Discussion Post: Week 1

Once again, welcome to the COM 315 course blog! I’m looking forward to chatting about various subjects with you over the duration of the semester. As I mentioned in class, while I do run another blog with content that may, at times, overlap with this one, my goal here is to tailor this version to your particular interests and the needs of our class. (You’re free to engage the other blog as well, if you’d like, of course.)

How is your preparation for Presentation I going? From the topics I’ve seen thus far, we can expect a unique array of presentations. If you haven’t already done so, please remember to submit your topic no later than the start of class this Thursday. I’m excited to see the rest of them!

We’ll start this week by considering the tumultuous tale of Lance Armstrong, who won an unprecedented seven consecutive Tour de France titles from 1999-2005 after recovering from testicular cancer. As I previously noted, Armstrong’s miraculous feat drew heavy scrutiny from the start, even though he reportedly underwent hundreds of blood and urine tests during his cycling career and never had a single positive test result. This year, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) launched a fresh wave of doping allegations against Armstrong, based largely on testimony from other cyclists — who themselves had positive test results — that they had seen Armstrong use the blood-booster erythropoietin (EPO) as well as steroids, and that he also trafficked and administered the same performance-enhancers to others. The USADA claimed to have over a dozen witnesses ready to testify against Armstrong in arbitration, although the USADA never officially revealed their identities, claiming that Armstrong had previously engaged in witness intimidation.

As Armstrong argued, there was “zero physical evidence” to support the USADA’s claims, which he said were based solely on the words of disgraced athletes and trainers trying to take him down with them. The USADA, on the other hand, claimed that they had also taken blood samples in 2009 and 2010 that were consistent with the claims of EPO use. On Monday, a judge dismissed Armstrong’s lawsuit against the USADA that would have forced the organization to drop the charges, saying that the USADA would maintain its jurisdiction over the matter and that Armstrong would have to deal with the matter in their venue.

Things came to a head on Thursday, when the 40-year-old Armstrong announced that he was tired of the “unconstitutional witch hunt” and declined to address the issue through the USADA’s arbitration process. His former team manager, John Bruyneel, added that he was “disappointed for Lance and for cycling in general that things have reached a stage where Lance feels that he has had enough and is no longer willing to participate in USADA’s campaign against him.” While Armstrong steadfastly maintained his innocence, though, his refusal to fight the charges was interpreted by USADA officials as an admission of guilt.

Most in the media agreed with the USADA’s assertion that Armstrong only abandoned the case because he knew the truth about his longtime lie — some neglected to mention Armstrong’s insistence of innocence altogether — although others sided with Armstrong’s claim that he was the target of a vendetta in which the USADA was changing the rules as it went to make the very question of whether or not he cheated irrelevant.

Although Armstrong challenged the USADA’s authority to impose sanctions, Travis Tygart, the organization’s CEO, proclaimed that Armstrong would be stripped of all seven Tour de France titles and face a lifetime ban from the sport. Mere hours after Armstrong’s announcement, the USADA made those sanctions official, a stunningly quick resolution which lent some credence to Armstrong’s claim that this was what Tygart and the USADA had planned all along. As Tygart explained, “Any time we have overwhelming proof of doping, our mandate is to initiate the case through the process and see it to conclusion as was done in this case.” The USADA is directly associated with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which immediately upheld the USADA’s decision and said that Armstrong’s records would be “obliterated.” As WADA chief John Fahey aid, “He had the right to rip up those charges but he elected not to, therefore the only interpretation in these circumstances is that there was substance in those charges.”

At the very least, Armstrong’s achievements will be forever branded with an asterisk, placing him alongside other fallen heroes like Pete Rose and Marion Jones. Even as Armstrong’s legacy looks to be ruined, his seven vacated Tour de France wins remain in serious question. After all, most of the other top finishers from 1999-2005 were later caught doping themselves, so officials might have to go way down the leaderboard to find another athlete who could receive those titles. On the other hand, shamed riders like Armstrong’s longtime rival Jan Ullrich may be given Armstrong’s wins anyway, as none of them faced such extreme sanctions as Armstrong’s lifetime ban and stripped wins. (Ullrich was implicated in the infamous “Operación Puerto” case but maintained his 1997 Tour de France victory, his only win in cycling’s biggest event. His 2005 third-place finish was expunged earlier this year, however, and the retired cyclist was retroactively banned.)

Many in the cycling world hope that Armstrong’s punishment will ultimately help the sport by showing young athletes what happens to cyclists who cheat. Some of Armstrong’s competitors, on the other hand, have voiced their support for him, saying that the former champion was the victim of an “unjust” legal case tried in a series of kangaroo courts where athletes are deemed guilty before any arguments are heard. If anyone came out ahead from this process, it was ironically Armstrong’s own charity, Livestrong, which saw its donation volume multiply by 25 after the USADA’s announcement. Many still see Armstrong as a hero for his cancer survival, athletic feats and charitable works, and applaud his open defiance of the USADA’s ruling by participating in another bike race yesterday. He is also expected to participate in a marathon later today.

All of this brings about some interesting questions. Obviously there’s the matter of whether or not Armstrong really was guilty, but that’s an obvious one to ask. If Armstrong did, indeed, cheat his way to victory, is he still a hero? Let’s say that his victories were, indeed, all the result of performance-enhancing drugs. In that case, if he never used performance-enhancing drugs, he therefore would never have won. He then would never have raised $325 million for charity, and cycling itself might never have recovered from the disastrous 1998 Tour de France (widely called the “Tour de Doping”) that saw roughly half the field abandon the race or be disqualified after vehicles full of drugs were located. Of course, Armstrong also earned a great deal of glory that his runner-ups would have cherished, but he nonetheless channeled much of that fame into admirable charity. When good things are done on the basis of a lie, can we still praise them? Can a generous act outweigh its own tarnished foundation?

It’s also interesting how other numerous other top cyclists had positive tests and were handed temporary (e.g., one-year) bans; Armstrong never had any positive tests and received a lifetime ban. That and the speed with which the USADA and WADA made their decisions does seem to lend some credence to Armstrong’s “witchhunt” claim. Of course, there remains quite a bit of circumstantial evidence against Armstrong, even if physical evidence of doping during his historic run was absent. It certainly makes one question what the anti-doping agencies’ motives really were, and it ought to make us question ourselves, to be living in an age when any great achievement automatically draws skepticism — is sports heroism even possible in this day and age, or will the public reject any modern athlete who achieves greatness?

