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Unreasonable At Sea!


Hi all,

Not related to a blog assignment, but I just wanted to share: my abroad alma mater, Semester at Sea (which I think I’ve managed to talk about in 95% of my blog posts and comments), is teaming up with a project called the Unreasonable Institute to further global learning and entrepreneurs.

The Unreasonable Institute is a ridiculously cool program which I just found out about a few hours ago, when someone from my SAS voyage posted this video on their pairing on our Facebook voyage wall. From their website:

“We are solving the world’s biggest problems by arming the entrepreneurs who can take them on with the mentorship, capital, and network to make it happen.

Each year, we unite 25 entrepreneurs from every corner of the globe to live under the same roof for six weeks in Boulder, Colorado. These entrepreneurs receive training and build long-term relationships with 50 world-class mentors, ranging from the former Managing Director of Investments at Google.org, to the CTO of HP, to an entrepreneur who’s enabled over 19 million farmers to move out of poverty. In the process, they also form relationships and build their businesses with 20 investment funds, receive legal advice & design consulting, and pitch to hundreds of potential investors and partners.”

These 25 chosen entrepreneurs are deemed the “Unreasonable Fellows” and are picked through an intense selection process; each entrepreneur must be nominated by one of UI’s 140 partners, and go through a 3 stage selection process. And – get ready! – next year, the Unreasonable Fellows will be joining the spring voyage of Semester at Sea to sail around the world and spread their knowledge all over! Their program is named Unreasonable At Sea; they call it transnational entrepreneurship. The Fellows will sail to 14 countries to meet with top government officials, pitch their ideas in front of hundreds of investors, and meet with each country’s top entrepreneurs as well. And I can personally attest that the 600 students who will be joining them on that voyage are all intelligent, driven, and wildly creative; the chances that someone’s idea will not grow, improve, or spread is likely extremely low. This is a truly remarkable spread of global technology and knowledge.

If this does not somehow manage to integrate everything we’ve been talking about in the past few weeks AND the most life-changing, amazing experience ever, I just don’t know what else would fit that list of superlatives. (Excuse me for being sappy, yesterday was my 1 year anniversary of my return to the States after SAS, and I’ve been sad about it all day.) Watch the video here:

Enjoy!

One Word: Stand


Obesity is a major concern for the United States as well many countries around the globe.

I believe this problem can be fixed by one word: STAND.

Lack of exercise, a sedentary lifestyle and junk food are a few reasons for obesity. It is no longer a condition affecting only adults. Childhood and teen obesity are becoming grave concerns today, and technology has increased our sedentary lifestyle since you can talk to whoever you want with the push of a button.

All of these elements have contributed to the main issue at hand here: obesity. Unhealthy weight gain due to poor diet and lack of exercise is responsible for over 300,000 deaths each year.  Also, the annual cost to society for obesity is estimated at nearly $100 billion.  Overweight children are much more likely to become overweight adults, so it is important to develop healthy eating and exercise behaviors within the family.

 

Exercise can not only prevent health concerns and awful diseases, but it has been proven to better a person’s mood, increase energy, aid in better sleeping habits, and help with self-esteem issues. Plus, it’s fun! So stand up, go for a run or just take a walk- it may just save your life!

Vote Today, Shape Tomorrow


Voting is one of the most empowering components of living in a democracy. It provides you the opportunity to share your opinions and impact the future of our country.  Unfortunately, many take this privilege for granted. It seems as though many in our country believe their vote is futile and doesn’t mean much. Anyone who watched the 2000 Presidential Election results in Florida or the 2012 Republican Iowa caucus would likely disagree.  Despite the elements of our government that frustrate us, the fact is that voter absenteeism only furthers corruption. Voters must take action to change the culture of Washington. Little change will occur when disgruntled voters aren’t making their voices heard. The overwhelmingly lopsided victory of President Barack Obama in 2008 proves the power that voters have when they are frustrated and desire change. Hold your leaders accountable for their promises.

