Discussion Post: Week 6

Well, after a long week of work on our web portfolios, hopefully yours is off to a good start. How do you feel about the progress you’ve made thus far? What work do you expect to have to tackle outside of class? Do you have any lingering concerns about your portfolio? What areas do you expect to be the most challenging in the future?

What about Presentation II? How has your planning gone thus far? Do you feel like you have a clear direction for this presentation, or are you still figuring out how you want to address your topic? What did you learn from the experience of Presentation I that you hope to apply during this round? For that matter, do you think you can apply any of the advice from the textbook or from your peers to further strengthen your presentation?

On a side note, a few people had questions about the “Purpose of Education” blog post I added a few days ago in terms of how it fits into the class. Just to be clear, I’m not adding additional requirements or anything of that nature, as a few of you asked. Remember that for each week of participation on the course blog, you have an eight-day period in which to post, from one Sunday through the Sunday that follows. The “Side Discussion” post I added is just another medium in which you can post, both to earn credit and to discuss that significant issue.

Now, before we get to the big national story for the coming week, let’s address a few regional and international issues. Perhaps the top headline grabber over the past few days was the tragic shootings in Minneapolis which claimed six lives, including the shooter. Officials initially refused to specify how many people had been killed. Reports eventually indicated that the gunman, along with four victims, worked for Accent Signage Systems, an interior graphics and signage company. Later updates added a United Parcel Service driver for a total of six deaths.

All five victims died by gunshot, and Andrew J. Engeldinger, the shooter, committed suicide afterward. Several others were wounded in the deadly assault.

It appears that Engeldinger’s rampage was fueled by his termination from Accent just hours earlier. Oddly, Engeldinger’s attack may not have been a pure bout of blind rage, as he willfully bypassed several offices in his efforts to target a few specific individuals. However, family members did note that Engeldinger had grappled with mental illness for years; they said it was “not an excuse for his actions, but sadly, may be a partial explanation.”

Accent is a small but highly successful firm which employed about 30 workers before the shootings. It is perhaps best known for its work on Braille signage, and the company even patented a technology that prints Braille characters on various hard surfaces.

On the subject of a different disaster, some of you may recall the tragic Costa Concordia crash on January 13, which I addressed earlier this year. The cruise ship, which had drifted off course and come within just a few meters of the Italian coastline, ran aground on a reef and partially sank. 32 lives were lost in the incident, and dozens of others were injured during the crash and subsequent evacuation of over 4,000 passengers; the captain, who admitted being “distracted” by a phone call during the incident, remains under criminal investigation for his actions.

Well, several Italian businesses filed a lawsuit against Carnival Corporation, which owns the Costa cruise line, in Florida courts. But Carnival sought to consolidate the suits in Italian courts, and U.S. District Judge Robin Rosenbaum agreed, saying that any lawsuit against Carnival should be filed in Italy, where the crash occurred. Such a suit may bode poorly for the plaintiffs, though, given that the rest of the Costa Concordia’s crew jointly won the Lloyd’s List “Seafarer of the Year” award, which recognizes day-to-day competence, heroism, and professionalism. (Lloyd’s List is a top newspaper focused entirely on the maritime industry.) On the other hand, passenger reviews were mixed, with some saying that many crew members displayed acts of heroism during the tragedy, while others were largely incompetent (and, notably, unable to speak Italian). Some experts also criticized the crew for being ill-prepared. Regardless, however, it is clear that many industry professionals found the crew’s work on the Costa Concordia to be stellar, which may ultimately focus blame for the incident on the captain rather than the company as a whole.

Over the past two weeks, we have been closely following the anti-U.S. violence abroad. Many analysts have argued that at least some of the outrage stemmed from a YouTube trailer for the amateur film “Innocence of Muslims,” which mocked the Islamic Prophet Mohammad. Speculation about its creator, who went by the pseudonym Sam Bacile, was rampant throughout the media, with many speculating that Bacile was an Israeli who made the film specifically to enrage the Muslim population. Which made it all the more surprising to learn that Sam Bacile’s true identity is Egyptian-born Nakoula Basseley Nakoula.

To add to the twist, in 2010, Nakoula was convicted of check fraud and sentenced to 21 months in prison and five years of probation. As part of his probation agreement, Nakoula was forbidden from using the internet or adopting any aliases without prior approval from his probation officer. Yet he legally changed his name to Mark Basseley Youssef back in 2002 but never told authorities — he used the name Nakoula throughout his 2010 fraud trial — and he went by Sam Bacile throughout the production of “Innocence of Muslims.” In response to this revelation, authorities arrested him for violating the terms of his probation. He is currently being held without bond, since U.S. Central District Chief Magistrate Judge Suzanne Segal said he had demonstrated a history of deception and posed a flight risk.

