but he didn't think anything of it because he hears gunshots all the time. That's a bad indication of a bad town. The victim was Maria DeLourdes Bauza, age 48, which police said the victim's body was tied to the undercarriage of the suspect's car and she was dragged from her home to a lot across the street. The suspect, 58-year-old Zacarias Jaime Izquierdo, has been arrested.

May 6, 2010: A 15 year old student, David Rodriguez of 4300 West 13 St attempted to enter his former local high school (Lehigh Senior High School) with a concealed weapon: a semi-automatic handgun. He tried to bypass normal entrances. This could have been a very, very bad day. Kudos to the security guard that reported this problem to a deputy.

Crime Statistics

It's difficult to find crime statistics of Lehigh Acres because it's not technically a town or a city but rather a census designated place. The crime statistics tend to be skewed as it gets added to the base population of the metro Fort Myers area or Lee County.

Thankfully there are a couple of data sources that reveal neighborhood specific crime rates. One of which is Sperling's Best Places crime index and CL Research's crime index.

Sperling Best Places Crime Index

The ratings below are scored from 1 to 10, with 1 being the lowest crime rate. It also shows a comparison to U.S. national averages.

The result unfortunately shows that Lehigh Acres is double the crime rate compared to the national average in terms of property and violent crimes.

CLRSearch Crime Index

Not wanting to rely on one source for statistics, I looked at a 2009 crime index by Onboard Informatics / CLRSearch. The data shows that if you live in Lehigh Acres, you have a 10% higher risk in being a victim of personal crime vs. the national average, or a 4% higher risk in murder vs the national average, and an astounding 41% higher risk in being a rape victim vs. the national average.


No matter what I look at, whether the current news trends or the latest criminal statistics from commercial sources, there's one thing that they are all indicating: Lehigh Acres has a huge crime problem.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Review: Newspapers state Dr. Venter created synthetic life for the first time, but other scientists disagree


Telegraph recently published an article with a sub-headline, "Artificial life has been created in a laboratory for the first time by a maverick scientist." This maverick scientist is none other than Dr. Craig Venter, a scientist turned successful entrepreneur, known for his role as one of the first scientists to successfully map out the human genome.

His team's most recent work about "synthetic life" has been published in the journal Science. The article entitled, "Synthetic Genome Brings New Life to Bacterium", briefly describes how Venter's team was able to infuse genetic code artificially. The R&D price tag? About $40 million.

To date, there has never been any successful attempts to create a cell from scratch. The cell theory has been a basic foundation of biology: living cells come from other living cells.

I was curious to see if scientists were able to break this theory apart. It would be a game changer! Humanity creating life from basic elements would be more than just genetic engineering, it would mean that humanity is a creator of life, or to a degree, "playing god".

A careful look
While many journalists are caught up in the idea that mankind just created new life, a careful look at the research shows it was not a new creation of life but rather a new method of genetic engineering.

To summarize in layman's terms, Dr. Venter's team was able to strip a bacterial cell's DNA and infuse another set of that they've developed. After grueling weeks, months, and years of research, they finally had a breakthrough on one weekend: their Frankenstein bacteria (M. capricolum) was able to reproduce.

I don't want to take away anything from this achievement, this is a great example of a new method of genetic engineering. However, it falls short of creating life synthetically as described by Telegraph and other news outlets, because the team was still not able to create life from scratch, but rather they had to use cells that were already alive.

Here's a quote from Science that speculative copy editors and journalists seem to have purposely missed:
"That's a pretty amazing accomplishment," says Anthony Forster, a molecular biologist at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Still, he and others emphasize that this work didn't create a truly synthetic life form, because the genome was put into an existing cell.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Philippines Election Results Posted

Philippines Election Results Posted
Originally uploaded by Don Sausa

For the first time, the Philippines used an electronic voting system that immediately provided results online. This reduced the political tension that was prevalent in past elections. For those that didn't have a computer or television, various organizations provided election results through displays on the street.

In this example, they posted the results on the main highway which attracted crowds and caused a traffic congestion.

Look closely and you'll find the jeepney has the Aquino ribbon while the taxi has a Villar checkmark.

