Warning Dog Owners

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Baking 'World's most Aerodynamic Bike'

How do you make the 'world's most aerodynamic bike'? Bake it like bread

Editor's note: The Art of Movement is a monthly show that highlights the most significant innovations in science and technology that are helping shape our modern world.

(CNN) -- They have two wheels, can weigh less than a kilo and more than 6 million of them are made each year.

They're Giant Bicylces -- the work of a Taiwan based company which has been making bikes since 1972, and now has over 12,000 retail partners worldwide. The secret to its success? The process is everything.

Tony Lo, CEO of Giant Global Group, is an avid cyclist himself and commutes 35 kilometers on his Giant Propel Advanced SL, which he describes as the most aerodynamic road bike in the world.

"Whenever I get on a bicycle I always feel very free," he says. "The bike is an arrow, cutting through the wind. Everything disappears except you and the road in front of you."

Giant's bikes are made from millions of carbon fibers, each thinner than a human hair, cut by machines and sewn together.

"You want it very light, you want it very strong. But you also want the strength or stiffness only at where you want it," he says.

"Metal you can shape, but when you make the carbon fiber you can decide where each piece goes. You want the pedal to be very strong -- we call that the power core -- but in the seat you want it to be a bit soft, so it doesn't feel so hard," says Lo.

The bonded carbon fibers are cut into sheets that become the bike frames, and just like fresh bread, the frames are then baked in an oven before being rigorously tested.

"The most important thing we learn is that the bicycle can always become better," adds Lo.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Scotland Votes No

Scotland votes 'NO' to independence in historic referendum

Glasgow, Scotland (CNN) -- Scotland will remain part of the United Kingdom -- along with England, Wales and Northern Ireland -- following a historic referendum vote.

By 55% to 45%, a majority of voters rejected the possibility of Scotland breaking away and becoming an independent nation.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed Scotland's decision in a televised statement outside 10 Downing Street, saying it was a clear result.

"Like millions of other people, I am delighted," he said.

Cameron said he would have been heartbroken to see the United Kingdom broken up -- but paid tribute to the efforts of both sides in the campaign.

"We hear you," he said to those who voted for independence, adding this was an opportunity to change the way people in the United Kingdom are governed, and "change it for the better."

His government has delivered on devolution in the past and will deliver on it again, Cameron said.

A "new and fair settlement" will be created for Scotland and for the other countries of the United Kingdom, he said.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond accepted defeat in an earlier televised statement -- and urged the rest of the pro-independence camp to do the same.

He thanked Scotland "for 1.6 million votes for Scottish independence" and said the turnout -- which electoral officials said was 84.6% from an electorate of more than 4.2 million -- was one of the highest in the democratic world for any such vote.

Sigh of relief
The final result in the referendum was 1,617,989 votes in favor of independence from the United Kingdom to 2,001,926 against.

This means the pro-union camp won by a margin of 55.25% of the vote to 44.65% -- a much wider gap than opinion polls in the final days leading up to the vote had suggested.

The result means the main political parties in Westminster -- and many people across the United Kingdom and Scotland -- can breathe a collective sigh of relief that the threat of a breakup of a centuries-old union is over. However, many on the "Yes" side will be bitterly disappointed.

The referendum was closely watched around the world, particularly in nations like Spain, whose Catalonia province is home to a vocal independence movement.

The outcome will likely please President Barack Obama, who said that while the decision was down to the Scots, it was in the interest of the United States to have the United Kingdom remain a "strong, robust, united, and an effective partner."

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen also welcomed the news that the United Kingdom, a key member of the defense bloc, would remain united.

Darling: 'Unity over division'
Salmond, who heads the governing Scottish National Party, hailed the political engagement seen in Scotland during the campaign and appealed for unity going forward.

"Today of all days, as we bring Scotland together, let us not dwell on the distance we have fallen short. Let us dwell on the distance we have traveled and have confidence that a movement is abroad in Scotland that will take this nation forward, and we shall go forward as one nation."

