Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Current Event, 2/16

Post them! (same topic)


  1. 7th period Civics and Economics
    Basirul Haque
    Topic: crime, etc.


    The founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg filed a restraining order application against a man named Pradeep Manukonda, who is accused of stalking Mark. On January 31st Zuckerberg charged that Manukonda was stalking him, his girlfriend, and his sister, and refuses to stop. A day after this petition, a judge ordered Manukonda to stay at least 300 yards away from Zuckerberg. The judge set a February 22nd date where the permanent restraining order could be issued. Zuckerberg’s apllicated included many details of when Manukonda try to contact him, beginning from mid December. He wrote to Zuckerberg that he need help with a “matter of life and death” and that he had been coming to his office and waiting for him there. There were more emails and hand written letters, one stated that he needed Zuckerberg’s help in saving his ill mothers life, it wrote “I am ready to die for you.” Then one January 23rd, Manukonda left an envelope containing a 4 page letter on Zuckerbergs car. In that letter he wrote again “I am ready to die for you, please Mark please….. I am waiting outside your house. This behavior is for the utmost concern for the Zuckerberg family.

    When I was reading this article the whole time I was thinking what is wrong with some people these days? This kind of stuff/behavior is freaky. I do however wonder, why is Manukonda trying so hard to get intact with Zuckerberg and why is he prepared to die for someone he doesn’t really know? Even though this behavior is really creepy, I think Manukonda needs to be heard out because maybe he has a good reason for his actions.

    After writing this article a big complaint of mine is typing Manukonda and Zuckerberg continuously is incredibly annoying……..

  2. Shane Sater
    Topic: Domestic News
    In school districts across the country, budget cuts are forcing layoffs and reducing funding. In Hutto, Texas, however, the superintendent, Douglas Killian, is taking a different approach to the crisis in a last-ditch effort to generate necessary revenue. He is trademarking the Hutto Hippo, the district mascot (so named after a hippopotamus that ran away from a nearby circus in 1915), with an intent to market it and “make our hippo as recognizable as Mickey Mouse.” Along with this interesting plan, Killian intends to sell space on the school’s website and on buses to commercial advertisers. Says the superintendent, “I’m doing some weird stuff in the district because we are low on money.” Weird though these measures may be, they appear to be necessary: the Texas Legislature is cutting 4.8 billion dollars in school aid packages. In fact, the Hutto district has already been forced to close one elementary school and lay off a not insignificant 38 teachers. The predominantly Republican Texas legislature has vowed not to raise taxes, and without doing so it seems impossible not to cut school funding.
    It is difficult to decide between a balanced budget and tremendous cuts to school funding, particularly when candidates have promised not to raise taxes in their election campaigns. In any case, the idea of marketing the Hutto district’s mascot is both intriguing and slightly crazy; if the effort is successful it will be ingenious. At the same time, this article truly demonstrates how much of a plunge the economy has taken. School closures and widespread layoffs are serious events, and these, along with widespread drops in teacher salaries, could spell a reduction in the quality of education students receive. It is certainly bad news for teachers: while teaching in public school has never been a very lucrative career in terms of pay, drops in stipend will reduce the qualifications of new teachers and worsen conditions for current educators.

  3. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/15/us/politics/15terror.html?ref=politics

    On Monday, the House of Representatives voted to extend the Patriot Act. This act, which extended the FBI's powers against terrorism (for example, legalizing wiretapping) after the September 11th attacks in 2001, has been, for now, extended to December 8th. It failed to pass with a 2/3 majority last week, but Monday it was able to get through in a vote of 274 to 144. The vote wasn't entirely split along party lines, with 65 Democrats for and 27 Republicans against. Due to the fact that the bill will expire on February 28th without legislation to extend it, the Senate will most likely approve the House's bill and tackle the issue on a more long-term scale later in the year.

    I'm personally opposed to the Patriot Act because it, in my opinion, violates the rights of American Citizens. To me it seems unconstitutional to allow the FBI to wiretap or have access to essentially all records regarding anyone they wish to take a closer look at. Granted, I can understand the desire for more security after 9/11, but it's been a decade and the powers given by Patriot Act should at least be lessened if not removed entirely. Hopefully when Congress takes a closer look at the act in a few months, they will choose to amend it or possibly even remove the entire thing.

  4. http://www.cnn.com/2011/CRIME/02/16/florida.burned.teen/index.html

    In 2009, a group of teens attacked and set fire to Michael Brewer who was then 15. The dispute had started over a $40 video game. In retaliation for the dispute, Matthew Bent, now 16, stole Brewer’s father’s bike. Brewer told the police about the theft and Bent was detained overnight. Once Bent was released he, along with two other teens cornered Brewer. Eyewitnesses say the teens called Brewer a “snitch.” Eyewitnesses also told detectives that the group of teens poured alcohol over Brewer and then Jesus Mendez, now 17, used a lighter to start the fire. Brewer raced to an apartment complex pool to save himself. He was hospitalized after the attack for almost two months. The teens involved in the attack are returning to a courtroom this week to stand trial. The teens could face up to 50 years in prison. All three teens will be tried as adults. Also, all three teens rejected plea deals that would have substantially lowered their jail sentences.

    I think that this crime was vicious and completely unwarranted. These teens assaulted, and very nearly killed Brewer, all over a $40 video game. These teens need anger management, as well as the prison sentence. Just as Colorado legislators are attempting to do with their offenders, I think that these teens should be entered into some kind of rehabilitation program. Although these teens are looking at very long prison sentences, they will not survive long without learning to manage their anger.

