Discussion Post: Week 14

Well, there are just a few weeks left this semester. Hopefully you were able to get some rest (or catch up on some work) over the break. What last steps are you and your groups taking to set up your final presentation? How about your web portfolio? What do you anticipate having to do over our final two weeks in order to close out the class on a high note?

Let’s start with some international news this week. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Russia are currently in conflict about NATO’s plans to develop a missile defense shield. NATO has been preparing to install missile defense sites in Europe for quite some time; the bases would include missile detection and interception systems in order to deter and prevent long-range attacks on the U.S. Russian officials, however, have expressed concern over whether such missile defense sites would serve as a threat to their own nuclear forces, and sought to partner with NATO in planning and managing the system. Because NATO has resisted this request, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday that he would “deploy new missiles aimed at U.S. missile defense sites in Europe if Washington goes ahead with the planned shield despite Russia’s concerns.” In response, Tommy Vietor of the National Security Council said that the U.S. would not alter its plans despite Russia’s threat, adding that the shield was not directed toward Russia, but at perceived “rogue” states like Iran.

In Egypt, a great deal of turmoil has persisted despite the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak earlier this year. As of Friday, 41 people have been killed in connection with the political strife this week alone, as tensions continue to flare about the army’s rule over the country. A new president is set to be named in mid-2012 — an earlier timetable than originally planned, but one which has proven unsatisfactory to protesters demanding an immediate end of the current regime. The economy has consistently declined since the February ouster, and the newest temporary figurehead to be appointed over the country, Kamal Ganzouri, formerly served under Mubarak, fueling public outrage over the lack of change that they demanded. In the meantime, three U.S. college students are being held in Egypt, awaiting the processing of a court-ordered release from police custody. The three young men were accused of standing on a rooftop and throwing firebombs at security forces fighting with protesters, but were ordered to be released by the Abdeen Court in Cairo, according to Egyptian officials.

Several public figures are quickly learning the importance of being sensitive to the messages you submit to your audiences. Wodka vodka brand is in hot water after a controversial billboard in New York City spurred near-instantaneous public backlash. While the billboard has since been taken down, you can view it through a Yahoo! news story, if you like; essentially, its message has been seen as anti-Semitic, not witty, by a number of individuals as well as the Anti-Defamation League. A bit of additional research revealed similar, racially insensitive oddities on the company’s Twitter account. On the other side of the world, a Russian news anchor has been taken off the air following an obscene gesture after mentioning U.S. President Barack Obama on a live newscast. The award-winning journalist, Tatiana Limanova, waved her middle finger while presenting on the APEC summit in the U.S., just moments after speaking Obama’s name. She claims that she thought the camera feed was not displaying her image to the public at that moment (thinking instead that a video clip was playing on television), and that the gesture was instead directed only toward members of the editing crew. Many, however, have taken it as an insult to Obama, who met with Medvedev during the summit. (See the second paragraph of this post for the significance of that encounter and of the U.S.-Russia tensions.)

Once again, we return to the controversial subject of global warming. According to the United Nations’ weather agency, greenhouse gases not only reached record levels last year, but they are actually climbing at an increasing rate. Some scientists now believe that the levels of greenhouse gases can no longer be held to the levels that world leaders have deemed safe, despite efforts to the contrary. In the wake of these findings, a second “climategate” incident is developing wherein private E-mail messages between researchers have been leaked to the public and are being used to discredit their research. Some are concerned that, after the first such leak, this second incident will foster a great deal of “climate change denial” that will stymie policymakers’ efforts to protect the planet. Others say that scrutinizing the human nature of scientists detracts from the overall scientific endeavor itself. Still more say that naysayers’ efforts to create a “myth of disagreement” among scientists has worked to some degree, as the general public is confused about the extent to which researchers as a whole support the theory of climate change. On the other hand, some analysts argue that climate change research is ultimately the greatest scientific scandal in history, claiming that nonsense science has promoted a paranoia-filled delusion which has resulted in outright suicidal global policies. Their claims seem to be supported by a recent study that says the impact of global warming has been vastly overestimated, as doubling the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere would only result in a few degrees’ worth of temperature change. Their research, published in Science, suggests that while we should still expect to see drastic climate changes, any effects on the environment from greenhouse gases will be less dire than we previously believed.

Let’s momentarily move to a technology item. If you wanted to see how presentations can make all the difference in your company’s success, look no further than Microsoft’s TellMe. You haven’t heard of it? Well, perhaps you’re aware of the much more popular Siri, a staple of Apple’s iPhone 4S. According to Microsoft executive Craig Mundie, his company beat Apple to the voice-command market by a year, as TellMe offered similar capabilities as Siri. Consider this excerpt from a review review that PCMag reporter Michael J. Miller wrote in August 2010:

Indeed, Shirk gave me a great demonstration of using speech on a Windows Phone 7 device. You just press and hold the center button on the bottom of the phone, and you can say things like “Start Outlook.” You can go into Bing and say things like “Find Italian Restaurants near me.” Or just say the name of an airline and flight, and get the status.

