Discussion Post: Week 8

At last, Presentation II is underway! What did you learn from watching our first few presenters on Thursday? Did you pick up any strategies that could work well for your own presentations in the future? Or were there any traps that you hope to avoid in your own work?

After the first presidential debate, almost every media outlet declared Mitt Romney the clear winner. He surged in the polls after his victory, moving past Barack Obama in almost every major national survey taken after the skirmish despite having consistently trailed for almost a year. According to RealClearPolitics’ average of nationwide polls, Obama had not trailed since Oct. 11, 2011, but Romney pulled ahead on Tuesday, showing just how decisively the debate changed voters’ impressions of the race.

Thursday’s vice presidential debate, on the other hand, did not have such a clear winner despite the clear contrast in the running mates’ policies and debating styles. Joe Biden was much more active throughout the debate, taking control of almost the entire first half but doing so by repeatedly interrupting both his opponent and the moderator, while Paul Ryan played a more passive role, but kept a cool, composed demeanor throughout the clash. Biden had a number of strong one-liners prepared to combat the Republicans, from attacking Romney’s now-infamous “47%” line to calling Ryan’s claims “a bunch of malarkey.” Ryan didn’t have nearly as many strong retorts, much of which was due to Biden interjecting and getting the last word on the vast majority of debate topics.

Still, just because Biden was more active doesn’t necessarily mean that he won, particularly since Ryan didn’t duplicate the annoyance that Obama displayed in losing the first presidential debate. While some said that Biden was much more gregarious, with his open laughter and warm smile helping him to connect with voters in contrast with his cold rival, others called him overly aggressive in trying to keep Ryan from even completing a sentence, saying that his audible scoffing throughout the debate made look crass and disrespectful instead of engaged in a serious discussion. Did Biden’s lively enthusiasm and pointed critiques stop the bleeding after Obama’s lackluster performance, or did his snarkiness and unwillingness to let Ryan respond further turn off undecided voters? Only time, and the polls, will tell — that is, if this sole clash between the running mates has any effect at all.

Well, at least the vice presidential fight didn’t wind up like the California House race, where the hostility between fellow Democrats Brad Sherman and Howard Berman peaked during their final primary debate on Thursday. Their campaign has been particularly nasty from the start, but Berman escalated the tension during a dispute over immigration when he moved close to Sherman and commanded him to “Get out of my face.” Moments later, Sherman “aggressively seized the shoulder of his opponent…yanked him toward his chest and shouted, ‘You want to get into this?‘” A sheriff’s deputy moved toward the two, and the 57-year-old Sherman backed away; the 71-year-old Berman left the debate shortly afterward.

Such moments make me glad I’m not a politician. I don’t think I’d enjoy spending my twilight years like that.

Now that we’re done with the big political story, I’d like to address an entirely different matter. Last week, a few readers complained that my entire post consisted of politics and sports. Well, I’m all about giving the people what they want. I’m nothing if not accommodating, so I listened to my readers and kept their requests in mind when writing this post. If you didn’t like last week’s subjects, then these next stories are just for you.

Dallas resident Elizabeth Escalona, a 23-year-old mother of five, is making headlines for all the wrong reasons. Back in July, Escalona pleaded guilty to a felony charge of injuring a child. You see, hardly the model parent, Escalona became upset when her two-year-old daughter, Jocelyn Cedillo, was having trouble with potty-training. So she kicked her little girl in the stomach, beat her with a milk jug, and super glued her hands to an apartment wall. Jocelyn’s injuries included bleeding in her brain which led to a coma of almost a week, a broken rib, and numerous bruises and bite marks, in addition to skin torn from the hands which had been glued to the wall.

Although Escalona pleaded guilty, she rejected the prosecution’s plea offer of 45 years in prison, admitting to the judge that “only a monster does that” but nonetheless begging for a second chance. State District Judge Larry Mitchell responded by sentencing her to 99 years in prison. Escalona will be eligible for parole in 30 years.

Florida brought us a very different sort of gut-wrenching story this week. Gino Covacci was enjoying a casual walk on the beach last Wednesday, keeping his eyes peeled for treasures like unique shells in the sand, as he often does. But he wasn’t expecting to find… well, this:

...Ew.

That’s not an odd piece of camera equipment, even if it looks a little bit like a lens. No, that’s a giant eyeball.

Covacci did what any reasonable person would do upon finding a giant, bloody eye on the beach: he took it home and put it in his refrigerator. “It was very, very fresh,” he told local reporters.

