Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Lance Armstrong Steps Down from LiveStrong Foundation

It always figures that I'm heading to class during something newsworthy.
Oh, and I'm always on my way to class, late. 

To stay on track, I received a push notification from CNN on my iPhone. It led me to the article that I am about to outline and have sourced below.

According to the article, Lance Armstrong is resigning as chairman of the Livestong Cancer charity that he founded over a decade ago.

Nike is also reportedly ending its contract with Armstrong over the whole doping debacle. Albeit the corporation is not abstaining from supporting Armstrong's cancer foundation. Read More.

After vigorously testing Armstrong, the U.S. Anti-Droping Agency revealed that it had uncovered overwhleming evidence of Armstrong's involvement for doping while cycling. Find Out More.

Jeff Garvey, one of Livestrong's founding chairmen, will take over as chairman.

A survivor of testicular cancer, Armstrong's comment on the ordeal was quite vague, stating that he would still continue his service with both the foundation and the cancer community, but did not specify any details about a specific role.

The article reads continues,

According to Livestrong, Armstrong has helped raise nearly $500 million for cancer research, treatment and support in his role as Livestrong founder and helped "dispel the stigma and misconceptions about the disease." 
In its report, the anti-doping agency made public testimony from Armstrong's teammates and others involved in the U.S. Postal Service- and Discovery-sponsored cycling teams who said the seven-time Tour de France winner was among team members who used banned performance-enhancing substances and tried to hide it from testing officials.

It's disappointing to witness something so horrific in someone portrayed as so heroic. However, the sanction of USADA's lifetimeban from competition as well as stripping Armstrong of all his titles, has yet to be ratified by the Union Cyclists International (UCI), the sports governing body. (According to Wikipedia & BBC).

However, this may all change:
"The USADA is sending its "reasoned decision" to the international governing body of cycling, the Union Cycliste Internationale, as well as the World Anti-Doping Agency and the World Triathlon Corporation, which runs Ironman competitions."

 View More Highlights.

SHARPP Gets a Student Blog

The University of New Hampshire’s Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention Program, or SHARPP, has recently unveiled a new student-run blog late September. The blog, Kickin’ it with Kenna, gives advice to students who may be sexually assaulted, stalked, in an abusive relationship, and so on. Since social media and the Internet are both great ways to connect with students, SHARPP’s new student blog is convenient and easily shared 

Kenna Smith, a junior social work major, is a volunteer at SHARPP. She got into the program after taking an introductory course for her major that required 25 hours of field experience. After searching for an internship, Kenna came across SHARPP.

When she looked under the explanation of SHARPP, she found herself frozen. Smith saw the elucidation of advocate training, immediately signed up, and completed the 40 mandatory hours of instruction.

Smith has been an advocate for three years, and she has worked in the SHARPP office as a secretary since spring of 2011. “After the first day of training, I was hooked, and I haven’t left since,” Smith said. 

Smith was glad that she gets to reach out to others in different ways. She noted a video segment that will be soon making its way onto the blog where she will ask students about issues regarding sexual violence on college campuses.

As both an employee and a volunteer, Smith sees the impact that the program brings to UNH. “As a young woman, this program represents possibilities,” Smith said. “SHARPP is a starting ground for individuals who have felt something was taken from them, and, in coming here, they get to feel like a piece of them has returned.”

Although the blog started only a month ago, SHARPP staff members approached Kenna in early September asking if she would be interested in becoming a more hands on voice for their program. Mary Mayhew, SHARPP’s program director, approved the blog a week later.

According to Mayhew, SHARPP is always looking for creative ways to encourage constructive dialogue on consent, healthy relationships, and other issues that touch on students’ lives.

“We wanted [the blog] to be relevant to UNH students’ experiences, so the choice of having a student write the blog made sense,” Mayhew said. “Kenna is a really thoughtful and well informed student, who is also outgoing, and very connected to a lot of other students through her participation in student organizations.”

SHARPP’s aim for the blog is to show a real student reflecting on serious issues in a relatable way. “If a faculty or staff member wrote the blog, we wouldn’t have the perspective,” Mayhew said, “and it probably wouldn’t be something students want to read.”