If you’ve used or even seen Apple’s Siri in action — or, heck, if you’ve even read Apple’s own description — you realize how closely that description aligned with the iPhone 4S’ “cutting-edge” innovation. As Mundie put it, “we probably could learn something on the marketing side.” Clearly, it’s not enough to just develop the best product first. You also have to know how to show consumers that it’s the best and get them excited about it. Otherwise, the second-fastest developer will win the product war in the end.

I’m sure many of you are itching to discuss the tentative NBA labor deal that was struck on Friday. Players and owners still have to approve the deal, but it looks like both sides expect it to pass without a hitch, particularly given that so many games have been lost already and that a number of the involved parties immediately took to Twitter to express their jubilation (or relief) at the apparent accord. Many journalists are still piecing together exactly how everything will work, particularly given that some basketball players already accepted conflicting contracts elsewhere as labor talks stagnated and the players still seem to have gotten the worse side of this deal, but we do know that the shortened 66-game season is set to begin on Christmas Day, and that executives will still have to throw together much of the “incredibly tight schedule,” as league deputy commissioner Adam Silver described it. We also know that nothing is really resolved until everything is approved and all the logistics are in order. In any case, whether you blame the owners or the players, or whether you’re just happy to see professional basketball return for another season, if the NBA is your pastime then take heart in this announcement.

Basketball aside, though, outside of Thanksgiving itself, the big story this week surely has to be Black Friday. (If you’re unfamiliar with the term, “Black Friday” refers to the day after Thanksgiving, on which retailers across the country generally offer significant discounts that mark the beginning of the Christmas shopping season — it’s also the most profitable shopping day for many companies, allowing them to get “in the black,” or into positive earnings figures, on their balance sheets.) This year, some of the biggest discounts were for video games, hardware and accessories, with retailers selling them at a loss in order to get customers into the store to also purchase other, less-discounted items. All in all, shoppers spent about as much this Black Friday as they did during the 2010 affair, which is perhaps remarkable given the dwindling economy. These figures, of course, were boosted by the deep game discounts — a rarity for the industry, but one deemed necessary for shoppers without the money to buy recent top titles — as well as the increased duration that some stores offered for their respective sales. If you missed the Friday rush, though, don’t feel bad. Many analysts advise shoppers to skip Black Friday. Besides, crazed Black Friday shoppers have been known to pepper spray, stab, or shoot other customers in their pursuit of the best deals. Why deal with the mobs and the violence when you can take advantage of Cyber Monday instead?

There you go. What do you think?

Other articles of interest:
New find sheds light on ancient site in Jerusalem
Is this an alien skull? Mystery of giant-headed mummy found in Peru
Mexico acknowledges 2nd Mayan reference to 2012
Israel breaks chemistry lesson record
Higgs Boson hunt ‘80% complete’
Scientists probe Earth’s core, make mystifying discovery
NASA Mars Rover Set for Launch This Weekend
Most liveable alien worlds ranked
CDC confirms cases of new swine flu virus
Soaring BPA Levels Found in People Who Eat Canned Foods
BPA levels soar after eating canned soup: Study
Four common meds send thousands of seniors to hospital
ISPs Can’t Be Forced to Filter Web Content, EU Court Finds
Google’s new ad space: Chrome
Frustrated wife puts gamer husband up for sale on Craigslist
MS eyes dual SKU strategy for Xbox 720
Worst-ranked American Samoa win first ever FIFA-sanctioned match
Minnesota Wild sign 51-year-old backup; don’t play him, unfortunately


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58 responses to “Discussion Post: Week 14”

  1. James He (@He42) says :

    Thanksgiving break was a great time to rest, eat good food, and draw( a hobby of mine). I am back to the busy life of college ready to finish the semester on a high note. This black friday I was not able to buy anything for cheap and I did not want to stand inline for those rock bottom prices, but I will be keeping an eye on what cyber monday has instore .

  2. Derek Stewart says :

    Thanksgiving Break was relaxing, although I couldn’t stop stressing about all the work to be done in my classes in less than three weeks, let alone trying to get my flight students done on time. I am looking forward to the group presentation, although my group hasn’t had a whole lot of time practicing, as our presentation date is approaching fast. I hope to end the semester on a high note and look forward to seeing the other presentations. I also did not partake in Black Friday shopping and don’t understand why people wait in lines for hours or even days, according to an article I read about a Florida family camping outside a store for nine days! Don’t people know they can do it from home on their own computer.

  3. bcozza says :

    While I have never been among the masses that patronize Black Friday, I am glad to hear the positive economic news that retailers are releasing with respect to this past Friday’s sales. With Black Friday serving as a barometer of the health of the overall economy, the upbeat sales data and steady revenue reports are a welcome sign of economic renewal. Given the discouraging endurance of the recent economic downturn, such positive news as strong Black Friday sales serves to bolster the fledgling economic recovery both in the form of strengthened corporate income and boosted consumer confidence. Together, these two indicators of broader economic stability build off one another and bode well for the nation’s future economic viability. Although the return to work of millions of unemployed Americans and the restoration of fiscal certainty for individuals and businesses alike will mark the downturn’s final demise, this year’s strong Black Friday sales and earnings reports brighten the road to recovery.