Grossed out enough yet?

Naturally, Covacci (and the local police) had to wonder what manner of beast was missing this softball-sized eye. So the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission was tasked with examining the specimen. Contrary to Covacci’s initial speculation that the eye belonged to a giant squid, the experts determined that it likely came from a ten-foot swordfish. The organization has yet to release its official report, but on Friday afternoon one of the commission’s scientists told other experts “eye in hand” that he was sure it had come from a large swordfish, bringing the outlandish story to a somewhat dull end. At least, as much as finding a softball-sized eyeball on the beach can be called “dull.”

If that wasn’t vomit-inducing enough for you, then let’s move on to the unfortunate tale of Edward Archbold. On Friday night, Archbold participated in the “Midnight Madness” eating competition at a local pet store, Ben Siegel Reptiles. He was apparently one of the most effervescent competitors in the bunch, winning over the crowd with his enthusiasm. Archbold was “the life of the party,” the store owner later told reporters, swallowing handful after handful of roaches and worms in his quest to win an $850 python for a friend.

Yes, it was that kind of eating competition.

Soon after the contest ended, Archbold began vomiting, and one of his friends called 911. A witness recalled the announcer saying that “the winner was vomiting somewhere and we’ll congratulate him when he comes back.” But Archbold fell to the ground before paramedics arrived, and when the ambulance brought him to the hospital, he was pronounced dead at the site.

Now, granted, most of us wouldn’t dare eat roaches and worms, so we might wonder why on earth someone would do this. But all the same, Archbold’s death isn’t so easy to explain. None of his fellow competitors fell ill, and though they may seem gross, “80 percent of the world’s population routinely dines on insects.” The little critters are hardly as toxic as we might like to believe.

Some have speculated that it may have been a food allergy, of all things. If Archbold was allergic to shellfish, he was probably also allergic to roaches. During the competition, Archbold was literally shoveling the household pests into his mouth with such speed that spectators couldn’t keep count of how many he had consumed. It would be like someone with a severe peanut allergy downing several canisters of Skippy.

Another theory is that the sharp spines on the roaches’ legs slashed his digestive system, which is one of the reasons why experts strictly advise against eating live roaches like the ones at Midnight Madness. “It’s like swallowing a fishhook,” said Florence Vaccarello Dunkel, associate professor of entomology at Montana State University and editor of the Food Insect Newsletter.

With the cause of death still a mystery, the Broward Medical Examiner’s Office conducted an autopsy on Archbold’s body; at the time of this writing, the results are still pending.

In other health-related news, the fungal meningitis outbreak that has been sweeping the nation has now reached 185 infections across 12 states. If you haven’t been keeping up with this story, the gist of the matter is that a batch of a spinal steroid primarily used to combat back pain was contaminated during the compounding process. 12 deaths have already been reported across six states, and about 13,000 more patients could still be at risk.

In order to protect the public from the rare fungal meningitis, the Food and Drug Administration ultimately recalled 34 different medications distributed by the New England Compounding Center, which had shipped the now-recalled doses to 75 facilities in 23 states. As you might expect, lawsuits against the company are now underway, particularly since reports now indicate that the pharmacy violated its license by shipping the drug en masse like a manufacturer instead of only distributing it in response to an individual prescription.

Some analysts argue that this is just the surface of a much larger problem: the lack of oversight over compounding companies like the New England Compounding Center. While the company had been given a warning for earlier license violations several years ago, no further action was ever taken against it. The big problem is that compounding companies fall into “a legal no man’s land between the Food and Drug Administration and 50 state pharmacy boards, most of which have little expertise and limited resources to ensure the safety of these products.”

Such operations used to be small-scale endeavors, designed to help patients who were unable to take name-brand drugs due to allergies or other unusual circumstances. At the time, such specialty shops needed little regulation. But in recent years they have rapidly expanded, turning into miniature drug companies with none of the regulation.

Doctors and patients turn to compounding companies due to their lower prices, or when traditional pharmaceutical firms find their medicines in short supply, but compounding companies do not go through the same safety checks when pushing their drugs onto the market. That wasn’t a big deal when they served a few individuals at a time, but once they turn into major suppliers, we risk a major outbreak like this one.