Of course, Armstrong is hardly the only athlete facing such punishments, even if his case has garnered more attention than others. On August 15, for instance, San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera, who earned MVP honors in the National League’s 8-0 All-Star Game win earlier this year, was suspended for 50 games after testing positive for testosterone infusions. Cabrera immediately admitted his guilt in an unusual display of honesty for a cheater caught in the act, ending any real chance of him landing a nine-figure contract as a free agent this offseason — along with the All-Star Game honors, he was also leading the National League in hits and was second in batting average in his first season with the Giants, which would have made him attractive to many teams. With those achievements tarnished now, most clubs may be scared to take a chance on what he can do when he’s not doping. In any case, Cabrera’s 50-game ban will carry through the remaining 45 games of this season, with the remaining five to be served next year or, if San Francisco earns a playoff spot, in the postseason.

This past Wednesday, exactly seven days later, Oakland Athletics pitcher Bartolo Colon earned a 50-game suspension of his own after also testing positive for testosterone. Colon, who won the American League Cy Young award in 2005 as the league’s best pitcher, will miss the remaining 40 games of this season. Colon’s contract expires at the end of 2012, so unless Oakland makes a deep postseason run, the remainder of Colon’s punishment would be served in a future season — and only if he garners another major league contract. Needless to say, the two high-profile players have been getting blasted in the press and on social media sites by former and current players, with Johnny Bench in particular saying that cheaters ought to have their contracts completely voided.

And then, of course, there’s Roger Clemens, the disgraced pitcher who was nonetheless deemed not guilty of perjury for telling Congress in 2008 that he had not taken performance-enhancing drugs. The 50-year-old hurler returned to baseball last night, starting for the Sugar Land Skeeters in an independent league game against the Bridgeport Bluefish.

A few commentators continue to admire his “passion for the game” and say that he is bringing some positive attention to the area. Most, on the other hand, are either angrily throwing their hands in the air or asking, who really cares? As it happens, though, baseball fans might have to start caring soon, as at least one major league team sent scouts to watch Clemens’ performance. I know the Houston Astros are struggling, but really? Really?

If you thought that cheating was limited to athletes, you’d be wrong. Two weeks ago there was a shocking cheating scandal at the National Scrabble Championship — yes, you read that right — in which a young player was caught palming the two blank tiles instead of placing them inside the bag to be drawn. His opponent, upon discovering the transgression, called over a tournament official, at which point the boy dropped the tiles to the floor in an attempt to hide his malfeasance. It didn’t work, and he was immediately ejected; his previous opponents were retroactively given forfeit wins. The player was not publicly identified, since he is a minor, although tournament officials announced the ejection on Twitter in order to be as transparent as possible. It’s an unfortunate blow to the Scrabble world, which lacks the attention or prize money of other sports and which typically only gets media attention for scandals like this. (Heck, even chess tournaments, which themselves are unprofitable for all but a few elite players, have more of a following than the Scrabble world.)

And cheating even happens at colleges. But I’m not talking about students cheating on tests or plagiarizing papers. No, I’m talking about the universities themselves. Earlier this week, Emory University announced the results of a three-month review into its own reporting of admissions data. According to the university, incoming students’ ACT and SAT scores were willfully misreported for more than a decade to such organizations as the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. News & World Report in order to artificially inflate the school’s ranking. While top university officials were unaware of the practice, staff members throughout the admissions department — including two admissions deans — knew all about the discrepancies. In particular, the staff was told to report the scores of all admitted students instead of just those who accepted offers to attend Emory. Given that many top admitted students chose to attend elsewhere instead, this willful reporting error resulted in a substantial SAT/ACT increase. For 2009 and 2010, the two sample years that Emory released in its report, SAT scores for the 25th and 75th percentiles were 40 points higher in the misreported data. The worst part is that Emory isn’t even the first school this year to make such an admission; in May, Claremont McKenna College reported similar boosting of SAT scores and other data over the past several years.

Okay, let’s change gears. Tragedy struck New York on Friday as a laid-off worker fatally shot a former colleague near the Empire State Building before turning his weapon on two police officers. The officers gunned down 58-year-old Jeffrey Johnson, who about a year ago was downsized from an apparel company. Nine others were wounded in the incident, although none of their injuries appear to be life-threatening. Early reports suggest that all nine were inadvertently struck by police gunfire. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly emphasized that Johnson gave the officers no choice but to shoot Johnson, who had ten bullet wounds in the chest, arms, and legs from the officers’ 16 shots.

If there’s any solace to be taken from the incident, it’s that it does not seem to have been an act of terrorism despite the high-profile location, but a simple workplace grievance gone too far.

Still, it’s just the latest in a series of deadly rampages in the past few weeks, the worst of which was James Holmes’ movie theater massacre. Prosecutors in his case say that Holmes told a classmate four months before the shooting that he wanted to kill people, and that “he would do so when his life was over.” At roughly the same time, Holmes began receiving a high number of packages at his home, many of which presumably contained the thousands of rounds of ammunition that he ordered off the internet. He also reportedly threatened a professor on June 12, at which point prosecutors say he was forbidden to return to campus and began a voluntary withdrawal from his Ph.D. program in neuroscience. (The university, it should be noted, is disputing the claim that Holmes was banned from campus. On Monday, Arapahoe County District Judge William Sylvester refused to lift the gag order that prevents the university from releasing their records on Holmes, as such an action would damage any prospect of a fair trial.)

Holmes’ defense team, on the other hand, is arguing that their client was mentally ill when he killed a dozen moviegoers and wounded 58 others, an argument strengthened by the revelation that Holmes saw three different mental health professionals at the University of Colorado prior to the incident. His name had also been brought to the attention of the school’s Behavior Evaluation and Threat Assessment team, and even the University of Colorado police were asked to conduct a background check on the 24-year-old. Nothing ever came of it, however, despite all the warning signs.

In political news, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s announcement of Paul Ryan as his running mate — an event that typically grants a challenger at least a small boost in the polls — has made no effect on the race. The most recent Associated Press survey has 47% of voters supporting Barack Obama and 46% siding with Romney. Really, neither candidate has much momentum, as we haven’t seen any wild, double-digit swings as the race has progressed. If anything, Romney has slowly climbed toward Obama, percentage point by percentage point, but neither seems to be making any major moves to pull ahead. Frankly, any shifts in the past few months are well within most polls’ margins of error. The only shocking poll number thus far was a recent NBC-Wall Street Journal figure that showed Obama garnering support from 94% of African-American voters and Romney taking a whopping 0%. That demographic has long been a key part of the Democratic voter base, but almost every Republican candidate has earned at least some support from black voters. George W. Bush, for instance, earned 9% and 11% in 2000 and 2004, respectively, and even John McCain, running against Obama in 2008, managed to get 4% of the vote. But perhaps the Democratic hold on the group is stronger than ever with Obama sitting in the Oval Office — or perhaps the roughly 100 black voters sampled in that NBC-Wall Street Journal didn’t quite represent the entire population. We’ll see.