Mayhew also added that Kickin’ It with Kenna can be a place where students can see how another person sees, and sometimes challenges, behaviors that sometimes feel like the norm.

The blog itself is something SHARPP has never done before. “We’re pretty excited about it,” Mayhew said. “We’re lucky enough to have a student who was enthusiastic about the idea, and who we felt was confident would do a great job.” As long as SHARPP has someone who fits the rightful criteria, the blog will definitely keep going. 

Even though the blog is not an advice column, it contains a good mix of information –  much of it supported by statistics and research obtained from the SHARPP website, the New Hampshire Coalition, and many other government abuse hotline and program sources.

Smith wants people to get information and dialogue about college campuses and the taboo issues regarding sexual violence. “When people read my blog, I want them to really learn about an issue and have a place to start a discussion,” she said.

Where the blog is only in its beginning stages, Smith hopes it becomes a forum for people to talk to her and discuss important issues in order to learn.

“I update my blog once a week, and the idea is to make it every Monday, unless an event in the news or on campus really strikes me,” Smith said.

Although geared towards the college community, Kickin’ It With Kenna can be read by anyone; the issues of sexual violence, stalking, relationship abuse, consent and rape culture are all present on every level of our society. 

“I’ve had people in their 50s and teens in high school read it.” Smith said. “It’s never too late to learn new information, especially because these issues are so prevalent.”

Published in The New Hampshire.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Earthquakes in New England?! What the...

So, I'm laying in bed in my apartment surfing iTunes for new songs.

All of a sudden, my room starts vibrating.

Not only is it vibrating, it's shaking. For a moment, I think my next door neighbor is throwing somebody into the wall. And then I think a bulldozer is going to crash through the floor below me.

What the hell is that?!

Is that... An EARTHQUAKE?


My roommate and I were stunned.

He thought it was cool.

I thought it was scary.

All I had to do was check Facebook to confirm, and about 100 or more posts flooded my feed about the event, from southern Massachusetts, to northern New Hampshire. It was definitely an earthquake.

Apparently, the U.S. Geological Survey reported a 4.0 - 4.6 magnitude earthquake near Hollis Center in southern Maine. The quake shook towns throughout all of Northern New England, including Massachusetts and Connecticut.

No damage or fatalities have been reported. However, according to WMUR, the state's 911 center blew up with cell phone calls regarding the peculiar event.

WMUR Meteorologist Mike Haddad confirmed that intraplate earthquakes sometimes occur around the New England area; albeit we do not have a fault.

Due to the bedrock in the Northeast, earthquakes can travel a lot farther resulting in a broad range of people feeling them.

What an experience. I can now cross off "Experience an Earthquake" off of my Bucket List.

Don't be quick to judge, please.

Articles courtesy of: Here, Here and Here.

A Tragedy at UNH - Missing Student Reported Dead

After getting a very urgent UNH alert early last week about a missing student, I immediately locked the door of my own room.

Granted, something so serious should not be taken lightly.

Elizabeth Marriot was reported missing two days after she told friends she was meeting someone in Dover. A commuter student from Westborough, MA, all traces of credit / debit card and phone activity ceased after Tuesday. The UNH alerts went out to the college community on Thursday.

WMUR later reported Friday night that a body was reported near Pierce Island in Portsmouth. There were no connections made to the case. A body is yet to be found.

The following day, however, Seth Mazzaglia, 29, was accused of killing Marriot. After reportedly confessing, he has been arraigned at a Dover court for second-degree murder. She was either suffocated or strangled to death the last day she was seen.

Associate Attorney General Jane Young made the all-clear that the general public is not at risk. "I can tell you they were familiar with each other," Young said, after many UNH students were worried for their safety.

Police have yet to give any specific details of the case, which further proves that the mysterious murder lacks any detail. Although there is a valid testimony, charges may be intensified if an autopsy can be performed on the still-missing body.

Our thoughts and prayers heavily go out to the Marriot family. Durham's flag in downtown is at half mast in her remembrance.