    Zach Visco
    February 16, 2011
    Period 6

  5. Stacey Cutrell

    On Valentines' Day, scientists made a very excellent discovery. They found a comet called Tempel 1 that was not located to o far from Earth. The second look of the comet didn't seem to be more positive it was there. This is the first time a comet has been seen up close two times. It was seen by the Stardust spacecraft around 110 feet away from the actual comet. In 2005 a different spacecraft, called Deep Impact, has went to the same location of this discovery. The visit to Tempel 1 cost Nasa around $29 million. Now it is going to cost them between $300 and $500 million to put a new spacecraft in the sky. They planned to send back five pictures, but there was a problem with the camera and sent back the wrong ones. The scientists decided to compare the appearances from the five years. They are beginning to look more and more into the discovery of the comet.

    This discovery was very big for the scientists. They are getting the most information they can to look further into the comet and its background. The project is very costly, but I think it is worth the money used. Scientists are looking more into important information that can also inform people. I am glad they are making new discoveries. Our technology that has been adapted has help discover many new interesting things. It is important for our scientists to be smart with everything that they do, so it can't mess up any important project that has been started. I am very excited to look more into what the scientists find!


  6. Tanner Gardner-7th Period


    Obama is keeping his promise on his administration’s commitment to fund alternative energy/transportation research and development. In order to do this, he must still amputate tax breaks for fossil-fuel industries because they sap billions of dollars out of federal spending every year. But the president is going to have some strong opposition against him for sure, especially with a Republican-dominated House and a split Congress. Obama’s new plan on energy requires spending: however, Congress it seems is intent on slashing spending of all kinds. Overall, the White House proposes spending some $8 billion on clean energy-related topics which would be spread among a wide range of programs. A large chunk (about $3.2 billion) would go to energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. Nearly $600 million would fund investment in vehicle technologies independent of oil. Obama’s budget will also provide $550 million to the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, which provides seed money to cutting-edge technologies in the hope of spurring private investment and, ultimately, groundbreaking innovation. In the end, nuclear, solar and wind will receive a fair amount of funding, but hydrogen and other minor sources will won’t get any government help for the time being.
    I think a quotation of Albert Einstein perfectly describes the situation: “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” Obama is probably what’s right for America but America doesn’t know it. I think his budget would be excellent because it would transfer money from atmosphere-destroying oil companies to cleaner, more reliable resources and industries, something that should have been done a long time ago. I think it’s good that the government is focusing on technologies deployable at larger scale, that way local grassroots organizations can orchestrate their own programs: say a facility that recycles manure to turn turbines. I don’t know-random example. But you get the idea. Do it yourself.

  7. http://www.cnn.com/2011/POLITICS/02/16/fighter.jet.funding/index.html
    Topic: Politics

    Members of the House of Representatives voted today, Wednesday February 16, not to fund the controversial program to build the second engine to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. This vote to not fund the program will cut $450 million from spendings. Critics have been saying that this program is pricey and unnecessary. Defense Secretary Robert Gates even said that this project is "an unnecessary and extravagant expense, particularly during a period of fiscal contraction." This program was an amendment of a bill that funds the federal government until the end of the fiscal year. Although the amendment to stop the funds have passed, the full spending package has not been passed by both houses of Congress. President Obama has been pushing to kill the amendment, and the this amendment to stop the funding of the program was passed with a 233-198 vote with support from both parties. Although many Republicans were in favor of stopping the fund for the project, Speaker of the House, John Boehner (Ohio-Republican), was in favor of funding the project.

    I think that it's good that they decided to stop the fund to this project because it allows us to cut back on our spending. Also, since many critics have said that this program is unnecessary, keeping the fund would have been just a waste of money. In the state of our economy, anything that seems to be just a waste of money and resources should be just thrown out. Although $450 million is not much to help our deficit, it is a start. It also makes me really happy that they was so much bipartisan support for this amendment because it shows that the two parties can actually agree on something. It gives me some hope that although the two houses of Congress are controlled by the two different parties, they will be able to work together and get things done this term. One thing I found funny about this article was the fact that although many Republicans were in favor of the amendment, the Speaker himself was opposed to it.

    Jenny Jin
    7th period

  8. http://www.cnn.com/2011/CRIME/02/15/new.york.missing.student/index.html
    Kendall Simms 6th pd.

    Another murder was resolved after a virtual fingerprint left behind by the killer put the final nail in the case’s coffin. Investigators reviewed the alleged killer also ex-boyfriend of the victim’s phone records. Despite the phone itself not being found, three letters recovered from the phone records created a turning point in the case. Steven Pieper is believed to have attempted to imitate Jenni-Lynn’s texting shorthand after killing her in order to avoid arousing suspicion. After going through both Pieper and Watson’s text history, the police determined that Pieper was the only one who used the abbreviation ‘GTG” meaning he had to have been near the body around the time of death. After the emergence of this new evidence Piper took the prosecution’s plea bargain and pleaded guilty to 2nd degree murder. Both sides agreed that the best solution was to avoid a formal ongoing trial due to the fact the accidental nature of the case. Steven Pieper went over to see Jenni-Lynn Watson and lost control after being informed of their break up, and strangled Watson to death. He might’ve gotten away with it too if it hadn’t been for the incriminating text.

    In my opinion this case only proves that how we interact with technology can come back to haunt us. A single, brief text message stacked the case against Pieper. I’m glad to see that the police are utilizing the advantages of technology in order to solve cases such as this. The fact that a person’s texting tendencies can lead to a closure in a case is a huge deal. Of course people have problems with knowing that anyone can go through their phone records or text history but when you’re suspected of a crime you forfeit that right to privacy. I feel that this availability of information is necessary in order to solve cases that wouldn’t be otherwise.

  9. Sam Freedberg
    A Wisconsin woman who said she agreed to cook and clean for a man she met on the internet in exchange for a free place to stay allegedly ended up as his sex slave, prosecutors said Wednesday.
    The 27-year-old woman met New York resident John Hopkins on the website Craigslist before spending nine days trapped in his apartment, where she claims she was repeatedly raped, according to a district attorney's statement.
    The woman -- whose name has not been released -- was treated for injuries at Woodhull Hospital in Brooklyn, New York. The details of her condition are not clear.
    Authorities charged Hopkins with rape, assault, forcible touching and unlawful imprisonment, arresting him at his Brooklyn apartment on Saturday. He is currently being held on $350,000 bail.

