Discussion Post: Week 12

We’re just about ready to start our third round of presentations. How do you feel about the shift to persuasion? Are you confident in your topic, and is that outline coming together? What strategies are you employing to improve upon Informative Presentation II?

Harry Potter fans certainly remember the invisibility cloak of the “Boy Who Lived,” and I’m sure most of us have, at some point, dreamed of having a blanket that would let us hide from the world. Ali Aliev, a University of Texas scientist, is trying to make that possible. His prototype uses superheated, threadlike carbon nanotubes to create a “mirage effect” that bends light around the tubes and effectively makes objects beneath them disappear. Check out the effect below:

If you’re interested, you can read Aliev, Gartstein, and Baughman’s (2011) recently published article on the subject in the journal of Nanotechnology.

The Occupy Wall Street movement generated more unintended consequences on Thursday, as a 35-year-old military veteran shot himself in the head at one of the Vermont encampments. As of this post’s writing, the man’s name has not been released, as his family is still being notified. This is just the latest in a series of violent incidents related to the protests, from attempted arson to sexual assault. Another demonstrator in Salt Lake City is dead from what appears to be a combination of carbon monoxide poisoning and drug use, while an additional shooting death near Oakland is still being investigated. Things aren’t looking brighter as we move into the winter months and viruses take hold of many encampments. Both sides are trying to use these incidents to their advantage, with police saying that the dangers to protestors and bystanders are great enough for the efforts to be shut down, while those involved with the movement say that the veteran’s suicide in particular shows just how poor mental health care for those who have served in the armed forced really is.

With NASA essentially out of the manned space flight game, we’ve been looking at other alternatives to expand our horizons, particularly toward what many believe to be the natural next step after the moon: a mission to Mars. However, one of the top remaining players in manned flight, Russia, looks to be having serious problems with the prospect of a trip to the red planet, manned or otherwise. On Tuesday, November 8, Russia’s Federal Space Agency launched a probe, called Phobos-Grunt, which was supposed to visit Phobos, one of Mars’ moons. According to an article by military commentator Konstantin Bogdanov in Russian news outlet RIA Novosti,

By November 10, officials made some statements implying that the results of the communications sessions were not yet known. These statements gradually became more pessimistic, indicating that no communication had actually been established with the spacecraft, and that no telemetry data was available.

At present, the probe is essentially just floating in orbit above the earth, stranded amongst the “space junk” beyond our atmosphere (and possibly becoming just another piece of that junk as we speak). Some have called this a mere technical issue — a setback that can be overcome in the next mission. Others, like Bogdanov, say that this latest incident is just a symptom of a larger problem, “the result of negative trends in the management of the space program, which have been developing over the past 20 years, and, it seems, are not directly linked with specific issues of technical reliability.” Time will tell how serious the problem really is, and what the consequences will be for young Americans’ dreams of space flight. Let us all pray that the Russian Soyuz rocket set to lift off from Kazakhstan Monday morning — which will carry two Russians and one American astronaut — will fare better.

At least we can take solace in the knowledge that solar flares pose no real threat to our existence, despite what movies like Knowing may tell us. According to NASA officials, while the sun’s 11-year solar flare cycle is expected to peak soon, reports that it will launch a solar flare several times the size of our planet to destory much of the earth’s atmosphere are patent falsehoods, the report said, propogating 2012 armageddon fears. (Besides, the solar flare cycle is expected to peak in 2013 or 2014, not 2012.) As NASA officials said in their report, “there simply isn’t enough energy in the sun to send a killer fireball 93 million miles to destroy Earth.” In any case, everyone in our class has already lived through at least one solar flare cycle, and they have been occurring for millennia. Hype aside, scientists expect this one to be no different.

Now that we’ve covered the end-of-the-world stuff, let’s jump into something a bit more entertaining. A few people were interested in the Kim Kardashian wedding story from last week, so as a follow-up, Kardashian’s ex-publicist is now saying that the whole wedding was staged. As many of you already know, Kardashian’s wedding was a hotly-attended affair which garnered substantial magazine and television coverage, including “behind-the-scenes” exclusives and such. 72 days after the fairy-tale ceremony, Kardashian and NBA player Kris Humphries were divorced. A lot of people have since speculated that the affair was one giant sham, but none with as much inside information as former publicist Jonathon Jaxson. According to Jaxson, Kardashian never actually got over her romance with the NFL’s Reggie Bush. In any event, Humphries didn’t seem too destraught when Kardashian filed the divorce paperwork: he was working out at the gym, as usual, with his wedding ring still on his finger. (By Thursday, he was doing the same thing, just with the wedding ring removed.)