ADDENDUM: On Tuesday, Oct. 16, UNH Vice President Mark Rubinstein emailed students the following message:

"Gathering for Elizabeth 'Lizzi' Marriott: A moment to reflect 
On Thursday, 18 October 2012, members of the University community will gather to reflect on the life of Elizabeth 'Lizzi' Marriott. The gathering will occur in front of Thompson Hall at 12:30pm, allowing an opportunity for brief remarks and personal reflection. 
Following this gathering, there will be an opportunity to meet with staff from the Counseling Center and SHARPP who will be available to speak with individuals or groups. This will occur in the Trustees' Board Room on the first floor of Thompson Hall. 
All are welcome."

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Responsible for Libya Murders

After reading an article originally posted by CNN, U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton takes blame for the Libya murders in September.

The article reads:

"I take responsibility," Clinton told CNN in an interview while on a visit to Peru. "I'm in charge of the State Department's 60,000-plus people all over the world, 275 posts. The president and the vice president wouldn't be knowledgeable about specific decisions that are made by security professionals. They're the ones who weigh all of the threats and the risks and the needs and make a considered decision." 
"I take this very personally," Clinton said. "So we're going to get to the bottom of it, and then we're going to do everything we can to work to prevent it from happening again, and then we're going to work to bring whoever did this to us to justice." 
The attack took place in the eastern Libyan city that was the cradle of that country's 2011 revolution. Obama administration officials initially blamed a mob inflamed by a U.S.-produced movie that mocked Islam and its Prophet Mohammed, but later said the storming of the consulate appears to have been a terrorist attack. 
With criticism growing, Vice President Joe Biden said during last week's vice presidential debate that the White House did not know of requests to enhance security at Benghazi, contradicting testimony by State Department employees that requests had been made and rejected. After the debate, the White House said the vice president did not know of the requests because they were handled, as is the practice, by the State Department. 
"In the wake of an attack like this, in the fog of war, there's always going to be confusion," Clinton said. "And I think it is absolutely fair to say that everyone had the same intelligence. Everyone who spoke tried to give the information that they had. As time has gone on, that information has changed. We've gotten more detail, but that's not surprising. That always happens." 
She added, "What I want to avoid is some kind of political gotcha or blame game.
Clinton said her mission now is to make sure such an attack will never happen again, and also to ensure the work of American diplomats won't be stopped even in dangerous areas like Benghazi. 
"We can't retreat. We have to continue to lead. We have to be engaged," she said. "We can't hang out behind walls." She said Stevens, who came to Benghazi on a cargo ship to start building ties with rebel leaders during last year's revolt, "knew that more than anybody."

Personally, I think Clinton did a good job at handling the matter, though she is addressing the public a bit late. What do you think?

Free Falling from the Stratosphere

So, this weekend, I woke up to an intriguing event.

The Huffington Post posted a link on Facebook that lead me to a YouTube page where Felix Baumgartner floated his way up to the edge of space. Apparently, he was going to be a world-record holder for the longest free fall.

I felt like I was watching history; it was such an empowering and emotional event to witness.

It was as if I was watching an astronaut go to space. Well, it was almost that. Felix was adorning a space suit that would be pressurized for his 120,000 feet plummet. He was also transported in a silver bullet-looking vessel, that was reminiscent of the Apollo program.

Not long after, Baumgartner opened the hatch of his vehicle to the outside world, took a step, and free-fell back to Earth. He reportedly broke the sound-barrier and Mach 1 - the fastest a human being has ever fell.

After some scary tumbling through the air, Baumgartner managed to steady himself, and he readily opened his parachute when he neared the surface. It was an extremely captivating moment - how much man is capable of, and how maybe, someday, we will return to the moon.

Felix landed back on Earth after approximately ten minutes of falling, where he grazed the ground with his feet in a jogging-like manner. He then collapsed to his knees, and threw his hands up in victory.

“Mission Control,” which was Baumgartner’s means of communication, cheered with joy. Everything could not have been more perfect, and now Baumgartner’s feats have triumphed new research for science and technology that may be used in the future for space shuttle emergency evacuations.