  4. gregalles says :

    Thanksgiving break was a much needed few days off from school, but as with someone else in an earlier comment, I was stressing over all of the stuff I have crammed into these last few weeks. As for the web portfolio in this class, I know my previous experience with HTML coding will definitely help me creating this website. Also hoping for a successful final presentation, and coming out with the best grade I can get in this class!

  5. kaileenkraemer says :

    I had an adventure over break: my family and I decided to try Black Friday for the first time, but in a very introductory way. The seven of us decided to see what Walmart looked like during the event, but didn’t really plan on buying anything in particular. We were in a small town visiting my grandma, so we did not expect the kind of mob scenes that are seen on the news.
    We were naive to underestimate Black Friday- it was crazy. We pulled up in the parking lot at 10:05 (black friday deals at Walmart start at 10:00 PM on Thanksgiving day…the earliest, I believe) and there were no spots left. We almost turned back until we saw a spot in a nearby Menard’s. When we went in, we found some good deals and went to checkout- only to leave our items in a cart instead of waiting in the 2-hour line that wrapped around the whole store. The saddest sight I saw were people who waited in line to be the first in the store at 10, because these people proceeded to the back of the store, the Electronics section, to wait for two hours until this section opened at midnight with their arms wrapped around piles of electronics so that they would be the first to grab them. Thank God we did not stay to see this scene at midnight.

  6. Chelsea Berryman says :

    Thanksgiving was very peaceful and stressfree. I usually have two to three Thanksgiving dinners that I have to go to because of such a large family. This year, only one dinner, and the best Thanksgiving I’ve had yet. My family use to do Black Friday when I was younger, but now, after all this violence that has started with a man dying last year at a Walmart after being trampled to death to this year, a woman pepper spraying to cut in line, and two shooting in LA. This has gotten way out of hand. I use to work retail and this would be a great day for me because I could get some good hours and cash, but not anymore because customers are so rude and mean that it’s just not worth it anymore. You shouldn’t have to run out and do all these things just because of discounted things, they are just things afterall. Spend the time you would be shopping on Black Friday with your family and friends.

    • kylejnewton says :

      I agree with Chelsea — Black Friday can be too crazy for most people. On my way back into Lafayette with my family on Thursday night we drove by the mall (Best Buy specifically) and we saw a line that went all the way from the front of the store, down the side of it, across the parking lot and into the big open lot behind the store. People were standing in the mud and dirt waiting to get into the store! I would much rather spend that time enjoying my family rather than waiting in line to spend my money. If I have to pay a little big higher prices by not waiting in line and going to the store later or just shopping online, that’s what I’ll do.

      In fact, I did go to Best Buy on Saturday to buy a TV. I researched what I wanted and went to the store and it didn’t take very long to get it, pay, and I was on my way! When I was in there I asked someone how early the first person in line for Black Friday got in line — it was Wednesday at 6! They spent TWO DAYS (including Thanksgiving!) waiting in line to shop! I couldn’t believe it. Sure, she got a ticket to buy everything she wanted to…but you would think that someone who wanted to buy all those gifts (assumably for loved ones) would want to SEE those loved ones over the holiday. Oh well, I can’t stop people from being crazy — I can just try not to be crazy myself 🙂

  7. Shawn Farrington says :

    The US and NATO need to tread carefully because the last time I checked, the Russians weren’t too happy with anyone and it could take very little to set them off. On the other hand, Russia needs to calm down because we have no interest in starting something with them, we just want to check up on the rogue nations like Iran that are starting to produce weapons that can do large damage to the surrounding countries – which includes Russia. I’d like to see ties with other countries start to strengthen because if Russia goes down, so does China and sooner or later the inevitable will happen. Why can’t we all get along? Let’s just enjoy the world we have, ha ha.

  8. moormanja says :

    I went Black Friday shopping this year starting at 9:30 at night till 8:30 the next morning. I went to three different malls and a lot of smaller stores to and let me tell you it was hell. I started at my hometown Walmart and we had to park a half mile away and when we got in there you had no room to move and just about everything was gone and this was at 9:30! The worst part was seeing two people get arrested after fighting over hand towels that were on sale for a dollar. Really people? Are they really that necessary that you have to have a fight over them? The malls were all crazy too, but I made it through the whole thing. Got some great deals on things, but some people get into this way to much.

  9. fiddlestix22 says :

    Thanksgiving was a welcome break from work and classes. I got to see family and have a nice breather before the end of the semester projects and finals. Though, I have to say that I did not do any shopping on Black Friday. I know for some it is a tradition to stay up late to make it to the midnight openings Thanksgiving night. But for me, I just don’t think that any deal is worth waiting in lines for hours and fighting a huge crowd over. Cyber Monday though, I’m all for. Any Christmas shopping I can do at home in my PJs is my kind of shopping.

  10. Jillian Straub says :

    Being on break and being able to go home is always nice, but it makes it very hard to relax when you know the stress that you have to come back to. Every year around this time, I see all of my friends, and myself included, starting to freak out. With the end of the semester coming up, almost every class has at least one big project or paper due at the end, not to mention getting to look forward to finals after we finally finish our projects. Thanksgiving break was okay, but I can’t WAIT for Christmas break!