The blog prompt this week asked that we develop a way to improve the world in 60 seconds. In my opinion, a careful selection of who leads the United States can have a profound impact not only domestically but also internationally. That is why it is important to engage in the political process and understand who you are voting for.  Politicians can ultimately determine laws that protect or restrict personal freedoms and civil liberties. The President selects judges and justices who determine the legality of critical issues like civil rights, religion, and abortion. A President you vote for today may choose a judge that will determine social policy in the US for decades.

That being said, US politicians also impact other countries around the globe. These individuals make vital decisions with regards to foreign aid, defense, and trade. They determine who we will engage violently but also who we will support in peaceful operations. US foreign policy towards other countries can impact populations for years. This fact is evident in regions like Latin America. (See Guatemala)

So, learn about the candidates. Find a candidate, regardless of party, that falls in line with your personal beliefs. Then, go out and tell others about the election. Vote in every election (local, state or federal) to honor those who fought for this right. Don’t stop there. Start a campaign or movement knowing that the impacts of your efforts are limitless.

Sain Jordi’s Day (Diada de San Jordi)


As you may know, my father emigrated from Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain.  I was named for the patron saint of Catalunya, San Jordi (Saint George).

Today is one of my favorite celebrations from my second home- Barcelona.  April 23rd is “la diada de San Jordi.”  Traditionally, women receive a rose, and men a book.  But you can mix it up how you like these days.  Of course, this is especially apt as you have done your book posts!  The city is covered with street book stalls.  A whole city celebrating the love of the book!  Nothing could make me happier! Flowers, meh.

Here is a short (2 min) video from BCN.CAT, a public broadcaster, checking in with average folks.  You can hear mostly Catalan, a different language.  For example, you will hear “roses”= roses, “llibres”=books (the “ll” in Catalan has no English equivalent.  It is somewhere between “l” and “e”), “sempre”=always, “vermell”= red, “carrers”= streets.

Bon San Jordi!

Childhood Obesity Epidemic


Childhood obesity is at an all-time high as about one-third of the United States children are considered obese. This growing rate is alarming as more and more children are having health problems such as diabetes, liver disease, and cardiovascular problems. These children are learning bad health habits at a young age that will carry over into their adulthood where they further increase the risk of health problems. In order to fix this epidemic, there has been involvement by the government, health institutions, and campaigns. While the government can create laws that regulate what children are exposed to at school, they cannot control their eating habits at home. Thus, the most productive way to change childhood obesity is to have good role models, especially the parents or guardians. Parents can control what they purchase at the store and what they prepare for their children. By constantly supplying children with healthy options, they keep obesity down and teach healthy eating habits for the future. It is also important for parents and guardians to encourage children to play outside and not sit around and watch TV or play video games all day. Technology has provided non-active entertainment for children, making it more difficult for children to be motivated to be active outside. Parents and guardians can also change this by not supplying children with lots of video games and by encouraging children to participate in activities with them.

Lewsiburg Terrorized


You may not have seen the paper…

Monday Mornings… And Other Alliterations


Voracious. That’s how I would describe my reading style. From the very beginnings of my lovely life, I have always loved to read. In fact, that’s how I skipped a grade – I was reading chapter books in kindergarten (a little ahead of the curve much?), and I began to split my time between kindergarten and first grade. Two years later, it was decided that I was precocious and apparently socially skilled enough (who knows where on earth they got that idea) and next thing you know, I missed out on the experience that was third grade.

To this day, reading is still one of my favorite activities. That’s all that I do when I’m home! One of my biggest regrets about school is how little time I have for non-academic readings. What a nerd, I know. But if I sat down with a book, I promise you I would get nothing done until I finished that sucker. So this week’s blog post was simultaneously exciting and annoying…. I got to look at fiction books! But…. I got to look at books I wanted to but knew I couldn’t read because otherwise I’d not do my work, fail my classes, and not graduate. Great.