    I think this is incredibly horrifying. He lured that woman to his apartyment and raped her for 8 days straight. I think this is just another reason why Craigslist needs to be taken down. It's scary to know that anyone looking for a room or looking for a car could be some crazy rapist. I feel bad for this lady, but this is exactly why you shouldn't use Craigslist. It was a mistake to look for a room there and expect to find something legitimate. I'm extremely glad this guy was caught and I hope people will learn from this that Craigslist isn't at all a safe website.

  10. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/17/science/17longevity.html?ref=science
    Topic- science

    People living in Ecuador have a mutation that some biologists say may lead to the discovery of human longevity. The villagers are generally about 3ft tall, they have a rare condition known as Laron syndrome, otherwise known as Laron-type dwarfism. They are almost completely free of two diseases, cancer and diabetes. Dr. Guevara-Aguirre has been studying a group of 99 villagers with Laron syndrome for 24 years. He initially discovered the village when traveling on horseback to a road less mountain village. As Dr. Guevara-Aguirre accumulated health data on his patients, he notice a patter: though cancer was frequent among the people who did not have the Laron mutation, those who did almost never got cancer, or developed diabetes, even though many were obese.

    If we're able to crack this we may be able to develop a cure for cancer and diabetes, or ways to prevent from getting either. In a test Dr. Longo, a researcher on aging at the university of southern California, and Dr. Guevara-Aguirre, exposed human cells growing in a laboratory dish to serum from the Laron patients. The cells we then damaged with a chemical that disrupts their DNA. The serum had two effects, first the serum protected the cells from genetic damage. Second, it spurred the cells that were damaged to destroy them selves, and through this process the body of the villagers are able to prevent damaged cells from becoming cancerous.

  11. Jay Htut
    6th Period C&E


    "Man arrested in poisoning of Auburn University landmark live oaks."

    Harvey Updyke Jr. is being held with a felony first-degree criminal mischief charge in Alabama. Updyke poisoned Oak Trees sacred to Auburn University by using Spike 80DF. To boast his accomplishment, Updyke called "The Paul Finebaum Show," a radio show located in Birmingham Alabama. In addition, he stated that the reason why he committed the crime was because of Alabama University's loss in football to Auburn University on November 26, 2010.

    I think that this is a prime case of a sports fan taking sports too seriously. In addition, whats wrong with this idiot??? Why would he call a radio show to tell them of what he had done? By calling, he basically punched his own ticket to jail.



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  13. Maria Miggs

    Precipitation Linked to Global Warming

    This week, studies were released regarding a heavy increase of precipitation around the world. Last year many countries were affected by a copious amount of rain, and some sustained devastating losses. In 2010 there was a mass flood in Pakistan, where much of the city struck was completely under water. Similar disasters were seen worldwide, and can be explained by the increase of earth’s temperature. The greenhouse gases that are released by numerous human activities warm up the planet and allow more water vapor to be held in the air. Research have discovered that the greenhouse gas induced high climate has doubled the chances of these catastrophic floods. Some countries are attempting to solve this problem by donating money to smaller countries who cant afford to adapt to climate change.
    Global warming has without a doubt become an extreme predicament over the past years. This information about floods only reinforces the truth that steps must be taken to make the planet green. I believe that people across the world need to contribute to decreasing the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. If everyone has this policy, disastrous floods like the ones experienced in China, Australia, and the United States would reduce.

  14. http://www.cnn.com/2011/CRIME/02/17/pennsylvania.teen.beating/index.html

    Five teens who admitted to bullying a 13-year-old boy who was attacked while walking home from school in a Philadelphia suburb must abide by curfews, perform community service and have electronic monitoring, prosecutors said Thursday.
    A sixth youth made an admission Thursday to misdemeanor simple assault, reckless endangerment and false imprisonment, according to spokeswoman Erica Parham of the Delaware County, Pennsylvania, district attorney's Office. A disposition hearing was set for March 3. That youth will remain in custody until then.

    I think that these kids got a pretty fair punishment. They've could've gotten a lot worse punishment. This also shows that bullying among teens has gone up. These kids are lucky because as recently as the late 90's, the juvenile court system was not as fair as it is now.

    Mike Carney
    6th period

  15. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/02/110214-mars500-landed-mars-walk-esa-russia-experiments-space-science/


    In June 2010, six men began the longest journey of their lives: a one and a half year mock trip to Mars. On February 1, they entered a simulated virtual orbit around "Mars". All six men are volunteers, some of whom had no prior space experience (however, their professions suggest applicable skills). This simulation was enacted to allow scientists to observe the psychological effects of such a journey if it were to happen in reality. The volunteers reside in simulated conditions very similar to those that would be found on Mars. They have space suits that are one-third the weight of typical suits in order to replicate the lack of gravity on Mars. Any communication to the outside world is delayed, imitating the inevitable lag that would occur. They only eat dehydrated packs of food and any medical issues are treated by the doctors on board. So far, the volunteers have done surprisingly well. However, the 200 day return trip is expected to be more psychologically grueling.

    This is an extremely interesting project. The six volunteers have bravely signed up for isolation and experimentation, and I commend them for being so willing. The prospect of sending astronauts to Mars is exceptionally impressive, and it is very plausible if the results of this experiment are favorable. It is also interesting to see space institutions other than NASA participating in intensive projects. Hopefully, the six volunteers will present optimal results and the first journey to Mars will occur in the near future.