One way or another, the country needs some solutions, especially given the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) recent report that our country “would be plunged into a significant recession during the first half of next year if Congress fails to avert nearly $500 billion in tax hikes and spending cuts set to hit in January.” If Congress fails to act, the CBO expects the U.S. to see a 2.9% drop in our gross domestic product, or GDP, in 2013. Employers are expected to cut workforces and spending to deal with the tax hikes, which would also push the unemployment rate back up to an estimated 9.1% by the end of the year.

Recent Congressional acts like the barrage of stimulus programs, temporary tax cuts, and emergency benefits extensions prompted the CBO to offer a gloomier report than the earlier forecast from last January, particularly since the budget deficit from this fiscal year alone is now expected to hit $1.1 trillion. Even if Congress cancels the changes that would take effect in 2013, the CBO only projects meager growth; the GDP would increase by a weak 1.7%, while the unemployment rate would merely dip to an even 8%. But their office sees that as a better alternative than the “fiscal cliff” which otherwise awaits.

Let’s turn our attention to the Mars rover for a bit. After its amazing landing on the Martian surface, scientists remotely upgraded the Curiosity’s flight software in preparation for its first test drive. The rover rolled 15 feet, turned at a right angle, and briefly moved in reverse across the Gale Crater. The craft’s only significant problem seems to be a broken wind sensor, which is remarkable given the intensity of the one-ton craft’s landing process.

The success of the mission — at least thus far — should make NASA’s planned return to Mars in 2016 less than surprising. But with substantial cuts to scientific funding in the past few years and public fascination by space exploration dwindling, it makes one wonder whether future generations will share any interest in interplanetary travel, a stark contrast with the thrill of the unknown from decades past.

And the joy of following Curiosity was further tempered by a historic loss yesterday. 82-year-old Neil Armstrong died from complications following heart surgery. The Purdue University graduate is best known for commanding the Apollo 11 mission and being the first human to walk on the moon in 1969, widely considered the Space Age’s brightest moment. While Armstrong was considered an American hero and a symbol for space exploration himself, he was a reluctant hero who described himself more as a nerdy scientist than a daredevil explorer. Either way, the man who captivated humanity over 30 years ago will be sorely missed.

Elsewhere, researchers have uncovered a worrying link between obesity and mental health. A study in Tuesday’s issue of Neurology indicated that middle-aged adults suffering from obesity or other metabolic disorders were more likely to face memory and cognitive declines over the decade that followed. Scientists aren’t sure about the exact connection between the two, but they expect that high blood sugar and cholesterol might play a role. Heart disease and inflammation may also be an issue. That’s especially frightening given a new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report this month which said that almost a third of American adults are obese.

The entertainment world has given us some excitement of its own. Early in the week, Avril Lavigne surprised the media by announcing her engagement to Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger. The two Canadians dated for six months before Kroeger popped the question on August 8, dropping to one knee with a massive 14-carat diamond, but their relationship had been kept so private that few people even knew they were dating. Their relationship began in February, when the two musicians collaborated on a track for Lavigne’s upcoming fifth album. It will be Kroeger’s first marriage and Lavigne’s second; the latter artist filed for divorce from Sum 41 frontman Deryck Whibley in 2009, ending their three-year marriage.

Indiana made national headlines earlier this week when a series of overheated food trucks were discovered in the state. Apparently a number of trucks carrying fresh food from Indiana farms were improperly refrigerated, so their contents quickly spoiled during transit. Apparently the problem arose both from the heat across the state, which has overwhelmed some cooling mechanisms, as well as the fact that some truckers are temporarily shutting off the refrigeration in order to save fuel during the drive. Cantaloupes were a particularly bad problem, as produce from Gibson County made its way to 21 states and caused a salmonella outbreak across the country. It’s little wonder that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered all cantaloupes from southwest Indiana to be destroyed, as at least 178 people across all 21 of those states are now ill.

Cantaloupes weren’t the only issue, though. Police pulled over a truck in Bartholomew County on Tuesday and found 90 pounds of sausage, eggs, and sour cream completely ruined; its cargo ultimately had to be destroyed. Two more food trucks were stopped near Lafayette, and over 1,000 pounds of meat and dairy products were seized. We ought to be thankful for that, since much of the contaminated food found its way into area restaurants instead.

In technology news, the Department of Justice (DOJ) seized several domains where pirated Android apps were being distributed, marking the first time such an action has been taken to prevent copyrighted mobile app infringement. No word has been given on whether any arrests were made. The seizure of the three domains — applanet.net, appbucket.net, and snappzmarket.com — was coordinated with French and Dutch authorities since some of the servers were located outside the U.S. The FBI claims that its representatives downloaded “thousands of popular copyrighted mobile device apps” from the three sites. Those domains now display a seizure banner much like that placed on Megaupload which, as I reported earlier this year, was also shut down over copyright infringement claims.

Apple made very different headlines this week. First, the company has been working to expunge its controversial “Genius” ads from the internet. If you hadn’t heard of them, the gist of the matter is that Apple showed a boy genius assisting middle-aged users with simple software, in an attempt to demonstrate how helpful the “Genius bar” feature was. But the commercials ended up making users look like idiots, and in the face of substantial public backlash, the entire campaign was pulled from television after just one week. In their desperation to make the public forget about the whole thing, Apple representatives are deleting them from their website and Youtube channel, as well. But that might not be enough to completely win back consumer support, especially if the campaign survives through unofficial video postings or even an internet meme.

On the other hand, Apple scored a coup in its lawsuit against Samsung, as the Korean electronics maker was ordered to pay Apple about $1.05 billion for infringing on Apple’s patents. The jury sided almost entirely with Apple’s claims, finding Samsung guilty on six out of seven counts. Samsung was simultaneously suing Apple, but the jury found that Apple had not infringed upon any of Samsung’s patents. However, Apple won less than half of what it sought in damages, although the amount could later be tripled under U.S. federal law. An Apple spokesperson said that “the evidence showed that Samsung’s copying went far deeper than we ever knew,” while Samsung representatives retorted that the verdict “should not be viewed as a win for Apple, but as a loss for the American consumer” due to less innovation and higher prices.

The verdict is likely to have a substantial effect on the mobile phone industry. Samsung will obviously have to be much more cautious in how it designs products in order to avoid future claims of copying Apple, and the other producers of the Google Android are likely to be affected, as well. In fact, the case could be interpreted as a battle between Apple and the Android, as the verdict may prompt smartphone designers to shy away from the Android software if they fear that the operating system could be subject to sanctions. On a broader scale, most smartphones look like a slab of glass and metal with a transparent screen because that was how Apple designed the first one, and others followed the industry trend. In the future, we may see much greater differentiation among smartphones.