So, this afternoon found me reluctantly heading towards the fiction section on the first floor. The first book to catch my eye was Monday Morning, written by Sanjay Gupta, MD. The cover is mostly black with a large white font, which made it stand out from the rest of the books with picturesque scenes of trees or lakes or other romantic sappy things. When I looked closer, I almost left it; I saw that it was written by a real doctor, who apparently is also the Chief Medical Correspondent to CNN. I’ll be honest, I want nothing to do with dry medical reports, especially if it’s all gonna be bad news. But then I saw the “a novel” line and I was instantly intrigued. A real doctor who is also a reporter who wrote fiction? Wait… what?

I glanced at the inside cover to find a synopsis which goes a little something like this: “Every time surgeons operate, they’re betting their skills are better than the brain tumor, the faulty heart valve, the fractured femur. Sometimes, they’re wrong. At Chelsea General, surgeons answer for bad outcomes at the Morbidity and Mortality conference, known as M & M. This extraordinary peek behind the curtain into what is considered the most secretive meeting in all of medicine is the back drop for the entire book. Continue reading

Hit List is a Great Hit


I started to look through the books that were on display in the fiction section near the café seating area and Hit List immediately caught my attention. As I mentioned in my blog post about St. Louis, this book is a part of the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series that I like to read. I am an avid fantasy reader and this book series is very interesting to me (especially if I want to visit St. Louis because of it). The Hit List, by Laurell K Hamilton, is the latest book of the series and is the one that I have not read yet. I haven’t read it yet since I like to wait for the books to come out of paperback in order to match my whole collection.

After reading the preview that was provided on the inside cover as well as leafing through a couple of chapters, I got a good understanding of what the novel was going to be about. Basically, the most dangerous and power vampire, the Mother of All Darkness (similar to the idea of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named from Harry Potter), is escaping from a deep trance and is looking for a body to possess. She wants to possess someone that is not only a threat to her existence but is also very powerful so naturally she wants Anita Blake’s body. Anita Blake is the main character who is deeply involved in the supernatural world. She is also a necromancer as well as many other things.  Anita Blake is called on a police case involving murders that have been occurring by some form of “monster”. She works with the police on many supernatural mysteries since she is a Federal Marshal. She is known to the supernatural world as “The Executioner” and Edward, who also called in on the case, is who known as “Death”. The case as it turns out is a trap by the Harlequin (they serve the Mother of All Darkness) to get close to Anita. Overall, this book is filled with violence, sex and action and looks like another thriller created by Hamilton. I am excited to get the chance to read it once the semester is over and I have some free time.

Trying to relate Hit List to something that we discussed in class was very difficult. However, in my attempt to make some kind of connection I made a really big stretch and related it to Walzer’s complex equality. If you view the Mother of All Darkness as a company and the other people as social goods, then the Mother of All Darkness would dominate. She is attempting to control and exploit the social goods in a way that would create a monopoly. This would not create equality according to Walzer as he argues that there should be a reduction of dominance. Therefore, he would not approve of the Mother of All Darkness’s actions.

I know this is a mighty big stretch but it was the only thing that I could really think of to relate the Hit List to something we discussed in class. On another note, I encourage anyone that is interested in starting this addicting series. My boyfriend started reading them this winter and can’t seem to put them down!

Irony in Research- US Chamber of Commerce


As I was constructing a list of business groups and associations for our research projects, I was looking at the US Chamber of Commerce’s website.  The USCOC is almost always supportive of right-wing or Republican policies.  I wanted to see what they had published or even researched about poverty for a student’s white paper argument draft.

Their search engine, ironically, asked me if I meant “property” instead of “poverty.”

Unintended irony!

The Gateway to the West


A place that I have never been but am very interested in visiting is St. Louis, Missouri. In my spare time, I enjoy reading fantasy books and one of favorite series takes place in St. Louis. The series is by Laurell K. Hamiltonand her 22 book series (all of which are not completed yet) is called Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter. The series is about Anita Blake, a powerful sassy woman who has the power to raise the dead (it is also her occupation) and her increasing involvement with the supernatural world. In the series, the supernatural coexist with the humans and everyone is subject to the law. Since I have been reading this series since high school, St. Louis has become quite an interest of mine. I would love to visit the place that some of my favorite fictional characters live and die.