Things are looking up for the video game industry as 2011 winds down, with a tremendous number of major franchises gearing up for fourth-quarter releases. With Battlefield 3 already at the 5 million units sold mark by Friday and gamers wild over Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, released on Tuesday, the shooter genre is more than covered. With price cuts to the Nintendo Wii and Sony’s PlayStation 3, hardware sales may climb as well. A bevy of other games are also expected to be major players in the next month and a half, including Batman: Arkham City, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, to name just a few. Even the Nintendo 3DS, whose surprisingly pitiful sales just a few months ago prompted Nintendo to drop its price by roughly one-third shortly after its release — an unprecedented move from the company for which CEO Satoru Iwata had to issue a formal apology — is now on pace to beat the original Nintendo DS’ first-year sales. Despite concerns from some critics, Sony’s PS Vita, which will be released in the U.S. on February 22, is also seeing a significant increase in pre-orders. Factor in Strategy Analytics’ new study which shows that 15 million households use their gaming consoles to watch online videos, far more than competitors like Google TV or Boxee, and the gaming industry really can’t lose.

Sometimes, you have to wonder what parents are thinking. A federal prosecutor is having to warn parents that — surprise, surprise! — it’s illegal to trade chicken pox-laced lollipops by mail to intentionally make your children sick. (Why yes, if you were wondering, this practice can be lethal, according to Tennessee state epidemiologist Tim Jones.) The parents’ reasoning, according to media reports, was to expose their children to the virus early in life in order to build immunity without having to be vaccinated, as some parents believe that vaccinations are dangerous. If that wasn’t scary enough, this is actually just a new, covert version of an existing phenomenon — previously, “chicken pox parties” put sick and healthy children together in a confined space to rapidly spread the ailment.

We have quite a few more health care stories this week. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute is now urging all parents to test their children for high cholesterol before they reach puberty. This comes in response to rapidly surging obesity rates among American children and the population as a whole. Elsewhere, researchers are considering whether a revolutionary anti-cancer peptide, which its creators call “adipotide,” could be used for weight loss. While the drug is still in the early stages of development, researchers noticed that monkeys on which the treatment was tested showed dramatic weight loss — for instance, after four weeks of treatment and a four-week follow-up without additional treatment, “10 obese female rhesus macaques lost an average of 11% of body weight and 39% of fat deposits.” Basically, the drug cuts off the blood supply to fat cells, which ultimately causes them to die and the subjects’ metabolism to change accordingly. Of course, there are still a variety of harmful side effects, from dehydration to kidney legions, and the drug is still in its earlier stages of development. It’s a curious prospect, though, to say the least.

If you think that smokers enjoy the pastime, think again. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study last Thursday that says most smokers, in fact, want to quit the habit. In their survey of about 27,000 adults, researchers found that 68.8% of smokers wanted to quit, and 52.4% tried to do so within the past year. (Only about 6% were successful.) Maybe they can turn to Wal-Mart for help — the retailing giant is considering expanding its clinic services to become a primary care service provider. Apparently the plan is to partner with outside companies to win over that additional marketplace. Maybe it’s counterproductive for a store to have doctors tell patients not to buy the bulk bags of potato chips sitting just a few aisles away, but since when have people listened to their doctor’s advice on that subject anyway? The battleplan hinges on Wal-Mart being the go-to provider for the millions which will presumably gain healthcare insurance over the coming years but with minimal spare cash to visit the doctor. However, it should be noted that the new health care law has yet to make any real change in the number of insured citizens according to a Gallup poll released on Friday.

That should be plenty for this week. What do you think about these issues?

Other articles of interest:
US soldier gets life sentence in Afghan killings
Rick Perry wants to scrap three government departments. What would that mean?
Obama spurns Congress for overseas
Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi resigns after austerity bill passes
Google Music launching without Sony and Warner
Report: LG to Unveil Google TV Device at CES
The 6 pillars of Steve Jobs’ design philosophy
Original iPod Nano recalled by Apple in USA
Facebook Retreats on Privacy
Sixth-grade iOS developer starts school app club, wows in TEDx video
Is Alzheimer’s disease really curable?
Study: Religious Folks Have a Sunnier Outlook


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57 responses to “Discussion Post: Week 12”

  1. vmgray says :

    The little boy that made the apps is amazing! He seems like a mini Steve Jobs. I believe that the next generation of children will definitely take technology to another level. I watch my 2 year old nephew play on my iPad and Android phone, and he has taught me some things about my iPad that never ran would have ran across. I think that it is cool to have this little boy willing to go and teach his peers how to make apps as well.

    • greene4 says :

      I agree with Vinchessica. I have a lot of younger nieces and nephews and seeing them operate these devices has me in awe. It’s like it’s second nature to them. I believe that the little boy is just showing that you don’t have to be a certain age to understand what our generation is turning into. You have to start off early to get ahead of the game. Like Chessica said you never know that may be the next Steve Jobs in the making. There’s no telling what this little guy might be producing by the age of 18. Hopefully his parents encourage him to do better, but don’t force him where he rebels against anything that has to do with him creating new programs for technology.