As a last bit of tech news, Adobe is having a great deal of trouble with its Flash Player. On August 14, Adobe published patches for several critical vulnerabilities that would have let hackers take control of Windows systems and execute malicious code. Within a week, however, six new critical vulnerabilities were uncovered, so the company had to release a brand new set of patches. Granted, Adobe tried to present the second round of updates as a means to help developers better use hardware acceleration, but the string of vulnerabilities and incomplete fixes has to be worrisome for anyone who makes active use of Flash Player 11.

That’s plenty for this week. With all the major news items throughout August, one has to wonder what excitement September will bring….

Other articles of interest:
Norway Mass Killer Gets the Maximum: 21 Years
Norway monster Breivik apologizes to ‘militant nationals’ for not killing more
Dell Forecast Misses Estimates As PC Sales Continue Slump
Facebook Unveils New Campus: Will Workers Be Sick, Stressed and Dissatisfied?
The Windows 8 ‘tutorial’ is a joke
Women still have a bad lie
Domalewski family to receive $14.5M
Joyce’s character shines in lifesaving moment
The Office Closing Up Shop After One More Season
Apocalypse Not: Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Worry About End Times
ACT, Inc :60 Percent of 2012 High School Graduates At Risk of Not Succeeding in College and Career
Research Group Says Amelia Earhart Crash Evidence Found in Underwater Footage
Cosmonauts to Take Spacewalk Outside Space Station Today
Infants given antibiotics could become overweight kids
Tiny Green Bug May Be First Photosynthetic Animal
New Species of Insect Capable of Photosynthesis-like Process; Sun Light Helps Produce Energy for the Pea-Sized Bug
T-Mobile cuts the strings on new data plan, goes fully unlimited

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35 responses to “Discussion Post: Week 1”

  1. liv4creativity says :

    I am feeling quite positive about my first presentation’s topic. I was unsure at first how I could find something interesting in the news that affects Human Resources, but that changed after searching through the SHRM website. SHRM stands for Society of Human Resources Management.

    I have been briefly following the Apple versus Samsung lawsuit. I do agree with the quote that the lawsuit’s result has become “… a loss to the American consumer.” As an Iphone user, I do like the simplicity of Apple, but I prefer the Android interface with the freedom to have more control over app placement and the ability to alter some parts of the OS to tailor the device to one’s specific needs. Ever since Steve Jobs has died, I have not liked how various secrets have started leaking from Apple.

  2. kearstenolson says :

    I think you bring up and interesting point about Lance Armstrong and whether or not he’d still be a hero if he actually did commit the doping crimes. I think in the eyes of the American public that Armstrong would still be viewed as a hero in terms of fundraising for his cancer foundation. Like you said, he did channel his fame from his winnings into his foundation. I do think some of his donators might feel cheated by his doping but based on the public’s reaction to his title stripping, maybe not. In my opinion, the USADA did tirelessly hunt him down. He had faced allegations before and beat them. Why should they be drawn out from court case to court case if he’s already proved his innocence once?

  3. tbeach21 says :

    I’ve been following the Lance Armstrong story lately, and I don’t blame the guy for saying enough is enough. Anti-doping agencies have been after him for the past 10+ years. It affects his personal life and probably causes more than a healthy level of stress. I don’t believe for a second that he cheated on any of his Tour wins. His physical endurance abilities have caused him to be a superior athlete since childhood. When he was 15, he was dominating in triathlons against men 10 years older than him. He has such ability because his VO2max is higher than pretty much all of the human race. VO2max is a measure of how much oxygen you actually use out of what you breathe in. Lance didn’t even finish his first Tour de France. After cancer, however, he had lost almost a third of his body weight. This means that when he came back he still had the same abilities, but now he didn’t have to carry around as much weight. Many of his stage wins were on rigorous mountain stages, where he could gain massive amounts of time on slower heavier climbers. He simply performs on a higher level than anybody else with less effort. That allows him to win. Apparently some people just aren’t okay with that. I hate to see what’s happening to Lance. If he were to fight the allegations again and win, like he has in the past, they would not stop coming after him. This is a personal vendetta on the part of USADA against Lance Armstrong because they want to see him burn. If they had real substantial evidence, this thing would have been settled a long time ago. There would be zero hesitation. Lance Armstrong backed out of a fight that he could not win. I don’t blame him.

  4. lukeshall says :

    I have to say that I have missed eating cantaloupe in the last few weeks. I think the last time that I had it was at home (Noblesville, Indiana) right before I came to purdue. These salomoni outbreaks usually don’t scare me much at all because there’s such a small chance of me really catching anything. At least that is what I like to tell myself. I hope that if there were any trucks that were not stopped or caught, the owners or sellers were smart enough to trash any food that was actually spoiled. I guessed we have the FDA for a reason. Hopefully the cateloupes become fresh and worthy of enjoying again soon, so I can bite into the sweet soft texture that is a cantaloupe.

  5. Craig (@ctlocker) says :

    I thought one of the most compelling bits of information was how Emory has been inflated their SAT and ACT admission scores for a couple years now. It makes me wonder just how important those ranking we see posted every year are. Sure I look to see if Purdue is on there and when we are ranked higher then IU I do a boiler up, but now schools are so invested in them they feel the need to skew the results to show a higher incoming average, this just seems rediculous to me. If you are worried about those ranking so much why not look at what factors actually apply and find a few you can improve on. This just shows how lazy we are as a society when even our universities are fudging the numbers to look better. C’mon!

  6. Craig Jones says :

    I feel terribly sorry for Lance Armstrong. No one should have to go through what he has over the last ten years. I will always view him as a hero. Even if he did cheat and used PED’s during his cycling career, so what. The article itself said almost every other top competitor had been caught at some point or another. That means even if he did the playing field would have still been even. If anything the sport of cycling should be supporting him throughout all of this, cause without him the sport would be dead. He was the only reason anyone watched or followed the Tour de France. I feel the same way about baseball. The steroid era was an exciting time for baseball and made me want to watch it. I think people get a little bit carried away with these witch hunts on players suspected of doping. Lance Armstrong is a great person who is doing great things for the world, and this can never be taken away from him.

  7. kcorcimi says :

    James Holmes and the movie massacre. Are you kidding me? The guy obviously had issues that go way back. He had ordered thousands of rounds of ammunition from online, told his colleague he wanted kill people, and boobie trapped his apartment so that special forces had to come in. Come on now. There is a huge red flag saying that this guy didn’t just think, “Oh, I think I’ll go shoot some people today.” I don’t ever have sympathy for mass murderers because they know what they’re doing. No one plans murders months in advance and is mentally okay. That being said, I do think it’s sad that no one had said something when signs were arising. But that’s also a two way street. When do you know when someone is being serious enough to make you say something?

