Archive for August, 2014

August 19, 2014

“O Captain! My Captain!”- A Call for Media Sensitivity

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We all walked with mournful tread on Monday as news of Robin Williams’ death swept through news outlets. News paraded across television screens and plastered itself on newspaper headlines. The actor had tragically taken his own life last Monday, imposing grief into the lives of all those he had touched throughout his career – myself included. I still remember watching Dead Poets Society for the first time. I’ve always loved books, poetry, and writing. Robin Williams’ performance as John Keating, a word-loving, passionate English teacher inspiring his students to “make their lives extraordinary”, resonated deeply within me. In one of my favorite scenes, Keating huddles his students together and says: “Medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.” It is heartbreaking that despite being loved by family, friends, and fans, Williams fell victim to depression, and later, tragically, to suicide. The media did not delay in sharing such news, sparking both grief over his death and outrage over its coverage.

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August 19, 2014

Copycat Suicide Awareness

rip-robin-williamsAccording to the National Association of Suicidology, there were 39,518 suicides reported in 2011, which equates to 108.3 suicides per day in the United States. A 2012 SAMHSA study reported 987,950 annual suicide attempts in the United States, which translates to one every 32 seconds. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention pointed out that “90% of people who die by suicide have a potentially treatable mental disorder at the time of their death – a disorder that often has gone unrecognized and untreated.”  Depression affects more than 350 million people of all ages and is one of the most common disorders. This included the famous comedian and actor, Robin Williams, who committed suicide in his California home on August 11, 2014.

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August 18, 2014

New Laws Provide Protection for Orcas Without Dooming SeaWorld

Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 7.01.29 PMIn recent years, SeaWorld has made a regular appearance in the media following a nation-wide backlash against its treatment of captive killer whales.  The company came under fire after the powerful documentary Blackfish, was released.  The film graphically demonstrated the fatal consequences of the captivity and mistreatment of orcas at SeaWorld to a massive audience, which in turn, caused outrage and concern among the public.  After SeaWorld’s recent announcement of the whopping 33% drop in stock last week, they have taken the stage yet again, headlining all over the media across the country. 

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August 18, 2014

#Icebucketchallenge: Another Example of “Slacktivism”?

Log in to your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and no doubt you will find your news feed full of videos of people dumping buckice-bucketets of ice water over their heads. What is the point of this ice bucket challenge? Why? After digging a little deeper I found that the ice bucket challenge is a viral movement that is daring people to spread amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) awareness. Facebook reports to TIME magazine that 1.2 million unique videos related to the ice bucket challenge have been posted and a total of 15 million people have discussed the ice bucket challenge on Facebook via video postings and status updates between June 1 and August 13 of 2014.

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August 18, 2014

Excessive Use Of Force By Police

Ever since Michael Brown, an unarmed African American teenager, was fatally shot by a Caucasian police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, local outrage has been escalating. Protesters are furious at their police department. Several arrests have been made during confrontations with protesters. Police officers and protesters are being injured, stores have been vandalized and looted. The police department is fighting to protect the city of Ferguson and their people, while the protesters are fighting against police brutality and racism. This is a war between citizens and the police department for justice and fair treatment.

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August 18, 2014

Online Piracy Kills Your Digital Storage, Not the Entertainment Industry

imagesIn the United States, new movies are typically released in theaters every week. Some are great box office hits, while others are just plain terrible. Yet, who is to blame when a movie that did well in its prequels falls $10 million short of initial projections in its most recent debut? There are several different factors that can be considered. For one, maybe the movie trailer did not spark enough curiosity from its audience. Maybe it was just bad timing because of keen competition with other movies that had the same release date. However, the more popular suspect that will get the most attention is piracy.