Iran’s nuclear plans have also drawn some international attention, with Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, asking the United Nations to draw a “red line” on Iran’s activities. Netanyahu previously asked the same of the U.S., but a tepid response from President Obama prompted him to turn his pleas to the U.N. instead. Netanyahu accused Iran of consistent aggression without nuclear weapons, and rhetorically asked what Iran would do if it was allowed to finish developing atomic weaponry. The red line he drew on a chart during his speech represented the end of stage two in the enrichment process, at which point he said Iran could no longer be stopped from developing nuclear weapons.

On the other side of the argument, Iranian General Mohammad Ali Jafari responded that “these threats only reinforce our determination to continue in the same direction,” while the country’s ambassador to the U.N., Eshagh al-Habib, said that there was no basis for Netanyahu’s remarks and that the nation of Israel itself is “based on terrorism.”

Let’s transition back to domestic affairs for a bit to tackle the headline story. It’s about time, really. After all, we’re nearing the climax of the U.S. presidential campaign, and Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are preparing to square off in a series of four debates this October. The first clash will be this Wednesday at 9:00 p.m., when the two candidates will duel over their respective domestic policies.

Romney needs a big win in these debates, as the well-practiced Obama clearly leads several swing state polls, due in large part to a sequence of major Romney gaffes. But some analysts expect Romney to challenge Obama’s honesty, especially given the Republican’s recent comment that “I think he’s going to say a lot of things that aren’t accurate” during the debates. And if he can shave a few points from Obama’s nationwide lead in the polls, or if he can swipe several swing states as well as a few in the Midwest, there’s hope for his chances. Of course, Obama still holds a relatively large lead with just over five weeks until election day, and he seems to have many more routes to victory than Romney does.

Given that many voters still feel that neither candidate is a good choice, both the Democratic incumbent and his Republican challenger have a number of huge questions to answer in the coming weeks. The presidency may hinge on their answers.

Apple presented us with a lighter, if still depressing subject this months. A few weeks back, the technology giant released the new iPhone 5, complete with a brand new Maps app as a replacement for the Google Maps software on previous models. The problem? Apple’s new non-Google version was riddled with glitches. The most common consumer complaints since the launch have been a lack of details, distorted images, and outright incorrect directions, all of which are major problems for such an application.

It seems that Apple made a strategic decision to rid itself of Google’s influence with the move to iOS 6, forcing consumers to use its own native app instead. And that’s why Apple CEO Tim Cook has spent the past few days profusely apologizing for a decision that seemed so unlike a company built on the late Steve Jobs’ obsessive attention to detail. The apologies themselves are also a stark departure from Jobs’ notorious attitude toward customers, which has ironically led some to see it as a chink in the juggernaut’s armor. No less damning was Cook’s recommendation to experiment with rival apps in the meantime: “While we’re improving Maps, you can try alternatives.”

Unsurprisingly, Google representatives say that their company has no plans to provide Google Maps to the iPhone 5 in the foreseeable future.

In sports news, the NFL referees lockout appears to be nearing its end, as an agreement between the referees’ union and the league was reached on Wednesday. Officials began signing the document on Friday and planned to fly directly to the cities of today’s games. The agreement will become official once 51% of the union’s 121 members ratify it. It’s a good thing, too, given NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s own admission to fans that “you deserve better” than games worked by replacement officials, who many analysts have said were not provided with adequate training before the season began.

Monday night’s showdown between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks may have been the last straw, as the game was decided by a last-second Seattle touchdown; most who saw the play believe that the officials botched the call in counting the score, robbing Green Bay of a rightful victory. That’s why one of the regular officiating crews returned to work early for Thursday’s Baltimore-Cleveland clash. It may have been the first time in sports history that a crowd of 50,000 fans cheered in support of the referees — before the game even began.

With the NFL lockout apparently resolved, it’s time to watch the NHL negotiations to see if that league will follow suit. After all, the entire preseason has already been cancelled, and next week’s regular season games are in serious jeopardy now.

As we reach the two-week mark of the lockout over hockey’s collective bargaining agreement, both sides have been dancing around the major contentions over revenue sharing between players and owners, focusing instead on side issues like drug testing protocols and the length of practices. Officials hoped that starting with these lighter topics, on which the league and the players’ union have had positive discussions in the past, would set a better tone for negotiations moving forward. Negotiations were expected to continue throughout the weekend.

