Monday, June 1, 2015

Is Title IX Good?

Title IX is generally associated with sports, but athletics were only a fraction of it's original intent. In 1972, the act was made to protect everyone from sex based discrimination of any kind, at all schools. The bill reads:

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. 

Title IX affects several areas. Besides gender discrimination it supports girls going into male dominated STEM careers, protects pregnant or parenting students, and helps victims of sexual violence on campus. The act guarantees that any sexual violence claims will not be put aside and that the victim can stay safe on campus.

While the bill was made with many instances in mind, the part of Title IX that gets the most attention is definitely how it affects our sports. People for, and opposed to the idea see the program in different ways.

People that support what the title has done say that woman used to get much less opportunity then men when it came to joining sports, and the Title IX is fixing that, but some people still think that woman's sports are still downplayed and underfunded. The program does give woman more opportunities to join the sports that they want, but to achieve this schools have to cut down on some male dominated sports.

Opposers disagree with the methods used to keep the sports balanced between the genders. Title IX wants there to be an equal number of male and female participants in sports. If a school has 50% male and 50% female students, then they would want 50% of all school athletes to be female too. Some argue that the interest level of females in sports is lower than that of the males, which means that it's unrealistic to expect an even number of athletes between the sexes. Sometimes the only way schools can even out the percentages is to cut male sport programs to make things more equal. This is met with opposition.

Is this system actually equal?
Is Title IX working it's purpose? Does it need to be removed or changed?

Sunday, May 17, 2015

10 Days of News

Judging by only it's name, doesn't sound like a very professional website. It's motto is 'It's not news, its FARK.' which implies that yes, it is supposed to be news, but probably not traditional news, it's unique, it's not like other boring news sites.

The very first story I saw when going on to the website for the first time was Men's beards "found to contain more human poop than a toilet". Needless to say, my first initial impression didn't give me very high expectations for the source and I didn't really take it too seriously. The front page showed stories about corndogs, the word 'boobies' and another story titled simply, 'Penis'.

The website runs on normal people that make accounts and become FARK members, submitting stories written by other sources, stories that they find important, interesting or funny. When you submit a story from another source, you can also write the headline that will show up on FARK, resulting in headlines like 'Rub-a-dub-dub, three men in a tub / The butcher, the baker, the candle stick maker / The tub hadn't been cleaned properly / There were no survivors' 

This sounds like a funny title, what in the world could they mean by that? Curiosity makes you click on it, as with most stories on the site, only to find out that three actual people died in a hot tub, and the title was written to make it sound like it would be a funny article.

FARK seems to like to avoid any heavy subjects, and when they do cover them, they make them into jokes. The first piece of traditional, current event news I saw was on the third day of looking. The article was about ISIS which is a pretty serious topic, but they still made it into a joke. The article was titled 'ISIS says they have 15 more terror cells in America just itching to get gunned down by Paul Blart.' Following the article though, the link from FARK takes you to a seriously written news article on Fox News.

FARK is supposed to be a news site, but in my opinion it doesn't post much news. There's a difference between news and journalism. Journalism, as I have previously written about, is just the spread of information of all kinds. News though, has to be a specific type of information. It should involve a current event, something that is relevant to the last few days. While journalism can be made by anyone, news is more reliable and trustworthy.

So is FARK news? I don't think so, but what then makes it a popular news site? Well, society makes us feel obligated to know about what's happening all over the world at any given time. If you know about these things you're smart and if you don't you're not. Some people might feel obligated to look at some type of news, and they just choose FARK because it presents it in a funny way. Another thing that FARK does that's different is that it really only publishes positive stories, not depressing ones. The reason some people dislike watching the news is because it rarely reports positive stories. FARK fulfills your obligation to look at news, and has funny or entertaining stories instead of sad ones.

There is a certain level of awareness that we should all have about whats going on around us, but if we focus on news so much, it might do more harm than good. We should pay more attention to what's happening immediately around us, and what we can do to help people we care about and our community instead of thinking about something that happened on the other side of the world that we could never help and are no way involved in.

Even if there's something bad happening far far away, there has to be something good happening in your own life, you just have to make sure you living there enough to notice.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Baltimore Satire News Report


*white news anchor sits behind desk shuffles papers and addresses camera*

Susie- Well, it seems we have a breaking story about the violence happening in Baltimore right now. Tim is there on the scene, good evening Tim.

Tim- Good evening, I am here in the streets of Baltimore where there have been violent protests all day. So far a few police officers have been injured. This is incredibly unfortunate, I just can't believe that these protesters are being SO violent. Did you know that a window had been broken?? A WINDOW. It was BROKEN. And at what cost? Susie?