  11. vmgray says :

    This was a much needed break because I have 4 group projects. They have all been equally annoying/fun. I’m ready to finish this semester off strong. I enjoyed my Thanksgiving at home. We changed some of our traditions and we still had an amazing time.

  12. macupp says :

    Break was good but at the same time bad. I’m more stressed out than i was before break. Instead of doing homework over break I just relaxed. That’s what break is meant for but I can’t get away with not doing any homework for basically week. I have to push through these next 3 weeks and finish strong.

  13. bkershey says :

    I think some of the backlack that the NBA has received for its lockout has been unfair or just wrong. Yes, it certainly didn’t try to win the public over by forming and agreement and preserving all of its games (like the NFL did and the MLB did this past week as well before a lockout even occurred), but both sides of the deal had to due what they needed to to make it financially beneficial for boths sides. Major League Baseball avoided a lockout/strike all together as compared to the NFL and NBA, but it also hardly changed anything of signficance and the owners bascially decided it wasnt worth the fight. Majority of NBA owners were losing money in the previous system so it was completely justified for them to want a system that wouldn’t lose them money. And to blame the players is also wrong. If you were making $100,000 a year for 4 years and then your boss came to you and said hey we want to cut your pay down to $80,000..sure thats nice compared to what many people make but you still would be pissed and feel robbed. I am happy the league came to an agreement but I don’t believe the issues were settled fully and wouldn’t be surprised if the voting doesn’t go as planned to ratify the deal or the more likely case of either side opting out of the agreement in 6 years.

  14. rudyv12 says :

    Thanksgiving day was a great escape from the hustle and bustle of work work work. It was a great time to bond with my family as well as have fun playing games. Unfortunately, my entire break wasn’t so stress free. I spent a majority of my time doing work for my senior design project which involved a lot of testing and coding in C++. I feel as i am going blind after looking at the screen for such a long time. Ha. On a brighter note, I purchased the Samsung Galaxy S2 and so far it is amazing. Only downfall is its battery life.

  15. spkuo says :

    I want to say Thanksgiving break was a great break to get away from school work and projects, but it turned out to be more stressful for me. Something I find funny is that some professors tell you to have a great relaxing break yet they make assignments and projects due the day you get back. It’s like, gee, I’ll try to have a good break while finishing up this project that’s due along with all the other assignments I have. I guess what made it even more stressful is because of black Friday that falls over our break. My parents decided to join the crowd of shoppers early in the morning of Friday and part of Saturday, and of course, I was dragged along. This break did not feel like a break at all. I’m even more tired then before I flew back home, but I guess the delicious food I had over break makes up for it.

  16. rotosteckel says :

    Oh 2012, how you make the world go ’round. The article on the new Mayan fragment had some very good points to make, and I especially agree with the idea that the “western-messianic” view that many hold has twisted and contorted the original Mayan inscription. If the Mayans believed in cycles simply being cycles without an Armageddon every Baktun, then quite frankly it’s rude of us to believe that our way of thinking is the only way and force it upon other people and taint our view of their culture. We (as humans) do that well enough to the living, let the dead be. I’ve always been a bit of a skeptic when it comes to the whole “last Mayan calender is 2012” thing. From what I’ve heard, Mayan calenders were insanely complex and time-consuming to create. It probably doesn’t go beyond 2012 because the last guy who actually knew how to make them was killed by a Spaniard.

  17. mporter7 says :

    I never understood the appeal of Black Friday. I don’t see the point in getting involved in the hectic shopping time just for a couple of deals. It seems like you have to be pretty lucky even to be able to actually get some the best deals before they sell out. I wouldn’t want to deal with all the crazies that are out there trying to save buck. It all mostly seems to be a bunch of hype as well. I read an article that talked about how Black Friday isn’t even necessarily the biggest shopping day of the year. I much prefer the way I spent my Friday after Thanksgiving, relaxing with my family.

    • cengland42 says :

      Yeah Black Friday really isn’t that much appealing to me either. Sometimes people camp outside a Best Buy for days to get a good deal on a TV. Wouldn’t it be more productive for them to actually work and save up the money in the time they spent camping outside? People actually lose their lives, it’s insane. Why ruin a perfect opportunity to sleep in and enjoy a day of solitude away from those long lines? Besides, people get deals that are just as good on cyber Monday.

  18. bmonroe16 says :

    I know that there are a lot of people that like voice commands on phones, but I’ve just never seen the point in it. Continually repeating something into a microphone or searching for the wrong words never appealed to me. I’d rather type exactly what I want to search for and have my information right away. I know some people use it in hands free environments, but in my opinion it causes just as much of a distraction as typing it in. To me, it is more of a novelty to be able to say “Look I can talk to my phone and it understands me.” Also, I don’t understand what the big deal is about Siri, voice command is nothing new to the technology scene.

  19. dparkerr says :

    Microsoft’s “TellMe” just goes to show the power of marketing. Apple marketed Siri in such a clever and unique way, like they are known for. Apple for some reasons always seems to “personalize” their products more than Microsoft. I read tech blogs pretty much every day and I never remember hearing anything about TellMe, Microsoft should have exploited this feature to their advantage. Personally, I don’t think the Siri-Like Tech meshes with the user interface of their phones as compared to the IPhone. It will be interesting to see if there will be more copyright wars pursuing over this.