In other news, the space shuttle Endeavor continues its final journey this weekend, rolling through Los Angeles en route to the California Science Center, where it will remain for the rest of its days. All told, the 12-mile trip is expected to take about two days, as workers are having to cut down 400 trees and move power lines in order to make room for the shuttle to travel along major roads like Manchester, Crenshaw, and Martin Luther King Jr. The science center plans to plant 1,000 replacement trees after Endeavor’s trip is finished. Similarly, thousands of steel plates have been placed in order to more evenly distribute the shuttle’s 170,000 pounds across the old roads.

As you may have guessed, hundreds of spectators have gathered to watch the shuttle’s trip, up close and personal, every step of the way. If you weren’t able to make the trip, though, you can check out some ultra-high-resolution pictures of Endeavor which were taken by National Geographic last month. How ultra is “ultra”? Let’s put it this way: Their size is measured in gigapixels.

In international news, on Friday the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced this year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner. Normally this wouldn’t be quite such a big story, except that the committee made a rather unusual choice for its recipient: the European Union.

The strange part about this decision isn’t that the award is going to an organization, mind you. That’s pretty typical, actually. But it’s rather strange to see the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to an organization that, at the moment, is in shambles. The 27-country bloc has been ravaged by rioting in recent years — need I point out again that this is supposedly a “Peace Prize”? — and is rife with political rifts among its member nations who have grown increasingly concerned about their own interests as their respective economies crumble.

A central question for the EU right now is how to handle Greece’s bailout. The issue has spurred “economic war” between Germany, a major member of the EU, and the bloc’s southern members, whose economies are in the midst of a catastrophe. However, Germany’s concern for its own wellbeing has the country to resist freely giving fiscal help to its fellow EU members, instead demanding “painful austerity” in exchange for any assistance.

Some have said that by awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to the EU, the Nobel Committee is making a political statement instead of recognizing great achievements, like those of past winners Albert Schweitzer and Mother Teresa. After all, the announcement itself sounded, at points, like a plea for the organization to resolve its myriad crises instead of a decree that it was already a model for others to follow. Consider the words of Thorbjørn Jagland, the Norwegian Nobel Committee Chairman: “We see already now an increase of extremism and nationalistic attitudes. There is a real danger that Europe will start disintegrating. Therefore, we should focus again on the fundamental aims of the organization.”

No wonder many are calling this more of a political statement than a true award. As at least one commentator noted, the whole situation is reminiscent of the 1973 award, which was given to Le Duc Tho and Henry Kissinger. Yes, that’s right. The Nobel Peace Prize was given in the middle of the Vietnam War to the U.S. Secretary of State (Kissinger) and the spokesman of the North–Vietnamese delegation to the Paris Peace Conference (Tho). A joint “Peace” award for two leading statesmen of two countries at war with one another. Do you think that was a real award, or a not-so-hidden political message? Then what about the same “Peace” award going to an organization whose members are currently mired in riots and an “economic war” with one another?

Alright, just because it’s been a wild week, we have to get to at least a few sports headlines. In particular, all four Major League Baseball Division Series came to an end on Thursday and Friday, with each one going the maximum five games before a victor was decided. The Detroit Tigers took the deciding game in Oakland, shutting out the Athletics 6-0 to reach the American League Championship Series. That also continues the magical run for Detroit’s Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera.

They’ll be joined by the New York Yankees, who survived a grueling series against the Baltimore Orioles. The Yankees won Game 3 in 12 innings and lost a 13-inning Game 4, then took advantage of a disputed non-home run call to earn a 3-1 win in Game 5 (with Alex Rodriguez on the bench, by the way).

The San Francisco-Cincinnati series was particularly strange, as neither team won a single home game. The Giants eventually surpassed the Reds with a 6-4 victory in Game 5 to reach the National League Championship Series. (Some say that losing three straight home games to blow a 2-0 series lead may have cost Reds manager Dusty Baker his job.)

San Francisco will face the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals, who beat the Washington Nationals, the team with the best record in baseball, in order to advance. That may have been the craziest series of all, as St. Louis fell behind 6-0 in the third inning of Game 5 before inching closer, run by run, inning by inning. They were down to their final strike twice in the ninth inning before stringing together four runs and winning it 9-7. The Cardinals’ six-run comeback was the largest in a win-or-go-home game in postseason history, topping the four-run deficits overcome by the 2003 Yankees and the 1925 Pittsburgh Pirates. Their victory was so shocking, in fact, that even ESPN managed to get the result wrong:

Nationals win! Nationals win! Nationals... win?

Politics, sports, crime beats, drugs, bugs, a space shuttle, and a Nobel Prize. What more could you ask for?