Space has offered some more exciting news, as the Curiosity rover appears to have found clear evidence of an ancient riverbed flowing across Mars. The rover sent back images of an outcrop of rocks with smooth surfaces, indicating that the stones repeatedly struck one another to smooth out their edges over time. Just as importantly, their surfaces were not coated in dirt, but were exposed and clean, which would counter any claim that the weathering arose due to wind rather than water. Other rocks appear to have been formed by water deposits cementing smaller, round pebbles together. As a NASA representative said, “Water transport is the only process capable of producing the rounded shapes of clasts [gravel fragments] this size.”

The size and shape of the stones suggest that the riverbed was roughly somewhere between ankle-deep and waist-deep, flowing across the red planet’s surface at about a meter per second. The rapid water flow may have been similar to the flash floods we regularly observe in desert areas on our home planet. In any case, while a number of research papers have been written speculating about possible water flow through the Martian trenches, Curiosity’s finding offered the first tangible evidence of water-transported gravel, moving the conversation from mere speculation to direct observation of streambed material.

Scientists on the earth’s surface have been just as active, with a team of researchers in Japan creating a new element. The team thought that they may have created the same element, number 113 on the periodic table, back in 2004, but their results were inconclusive. This time, however, they say they have “unambiguous proof” of the temporarily-named ununtrium.

Ununtrium has eluded scientists for years given its instability and rapid decay, which made it more difficult to synthesize than substantially heavier atoms, such as element number 118, ununoctium. As such, lead research Kosuke Morita and his team had to be innovative. To quote Jon Bardin of the Los Angeles Times,

The researchers collided zinc, which has 30 protons, with bismuth, which has 83. The result was an atom with 113 protons in its nucleus, the researchers say.

But the new element quickly decayed. Observing the nature of the decay is crucial to proving the identity of the new element. Morita says the decay data indicate that the collision did indeed create a 113-proton element, though the evidence has not yet been peer-reviewed.

At least six stages of alpha decays immediately proceeded, but by working backwards through the decay stages, Morita’s team says that it was able to determine beyond any doubt that its origin was at element 113.

Even this unique approach was long acknowledged to be a long shot, as the zinc-bismuth fusion is incredibly unlikely. The zinc particles were fired into their bismuth target for 553 days across the last nine years, and some early calculations indicated that the researchers could only expect about “3–6 successes in every 100 quintillion attempts.” All told, the researchers fired a grand total of 130 quintillion (1.3 x 1020) zinc atoms and observed exactly one clear fusion case.

To put that figure in perspective, scientists estimate that there are 10 quintillion insects alive on the entire planet right now. Imagine multiplying the number of insects by 13, then still having to scour every inch of the globe for the single bug that would prove your hypothesis. Clearly, Morita’s team took the phrase “needle in a haystack” to an entirely new level.

Provided that Morita’s claims are accurate, this would be the first element to be created by an East Asian team — all previously discovered elements that do not naturally occur on earth were formed by Americans, Russians, and Germans. Morita’s team hopes that they will have the right to name this new element (making it the first Japanese-named element on the periodic table). But that honor could be disputed, particularly since U.S. and Russian researchers claim to have created 56 atoms of element 113 in the past nine years. None of their discoveries has been confirmed by an independent international committee of experts, however, which demonstrates how difficult it is to prove the creation of a superheavy element.

While the Japanese team revels in their apparent glory, the formal naming of element 113 will likely wait for quite some time. To put it in perspective, elements 114 and 116 — now officially named flerovium and livermorium, respectively — were created over a dozen years before they received permanent names. Even the review process just to confirm their existence lasted three years. So don’t hold your breath on element 113. Morita and his colleagues will have plenty of time to brainstorm a name, in case they receive the privilege of deciding what we will call this new element for all time.

Other articles of interest:
US intelligence now says Benghazi attack “deliberate and organized”
‘No discernible remains’ in Hoffa search, police chief says
US agency warns of fake online pharmacies
A Spinning Black Hole at a Galaxy’s Center
‘Won’t Back Down’: Why This Education Movie Matters
Rowling’s Greatest Work Isn’t Her New Novel; It’s Bringing Attention to Books
How video games are becoming the next great North American spectator sport
Video Game-Playing Robots Pass the Turing Test
Tiger Woods benched at Ryder Cup
Birdie barrage stakes U.S. to 5-3 Ryder Cup lead


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35 responses to “Discussion Post: Week 6”

  1. Jae Hyeon Joo says :

    Well, portfolio is one of the good methods to express myself. I am trying to make it neat and nice. Most important part of blog is contents I guess.
    Even there is a fancy blog, no contents or meaningless contents are not enough to get attentions to readers.