    • Ashlynn Johnson says :

      I’m sure he was ill too. His friend said he’d kill people when he thought his life was over. What I wonder is how he ordered all this ammunition, but nobody noticed?? You’d think the FBI or CIA would be keeping track of these things.

      I wonder if anyone tried to help him. He tried withdrawing from his PH.D, you would think that would throw up a red flag to a professor.

      I find it kind of ironic he did it at the new Batman movie, though.

      • brianbritt says :

        Well, you might think that trying to withdraw from a Ph.D. program would throw up red flags, but the problem is that the retention rate for doctoral programs is very low. A professor of mine told me yesterday that roughly half of all Ph.D. students end up earning the doctorate. A set of recent studies confirm this rough figure, as “the attrition rate for doctoral students has been reported to be as high as 40 to 50 percent nationwide.”

        In retrospect, Holmes bombing out of his program looks like a pretty clear warning sign, but it’s hard to take it as such beforehand when half of his cohort will do the same thing. A Ph.D. is just really difficult to complete.

  8. Tyler Durham says :

    I have to say about the whole Lance Armstrong scandal and just all of the steroid issues in all of sports, I am sick of it and could not care less now. People put way too much attention on the steroids now a days. The steroid era is over, stop making such a big deal about them. Of course there is going to be the occasional athlete that gets caught, but I believe suspensions in baseball, where there are the most steroid users, is done correctly now by Major League Baseball. Lance Armstrong will always go down in history as a heroic sports icon, even if he was guilty or not guilty of using steroids. To overcome such a tough battle of cancer as he did, he will forever be a hero just for that alone. He then proceeded to win 7 Tour de Frances in a row, sometimes called the toughest event in all of sports, and he did it 7 times in a row! I do not care if he used steroids or not, the feat that that man pulled off from 1998-2005 was incredibly remarkable. If they had evidence that he used steroids they would have come out with allegations when he was still a competitive bicyclist. I do not blame Armstrong at all for backing out of this whole scandal, it just is not worth it for him to fight this battle anymore. To keep it along lines with the steroids though, why are steroids even illegal in sports to begin with? Yes they make the body grow muscle incredibly fast and help performance a lot but some of the most memorable sporting events happened because of steroids. Sammy Sosa and Mark McGuire started it in the early 2000s when they both were chasing the record for most home runs in a season. Barry Bonds then a few years later smashed all of the home run records in baseball to become the leading home run hitter of all time. Ya sure these guys put on about 50 lbs of muscles since they were rookies and they actually had necks, but it was an amazing show to watch from a fans perspective. Every time one of those guys went up to bat those years, all sports fans were watching and were awestruck by the feats that these players could accomplish. I know watching Barry Bonds play in 2001 when he set the home run record was one of the most entertaining years baseball ever had, all because of steroids. So, I say lets make steroids legal in sports and see what amazing things these athletes can do next.

  9. Tim Gleeson says :

    The Lance Armstrong issue raises many interesting points. I am not an avid cycling fan by any means, but am aware of Armstrong’s accomplishments, if I should still call them that. The whole situation leaves me uncertain what to believe because indeed he has passed so many tests before and fought vehemently but I cannot deny that giving up such big accomplishments seems to admit some kind of guilt. I can’t decide what I think holds more weight, the fact that he is just sick of the accusations or that he is indeed guilty and giving up signals this. I don’t think that giving up entirely means he’s guilty, but it does make you curious. I also found the story about ACT scores predicting failure for many high school graduates in college to be interesting. I think if the ACT can accurately measure such things, then its a scary prospect that so many graduates are not really well prepared. But, I also am skeptical about how well the ACT can measure such a thing. Further, it gets one onto the discussion of the true value of a college education given the way our society is moving towards ideals where post-secondary education is required like it was to graduate high school 15 years ago. Again, its hard to know how well the ACT can test such a thing as college preparedness, and how can they confirm or deny it once students actually get to college; it seems to subjective.

  10. tbanas says :

    I’m a little saddened that apple pulled the Genius commercials. They were different and a little out there. not quite Steve Jobs different, but I would actually notice that they were running when they came on. I understand Apples point of not trying to insult the costumers, but trying to erase them from the internet is a little extreme. I think in the commercial where they’re on an airplane after the Genius helps one guy they kind of pair up at the end and help someone else. The commercial looks like it’s trying to convey the ‘teach a man to fish’ mantra which I think they were successful at. I will miss seeing those goofy commercials that helped brighten up the standard, boring commercial break.

  11. brianbritt says :

    I’m glad you’re looking forward to Presentation I, liv4creativity (is this Olivia?). It’s good to hear that you’ve found a topic that you can make interesting for our audience. Also, this is a good opportunity to remind everyone, one last time, to submit their Presentation I topics via Blackboard mail before the start of class on Thursday — don’t be late!

    As for the Apple vs. Samsung battle, liv, it’s an interesting case given the back-and-forth lawsuits that were filed. I think the most important thing to watch moving forward is how this affects the industry and the products they produce. My guess is that things will go one of two ways: either the verdict will force companies to really innovate, resulting in greater diversity in products across the market as opposed to copies of one another, or it will knock some smartphone producers out of the game in short order when they fail to develop a solid design quickly enough to keep pace with the competition.

    Kearsten, you make a good point about the donors. I think a key question is why they were really donating — were they donating to the cause, or because of Armstrong’s name? And what did Armstrong himself get out of it? Of course, as you and Tyler both noted, it’s quite reasonable to assert that he never doped at all, given the unusual array of evidence the USADA tried to cobble together against him. Regardless of his guilt or innocence, the punishment itself seemed heavyhanded compared to those that other athletes received, which does cast some doubt on the USADA’s motives. Unfortunately, though, as Tim expressed, we’ll never hear the full case to be able to make a clear judgment. (Or maybe we heard the full case over and over again throughout the past 13 years — who is to say what new evidence would have been presented, if any?)

    Craig (Jones) is right to point out that steroids have run rampant through this age of athletics, to such an extent that it’s difficult to treat any athlete as “clean.” As for Tyler’s question, I think that steroids are prohibited in most sports leagues because of the health risks and behavioral changes that result from overuse, and the regulations were extended from that foundation to encompass other performance enhancing drugs like blood boosters.

    I agree that it’s hard to get too concerned about salmonella outbreaks when they seem so removed from us, Luke. I always wonder if it’s one of those things, though, where we don’t tend to pay attention until it’s too late. With everything from salmonella to the West Nile virus making their way through the region, it could definitely make you a little nervous. Stay well, everyone.

    It was really disappointing for me to read about Emory University as well, Craig (Locker). It really sends a bad message when a college demands strong ethics from its students — Emory in particular is known for its high standards — and then goes behind everyone’s back to betray those same morals. I’ve long believed that college is meant to teach lessons well beyond the course content, but these staff members evidently never learned those lessons themselves. It’s distressing, to say the least. To take it in a different direction, it also indicates just how much emphasis they place on those standardized tests, Tim. You have to really think those scores are important to risk your university’s longtime reputation just to inflate them by a few precious points.