    Maria Yao, 6th

  16. Alex Grosskurth
    Human Rights
    Russia has been under the watch of the UN for their violations of human rights recently, and they've been told they need to work harder on promoting human rights. They've come far since disolving the USSR by encouraging democracy but they still aren't making much progress against their corruption. Some are being murdered and harrassed over simple things, which the UN doesn't find satisfactory. Medvedev has been working very hard on making Russia more human rights friendly, but he hasn't fixed Russia satisfactorily. One of the huge problems was that many media members have been murdered, and their murders have never been solved. There are 19 unsolved murders of journalists in Russia.
    I think that the fact that the UN is stepping in to try to help Russia improve their human rights treatment is good. Sometimes a country needs a wake up call and this might be it. Russia used to be communist so they restrict much of the media simply by nature. They probably needed this because they'll finally realize other people can tell what they're doing and do what they need to to help promote human rights. They should try harder to investigate these unsolved deaths of journalists, becuase 19 unsolved murders is unacceptable. The UN should be able to tell countries with stats like this that they need to step up and work towards making their countries safer and freer.

  17. Leila Doerfer
    Topic: Science


    Dollo's Law was a theory created by Louis Dollo in the 1800's. It states that when a particular trait is lost in a species it will never come back. A couple examples that re-enforce this idea include the fact that humans no longer have tails, birds and turtles are toothless, and snakes have stayed limbless. There has been a new breakthrough done by a researcher at Stony Brook University found that even though frogs lost the teeth on their lower jaw over 200 million years ago, a particular type of marsupial frog regained it's lower teeth back about 20 million years ago. “It’s a very clear-cut case of re-evolution because of the large time span,” said John Wiens the researcher who made the breakthrough. Dr. Wiens looked at the DNA of 170 different samples of these frog fossils to try and estimate when they lost and regained their lower teeth. The frogs already had teeth in the upper jaw so it made gaining the lower teeth easier. The species is the only known species of frogs that have teeth on their lower jaw. The big question now is what's keeping other frogs from regaining their lower teeth.

    I didn't know that frogs didn't have teeth on their lower jaw until i read this article. I think it's really interesting that only one species of frogs have re-evolved with this new feature. I am curious to know why it is only this species that has the teeth of the lower jaw. I also wonder what caused them to lose the teeth in the first place, then regain them. This could mean that species that have gone extinct could possibly start re-evolving, maybe in the forms of other animals. I think this is a really amazing discovery. It makes me wonder if the traits of other animals will come back and if they do, what will make them come back?

  18. Teachers in the Mid-West Protest
    Eric Plevy


    Teachers in the mid-west are currently protesting and have caused many school districts to have shut down. The teacher unions have claimed that they are not receiving enough of a salary nor benefits. The Republicans reacted to this by accusing them of being greedy and even wanting to go so far as to strip teachers of nearly all union rights. This had evolved into a bill that the Democrats declined by literally not showing up so there would not be enough people to vote on the subject. The teachers also claim that they are serving middle class jobs while receiving lower class financial benefits.
    In all honesty, I believe that teachers are extremely underpaid. Teachers are the foundation of our nation. Without and educational system, there would be neither innovation nor advancement. I fully support the teachers for protesting about the low wage they are receiving. It is not the teachers who are being greedy, yet it is in fact the Republicans. They do not even recognize the fact that teachers are underpaid. Our economy will be affected through job loss as well as a possible society lacking innovation and advancement. Not as many people would be educated enough to be able to obtain an important job. The reason why this is important is because it serves as a wake up call for our nation by making the point that teachers are our most valued resource and are extremely underpaid for the tasks they are accomplishing. No teachers means no education, and no education means no achievement within our society.

  19. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/17/science/17longevity.html?ref=science

    Inhabitants of an Ecuadorian village with a rare condition known as Laron syndrome are believed to be immune to cancer and diabetes. Many of these Laron patients are about three and a half feet tall and are predicted to have a longer life span than the average human. However, these patients have higher rates of death by alcohol and accidents. Dr. Jaime Guevara-Aguirre, who first conducted the study on the villagers, noticed a pattern that showed very few of these patients had cancer or diabetes while villagers without this disorder were commonly diagnosed with cancer or diabetes. The doctor, determined to convince people that his hypothesis was true, waited ten years to see if results had changed. At the end of the ten years, his hypothesis still proved to be true.

    This article appealed to me because look at genetic disorders and diseases as means prevention of other diseases. Additionally, the pictures attached to the articles intrigued me because they were somewhat unusual. It made me aware of how scarcely dwarf disorders are discussed and really motivated me to research deeper into the different types of dwarf disorders. In another respect, this article caused me to contemplate the future and whether or not doctors will impose Laron syndrome on to the future generations with the ultimate goal of eliminating cancer. By doing so, however, they are sacrificing other aspects of life. For example, there could be an increased rate of death due to accidents and alcohol. Ultimately, I think that this hypothesis and study can change the future immensely and really stimulate controversy in the medical world. Would it be constitutional for doctors to alter human genes and lifestyles in order to prevent disease?

  20. Ariel Gunn
    Period 7
    Topic: Space Exploration


    On Monday, our Stardust spacecraft visited the Tempel 1 comet, making it the first time we have seen a comet this close up more than once. Scientists used this as an extension of Stardust's current mission, saving NASA 250 to 450 million dollars. Scientists wanted to study any changes that have happened to the surface since Deep Impact, another spacecraft, last visited it in 2005, as well as take pictures of new areas, and study the crater created by a 820 pound copper slug unleashed by Deep Impact.

    I think it's exciting that we are finally beginning to study changes in the surfaces of comets, as well as doing our own experiments on them. I think it was also very resourceful of NASA to use an existing spacecraft instead of using hundreds of millions of dollars for a new one, especially in the economic condition they are in. I always love hearing abou the ways we are learning about our universe, and I'm thrilled to see us a) doing these new experiments and getting new types of data, and b) using previous missions to help us through these difficult times.