Laurell K. Hamilton

When I think and envision St. Louis, the first thing that comes to my mind is the symbol of the city, the St. Louis Gateway Arch. The Arch was designed by Eero Saarinen and Hannskarl Bandel and was finished building in 1965. The arch is a part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial and is the tallest man-made monument. It is located on the west bank of the Mississippi River and symbolizes the “Gateway to the West”. Since it is such an important monument of the city, I wanted to further my understanding of what the Arch symbolizes for the city and if that coincides with the view that I have developed of the city through the descriptions provided in the Anita Blake series. Continue reading

They knew we were American by our teeth


Last spring semester I took part in the 1.5 credit program course Conflict and Peace in Northern Ireland.  This program course during the spring prepared the class for a short-term study abroad program known as Bucknell in Northern Ireland (BUNI). The program is a collaboration of Bucknell, International Conflict Research Institute (INCORE), and the University of Ulster-Magee College. This service-learning program focuses on the histories and cultures of people in Northern Ireland. From mid-May to early June, we stayed in Derry/Londonderry. We briefly visited the Republic of Ireland as well. Despite the constant overcast and rain showers, it is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen! (my pictures don’t even do it justice)

    

 

Political capitals of the countries Ireland an...

Political capitals of the countries Ireland and Northern Ireland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Please note that Northern Ireland is part of the UK. It is not united with the rest of Ireland (the Republic) which is independent of British rule. As you may know, society in Northern Ireland is recovering from a period of sectarian conflict. The worst part of this conflict is referred to as “The Troubles” (late 1960s-1990s). This conflict between Catholics (Nationalists/Republicans) and Protestants (Unionists/Loyalists) was the spark of much violence in Northern Ireland during their history. When we, as Americans, think of these time periods, we see them as so long ago. To society in Northern Ireland, their history is still very much alive, like it was only yesterday. Continue reading

Shady Superpowers


One of my favorite shows is the British science fiction drama, Misfits. Currently filming its fourth season with an American production in the works, Misfits is just about everything you might want in a show – superheroes, evil villains, obscene language, clever writing, superb acting, dark humor, murder, sex, drinking, and a fantastic soundtrack.

 

The show follows a group of 5 early 20’s delinquents, sentenced to community service. In the first episode, they are struck by an electrical storm, and each delinquent develops some sort of superpower – immortality, the ability to rewind time, overhearing others’ thoughts, invisibility, and sexual power. Their probation worker is deranged from the storm, and one of our crew kills him in self-defense. Much of the first season revolves around “the gang” trying to prevent anyone from finding out about the murder, as they fear no one will believe that a group of juvenile delinquents has superpowers and had to kill their crazy probation worker in self-defense. It soon becomes clear to the viewer that each episode centers around one villain, usually a citizen who uses a power gained in the storm to harm others, and it is up to our quirky delinquents to stop each villain. Hilarity ensues.

 

In later seasons, more complex scenarios are introduced – other characters with complicated backgrounds enter the Misfits world, and questions of morality arise. At the end of the second season, our gang has finished their community service and is trying to adjust to normal life. By this time, (spoiler alert!) the appearance of “superpowers” within certain citizens has been outed to society, and their powers are no longer a secret. For some of the gang, their powers are a nuisance. The last episode of the season, a “Christmas Special”, centers around a discouraged vicar, who buys the superpowers of walking on water and telekinesis, and uses these powers to convince people he is the next Jesus. Meanwhile, the same dealer has bought the powers of the misfits. As the vicar exploits his new followers for money, he continues to buy more powers, including some of the gang’s. A follower of the vicar attempts to rob a bar where our misfits are currently day drinking, and in the process, kills one of the gang. Realizing that they cannot save her without their powers (especially the power to reverse time), they run back to the power dealer, who will sell them the remaining powers back for a much higher price than they recieved. What now?