    The presentation 2 is coming. Telling the truth, I messed up my first one. I didn’t use the powerpoint properly. At this time, I will try to use it correctly. Maybe I can do better this time.

    I am the user of Iphone4s. I updated my ios and it changed to ios6. The ios doesn’t have google map anymore. Some of my friends said don’t updated it, however I have got no choice other than getting apple map. Technically, google map is more detail, but apple map is better if you want to use it as a navigation.
    I have used it yesterday. I was on the way to pick up my package for my senior design. I was lost some point. I turned the navigation on. I felt like it is more like a real navigation. The response was fast right after it found its location and destination. Like my presentation, first try is not always good. It can be better.

  2. tbeach21 says :

    I’m so glad to have the NFL referees back in action. Their first game after the return was in Baltimore where they received a standing ovation, but then got boo-ed several minutes into the game. At least we have real refs to yell at now. The replacements would make stupid calls and miss blatant offenses. We might not always be happy with the calls that the refs make, but at least now we know they’ll make the right calls. Good to have them back.

  3. Garret Howard says :

    As far as my web portfolio I did not complete as much of it in class as I would like to have gotten done. I have a lot of work that will need to be done outside of class. I do not have any experience with designing a web portfolio so I am concerned with the technical side of completing it but im sure that I will figure it out.

    Although I have not started my outline for presentation 2 I feel like I have a good handle on it. I chose a topic that I am familiar with and feel like I can demonstrate well. I am focusing more this time on improving the actual presentation part and improving on the things that my peers said needed improvement after the first presentation.

    On a side note I am so happy that the NFL referees have returned. No matter who is officiating there is going to be some calls that we do not agree with but at least now we have professional referees to referee a profesional sport and they will make the correct call most of the time at least.

    • brianbritt says :

      I certainly understand your perspective on the web portfolio, Garret. It takes a little time to get things set up — we spent a fair bit of time on Tuesday just getting the content management system in place for those individuals who wanted to use the WordPress architecture — but the good thing is that once that’s in place, everything else is much, much easier. We’ll also have another lab day later in the semester, so you’ll have that time to put the finishing touches on some elements.

      As for the regular referees, they may not get all the calls right. If nothing else, though, their rulings will at least be grounded in the rules of the NFL, not the high school games that their replacements were accustomed to officiating.

  4. mmccune91 says :

    I am glad the NFL and the refs are getting things all straightened out. The bad calls were getting out of hand. Now I will agree that this will not eliminate bad calls, but at least some of the really stupid ones won’t happen. Now lets hope the NHL can everything figured out. It would be a real shame if there was no hockey this year. I’m hoping better judgment pulls through so we can still have a good hockey season.

  5. Tyler Durham says :

    I for one am not too excited about this upcoming Presidential election. I feel like neither candidate is anywhere near the type of leader that this nation needs right now. Both guys seem like they would rather bash each other in their ads the whole campaign rather than let the nation know what they will be doing to improve it once in the Oval Office. It is sad because if you do want to vote and don’t want to vote on one of these two candidates, it is almost like you are wasting your vote. There needs to be something done where it isn’t just the two largest parties dominate the polls because they have the money to do so. I’m having a very hard time deciding if I want to vote for one of these two or not. Maybe even if I want to vote at all. I saw a picture one time where it said, “vote for no one, no one will do what they say, no one will keep their promises.” I could not agree with that more as elected officials never seem to keep their promises they brought to the nation. I am looking at these October debates as a big decision in my voting process.

  6. kearstenolson says :

    I was unaware that the iOS6 completely got rid of Google maps. It seems like a relationship they would want to keep up especially since every interface before this had the maps. I agree that this wouldn’t have happened if Steve Jobs was still alive because he liked to make sure his products were up to and surpassed the standards set by his customers. That being said, I doubt Apple will lose any significant business from this. People are Apple product obsessed, always wanting the newest updates.

    I think it’s interesting that they found what they believe to be an old riverbed on Mars. I’ll be curious to see what scientists theories are about where the water came from, if there’s a possibility of there still being water or if it’s all dried up.