  21. http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110218/ts_afp/uspoliticsdiplomacyspendingbudget

    The House of Repersentatives decided to add an additional 61 billion dollars to spending cuts. The bill could be passed as early as Friday and will set up a struggle between the Republican House and the Democratic Senate. The House expects the Senate will get rid of some of the spending cuts. All the cuts have to be made by March 4, when funding stops. Secetary of State Hiliary Clinton among others argued we need the money to finance the army, but thee House says there trying to cut their massive debt.
    I like that Congress is trying to cut spending but I don't know if they're cutting it in the right places. The military needs maximum funding to keep going in case of war. I don't know if the House is going to get the bill passed by both houses in time. I think it's possible the Senate won't even look at the bill and do their own pocket veto. With a balenced Legeslative Branch there is going to be a lot more delay in getting bills through. But I think the results will be better as time goes on. And hopefully they can fund everything as much as needed.

    Mark Stouffer
    Period 7

  22. The College Board is revising the curriculum for many of its Advanced Placement courses. There have been complaints about excessive homework load and how memorization has taken the place of thinking in many of these classes, especially AP US History and AP Biology. Changes are being made in the end of year AP exams, as well as changes to the expectations of in-class time usage. The Board is changing many of the labs in AP Biology to have more of a hypothesis and proving/disproving format instead of having such rigid guidelines. The course changes for AP Biology and AP US History will be put into effect in the 2012-2013 school year. Changes have already been made for Advanced Placement German and French, which will be tried for the first time next year. Plans are also being made to modify several other AP courses, although the others are not felt to be as urgent.

    I think that it is good that they are trying to revitalize these courses. I know that for many students, AP courses are simply a way to look good for colleges, not a way to delve deeper into a subject. I think that some of the changes they are making will encourage students to take more of an interest in their learning during these classes instead of only doing it for a grade. This article spoke very little about the changes that were made to AP German and AP French. I am going to take AP French next year and have heard a bit of the inside scoop on what the curriculum is like. I am not sure if the changes they made to AP French were for the better. There seems to be a lot of focus on global topics and less on French. I think that it is a good idea to know about the world, but I think that perhaps French class is not the best place to do it. Apparently the curriculum is also very un-specific, which requires quite a bit more effort on the part of the teacher. I think that the College Board should be more specific in what they want before they change the course. This is also necessary because the AP exams are so standardized. I also believe that the Board should make more effort to reduce work load in AP classes. Fun and intriguing classes are only fun and intriguing if students have had enough sleep to enjoy them. All in all, however, I think that it is good that AP courses are being revitalized.


    Chiara Salemi

  23. Leah Whitney

    There is a 53-year old woman named Kathy Ruttenberg who has a 16-pound pot belly pig, two kittens, and three terriers that sleep with her at night. A recent study shows that 14 to 62 percent of the 165 million dogs and cats in this country sleep in bed with humans. There is reasoning behind these high numbers. The reason being that the feeling of touching a human raises levels of oxytocin in their bodies and it give them feeling of content. Although this may appear cute and cuddly a study showed that letting pets sleep in your bed may spread pathogens which are easy carried from pets to humans. It is said that it’s possible to acquire bubonic plague, meningitis, and even pneumonia from various instances. Although they aren’t saying kick your pets out of the bed, because that would be hard for some people to do, there are just some precautions to take when letting your pets sleep with you.

    Although I think its nice that people are looking out because there are some serious issues that can come about due to pets sleeping with them I think that these instances are so rare that its not that big of a deal. I mean people just need to be smart when letting their pets sleep with them. For instance if the pet has flees then I think it’s a pretty good conclusion to not let them sleep with you because that’s gross. But I mean I think that some people are so attached to their pets there is no way they could go through a night without their pet close by their side. So yes these cases are serious but only when they occur which is not often.


  24. Geoff Thomason – Period 7 – 2/17/11

    Eight months ago, Kenneth R. Feinberg agreed to finance the $20 billion dollar project to compensate victims of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Many of these people were unhappy about the results of this ‘compensation’ and filed claims stating that the process was taking too long and was subjective. Some took the argument even farther by claiming that Feinberg was being too optimistic in that he wasn’t providing enough money and resources to reestablish the lives of the affected. BP has recently filed complaints against Feinberg as well. BP’s argument was that Mr. Feinberg was being too charitable, and that $20 billion was a gracious plenty. Earlier this month, Feinberg stated that those who filed claims with a reasonable perspective were to be paid double the amount of their 2010 losses. Later, Feinberg rightly added that, “prediction is not an exact science,” as BP made many accusations against the ‘generous’ offer. BP made many notable points about the improvement in the Gulf area, and repeatedly claims that $20 billion dollars is simply too much money to give away given the circumstances.
    I believe that BP is right in this case. $20 billion is an insane amount of money, and it shouldn’t be simply an estimate. BP claimed that almost all of the closed fishing grounds had reopened, and economic recovery in tourism was well under way, with hotel and sales tax revenues in the fall of 2010 similar to those from the same period in the year before. Feinberg has all ready given away $3.5 billion and BP is starting to get worried. They completely disagree with Feinberg’s prediction; they think that money should only be granted to somewhere between 25 and 30 percent of the people that Feinberg plans to reimburse. I just can’t imagine there being such a huge difference in the number of people who might get paid. Especially with the amount of money that might be given away.

  25. Kate Boyd
    7th pd
    topic: technology

    Scientists have been working on new and more efficient technology for prosthetic limbs for amputees. They're working on better syncing up people's thoughts and the movements of their artificial limbs. The way it works right now is that they put the nerves used to control the missing limb somewhere else in the body, usually in the chest muscle, and then those nerves grow within the muscle. Then when the brain tells the arm to move, the chest muscle contracts, which sends a signal to a receiver in the prosthetic and causes it to move. This is a relatively short surgery, though it takes months before the arm will actually work. Scientists are working on doing the same thing for legs and to add sensations to the prosthetic limbs, so that when people touch things they can feel if there's heat, coldness, pressure, or vibration.