What an extremely beautiful sight to behold. I highly recommend watching a video of it.

ADDENDUM AS OF WED, 10/17:  Want a thrilling POV experience?! Click Here. You won't regret it.

Article courtesy of CNN.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Portsmouth School Board to Approve Saturday School Sessions

Saturdays could be threatened if a new proposal by the Portsmouth School Board is passed, inconveniencing both students, parents, and faculty, and requiring tax payers to pay more money.

The Portsmouth School Board may approve a new policy requiring disciplined students to go to a Saturday school session. 

The policy was motioned by School Board member Tim Steele. The Saturday session would run from 8 a.m. until noon several weekends during the year. It would require an allocation of about $3,000 per year for staffing, Steele told the School Board.

During discussion of the proposal, Peggy Bacon, a local parent, said she did not think the proposal was a good idea. “I work six days a week – including Saturday morning,” Bacon said. “The parents are going to pay for it – in higher taxes as well as in ruined Saturdays.”

Steele responded that the new disciplinary measure was being proposed in an effort to reduce the number of in-house suspensions, given to students caught smoking inside or outside of Portsmouth High School.

Since suspended students are not allowed to make up class work they missed, Steele said the new program would allow the student to not miss class time. “I know this isn’t good news for the parents,” Steele said, “but I hope the threat of Saturday classes will make the students think twice before breaking the school rules.”

Resident Bob Farley liked the idea of the new policy. He said that parents are not teaching their kids any discipline, resulting in students who have no respect for rules. “Parents can whine all they want about this, “Farley said, “but maybe it’s time parents in America were made to take a little responsibility for their kids.”

Five high school students attended the meeting. Lisa Gallagher, a senior, spoke against the rule. “What if someone skips the session?” she said.

Steele explained what would be done with students who skip the session. “If a student skips Saturday School, he or she would not be allowed to return to school until the detention has been served,” Steele said.

Steele also said that smoking was not the only discipline problem at the school, but it is certainly the worst one. “I just want to keep students from smoking in the high school bathrooms,” Steele said.

After almost three hours of deliberation, the board voted 5-3, with one member abstaining, to table the issue until its next meeting on March 7. Steele was instructed to return at that time with figures on in-school detentions so far this year

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The First Tier of the 2012 Presidential Debates

My opinion on the first presidential debate is somewhat agitated (as well as delayed).

For anyone who reads this blog post, it is subject to be biased, and opinionated, since that is what blogging is all about. I apologize if it reads offensive or unfair. This is my blog, after all!

First off, the moderator, Jim Lehrer, pretty much failed at his job. He didn't moderate at all. He basically just let both Romney and Obama take advantage at his timidness. I was extremely irritated at his lack of moderating. To be a moderator, one has to be physically and vocally involved in an argument, and both parties must be told who is in charge. Lehrer, unfortunately, failed to do this.

If I was the moderator, let me just say that I probably would have yelled expletives to get both parties to stop talking, as well as threatening to shut off their microphones. I honestly don't know why the network didn't do this in the first place, like the Academy Awards does for winners who talk way too long. Another thing that should be included is a giant countdown clock that times out after two minutes in order to hinder the candidates from over-participating.

Overall, the whole debate itself was an F-. Both candidates were incredibly rude to the moderator, did not respect the time limits, and simply just ranted about their own policies and how the other was wrong. Obama was heavily disappointing to watch, and Romney just flip-flopped on every single issue. The moderator asked the most vague questions, and the whole debate was pointless.

I'm hoping that the American public saw the same issues behind the debate, and I am praying to the gods above (if there are any) to let the next debate be somewhat meaningful.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Rumours Report Apple's Release of "Mini iPad" Soon

iPads, iPhones, and Macs, OH MY!

I love Apple. And anyone who knows me well enough will tell you the same thing.

My infatuation with a capitalistic and monopolized brand (especially when it comes to its own products) is fully explainable. A corporation, like Apple, who devotes itself to ridding all its product of toxic parts and invests in greener, efficient technology (see:, cannot be rivaled in any sense. Obviously, this is my biased opinion. However, no other computer company chooses to boast, as Apple does, about their great innovations and advances through technology while maintaing a green footprint, because they do not work as hard as Apple does to effectively do so. Oh, and they also make exceptionally beautifully designed products with the latest software. That's always a plus.