    A lot of people echo your sentiments about the James Holmes case, Kayla. It’s tricky, though, especially if the defense argues that he knew he had a problem and tried to seek help but was largely ignored. A lot of student health centers tend to downplay any illness that can’t cause an outbreak, and vastly overblow things like swine flu that are hardly world-breaking but which could spread quickly. (I recall, a few years ago, having to attend a three-hour night class while wearing a surgical mask because I was coughing. It turned out that I had a cold. Surprise, surprise.) It’s possible that he had some kind of long-term mental illness that played a role here, in which case he would likely belong in a mental hospital more than he would be suited to prison. I could envision, for instance, someone with schizophrenia taking sophisticated actions to counter threats that aren’t actually there. A mental impairment doesn’t necessarily otherwise impair thought processes, and he was a promising neuroscience student, after all. We’ll just have to see how this develops, as well as what documents the judge is willing to release.

    Finally, I never actually got to see the Genius commercials on TV, Taylor, but I caught a few clips online during the initial backlash. It’s odd, because they weren’t the most innovative ads I’ve ever seen, yet they managed to commit some serious faux pas nonetheless. In any case, I’ll be interested to see whether that makes us forget the ads all the more quickly, or whether their deletion is an overreaction that will solidify the failed “Genius” campaign in the public’s memory for years to come.

    Anyway, I’m looking forward to seeing what the rest of you think about these issues, too. Keep those comments coming!

  12. Edward Dang says :

    Android app piracy is something I didn’t see coming and I really don’t know why. Software is something we’re very used to just getting for free. I mean unless it comes in a disc, we’ve grown up just being used to getting software for our hardware to do the stuff we want. And it’s just a program, it runs on this machine that we bought and so it only makes sense that it is free because it’s just data, messages being sent to a machine we’ve paid for.
    But software gets made, by people, it’s not some magical language you can speak for free. It’s crazy how you can just get used to stealing software. Piracy is huge and that’s because a person can sit at their desk, look at words and pictures on a screen that he’s actually supposed to pay for, and then just download it for free. Software piracy is stupidly easy, and it’s everywhere, so we’re quick to get accustomed to it. Once you’ve gotten a few songs for free does it really still make sense to pay for them?
    Now we’re pirating, en mass, applications for our over-complex mobile telephones. People need to understand software development better, they need to know that one app on their phone is a person, or many people, working legitimate hours to put together a bit of information to show on a touchscreen. It takes knowledge, skill, and critical thought to make an app. Of course people steal it anyway because it’s easy and arguably intangible. It’s not like stealing a hamburger that’s made with less skill, less education, and less time–which no one does.

    • brianbritt says :

      Edward, I think you make a very important point here. One of my students last semester developed several apps in his spare time — in fact, he even gave a practice pitch presentation for one of them as part of COM 315 — and he and I talked a bit about the sheer number of hours that go into creating an app, including the amount of time it takes to acquire the expertise in the first place. Yet consumers are increasingly inclined to take all of that for granted.

      It’s one of the reasons why I’ve long been skeptical of the move to digital production and consumption for other media, like books. Who is to say that your work will be appreciated in the same manner as if you had published it with traditional paper and ink? The consumer world is changing quickly, and our notions of ethics are changing with it.

  13. Rachel Moore says :

    I think the USADA is being unfair to Lance Armstrong. They already made him to all those tests to see if he was using drugs, and they came out negative. It does not seem fair to disregard those results and make a case on the words of his opponents. I think they would be biases considering Lance beat them in the race. Also, I don’t believe they should take away his medals. I believe he earned them; and in any case, it is too harsh a punishment for something they have no proof he did, when other athletes don’t have all their medals taken away when there is proof they used drugs.

    On the subject of Samsung copying Apple’s apps, I don’t find it that surprising. It makes sense that at some point, someone would try to copy the apps. I was surprised by how much Samsung copied though. You think that would have been noticed earlier. I do like the idea of more variety in the design of smartphones. It’s interesting to think about what they would come up with.

  14. Garey Bogo says :

    I believe that Lance Armstrong will still be considered a hero to many. Besides facing multiple diagnosis of cancer, he was still able to stay strong and be a spokesman. He also brought more attention to the sport of cycling and possibly made it more popular. As you said before, he has made significant impacts towards raising money for charity and being a role model for some. Whether or not he is guilty for doping, he has contributed a great amount to society and this most likely will be the most remembered part of his legacy. He will still be a hero for a lot of people.

  15. mmccune91 says :

    I think it is awesome that we are exploring Mars. This is just one more example of what a nation can do if they set their mind to it. The complexity of this mission was just mind blowing. There were so many components that had to go together seamlessly for this to work. This is really a great achievement for NASA and the whole world. I can see in the near future manned missions to Mars. This would be an awesome way to prove that anything is possible. I can only hope that these missions get the hype and excitement that the moon landings got in the 60’s and 70’s.

    I’ll change gears here and also comment on the Norway killer. I think it is absolutely ridiculous that the max sentence he can get is 21 years. The guy is a monster. I really think Norway needs to rethink their punishment system, or at least make an exception for this guy. What kind of message is Norway sending to the world when this mass murder gets a little more than a slap on the wrists? This guy shows no remorse for what he did, and I feel he should get the most severe punishment that the world can offer. Call me mean, but if the KGB kidnapped him and shipped him off to spend the rest of his life in a Gulag in Siberia, I wouldn’t complain.

  16. Cameron says :

    Personally, I am just tired of the entire “performance enhancing drugs” issue. Professional sports are filled with over-paid monkeys with the sole purpose of entertaining us. Really all the drugs are doing is making the show more enjoyable. These athletes are perfectly aware of the consequences these drugs could have on their bodies, it’s their choice, why should I care? But then again, I really don’t care about sports either, so I may be a little biased.

    And the whole situation with Lance Armstrong is just incredibly stupid. The man has won seven Tour de France titles in a row, and was never tested positive for drugs. Just let him keep that, he earned it. And really it’s only a big deal because he is a cancer-beating inspiration. If it wasn’t for him, I (and many more) would not even know what the heck the Tour de France even was. He has raised tons of money to help fight cancer; I think that is his true achievement. I really don’t care if he was using performance enhancers.