    I think this is really cool, as I've always been interested in how this stuff works. I'm glad that scientists are putting an effort into discovering more about this, as it can help so many people, including soldiers that have lost limbs in battle. They've made a lot of progress with this technology in recent years, and these new designs offer a lot more movement than the average prosthetic. I hope that this technology can be made more accessible to people, especially veterans, who probably can't afford to have really expensive procedures done.

  26. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/17/science/earth/17extreme.html?ref=science

    The article is about that the increase of heavy rain is mainly due to the human activities,which gives big influences on the atmosphere and consequences of the climates.Via the studies of scientists, the major factor that causes the increase of the precipitation is global warming, that the effects of greenhouse gases released by humans through the burning of fossil fuels, etc.Compare with last half of the 20th century, the prediction of extreme precipitation rose 7 percents on the North Hemisphere.Based on the research, it shows that precipitation extremes becomes more intense as the temperature increases, because warmer air can carry more water vapor through winter and summer.Scientists of University of Oxford starts of run a program that is capable to analyze the human influences on the climate in the weather forecasts. It means that when you check the weather, not only it can tell you the predictions, but also explain it to you that why might the weather be and how and what factors give their influences.

    As the quality of human daily life has been improving,the energy that we use become more consumable and run-quickly, the release of some of these energies become the factor of increase of global warming my the releasing of greenhouse gases.According to the study, extreme precipitation is not because of nature variability,it is us human beings that running our activities and using up the energies,but give bad influences on the global climate,we should save more energy that do not waste it esp. when you know it, and use clean and renewable energies.I think the development of the program that is capable to analyze the weather is really a good action, it warns people that they are or are not wasting the energy in an indirect way so can let people know more about the climate change---how and why it changes, and what we should do about it.

    Jessica Yin
    7th. period

  27. Studies have been reported that Zinc can help reduce cold symptoms and the duration of the cold itself. Zinc helps cells regenerate thus helping the body fight off colds faster though the study did not say exactly how it did this. If the product is taken within twenty-four hours of the first symptoms, it helps rid the person of inflammation, sore throat, and many other symptoms. People who take Zinc for five months regularly have less colds altogether. However, Zinc should only be taken via lozenges because when inhaled, it can cause loss of smell. The study itself is a little bit patchy. No actual recommendation of dosage was stated and studies of Zinc over the past ten years have changed the actual percentage of effectiveness erratically. Other side affects of Zinc can be nausea and bad taste, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and dry mouth. If the side affects of Zinc outweigh the benefits, people should not take Zinc.

    I think that the overall inconsistency of this study is an indicator on how much this product can be trusted. The actual studies done on Zinc have changed so much over these past couple years that I think it is irresponsible to release information until an actual, large scale, organized report is taken. It is rude to lead people to lead people on about a product that hasn’t been closely studied. The modern day prescription drug market seems to care more about selling prescription drugs rather than actually curing or treating the problem. I believe that the FDA should come down harder on these kinds of studies.


    Jenny Vaughn
    Period 6

  28. My article this week was about the turmoil has risen in Bahrian. This conflict did not only kill people, but it once again places the Obama administration in an akward position. Again a group of silent protesors has turned into a violent outbreak resulting in the deaths of innocent people. Outside of the hospital in Manama many gathered yelling and collapsing in grief. For the Obama administration they viewed it as a miniature Egypt situation. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Bahrain's foreign minister to discuss their security issues. President Obama's press secretary stated that the White House was urging Bahrain to use restraint in responding to “peaceful protests".
    I think that some really bad things are going on in the world. I also think that it's sad that the people around the are not getting along and are not able to solve their problems in a way where no one gets hurt. The US as a country could ally with other countries such as Egypt. If we as a country pretty much have our stuff together and we're all getting along, I think that its time for us to step in.

  29. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/18/world/middleeast/18missing.html?hp
    Norman Archer
    Topic: Middle East
    Egypt’s Missing Stir Doubts on Military’s Vows for Change
    This article addressed the fact although Mubarak’s reign may be over; there are still many problems with Egyptian authority. Similar to Mubarak notorious security police, the military arrest, jailed and even tortured many Egyptians. This behavior has human rights groups questioning the military’s ability in the transitions to democracy. The victims of these arrests where alleged the ones using violence in their protest in Tahrir Square. Although a chief military leader claimed that all of these prisoners would eventually be released, no timeframe was given.
    I think that this has the potential to turn into a very serious problem. The last thing that Egypt wants is to trade one cruel regime for another. The sooner that a true democracy is established the better. One interesting point that the article made was that was the military running the country. Although there is no excuse for inhumane treatment, the military is the military; they stick to procedure and expect cooperation. Unfortunately, I don’t that this transition is going to be very smooth, but the important the important thing is that is does happen. As the family of a victim put it, “After 18 days the regime is gone but the same injustices remain.”
    This topic can be related to what we are talking about in class because it relates to the political spectrum. On one hand you have the military regime, a group operating with complete control and obedience. You also have the people, who after weeks of protest are almost ready for anarchy so long it means no corruption. Combine the two and you will wind up some in the middle around democracy.

  30. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/17/us/politics/17-f-35-engine.html?_r=1&ref=politics

    Topic: Legislative Branch

    Two days ago, the House voted to cancel a U.S. military fighter alternate jet engine that would kill 1000 jobs but free up over $3 billion for the government in the next several years. The alternate engine has been developed by General Electric and Rolls-Royce for the Joint Strike Fighter, the Pentagon and the nation’s most expensive weapons program. This was a 233 to 198 decision by Republicans and Democrats alike meant to mitigate our national deficit, and some Republicans stood by liberal Democrats who shared mutual political disagreements to cancel the development of the engine. It is also noteworthy that 47 out of the 87 new Republican House members voted to kill the jet engine project, because many of them are known to disagree with cutting military spending as a part of reducing national deficit. A main reason for those who voted against it was that the alternate engine was originally designed as competition to drive the price of the engine options down, but the Pentagon may not end up buying as many engines as was originally predicted, and most of the House believes that short term costs are not worth the potential savings.

