Thunberg’s call for action

In a fiery speech at the UN Climate Action Summit, Greta Thunberg, a 16-year old Swedish climate activist who is credited with initiating the “Fridays for Future” movement, calls out world leadership on the topic of climate change.

She speaks on behalf of her generation. “You are failing us!” is her reaction to the action that the global leadership has taken so far to combat climate change. These actions would, according to Thunberg only provide a 50% chance of staying under a 1.5 degree rise of temperature, a tipping point that could initiate irreversible changes to this world that would be out of human control.

Her frustration with being part of a generation, potentially left with the irreversible environmental damages produced by generations before hers is evident throughout the speech.

Thunberg’s main message is “We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not.”. She also calls out the lack of urgency displayed by leaders across the world, calling out current approaches to combat climate change as ” just ‘business as usual'” and warns that “With today’s emissions levels, that remaining CO2 budget will be entirely gone within less than 8 1/2 years.”

Thunberg’s speech talks with the anger and urgency of a whole generation, a generation that sees the world at the brink of collapsing due to careless and economy-driven decisions generation before have made.

And it seems that this urgency and anger that has already moved millions of students out on the streets to protest for better and more effective solutions on climate change every Friday, has made a difference once again. Today, just one day after Thunberg’s speech, 65 countries have pledged efforts to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

Article #2 draft

When entering the weightroom of the Morningside College Rec. Center, also called HPER, in the afternoon or evening, two things quickly become evident. 

Firstly, a surprisingly large amount of people are  working out in that space, especially given that it is mainly designed for the small non-athlete student population of Morningside. 

Secondly, when looking at the machines, squat racks and free weights in the room, the run down and in some cases non-functional state of the equipment is noticeable.

The students working out at the HPER weight room are overall discontent with the state of the facility. One of the students, Madison Reed, states: “Not only is the HPER weight room, in its current condition a hazard to the well being of the students working out there, but also does not provide a welcoming and motivating atmosphere due to dim lighting and dirty floors and fixtures.” 

Madison, who worked out at the HPER weight room for over a year, observed the decay of equipment first hand. “There are eight non functional barbells in the weightroom, which makes working out with them impossible. There are also many broken and missing cushions on the weight machines, which makes working out on them uncomfortable and even dangerous.” Madison also adds that “a renovation of the HPER weight room is overdue and the quality of life for all students on campus. 

While the students that work out in the HPER regularly are certain that a renovation of the weight room is more than necessary, the fact that this weight room mainly serves the non-athlete population on campus and that this population is fairly small might make school administrators hesitant to put large amounts of money into the project. 

“you determine your ​destiny”

One thing that stands out right away when talking to Morningside Alumn Alex Watters is that he has a passion for helping people. It doesn’t matter if it is during his day job as a Morningside College career development specialist or as a member of the Sioux City council, Alex Watters seems to always be focused on how to improve the lives of the people around him. So it was no surprise to me that he answered the question of what the most fulfilling part of his job at Morningside with “seeing students succeed or seeing them have that realization of what they really want to do with their lives.”

Even before a life-changing accident, that severed Watters’ T5 and T6 vertebrae and left him paralyzed from the chest down during his freshman year at Morningside College, his life was filled with service to others. As a middle and high school student he was active with local political campaigns and worked as a page at the Iowa house of representatives where he helped wherever he could and developed a passion for politics.

This passion was one of the reasons why he took an internship with the department of education in Washington DC during the summer after his senior year. During this internship, he worked with the secretary of education as well as with First Lady Michelle Obama on her initiative “Let’s read, let’s move” wich encouraged kids to read and play more aoutside.

After working as a regional coordinator for Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, where his coordinating efforts earned him a week with the most doors knocked in Iowa, even though he was not able to physically do that himself, he was able to take a position at Morningside as a first-year student advisor, which has no progressed to career development specialist. With such rich experience both in the professional field and in life in general, it does not surprise that he states: “it was mostly Life experience that helps me to advise my students.”

Alex is a man that did not let a Life-changing accident define him and who works tirelessly to enrich not only his life but to touch as many lives as possible in a positive way. He is not only aiming to make the city more accessible for wheelchairs and other forms of personal transportation through his position on the City Council but has bigger visions for healthcare and awareness for disabled members of our society, which he lobbies tirelessly to many of the influential political figures he knows through his engagement with parties and political campaigns alike.

And while he is well aware that some people have it easier in life than others, his advise is “you truly determine your own destiny! It is about how hungry you are!”

Safe to inject?

The Vox article “Cities are considering safe injection sites. A federal judge just said they’re legal.” talks about the rising movement for safe injection sites in major cities as response to the opioid epidemic sweeping vast parts of the U.S.

The article gives a timeline of the development and gives information on a court case that allowed a Philadelphia based non-profit to establish a safe injection site in their city.

The target audience is most likely a younger audience, concerned with the drug problem of the country and also with social issues in general. The author does a good job giving objective information and a detailed timeline of the events and also does a good job featuring supporters and opposing voices throughout the article.

Facial recognition regulations

The Vox article “Jeff Bezos says Amazon is writing its own facial recognition laws to pitch to lawmakers” talks about Jeff Bezos and Amazon drafting regulations for facial recognition technology, that they hope to be adopted by U.S. Lawmakers. The article states that this move comes after Amazon got in for their facial recognition technology “Amazon Recognition”, launched earlier this year.

It also talks about what “Amazon Recognition” is and how the tech came under scrutiny. The software is designed to match pictures of faces with other databases of facial pictures in real time. This caused outrage because when the ACLU used pictures of congressmen and matched them with a database of mugshots, it good 28 matches, all of them false and most of them involving congressmen of color.

