Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Wild Card Project

Climate Change

Climate Change impact graphic

Scientists have been warning us that greenhouse gases were creating climate change since the early 19th century. In October, the UN released a study that shows we have about 12 years to clean up the Earth or risk a lot more wildfires, poverty, migration, hurricanes, and worse.  This is the first study to warn that it will only be a few years before we see horrible changes that cannot be reversed.

Projected impact on climate change on agricultural yields

13 federal agencies released a report last Friday warning that we're already being affected by it in major ways. Not only are there more natural disasters, such as hurricanes and fires, but we're being hurt economically by it. Extreme heat in particular is already affecting the world's productivity and food supply as well as causing more disease transmission. These are not new warnings, but they're getting more press lately. Every respectable scientist in the world agrees that mankind is causing climate change. It needs to stop if we're to survive in the next few decades.

Climate Destabilization

64% of Americans think that we should be doing more about climate change, but people are not willing to do much about it. They figure that someone will fix this. However, it probably won't be fixed because of these attitudes.  These are the facts from NASA that cannot be disputed.  Some think that we need more education and media attention to the problems, to make people care about climate change before it's too late.

Two Possible Futures for Climate Change

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Classmate Blog Critique

 Colby Clinton

typing up a blog

I've read through the blogs written by my classmates. I try not to be too critical when reading them because, unlike me, they are all probably full-time students (with more limited time than I have), and they've only been writing a short while. I was not a very good writer back when I was their age, so I try to judge from that perspective. I'm only taking a few classes, and I've had 30 extra years to hone my writing and typing skills.

Colby's blog screencap

There's one student that I think writes really well in his blog: Colby Clinton. I didn't see many errors at all in his writing. Perhaps he's just better at using Grammarly or spellcheck than the other students.  However, it's not just his fine use of spelling, punctuation and grammar that I like. He has a very concise method of writing that suits him well, especially for the news stories we write for this class. I tend to write too much most of the time, so I admire anyone that can write in an informative way without too much verbiage. It's especially impressive considering he's a Sophomore.

Trying to read the blog

The only thing I don't like about Colby's blog is his choice of blog theme. I'm not too keen on the white-letters-on-dark-background design. It's hard for me to read. However, most of the students seem to choose that style of Blogger theme, so he's hardly alone in this regard. His layout is very good, though, and makes it easier to read.

photos on Colby's Facebook page

He chose a wide variety of topics about which to write, from movies, to sports, to politics. I found his choices to be interesting and well-researched. Good job!

blog cartoon

Monday, November 19, 2018

News App Critique

news sites

 An "app" is usually a program that you download and install, especially on a mobile phone or tablet. I really don't use any news apps on my phone, and I don't have a tablet. I don't usually go out of my way to read, hear or watch the news (which you may have read about in my August post about "Defining the News."). My husband is a news junkie, but I've never really been interested in it. Since the last election, though, I've subscribed to the New York Times. I get a Morning Briefing every day in my email. I sometimes read that, if I can find the time.  I use Gmail for my email, so I guess that would be my primary news app. For weather, I usually use the weather on my phone, or I go to Weather Underground, or I find the local news channels' Facebook pages.

Other news I see on Twitter or Facebook. I have a lot of friends on both social media sites who are politically active, so I see their posts, some of which have links to articles or video news. If something interests me, I'll watch it, or read more about it.  Twitter, Facebook and Gmail are all apps on my phone, so I suppose they count as "news apps." I think Twitter is much better than Facebook for getting the latest news on just about anything. It's more instant, from what I've seen.

On Twitter, I also follow many news organizations such as The Associated Press and The Los Angeles Times, so I often see breaking news when I happen to be on there. I follow a few local news and weather stations on Facebook and Twitter as well, such as the Banner-News and KTAL News.

I'm sure there are many news apps out there that I could use, but I don't have the time to add any new apps. I would probably not use them if I had them.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Opinion - National

Smoking in the U.S.


No smoking sign
U.S. State governments have been trying to reduce smoking rates with laws that ban smoking in certain places, since 1995 when California enacted theirs. The U.S. and state governments have also been trying to educate people, especially children, about the dangers of smoking, since 1964. Due to this concerted effort, smoking dropped drastically. The annual Surgeon General’s Advisory Committee's report came out in 1964. Back then, 42% of the adult population smoked. Now it's down to 15%, thanks to their efforts. The federal government restricts use of advertising smoking, and sales to minors.

menthol cigarettes

Many cities, counties and states have smoking bans in restaurants and other public places. There is no federal smoking ban, however.  The reasoning behind smoking bans is that second-hand smoke can give a person smoking-related diseases, such as cancer and emphysema. Now the federal government (in the form of the FDA) wants to restrict menthol cigarettes and flavored vaping (out of concern for children, who prefer sweet flavors).

Joan McGline, my mom

I'm not a fan of smoking at all. Both of my parents were heavy smokers, and I never understood the appeal. I never wanted to try it. Not only is it very unhealthy, but it makes your home, car, hair and clothes smell bad. My mom knew smoking was bad, and she had asthma, yet she still smoked.  She died in 1972 after a minor operation, when she caught pneumonia in the operating room. I'm sure that smoking didn't help that outcome.

I have some problems, though, with the government trying to ban adults from smoking, and using children as an excuse. There are already laws preventing sales and advertising of cigarettes to minors, and they have a lot of anti-smoking education in schools and on TV.  This is a not-very-well- concealed attempt to ban smoking altogether. The high taxes and prices of cigarettes has also had an effect on reducing smoking.