With that rant out of the way, one can see how devoted and informed I am about Apple, Inc. as a whole. However, with the new iPhone 5 just released, speculations have been buzzing around with a revamped and miniature (and possibly cheaper) version of Apple's iPad, called the ''iPad mini."

I randomly stumbled upon this story while diligently trying to research when exactly Apple's new version of iTunes 11 was slated to be released; I am extremely eager for the new update, since it is a completely redesigned application (see: Apparently, the new release is expected to be released in late October (probably around the 2nd - 3rd week of the month) at aevent n that is believed to be specially for the release of a new iPad mini.

According to the International Business Times, (see link for full article below), it makes sense for these two October events to be taking place simultaneously.

"CNN Money reported that a major Apple investor, citing "multiple sources," pegged the unveiling of the new iPad Mini for Wednesday, Oct. 17," the IBT said.

Apparently, photographs of alleged parts and reports of mass production of the iPad mini are also plaguing the Internet. Who knows if this is just a rumour, or actual reality, but the truth will ultimately be revealed by Apple in the forthcoming weeks.

It has also been revealed that news sites like PC Magazine, USA Today, and Fox News all started to report that Apple would be holding separate events for the iPhone 5 and iPad Mini. There has yet to be confirmation from Apple on the latter.

I'm just excited for iTunes 11. However, a new iPad for the upcoming Holidays would be great, as long as it doesn't hurt my wallet.

Will Apple come through? Who knows. I'm sure it'll be a beautiful gadget, but it won't come cheap... Apple will make sure of that.

Article courtesy of The International Business Times.

UNH & Town of Durham Hit with Power Outage

According to UNH Alerts, the university campus was without power for about 90 minutes. Updates were pushed to students via text messages and emails saying that both PSNH and UNH officials were working to resolve the issue. Campus, however, remained open even with the lack of electricity to light up classrooms.

I live in an apartment on Madbury Road right across the street from Sigma Nu, in the spine of downtown Durham. There was power when I woke up this morning at about 9 a.m., and all was well.

However, when I arrived to my work-study job at Pettee Hall on the opposite side of campus about thirty minutes later, I noticed the cave-like darkness, and hoards of students outside their classrooms socializing in confusion.

As soon as I arrived at the second floor (I had to take the stairs instead of the elevator), my boss alerted me that the building was out of power, and had been left in darkness for about an hour. Obviously, the dreary, overcast October morning didn't help the situation.

So, students just stood outside classrooms, while faint light from sparse windows illuminated hallways. Professors waited patiently to try and teach a class without light, computers, or PowerPoint presentations. I maintained busy by doing "busy-work," since I couldn't access any of our computers due to the outage.

At 11:17 a.m., the UNH Alert system notified campus that, "UNH Police have issued an All-Clear. Power restored to Campus."

Suddenly, as I was trying to sort out paperwork in the darkness, Pettee's power supply seemed to roar to life, as with the rest of campus; the lights flickered on, and the air circulatory supply breathed a sigh of relief.

It's just another day on campus, where the status quo abruptly changed, and is now restored.

As J.K. Rowling would say, "All is well."

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Former President Bill Clinton Speaks at UNH

Former Pres. Bill Clinton spoke at UNH on behalf of President Obama's 2012 campaign this afternoon.

The event took place in UNH's Field House on campus, where it was full to the brim with spectators. 

The President had a lot of positive information to say regarding Pres. Obama, claiming that Obama has produced over 4.5 million private sector jobs since he took office in 2008. Apparently, 700,000 public jobs at both the state and local level were lost when Bush took office.

On talking about education, which President Clinton prioritized in his speech, he said, "the university and college system is a great hope for the 21st century, middle class economy." He also said that almost every single new job will be created by someone who has a four-year degree.