The article does a good job explaining the topic objectively and reporting on what happened before the particular news and what significance all of this has. The article targets readers that are interested in how the tech world is changing as well as people that are concerned with privacy and surveillance.

Pirouline tasting

For our in-class writing assignment, we were tasked to describe the experience of tasting a certain food item. I chose to taste a Pirouline, a “Dark Chocolate, creme filled wafer.”, as the packaging proclaims.

The Pirouline looks like a long wafer roll, filled with chocolate. When I took the first bite, the wafer was tasteless but added a crunchy texture to the bite right away. After biting through the wafer, the chocolate cream was in stark contrast to the crunchy wafer, soft and creamy with a distinct dark chocolate taste.

What was interesting to me was, that while the wafer gave the distinctive texture of the initial crunch, it did not provide any flavor and while the chocolate did not give me any textural impressions, it provided all the flavor. So, for the food to provide the full experience of texture and taste both of these components are necessary, even thougheach of them only provides one distinct facet.

article #1 reflection

While writing my news article “The Case Antonio Brown”, the part of the process that I put the most effort in was writing a good and concise lead and then to be as complete as possible with my information throughout the article. The part that I should have put a little more effort into was to find good quotes from other new articles that would have enriched my story.

The most difficult part of writing this article was to strike the balance between being concise and featuring all the information relevant to the story. I think this is the biggest challenge of news writing in general because stories should be short but also as complete as possible.

The biggest problem was to strike exactly that balance but I think I was fairly successful at reporting all the relevant events without having the article be too long. 

scavenger hunt

Tasked with collecting a creatively bent paper clip and a musical recommendation from people around the Morningside campus, I set out on the quest to collect these items and hopefully meet some new people while doing that.

First, I encountered Kevin, a fellow Morningside student, who was studying on a bench next to one of the main paths on campus. I decided to ask him for a musical recommendation, mainly because there were no paperclips around to be bend. When I approached Kevin and asked him what song he would really want me to listen to, he reacted a little surprised and did not know what to say right away. After I explained it was for a class and not just a random question, Kevin opened up a little bit and told me that I should definitely listen to “Give it all” by Rise Against, a rock band. When I asked him if Rock is his favorite music genre, he replied: “Yes, I listen mostly to rock and punk.”

Happy that I found such a good musical recommendation, I proceeded to walk to the Lincoln Center, in hopes of acquiring a creatively bend paper clip. When I arrived at the building I first visited the business office administrator to acquire a paper clip. I then found Jason Hahlbeck, who was studying at one of the tables in the lobby and asked him to bend the paper clip. The result was a cool looking knot-ish object, shown below, that describes his “brain after a business law class.”

viral threats

The Vox article “The next global pandemic could kill millions of us. Experts say we’re really not prepared.” shines a light on a report conducted by the Independent Preparedness Monitoring Board, which states that there is a growing threat of a global pandemic of disease and that the world is overall ill-prepared to prevent or stop such a pandemic.

The report states multiple reasons for this state of unpreparedness, for example many of the things that make our lives easier on a daily basis like the ease of global travel would actually help to spread a disease around around the globe in the matter of hours. Paired with emerging social trends like not vaccinating children, these factors create a threat of global pandemics that could kill millions, according to the article.

The article is aimed at people that are unaware of the threat that pandemics pose to the world and does a good job informing about that threat and the basic concepts of diseases and how they spread.

The author does a decent job at staying objective but falls into subjectivity when talking about the severity of the threat and the wisdom of the report, which shows some preoccupancy of the author. This is understandable, given the seriousness of the matter, but takes away some of the validity of the article.

The case of Antonio​ brown final

 After months of controversies and antics, Antonia Brown was released by the Raiders and signed with the Patriots over the weekend. 

Ever since he started training camp with the Raiders, there always seemed to be something going on with Antonio “AB” Brown. First, a cryotherapy visit gone wrong left the star wide receiver with blistered feet that didn’t allow him to practice for most of training camp. 

Then, just when his feet seemed to get better, the NFL banned his decade-old helmet and AB did not seem to be willing to play in any other helmet than the one he’s always played in. Many fans got mad and did not understand why AB would not just get a different helmet and move on, the newer helmets have to be better and safer after all? 

As Nate Jackson wrote for Deadspin, no helmet on the market is so safe that it can actually completely rule out concussions for the player wearing it and Antonio Brown “is a finely tuned instrument. Throw off one key and the whole thing gets retuned. Who knows if it ever sounds the same again?”.

Brown finally decided to wear a newer helmet, which came with a hefty new endorsement deal with the company Xenith and started practicing. Fans thought he finally settled in with the raiders and is ready to chase a Super Bowl.

But the drama continued. Last week, it was reported that Brown and the Raiders’ general manager Mike Mayock had an altercation which was, according to the Washington post, over the fact that “ Brown had been fined by the team for unexcused practice absences and posted a picture of the fine letter on social media, voicing his displeasure.” and the Raiders were planning to suspend or even release their superstar pass catcher. Towards the end of the week the problem seemed solved when Antonio Brown apologized to the team and Raiders quarterback Dereck Carr told NBCNews that the team was “all excited to move forward.”

Finally, this weekend the Antonio Brown saga with the Raiders finally came to a finale. After asking the team to release him via Instagram post and getting released shortly after, Brown posted a controversial video on YouTube that showed him celebrating being released. That did not scare off the New England Patriots, who signed Antonio Brown only hours after his release. 

Only time will tell if the Patriots, who are known to not be scared by difficult personalities, have made the right move by acquiring Antonio Brown but their receiver corps is definitely one of the best in the league now and it would not be the first time that signing a drama-heavy talent like AB worked out for them in the long run. 

News from my World(s)