Other articles of interest:
Heaven Is Real: A Doctor’s Experience With the Afterlife
Millions of unexploded bombs lie in waters off US coast, researchers say
US: Hackers in Iran responsible for cyberattacks
Roseanne Barr among presidential candidates on Florida ballot
Industry sues over NYC crackdown on sugary drinks
Google may be hit with antitrust case from the FTC
NASA developing exoskeleton for astronauts and the earthbound
Man attempts to “walk” across Irish sea in a human hamster wheel
Pimped Baby Stroller Goes 50 MPH
Michael Vick confirms that a dog is now part of his family

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36 responses to “Discussion Post: Week 8”

  1. jetblueberry says :

    Let me just continue the roll from my last post…. YANKEEEEEES!

    And what a grueling series against the Orioles it was because, honestly, a few years ago, I believed that the Baltimore Orioles were just a group of bums off of the streets who, on occasion, would decide to get together and play baseball. Now, thanks to a lovely pay ceiling increase, one could infer that they can now offer talent a better incentive to join their team. This is exactly what everyone says about the Yankees, and to an extent, it is true. Example of the limitation? Alex Rodriguez.

    For fun: http://i.imgur.com/Rn6kb.jpg

    Also, for any of you fellow Redditors, r/baseball is going crazy with all of this post season play and it definitely is showing. Definitely a good place to book up on your stats and such and now that the Yankees/Tigers game 1 has ended, I will leave you with this gem about the Yankee’s Mr. October.

    http://imgur.com/dPtMW
    (Apparently someone had edited his Wikepedia page. Awesome.)

  2. Zack Palazzo says :

    This MLB postseason has shown why people love sports. I was watching the final game between St. Louis and Washington with my friend who is a huge Cardinals fan. He had basically given up hope that the cardinals would be able to score two runs in the top of the ninth. Not only did they tie the game up in the final inning, but they were able to take a two run lead. This post season has been a very entertaining one, and I hope it keeps up.

  3. tbeach21 says :

    I must say, I have very little sympathy for somebody that died as a result of an insect eating competition. Eating competitions in general are ridiculous; but insects? That’s over the top. Then again, this is America. Anything can be made into a sport.

  4. kearstenolson says :

    The meningitis outbreak is something that had me scared for a bit. My dad this summer got a spinal steroid for a slipped disk in his back. Since a lot of these cases had been happening in Virginia, where I live, he called his doctor, who thankfully doesn’t get his products from that company. I do think it’s outrageous though how in medicine it seems as though with every cure can come another different disease or problem. It would seem now days that with all of our medical advancements we would have protocols on these types of problems and how to prevent them (and actually follow through with these protocols).

    As for the Peace Prize, I feel as though sometimes they award it to those at war, or battling within themselves to sort of guilt trip them into acting peaceful with one another. It’s an interesting tactic, not so sure it’s effective, however it does prevent people who actually deserve the award from winning it.

  5. liv4creativity says :

    I don’t know what to think about Elizabeth Escalona. Clearly she is a monster for abusing her daughter, yet is more than likely suffering from some serious mental problems if she was indeed abused as a child like the articles say. Abuse is clearly a vicious cycle that needs to be stopped or at least prevented. I agree with the judges decision to give her 99 years in response to her behavior. I hope she can get some serious help while behind bars.

    That eyeball was cool but GROSS! I don’t like seeing real eyeballs that are not in their eye sockets or eyeballs that have been abused. Its been something that has always bothered me so I was very shocked to scroll on that picture. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEW!

    I agree with Kearston about the Peace Prize. There are many people who should have won the award, but will not be able to because of a supposed political tactic.

  6. lukeshall says :

    Thursday night, a group of about 12 of me and my friends rushed and crammed into my neighbor’s dorm room at 8:58 pm to watch the office. At 9 o clock, the previous tv show ended and on came… the vice presidential debate!… We were not happy. After ten minutes of watching that, we proceded to the co rec for some walleyballl. That was a much better use of my time I thought. Not that the debate is not interesting nor important, I just find other things more important.

  7. annadell57 says :

    I don’t know what I would do if I found a giant eyeball on the beach like that. Gross! But it is kinda cool. I want to know what happened to the giant swordfish! There is always a bigger fish.

    The Escalona case was shocking. Seeing the bruises on that 2 year old girl’s body makes me want to cry. At the time Escalona pleaded guilty I don’t think she realized what a monster she was. I wish the best for the little girl and her family that was affected.