    The House has made a difficult choice in a time of massive deficit, and I appreciate their ongoing efforts. Obama and Bush both have tried to stop the project for the past half decade to help reduce the deficit, and Obama even threatened to veto the bill if the House and Senate continued their support for the engine. I think that though $3 billion is not as much money as America would like to save at a time, it is definitely better than nothing, and the Senate should consider that when voting on the bill. To me, this first step to cancelling the project is very symbolic, as it shows that our nation is willing to compromise the military for its domestic and economic interests. This relates to what we have been discussing in class because it shows that people will different views with different “coordinates” on the political graph can have similar opinions on some topics and radically opposing opinions on others. Personally, I hope this bill will pass because I do not think the alternate engine will help the competition as much as the savings will lead our nation back on track economically.

    Jessica Gao
    6th Period

  31. Gavin Welch
    Per 7
    Feb 17th


    This week, discoveries have been made about a black bears hibernation in Alaska. Until now much about Black Bears hibernation cycle has puzzled biologist. Black Bears go five to seven months without a meal or bathroom break. The key to having a successful long snooze is to slow down the metabolism rate by close to 65%. Bears manage to do this by lowering their body temp by 5-8 degrees. This is very effective however this only accounts for 25% of the drop in metabolism. The other factor playing into hibernation is decreasing the heart rate. While bears are hibernating, their heart rates can slow down to half as much as a normal summertime heart rate.
    This data seems pointless for us to know, but scientists think that it might be useful. I think that this information is really neat for us to know. Though this information doesn’t seem useful for us to know right now, it might be in the future. Say if in space travel we could slow down the metabolism of the astronauts so that they wouldn’t require as much food or other resources. This could also be put to use by a military standpoint. Having patrols that can conserve their energy for long amounts of time would be very an affective for patrolling an area.

  32. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/18/us/politics/18freshmen.html?_r=1&ref=politics

    Freshman Republicans that have come into the house looking to cut as much off the budget as possible have suprised the democrats, the republicans, and the public. The majority of freshmen republicans stand behind their stance of 'difficult' to cooperate with. After having brought up over 400 ammendments to the current bills in congress, they are starting to get tired of congress. overall moral of the house is down by a stagaring percent, and some members are regretting accepting this responsibility.

    I personally think that these 87 new members blocking congress from passing bills and moving things along is going to get old really fast. I think the public will see the disagreement between their congress, and the one they elected 2 years ago. Republicans and democrats finally have something to agree upon, will this lead to more cooperation during the next few years, or will it spur an even more seperating effect?

    Ian Hill

  33. Riley Hutchison
    7th period
    Topic: Science


    In Gough's Cave in Somerset, England three new human braincases were found. Two were from adults and one was from a child. Markings on them show that they were carefully skinned, and the soft tissue was removed and most likely eaten. These "Skull-Cups" are 14,700 years old, and are the oldest on record. The shaping of these skulls was part of some sort of complicated ritual, often drinking the blood of their enemies out of them. Some skull cups were used as late as the 19th century. All of the other skull cups that have been found seemed to have some sort of war aspect around them, but these seemed to be part of some sort of a ritual. Possibly a funeral ritual. These skulls show a more complicated side to the use of skull-cups.

    I find it disgusting that you would ever want to cut someones head open, and use their skull as a cup! This practice to me seems kind of backwards, but i can understand our desire for more information on this topic. We see that other cultures a long time ago had different practices, some that we find repulsive. I dont understand how we have so much funding to be able to find out why some cultures used skull cups as a part of war or funeral rituals. I think that we could put a little more effort into something that is happening now, not 14,500 years ago. I am all for scientific discoveries, but this one seems a little but unnessecary.

  34. Thomas Nguyen
    2.17.10 Period 7
    Topic: National News

    A 1994 law states that phone companies have to wiretap into a user's communications when the government gives the orders. This does not include wiretapping the internet. The FBI has been pushing lawmakers to create a law that states Internet-based communication services like Twitter, Gmail, and Facebook should wiretap a user when given the order to. Leading Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee showed a doubt that a law would be passed to wiretap internet communications rather than wiretapping phones. The FBI's general counsel, Valerie Caproni, complained that the government has not been wiretapping phones as it should. Wiretapping internet communications would allow hackers and foreign governments to exploit the problems.

    I think wiretapping internet communications is a great alternative to wiretapping phones for now. A lot more people use the internet to communicate. A lot of states report that convicts in jail are smuggling cell phones into prison. There they can connect to the outside world via Twitter, Facebook, and Gmail. I am not sure if people consider wiretapping as a violation of privacy. I think this topic will draw praises and criticisms from the government and the people. There isn't another way to keep track of a convict outside prison.

  35. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/18/us/politics/18parenthood.html?_r=1&ref=politics

    For the last few weeks there has been a feud over the funding for Planned Parenthood, which provides medical services and abortions at 800 clinics around the country. Those on opposite sides have engaged in dueling rallies, virtual conferences, online petitions, and phone banks as crucial Congressional votes draw near. At stake is more than $75 million that Planned Parenthood receives to provide family planning assistance to low-income women. Opponents say this money only frees up funds for abortions.

    This is a very debatable topic, but in my eyes abortion is wrong. To me, it is ending the life of an innocent child. I do not think that the American people should have to pay taxes that include paying for the Planned Parenthood program. I hope this program either changes its ways or comes to an end. I believe in organizations that help out single mothers of low income to raise a child, but not those that support abortion clinics.