Watch the scene below, starting at 30:00 – hulu will ask to you to log in due to mature content

Misfits “Christmas Special”

Continue reading

How Private are your records?


Charlotte King

Charlotte King

Private Practice is a TV show spin-off of the popular medical drama Grey’s Anatomy.  The show follows the lives of doctors at Oceanside Health & Wellness Group in Los Angeles, CA.  Charlotte King is the Chief of Staff at St. Ambrose Hospital which is adjacent to Oceanside Health & Wellness Group.  The doctors face many ethical dilemmas associated with their patients, but Charlotte is forced to make many tough decisions on behalf of the hospital.

Continue reading

Feeney Finds Out


The TV episode I chose to examine from a business, government, and society perspective is from the show Boy Meets World.  I am sure many of you are familiar with the sitcom comedy-drama, as it aired for seven seasons on ABC from 1993 through 2000, but for those of you who aren’t, I will sum it up.  Basically, the show chronicles the experiences and everyday life lessons in the world of Cory Matthews, your typical teenage boy from Philadelphia as he grows up from a young boy, through middle school, high school, college, and later married life.

Continue reading

Come Join Me at Downton Abbey


This week I have decided to stray from my normal political banter to share one of my current favorite shows. Downton Abbey is a television series which is produced both by Carnival Films of the UK and WGBH Boston, Massachusetts. The setting of the program revolves around a fictional estate named Downton Abbey which is located in the North Riding of Yorkshire. It was created and largely written by actor and writer Julian Fellowes. Downton Abbey is currently in production of its third season and premiered in the United States on PBS on January 9, 2011.

The series begins during the Edwardian Era in England and the year 1912. The main focus of Downton Abbey is a vivid portrayal of the lives, romances, scandals, and secrets of the aristocratic Crawley family and their staff which keeps the estate running every day. The audience is captivated by a detailed sequence of happiness and heartbreak with each of the characters in the story.

Downton is the home of the Crawleys, who have been the Earls of Grantham since 1772. The scenic estate is emphasized throughout the home in elaborate in the family drawing rooms, libraries, and bedrooms, all of which look over the vast landscape. The servant staff also lives on the property in their own quarters. Regardless of whether a character is a Crawley or a servant, there are rigid social hierarchies that all are impacted by.

There is a range of motivations and dreams amongst the servant staff at Downton. Some are extremely loyal to the Crawleys and view working at Downton as a way of life. Others, looking to climb up the social ladder, view Downton as a stepping stone to bigger and better things. Nevertheless, everyone enjoys the adventures inherent with working at Downton and is aware of privileged information within the family.

The plot thickens and social norms are challenged when members of the Crawley family and their servant staff are called to serve during World War I. Their lives become even more intertwined and many are concerned that life as they know it will be changed forever.

Continue reading

Sluts and Feminism


You probably know all about Sandra Fluke, Rush Limbaugh, and the media storm over his description of her as a “slut.”  Google it if you want.

Meanwhile, talking with my wife and her mother, I got on my soap box about this Bucknellian article about “Protection from Sexual Assault.”  Look, I am sure the author, Sarah Morris, is being practical and trying to be helpful.  Still, my reaction was that this is simply an update of the attitude that if women are sexually abused or misused, it is their fault. Like the recent comment in the media that in the old days, women’s I mean girl’s contraception was “an aspirin between the knees.”  Google it. Where are men individually or “manhood” as a category in her analysis?

My self-described feminist relations both said I was over reacting and that it just made sense, the article.

Fine.  I still think it is messed up that whatever amount of sexuality a women (or man) adopts somehow becomes sufficient for her to reasonably EXPECT to be coerced. I tried to rile them up by saying they are no better than the infamous women on rape jury trials who are MORE likely than men to say “she had it coming.” Look, women often enforce these gender stereotypes.  Ask most straight men: we could care less about 95% of make-up, clothes, and body type.  We are usually very simple creatures.