  7. mbruhn says :

    It’s great to see that the NFL refs are back. Hopefully this puts some sort of light on how good of a job the referees that are normally in place not just in the NFL but other sports do. People spend so much time complaining about terrible calls made by refs, that they forget they are just people like you and I. I couldn’t imagine how hard it is to call games in such a huge stage like the NFL. I know the replacement refs made some pretty bad calls, but considering the circumstances and how much they were actually trained and qualified for the job, they did a great job. It is a shame that a couple of the games may have been decided by faulty referee calls, but the majority of the games went fairly smoothly. On the subject of the NHL lockout, it’s a shame to see that the NHL may be put on hold yet again.

  8. Tim Gleeson says :

    The presidential election is a choice between the lesser of two evils, unfortunately. While there is so much going on abroad, I find it interesting that we choose to talk about issues like NFL refs more. I think it does exemplify our society that we are more interested in what boils down to be just a game than serious issues that have grave consequences (I say that but also prefer to jump on the bandwagon and discuss the iPhone and NFL). I just got the iPhone 5 and thought that the maps application was not as terrible as many people say, but did have some glitches. I am pleased the NFL refs are back, the whole situation was great fodder for sports media however.

  9. Garrett Rood says :

    Surprisingly I have little to say about this week’s discussion topics. Overall I am not much of a politics kind of guy so I do not have much to say on those topics other than both candidates really need to make it a point to speak about what they are going to do for our country. The most annoying thing for me personally about politics is when they ramble about generalizations and never tell me what they are actually going to do.
    The next topic is the referee situation. Flat out, thank god they are back. I am not a huge fan of the Green Bay Packer so it was nice that the Seahawks won, but by no means do I think they should have. The call of the final play was VERY OBVIOUSLY wrong so I can sympathize with Packers fans on that. I am just glad the real refs are back and we can get back to rooting for our favorite teams without issue.
    The last topic I have a few words to say about is the Mars rover. I think it is awesome that they found a previous water source because that means that at one time Mars had a planet much like ours. One issue is that it no longer has that water source though so what does that mean for sustaining life now, another issue is really “where do we go from here?” Is the intention to have people start moving to that planet because our time on Earth is limited? Or are they just hoping to use Mars as a pitstop for longer space travel? Whatever the decision it will be interesting to see where we has humans go from here.

  10. MeganEvilsizor says :

    I personally don’t really care for the web portfolio project thus far. I mean its nice but i feel like it would be a project better suited for more business concentrated and comm majors. I know that the company’s that i would be looking at and working for would never bother to look up a web portfolio, that just isn’t something they would take the time to do. I am going to be in manufacturing and things there don’t work like you would see in business. Also I have never done a portfolio and so trying to fit in learning how to do it and make it look grade A decent along with the presentations and my other courses work might be a little much. I’m not condoning the project, i just wish it was extra credit.

  11. Cameron says :

    The iPhone 5 is here! Wait, or is it the iPhone#swag? Along with the new phone is the new operating system. I was so excited for the new iOS that I deleted a ton of apps and songs to make room for the download. So you can imagine that I was pretty ticked when I realized that I got screwed over on the maps. What was wrong with the Google maps? They were great! The new map feature is very different and less convenient to use. Also, what happened to YouTube? That was one of the only reasons I used my phone, now the app is gone! It seems the update didn’t really change much except for some visual differences. As you can tell, I regret updating my phone. So Apple, where is the reverse update button? The one important feature you forgot to add.

  12. Brock Wolfe says :

    Yes the iPhone 5 is here..To me it is not that big of an upgrade so it isn’t worth this money in my opinion. Yes, the new maps isn’t going to come off like they would have hoped. Guess they forgot to take into account all that data Google is mapping about every single thing in the world. They are even starting to map the oceans.. Skynet here we come….
    The new iOS 6 does have some nice new features and who needs a GPS anyway. Guys don’t get lost, or at least admit it…

  13. Garey Bogo says :

    In terms of my web portfolio, I feel like I’m starting to get used to all the content and creativity to use on the site. However, I still haven’t really come up with a picture on everything to include and what designs/format to have. I basically have looked at the outline in what to include and have toyed with the different settings on the webpage.

    Presentation 2 is coming along nicely though. I already have a clear picture on what to present and also what to include in my presentation. I still need to put these ideas on paper into an outline and a rough draft of the presentation. However I’m not worried that I don’t have enough information or don’t have a basic direction of where its going.