  8. nlosande says :

    YEAH!!! Go Giants!!! I was not expecting them to win the series against the Red’s but I was more than happy to watch them do so. It was very nerve-wracking and heart-pounding to watch but with great reward. Now it’s on to the Cardinals which also promises to be a very good series. #OrangeOctober

    • brianbritt says :

      I just want to take a moment to applaud your use of the course blog to promote your team over Twitter. Connectivity — that’s what it’s all about, after all!

      …Go Cardinals. #STLCards

  9. jones326 says :

    This October has been a crazy one in the baseball world. As a Reds fan I almost had to check my self into therapy after that collapse. That is the beauty of baseball though. I would have never thought that I would see the Nationals, Orioles, and A’s in the playoffs at the same time.

    In other news not in the response above I just want to say how cool it was to watch Felix Baumgartner’s space jump this past Sunday. Falling 24 miles down to Earth is something that is an incredible feat. I cannot even imagine what that would feel like or if I could ever even attempt to do it. All in all it was a cool accomplishment. Watch the video if you haven’t.

    • APhelps says :

      I was wondering when the first post about Felix was going to occur. As a class filled with a bunch of AT students, I’m sure most where following closely to the event as it unfolded. And even those outside of aviation, I am sure recognized the achievement of this highly-daring individual. But to take a moment and sympathize with my AT colleagues, as I watched the jump take place live on TV I could only keep thinking about the reason we use checklists on a daily basis in flight. With the oh so many complex steps involved in the process of flight (and even more so in the space jump) checklist discipline is of the utmost importance (I’m sure I sound like the FAA right now.) But take this example, when Felix reported that he had a visor heat malfunction, the team on the ground correctly identified the issue and took the necessary steps to rectify the situation by applying heat earlier than anticipated. However, later in the day when Felix was just about ready to jump this became another issue brought upon by a lack of checklist discipline. As Mr. Kittinger, the former space jumper and communication link went through the before jump checklist they came to the item of visor heat. He immediately skipped this step because he knew they had already added the heat because of the previous malfunction. This was a two step verification check though, and because he skipped it, the second check might have gone on overlooked (fortunately, either he or one of the other controllers prompted him to complete the check.)

      Now I would like to make the disclaimer that this was my interpretation of the events that unfolded live, but regardless it was quite clear that the checklist procedures were lackluster at best. And it did no service to them that it was broadcasted on national TV. In the end though, it came down to a few small items thankfully, and I was more than thrilled to watch the live broadcast over news coverage. I can barely wait to see any body cam footage that Felix took!

  10. Rachel Moore says :

    Finding a random eyeball on the beach would certainly be a interesting surprise. I would have thought it belonged to a giant squid too, not a sword fish. I would like to see the swordfish though. What made it lose an eye?

    I think the way they choose who gets the peace prize is flawed. Shouldn’t it go to people/groups who do something that makes peace? Giving it to a group that has internal fighting or to people in war doesn’t fit that description. It definitely seems to a political message rather than an award.

  11. Brock Wolfe says :

    Well the VP debate went as I suspected with Biden showing he is the seasoned politician (liar), but both could be questioned on their total truthfulness. But the clown faces he put on was just a sign of someone trying to take the eye off of what could be real issues.

    On the sentence of the woman who superglued her child’s hands to the wall; I think it is absurd that you have to sentence someone for 99 years to get 30. Whoever figured that out must have taken a calculus course here at Purdue. Both seem kind of worthless in the real world. Anyway, that just goes to show how priorities are screwed up.. You need a license to drive a car but not raise a child.

  12. Tyler Durham says :

    I’m still very intregued by the election coming up this season. It is exciting to see how this is playing out. Hopefully Obama’s big slip up does not cost him and more ground in the polls against Romney. Tonghit’s debate should be good to watch to see if Obama actually did change his debate strategy and will take back what he gave to Romney. It will also be interesting to see if Romney will be able to walk over Obama again and maybe gaining a lead over the current president. The topics for tonight’s debate are the most important ones I feel like the two candidates will be addressing out of all the debates. Time will only tell how this keep shaping up, but it is going to be an interesting journey until election day.

  13. jhellman says :

    I like that your answer to complaints of boring politics and sports were gross and sad articles. Good job!

    Even though that guy died, he must’ve felt pretty great at winning that competition. Like maybe he finally found his calling. And then that’s sad again.
    As for the swordfish eyeball, that’s amazing! I love marine life mysteries and hardly skip over them. Wish they had a picture of the swordfish though. TEN FEET?! Maybe one of these days, when we all have our own ultra scuba suits, I’ll be able to see something that amazing.