Susie- I mean I just don't understand why everyone is so riled up, it's not like any of them have been injured-
*pauses to listen to earpiece*
Well...  I mean no one has been KILLED is what I'm saying *nervous laughter*
Oh... But SURely multiple people haven't been killed I mean- this protest is SENSELESS, there is no reason-
...oh ...   Back to you in the studio Tim.

Tim- well... um... You know what's American?? Baseball! And guess what? Because of these crazy spontaneous protests, our BASEBALL IS BEING CANCELLED. Hear that? CANCELLED. It's being closed the public. For the first time ever! If any thing is umamerican it's these protests that are stopping our baseball!

Susie- I just hope these protesters soon see the light. I mean they are defiantly overreacting completely. And I mean, I'm NOT a racist! I support blacks! I know a lot! See, I know about MLK. You know what MLK would say in this situation? He didn't like violence! You protesters are going against the ways of MLK. And you say I'M racist.

Tim- That's so true Suzie, so true. As a white person i'm sure I understand systematic oppression better than anyone, and I would know that the protesting and rock throwing is incredibly uncalled for. I'm praying for all of it to end.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

So you want to be president?

Want to be president? It's easy, all you need is to fulfill three simple requirements

1. You must be a natural born citizen of the United States. 
2. You must be a resident of the United States for fourteen years or more.
3. You must be 35 years old or older. 

Technically that's all you need. But clearly it takes much more than that. 

Working hard and appealing to the public is very important, but once it's voting time there are some factors that are out of your hands.

Some of the factors we take into consideration when voting are logical, like voting for the candidate that agrees with you on issues that are important to you. Other factors we think about are very illogical though, and maybe made subconsciously.

We take the physical appearance  of each presidential candidate more to heart than we realize. Our brains independently watch each persons behavior, from their clothes to their body language and their tone of voice. If one candidate holds themselves more confidently, or looks more kind, you are more likely to favor them. 

Besides physical appearance, we also have more specific personal bias's that vary between us that may influence our voting. This bias can be about gender, race, sexuality, or religion, among other things.

Younger generations are less likely to have strong biases about the above topics, but the biases are still there. 

So, back to your dreams of becoming president. I mean, this is America right? You can achieve anything if you put in the hard work... As long as you are an old straight, white Christian man. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

A Story to Tell

(Quotes from my mother)

"When Dad died you were two years and four months old and, right after he died you started having nightmares every night. Like, sometimes three nightmares a night, sometimes five nightmares a night, and you would wake up and you would scream. You were sleeping in my room at the time, in a matress on the bed, because it was winter and we had your bedroom closed off to conserve heat and, when I asked you what the nightmares were, you said that you could see Dad's face and then he changed into a monster and, that's all you ever said about it, and when I asked you what kind of a monster, what it looked like, you wouldn't say anything.

You had nightmares from the time he died on Christmas day, until August 27th. So that was approximatly seven months. August 27th of the year before, he had left this house and gone to the emergency room, and he never came home, and he died on Christmas day. So exactly one year after the day that he left this house, I had a nightmare in the middle of the night, and you were sleeping in your own room at the time and I was sleeping in my room so we weren't in the same room then.

In my nightmare it started off as your dad's face, but then he decomposed, right in front of my eyes. It was really scary and I woke up and I was, you know not screaming but I was gasping, and I looked at the clock and it was exactly 12:00 and you were in your room screaming.

So you and I had the very same, I imagine that that was the same nightmare that you had been having for seven months, several times a night, it was really scary. When I woke up at exactly 12:00 you were in your room screaming, and that's the last time you ever had that nightmare. I never had that nightmare again either."


"We went to South Padre Island, and you were three years old, and Seth had just turned two years old. But you were both talking really advanced for children your age. We were walking on the beach at South Padre Island Texas, and that year MTV had a spring break special going on at the hotel a couple of doors down from us. They had a great big stage and 10,000 kids, a lot of kids. College kids.

The college kids had long cafeteria style tables set up, and they had flags that had the emblem of the school they went to. Other kids would go from table to table, and at each table they had a keg that was tapped and kids were doing bongs, and drinking glasses of beer. As we were walking by, you and Seth saw a lot of things that probably weren't appropriate for children your age to see. One of the tables we saw some kids doing a bong, and all the kids were chanting, CHUG, CHUG, CHUG. You didn't really say anything about it. It was kind of like a car accident, you just couldn't stop looking.