  17. Jordan Berk says :

    As a mountain biker who competed in several competitions across the US and Canada I know first hand that steroids were and are used in the pro cycling (road biking) circuit. There are very few users in the less publicized sports like mountain biking, kayaking and snowboarding. In regards to the Lance Armstrong scandal I believe that although he did cheat to win, Armstrong was only doping to keep pace (both physically and metaphorically) with his competition. Armstrong and the Livestrong foundation has raised millions of dollars for cancer survivors. It is a shame that such an organization is now tarnished due to the actions taken before the charity was even created. I respect Armstrong for letting the doping charges go as long as he believes that he was right for what he had to do at the time of competition. Personally, I believe that steroids should be allowed in noncontact sports. Anything to give yourself that competitive edge over your competition within basic rules should be allowed. The only person you may be hurting in the long run is yourself. The personal risk is worth the reward of being victorious on the world’s stage.

  18. bwulf24 says :

    I think it’s ridiculous to say he’s not a “hero” because of this. Even if he was doping he used the fame it gained him for good. I don’t know if he was doping or not but I would hope that if someone saw the opportunity to help TONS of people as he has with his Livestrong foundation then they would seize that opportunity as he did. As for vacating his wins, as stated in the article he was beating people who tested positive for drugs while he tested negative. I’m no expert on drugs but I would have to assume if he was doping and his drug wasnt picked up on tests then it wasn’t as strong as his competitors who were doping and tested positive anyway otherwise they would have all used it too. I’m not trying to condone the use of performance enhancing drugs, I think its totally unfair to those who compete naturally but he was still a great cyclist and again he used his fame for good, its not like he went all Charlie Sheen with his money. I think unfortunately he was made into an example. He is easily the most well known cyclist so taking him down sends a strong message to current and future cyclists. The fact that they can’t actually prove it, in my mind, sets a bad example and that is that if enough competitors don’t like the competition, they can make up a lie and it will make them go away. If this had happened in the 1990’s every player in the NBA would be coming forward right now to announce that they had seen Michael Jordan taking steroids. In summation, I think the ruling was unjust and even if he did use drugs, I’m not mad at him, he only hurt himself in the end to help others.

  19. annadell57 says :

    I thought that the researchers uncovering a link between obesity and mental health was very interesting. I have heard of obesity being linked to depression and anxiety before but the idea that heart disease could cause memory loss is scary. I can see how the two are related but I never would have thought to link them before. Health is an important issue for me because I am at risk for both high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

    I was a little shocked when I heard about the overheated food truck incident. I cannot imagine being the driver of that truck and knowing the food was not properly refrigerated. I am happy the FDA caught and stopped some of the food before it was delivered but I always hate to see wasted/spoiled food.

  20. Brock Wolfe says :

    I think the most damaging thing to come out of all the doping scandals are the people that are witnesses against them. In the case of Lance, I feel there was a possibility he did use something but it could have been unintentional. The part of the doping story I don’t agree with is the newer tests that they are running against their lab work.

    As for the Apple vs. Samsung.. there was a lot of copying being done. The way you interface with the phone is copied technology… But to expand on this, take a look at the history of UNIX and the ensuing lawsuits that happened since it’s creation. Then look at how has impacted development in other areas if Bell Labs would have stopped it’s usage.

  21. Blake Neata says :

    I think that there is no real way do determine if Armstrong is worthy of this type of punishment. I believe that the USADA is trying to make an example out of him and what better way to do that than to try and take down one of the greatest cyclist in history. I have a pretty unbiased opinion on this topic but I believe Armstrong has in a way been in a “witch hunt.

    Sports Heroism will always be attained no matter what the media portrays to the public. Many athletes make mistakes but are still great role models for there fans because people make mistakes, and athletes are people too. Armstrong will forever be a hero in very many lives and that is something that accusations cannot change.

  22. Eric P says :

    The first set of numbers in the Romney vs Obama polling isn’t surprising. One has run a particularly boring campaign, and the other has little to run on. Combined with a general resentment for all politicians in office, most Americans have little faith that either candidate could turn things around. What is surprising is the support Obama has amongst African Americans. Black unemployment numbers are through the roof, and there is a general sentiment that Obama has done little to directly address problems in the African American community, spending more time discussing healthcare, contraception for women, and student loans. Despite the sagging enthusiasm of black voters, it is all the more bad news for Romney, who cannot seem to capitalize on the situation. No president can win without at least garnering a handful of minority voters, and even then Romney will be hard-pressed amongst the wider pool of independents. Romney’s only real hope now is to deliver a knockout performance in the debates, which will prove difficult against the well-spoken Obama.

  23. David Meyer says :

    This week has been a sad week for Purdue. We lost a dear friend and our most important alumni, Neil Armstrong. It is a little disappointing to me that it seems as if he has not been given the respect he deserves. This week at least, many people either weren’t aware of his death or got him confused with Lance Armstrong. That makes me sick. It just goes to show what people find most important these days. It is unfortunate that so many people don’t know the story of Neil or his accomplishments.

    For me, Mr. Armstrong’s passing hits close to home. We are both involved in aeronautics, he was a member of the fraternity I am in, and he was in the very marching band that I am in. These are three solid connections that make Mr. Armstrong a huge inspiration to me.

    I had the pleasure of attending the memorial service held in front of Armstrong hall this week. It was a great celebration of his life with many speakers that directly knew him or worked with him. The most powerful moment, however, was when the Purdue Glee Club played the National Anthem. Directly afterward, they played the audio clip from when Apollo 11 landed on the moon. “The eagle has landed” echoed through the completely silent crowd. It was definitely a moment to remember. I just hope that people continue to look up to him as the hero he is for generations to come.

  24. MeganEvilsizor says :

    I am shocked about the spoiled food trucks. How can a company that services products like that not keep their trucks in order? Its their loss in business if they don’t deliver food on time and in good condition. I just can’t help thinking how awful it would be if someone who is eating at a restaurant where some of this spoiled food went and got sick and had to be hospitalized. I think the companies should take more of an initiative to prevent things like this from happening in the future. Lives could be at stake as well as their business.

    As for the Mars Curiosity Rover I think it is great that NASA is still continuing to do space exploration. A few years ago I was saddened to see that they would not be doing anymore space shuttle missions for a while. I think that we need to continue doing space exploration because it could be where our future is heading. Our planet won’t hold us forever, not with our population growth rates and pollution rates. There is only so much that we can do to stop/reduce/prevent these problems but ultimately I think that we need to explore being able to do things more in space. If we find substantial water and livable conditions on Mars then it could possibly become a new planet for humans in the next 5,000 years, depending on our technology growth and other circumstances. I don’t think that NASA should stop doing broader space exploration, I think that we should have money set aside for the NASA so that it doesn’t have to cancel some of its programs, because who knows what types of innovative technology and discoveries could be made in space.