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August 18, 2014

Hunting in Loxahatchee Refuge: The Reason it is Justified

alligatorHaving balance in the environment is the key to a well-functioning world. In Florida, the people have to find a balance in living with the American alligator population that has been steadily growing over the years. One way that the state has decided to balance out the population is to establish a season for hunting the alligators. Since 1988 hunting alligators has been legal; and today the cost of a permit for an instate resident to hunt is $272 with others having to pay $1,002. Recently, despite some people strongly protesting the decision, the state has approved to offer licenses to eleven hunters so that they may hunt for alligators in the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. Despite the negative reaction that activist have towards the decision, this is a good way to combat the fast growing population.

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August 18, 2014

The Right to Donate

gayflagImagine for a moment that you are the parent of a gay child who has tragically taken their own life due to the discrimination and hatred of others.  Adding to your heartbreak and dismay, you find out that your child is still being discriminated against even after their death.  Sadly, this has become the harsh reality that Iowa mother, Sheryl Moore, must face.  Moore told the Des Moines Register that her son, Alexander Betts’s, death is “the most painful thing I have ever been through in my entire life…I would not wish that on my worst enemy.”  She said that her son, “spent his entire life trying to make people feel good.”

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August 18, 2014

The Facts of Living Together

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My boyfriend and I just celebrated our five year anniversary last month, and I can thankfully say that we are happy together. We began dating in high school, and held together a long distance relationship for the first three years of college. Last year I took a leap of faith and decided to transfer to UH Manoa because that is where he had been attending. When I was getting ready to move to Hawaii, all of my friends were grilling me with the details of my living situation with my boyfriend. As a strong, independent, morally correct woman, I pledged that I would not be living with my boyfriend because I wanted to to live by my self and I didn’t believe that we should live together before we got married. To make a long story short, I changed my mind and moved in with him after two weeks of living in Hawaii. By doing this, I received much skepticism and criticism from my family and friends, however I can honestly say that is the best thing I ever did for my relationship. In the media I see the pros and cons of this topic coming up more and more, however by examining the facts,  it will become obvious why living together before marriage is the key to determining the future of a relationship.

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August 18, 2014

ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria): New Threat to the USA?

20140811_iraq_yazidi_2 Last month, the militant group ISIS ( Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) declared their jihad (holy war) against the minorities of Iraq which included the dwindling population of  Middle Eastern Christians, Yazidi sects and Kurds. Little was known that the situation would worsen to such a great extent. According to an opinion article published in the New York Times, it was an image out of the eighth century: bearded Islamist marauders abruptly executing unbelievers, prowling as they went.

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August 18, 2014

Internet Download Cap: More Fees for Us, More Cash for Comcast

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When people find videos on their iPhones or Androids, they don’t watch them because they may be near the end of their billing cycle and fear they might exceed their data limit – so they save the link and wait to watch the videos at home. But soon, Internet users will need to worry about data usage both outside and at home. Yes, users will soon be stripped of their ability to stream as many TV shows and movies they want (yes, this means no binge watching on Netflix), download as many games as they want (yes, this includes PS4 and Xbox beta game downloads), transfer large files in and out of their cloud platforms as frequently as they want (yes, this means you should choose which files you want to store), and backup their computers, cellphones, and tablets as much as they’d like (yes, this means you should consider turning off that automatic backup feature).

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August 17, 2014

The Internet Needs An Upgrade

https://i0.wp.com/drhurd.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Internet.jpgFor a few hours on August 12, many Internet users found they could not connect, experienced slowdowns, or were locked out of their online accounts to many of their favorite websites. Among those affected include the websites of eBay, Amazon, Autotrader, LinkedIn, Time Warner and Verizon. The problem was caused by the 15,000 new Internet destinations being dumped by Verizon onto the network for about 10 minutes. Contrary to popular belief at the time, this was not a connection issue, but a technical issue with the structure of the Internet itself. This was also not an attack on the Internet, but it was a warning. Andree Toonk, founder and lead developer for BGPMon, said, “we basically got a small taste of what is possibly about to happen. Hopefully this is a wakeup call.”