  14. jones326 says :

    As far as the web portfolio goes, I did not get nearly as much done in class as I would have wished. I am not familiar with designing web pages and there was much more to it than I thought. I spent a whole class just trying to pick out an appropriate theme. I am not worried as much about the content side of it as much as the technical side. I already have an updated resume and can easily write about the other mandatory requirements.
    When it comes to Presentation II, I have not started on the outline yet. I feel that I will be able to talk about my topic very easily though. I am new to the subject that I picked, but the topics that I am covering are very basic. Even though they are basic topics, they are new to Adobe Photoshop CS6 and being new I think they will be a good topic to cover.

  15. Daniel Spivey says :

    I believe I commented on the replacement refs last week. My prediction was correct and now the old refs are back thank God. It really makes the games much more enjoyable to watch. As far as the shooting in Minnesota, I think it is absolutely terrible. I am not for gun control, but if people are this unstable they have to be exhibiting signs well before they go and do something like this. This reminds me of the terrible disaster that occurred in Denver at the Batman movie premiere. I have not heard too much more about it and am curious how that is going. I got a little side tracked there, but I do still believe that people that exhibit these crazy signs need to get help before they go on these rampages.

  16. lukeshall says :

    I like the idea of the web portfolio, but I can say that I feel like a noob. This is because I have just about no experience with making websites and getting to get my website to do what I want. Right now mine looks terrible, and it’s frustrating trying to get it to do what I want. It seems like I am really limited on what I can edit and what I can do with things. I feel like it should be easier to make things how you want and not stick to the theme you chose so much. I just wish I had more experience so I knew how to make the website look exactally how I want it. We’ll see how mine turns out, hopefully good!

    About the NFL Refs. I’m glad they settled and people are hopefully back to normal about it. Like I said last week, I think there are so many more important and life relevent issues that we could care about than NFL football, but this is America so I guess it is what it is.

  17. kcorcimi says :

    I’m glad I read this blog before I made a possible wrong choice! I was considering getting the new iPhone 5. Right now I have a Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Although I really love the phone I have now, I wanted the iPhone so I can face time, because there isn’t an app that is REALLY good to face time between iPhones and other smart phones. The app that I use now has really bad quality video for both my phone and the iPhone. So that was my reasoning for wanting an iPhone. But hearing that the navigation has bugs in it isn’t really acceptable to me. I use my navigation a good amount in unfamiliar areas, and my phone has yet to lead me astray. The navigation is probably the most handy app that my phone offers, so if the iPhone can’t give me what my phone already has, then I think I’m going to rethink my decision about an iPhone for now.

  18. annadell57 says :

    So far I have enjoyed the web portfolio project. I have known that with your Purdue account you can have a website but I have never known how to do it. Even though I only have 10 weeks of school left, I showed a friend that has a bit longer here how to do it. As far as progress on it, I feel like I haven’t gotten so far. In the next few weeks I hope to really get into the content and make it an actual portfolio.

  19. nlosande says :

    I, also am excited to have the real referees back. I remember hearing somewhere that in the first two weeks, there were 20 coaches challenges, 16 of which became overturned calls. It was the best the replacements could do in their situation, it’s just unfortunate that their best wasn’t up to NFL standards. All that being said, welcome back refs, and I can’t wait to see all the ridiculous penalties you call on the 49ers this Sunday…

  20. colinbyram says :

    I am definitely ready for the presidential debates to begin, however, I think it is hard to say who will be telling the truth and who won’t simply because politics involves a great deal of rhetoric. Obviously both candidates want the presidency and I am sure each of them are willing to do or say just about anything to get there. I used to be a lot more involved in politics than I am now because it is growing harder and harder to find a real solution to either side.

    With the real NFL refs back in the game, I think we can say for the most part that the NFL is back to “normal.” However, I feel the games reliance on replays and slow motion reviews is increasing. Since so many of these athletes have an out of this world skill level, many of the important plays we fans often complain about are now determined by review of the play not the initial call in the first place. I dislike the fact that like politics, or almost anything in todays world, entertainment at the sports level is becoming more about the money than the actual game. All the lock outs are ridiculous and if refs are not willing to ref without a pay increase, then the leagues need to get ones who are willing and train them accordingly.

  21. Edward Dang says :

    It scares me constantly how someone in the US can bring a gun somewhere and kill a bunch of people. It sounds stupid, but I’m seriously having issues with the unspoken rule of “don’t kill each other” because let’s face it, when you think you’ve got nothing to lose, murder-suicide is an easy out. Anyone old enough in a state where they can get hands on a fire-arm is potentially very dangerous. Fortunately it doesn’t ever cross our minds, but every once in a while someone loses it and shoots some people, then him or herself. I have friends who own guns and I never think it’s crazy that I believe they will never ever attack me with one. But to a stranger, it probably kind of is. We’re more dangerous to each other than ever before, and still it’s more peaceful. That’s kind of cool.