Many believe Senator Noynoy Aquino won the presidential race against Senator Manny Villar because he was the son of the Philippines' most revered modern heroes. The people that voted for Noynoy hope his upbringing and the influence of his humble mother will help reform the country. And while he doesn't have many legislative victories to brag about, he also looks less corrupt than the rest, and in this country, that's an achievement in of itself.

Martial Arts Movie Reviews: Donnie Yen's Ip Man movie and Scott Adkins' Ninja movie

Ip Man, and Ip Man 2, is awesome

I recently saw two martial arts movies on DVD: Ip Man and Ip Man 2, an epic semi-biographical story of Bruce Lee's mentor and teacher. In both movies, Donnie Yen excellently plays the revered wing chun master. In the first movie, he stands up for his nation against the Japanese through martial arts competitions and in the second movie, he proved to the British that the Chinese fighting styles were more than equal to western boxing when he defeated an English boxing champion.

For gōngfu (kung fu), karate, and fans of other martial arts styles, these two Chinese films are incredible not only because of the action sequences but because of the writers' and director's ability to bring you into the historical context of the scenes.

For someone like me, whose late grandfather fought against the imperialistic Japanese in World War II, I appreciated the historical backdrop. According to China Daily, it seems I'm not the only one though. In Hong Kong for instance, Iron Man 2 was released in theaters about the same time as Ip Man 2. Ip Man 2 pulled in 28 million yuan vs. Iron Man 2's 7 million yuan.

Scott Adkins' Ninja

The other new martial arts movie that I saw this week was Ninja, starring English actor Scott Adkins. I have to be honest, anytime I see a white man trying to play ninja, I'm skeptical. But watching this film, Adkins proves he can out kick and out maneuver the best of them.

This film's plot was somewhat mediocre. For instance, the whole templars/world domination deal wasn't too realistic. It seems like it was a bad remake of the Foot Clan storyline from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. However, this movie's action sequences were phenomenal and Adkins really applied himself in some acrobatic/gymnastics moves.


If you are a martial arts practitioner, I'm sure you will enjoy watching these movies; however, there are some scenes that are not applicable for children. Hence, have your fast forward button ready and make sure you don't have children around when objectionable material is there.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Aquaponics harvest in the Philippines

A while back I talked about the first aquaponics experiment in the Philippines in my backyard.

Since I initially posted that experiment, I've had a number of plants grow and I have tested other plants in the system such as adding sugarcane. Quite a few of my readers also wanted some consulting on how to develop this on their properties and fish farms. I hope some of my guidance has helped.

I would have to say this was a very successful experiment if we consider two goals:
  1. Proof of concept that this is doable in small areas with basic materials from any hardware store.
  2. Proof of concept that this is commercially viable.
On the pictures posted, it shows my fish being harvested with my little boy and his nanny watching. The size of the fish is slightly larger than what you'll find in the supermarket.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Make Money out of the Philippines Elections and the Falling Dollar

I have a lot of colleagues who are foreign expats working in the Philippines and this particular post is for them.

I created a quick analysis of how you could invest and potentially gain returns even with a strong peso and a falling dollar.  You should also take advantage of the relatively smooth national elections that just occurred in the Philippines.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Review: I don't like Google's new look. It's messy.

Google's new look: review

I'm not liking Google's new look.  As you can see below, there's now a left handed toolbar on the search results which is taking up space.  I think this looks messy and Google should have the option to allow users to turn it off or minimize it a bit.  

I understand it makes it more convenient for some users and there was probably a favorable response from a controlled study, but to me, I just want relevant search results and I don't want it to take extra space.   But that's just me. 

For more information:
Official Google Blog: A spring metamorphosis — Google’s new look

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Policy review: Knife attacks kill eight, should we ban knives? Like gun policies?

So we hear of another knife attack that killed eight people. The previous stories were about a mentally disturbed man attacking 30+ children.  We have seen this all throughout the world with more recent news in the past couple years coming from China, Japan, and other countries at the forefront of strong anti-gun policies.

Truth be told, it doesn't matter what weapon is used. If a human being wants to kill dozens or more, he can easily choose a variety of options. In a sense, it is useless for us to simply ban weapons. Anyone with enough knowledge can create guns. I have seen make shift guns. Anyone can buy knives. Anyone can buy bats. Anyone can use a stick. Anyone can use a rock. Anyone can use a car. So what's the fascination with banning guns?

