Descriptive Assignment

“Watch for gesture”

For this assignment, I had a lot of choices to make. At the moment I have a few friends visiting me from different places in the U.S. That is why I decided to specifically look at them and try to find something that catches my eye. One guy that then caught my eye was Jorge Loredo. Jorge is an alumnus here at Morningside and a climber for the Mexican National Climbing Federation.

Based on his climbing practice Jorge needs to stretch a lot. He goes climbing every other day and always climbs for 4 or more hours. Because of Jorge’s need to stretch, he does it constantly. He can’t stop stretching and always does it, no matter where he is. When stretching he sometimes just stands up and stretches in the middle of the room. In addition to that he also cracks all of his bones. He will start with his neck and then go on to make his fingers and arms crack. This shows how much work it takes to be successful in climbing.

Monster Buddies

Monster Buddies are Kellog’s version of fruit snacks. They have a more solid consistency than normal fruit snacks and can be described with the word gooey or squishy. The little gummies and the fruit snacks have a very similar shape and colors. The one that makes the Monster Buddies stand out from the fruit snacks is the fact that they are shaped like the monster’s that are depicted on the packaging.

The Monster Buddies are small but they have a lot of flavor and probably also a lot of sugar in them. There are a lot of different colors that each have a different flavor. The combination of color and the flavor play an important role as they are supposed to be “matching”. An orange gummy is supposed to taste like an orange, while the red one is supposed to taste like strawberry. However, the flavor in general is very artificial and doesn’t really match the real flavor of the fruits that the gummies are supposed to taste like.

Draft/ Article #2

Based on the recent elections in Germany, it is time to talk to the international students at Morningside and ask them what they think about it.
For this article, interviews were conducted with three current/ former international students at Morningside University. But before getting to that point, we should mention the outcome of the election in Germany and explain the way the government is formed after an election.

After 16 years of being the German chancellor, Angela Merkel stepped down from her job, which means that in the recent elections, Germany had to find a worthy successor for her. In Germany, people vote for parties, that then get seats in the German parliament. These parties then form coalitions with each other, as they need at least a 50% majority to govern the country.

In these recent elections the results were as follows:

The current reigning party, the CDU (Christian Democrats) got 24.1% of the overall votes. Their coalition partner, the SPD (Social Democrats) got 25.7% of the votes. The Green party got 14.8%, the FDP (Liberals) 11.5%, and the rest went to the other smaller parties. It will still take some time until the parties have reached a coalition agreement on who will actually govern the country.

The first person interviewed for this topic was Kai Schwägerl. Kai is a senior at Morningside, and he plays on the soccer team. After being asked if he voted, he told me that he did vote but he could only do it with the help of his family. He was able to vote via mail, but only because his parents filled out the voting ballot for him. Kai mentioned how he informed himself about the different parties and their campaigns through German news sites. However, Kai went even deeper and did some more research, to actually make his “final decision on who to vote for”. Kai’s opinion on the outcome of the elections reflects the opinion of a vast majority of Germans, as “it’s been one of the most difficult elections for a long time in Germany. Merkel was there for so long, and now she’s gone. And nobody really knows what to do.” According to him, the biggest party in Germany, the CDU, had to lose a lot of votes, which is exactly what happened.  In addition to that, Kai also liked that the Green Party got a lot of votes, because “that’s going to be an important topic for the future”. Nevertheless, Kai also thinks that this election was pretty similar to a lot of elections worldwide. He thinks that the SPD, the Green party and the FDP are going to be the parties that will end up reigning the country, which doesn’t necessarily represent the best option. According to him, “there’s nothing better out there. It is just the lesser evil.”

Another person I interviewed for this story was Constantin Tschernig. Consti is a Junior here at Morningside and also plays on the soccer team. He, unlike Kai, didn’t vote. Consti informed himself who he would vote for if he would be in Germany. He is happy with the way the election results came out, but he doesn’t think a lot will change. In Consti’s opinion, the new government is only going to care more about the climate change, but it is not the “ideal type of government.”

However, he still said that it would be too much work for him to actually vote, which also made him answer the question about his voting behavior very quick. “Yes, I would have voted in Germany and I would have informed himself more.”

Voting in Germany, from another country, is a long process. There is a deadline of 2 months prior to voting, that you have to apply for by filling out a form. Which leads me to my third interviewee for this article.

Usame Suud, a former Morningside student, who played for the Basketball team here. Usame, also called “Usa”, also didn’t vote in Germany. He wasn’t able to vote because he requested the mail vote, but it was too late even though he “requested it a month before the actual election”. From the German government, he only got the notice that he should have done it earlier. In addition to that, Usa also had to have a 7-page form filled out, only to be able to request the mail-vote. Even though all of this happened, Usa still informed himself on the parties’ election campaigns, especially because he thought this election was an important one. Mostly, based on the relevance of the “special situation right now with COVID.” Looking at the results of the election, Usa thinks the coalitions resulting from these votes are all going to be good. “Whatever coalition ends up being the actual government is going to bring some change from the politics from the last 10 or 15 years.”