Salmond has previously said that if the "Yes" campaign lost the referendum there would not be another vote on independence in a generation.

Labour lawmaker Alistair Darling, who led the pro-union campaign in the Scottish referendum, hailed the result Friday but said that the message that the people of Scotland want change must be heard.

"The people of Scotland have spoken," he said."We have chosen unity over division and positive change rather than needless separation.

"Today is a momentous result for Scotland and also for the United Kingdom as a whole -- by confirming our place within the union we reaffirm all that we have in common and the bonds that tie us together. Let them never be broken."

He gave a commitment that the political changes promised by the Westminster parties -- involving the devolution of more powers to Scotland -- would be kept.

Darling also called for the country to unify after debate that "has created some fairly deep divisions in our country," and a campaign "that has both energized but at times divided" the Scottish people.

"Those divisions now need to be addressed and that requires leadership," he said, promising to play his part.

Clegg: Radical package of powers
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, whose Liberal Democrats are in a coalition government with Cameron's Conservatives, said he was "absolutely delighted" by the result.

"In a dangerous and uncertain world I have no doubt we are stronger, safer, and more prosperous together than we ever could be apart.

"But a vote against independence was clearly not a vote against change and we must now deliver on time and in full the radical package of newly devolved powers to Scotland.

"At the same time, this referendum north of the border has led to demand for constitutional reform across the United Kingdom as people south of the border also want more control and freedom in their own hands rather than power being hoarded in Westminster."

The first councils to declare all went to the "No" campaign, as did the capital, Edinburgh, which voted overwhelmingly to stay in the union with 123,927 for "Yes" and 194,628 "No" votes. Argyll and Bute and Aberdeenshire also voted "No."

Glasgow delivered a solid win for the independence camp with 194,779 votes for "Yes," and 169,347 for "No," but the lead was not big enough to overturn the "No" camp's overall majority.

Political fallout
Scotland has had a devolved government since 1999, meaning many, but not all, decisions are made at the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood, Edinburgh.

As opinion polls showed the lead held by the "no" vote shrinking fast in the days leading up to the referendum, the leaders of all three main parties in Westminster responded with the promise to give major new powers over tax, spending and social welfare to Scotland if it stuck with the United Kingdom.

Now the party leaders face the challenge of pushing those changes through a possibly rebellious Parliament on a tight timetable.

The process of handing over those new powers will start from Friday, Cameron said in a speech in Aberdeen earlier this week, with draft legislation expected as soon as January. "This is a timetable that is now agreed by all the main political parties and set in stone and I am prepared to work with all the main parties to deliver this during 2015," he said.

Although Scotland has chosen to stick with the union -- staving off potential calls for his resignation -- Cameron will still face political fallout over the vote.

Critics have accused him of complacency during the long months of campaigning when Salmond's "Yes Scotland" campaign was laying the groundwork for its late surge. Cameron's longtime Labour rival, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, is credited by many with bringing the vital energy that eventually carried a lackluster "No" campaign to victory.
Critics have also accused Cameron and the other main party leaders of giving away too much in a last-ditch effort to keep Scottish voters on board.

It remains to be seen how the promise to give greater powers also to England, Wales and Northern Ireland will be borne out.

Cameron will also likely face difficult questions over his own leadership in the run-up to a general election due to take place next May.

CNN's Nic Robertson reported from Glasgow, Laura Smith-Spark reported and wrote in London and Euan McKirdy in Hong Kong. CNN's Richard Allen Greene, Lindsay Isaac and Andrew Carey contributed to this report.



Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Two new iPhones 6, Apple Watch and ApplePay

Apple’s big announcement includes iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Pay and iWatch

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus come with bigger screens and rounded edges.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Apple unveiled the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, the Apple Watch smartwatch and a new mobile payments platform called ApplePay on Tuesday.

