Politics of Thanksgiving

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After eating one turkey last night (the ongoing family joke being that my brother once told his first grade teacher that our family had a bird prepared for each person on Thanksgiving), I heard my father’s voice crack for the first time as he stated that no one goes to Washington to truly address the issues of today’s society. Ever since I can remember, my father was not one to let his emotions show—certainly not speaking to his daughter about something as seemingly trivial as politics.

He is convinced that Donald Trump has already won the 2016 election. Not Bernie Sanders, not Hilary Clinton and not Ben Carson. Casting aside the routine business of personal predictions, I’d like to thank him and every other person along the way for raising me to become the “tripping-over-myself-to-learn” person I am today by arguing why I will not be voting for Trump, even if he is smart.

Yesterday, the 26th of November, in the midst of many words, Trump tweeted that “The dopes at the @nytimes bought the Boston Globe for $1.3 billion and sold it for $1.00. Their great old headquarters—gave it away! So dumb”. Let’s take a bite of the dense stuffing inside this tweet, shall we?

I am not comfortable with a presidential candidate that spoke of a business venture and might have illogically associated dragging on the Boston Globe under Times’ ownership with the unrelated, timely nostalgia of the “great old.” UBS analyst John Janedis said in a Times article, “‘The trends at The Globe have been a drag on the company. The New York Times has performed a lot better over the past several years.’” He goes on to declare that the decision to sell The Globe was probably the best possible. Yet, how does this one aspect of the Times’ financial status prove to be linked with the quality of their magazine, as later questioned by Trump, let alone the original issue of him allegedly mimicking a disabled reporter? The revolution of the internet has caused many magazines to go out of business already, so, if anything, The Times is pressured to do better. Also, Trump perpetuated his “dope” language (dope, as introduced approximately 35 years ago to mean excellent) to defend himself against their argument, describing The New York Times as “dumb.” First linking the fact of their misfortune to the simple diction, the tweet then furthers Times’ fallacially value-ascribed “giving” to implicate irresponsible and not-financially-driven decisions. Finally, the declaration is attributed to “modern” language and therefore the vast audience of Twitter. Trump weaves his business so fluently, it scares; that was one tweet, but a heck load of analyzing and pulling apart.

I bring it up to preclude possible questions: I have a physical disability, but it does not impact my analyzing of the exposed English language as it is used in today’s society.

I have to admit, a lot of what I am now seeing as I scroll through Trump’s twitter only makes sense because of what my father humbly told me yesterday. The family started the talk session by insisting, quite heavily, that I let my minute-paced singular words fall out—and just describe the general idea of my question. I was so afraid to position myself on the topic of choice that it took me a decent amount of silence to get my thoughts together. Before I started asking detailed questions so persistently that my father’s shell cracked in the middle of our concentrated chat yesterday, I did not understand that Trump was so intelligent, nor did I think that I would be writing about tweets today. However, I finally found my deals many months ago after searching and asking around, so I am the happiest to be able to do just what I love this Black Friday—argue, with the hint of a devilish smile on my lips.

I guess I started somewhat backwards. I said I would explain why I will not be voting for Trump; all I can do is highlight what I see and insist that people do not close their eyes after gobbling up too much; instead, pick your own appropriate dessert and listen and think and ask questions as if your life depended on it—then, debate.

Sometimes, it may be tough to take a stand on what isn’t black and white. For example, choosing to write instead of knowing with complete and total certainty that you can do well with a math test—it is terrifying. And yes, there probably will be consequences to learn from. However, I still believe that today’s society requires more from every one of us than staying securely attached to ourselves. How else would you and I have family to give thanks for and look forward to spending time with?

Why is the TV series Jane the Virgin such a success?

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Jane the Virgin first aired on TV October 13, 2014. The show follows the life of 23-year-old Jane Villanueva (Gina Rodriquez), an aspiring teacher, who is determined to not repeat the same mistake as her mother (Andrea Navedo) of having a child at a young age. For this reason and her religious beliefs, Jane is saving herself for marriage. However, her life had a surprise in store for her. On a routine visit to the gynecologist, she is accidentally artificially inseminated by a specimen that is meant for the patient next door. Jane ends up finding out that the “father” of her baby is Rafael (Justin Baldoni), who happens to be her boss and old teenage crush.