  2. bcozza says :

    Unfortunately, the concerns that I expressed with the Occupy Wall Street protests in my week seven post are becoming a reality as the demonstrations continue. Although I believe that the intentions of the protest’s founders were sincere, I am afraid that individuals with ulterior motives have hijacked the movement as evidenced by the growing reports of protestor violence. While I support the American right to demonstrate, my respect for the protestors was dashed when Occupy Oakland demonstrators seemingly transformed their protest into a riot and attacked local businesses. Moreover, the mounting reports of drug abuse, assaults, and other criminal activities by demonstrators in Occupy protests across the country irreparably undermine their credibility and legitimacy. With the movement’s initial intentions abducted and quashed by the growing reports of protestors’ improprieties, I believe that it is in the best interest of all Americans to bring the Occupy Wall Street protests to a peaceful conclusion.

  3. bkershey says :

    I found the story regarding the elimination of government departments rather interesting. I have followed the presidential race closely, however i admit fully that while learning a good deal about many of the GOP candidates, I haven’t understood the effect or ramifications to getting rid of major government departments.

    I think the thought of eliminating departments could seem sound, but as the article states, the three departments Perry proposes to eliminate have important functions. The question that hasn’t been answered by people proposing these eliminations has been who takes control of these functions? Or do these functions just vanish? With the state of the current economy I don’t understand how states of local governments can handle these duties without being extremely costly. Though the costs of these current departments are a key reason for being eliminated.

  4. mporter7 says :

    I have been waiting for the release of Skyrim for a while and after seeing some reviews for it, it is now on my must buy list. The Fallout games are some of my all time favorite and Skyrim seems to be essentially the same concept but in a much different setting. The game looks absolutely amazing, visually speaking. The advancements in visual effects for games never cease to amaze me. I can’t wait to spend a large portion of my Thanksgiving and Christmas break engrossed in the game.

  5. Chelsea Berryman says :

    I have never seen so many people so worked up for the COD and Skyrim games, or anything for that matter. This week I just bought my boyfriend the latest version of the XBox and then those two games for Christmas. I have never seen so much dedication to the games, nor the lack of sleep because the next level was just up ahead. I did find the graphics of Skyrim to be truly extraordinary and found out that it took them 2 and a half years to create. The graphics and the people look amazing and all the places and things you can do within the game – amazing.

  6. rudyv12 says :

    I have purchased COD Modern Warfare 3 and it is an intense game. However, I do have some likes and dislikes about the game. The things I like as that the graphics are amazing (XBOX 360) and the multiplayer maps are realistic and fun. I also like the survival mode which is sort of like zombies in Black Ops but definitely more intense and fun. I dislike the menu screens!!! The menu screens look as if they ran out of funding and put together some screens from N64. It was a bit disappointing, they should have made the screens resemble Black ops in my opinion. As far as skyrim, I have heard good and bad reviews. I have heard it has great graphics, but there is a lot of walking around and less fighting. Also, the end battle is apparently a disappointment to some.

  7. moormanja says :

    With all of the new video games that are coming out in this quarter, there are a lot of people with less money. Especially since Battlefield 3 and MW3 and as well as Elder Scrolls as the highest three. If you were to buy them right away with no discounts that is $180.00 gone in less than a month. Each game is $60 and if you got all three it could be a very expensive, but a very fun month for you. I have played Battlefield 3 and MW3 and was completely impressed by both, but since I’m in college and on a tight budget I have to watch what I spend my money on. I will probably be getting MW3 in the near future just because it was incredible, but Battlefield 3 and Elder Scrolls I’ll just wait till Christmas for those.

  8. Colin Patterson says :

    I’m glad that the time limit for the persuasion topic was increased because for my subject, I have a lot to cover. I plan on speaking about the IT improvement project I headed while living in a fraternity last year. The infrastructure that was previously in place was very poorly constructed and slowed down the speeds of everyone on the network.

    I don’t have any pictures of the before and after that was in the building, but I will just pull examples from the Internet that resemble what I saw. I feel confident about what I’m going to be talking about because this is what I will eventually be doing for my major.

  9. tsamadif says :

    I am very excited about adding persuasion into my presentation this week. It is definitely going to be interesting listening to every person in the class discuss things involving their academics and more or less “selling” some part of their life involving that. I am just hoping that my classmates continue to entertain me with their speeches. I am hoping to see a lot more humor which is what I am trying to add to my speech, while at the same time establishing credibility.

  10. James He (@He42) says :

    Although these new games are coming out I am a little surprised at how much the game industry is suffering from piracy. I only know 2 people out of about 20 that actually bought the skyrim game. In terms of piracy I have seen a decrease of shows being streamed on youtube which means they are doing a good job. even people who pirate have started paying for netflix because of the speed and convenience. I hope eventually more and more services like netflix will begin to show up.

  11. falkhali says :

    The young iOS developer is just simply amazing. It’s one thing for a kid his age to be already developing apps, but on top of that he is an excellent public speaker. It makes you wonder how much the kid will accomplish in his life time.

  12. dparkerr says :

    Website: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204224604577030383745515166.html

    I think requiring Facebook to obtain users consent on privacy is a solid step forward. I personally do not like when I am browsing on a website and see my Facebook profile pop up in the corner with some of my “Friends” who have viewed this page or “recommend it”. I try to keep my Facebook as private as possible but with Facebook changing its setting so frequently, it is hard to keep up and hard to navigate through all of the menus and options. I hope to Federal Trade Commission does approve this settlement and Facebook makes an effort for more streamline privacy features. In this digital age, people need to be aware who is looking at what and what people post to the internet.