  20. jlauuu says :

    Thanksgiving break was great for me. It was extremely relaxing, and nice to just get away from school and stuff. Forutnately I did not go out on Black Friday. I slept in til 11, and enjoyed the great college football matchups. I feel like black Friday is just a scam too me. I hate shopping and spending money, so beasically black friday is the most pointless day of the year too me. Im easy to buy gifts for so my parents can just wait. Hope everyone had a great break as well, and is ready to finish the semester strong!

  21. jordanthielker12345 says :

    My Thanksgiving was spent at the beach in Delaware. I had the rare opportunity to see my grandparents at their beach house. Although the water was cold as heck I did enjoy walking in the sand letting the dogs do what they do. There’s something about the beach that keeps drawing me back. Whether its the sights or sounds I know I want to live by the beach someday. Beyond that, I also had the rare opportunity to rake a lot of leaves for them. I guess that’s one of the drawbacks for eating all that turkey. Having said that, I did have a fun time overall and am thankful I got to see the grandparents.

  22. burnscp says :

    I was fortunate to have all my classes on monday and tuesday cancelled so I was able to go home last friday and get a full week at home. Break was really relaxing for me and I had a lot of fun with friends and family at home in Indianapolis. I went to the Colts vs. Panthers game yesterday which was a blast. I was very comfortable and it was nice to be home which made it hard to come back for these last few weeks, but Christmas break will be here soon enough.

  23. mfbecks says :

    I was really in need of Thanksgiving break this year, I was very sick and completely exhausted from my 18 credit hour semester. It was great to be home and actually relax for once and while. I was able to recover from being sick and catch up on some much needed sleep. I am excited for Christmas break and really spending some quality time at home as I will be graduating in May and hopefully getting a job that will allow me to move out. I can’t believe this semester is almost over already, seems like we were just starting a few weeks ago. I’m excited to get these presentations finalized and presented so we can finish this great semester. I’m excited for this week as Purdue plays Miami in the B1G/ACC Challenge and I will be traveling to #12 Xavier this weekend to see Purdue play.

  24. rachkennedy says :

    Like many others, I really needed Thanksgiving break. It was nice to get away for a little while, spend time with my family, watch a lot of football, and just relax before making the final push of the semester. I didn’t bring a single thing home with me that related to my classes so I could truly enjoy my time at home.

    I did not partake in any Black Friday shopping. I live in an area that prides itself on the amount of retail offerings. With that in mind, I stayed at home. Even driving home from my grandparents at 8pm on Thanksgiving night, we hit a ton of traffic that was going to the mall and surrounding chain stores. The people who live in my town are smart enough to know to stay away from any shopping this time of year. My mom gets all of her Christmas shopping done between Halloween and Thanksgiving to avoid the craziness of Schaumburg, IL.

  25. falkhali says :

    Pepper spray? Wow, people must be really desperate to get cheap products. I myself could never go out on Black Friday in a crowded store, even if it means discounted offers. I much prefer Cyber Monday, everything is online and you could do it from the comfort of your own home. In other news, I’m glad that NBA lockout has ended, I finally get to see our boilermakers (JJ and E’twaun) play after a long wait.

  26. Chris Gerber says :

    It was quite a week coming back from Thanksgiving break. I had a wonderful dinner with my family and also got to celebrate my 22nd birthday. I actually did go shopping on black friday for the first time ever I think. I wasn’t one of those crazy people that got up at 2 am to get a deal but I went out later in the evening on friday and still managed to save over 200 dollars in merchandise; a pretty good day for me. This also shows that stores and customers should really spend time with their families more rather than worry about the 5am tv sale at Best Buy on a holiday devoted to giving thanks.

  27. shelbyfoster says :

    I know some people love Apple and some hate it, but I think everyone can agree that they are marketing geniuses. Time and time again they take a technology that is already out there and market it in a way that makes everyone want it. While it doesn’t have the “personality” that Siri has, I’ve been using voice commands on my android devices since 2008. It’s extremely accurate at reading my voice, much like Siri, and I use it quiet a bit. But I find it amazing how Apple can make everyone want something that has been around for a while. I have never even heard of microsoft’s version, which is exactly why it has failed. I don’t understand how a company so big and with so many good products can have such a terrible marketing department. Props to Apple on this one.

  28. Cody Maus says :

    I read the article about the 51 year old who was signed as an emergency backup goalie for the NHL. I found this to be an entertaining article and was relieved to read that he was not needed for the game because that could have ended very bad for him. The article said that the gentleman had stood in for practice with the team but u doubt that could hardly compare to the physical toll a professional game must dish out. Although if he had made it onto the ice, or better yet had he stopped a game winning goal, I am sure there would be a family movie deal he could have gotten out of it.