  14. kcorcimi says :

    I first want to say I love all the weird stories. Stuff like this I like to go tell my friends about so they’re impressed with my random world knowledge, so thank you for providing us with more cool stories.
    My favorite one today was the eye ball. Who finds those? That eye is so neat! It made me laugh out loud/gasp when I first saw that picture. It’s pretty cool that the guy turned it in for the conservation specialists to look at it. I wish I could find one. I can’t even imagine what I’d do.
    I also thought the Elizabeth Escalona story was very sad. It hard to believe that someone would do that kind of stuff to their child, especially super glue her hands to the wall? My roommate and I were just wondering who comes up with stuff like that to “punish” their children. Thankfully no one we know, but it’s still sad that people out there think of that kind of weird and demented stuff to do.

  15. Garey Bogo says :

    This month had a lot of weird articles. Anyways I can’t believe that somewhere there was a ten foot swordfish somewhere that got attacked by something and lose an eye that traveled all the way to shore. I can see the guy collecting shells and everything, but who picks up an eyeball off the beach and stores it in their fridge. I can see maybe calling someone, but taking it home and keeping it in the fridge is a different story.
    As for the story of the mother who got 99 years for child abuse, I believe she deserves that sentence if not more. For a 23 yr old mom to beat a 2 yr old child and glue her hands to a wall is unbelievable.

  16. Blake Neata says :

    I’m blogging about the giant eyeball because it caught my eye first no pun intended. I was kind of hoping that the eye would have belonged to a different sea creature or some type of animal that couldn’t be identified. It is still an impressive find though. Sword fish are a large animal, but I don’t think that most people actually realize the size of its eye.

    The story about the child abuse was very odd. I think what that mother did to her child was awful and that she definitely deserves prison time for what she did. That being said, I feel that 99 years was somewhat excessive. The only reason I say this is because I feel like people have done a lot worse and had a lesser prison sentence.

  17. colinbyram says :

    I feel that having blog topics pertaining to politics and sports is good because it allows us to discuss relevant topics in todays news. With that said I find the election interesting, however recent debates have been a lot of kindergarden he said she said. It is impossible to get the real facts about a candidate without doing research on your own and even then it can be difficult to find reliable sources. Obama did come to the second debate more prepared, but at times came off too aggressive and somewhat hateful. I am certainly ready for the election to come to an end and hopefully see a turn around for this country.

    I’d like to take a quick look at the toddler abuse story because it is something there should be little tolerance for in this country. Parents grow frustrated with their children that is to be expected, however to go to the extent this mother did on her defenseless child is unacceptable in every aspect. The statement “only a monster would do this” is extremely accurate and punishment that only a monster would deserve should be dealt in this case. I hope this mother learns her lesson in a very hard way because the baby suffered far more than she ever deserved.

  18. MeganEvilsizor says :

    Good stories this week, it’s nice to see that in the midst of all the election junk that there is other things happening. As for the election it feels like a wash. I guess I keep being surprised by the amount of people out there that are supporting Obama. Neither candidates in my opinion have anything much worth of offering. The question you should be asking yourself about these two guys is do you want to be poked in the eye with a blunt stick or a sharp stick? I think voting is important but I think our system is flawed. The vote should be strictly on the individual citizens’ vote and not on the electoral college votes for each state. America may keep saying that other countries are messed up when really it is our own country that needs fixing.

  19. Daniel Spivey says :

    I have enjoyed the presentations so far. I like them because i get to be exposed to learning new things that I may have never thought about before. The presidential debate was interesting. The second one was last night and now Obama seems like he was the clear winner. I have not watched many debates and because I can now vote have taken particular interest to this race. I did not like the way that last night debate was run. I feel there should be more order in an event of that magnitude. I also saw the article on the giant eye and was a little disappointed to find that it did not belong to some unknown creature or anything.

  20. jteagard says :

    I actually heard about the eating contest already and it is bizarre! I never would have expected that to have been his demise. It seems just extremely unfortunate. Though I would almost think that the store should have looked up some type of food allergy chart for the competition. Would it be the individual’s job or the companies? And are they liable for lawsuits?

    I also think that finding a giant eye on the beach is really cool, though I find it somewhat strange that someone not only picked it up, but refrigerated it! I am more curious of this individual than I am about finding the eye. I immediately assumed the eye belonged to a small whale or something so I didn’t even find it too out of the ordinary.