Clinton strived to further the gap between the republican and democratic parties, by giving voters two choices: celebrating diversity in an interdependent world, or driving a stake through the heart of it; sharing prosperity, or living on your own; using constructive cooperation, or being in constant conflict. "This is not rocket science," Clinton said. "The contradiction is between being self-reliant and taking a stand for yourself."

In addition, Clinton addressed the issues of family and the average working-class family. "This is a country that values work and family, and you shouldn't have to raise your own children in poverty," Clinton said. According to Clinton, who talked about Gov. Romney's recent sting on the "47%" of Americans who do not pay income tax, most people who do not have enough money to pay an income tax would love to make enough money just so they were able to pay it. 

Clinton closed the rally, noting that no republican or democrat could have fixed the economy in less than four years. Clinton urged the attendees for Obama's vote by saying the president's economic plan is better both for the longterm and the short-term.  "We're better if we go forward together," Clinton said.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Benefits of Spiritual Groups at UNH

The University of New Hampshire has more than 200 organizations on campus. Greek Life, student government, political groups, and religious organizations are just a few genres. Out of these organizations, six of them are devoted towards religion and spirituality. Cru, formally known as Christian Impact, is the largest on campus, boasting 150 members.

Cru is a part of what was known as Campus Crusade for Christ, a worldwide movement of college students who follow Jesus Christ. Members are committed to deepening their own relationships with God through community while exposing others to the benefits of Christianity and “accepting” Christ as their savior.

Cru provides time to reflect, question, and strengthen faith. The organization welcomes newcomers to explore what Christianity is and what it looks like in college. Smaller groups are available for those who want to be involved in more intimate discussions, such as Bible studies, and smaller more personal groups, called Life groups. Members also meet at events such as bonfires, Frisbee, or movie nights.

Weekly meetings take place in Horton Hall in room four on the basement level. The auditorium fills with over a hundred people, with seats to spare. The meeting starts with an opening hymn. Everyone sings with their arms outstretched singing about the glory of Jesus, love, and life.

Various speakers stand up in front of the crowd and explain different events that Cru puts on. God is always a part of the message, and people cheer for one another. It is a lively room filled with music, joy, friendship, and bonding.

The student leader of the group is sophomore Sarah Gilman. She became involved in Cru after getting involved in a life group, where she found satisfaction and fulfillment from Jesus. Gilman loves the community of those in the group.

Tim Schuman is the adult advisor to Cru. Although he is not a faculty member of UNH, he has been working with college students as a ministry advisor for over 30 years.

“I love doing campus ministry with college students,” Schuman said. He has been on and off the UNH campus with campus ministry activities since 1985. Schuman said that Cru is a safe place to learn whatever anyone is interested in learning. “We try to explain Christianity as simply and clearly as we can,” Schuman said. The group tries to address three basic issues: what it means to have a relationship with Jesus, why Jesus died on the cross, and learning the message of the Christian faith.

Cru also is involved with other on-campus spiritual organizations, such as Chi Alpha Campus Ministries and Greek Inter Varsity.

Riley Doenges, a 21-year-old social work major at UNH, joined Cru because she wanted to have a relationship with Jesus. She loves the community and has made many lifelong friendships. “I think it provides a different outlet for some people who don’t enjoy partying and going out,” Doenges said. “It’s still like having relationships with people and being involved on campus without having to give in to social pressures.”

Melissa Ryan is a second year genetics major from Gilford, NH. Ryan joined Cru because she was searching for a community. As a freshman, she had a hard time fitting in with others. 

Ryan gets a God-centered community where members push each other closer to God in their faiths. “I think that spiritual things are not normally talked about, and if people are wondering, they can feel really intimidated just asking anyone about it,” Ryan said. “Cru provides a safe place to learn about spiritual things and not be judged for what you believe."

Ryan, who grew up Catholic, never talked about God with her family at home. Cru taught her to have a relationship with Jesus, and the community itself reached out and cared for her, as they do with others. “It’s on God’s love and not their own,” Ryan said.

Politically Charged & Politically Correct

While on Twitter (what a Surprise), I noticed two interesting articles.