  29. vsabatel says :

    I would like to finally discuss the upcoming 2011-2012 NBA Basketball season. I am thrilled to see that the players association and owners finally bit the bullet and pulled through together to save what is left of the season. It’s been a tough and unpredictable couple months and though I am sadden that most of the excitement of the season is gone, it is a great relief to finally see games being scheduled again. At first I was upset that they were taking too long to get their egos figured out but as much time passed I began to transfer that frustration to nervousness about the possibility of a save to the season. I’m glad to see that even though no matter what happens the players were going to get the short end, they finally realized that it can only get worse and they have more to lose than the owners. I cannot wait until Christmas Day (which is the date that NBA is to resume play) when the Chicago Bulls talking on the Miami Heat. I (and I’m sure as others as well) was looking forward to this particular game and was beginning to think this would get canceled as well, but instead the players and owners pulled through. I am so glad to see this negotiating had finally come to an end (tentatively – except for minor details to be figured out and agreed upon) and we can final play ball for the remainder of the season. GO BULLS.

  30. begardner says :

    Like most, I enjoyed my Thanksgiving break was much needed, even if I didn’t get to go home until Friday morning. I am quite disappointed that Black Friday has now made it’s way into Thanksgiving. How long will it be before stores are open all day on Thursday? I feel bad for the workers who must sacrifice their family time for the greater good of their company. I personally must work some holidays but I am in a completely different industry. I just feel that some things are better left alone, with Thanksgiving being one of them. For the record, I went Black Friday shopping for the first time last year. It was only to get a TV, and it was at my small little Walmart back home…and it only took me 15 minutes! I guess we will leave the hardcore Black Friday shopping to those brave enough to handle it.

    • abemccullough says :

      Black Friday shopping has always amused me – I went a year ago by accident at midnight on Thursday to pick something up at Walmart and was surprised to find the parking lot FULL. Thanksgiving was traditionally later in the year, but was moved back by Abraham Lincoln in an attempt to just start the Christmas shopping season and in turn the economy. Looks like it has gotten a little out of hand…

  31. jamoliah says :

    Not really news, but a story about the news. A video about news reporters and government officials reacting to pedobear.

    I’m not sure if this is funny or just disappointing. This is just another classic example of the internet being misrepresented by people in positions of power. I really hope that nothing came of this and that the politician gets informed of how they are wasting tax dollars. What do you all think? I’d like to get some other opinions to make sure that I’m not the insane one here…

  32. ndirenzo19 says :

    I think that after months of negotiations many people are excited for NBA basketball to start back up. One of the concerns people have is if the players who have signed contracts to play out of the country for other teams will be able to break those contracts and come back to their NBA teams. This is something that will have to be worked out on a per contract basis, instead of one fix for all of the players.

  33. Chris Reed says :

    My thanksgiving break went well. I stayed here but got a bunch of work done which was good. I hope everyone else had a good break and i can’t wait for the gorup presentation.

  34. usernamesuck says :

    I have been a long time advocate for aliens and all of their technology. If we as a human race can simply submit to their superior weapons and endless wisdom, all of our problems can be solved. This story of a real life alien skull found in Peru should be proof for all of you naysayers! There will soon come a day when you will have to choose a side, Obama and company, or the aliens. For your sake I hope you choose aliens, because their guns will not be set to stun after that day.

  35. brad5627 says :

    BPA… If it’s such a problem, why use it at all? Like, for real… BPA has been a topic of conversation for years… The unknown health effects is obviously something a consumer should be concerned about, but, what choice do we really have? It’s in plastic, it’s in cans, it’s in baby-bottles… That leaves… bread to eat. Everything comes in cans or has at some-point been in a can. I mean, it’s stupid that a company would still use BPA with all this hub-bub about it.. Stop putting that shit in your cans and products, and make that an advertising point… “BPA free! Your body will thank you” or something. That would be a total success in advertising because no one makes that claim. I know I would buy a product that said BPA free just in case.

    • meshiach0machshevi says :

      I think many people would preferentially buy cans marked BPA free. Seems like a good idea to me.

      Regarding another story mentioned in the post, let’s send our best wishes towards Egypt, which is currently conducting a second revolution to overthrow the military regime, which has continued the same abuses as Mubarak without skipping a beat. Good luck to them and may Egypt emerge freer and more prosperous.

  36. tsamadif says :

    I agree with everyone that Thanksgiving break was very relaxing but definitely coming back to school to work on projects and exams has been tough. This class has not had me too worried because I planned ahead mostly so I have not been too stressed out. I think my Web Portfolio is coming along rather well. I do however, need to add a few things to it and then I think it will be a masterpiece!

  37. bmasuoka says :

    This was probably one of my favorite thanksgiving breaks. It started off with going to the Bears game the Sunday before Thanksgiving for my 21st birthday. It was a great way to spend my 21st except for the fact that the beer cost 8.50!! Otherwise the rest of the break I caught up on some sleep, a little hw, and with some close friends from high school. Overall, an awesome break!

  38. maelirun says :

    I went to Michigan Ave. Chicago for Black Friday, streets were full of people. I need to buy some winter clothes, and etc. As we all know, we are in the economic crisis, so people wait till the Thanksgiving I guess. I wanted to wait till Cyber Monday. I can buy some hardware on Cyber Monday but, for clothing, I need to actually see it since I need very unique size since not all small size shirts fits in to me. So I had to go out there to find some clothes for me. So basically Cyber Monday doesn’t work well for me. It is very good though since companies can sell more leftovers from Black Friday sales.