Lastly, it is very important to mention one thing that ties all the people from this article together. It is the fact that all these people would have looked at the elections differently if they would have been in Germany at that time. Usa would have also done more research and actually would have voted if he would have been in Germany.


Interview with Kai Schwägerl

Interview with Constantin Tschernig

Interview with Usame Suud

News Comment #6

Sheikh Set Israeli Spyware on Ex-Wife in Custody Battle, Court Says

This article from the N.Y. Times talks about the ruler of Dubai and his unsuccessful attempt to spy on his former wife, a Jordanian princess, as well as her attorneys.

The article mentions how the ruler of Dubai used Israeli spy software to hack his ex-wife’s phone while being in a custody battle in a British court. It further talks about the organization that sold the hacking software and the fact that the organization had to deal with a lot of backlash recently after reports have surfaced that showed the use of the hacking software for spying on government opponents. In addition to that, the article mentions another accusation that is being made against the Dubai Sheikh. He is allegedly holding two of his daughters in captivity after they tried to flee from Dubai.

In my opinion, the topic is pretty newsworthy as it talks about the ruler of Dubai and the involvement of an Israel company in an already complicated court case. I like that the article explains the background of the story and that it gives an overview on everything connected to this story. In general, the article makes people think about the circumstances for women in certain Arabic countries. It is sad to see that those things can still happen in these days.


John Gonsler – The face of Morningside’s new Criminal Justice Program

When looking at John Gonsler you wouldn’t necessarily think that he has a lot of interesting stories to tell, but after interviewing him, you will quickly realize why he is a really good fit for Morningside’s new Criminal Justice Program. Gonsler is one of two professors in Morningside’s new Criminal Justice department. Before Morningside, he taught as an associate instructor at Indiana University, as well as at a university in his hometown of Flint, Michigan.

Gonsler started as a student, but when he realized that that was nothing for him, he dropped out and went into public law enforcement for two years. After this experience, Gonsler went back to college and got his bachelor’s degree in anthropology. He then went on to do his master’s program, as he realized that being a police officer is also nothing for him.

During his time as a police officer, it was proven that the sheriff at his police station “was corrupt and dirtier than a pig’s dick.” Gonsler even mentioned a book that talks about how corrupt his old station was.

In addition to that, there are also a lot of stories that Gonsler mentioned from his time after his master’s program when he worked as a correctional officer. He worked in a medium-security prison, where the inmates had dorms rather than cells. Gonsler said that while he was only there for six months he could “write a fucking book series about interesting stories.” One story that stood out to me was a rather interesting story where a prisoner collected dead baby birds. The prisoner had those dead birds as his ‘pets’. Then one day water the inmates realized that there were three dead baby birds sitting in the boiling hot pot. When the prisoner was asked why he put them in the hot pot he said that “They needed a bath, I dropped them on the floor.”

After this station, Gonsler decided to do his master’s degree. During his time there he was pen pals with Ted Kaczynski, also known as Unabomber. When asked about this story he mentioned that he “was looking for a master’s thesis, and my mentor…. started writing terrorists and said why don’t you do the same? It was 25 guys and the only one to write me back was Ted Kaczynski.” Gonsler and Kaczynski ended up exchanging multiple letters, but in the end, Kaczynski “would start to refuse to answer questions about himself and only talked about technology and how we should get rid of it.”

After all these adventures, Gonsler started teaching at universities and his life became rather calm. However, he found real joy in teaching college students about criminal justice. He is proud “that people are taking classes that they don’t need to and then find some meaning in them.”

News Comment #5

Gas Shortages Awaken Britain to Some Crucial Workers: Truck Drivers

The article from the NY Times talks about the current gas shortage, due to a lack of truck drivers. It talks about a combination of new post-Brexit immigration rules and poor working conditions that led to this shortage of gas and the lack of truck drivers. 

In order to fix this problem, the U.K. government is now sending out letters to people with a truck driving license, begging them to help out in this situation. In addition to that, they are also relaxing visa restrictions for foreign truck drivers. Following this information, the article mentions that the U.K. might have problems finding people that are actually willing to go back in this industry. 

The article further mentions all the problems that are now coming up due to the gas shortage. These problems include people not making it to work on time, as well as clogged streets in the areas of gas stations.

In my opinion, the topic itself is newsworthy as it directly affects an entire country, something you don’t see very often. The authors of the article did a really good job of showing the problem at hand. The lead of the story is very appealing and makes you want to find out more about this gas shortage. The authors used examples and quotes from people that have been interviewed about this topic which definitely helps with credibility. In addition to that, the authors also do a really good job of showing the problems on a larger scale and everything that happens now because of this gas shortage. 


News Comment #4

CDC Panel Recommends Pfizer Covid-19 Boosters for Seniors, Certain Adults With Underlying Medical Conditions

The article from the Wall Street Journal talks about the CDC recommendation of booster shots for seniors and people with medical conditions. It further mentions that there is no clear outline for who should be eligible to receive those shots.