One article was posted as a public opinion by an editor of the New York Times. I thought it was interesting and relevant for class, since it talked about how some readers did not like the usage of the words “illegal immigrant” in its newspaper.

The article reads, “[The word illegal immigrant] is clear and accurate; it gets its job done in two words that are easily understood.”

I thought that it was interesting to learn about the steps that modern newspapers presently take to come across as fair and neutral for everyone, and to use terms that do not offend readers.

The article closed with, “This is not a judgment on immigration policy or on the various positions surrounding immigration reform, or those who hold those positions. Nor is it meant to be uncaring about the people to whom the words apply. It’s simply a judgment about clarity and accuracy, which readers hold so dear.”

Another interesting story that I stumbled on while surfing Twitter was about the Pennsylvania Voter ID Law and how a judge ruled an injunction to the case.

The article conveyed that the law was designed to prevent election fraud among voters, but critics argued that Republicans were trying to sway younger people and elderly people from voting. I personally agree with the latter, but that is irrelevant. 

With the ruling, voters can vote without an ID, as long as they’re registered. If I was a PA resident, I would be sighing relief.

Articles Courtesy of The New York Times and NBC News.

Surfing Twitter and the Huffington Post

I have been constantly on Twitter following the updates of many news organizations around the world (and the country).

I have been finding a lot of relevant and interesting information via Twitter. Who knew that Twitter would become so popular just by informing the world about news-related events?

Of the news organizations that I follow, the Huffington Post is probably the most up-do-date blog when it comes to news. It’s also one of my favorite sources of information. Biased? Maybe.

I saw a Tweet from Huffington Post Saturday that stated GM had recalled almost 41,000 cars due to a “defect” from manufacturing.

Apparently, the vehicles were manufactured from 2007 - 2009 with plastic parts connected to the fuel pump which could crack. According to the article, if the crack gets long enough, fuel could ultimately leak out of the vehicle and be a potential hazard for a fire.

I think that Twitter is honestly the most reliable source for information, because you can read headlines in under 160 characters or less, which takes about a fraction of a second. Theoretically, you could navigate major headlines of newspaper in under a minute. 

Navigating the news in this way is very important because it is the quickest and easiest alternative from going to random websites and scrolling all over a cluttered page filled with gargantuan amounts of information.

Article Courtesy of The Huffington Post.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Headlines, and Media, and News; OH MY!

My relationship to news, I’ve learned over the past few weeks, has changed dramatically. I currently believe that American media is extremely biased, unreliable, and has hidden agendas. I personally think that anything having to do with world news that is shown in America is not at all accurate, and is misshaped to make Americans ignorant about how the world truly feels about the country. Scare-tactics are also used, and I think that totally undermines journalism and makes it inept as a field. That’s my own politically-charged opinion about American journalism.

I believe that news does not generally capture my attention, including my generation as a whole, because news does not mean anything. America is fed on a diet of capitalism, advertisements, celebrity gossip, and pointless reality shows, which are all IN THE NEWS. That stuff isn’t news. It’s artificial jargon to plump up media airtime and further decay the American brain.

News, to me, is something interesting, but it’s incredibly vague. It can be anything, or everything, but it can’t be everything. Otherwise it wouldn't be relevant enough to call it news - obviously. It has to be interesting, cool, and mystifying, but it doesn’t have to be a forest fire, or someone dying in a car crash. I’m not saying it has to be important, but I personally hate the typical baby-and-pet-left-in-the-car-story. Yeah, it’s tragic and shocking, but is that all that matters? Sure, that contradicts my point from before as to why my generation does not care about news, but I feel like general information regarding mankind as a whole is what makes news, well, news

To elaborate, a volcano blowing its top in Italy would be news. So would learning that the sun is going to become a white giant in 2.1 billion years. Or that Global Warming is proved to be a hoax, or that blue whales are going to be instinct. You get the idea. I think that telling the news in a compelling and creative way is also one of the most important factors to journalism. To be a journalist is to be a magnificent story-teller, whether it be orally or through print. Thus, the inverted pyramid style of news writing does not suit the purpose of being creative. It is boring, old-fashioned, and does not measure up to modern day standards of writing. But, that's just me. To be frank, it's just about being informative on all sorts of information.