  13. ndirenzo19 says :

    Steve Jobs was not only a top notch public speaker and presenter, he also knew how to design a superior product. The article about the 6 pillars of Steve Job’s design philosophy really showed me how Apple works hard to make sure every product they release is bug free and is easy to use for the consumer. I have had several Apple products and each one of them has left me satisfied and sometimes even amazed. Many technology companies focus only on their products, and not the ease of use for the common customer. This article highlights the philosophies Jobs and Apple engineers use when they design new products so that they are cutting edge and easy to use at the same time.

  14. burnscp says :

    I think that technology from the University of Texas is pretty impressive. Something like that on a larger scale would have countless applications. Obviously that would be in the very distant future because of development, reliability and implementation in any practical matter. That video reminds me of James Bond’s aston martin that had nano tech cameras in the paint that recorded what they saw and displayed that image back on the car to make it invisible to the casual eye.

    At about the 2:50 mark in case you haven’t seen it

  15. jordanthielker12345 says :

    The idea of an invisibility cloak is mind boggling. While I think this is a cool video I don’t think that this is a new idea. Movies and science-fiction novels base their ideas off of real applications. In my personal opinion, since this video has been released to the public I feel that the government has taken a closer look at the invisibility program and applied it for military purposes. I’d be willing to bet that soldiers can to some extent be camouflaged by the use of bending light or creating false images. This application would be useful for snipers in ghillie suits. I think this is more present tense than futuristic.

  16. Derek Stewart says :

    I think the invisibility cloak is so cool! I almost didn’t believe it until I watched the video! I’ve always wondered if magicians used this type of technology or something similar to assist them in making objects disappear. Anyways, Occupy Wall Street protests are out of control; I also belive with Brad that Americans have the right to protest but when does our military step in to stop the violence and endangerment of the people. In response to the gaming industry, my roomate recently bought MW3 and I’ve been playing online and campaign ever since; I might be addicted! It’s no surprise wal-mart is expanding its clinical services as a primary provider of insurance…it’s only a matter of time before they have on-staff doctors delivering babies! The sign will read “Save money. Give birth!”

  17. Chris Reed says :

    i want to talk about the carbon nanotubes. I think this is really really cool, but i see people using it for the wrong applications. i really love harry potters invisible cloak and this is awesome with how technology is advancing. As someone planning on going into the forensics field I could see the application giving me a hell of a hard time.

    Just my .02

  18. macupp says :

    The nanotechnology video reminded me of technology that I have heard about the military using.


    Basically tanks or other military vehicles can disguise themselves as anything they want or even seem to disappear.

  19. cengland42 says :

    Why any parent would want to expose their children to chicken pox infected lollipops is completely beyond me. We have developed a vaccine to completely bypass the whole ordeal completely and yet parents still feel the need to potentially kill their kid by infecting them with the virus. Just think of the other diseases that could be spread from these lollipops. If I was going around with a needle and poking people to get them infected I would be sent to prison; however we turn a blind eye when it comes to parents doing this to their children. Anyone caught doing this should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

  20. kylejnewton says :

    I thought it was interesting to read that the majority of smokers don’t like it and want to quit. I wouldn’t have guessed this if you asked me because it seems like to me if they wanted to quit badly enough that they would. I know that sounds pretty naive and I know that tobacco is very addicting — I don’t want to discredit that — but I wonder why we haven’t been able to come up with a way to help smokers who want to quit to do so. They would be happier, I would be happier, people would live longer and the stupid, greedy tobacco companies who make money by killing people would be put out of business. We’ll just ignore the economic implications from killing off the tobacco business — some downsides are still worth the end result — happier and longer lives.

    It seems like there should be more research on effective ways to safely and permanently help people kick their addiction to tobacco. I wonder if making quitting-aids more affordable and as readily available as cigarettes themselves are would help…

  21. usernamesuck says :

    The veteran of the Afghan war has a sad story. It is painful enough that this happened at all, but the fact he got life in prison? This is the atrocity. It is very expensive to keep convicts alive. Further draining our economy is not the answer for this and death row inmates alike. I think we should look to the past for an answer. We need look no further than the ancient Romans. Put these condemned into a pit and let them duke it out. The rights could be sold to television world wide. Move over World Cup. I just saved America and the world. But honestly, am I serious?

  22. Jillian Straub says :

    Working on presentation three is a bit tougher for me. I don’t mind persuasive speeches in general, but having to persuade about myself is always a challenge for me. Even in interviews, I find it difficult speaking on my strengths and achievements because you don’t want to come off as arrogant. I’m hoping I find a good balance of presenting myself well and not sounding cocky at the same time.

  23. gregalles says :

    The nanotechnology is absolutely incredible, but I have to admit it scares me a little. I would hate to see this fall into the wrong hands and be used for purposes that really are not beneficial. As long as it can be used for good, I see this as being very valuable technology for the future.