Apple unveils two new iPhones, Apple Watch and ApplePay

New iPhones: “Today, we are launching the biggest advancement in the history of iPhone,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said at an event in Cupertino, Calif. “They are without a doubt the best iPhones we’ve ever done.”

Display: The iPhones have curved edges and bigger screens that measure 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches, up from just four inches on the iPhone 5S.

The larger iPhones have what Apple is calling “Retina HD” displays. The iPhone 6 comes with more than 1 million pixels — a third more pixels than the iPhone 5S. The iPhone 6 Plus has 2 million pixels, double the iPhone 5S’ screen.

To help users handle the bigger phone, Apple has moved the on-off switch to the right edge of the phone. And when you double-tap the home button, the entire display will slide down so users can access items on the top of the screen.

The bigger displays allow for bigger batteries: 11 hours of video watching on the iPhone 6 and 14 hours for the iPhone 6 Plus — up from 10 hours on the iPhone 5S.

Speed: The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus feature Apple’s new A8 processor, which is 25% faster than the iPhone 5S. The M8 co-processor will allow fitness apps to tell the difference between walking and biking and even measure your relative elevation.

Camera: Both iPhones feature an 8 megapixel camera with a new sensor that Apple claims will help the camera focus faster.

Software: The iPhones will feature Apple’s new iOS 8 software, a relatively minor update from iOS 7. Among the bigger iOS 8 additions is a new HealthKit application that monitors users’ heart rates, sleep, weight and blood pressure among other health-related information. IOS 8 will also feature HomeKit, a new platform for people to control all the items in their homes with the iPad or iPhone.

Apple said iOS 8 will be available Sept. 17 to customers who have an iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5C or iPhone 5S.

Both iPhones will be available Sept. 19 in the United States and eight other countries. Pre-orders will begin on Friday. The 16 GB iPhone 6 will be available for $199. The 64 GB version will cost $299; $399 will get you 128 GB. The iPhone 6 Plus will start at $299.

Apple will also discount the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C by $100. The iPhone 5S will maintain its aluminum casing — it won’t get the iPhone 5C’s plastic treatment.

Apple Watch: Apple also unveiled the Apple Watch smartwatch, the company’s first wearable device. The Apple Watch pairs with the new iPhones to display notifications. It features a magnetic charger, health and fitness apps and a crown that controls zoom and scrolling with a twist. Oh, and it will tell time too — allowing users to choose between multiple watch faces.

Apple said it will sell three versions of the Apple Watch, including a sports model and an 18 carat gold model called the “Apple Watch Edition.” The Apple Watch also comes in two sizes, one slightly smaller than the other.

ApplePay: Apple also unveiled a new mobile payments platform called ApplePay, which works with the new iPhones.

Using a technology called “near field communications,” or NFC, the new iPhones will be able to interact with payment terminals in a simple tap. Apple has deals in place with the major credit card companies, including American Express, MasterCard and Visa, as well as several major retailers.

Apple touted ApplePay’s security. The company said it doesn’t store your credit card information on your phone — and the number isn’t even given to the merchant. ApplePay also works with the iPhone’s TouchID sensor — allowing people to pay with a swipe of their fingertips.

Apple also said ApplePay is convenient. It already has your credit card information and address associated with your iPhone account — when you pay for something, you can just touch the TouchID sensor and have items shipped to you.

“Our ambition is to replace this,” said Cook, holding a wallet.

Google has already unveiled its smartwatch software called “Android Wear.” Samsung, Motorola, LG and other gadget makers have already launched smartwatches, which have received mixed reviews and tepid interest from consumers.

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will feature an 8 megapixel camera that comes with a new sensor that Apple claims will help the camera focus faster. 

And the iPhones will come with Apple's new iOS 8 software, featuring a new HealthKit application that monitors users' heart rates, sleep, weight and blood pressure among other health-related information. Apple said iOS 8 will be available Sept. 17 to customers who have an iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5C or iPhone 5S. 