  39. lwinters26 says :

    I read the article about the alien skulls. I don’t think those were alien skulls at all. They looked way too much like human skulls with just a few differences. The article with the painted picture about the tribal traditions of flattening skulls while they are kids to show status as adults. This is one possibility for the deformed skulls. Another possibility could just be mutations that occur. We see people that are conjoined at birth, we also see people born with or without limbs. Diseases also can be a factor in causing deformities. There are very many possibilities as to why these skulls are different from normal, being an alien skull would be one of the last things I would assume. Just my opinion.

  40. weissapurdue says :

    I wanted to briefly comment on the Persuasive Presentation speeches that were given over the last couple of weeks. I think that everyone did a phenomenal job in terms of delivery and professionalism. I was thoroughly pleased with the improvements that everyone, including myself, have made throughout the semester to get to this point. Many of us delivered “job interview” style presentations, and I’ll say this, if I was an employee looking to hire top talent, I would have hired everyone in the classroom that gave a speech.

  41. zjaw3150 says :

    The Nuclear defense story took me back to my Political Science class last semester. Mutually Assured Destruction requires that both countries remain vulnerable to nuclear attack, yet now we have newcomers to the party like Iran who don’t want to play by the rules. We’ll have to see how NATO and Russia cooperate while keeping our nations more secure.

  42. stlbirds says :

    I could relate to the reading about Microsofts TellMe application vs. the apple’s Siri application. I had a droid phone for probably 2 years and it had the TellMe application on the device. I used the application before. I was sort of shocked about all the hype about the Siri application. When I first saw all the commercials I kept thinking that phones have had this sort of feature already. I will argue that the Siri application is easier to use and gives better information in return. It is kind of interesting how the commercial expressed how easy Siri was to use and how beneficial it was. Apple clearly did a better job of marketing the application

  43. Mike Tuccori says :

    For the group presentation, our group has set up a Facebook group for communication purposes. In addition, we have used the work day to complete most of the outline, and on Tuesday, we will be rehearsing for the presentation on Thursday. For the dispute over NATO and Russian officials, the blog did not cover Russia’s response to NATO’s disregard towards their threat. Hopefully an agreement can be made where both parties can be satisfied versus handling the situation with pointed missels. Based on what the US students have done in Egypt, they deserve to be in jail. However, it may be for the best to release them and send them back to the US-let the US punish them versus in Egypt in all their upheaval. The scientific scandal over global warming needs to be resolved. Such a sensitive issue cannot be controlled by political campaigns and money.

  44. thecatherinesondgerath says :

    I’m certainly happy the NBA season is going to happen. After finally having an interesting season last year, the last thing the NBA needed was a year long layoff to pretty much to kill any excitement about the future of the league. The labor dispute itself is pretty interesting, the game hasn’t been profitable for a lot of teams in recent years. And the new labor deal reflects this and gives less of its revenues to the players.

    It’s simple dollars and cents, the players seem to be angry because they won’t be getting as much money, but the fact is if they don’t get less then the league might not survive. It’s sort of an interesting parallel to entitlement reform, clearly social security and medicare need to be reformed if they are to remain solvent. But nobody wants to give up any of their benefits.

    It just goes to show that it’s always easier to give people things than it is to take them away.

  45. Merry Hetzer says :

    Break was very relaxing for me, but maybe a little too relaxing. I had planned on spending at least two days on working on papers and projects, but I did neither of those things. So the week back from break was full of late nights and all nighters. Not what I needed at all.
    I also attended the black Friday shopping. My boyfriend and I attempted to go to Best Buy but when we arrived nearly two hours before hand, there was already a long line outside wrapped around the building and into the parking lot. Deciding that it was no longer worth it, we ventured over to Wal-Mart to see what kind of sales they had. We stayed for maybe a half hour. It was absolutely packed and a mess. There were rude people everywhere. So gave up and decided to go back home, making it back to bed by midnight. I instead got up and went to the mall and other stores the next day and got some really good deals. I’d rather go shopping during the day anyways. It’s still a little crowded but it’s not as hectic.

  46. robpingry says :

    This is the start of dead week, or should I say everything is due week. This will be my fifth dead week at Purdue and I still don’t know what it really means. I was told that dead was a time for professors to review for final exams. There is supposed to be no homework, and no new material. But I have taken tests, turned in homework assignment, there is always a project due, I’ve even taken a final during dead week. I don’t think that having things due at the end of the semester is a bad thing I just don’t understand why Purdue tries to have a dead week when very few classes fallow the idea of it.

  47. khabenic says :

    I did go Black Friday shopping this year. which is not something i usually do. I was looking through the Best Buy ad and came across some pretty good deals. My boyfriend and I thought it would be a good time to get each others Christmas presents. I didn’t want to deal with all the craziness outside so we went to the store right when it opened. It took us forever to find a parking spot, and we ended up parking in a completely different parking lot. We had to wait outside in a line for a few minutes, and then were able to go in. My boyfriend and I split up to find what we were looking for. He must have found what he was looking for quicker than me, because he made it out of the store in a few minutes and it took me around 25 minutes.