    As for the chicken pox lollipop thing, that is just flat out weird and wrong on way too many levels. Too many parents just need a swift slap to the face these days to keep their stupidity at a reasonable level. Thank goodness this was outlawed.

  24. rotosteckel says :

    The nanotechnology has me excited, but I’ll admit I’m a bit skeptical about the video. I could probably recreate the nanotechnology effect with After Effects. All I would need is a cloth green-screen, a displacement map, and a clean shot.

    As for the chicken pox, I understand the logic behind it. Chicken pox in a child is typically less severe than chicken pox in an adult. I myself was part of a “chicken pox sleepover”. Ironically enough, I ended up having to get vaccinated anyways since the case I got was so mild. However, mailing used lollipops? Come on, have some common sense.

  25. jlauuu says :

    I think it is funny how Kim Kardashian’s ex publicist said the wedding was staged. That’s just ridiculous if it is true. If you cannot come up with anything better to do with your time when your a rich celebrity, except stage a fake marriage, then you got problems. I don’t like any of the gossip, celebrity, etc, talk. I feel like it just gets repetitive, and just gets old. all celebritys love having their faces in the news, and it’s obvious if this wedding is staged….allegedly.

  26. shelbyfoster says :

    I really think that the Occupy Wall Street protests are getting out of hand. It started as peaceful demonstrations, which I am completely okay with, but now across the country they are just getting unnecessarily violent. In many places, especially Oakland, they are becoming counterproductive. We are in an economically bad situation as a country, so I see no logic in protesting to the point in which businesses and ports are being shut down, that just makes matters worse. I also have trouble seeing the true goal of these protests. I see what they are protesting, and I agree we can use some reform, but what do they want our government to do about it? In my opinion, this protest is going to need some more structure if it is going to get anything done.

  27. rachkennedy says :

    I had never heard of the term “pox parties” before, but I do believe I was subject to one as well. Many many years ago, my moms friends children all came down with the chicken pox. Once they were assumed to be all better, my moms group of friends organized a play date. Every child in attendance except me and my sister got the chicken pox that day. I have still not had the chicken pox, but as bad as it sounds I wish I had. I have to get a vaccine about every 5 years and since I do not respond well to vaccinations, being sick for a few weeks many years ago seems much less painful now.

  28. vsabatel says :

    Before I comment on any of these posts, I’m surprised the biggest story of the week/month/year as well as the biggest sports scandal in history is not being brought up. I’m talking about Jerry Sandusky and the Nittany Lion Community. I guess there is a good reason for this and it may be too sensitive and conflicting of an issue at this time. Also no comment on the NBA labor talks have been brought up, which has once again pushed the season back after yet another week of disagreements between the players union and owners. Since that leaves no sport to comment on (which I usually do) I would like to comment on the occupy Wall Street situation. I guess my views are a little bias because I work in the stock markets industry and am part of the “Diminishing” middle class, but it just seems like this group is protesting something that no longer exists. That is, there is no such thing as Wall Street anymore, in a symbolic sense. Maybe it does make sense and I just don’t get what they mean, but if you ask 20 people what “Wall Street” means, I bet you will get 20 different answers. I am not fully against these people because I don’t think I understand them. However, I did find it funny when last week or a couple weeks ago, A Chicago stock market trader walked past the group and threw about a hundred McDonalds job applications at them. Once of my biggest pet peeves in the world is bias media. I find myself watching Fox News because I feel like sometimes they are the most balanced (even though they are known to be clearly to the right). An example of what I mean by biased media is when I went on Yahoo.com today and one of the headlines was something like “elderly man gets mased, and pregnant teen gets sent to the hospital in OWS protest”. I can’t believe Yahoo would report such a thing, which you can’t help but notice, favors the extreme leftists –or protesters – as the victims of a peaceful demonstration. First of all, as we have been hearing throughout these past few months, these protesters got violent (or I should say “the protests got violent” more non-biased). Why are you, as a pregnant mother even considering going to one of these events? Same with the elderly man. You can’t just pull the innocent old elderly card when you get mased, you should have seen the poor look on the little man’s face that headlined the article. Law enforcement doesn’t just go around preying on society’s week when they have done nothing wrong (which in my opinion is part of the message that Yahoo headline is trying to convey). I believe, as soon as we can restructure our partisan system, more people will get along and we will be much more efficient as a county. Sadly we are far from that ideal. Quick Example: when Rep McCain was considering Dem Lieberman to be his running mate, the party quickly turned against it (it also recently happen the other way around, a Dem choosing a Rep, I forgot who). If Ronald Regan can switch parties and become president (one of the best) we can change out the old outdated traditional egotistic views of each party. But as my first and foremost belief in the American way, God bless this country that lets us express ourselves freely.

    • brianbritt says :

      Normally I prefer to write large responses that unite everyone than fragmented responses to each post, but while I continue to write my mega-response, I do want to take a moment to touch upon a point you raised, Vince.