Both iPhones will be available Sept. 19 in the United States and eight other countries. Pre-orders will begin on Friday. The 16 GB iPhone 6 will be available for $199. The 64 GB version will cost $299; $399 will get you 128 GB. The iPhone 6 Plus will start at $299. 

Apple will also discount the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C by $100. The iPhone 5S will maintain its aluminum casing -- it won't get the iPhone 5C's plastic treatment. 

Apple Watch: Apple (AAPL, Tech30) also unveiled the Apple Watch smartwatch, the company's first wearable device. The Apple Watch pairs with the new iPhones to display notifications. It features a magnetic charger, health and fitness apps and a crown that controls zoom and scrolling with a twist. Oh, and it will tell time too -- allowing users to choose between multiple watch faces. 

Apple said it will sell three versions of the Apple Watch, including a sports model and an 18 carat gold model called the "Apple Watch Edition." The Apple Watch also comes in two sizes, one slightly smaller than the other.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Spectacular places with very much color of the Earth (Photos)

It rolls over towards the most nearby window that you have: what do you see? Surely a street with several cars, persons ensimismadas in his worries, gray buildings with employees inclined towards his computers, shouts of ambulant merchants, between other characteristics.

Do you form a part of this group of persons? Without realizing we forget to look at the sky and to astonish for the gifts of the nature: urban or rural landscapes with colors surreales and intense. Probably only it is necessary to roll over towards the infinite and enjoy, from fence, the flight of the birds towards the feeding-place that you did to them, the way of trees that you cross when you return to house. The old adage presumes that " the one that searches, finds "; for what if we want to investigate, we will discover vibrant and extraordinary places. As those that we share later:

Dallol volcanic crater in Ethiopia

The Gates of Hell in Turkmenistan

Yellowstone, Grand Prismatic spring

Caves of marble of the Lake Career, Chile

Hills of mustard in Yunnan's province, China

Trees of thorns of Camel in Namibia

Black Rock desert in Nevada

The Wave, rocky Formation of sand of 190m of years of the Jurassic period in Arizona

Tepuy Roraima in Venezuela

Rocky formation in the geological park Zhangye Danxia in Gansu's province, China

Lake Retba in Senegal (The pink color of the water owes to itself the prescencia of an alga called saline Dunaliella)

Flowery fields of tulips in Holland

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Joan Rivers Comedy Pioneer dies at 81

Red carpet funeral for Joan Rivers

  Joan Rivers, Comedy Pioneer and TV Host, Dies at 81


Joan Rivers, a pioneering female stand-up comic and the queen of "Can We Talk?" gossip, has died, her daughter, Melissa Rivers, said Thursday. She was 81. 

Rivers was undergoing surgery on her vocal cords at a clinic in New York City on Aug. 28 when she stopped breathing and had to be transported to Mount Sinai Hospital. Melissa Rivers and Joan Rivers' 13-year-old grandson, Cooper, who live in Malibu, California, rushed to her bedside.

"My mother's greatest joy in life was to make people laugh," Melissa Rivers said in a statement. "Although that is difficult to do right now, I know her final wish would be that we return to laughing soon." 

Raspy-voiced and brassy, Rivers was always self-deprecating, foul-mouthed and politically incorrect. A master of reinvention, she endured in show business because of her tenacious work ethic — which she credited to her "immigrant mentality." 

Comedians typically push the edge of the envelope, but Rivers proved time and again that she didn't even see the envelope. To her fans, she was as shocking as she was endearing.
"The way she is funny, she tells the truth according to herself," the late film critic Roger Ebert wrote in 2010. "She hates some people. She has political opinions. Her observations are so merciless and her timing so precise that even if you like that person, you laugh. She is a sadist of comedy, unafraid to be cruel — even too cruel." 

No topic was off limits. From Elizabeth Taylor to Queen Elizabeth to even Anne Frank, Rivers loved going after public figures. 