  21. cnunan says :

    Hey alright, some interesting stuff this week! I rather enjoyed your post on gross topics, they make you want to keep on reading to figure out what happened. So when I’m on the beach, I am usually pretty alert keeping an eye out for jelly fish or crabs. If I had found that giant eye, I would have freaked the heck out. When I first saw the picture without reading, I assumed it was a camera lens. Although gross, it really is quite beautiful. Eyes are pretty amazing, but I would rather see it while sill attached, I’d also like to see the beast of a fish it came from.
    Then, there was the post about the bug eating contest. It is impressive for someone to have such a handle on fear, I know I couldn’t eat bugs, much less touch them. Which makes this all the more sad. That guy had conquered fear, but some how it still killed him. May that be a warning to us all, don’t eat bugs!

  22. Brandon Vath says :

    Although that “giant eyeball” is not the most pleasant thing to look it, it reminds us of the potential creatures residing in the sea. Although it was determined to come from a large swordfish, the possibility that it came from a large squid is certainly intriguing. Personally, I think it would be a pretty spectacular sight to witness either a large squid or a ten foot swordfish. I find it interesting how little we know about the ocean and some of the strange creatures that inhabit it.

    On another note, is it November 6th yet? All of this political talk and debate is getting old pretty quickly. I feel like I can’t even turn on the TV without getting swamped with political ads and conversation. I will be happy when election day rolls around, but until then I suppose there is no alternative than to just deal with it.

  23. Ashlynn Johnson says :

    Presentations have been going great. They are much better than our first presentations. I’m feel comfortable presenting today, I’m not as nervous as our first presentations.

    I enjoyed this weeks blog post, there was a good variety of topics. The eye was pretty gross, but it’s funny how the guy just found it and took it home with him. As for the Peace prize, I think that the validity of that award has gone down over time. It appears that they just award the prize according to what is the hot topic for the year. Global warming, Obamacare, now the economic down fall of EU? What’s next?

    It’s weird to think a 23 year old mother was sent to jail for her entire life. Her age is so close to ours, to think if it happened to one of us… Heck, to think that she graduated high school in 2007/8. It’s always a weird feeling for me, like in an alternate universe that could have been me. But she shouldn’t have ever beat her child like that, and then wanted a second chance? No one wants to spend the rest of their lives in jail, but she should have thought about that before hurting her two year old.

  24. meyer44 says :

    I am enjoying these presentations more than the first ones. You can definitely tell that people are getting in these more and enjoying them this time around.

    As for the 23 year old woman who injured her child, I am glad she was sentenced to 99 years in jail. She deserves every second of it. It is absolutely disgusting to think that a mother could do that to her child for a reason as insignificant as potty training difficulties. It’s so sad that that child is going to have to grow up knowing her mother treated her like that.

    Another thing that bothers me is the whole large sugary beverage laws that was referenced at the end of the post. I personally think that it is a stupid and wasteful law. First of all, I don’t believe the government has the right to tell me what size drink I can order. Last I checked, I have individual rights as a human being. Secondly, it must have taken a ton of money and time to make that bill a law. And here is the the funny part: so I can’t order large drinks anymore? OK, well I’ll order two mediums and get the same amount of drink. What a laughable law.

  25. Brandon Poindexter says :

    I’ve actually had better luck with presentation 2 myself. Even though it takes me a bit to decide my own topic, i think allowing us to almost chose our own topic has made it fun to give the presentation. Though i should have avoided using my wireless mouse to advance my slides, as apparently there was way to much interference in the class room.

    Hhhmmm, i would have felt incredibly responsible if someone tried to win a competition to win an $850 python for me. I would have even asked if said person had to eat cockroaches and other critter’s.

    Also in some parts of the world, eyes of a fish are taken out and sold separately because their such a delicacy. I remember my mother got some fish from a friend of ours and he commented that he picked the eyes out because he loved eating them and knew we didn’t want them.

  26. Ctlocker says :

    As a baseball, and sports fan in general, these posts have been much to my amusement, but I do appreciate the mixture of this week. Anyway back to baseball, this has been some post season and we haven’t even crowned division champs. The giants comeback was the first 0-2 series turnaround in the NL ever. The Nationals Cardinals finale was just down right exciting, anyone who doesn’t like baseball should be forced to watch that game. All kidding aside I eagerly await the rest of this post season.