      Your intuition about the Penn State story was correct — I spent quite some time thinking about the issue, and despite the story’s prominence, its nature made me very hesitant about delving into it within the course blog. To be perfectly blunt, over the past few years it’s become increasingly easy for instructors to get into trouble for introducing volatile or potentially offensive content in their class… ironically, cases like the Penn State scandal itself are part of the reason for the increased scrutiny. But yes, that’s the reason why I didn’t include it here — nor any other sports topics, since that would make the Sandusky story’s absence even more obvious — even though it’s clearly one of the biggest, most relevant news items this week, if not the biggest.

  29. bmonroe16 says :

    As we move into Presentation 3, I can’t help but feel a bit nervous. I mean, we haven’t really covered all that much as far as persuasion goes, and I feel as though this isn’t a strictly persuasive assignment. That being said, I think it will interesting to see how the remainder of the class goes at this assignment. I’m definitely going to try to have a better game plan with this presentation, and think it will be challenging to keep the audience interested, seeing as they are supposed to be a board of directors or other professional media.

  30. brad5627 says :

    okay, this whole occupy wall street thing is… extensive? i don’t even know how to describe it. I mean, it’s great that they’re doing it; power to the people. We have a right to do this stuff, it just sucks that the populace feels they have to demonstrate on issues like this because the corporations and US government isn’t responsible enough to handle these kind of situations… and people have to take to the streets not only of new york but of the entire US in protest…
    In Seattle, tonight, a ‘peaceful’ (depends on who you ask) group of demonstrators were trying to block traffic in the financial district at rush hour and the cops came, gave a legal order to disperse (but the whole point of protesting is defying authority, so it makes sense they didn’t obey the order to disperse) but then the cops start spraying multiple canisters of pepper spray randomly into the crowd… completely at random. no method, rhyme or reason… the spray a 19 year old woman who was 3 months pregnant, and they squirted an 84 year old woman straight in the face with mace… that’s some straight up bulllllshit.

    what happened to the days of the water cannon…?


    • meshiach0machshevi says :

      “Straight up bullshit” sounds like a pretty fair way to describe it.

      Scientists have been working on invisibility for years. Every couple years or months I’ve read some article about some new minor breakthrough. It’s all very exciting, but their stuff only works in the most limited of circumstances; they’re still so far from anything practical. I would love to see it, and hope we do one day.

      By the way, NASA is a worthless dinosaur and so is the Federal Space Agency. The future of spaceflight is in the voluntary sector. Long live human spaceflight.

  31. jamoliah says :

    Woah! Those nanotubes were awesome! Not to geek out too much, but the possibility of actually making things invisible is too cool. The idea has been around in science fiction for the longest time, so its kind of amazing to see it actually in action. I wonder how well it works from different angles? Or if its too fragile to move?

    Actually… now that I think about it… I’m not sure if its such a good thing. I’m having a hard time thinking of any good uses for invisibility. Most of the thoughts that pop up in my head are immoral, deceitful, or violent. Maybe I’m not just not creative enough… But most good things generally don’t need to hide…

  32. paulglab says :

    That new weight loss drug is interesting to me. The effects of the drug seem to be dramatic. I don’t think it will be a very safe way for obese children to lose weight. The fact that the drug is cutting off blood flow to the fat cells in itself sounds dangerous. It will be interesting to see what happens in human trials if it gets that far.

  33. spkuo says :

    Smokers. I will bluntly say that I don’t like people who smoke. Although I don’t want to judge people based on just the factor that they smoke, sometimes, I just can’t help it. I really dislike the smell it leaves on people, it’s obviously bad for your health, and I just don’t see why people smoke. Though it’s rather funny I’m saying this because my dad use to be a smoker. Even though he smoked a lot every day, he didn’t smoke the heavier ones. The packs he used to buy were lighter, so I guess it made it a little easier to quit. I’m really happy that he was able to. Part of it was self-determination, while the other part was from the patches that my mom decided to buy him to help him stop smoking. I thought it was rather funny, but anyways, I am rather surprised that a lot of smokers actually want to quit smoking. It’s good to hear that even though of the 52.4% that tried to quit, only 6% succeed. Hopefully, within time, that succession number will increase.

  34. jykim315 says :

    Well, my persuasive presentation went better than the last presentation. I decided to reduce my contents for my presentation to fit the time. One criticism I agreed yesterday was lack of connection between my talents and the company’s need. I did have few word to connect my talent and United Airline, but I decided to remove it to fit time. 😦

    One of most interesting topic on this post is the manned space flight. I think a new space era is coming. However, Russia and US have lost their old (financial) power back in the past. Now, China is uprising with their technology, and their space programs are accelerating really fast with help of its growing economy. Maybe a Chinese astronaut will be on the history book as the first person landed on the Mars. Who knows? I hope this new space race help human kind to advance to a new technology era. I also think that space race is better than three countries silently fighting to get military advantage over another.