"I mock everybody, regardless of race, creed or color," she told the Toronto Star in July. "Every joke I make, no matter how tasteless, is there to draw attention to something I really care about." 

Four years earlier, she explained her no-holds-barred approach to The Times of London: "If you laugh at something, you shrink the dragon." 

Her favorite punching bag, though, was always herself. "My mother used to look at me and say: 'Looks don't count. Now, get out of my sight, you big lump.'"
Born Joan Alexandra Molinsky on June 8, 1933, to Russian immigrants, Rivers spent her childhood in Brooklyn until her parents moved to upper-class Westchester County, New York. She believed she inherited her sense of humor from her father, who was a doctor. Her mother was a housewife. 

"I'm not sure if I was happy. I was the class wit, not the class clown — an important difference," she told The Times of London in 2010.

Because her father threatened to have her committed for being an actress, Rivers studied at Connecticut College and Barnard College, where she earned degrees in English and anthropology. Although her true love remained performing in theater, she worked in retail and fashion after college. 

After her first marriage to James Sanger ended in annulment after six months, Rivers decided to become a serious actress. She studied drama and appeared in a few plays, but she was advised by an agent that she should be in comedy. He also advised her to change her name. 

Rivers landed her big break in 1965 on "The Tonight Show: Starring Johnny Carson" and released her first comedy album shortly thereafter, "Joan Rivers Presents Mr. Phyllis and Other Funny Stories." In 1983, after frequent appearances on Carson's "Tonight Show," she was designated the first permanent guest host, a prestigious role that broke down barriers for women in comedy.

Married to British TV producer Edgar Rosenberg at the time — after a four-day courtship — Rivers continued to find humor in her own life, making fun of herself as a "fat kid" or a flat-chested housewife. Eventually she landed her own vehicle, "The Show With Joan Rivers," in 1968 — the same year her only daughter, Melissa, was born. The show lasted two years. 

In 1972, Rivers moved to Los Angeles, where she wrote a book, "Having a Baby Can Be a Scream," starred in a feature film, "Rabbit Test," and co-created a TV series, "Husbands, Wives, and Lovers," for CBS. She was living in a mansion in Bel-Air and headlining shows at Carnegie Hall, and she was the highest-paid entertainer in Las Vegas. 

By then, her "Can We Talk?" catch phrase was known throughout America. She was on top of the world until Fox offered Rivers her own talk show airing opposite "The Tonight Show" in 1986. Carson never spoke to her again and banned her from the show. Jimmy Fallon was the first person to allow her to return during his first episode as host this year. 

Her Fox show, "The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers," was short-lived. The network fired Rivers and her husband when she challenged the decision to fire him from his job as a producer on the show. Then, in 1987, Rosenberg committed suicide, devastating the comedian. Rivers became bulimic and estranged from her daughter, and she contemplated suicide herself. 

"I had no choice but to come out of it, because of Melissa," Rivers told The Sunday Times in 2006. 

A year later, she moved to New York City and landed a role in Neil Simon's "Broadway Bound," for which she received rave reviews. In 1988, she launched "The Joan Rivers Show" with her co-host, her little dog Spike. In 1990, she won a Daytime Emmy for Best Talk Show Host. 

In the next decade, Rivers continued to experiment with other TV show formats and began selling jewelry on QVC. She reconciled with Melissa, and the pair starred in a movie that dramatized their lives and sparked their partnership on E! as red carpet and fashion commentators. Rivers also won a Tony Award for her role in "Sally Marr and Her Escorts."