  25. Daniel Hudspeth says :

    I was reading about the mass murderer from Norway, Anders Breivik. I was shocked by the ruling of only 21 years in prison after shooting and killing 77 people. In my opinion, the Norwegian government needs to re-assess the judicial process for dealing with this kind of matter. Even though he has been sentenced to “preventive detention”, meaning he is unlikely to ever be released, the government needs to make this a definite sentence instead of just 21 years. I also don’t believe that he is considered to be sane. To me, to do something so horrible would mean that the person would have to have something wrong with them. This type of extremist ideology does not seem “sane” to me. If the actions of someone purposefully harms/kills someone else, then it is not sane. It doesn’t do any kind of good towards anyone else, and to me seems completely unjustified.

  26. jetblueberry says :

    Due to the fact that I have just about had enough of the Lance and Neil Armstrong subjects, I’m not sure that I’d like to respond to them. Sometimes I can’t deal with the constant blah blah blah about a subject and need to tune it out, once and for all.

    With regards to Adobe flash, I’d just like to note that I sometimes dream of a place where Mac OS X Lion and flash could frolic together in a field and not always have problems running certain applications. It’s a wild dream, I know, but one that Apple has been working on…. and this is coming from an Apple fan as well. It makes me a bit weary to even want to upgrade to Mountain Lion because I’m just not ready to jump into a whole new bucket of problems.

  27. Zach Gerbner says :

    Today, I read stories about athletes who use steroids to gain a competitive advantage, I simply just do not care. At this point, it seems like it is an issue in a wide range of sports, from cycling, to baseball, and even to golf. I can remember when Barry Bonds was chasing the home run record, I was incredibly against him. I thought it just wasn’t fair that a cheater was going to hold the record for most home runs in the MLB, and that something needed to be done. Well that was 2007, during the height of the scandals. Today, I look at steroids with a much different opinion. For professional athletes, their game is their job, and in order to keep their job, they need to perform at peak levels to be successful. While steroids may help a player bulk up, they still need to be talented athletes in their own right. In cycling and baseball, I cannot even imagine the immense pressure placed upon a player to use steroids, when a large number of players around them were doping. When you have to be constantly wary of being able to perform at peak levels or else risk loosing your job to another player, steroids become very appealing, because why would you not use it as an advantage if everyone else is doing so.

    If Lance Armstrong did dope, it still does not take away the fact that he is an incredible athlete who achieved amazing success in cycling. Other cyclists were using steroids at the same time, and they couldn’t beat him, and still besides anecdotal evidence, the USADA has no evidence against Armstrong. While baseball players do test positive for sterioids and performance enhancing drugs, I still say their are good athletes, and if anything, as a fan, I want to see the best talent on the field, whether they are doping or not. Sometimes I feel that the MLB should just allow PED’s because then at least everyone will be on a level playing field, and there will be no issue on players cheating. As long as steriods are against the rules, players will always be trying to beat the system and cheat. I rather make it legal in sports than having players constantly try to break or bend the rules, while others do not.

  28. bvath says :

    I find it upsetting that a college would skew their test scores in an attempt to make themselves look more appealing to perspective students. If this was a simple misunderstanding and the proper corrections were made, I would see no issue here. The fact that the top university officials were aware of the issue and did nothing to correct it bothers me. While I was doing my college search, I remember how much stress was put on standardized test scores. I would have been very upset if I had been provided false information. The current students are also impacted due to the negative publicity the university is now receiving. The administration should offer a formal apology and take appropriate action.

    I also find the Mars rover very intriguing. The fact that we have the resources to accomplish a task such as this is amazing. I hope that scientists will be able to collect great information that will lead to future exploration. I was bummed to see the end of manned space flight in the United States, and I hope the success of this mission will shed some light on the future of space travel.

    • brianbritt says :

      Actually, from my understanding, those as the very top of the university weren’t aware of the issue at Emory. The top staff members directly involved in the reporting process knew all about it, but according to the reports I’ve read, at least, the university president, board of directors, etc. had no idea about it. (It’s possible, of course, that some of them did know, but I haven’t seen the evidence for that, at least.)

      I think you make a great point about the emphasis placed on standardized test scores, though. When you’re applying for admission to a university, a great deal of attention is paid to your ACT/SAT/PSAT scores. How would the admissions department feel if you decided it was okay to inflate your SAT score by 40 points? And why should the reaction be any lighter when the university itself is the culprit?

  29. APhelps says :

    First of all, I find it interesting that we are talking about two different Armstrongs in the same blog. Both with a negative flair.

    As for Lance, I have long known that he has been accused of cheating (and that is almost to be expected in this day and age where great sports accomplishments are always be criticized, as the article mentioned) but I never have been privy to the fact that he has never yet returned a positive test. This really spoke to me about the amount of effort the USADA is taking. And at this point it only seems like they are trying to make a statement, rather than being interested in what the true accomplishment is. Now I’m beginning to think that its not Armstrong’s 7 time Tour wins that is his true achievement, but his willingness to fight the USADA all the way to this point with no end it sight. It’s a shame that it has come to this.

    Over to Neil, it certainly goes without saying that this legendary Purdue icon will be forever missed. (You will certainly see some reference to this at Today’s football game.) But what’s truly remarkable about this man is his influence. Not just to the future astronauts, nor Purdue, or even as an American hero beating the Soviets in some space race, but to the world as a whole. For a brief moment, the entire world stood still. This was not just an American achievement (even though it was celebrated nonetheless here) but truly an accomplishment for all humans. It is too easy to get wrapped up in the national pride hype, where as the true achievement needs to be understand perhaps more importantly than ever. This is the approach Neil has had ever since his landing, he considers himself no American hero, but rather a scientist for the advancement of humanity. Make no mistake, his selection for the first words on the moon bare this exact mindset.

  30. Garret Howard says :

    I find it hard to believe that the USAD is still trying to prove that Lance used performance enhancing drugs to win his 7 Tour De France titles. I feel like they should be focusing on athletes that are still competing for the title instead of someone whos time has already passed. Even if he did use performance enhancing drugs he was never caught and has not been proven. Taking these drugs does not just automatically make you win, he obviously still trained harder than the other athletes since some of the other athletes that he was competing against did in fact get caught for doping. I think that he should keep his titles and be left alone to live the rest of his life in piece especially after all of the things that he has done to raise money for cancer patients.

  31. Paul Laurinaitis says :

    I have been following the story on Lance Armstrong lately, and i think this is the worst way for this story to end. People looked up to Lance for everything that he had overcame and was able to accomplish. The relentless pursuit from the USAD is rather strange since the events happened so long ago. I understand their point that they have to follow up on every lead, but the man took hundreds of drug and blood test and never failed one. Sure everyone in the sport of cycling was doping at the time and Lance Armstrong was the best in the sport. It would be logical to assume that he was under some sort of performance enhancing drug. However, I believe that everyone is innocent unless proven guilty. Everyone should have the same rules and same ways of testing and trial. There just seems like there was something more to the story that we do not know.