Category Archives: Uncategorized

Talking to Strangers – Scavenger Hunt

An hour ago, I didn’t know that I would have to talk too so many strangers in one morning. A scavenger hunt forced me to do so in order to complete two objectives: #1 a conversation about the weather and #2 a piece of gum that isn’t pink.

Therefore, I started all my conversations with: “hi, do you happen to have gum on you that isn’t pink?” Yeah, that’s weird. But hey, I couldn’t afford to lose time having conversations with 50 people and later finding out that they don’t have gum on them (because believe me, most people don’t).

The first conversation I had was with Matt. He was sitting behind a desk in the Student Government Office. He didn’t have gum, but he’s been here for a while and could tell me something about the weather here. In general, he likes the weather in Iowa, he said. When I asked him when it would begin to snow he said: “It could start snowing in two to three weeks, it could Strat snowing in two months. But once it starts, it’s not going to stop.”

After that, I still had to get a piece of gum. So, I talked to about ten people before I found my lifesaver, sitting there at a table with two other people and having a virtual meeting – Pastor Andy. Technically, I knew him before. But I haven’t talked to him one on one yet, so he basically is a stranger. I imagined him to be a super nice guy, and I was proven right. When I told him I needed a piece of gum, he simply reached for his backpack and said: “how many pieces do you need?”

This is where my scavenger hunt ended. This class was definitely unusual.

News Comment #3

Animals are “shape-shifting,” and scientists think climate change is to blame

By AJ Dellinger (Mic)

The article addresses the physical adaption of about 30 species of animals due to climate change. It further describes how they’re changing by providing some examples and talks about possible reasons and consequences.

The first thing I noticed is that the article doesn’t have a classic lead. Instead, the author starts the story with a comparison, which actually caught my attention. Today’s audience might not like it, though, since it usually prefers to read essential information right in the beginning. On the other hand, the article is very short and easy to read, which most people would probably like. The length could also be the reason the author chose not to include a lead.
I felt like the author didn’t write very objectively. He clearly states his opinion on the issue and is also known for writing about environmentalism and other similar topics.
Another questionable aspect is the topic itself. It is not about humans, it’s not really bizarre, and it doesn’t have any impact on us. It’s rather about raising attention for another, bigger topic – climate change – which has a huge impact on us. I personally thought it was interesting, and reading about something a little different was kind of refreshing. I don’t think it would be for the majority of people, though.

Armed robbery in Central City Store

      Three men robbed a store at 450 Stanley Street last night at 8:30 pm. Two of the men the store wearing ski masks and took about 400$ from the cash register. The third of them waited in a car in front of the store. 

      One of the men pointed the gun at the owner of the store, 43-year-old Barney Joseph, Jr. He could have reached for a gun he kept under the counter, he told police, but chose not to.

      Joseph’s father was killed during a holdup at the same store almost 25 years ago. In contrast to his son, he tried to defend himself. “Yes, Dad resisted, I guess. Anyway, they found him shot to death, his own gun in his hand, and a bullet in the store’s ceiling. I’d rather part with my money than my life,” Joseph said.      

#1 assignment: Socialist Scholz frontrunner in German election due to faltering competition

The upcoming federal elections in Germany on the 26th of September seem to be closer than in past years. Between the Greens, the Social Democratic Party, and the Christian Democratic Union, it’s hard to predict who will come out on top.

The Christian Democratic Union has made the race every time since 2005, but with Angela Merkel stepping back from the chancellery after 16 years, the position is up for grabs. However, socialist candidate Olaf Scholz has been the front-runner in polls over the past weeks, partly as a consequence of struggling competition.

Less than two weeks before the elections, Anna-Lena Baerbock for The Greens, Olaf Scholz for the Social Democratic Party, and Amin Laschet for the Christian Democratic Union are the three candidates battling for the position. In polls, the Social Democrats are currently in the lead with 26% of the votes, followed by the Christian Democrats at 21% and the Greens at 16%.