Since then, Rivers appeared on several TV shows, such as "Suddenly Susan" and "Nip/Tuck" and "Celebrity Apprentice," headlined in Las Vegas and wrote 12 books. Her last, "Diary of a Mad Diva," was published this year.
"I'm terrified if it looks like nobody wants me," Rivers told The Toronto Star in July. "How long will that go on? Forever. In our business, you never know. ... And it's not the money. I joke about that enough but that isn't what drives me. I love the performing. I love the work."
In recent years, death came up a lot in Rivers' interviews and jokes as she coped with the loss of good friends. The night before she was hospitalized, Rivers did an hour of stand-up at the Laurie Beechman Theatre in New York City, where she joked, according to the New York Daily News: "I'm 81 — I could go at any moment. I could fall over right here and you all could say, 'I was there!'" 

She told The Times of London four years ago that she "would not want to live if I could not perform. It's in my will. I am not to be revived unless I can do an hour of stand-up. I don't fear it."

Gustavo Cerati Dead

Gustavo Cerati, Argentina’s Greatest Rock Star, Is Dead

Gustavo Cerati, the Argentinian songwriter who gave generations of Latin Americans rock anthems in their own language, died on Thursday in Buenos Aires after a prolonged illness.

Gustavo Cerati performing in Caracas, Venezuela, on May 15 2010, during his last show before going into a coma.

The rock star’s family announced his death with a post on the singer’s official Facebook page.

Cerati was most famous for his work with Soda Stereo, one of the first Spanish-language rock bands to achieve massive international success. 


Active from 1982 to 1997, the band began by imitating English-language outfits such as The Cure, but eventually developed a distinctive voice that incorporated elements of traditional Latin American music.

1985’s Cuando pase el temblor (“When the earthquake is over”) used synthesizers and electric guitars, but didn’t shy away from the pan flutes common in Andean music.

From Argentina to Mexico, we’ll miss you, Cerati!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Steven Sotloff Video Is Authentic Obama Says (Terror Tape)

Steven Sotloff Beheading Video Is Authentic, President Obama Says

A newly released video showing the Islamist terror group ISIS’ execution of U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff has been deemed authentic, President Obama confirmed today at a joint news conference in Estonia.

In this handout image made available by the photographer Etienne de Malglaive, American journalist Steven Sotloff (center with black helmet) talks to Libyan rebels on the Al Dafniya front line, June 2, 2011 in Misrata, Libya. 

“Overnight, our government confirmed that, tragically, Steven was taken from us in a horrific act of violence,” Obama said. 

Obama expressed sadness for Sotloff’s relatives, and said the barbaric acts “stiffen our resolve.” 

“Those who make the mistake of harming Americans will learn that we will not forget and that our reach is long and that justice will be served,” he said. 
Sotloff is the second American killed by someone professing to be a member of the group. In the video, which appeared online Tuesday, Sotloff addresses the camera, saying, “I’m sure you know exactly who I am by now and why I am appearing.” 

“Obama, your foreign policy of intervention in Iraq was supposed to be for preservation of American lives and interests, so why is it that I am paying the price of your interference with my life?” the journalist says calmly as the black-clad militant holds a knife casually at his side. 

At the time of his capture last year, Sotloff had been covering the Middle East for years as a freelance reporter, including stints in Yemen and Egypt. He wrote for Time Magazine, the Christian Science Monitor, the Daily Caller, Foreign Policy and, most recently, for World Affairs Journal. 

The 31-year-old reporter studied journalism at the University of Central Florida, according to the Orlando Sentinel. His articles online show heartfelt reporting about the brutality of the Syrian war.

Friends of Steven Sotloff speak admiringly of his talent, passion 

Editor's note: This report was originally published last month after journalist James Foley's execution. It has been updated to include recent events. 

(CNN) -- When freelance journalist Steven Sotloff disappeared during a reporting trip to Syria in August 2013, his family kept the news a secret. Families of hostages are frequently advised to do this by security firms.

The abduction of Sotloff, who was beheaded Tuesday -- according to a video released by the terror group, ISIS -- has been international news since Sotloff was seen at the end of another video published last month by the Islamic extremist group.