  35. aheeb says :

    While I’m not entirely sure what good will come out of having a cloak of invisibility, the technology is very impressive. I have heard of the concept before, but I’ve never seen it put into practice. It does make me wonder what the plans are for this type of invention. Will this be put on the market for consumers? Would people actually buy it? Will it be used military operations? I guess only time will tell, but it will be interesting to see what the general public thinks about this.

  36. bmasuoka says :

    I’m loving how it’s video game season now. Was I one of those people waiting outside gamestop at midnight for COD MW3, no. But I was waiting for my copy of it the whole day tuesday until UPS finally delivered it at 7! I’ve always been into all of the Call of Duty games since Call of Duty 4. However my roommate has bought Battlefield 3 and I can’t say I dont like it. I think I made the decision to purchase that over christmas break to try and see how I like the feel of that game. Otherwise if we have any PS3 COD players, my gamertag is Brianmas2.

  37. lwinters26 says :

    It is insane just how much a pack of cigarettes costs now. No wonder people want to quit! We all know how bad they are too, but I just don’t know how anyone can afford keeping up the habit. I work at a grocery store and my jaw drops practically every time I ring them up. I just cant get it through my head. I see customer after customer cringe when they see their balance sky rocket. I know quitting is hard, but I feel like if you have enough will power to quit it is possible. People say they want to quit, but I say I want to do things all the time and it doesnt always mean I am going to do it. Both of my grandparents are living proof that quitting is possible to quit. Sometimes I feel like people are taking the easy way out more often now, and not challenging themselves to be better.

  38. Emma says :

    The nanotechnology mirage effect is possibly one of the coolest articles I’ve read about! I’m impressed that scientists have been able to succeed with the concept of invisibility. Although it only works with certain inert gases, at atmospheric pressure, at a certain angle, and only from one direction, it’s still quite incredible. There are so many possibilities that could branch out of this concept. I’m excited to see what other ideas stem from this concept of invisibility in the future.

  39. zjaw3150 says :

    Seeing the video about the “invisibility cloak” reminded me of another recent development in nanotechnology which I think is pretty cool. Think Rain-X on steroids, as a spray-on or paint, and you have NeverWet. It’s designed to be a “superhydrophobic” coating on which water simply beads up and rolls or even ricochets off of.

    What really impressed me was how well it made products resist icing up. Pilots are always wary of ice buildup on aircraft in the winter due to its adverse effects on performance, and literally painting anti-ice protection onto the skin of the plane would surely be huge!

  40. han39 says :

    Invisible cloak article reminds me about the load animation the ‘Ghost in the Shell’. This nanotechnology is just so amazing. If this technology goes more advanced, this technology can be used in everywhere. Scientists will be needs to put serious time and effort to make this technology to actually useful, but I think this will really shift this world.

  41. Teju Shyamsundar says :

    Nanotechnology mirage effect is awesome! Who would have ever though invisibility is actually a possibility? There are so many unknown things out there in the world, and it is amazing that scientists and researchers have the creativity, brain power, and research to discover things like this. Even though nanotechnology works in very limited environments, the fact that scientists have actually figured this out is mind boggling. Also, that video with the superhydrophobic spray is one of the coolest things i’ve ever seen. I can see it being very useful in a number of situations

  42. lopurdue says :

    I feel more comfortable with preparing my speech III after I heard classmates presenting to the class. I actually felt really unsure about what I am going to talk about in my presentation. My strategy this time is to think of a way to present to interest me and classmates more. In that way, I feel more motivated so I can present my energy and passion to classmates.
    The games released so far in this year are insane. There are too many awesome games for me to buy. I bought Elder Scrolls V: Skrim and it is just epic. I cannot find a word to describe how good this game is. I hope the game industry can keep going like this since I would like to work for game industry in future, and I don’t want to make boring games.

  43. mfbecks says :

    I agree that the gaming industry has no where to go but up. I have recently purchased Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3 and I plan to purchase Batman: Arkham City as well. It’s like an impulse you can’t help but want the next best thing when it comes to the popular shooters. They have some of the best advertisements and commercials in the business, not to mention the amazing plot lines that flow like an academy award winning movie. The single player campaigns make you play more and more in one sitting because you want to know what happens next as it sucks you in. Then the multiplayer keeps you playing the game because you want to unlock more for your character and being albe to play with your friends has never been easier. I think that the shooters like Call of Duty and Battlefield will be around for a long time simply because they know exactly what the players want.

  44. kaileenkraemer says :

    The paragraph about video games is very interesting because i attended an evening lecture this week in which I learned that since 2009, the video game industry has become more profitable than the movie industry and the music industry combined. It has only become more so in 2011. While the majority of the population does not buy a copy of Skyrim or Zelda in the same way many people line up to see blockbuster hits, the video game industry has a great strategy of building fanbases and anticipation for new games that makes many game developers very successful.

    Walmart’s method of primary care seems like a very interesting approach, especially in the context of smokers who are trying to quit. I’ll be on the lookout for any news that describes the results of this primary care.