“Scholz led the Social Democrats into pole position with a pitch to the moderates who had underpinned Merkel’s four successive election victories,” said Philip Oltermann, a German author for the Guardian. The SDP decided to go with Scholz as their candidate from the beginning. They built a well-run campaign around him, completely in harmony with his appearance.

On the other hand, “The CDU only agreed to nominate Laschet as Merkel’s successor in April and its campaign has looked far from tailor-cut around its candidate and has come across as comically incongruous. One CDU poster has the slogan “So that Germany stays strong” next to a picture of Laschet, a politician seen as more of a liberal compromise builder than a forceful protector,” holds Oltermann.

Nevertheless, Laschet was seen as the favorite of the chancellery in April. Another reason the Christian Democrats have lost about 8% since then is that he hasn’t proven to be a worthy successor of Merkel. 

“Laschet […] is trying to make up for mistakes during the campaign”, according to Madeline Chambers and Paul Carrel, Reuters Reporters. “In a damaging gaffe, he was caught on camera laughing during a visit to a town hit by lethal floods in July. He apologized,” they describe.

The Green Party led the polls for a short time in May with about 26% of the votes but have struggles of their own. They appear to not fully stand behind their candidate Anna-Lena Baerbock after she was involved in a scandal regarding plagiarism allegations.

Ultimately, two or three parties will form a coalition to have the majority of seats in the parliament. “German federal elections are proportional, so the share of vote given by polling companies should be read as translating fairly directly into share of seats in the resulting parliament,” Seán Clarke and Antonio Voce explain in an article for the Guardian.

There are multiple options of how a coalition could be formed. Apart from the three parties already mentioned, three other parties could potentially be part of a coalition. That includes the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP), the nationalist and right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD), and The Left, a democratic socialist party.

Clarke and Voce hold that “most are possible, but the other parties have traditionally said they would not enter a coalition with the AfD, and there has never yet been a federal coalition involving Die Linke.” Consequently, Germany’s political future will remain uncertain until negotiations have been successful – regardless of who wins the elections.

Steel Workers Union and Steel Company Announce Agreement

Steel Workers Union calls strike set for midnight off after coming to agreement with Ambrose Steel Company. 

            Clyde Parris, president of Ambrose Steel Company, and Charles Pointer, president of United Steelworkers Local 923, made a joint announcement after reaching a collective bargaining agreement. As a consequence, they called off the strike that was planned to start at midnight tonight. About 5oo workers would have participated and thus stopped production at Ambrose.

            Parris said the contract includes “substantial wage agreement”. Members of the union will be informed about exact terms of the agreement tonight at a meeting. They will vote on the contract next week. Pointer states the contract is “the best we can get out of the company.”

Hand-held radar guns banned in Sioux City after being linked to development of cancer

The East Dakota Highway patrol ordered a ban of hand-held radar guns in Sioux City yesterday because they could be linked to an increased risk of cancer. 70 radar guns will now be withdrawn from service.

It is unknown whether the long-term exposure to the radiation waves emitted by the guns cause cancer. The ban was ordered as a precaution, while studies are conducted.

As a consequence, 70 radar guns will be withdrawn from service. State troopers will continue to use radar units with transmitters mounted on the outside of their cruisers.

 “The feeling here is to err on the side of caution until more is known about the issue,” Smith said. “The whole situation is under review.”

The move is considered to be the first of its kind by a state police agency. It comes two months after three municipal officers in Central City filed workman’s compensation claims, saying they developed cancer from using the hand–held units.

News Comment #2

Biden officials trumpet how solar can provide nearly half of the nation’s electricity by 2050

By Darryl Fears (The Washington Post)

The article addresses a concept regarding the supply of the USA with solar energy, which was published by the Biden administration on Wednesday, September 8th. The author outlines the content of the blueprint and explains the likelihood of achieving the goals mentioned in it. He also shows how the move is related to current severe weather and Biden’s environmental aims in general.