Seriously, we keep missing the point on these criminal attacks. It's not about the weapon they choose, the people themselves are the weapons. The tools they use are merely what's accessible. To equalize the playing field, the government must protect the citizens 100% of the time. If it does not have realistic resources to do so, it must give citizens the ability to protect themselves.

This is why I'm against the logic of gun restrictions and anti-gun policies. Responsible citizens should not have less freedom than the criminal. Criminals will ignore the law. Criminals will ignore gun restrictions.

So what do you think? Should we start banning knives because of these knife attacks? Or should we start being realistic: it's the human stupid. Understand his values and understand what influences his choices. Stop being lazy and stop blaming inanimate objects. Go deeper.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Exclusive: Picture of Shahzad Faisal, Alleged NY Time Square Bomber?

(Picture of a Shahzad Faisal)

We've all heard of the attempted bombing at Times Square in New York City.  Reports are coming in from law enforcement and the news media that he:

  1. He is an American and has the full rights to a full trial.  He is innocent until proven guilty.
  2. Purchased the Nissan Pathfinder cash.
  3. His name was on an email, inquiring about the vehicle and attempting to purchase it from the original owner. (Sounds like Craigslist to me!)
  4. Though he attempted to remove the VIN, they were still able to find it and trace it back to the original owner.
  5. The police was able to get original VIN from the engine block.
  6. The "bomb" as one might call it was composed of:
    • Two alarm clocks
    • A batch of firecrackers/M-88s
    • Two 5 gallon gasoline tanks
    • Three propane tanks
If the allegations are correct -- I'm officially labeling him, the Stoopid Bomber.

It's clear whoever attempted to place this "bomb" didn't really know what he was doing, and thankfully, stupidity of the bomber and the quickness and alertness of the Vietnam vet street vendor/NYPD saved the day.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Review: Best flower shop for Mother's Day (May 9th)

1-800-Flowers vs. FTD vs. ProFlowers

You can thank me later if you didn't know that May 9th is Mother's Day. This day, more than any other day, is the time for flowers. I think it even edges out Valentines Day for flowers. (Don't quote me on that.)

I have used 1-800-flowers, FTD, and a few other vendors out there online to deliver the best flowers. In the end, they essentially use the same vendor locally, the one closest to my house. The price varies between all of them, and I have found, traditionally, 1-800-flowers cost more.

The other day I found a new vendor and they're called ProFlowers. A quick comparison between this site and others shows they are significantly cheaper (10% or more). And when I used them on the last holiday, they had the same quality (if not better).

In short, when it comes to flowers, you want the biggest bang for your buck. And ProFlowers, at least for the past few holiday seasons, has been winning that category.

Update 5/10/2010:  Mom said the flowers arrived fresh and they were nice.

Send Mom Flowers from $19.99 + Free Vase

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Review: Mayweather vs Mosley, Mayweather wins but almost KO'd in 2nd round

Credit: Ethan Miller / Getty Images

LA Times Sports blog had a nice recap over the Mayweather vs. Mosley fight.  Clearly, the younger Mayweather dominated Mosley in most of the rounds, but there was a couple of scary moments that the popular online sports blog rightly identified.  Specifically, it noted:
Mosley ducks a wild left, then lands a right. Mayweather clinches but Mosley breaks away and chases after him. Mayweather appears flustered. Mosley's speed is stunning him. The best Mayweather can do is clinch. Mosley is all over him, in the center of the ring, on the ropes. Mayweather's only answer is to clinch, trying to slow the aggressive Mosley's charge. The crowd is on its feet chanting "Mosley! Mosley! Mosley!"

Mosley's speed clearly has Mayweather worried and you have to wonder what an even faster fighter like Manny Pacquiao would do to Mayweather.
The truth is, Mayweather (age 33) was able to recover and rebound, but he clearly was in danger of losing it in the 2nd and 3rd rounds.  It seems like the only reason he survived was Mosley was running out of steam (the guy was almost 39).

The real question in everyone's mind is: what would happen if he faced toe to toe with the younger, faster Manny Pacquiao that can be as deadly as Mosley throughout all the rounds?