  22. jteagard says :

    I think having a website to display our skills or simply an example portfolio of what it is we have done and have the capability of doing. I have completed an assignment like this before and I’m sorry to say the constraints on what had to be included in the assignment made it close to worthless. Every assignment we did for that class had to be included on the website, and most of them were menial and did not showcase the skills I would like to show potential employers. I doubt employers care very much how my projects 1-3 and workouts 1-8 turned out (that is even what we had to have them labeled as). This project however gives us much more freedom to create something potentially useful.

    I am overjoyed that the NFL referees have returned. I watched maybe one and a half games with the replacement refs and it was bad. I hope fans will continue to cheer for refs as they come onto the field. Their job is difficult, its not possible for them to see everything that the entire fan base sees, but we can all agree they should see at least something more than the replacements did.

  23. APhelps says :

    I’d like to take a moment to comment about the curiosity rover. The amount of instrumentation on the rover is absolutely phenomenal. To be able to send this instrument to another planet that is over 140 million miles away and be able to figure out so many things about that planet is simply breathtaking. Not only just the shear number of instruments available, but rather what they are about to do with them. The scientists were able to discover and verify that there was moving water at one point on the surface of Mars. This is a truly remarkable discovery. Given that there is another planet in our solar system that once had water on its surface is a huge boost for the potential for life elsewhere. Given the size of the universe, and the fact there there could have been water on two of our planets, I find it extremely hard to believe that there is no other life somewhere in the universe. Just from a standpoint of probability. This makes me incredibly excited to thinks about.

    Also, a new element? But proving the existence will be as difficult as finding one certain bug on the face of the Earth? Again, science is incredible!

  24. tbanas says :

    I was saddened to see the US lose the Ryder Cup to the Europeans again. I will tip my hat to them for pulling off one of the biggest comebacks in the cups history. It was gut wrenching to see the US lose some key singles matches.

    In the political world, I would have to say I’m disappointed by both candidates, but what else is new? I think I may vote for the third party candidate, Gary Johnson. Look him up if you really don’t want to vote for the other guys.

  25. Brandon Vath says :

    Personally I find the Mars rover very intriguing. I think its very unfortunate that the United States ended manned space flight, but the Mars rover sheds a little light on the situation. The findings which show the presence of water on Mars just go to prove the subtle similarities between Mars and Earth. I believe that one day manned space flight will return to the United States and humans will potentially travel to Mars or another planet.

    On another note, I believe that Apple should have adequately tested their “map app” before giving Google maps the “boot”. I do find it a little humorous that Apple is suggesting the use of another map application, such as Google maps, to their iphone users while they straighten out the issue.

  26. Daniel Hudspeth says :

    All of these are great topics, but I would like to discuss an article that I read recently. It addresses a different war, a war on snack foods in Rome. Believe it or not, Rome has now passed a law banning eating snack foods around their monuments. I can understand that the people of Rome would not want their monuments to be desecrated by the garbage and food left behind by the tourists, but while I was reading the article, it seemed like it was taken a bit too far. I feel like a simple littering law would suffice, instead of fining anyone who is eating near the monuments. Also, there are food vendors everywhere in Rome with no other place to eat their foods. This is a mistake for the Italian economy, because I think it will discourage people from eating in Rome. It will take a toll on the income from tourism, which will not help with the debt crisis that Europe is already in.


  27. Blake Neata says :

    I am an NFL football fan and I didn’t have too much of an issue with the replacement referees until I watched the Packers VS Seahawks game. Not only did I think that the touchdown call at the very end of the game was a terrible one, I noticed then that the replacement referees truly were not qualified to be officiating that game. I am not bashing the replacements at all because I feel like they did their best to fill in for the NFL lock out, but that game made me realize that it was potentially dangerous to have them officiating. Now that the lockout is over, there is a good feeling in everyone’s minds including the players. I don’t think that all the NFL fans, players, and staff really realized how much we all needed those referees until now.