Later when we were in the hotel, and we were with Busha, who at the time was probably in her late 80's, we were going up the elevator. Just as the elevator door were about to close, in walked about six college men that were maybe in their early 20's. They all acted very respectful. Seth took a look at those college aged men, and he said 'Chug! Chug! Chug!' In his little two year old voice, and they all got very embarrassed. He associated college aged men with chug chug chug."

Thursday, March 26, 2015


We don't realize it, but design influences every part of our lives. We are always being unconsciously influenced by the design of objects, a lot of thought goes into the way everything looks.

I made this in 50 min. 
I think there are two types of design, both important in their own ways, but pretty different from one another. Mechanical design is about making things function, making objects more efficient and able to do their jobs well. Visual design, on the other hand focuses on the way a product looks, not how it works. This part focuses on making an object visually appealing.

Both of these elements are equally important and wouldn't be as effective on their own. A product could be flawlessly designed in the mechanical department, but if it isn't nice to look at no one will pay attention to it in the first place. As for the other way around, no matter how pretty an object is, if it doesn't work and serve it's purpose, it's not much use.

When we buy something we take both of these factors into account, but do we pay attention to one more than the other? It would make sense that we would care about the function of a product the most, we want it to be useful, right? Sometimes though, a products visual design can influence us more.

You have probably seen some of these eos lipbalms before, so why are they popular? Because of the way they look, the round visual design is different than what you usually expect. So, the visual design is good, and that attracts buyers. The mechanical design though, is actually not quite as good. A round shape isn't practical, it's hard to fit in pockets and it rolls away easily too.

So if the mechanical design is not as good, why is this brand popular? The good visual design outweighs the worse mechanical design. This same company makes normally shaped lip balms too, but those aren't as popular, because their visual design isn't as good. Sometimes visual design can set a product apart more than its mechanics can.

A recreation layout of an article. 
There are more than one way to portray a visual design though, depending on who the target audience is. Changing the way you present an idea can attract different kinds of people. Compare these three websites, all aimed for different audiences.

This is the NFL website, which generally aims for an audience of men and boys. It's design is darker colors and textures that are supposed to look 'manly' and attract that certain audience. Sephora is a makeup company, their audience is generally woman. Their colors are lighter and the layout is a little sleeker. Last is the Toys R Us website. Because they are targeting kids, this page is brighter and more colorful. It's also more busy with patterns.

Any of these layouts used to target a different audience wouldn't make sense. Imagine the NFL's website using the Toys R Us layout. It would contradict itself and maybe even deter people from going there, thinking it was for kids. By narrowing down their target audience, and tailoring their products design to that audiences preferences, you can attract more people. Design is a simple idea, but working with it can make you ideas stand out even more. 

Friday, March 20, 2015


I'm not pretty. Don't try to say otherwise, this is not a debatable point, it's a fact. My face doesn't have the right shapes in the right places that modern society somehow decided looks good, and I know that. I don't have delicate features, tan skin, dark lashes or big eyes, but that's fine. I don't want to be pretty.

Now, if you are pretty, if you were by chance born with the right combination of genes that make your face somehow fundamentally more beautiful, don't take offence. Being pretty isn't a bad thing. Well, it isn't a good thing either. In fact, it really shouldn't be a thing at all, prettiness. Why did we decide that some random features were pretty, that certain faces are better looking than others?

When and why did we decide that this held any bit of importance in our lives? And how then, did we let it collect so much importance that society started to base real people's value on their faces, on their genes, on completely random factors that no one can control about themselves? We put way too much emphasis on the way we look, and it starts to influence our own ideas of self worth.

Advertisements surround us telling us how to lose weight fast, and smooth out our skin, and be prettier and more desirable. Our main goals in life should not be based on the idea of being desirable to anyone, we don't owe anyone anything, especially concerning the faces we were born with and can't change.

We don't tell little girls that they are inventive, or smart, or imaginative. We say 'you look so pretty!' and expect it to be the ultimate complement. Beautiful should not be our main focus, and pretty should not be our only compliment to one another.

Ask a little girl what she want's to be when she grows up. A doctor? A marine? No, she wants to be a princess. That's fine, princesses are great, but does she really want that? No. She wants to be a beautiful princess, and she wants all the boys to faun over her because she is so pretty.

If you want to try to make yourself pretty do it. Wear makeup if you want, dress up if you want, but do it for yourself, not for society, not to feel desirable, and not because you just feel compelled to. Never feel like less of a person because your face doesn't look 'pretty'.

Every time you think you aren't pretty, or struggle with body image issues, remember that beauty isn't actually real, we totally made it up. It doesn't really mean a thing. Strive to stand out because of your ideas, your feelings, your beliefs and passions. What is going on inside your head is so much more significant than the features on your face.