So, this morning, in regards the Sandra Fluke-Rush Limbaugh news, my ma-in-law sends me this article from Slate that had the argument that some activists want to reclaim slut as their own term so that they can have “sexuality without judgement.”

She said I was “ahead of the curve.”  Natch.  Score one for me.

Drama in Beverly Hills


One of my guilty pleasures is watching trashy, reality TV. One of my favorite shows is The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills on Bravo. Over winter break I got to catch up on the season and even got my dad into it! The show’s cast involves elite housewives in Beverly Hills who are in the same circle of friends. They all have very strong personalities and therefore there is a lot of drama that occurs on the show. The six major housewives include Taylor Armstrong, Lisa Vanderpump, Kyle Richards, Kim Richards, Camille Grammer, and Adrienne Maloof as well as one of their common “friends” Brandi Glanville.

In the episode, Uninvited of season 2, a lot of drama unfolded at Kyle’s annual White Party. The party is held at Kyle’s house and includes all white decor and the guests have a dress code of white. All of the housewives were invited but of course there was bound to be an issue between at least two of the housewives. Camille, who was already at the party, didn’t feel comfortable with Taylor’s husband, Russell, coming to the party. Camille had repeated some of things that Taylor had told her about her abusive relationship with Russell. Continue reading

Pass me the ball, I’m open!


Athleticism is one of the main components of my personal identity. I consider myself to be pretty athletic and very competitive when it comes to sports. I grew up playing three sports (water polo, swimming, and softball) and succeeded in all three. Over the past three summers I have been a beach lifeguard in Corolla, NC where I have participated in big lifeguarding competitions and placed in multiple events in the South Atlantic Region. At Bucknell, I am a co-captain of the women’s water polo team (where we just went 4-1 this past weekend!) and have started all four years. Sports have consumed and play an important component of my life.

From my personal experience, I still see a large part of American society being sexist towards women’s athletics. For example, during high school gym class, we would play all sorts of co-ed sports including softball, basketball, handball, volleyball, and tennis. When it came time to the team sports, I would always become very frustrated. During handball for example, the boys would never pass me the ball even when I was wide open, in a scoring position, and calling for the ball. It was discouraging and frustrating and I ended up just walking back and forth on the court since there was no hope for me to get to participate. I have not only experienced this discrimination on the field but also by the attendance to female sporting events versus men. The men’s water polo team here at Bucknell will have the stands packed during their home games while the women’s team will have maybe a quarter of the attendance (mostly family). Continue reading

What are YOU the first to do?


In browsing through the “people to watch” I came across someone I find inspiring. This someone is 25 year old Tammy Tibbetts who was featured in Meet The Change Generation. She founded She’s The First in 2009, bringing together ideas and experimenting with creative ways to raise money. This money is used to fund girls in the developing worlds be the first in their family to graduate.

Continue reading

Frak/Frack update


PLEASE RATE IF YOU LIKE.

Serendipity: a fortuitous happenstance.

For example, Patrick posts about Fracking, the slang term for hydraulic fracturing.  He and I both know it is amusing at another level because this gem of a show,Battlestar Galactica, the rebooted one, not the original, was great (trust me, even my wife who does not like sci–fi liked it).  They needed a way to make the hardscrabble life of fighter pilots come alive.  So they invented “frak” as a replacement for fuck.

It worked:

This led me to recall Stephen Colbert’s similar end-run around the FCC’s ban on certain words.  Start at 3:10 to get it.  I can’t embed the video.  But it is frakking hilarious.

BLOG INSTRUCTIONS

Blog 5 before session 6 What (interest) or Who (person) Inspires You? For this week’s prompt, the Blog Council wants you to examine how this class relates to your own interests. So, please write about how this class relates to some of your own intellectual or other learning interests. We are NOT interested in how it relates to a specific career goal. Plan B: same idea, but based on a person. See whole post for details.

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