When I was a kid in elementary school, my mom always had the Today Show on. I loved growing up with their way of telling the news. It was extremely entertaining, informative, and compelling. They told news-breaking stories in a professional manner, yet kept an element of enjoyment. I also liked, and still admire, watching CBS’s 60 Minutes. It’s a fantastic, and an extremely reputable and reliable program. The correspondents ask all the right questions and hold nothing back. It’s quite frankly the most phenomenal journalism at its finest.

Journalism could better satisfy the needs of myself as well as my peers by remaining objective as well as relevant to worldwide society. I’m sick of biased fluffy jargon! The future of journalism in all its glorious forms should be held to an exceptional and extraordinary literary standard that rivals mainstream media. It should be accepted as an informative art, not some overrated "story" that we want to throw in the face of the audience to capture their attention.

But then again, what do I know? I’m just an opinionated and amateur “journalist” with a lot to say and little experience.

The Debate Over Gun Control

The National Rifle Association came to the University of New Hampshire Thursday to educate students on the Second Amendment and gun control. The meeting was held in the Wildcat Den on the first floor of the Memorial Union Building, where about twenty people were present – a quarter of them women.

The presentation started with a brief historical introduction of the NRA. Headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, the NRA started a program entitled, “NRA U” about five years ago. The sole purpose of NRA-U was to educate college students around the country about the benefits the NRA provides its members.

Founded in 1871 in New York after the Civil War, the original purpose of the NRA was to provide a scientific study of marksmanship. It became the oldest sportsmen and civil rights organization established in the United States. Presently, the NRA’s focus has shifted to protect every American’s Second Amendment right to bear arms. Four million due-paying members make up the association.

The NRA, supposedly nonpartisan, cannot function with standardized gun control laws, and tends to favor Republican candidates who strictly back up the Second Amendment. The seminar evoked how gun control does not necessarily minimize crime, which may be biased with incidences of unreported violence involving guns. However, just as freedom of speech and freedom of religion are granted to Americans in the Bill of Rights, so is the right to bear arms. Therefore, the Second Amendment must be respected and followed on its own just as the other amendments.

According to the NRA, instead of “banning” guns, or enforcing stricter gun laws that infringe upon constitutional rights, their plan is to educate gun-owners and youth about firearms. The association also upholds existing laws to control crime with effective law enforcement strategies, and punishes criminals with harsher sentences instead of the average citizen.

However, as recent gun U.S. gun tragedies have climbed, from the Virginia Tech massacre of 2007, to the most recent Colorado shooting during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises this past summer, a debate about guns is still hot-to-the-touch. 

Concealed gun laws vary in all states, and the state of New Hampshire, where one needs a permit to carry a concealed weapon, recently passed a law in January to cease public institutions, such as university campuses and sporting venues, from banning firearms. Gov. John Lynch vetoed the bill for obvious safety reasons.

College students take the gun control debate and the Second Amendment quite seriously. Steven Pampreen, a business administration major, has a somewhat neutral view of the subject. “I think that the intent of the [Second] Amendment was to allow people to individually protect themselves without relying on the state,” Pampreen said. “I think that is still a worthy goal.” Pampreen explains how inequality is the problem, not firearms themselves, since some states, such as New York, make it extremely difficult to buy guns, even though it is still legal to do so.

Coty Donohue, 21 of Somersworth, thinks it is important for any country to protect its citizens, never mind a country that is supposed to be a world leader. “When there is almost one firearm per American, 105,000 gun injuries occurring a year, and roughly 50 percent of those injuries being accidental, I think it’s clear that a lack of gun regulation is a lack of protection.”

Samantha Spaeth, 20, of Manchester thinks gun control is a double-edged sword. “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” Spaeth said. She brings forth the argument that even if guns are made illegal, there is still a black market, so guns will never go away. Instead, firearms may become a specialized things like drugs. “I think you should be able to have a gun, but I don’t think you should be able to walk around with it. If you have one in your house, that’s a complete different circumstance.”