According to the CDC advisers, people over 65 and people from 50 to 64 years should definitely receive a booster shot. Everybody younger than that should think about it and act according to their medical conditions. In addition to that, the advisers from the CDC panel also recommended people in nursing homes get the booster shot. The article also mentions how the CDC panel disagreed with the FDA’s recommendation to give the booster shot to people at high risk, like prison inmates and healthcare workers. Lastly, the WSJ article mentions how the CDC usually follows its’ panel’s recommendations, which includes 15 members.

In general, the article is very informative and stays neutral the entire time. It doesn’t take one side and just mentions the facts that are at hand. The lead of the story is pretty long but sums up the most important information. One other thing that is good about the article is the fact that it shows the readers how long it takes to read the article.


Scavenger Hunt

“Talking to strangers is one of the things people fear the most”. With this sentence, Ross sent us out and made us talk to strangers. Our goal was to acquire two specific items and to write about the experience we had while collecting them.

The first person I talked to was Dr. Jeffrey Zink, a professor in the Business department. When walking into the room and asking Dr. Zink if he had time for a short conversation he said yes right away. I proceeded with explaining Dr. Zink what my assignment was and asked him if he could provide me with an autographed Post-it note. Dr. Zink happily replied, telling me that he has different kinds of Post-it notes. He mentioned that some people might not find them appropriate for work. Dr. Zink then went on to search for them and while doing so he told me why people might not like them. He said that the notes have the letters ‘WTF’ written on top of them. After not finding any of the ‘inappropriate’ Post-its, Dr. Zink took a normal note and asked “should I write Hi Ross on it?”. I told him that I think it would be funny so he did that.

After receiving my Post-it note from Dr. Zink and thanking him for his time, I went on to look for a second person that I could talk to about their pet peeves. I went to the tech-service room and asked everybody in there if one of them would have some time to talk about their pet peeves. The guy who I think was the boss then pointed at one of the student workers and told me that he has just the right person for me to talk to. I introduced myself to her and then asked her for her name. Liberty Nordstrom, is a student worker at tech-services and seemed kind of confused at first. I then went on to ask Liberty about her pet peeve’s and she told me that she doesn’t like unorganized areas, or people talking while eating. I realized that those are things I also don’t necessarily like and told her that those were pretty good choices. Because I didn’t want to end the conversation so quickly, I also asked Liberty for her opinion on this assignment. She replied saying “I think that’s a good idea. Not many classes do that.”. I agreed with her and thanked her for her time.

Post-it note from Dr.Zink

News Comment #3

Germany Investigates Russia Over Pre-Election Hacking

The article from the N.Y. Times is about an investigation of the German prosecutor’s office after multiple hacking attempts from Russia. Obviously, the article also mentions the timing of this hacking attack, as it is very close to the upcoming elections in Germany.

The author of the article mentions how multiple politicians have been targeted by suspicious emails and other attempts to steal passwords, but in the beginning, it wasn’t clear who was responsible for these attacks. However, from a statement that was released from the Foreign Ministry, it was clear that the investigations were concentrated on Russia. According to the prosecutors, they found a connection to a so-called “Ghostwriter campaign” that can be attributed to the Russian intelligence service.

Moscow denied that it was involved in any of those attacks and called those allegations an “extraordinary P.R. story”. They furthermore said that it was the work of some individual politicians that wanted to create rumors on purpose.

The article also mentions the economic ties between Russia and Germany and the fact that even though they do have those ties, Russia was found to have hacked into the computer systems of the German parliament in 2015. In addition to that, they also breached the German government’s data network three years later.

I think that the article is very well written and also states a lot of important facts that are important to create a cohesive picture. The lead of the story is very informative. It is a little bit longer than usual but it makes me want to keep reading the story to find out what exactly happened. The article includes quotes from the German prosecutors, showing that they are investigating Russia, but also mentions Russia’s reply to the allegations, which is very important in writing a story.

After looking up some more information on this news story, I realized that not a lot of major news outlets have published stories about this, which, in my opinion, is weird. I think that this article is very much newsworthy and the fact that Russia is trying to do the same thing they did in the U.S. elections deserves more attention.


Lead Exercise, 09/14/21

$382 robbery at a local store last night, leaves no people injured, as store owner decides not to resist.

In a robbery in ‘BJ’s Drug’ at 450 Stanley Street, two men wearing ski masks got away with $382.65 from the cash register. The robbery was over in less than a minute. While one of the robbers held a gun to the store owner’s head, the other one removed the money from the register. The two men then proceeded to their car that was parked in front of the store with its motor still running.

The store owner, Barney Joseph Jr., who kept a pistol under his counter, decided not to reach for his gun during the robbery, as he didn’t feel like it was a smart thing to do. This decision was most likely influenced by the story of his father, that was shot in the same store 25 years ago. Based on this, Joseph Jr. said that he’d rather part with his money than his life.