  45. jkambic says :

    Regarding the nano technology research at the University of Texas,

    that is truly incredible–the idea to use such technology to bend waves around an object had existed for awhile, and there have been successful cases of this being achieved in a non-visible light spectrum, but working in the visible light spectrum like that is just incredible! an interesting caveat with the a fore mentioned experiment that will likely hold true with the latest installment is that should the material be used to shroud something (as in an invisibility cloak for example) the wearer would not be able to see out. the light literally gets bent around the object via the cloaking material and from the inside, all one would see is the material. also, complex shapes may cause the angles to be extreme enough to create a viewing disparity, creating ‘artifacts’ when looking at something. probably why the material is kept taught in the video.

    should this prove to yield interesting results, there are so many exciting applications for it in the future, from healthcare to military.

  46. Mike Tuccori says :

    Persuasive presentations are used most in the business of selling products and making money. In my persuasive presentation, this is exactly what I will be doing, selling myself. The selling will be made to an interested employer for which I fit the qualifications. Employers already know that the person they are interviewing is qualified, they just want to see if you can fit into their corporate culture, they want to see if you can present yourself in way that is beneficial and impressive to them. This is done by persuading them that you are the right candidate for the position. Switching gears to the invisible cloak. If that technology really takes off, I can foresee the government getting control over that technology quickly. Becoming invisible or making things invisible will result in endless power and possibilities, good and bad.

  47. khabenic says :

    I don’t really care about Kim Kardashian or the rest of her family, but hearing that her entire wedding to Kris Humphries was a complete sham really annoys me. Marriage is such a sacred thing, but it seems like celebrities have completely ruined that over the years. Celebrity couples are getting married one moment and then citing irreconcilable differences the next. It’s like they’re racing to see who can rack up the most divorces in the short amount of time. What ever happened to true love, and for better and for worse?

    Weather I like the Kardashian family or not, there are plenty of people out there who do and I would bet a lot of those people are young girls. Those young girls look up to the Kardashian sisters as role models, and I really wish they would remember that, along with all the other celebrities out there as well. Being in the celebrity who is constantly in the spotlight needs to remember it’s not all about the fame. What they do has consequences, especially when people look up to them. I wish they would take a moment to think about their actions and what it would be teaching their fans. Real life isn’t make believe; you can’t just pretend, and then make all your problems disappear. It just doesn’t work like that.

  48. jkinnamo says :

    I would like to comment about an article that I read today about an airline “American Eagle” being fined $900,000 due to ground delays exceeding the rule of three hours. This is the first case in which an airline has been fine since the rule has been established 20 months ago. Also with the holidays coming up and the economy being better than the past it will be interesting to see if many more of these fines will be issued to other airlines or will airlines avoid these fines by canceling a lot more flights this holiday season. I know from my aviation classes we talked about this possibly being a future problem for airlines in having to cancel the flight if they know they will be cutting it close to those three hours on the tarmac. We will have to wait and see how much this will affect the holiday season flights.

  49. thecatherinesondgerath says :

    I don’t think it’s prudent to be discussing a flight to Mars, when it appears that we don’t even want to fund manned space flight. The space program has been worth every dime we’ve ever put into it. NASA has developed technologies ranging from smart phones to GPS. The technology NASA originally developed for their own purposes has often become a part of our daily life.

  50. Jake Gebuhr says :

    As far as this first persuasive presentation goes, I feel like I will hopefully do better on it than my previous two. The first presentation was difficult just because it was the first and I was not sure of my time limits. The second one time was also a factor for me, mainly due to the fact that it was a complex topic and I did not quite have the time to completely cover it. This presentation will probably not cause time issues, as I simply need to determine what to cover about myself and cover it. I likely will not require a notecard, and I hope to be much more relaxed during this presentation. We will see how it goes, but everyone who has presented so far has done very well.

  51. fiddlestix22 says :

    I wish we could see more in the video of the mirage effect. It is an very interesting concept that could be used for many different purposes. Plus, who doesn’t want an invisibility cloak?

    As far as our next presentation goes, I think it will be great practice for future job interviews. I hardly ever feel comfortable talking myself up and so I often dread interviews. Any opportunity that forces me to practice this is always good. I could use it.

  52. abemccullough says :

    The disappearing tubes are pretty cool. Along similar lines many people have probably seen the super cooled super conductor that will float in the air above a permanent magnet, or ‘quantam locking’ or ‘trapping’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ws6AAhTw7RA

    Also the CeRN underneath Switzerland has run the test showing particles moving faster than light an additional 20 times and found the results the same as before. It’s been said that Physicists tend to make amazing discoveries while looking for something else. Amusing and, I imagine, frustrating at times.

    For anyone that has seen the movie WallE from Pixar, you might remember the scene where a space ship leaves earth and smashes through a thick layer of satellites stuck in orbit. Its pretty easy to get things up there, at least compared to getting them down. A year or two ago China ‘disabled’ one of their old satellites by shooting it down with a missile. Instead of just blasting it out of orbit though the satellite, and missile fragments exploded into a large number of smaller objects, still in orbit. Space junk like this makes it harder and harder to safely put things into orbit these days.

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