    Chris Barth

  36. http://money.cnn.com/2011/02/17/news/economy/alternative_economic_indicators/index.htm

    Andrew Cohen
    7th period
    Topic: Economics

    Although the United States economy seems to be in despair, there are some recent signs that point to the fact that the economy is actually beginning to recover. This article says that if the job market is recovering, then the economy as a whole is recovering. The three recent signs that this article lists that show an improving job market are more mileage driven for cars, more kids in daycare, and fewer disability claims. Car leasing web site LeaseTrader.com, reported this week that Americans are driving their vehicles more. Sergio Stiberman, the CEO of LeaseTrader.com, said the increase in mileage is a sign that more people are commuting to work again. Hiring in daycare centers has increased steadily since last August. This increase in hiring shows a rising demand for childcare, Bernard Baumohl of the Economic Outlook Group said. The Economic Outlook Group is a Princeton, New Jersey research firm. The rising demand for childcare shows that more people have jobs. It shows that because these people with jobs need someone to look after their children while they are at work. Also, the increase of disability claim applications has started to decline. Disability claims have dropped 20% since October, to the lowest three-month average since the end of 2008. Disability claims were used by workers with minor health issues who couldn’t find a job in the weak economy. The drop in disability claims is a sign that some people with mild health issues are finding jobs again.

    This article can relate to what we have studied in class because it talks about jobs and the work force, which is a topic we have been over before in class. This is important because it is about our national economy, which is something that affects every United States citizen. These recent studies that show that the economy could be on the rise again could change the way that Americans look at the economy. I think that we may start to gain more confidence in markets and the economy could really start to rebound. However, I don’t think these studies are a definite indication that our economy will only get better. They do give us a little a hope, though, which is also important in a time where the economy is not in a favorable position.

  37. http://www.cnn.com/primary/_Wh943J-ikSfbPfUP45

    The california supreme court has unanimously decided to take on the judicial review of the ability of local authorities to defend Proposition 8, the 2008 bill that defined a marriage only as a union between a man and a woman in California. San francisco appeals courts suspended the bill indefinitely so the Supreme Court could examine the issue further.

    I think that its good to see the judicial system acting on these controversial issues that we are facing. Although this is only in california, hopefully other stats will soon follow suit in reviewing their views on this issue, and hopefully they will rule in favor of equality.

  38. http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/69968/title/Hibernation_mystery

    Information about black bears' ability to hibernate has come to light. Previously it was thought that it was black bears' lower body temperature that directly affected their metabolic rates which allowed to them to hibernate, but black bears being studied in Alaska revealed that they are able to lower their metabolic rate far lower than there body temperature would leave you to believe. This Alaskan study is the first to monitor both metabolic rates and body temperature, and it has yielded surprising results, such as the fact that a bear's heart rate drops from 55 beats per minute in the summer, to just 14 beats per minute while hibernating!

    I find this information to be really fascinating. The fact that bears are able to go months at a time without eating, drinking, or going to the bathroom is just amazing. This research shows that scientists are coming closer to figuring out the secret behind bears' remarkable ability to hibernate. Although i think this information is interesting, I don't really see how humans could use it, unless we find away to use this information to find a way to make humans hibernate, and then that could be extremely helpful for things such as space travel to far away planets. Really, the possibilities are endless, and I'm looking forward to what information may come from this.

    Brady Strine
    6th period

  39. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/19/world/middleeast/19bahrain.html?_r=1&hp

    Jackson Wright
    6th Period
    Topic: Middle East

    Today, February 18th, government forces in Bahrain sent many public mourners running after the forces opened fire. The hundreds of people were marching towards Pearl Square when the boom of concussion grenades began coming down upon them. After the barrage of concussion grenades, a helicopter flew overhead and opened fire on the citizens. It is reported that mourners crumpled to the ground in the masses. Witnesses at the nearby hospital reported seeing many people with awful wounds from the bullets and explosions. Ambulances stormed towards the square but were too late to save one person from death, and note at least 50 others wounded. The citizens mourned the unjustified death of a fellow protester the week before.

    I think that these attacks are a bad sign of the time. Many countries will believe that they can do things in the same manner as Egypt to remove their rulers, but this just isn't so. Many countries still have unruly leaders like King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, who ordered this attack in Bahrain. Sadly, many Middle Eastern countries will believe in a removal of their tyrant rulers like in Egypt's case, but many of the countries are not as advanced as Egypt. I agree with Hillary Clinton and Obama's statements of yesterday that leaders need to show restraint during these protests. This did not happen and I hope the the Middle East can have a more peaceful revolution to get rid of it's bad rulers.

  40. Logan current event
    Conor Randolph
    Robert Crody, A Supreme Court justce said on thursdasy that placing th probation Department under control of the excutive branch would leave the ash risk to “The Politcal mood.” “The governer just fired the parole board” he says, talking about Gov deval patrck decition to accept the resination of five of seven parol board members. As the governer seek to take contorl of the Probation Department, Currrently housed in the judiciary and acuced by the independent consul.
    I think that the control of the parol board should not be handed over to the Excutive branchg. The government should have no say in the matters of correcting prisoner that need to be rehablitated. The pareol board shoul be handed back over to the state so the can manger inmaters and priosners.


  41. Current Event

    This week my current event is about Obama condemning the Libyan government’s violent way of punishing protesters. Obama stated that it’s important for everyone in the world to basically be on the same page. He is planning to send Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton to Geneva to meet with the head diplomats to discuss resolution for the crisis. Obama says that the violence must stop. He I snow making an effort to make sure that American diplomats are safe and out of harm’s way. A lot of people are starting to criticize him, saying that he is not being stern enough on the Libyan government leaders.

    I think that President Obama and his administration have been under a lot of pressure, especially with people constantly on his case criticizing him on the job he is attempting to do. I think it has to be kind of scary to know that somewhere out there in the world is watching and picking out every single move you make. If I was the president it would be hard for me to actually achieve something useful when I know that I’ll probably just be cut down for it in the end. As an outsider looking in it seems to me that Obama is doing a wonderful job keeping his composure, and trying to get done what needs to be done.