  48. abemccullough says :

    Black Friday amuses me – between the silly Kohl’s remake of Rebecca Black’s Friday (Black Friday) and people getting stabbed and shot its almost like America is regressing as a civilized nation. I have talked to a lot of people from other cultures and a common theme is the thought that America is filled with movie stars and criminals of the vilest nature. Between our exports (Hollywood and ‘democracy’) its little wonder why…

    On a lighter note this weekend was the Purdue Christmas show!! I am a part of University Choir and had the incredible privilege of participating in this year’s production. I can recommend attending the show next year as a way to kick start your Christmas Season!

  49. lopurdue says :

    I didn’t go to Black Friday this time because I remember when I went to last friday in chicago last time, I lined up for about 4 hours and didn’t get anything that I wanted to buy. It was a really bad experience and I swore at the time I would never do it again.

    Our group is being really productive on the presentation. We set up our topic a long time ago and at the time, we also talked a little bit about how we were going to do it, so we divided the works easily and should be ready to go next week. Everyone is nice in our group so there wasn’t any conflict on choosing the parts.

  50. jkambic says :

    In regards to the bit on Anthropogenic Global Warming,
    I entirely agree with the recent study and science mag. The key, in my opinion, is their emphasis on the fact that there IS climate change and global warming, but that green house gasses aren’t the main cause, nor is it terribly anthropogenic. Concerning the Article relating it to cancer denial, that approach was both dramatic and unprofessional. It is worth noting that at one point in time 97% of the worlds scientists would have agreed that the earth was the center of the solar system, or that the earth was flat. It’s one thing to present a scientific argument against a theory, and another entirely to try and say someone is wrong because most other people don’t agree. Provide empirical data in your assessment and quit being so melodramatic and perhaps I’ll take your article seriously.

    As I’ve noted before when commenting, Global Warming is a real and natural process, and we will have to deal with it soon. Probably sooner that we are prepared for.

    In the end, do some research and come up with an informed opinion — don’t take any article at face value

  51. Emma says :

    Our group posted our outline on a googledoc so everyone has access to it. We broke to down into sections and assigned a section to each person. Also, we set deadlines as to when each section outline should be finished and when our PowerPoint slides should be completed. I anticipate our group to do a fantastic job on this presentation because everyone is pretty excited about the idea. Plus, everyone seems to be very ready for this semester to end. It seems like fall semesters are much more rough than the spring.

  52. greene4 says :

    Seeing as though I had to work on Black Friday, I believe I will talk about this. Since I work at Abercrombie and Fitch in Tippecanoe Mall, oh I had my share of problems. I did do my share of Black Friday shopping and it was not great at all. In better news I did manage to get all the items I wanted without the hassle. I worked a 13 hour shift for Black Friday and it was crazy. Working in retail is the hardest because everytime you straighten something up, it ends up being back the way it was before because of inconsiderate shoppers. The only bad thing about Abercrombie and Fitch is it’s a store of “perfection”. Things have to be folded certain ways, forums (mannequins) have to be angled and clothing has to be a certain way, the store needs to be sprayed a couple times, color coding must be together, and all in all it just needs a lot of attention. So Black Friday was easiest one of the hardest days I dealt with. I made it through it with time and a half so I will be rather exited about the check. Will I do it again? ABSOLUTELY NOT!

  53. davidjames1187 says :

    Our group is doing very well as of now. We decided on a complex idea, but managed to get the group together and get a good setup that consists of the technical details along with simplified examples. All in all, I believe that everyone in the group has done equal amounts of work, which is abnormal in most scenarios. I think we are meeting once again to wrap things up, add some visuals, and practice, practice, practice.

    As far as the web portfolio, I think I have created an excellent display of my education and experiences and I am very satisfied with it currently. I plan on using my portfolio throughout college and further in the future.

    On the topic of the NBA deal, I’m actually upset that they came to terms. I mean I do feel bad for a majority of the players who are just out there to play the game and make a living. But honestly, NBA sucks so much, I was really hoping that it would be fully canceled and thus the better of the winter season sports would get more air time. I’m referring to the NHL, where the game is played still as a team sport and still has some sense of tradition, not based on individual all-stars and fame.

    Also, I know that Black Friday is good for our economy, but no thanks. I would rather not deal with overly aggressive middle-aged women trampling through the mall to by crap they don’t need. I made very few purchases on Black Friday, taco bell, Jake’s for drinks, and taco bell again for 4th meal.

  54. jykim315 says :

    For our team’s group presentation, our team started out with understanding concept of CUDA. For me and other team members, programming tool kit like CUDA was completely new, so we had to study to understand the full concept of the topic. Yesterday, my team met in library to finish outline and test our presentation. Everyone (including myself) seems to have good understanding of the CUDA computing concept.

    As I read about the NATO and MD (missile defense system), that reminded me the political situation of S. Korea. S. Korea government wanted to bring latest MD system to defend against N. Korean missile, but China politically forced S. Korea stop its MD plan. Chinese government did not want MD system between China and US. However, Japanese government want S. Korean government to get the MD. I THINK Chinese government is over reacting…

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