What I like the most about the article is its length. Compared to other articles on the same topic, it is quite short. It answers the biggest questions I had after reading the title and the lead – “What’s are the key points of the concept?” and “Is it probable that it can be realized?” – and not much more. Since nowadays most readers can’t or don’t want to spend too much time on an article, it fits today’s audience very well. The author also did a good job of writing a lead that is not too complex and summarizes the article briefly. In addition, the topic he chose is very news-worthy because it just happened the day the article was released (currency), it involves the president (prominence), and climate change is a huge issue nowadays (impact). All in all, I think Darryl Fears has written a very good article.

News Comment #1

Citizens, Not the State, Will Enforce New Abortion Law in Texas
By Sabrina Tavernise (The New York Times)

The article addresses a new abortion law in Texas that passed this Wednesday, September 1st. The author focuses on the fact that citizens, instead of government officials, are responsible for suing those who violate the law, which is a major difference from other laws. The author introduces the law briefly before she explains its impact on several involved actors as well as the legal system in general.

In my opinion, this is a very interesting article for multiple reasons. Firstly, the law is definitely newsworthy since it is a highly discussed topic in the US today. Also, I like that the author kept the article objective, given that she didn’t include her own opinion, sticks to facts, and presented both sides equally by quoting people supporting and opposing the law. Additionally, she provides some general information about the topic, which is helpful for those who haven’t heard much about it. Later, she puts the law into a broader context by referring to recent tendencies in abortion laws in general, which I thought was interesting. Lastly, everything is well explained, so people who are not into law can understand it, too.


How many of you have seen Star Wars? Talking about the first three movies, most of us would probably consider the Jedi the good ones in the story and the Sith the evil, am I right? But why? Jedi and Sith both have caused harm and suffering, and it’s not like the Sith do what they do out of pure evil. They do it because they think (for whatever reasons) it’s the right thing, even though for us, it’s clearly wrong. But we’re not objective. The creators of the movies lead us towards supporting the Jedi, and we are convinced to be on the good side of this. That goes for a lot of other topics as well.

Let me give you another example. This summer, Hungary’s government passed a controversial LGBTQ law. As a response, the Allianz Arena was supposed to shine in rainbow colors during the soccer match between Germany and Hungary at the Euros. However, the FIFA forbade it because it was considered a political statement. That’s when I thought: “Hold on, this has nothing to do with politics. Equality and acceptance for people of all sexualities should be something we all stand for.” Of course, I’m convinced that I’m right because it’s my opinion. But this is subjective. Apparently, other people have a different point of view. 

How can I claim they are wrong? Do I ever have the right to claim my opinion to be the right or obvious one? Is there even a right or wrong in any situation? At what point can something be seen as obviously right, looking at it objectively? When it’s written down as a law? Where is the line? Is there a line?

I haven’t found my answer to these questions yet. What I realized though, is that it’s important to always remember that there is more than black and white and that it’s always a matter of perspective.

Lea Okkels – A Danish Girl exploring the US

Lea Okkels is not an ordinary danish girl. At the age of 19 years, she has already experienced more than most young people. Let me introduce her to you.

Lea was born on September 3rd of 2001, near Copenhagen, Denmark. Back there, she was living together with her younger sister, her mother, and her cat Simba. Even though her sister is her only biological sibling, she considers a boy living on another floor of the house they’ve been living in a big brother.

Lea has always had a passion for sports. She has played soccer for several years and is a huge fan of FC Barcelona. In addition, she loves to watch Formula 1, where she supports McLaren as a team. Because of that, she’d like to be a sports journalist in the future.

When Lea was still going to school in Denmark, she decided to spend a high school exchange year in the US, which she ended up spending in Fountain, Colorado. People usually think it must have been the best year of her life, but the truth is, even though she “feel[s] like she grew” from the experience, there have been downsides for her. Talking about her exchange year, she states: “I didn’t get to be the real me because my host family was so far from what I am as a person.”

Yet, she has decided to come back to the US just a few years later. Why? “To play soccer and study at the same time”, Lea says. Tom Maxon, Head Coach of Morningside University’s women’s soccer team, convinced Lea to join Morningside and the team in the fall term of 2021. So, although Lea’s journey has started a while ago, she’s still just at the beginning of it with, hopefully, four of the most exciting years of her life just in front of her.