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August 16, 2014

Health Textbook Gets Banned for Being Too Sexy

imagegenAs of Wednesday, August 13, 2014, the Fremont Unified School District (located in Fremont, California) has decided to shelf a health textbook after parents deemed it as, “equivalent to pornography.” By Wednesday afternoon, there were about 2,500 concerned parents who had signed a petition to ban the textbook. In a 3-2 vote, the school board decided to continue using last year’s textbook in freshman health classes, despite the fact that the book contains inaccurate and outdated information. The book, Your Health Today, is targeted for college students but according to a district statement, the publisher, McGraw-Hill Education, and school officials will work together to modify the textbook’s content to meet the district’s needs and address concerns about, “the appropriateness of its content for high school students.”

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August 16, 2014

Abolishing Teacher Tenure Will Not Solve Our Education Problem

            job in collegeA child’s academic success is highly dependent on the quality of their teachers. Most people surely agree with this statement; however, due to the complexity of learning, is this really true? Many believe so, suggesting that a simple fix to our educational system may come by the means of disallowing teachers from becoming tenured.

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August 16, 2014

To Spank Or Not To Spank?

file0001291324239Were you spanked as a child? I sure did. But come to think of it, I may actually have deserved it. After all, kids will be kids, and some are more naughty than others. Yet despite a recent court decision that ruled that it’s a ‘reasonable use of force’ for parents to spank their kids, is really right for parents to spank their children as a form of punishment?

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August 16, 2014

Embracing Robots in the Workforce

robot-1309468-sBy the year 2025, we can very well see the rise of robots in the workplace. In a research survey released by the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project and Elon University’s Imagining and Internet Center, 1900 experts and respondents were asked about the impact of artificial intelligence 11 years from now. The results of the survey were split down the middle. Forty-eight percent of the respondents said that robots would destroy more jobs than they would create, and fifty-two percent said that robots would create more jobs than they kill. In other words, according to the study, there could be both huge benefits and consequences.

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August 16, 2014

“Cop Cams” Provide Solutions to Worsening Police and Public Relations

copcamNews on the killings of minorities by law enforcement has been spreading like wildfire across the nation, raising concerns of racial targeting, excessive force and abuse of power from police. To make things worse, police are hardly held accountable because of lack of solid evidence.  In this past month alone, four different African-American men were killed in separate altercations with police.  One of those cases involved an unarmed 18-year-old boy, Michael Brown, whose death at the hands of police has resulted in an eruption of anger and concern among social media and an outbreak of enraged public protests .  

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August 15, 2014

Labeling Provides Solution to Nation-Wide Skepticism of Ill Effects of GMOs

As a vital necessity in maintaining life, it comes to no surprise that food has become a hot topic in the United States.   As of late, a trend in food and health awareness has resulted in nation-wide skepticism regarding the country’s food supply and the questionable means by which food is being produced.  Through genetic engineering, GMOs, or “genetically modified organisms,” are genetically altered foods created to possess the efficacy to solve tremendous issues like world hunger and malnutrition. 

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August 15, 2014

Experimental Drugs Aren’t The “Miracle Cures” To Ebola

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has just released updated figures on the growing epidemic in West Africa: 1,975 documented cases, 1069 of which were deaths. Up until this year, there had been 1,640 recorded deaths worldwide since the virus was first discovered in 1976. To put things in perspective, roughly two-thirds of all Ebola deaths of all-time have occurred during this particular outbreak, which started in February of this year and shows no signs of stabilizing. Doctors have only containment since ebola has no cure, though some potential treatments, such as ZMapp, are in development. While showing promising results in monkeys, ZMapp has not been tested on humans, but it has been administered under “compassionate use” to American doctors Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol. Both show signs of improvement, which prompted questions about using experimental drugs on the frontlines of the epidemic.    

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August 15, 2014

Should We Be Afraid Of Robot Laborers?

A recent study by the Pew Research Center asked about 1900 scientists whether robots will create jobs for human workers or will they take away more jobs than they make by 2025. The results are evenly split, where 52% think robots will be creating jobs while 48% claim robots will take away jobs.

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