  27. Daniel Hudspeth says :

    Politics has become a three ring circus. It seems like both parties are lying, and using anything to their advantage. The parties no longer seem to care about what the people want/need. It’s all to their own advantage. This country was founded by the want of democracy, so that the people’s voices could be heard, and that is no longer the case. The first president of the United States did not belong to any party. The development of these parties has made the politics of this country a fight over one or the other. It has become a vote of the lesser of two evils.

  28. Rachel Dockter says :

    Stories like what happened with Elizabeth Escalona seriously depress me. There are some people that just really should not be parents. Especially since she has five kids at the age of twenty-three..? That just seems irresponsible to me. She’s not much older than I am, and now she’s basically thrown the rest of her life away. I think Escalona very much deserves the sentence she got and hopefully her family will be able to work through this.

    The giant eyeball is actually really cool-looking, though if I found a giant swordfish eyeball on the beach my first thought would definitely not be “ooh let’s pick it up”. Still, a ten-foot swordfish? That’s awesome, and kind of impressive.

    The bug-eating story on the other hand is completely gross, though it really is unfortunate that it ended in tragedy. I just…roaches completely gross me out and I cannot even begin to fathom WHY you would eat them. Winning a snake is cool and all (personally the larger ones kind of disturb me; small ones are neat though) but eating roaches…bluh.

  29. Tim Gleeson says :

    You make an interesting point about the vice presidential debate in that even though Joe Biden was the most animated, it does not necessarily mean he was victorious. In some senses, even if he did not say anything of much substance or with a lot of substance (depending on one’s political beliefs) he still detracted from Paul Ryan. The focus was often on Biden’s animation and body language rather than the words Ryan was speaking. My point is, even if Ryan was making a better argument, Biden distracted the audience so much that they missed most of Ryan’s argument. The gross things were somewhat unpleasant, but interesting.

  30. Zach Gerbner says :

    Watching the debates and polls change because of them have been frustrating yet amusing at the same time. There is a saying that something like 95% of peoples perceptions of a debate come from how a candidate looks and acts on stage, and not what he or she says. Personally, I would like to hear some real substance from the candidates, and I felt that in the first Presidential debate, even though Romney looked better and performed better, he gave no more substance than Obama, and in that sense it was a tie, even though I would say that in the who performance, Romney was significantly better. In the Vice Presidential debate and second Presidential debate, the candidates were animated, and I would say Obama and Biden gave sightly more content then Romney and Ryan, though not much. I just wish people would overall vote for a true plan, not whether a candidate looks presidential on stage, or who had the most gaffes and one liners. I just don’t think that is the way we should pick the leader of the free world, though polls may tell me otherwise.

  31. mbruhn says :

    Reading the story about Elizabeth Escalona, I was disgusted. People like this should not be allowed to have kids at all. She’s has 5 kids at the age of 23. How many of these children have gone through similar treatment? This child may be emotionally scarred for the rest of her life. As I read other articles as well as the youtube clip on the blog, it made me feel sick. I could not imagine what would possess a grown person to do something so messed up. Do some people really not have any sense of what is right and wrong? Things like this make me realize how lucky I was to have such amazing parents and family. This really makes me sick.

  32. Garrett Rood says :

    Flat out the most important post here is the child abuse case. Its disgusting plain and simple. I do not care what the circumstance was, or the reason, or the justification, it doesn’t matter, that is just awful. My parents spanked, 100% of the time I deserved it, so I’m not one of those people that thinks parents should not touch their kids, but I know there is always a line and this parent didn’t just step over it she jumped over it as if she were on a pogo stick. Just awful.

  33. shaliniKannan says :

    I felt that presentation II went really well and everyone did a really great job! There were so many interesting things I learned from hearing everyone speak. I am just as excited for Presentation IV even though we havent really gotten together to figure everything out.
    As for the Escalona case, it is really disturbing to think what a 23-year old mother of five could do to one of her kids in impulse. Nothing can justify her actions of physically abusing her child to the extent of her child being in the hospital with serious injuries.
    This eating contest should be a lesson to all the fellow participants and anyone else who is thinking of consuming insects. These types of competitions are extremely dangerous and therefore should be banned, because an innocent man died from doing this for a social cause.

  34. Paul Laurinaitis says :

    I would like to comment regarding presentation 2. I think the presentations have been much better than the first time around. It seems like everyone is more comfortable and in a better zone to do well. The presentations also are more interesting due to the fact that visual aids are allowed. I look forward to hearing more presentations and see what people have in store.