Prohibition Era Protests

In general, I have no problem with the government regulating everything, and making American health a priority. I do have a problem with them taking away our rights with regards to things that we do that affect our own health and no one else's.  Prohibition showed that banning liquor didn't work.   The war on drugs has showed the same. If they tried to ban cigarettes, it would also fail. Adults should be allowed to make bad choices with their lives if they want to.  Now, if they wanted to try to ban smoking inside your house when you have children, I would agree with that, but it would also be very hard to enforce.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Opinion - Local

Magnolia needs more things to do and better restaurants


Wikipedia's page for Magnolia

Our town of almost 12,000 needs a movie theater, a bowling alley, public transportation (at least Uber!), and other entertainment and shopping options for the local community, as well as for all of the students. The SAU student enrollments have been increasing every year, and I believe they will increase even more if we make Magnolia more like a real college town.

map of some of the Mexican restaurants in Magnolia

Besides all of the things mentioned above, we need more restaurants.  What we don't need are more Mexican restaurants. We have three right now, and more opening up. There will be 5 or 6. I don't know why we need so many.  None of them are great - just adequate. I might be a little biased because I'm from San Diego, CA, which is right on the border. I like Antigua's and El Compadre just fine. Not many people seem to go to the latter. I'm not sure why because I think their food and drinks are just as good as any other in town (possibly better). It might be the location.  Antigua's is right near the university.  El Compadre is across from Flying Burger and next to the new Blue Bull Grill.  One would think that would be a good location, too, but it's not, from what I can tell. To be fair, El Compadre doesn't advertise very much.  They have tried to have trivia and karaoke nights to bring in more customers, but they didn't do much advertising for those, either. They don't do a good job of keeping up their Facebook page, either.

El Compadre

Up until a few months ago, there was Cancun (on Main Street), which was very popular. I thought their food was disappointing, the few times we went there for dinner.  A new place, Santiago's, opened on North Jackson St., a block away from another new Mexican restaurant, Los Tovares Grill. I liked Los Tovares, too (I haven't tried Santiago's yet). There's another Mexican place moving in where Cancun used to be, and Los Tovares is now moving to the Square and will be called Los Maguelles. I believe that yet another Mexican restaurant will also be opening up in our little town, too.


None of them are great Mexican restaurants. It's not that they're not authentic - the people who own and run them are Hispanic/Latino.  The problem is that restaurants cater to the local tastes. Apparently people here just don't like spicy food, so that's why the restaurants make very bland Mexican food.  If someone tried to open an Indian or Thai restaurant, they would probably be just as bad as the Mexican, Chinese and Japanese restaurants here.  Still, it would be nice if someone actually tried to open some good quality restaurants (besides Backyard BBQ, which is the only truly great restaurant in our town). And while we're at it, can some of them have gluten-free options so I can eat at them? That would be great... I keep hearing that there's a lot of money in this town. If so, the people with money need to open up some better restaurants!

Backyard Barbecue Ribs

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Entertainment or Pop Culture

Veronica Mars cast

Hulu is rebooting "Veronica Mars" for a fourth season. The original cult-favorite mystery drama ran from 2004-2007, starring Kristen Bell ("The Good Place," "Frozen"), Enrico Colantoni ("Person of Interest," "iZombie"), Jason Dohring ("The Originals," "iZombie") and others.  Creator Rob Thomas used crowd-funding to help finance a "Veronica Mars" movie in 2014, with most of the original cast, which was a success. Kristen Bell announced the news of the HULU series with a video on her Twitter feed.

screen cap of Kristen Bell's Twitter

Thomas and Bell will be returning for the 2019 HULU version, along with Dohring (Logan), Francis Capra (Weevil), Percy Daggs III (Wallace), and David Starzyk (Richard). There will be more cast members announced soon. One of Kristen Bell's co-stars in "The Good Place," Kirby Howell-Baptiste, will also be joining the show. The writing staff was also announced, including former NBA superstar Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Veronica Mars movie poster

The new "Veronica Mars" series will take place 5 years after the movie and will have one 8-episode-long mystery, which involves the town being in conflict between the rich and poor, and a missing college boy. More Information 

Veronica Mars cast

Monday, November 5, 2018

Trending on Social Media

Trending on Twitter Monday, November 5th


For the past month or so, people who are politically-motivated on social media have been urging everyone to vote. The hashtags #VoteTuesday and #ElectionEve were trending all day Monday on Twitter.  Other trending hashtags seen in the past month include "VoteBlue," "earlyvoting," "Vote," "voting," "election," "midterms," "electionday," and "GOPVotingBlue."

Alyssa Milano's Twitter

Actors and other Hollywood people on Twitter tend to be Democrats, like Alyssa Milano, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Jim Carrey, and Stephen King. Most of their tweets have been about telling people to vote, and especially to make sure to vote for Democrats. Some (such as Jordan Peele, Madeleine Albright and George Takei) just say to get out and vote, regardless of your beliefs. Quite a few celebrities are involved tonight with #TelethonforAmerica on YouTube, which is a non-partisan discussion of voting.

Changing your trends settings

 The trending stories on Twitter are usually about sports, politics or entertainment.  You'll see slightly different trending topics depending on whether you have it set for "Worldwide," or choose a particular country, or a large city, or choose "tailored trends" (based on your location or the people you follow).

Oprah meme about voting

Final Project: Visual Journalism

2018 Best TV Comedies