After journalist James Foley was shown with his head cut off, the video's narrator indicated that Sotloff would be killed if President Barack Obama did not cease U.S. airstrikes against ISIS.
"I've known Steve was missing for the past year -- the problem is, he was a low-profile freelance journalist -- his family didn't want anyone in the media talking about Steve because they were afraid of retaliation," said Emerson Lotzia, who lived with Sotloff in college. "If any old friends asked me about Steve over the past year, I'd just say I hadn't seen him in a long time."

Sotloff's mother last week issued an emotional plea for her son's release. She directed her message to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Lotzia said he has been in touch with Sotloff's father, Art, and before Tuesday's news of Sotloff's killing, last month's video "was the first time his dad and family have heard anything about Steve since last December."

Out of public view, the family and a number of government agencies tried to gain Sotloff's release for the past year. U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Florida, who represents the district where the family lives, said that she had met with the family in Miami and spoken with them by phone.

"My office has contacted the relevant agencies, departments and even organizations with connections on the ground in Syria to try to get answers for the Sotloff family," Ros-Lehtinen said. "This is a tragic situation and we have seen that [ISIS] has no respect for human life."
Sotloff, 31, grew up in South Florida with his mother, father and younger sister. He attended high school at a New England boarding school, Kimball Union in New Hampshire. The school described him in a statement as "an active and involved student whose interest in journalism was evident early on."

Not only was Sotloff credited with revitalizing the student newspaper, he participated in myriad extracurricular activities, including student council, varsity football and rugby. He also appeared in the musical, "Cabaret," the school said.

After graduation, he kept in touch with school faculty and sent e-mails detailing the events to which he bore witness.

"It was important to him that Kimball Union students were exposed to world issues like the Arab Spring. Steven wrote that Kimball Union had prepared him to see the world through different lenses and to commit to using what he learned to help others," the school statement said.

After high school, he majored in journalism at the University of Central Florida. His personal Facebook page lists musicians such as the Dave Matthews Band, Phish, Miles Davis and movies "Lawrence of Arabia" and "The Big Lebowski" as favorites. On his Twitter page, he playfully identifies himself as a "stand-up philosopher from Miami."

Lotzia met Sotloff when they were both starting college in 2002. He described Sotloff as "someone you want in your circle of friends -- just a good, good guy."

He reminisced about "epic video game battles at our apartment" -- usually NCAA football or other sports games.

In 2004, Sotloff left UCF and moved back to the Miami area.

"I think he was at a crossroads of life," Lotzia said. "He talked about wanting to go over to the Middle East."

He graduated from another college, began taking Arabic classes and subsequently picked up freelance writing work for a number of publications, including Time, Foreign Policy, World Affairs and the Christian Science Monitor. His travels took him to Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and Syria, among other countries.

"He's an incredible writer," said Tim Smith, another college friend who kept in touch with him via Facebook over the years. "I know reporting on an international level is what he always wanted to do."

Ashley Burns, who edited some of Sotloff's work for their college newspaper, said that out of all the people he met through the newspaper, he wished he had followed Sotloff's work more in recent years.

"He writes with incredible passion, about Benghazi and his experiences in Syria and Turkey, while showing an incredible relationship with -- and understanding of -- the people that he met in the countries that he has worked in," Burns said. "He has seen things I'll never see, and his courage is incredible."

Karisa Workman, who taught Sotloff in a UCF oral communication class a decade ago, said she remembered him well.

"He was genuinely interested in his classmates' speeches," she said. "In fact, he often asked follow-up questions to the student speeches. In retrospect, he was a journalist even in the classroom."

Another college friend, Danielle Montoya, said she remembered him as a quiet guy who was loyal to his friends.

"I remember Emerson had a show on the UCF radio station focused on sports talk, and not a lot of people would call in when they were getting the show started up," she said. "Steve would call in to support him and ask questions so the show was at least a little entertaining to listen to."

Montoya said she thought Sotloff's effort "says something about his character to support his buddy's ambition."