  28. Craig (@ctlocker) says :

    I thought the “‘Won’t Back Down’: Why This Education Movie Matters” article was interesting, more so, that there are couple movies currently depicting the struggles in school, all with high profile actors and actresses. As a future educator, I do think that these movies matter and any additional attention that can aid in the awareness of struggles in education I think are essential. The article outlines how other movies have brought attention to subjects in a crucial time in our country. I can’t help but think that these movies also were released to coincide with the elections were education has become a hot topic. Pop culture often is for entertainment only, but when they can serve more than one purpose and help aid in our countries struggling education system, even better.

  29. Zach Gerbner says :

    After watching the debates, I have to admit I was very surprised about the outcome. Gov. Romney did much better than I anticipated, and Pres. Obama looked somewhat out of it, and ill prepared for the barrage of attacks coming from Romney. While I believe that Romney won the debate, I also don’t think it is as cut and dry as that. Personally, I had to take everything Romney said with a grain of salt. Yes, a lot of what he said appealed to my beliefs, but I don’t necessarily think what he said is what he is going to do. During this campaign, Romney has said too many contrasting things, and while I feel he personally is somewhat moderate, I believe the far right of the Republican Party now rules, and he will have to edge farther to the right if he is to win the presidency. Therefore, I do not think he was accurately telling the american people what is plans were during the debate. Obama on the other hand was boring and dry. He did not give much substance or a real reason as to why he should be reelected. One thing is sure though, and that is Pres. Obama will come out swinging in the next debate. With the jobs numbers that came out yesterday, showing unemployment dropping, I think that the bump Romney saw after the debate will quickly disappear, and the poll numbers will stay largely unchanged.

  30. Zack Palazzo says :

    After watching the debate, I agree with most of the polls that Romney was the clear winner. Not only was his demeanor better, the substance of his arguments was better. Obama never used numbers and figures to support his arguments while Romney seemed to have a lot of data to support what he was saying. It’s going to be interesting to see how this debate effects the election.

  31. Rachel Dockter says :

    I feel like my web portfolio is coming along pretty nicely. I have the core design and functionality down, so now it’s just a matter of content, which might be a little bit of a problem, since I’m not entirely sure what all I want to put on it. I’m sure I’ll come up with something.

    I’m a pretty nervous about Presentation II but I’m looking forward to it as well. I’m very familiar with my topic and I’m actually having a little bit of fun preparing for it as well, so hopefully it will go okay.

    On a more news-related note, the whole iOS6 issue with the Maps is kind of funny to me, in the sense that I really wouldn’t expect Apple to have such a flagrant problem with glitches. It’s really something you would think they’d take care of before the release day. It doesn’t really help that I have a couple friends that are major Apple fans and now I can laugh when they claim Apple is perfect. Well, laugh more than I usually do, at any rate.

  32. shaliniKannan says :

    My web portfolio has definitely gotten off to a pretty good start. I have created the basic template and now have to start adding the specifics on the requirements document. I am very excited for the progress on the web portfolio, as its a pretty interesting project for me.
    My presentation II on the other hand needs a lot of work. I have my topic figured out and ready however I am having some trouble formulating an effective method in which to present it. I am sure I will be able to figure something out however well before my presentation date. I am also pretty eager to see what others have chosen to present.
    Its so sad to hear about these shootings that happen for no apparent reason. A mental illness definitely cannot completely excuse a person for murdering five other innocent people. It could however contribute to their mental state at the time but it cannot justify taking other peoples lives for any reason. Getting fired from your job cannot cause this amount of rage to kill other employees.

  33. Alex Johnson says :

    The web portfolio project is pretty cool. I was able to mess around enough to get a PDF of my resume embedded on a new page. I just need to spend more time on it. It’ll be a good place to throw all the programming projects they’re having us do in 255 this semester.

    I was almost considering looking into the Iphone 5 as I have a phone upgrade happening in a few days, but all the Apple Map hubbub convinced me otherwise. I would tear my hair out if I was lost and my only means of correcting myself was glitchy. Also I like the Galaxy III advertising of mocking people waiting in line for the same Iphone for the fifth time. It seems pretty accurate. I think I’ll go with the HTC Rezound. Free Beats!

    I missed the presidential debate but from the sound of it Romney stepped up as far as his speaking skills. Good on him. I look forward to the next debate.

  34. Paul Laurinaitis says :

    I would like to discuss the NHL work stoppage. I think it is a very sad deal that the owners and the players cannot come to terms. There is alot of money and fans on the line and the longer they went the more of both they lose. The NHL has had this problem before, and you would think they would have learned from their past lessons. They must understand that one side is going to have to bend in order for a deal to be completed.They need to start work so the Blackhawks can begin their quest for a another stanley cup!