The Daily Beast article written by Amy Zimmerman describes the CW series as “genuinely funny, sweet, smart, and wholly original.” The series is based upon a Venezuelan telenovela Juana la Virgen, but instead of being 17-years-old Jane is 23. The dramatic aspects of a telenovela are maintained throughout the entire series, while still remaining subtle. Because in reality, who would be artificially inseminated by mistake? Other key moments that keeps the dramatics of the show going include the mysterious drug lord Sin Rostro. Throughout the entire show, this criminal is pursued and ends up posing a threat to Jane’s baby in season two. The feud between Rafael and Michael (Jane’s ex boyfriend) for Jane’s heart is also a focal point of the story. Without giving too much away, there is definitely a great deal of drama to look forward to.

Another beautifully done component of the TV series is the balance with cultural diversity. Part of what makes up Jane’s character is her culture, however, that isn’t the only thing that defines her. As Gina Rodriguez stated, “For once, [she] was reading a script where they weren’t talking about [her] ethnicity…” Unlike other television series, where it is obvious that certain characters are there to check off that “box of diversity,” Jane the Virgin is different. Rodriguez continues by saying, “They weren’t putting a Puerto Rican flag on [her] shoulder. They weren’t putting a taco in [her] hand.” Some of the ways the Latino culture shines throughout the series are through the small bits of Spanish that are included in every episode. In a lot of older TV shows or movies, if Spanish is included it is either something sexual or sexualizes the character. In Jane the Virgin, most of the Spanish is spoken by the “abuela” (grandmother). For me, this really resembles my family structure. I’ll choose whichever language I want to speak in depending on the situation or who I’m speaking to. The overall family structure is pretty head on. Jane has an extremely close relationship with her family, which is shown by the way she consults her family about every decision she makes. This i something I can relate to on a personal level.

 

(This is a clip of Jane’s abuela and her father Rogelio. It demonstrates how Spanish is included in the show.)

Another subtle representation of Hispanic culture is the religious aspects of the show. Not all, but a great amount of Hispanic families are religion oriented. Especially the older family members like Jane’s abuela. Jane’s abuela is also constantly living in fear of deportation, which is a very harsh reality for many Hispanic immigrants. However, this isn’t something that gets shoved into the viewers face constantly. Just like all the other factors of speaking Spanish, family connections, and religion aren’t emphasized or even acknowledged really. They are there to build an accurate culture without taking up the entirety of the show. It’s a great depiction of a Hispanic-American family.

Overall, Jane the Virgin provides many positive outlooks of Latino culture. Especially just the character of Jane in general. She is a college graduate who is pursuing a Master’s degree. According to the 2006 – 2010 U.S. census, roughly 4% of the Hispanic or Latino population had a graduate or professional degree compared with the 11% of non Hispanic or Latino population. Jane’s character is a great role model for all the Hispanic and Latina girls out there, because many do opt out of pursing higher education after high school.

Out of Jane’s character Gina Rodriguez is a great role model as well. According to IMDB, Rodriguez is a supporter of Inspira, which is an organization that focuses on helping Latino leaders who play a big role in shaping their communities. She has also spoken out about many issues such as racism, body image, and bullying. All of her hard work payed off when she won the 2015 Golden Globe for Best Actress in a TV Comedy for her role in Jane the Virgin, where she was up against Lena Dunham (Girls), Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep), and Taylor Schilling (Orange is the New Black). She is the second Latina to win an award in this category.

So next time you find yourself with nothing to watch, consider watching Jane the Virgin. You can find the entire first season on Netflix.

 

 

Thrill Ride: All You Need to Know

Although Kevin Hart and Jimmy Fallon may have exaggerated their fear of roller coasters for humors sake in the above video, there are many people that do actually share anxiety over the experience. While some have this roller coaster phobia, others are constantly looking for the adrenaline rush that these rides can provide. Why is that?

With technology making so many advances in the last few decades, coaster engineers have been able to safely design and implement roller coasters that were once thought to be a mission of impossible extremes. So, what does the timeline of roller coaster models look like?

There are thousands of roller coasters located all over the world today. Thousands of people still flock to these coasters for a thrilling experience. What are the tallest and fastest roller coasters in the world?

Whether you are a roller coaster enthusiast or you are skeptical of these large contraptions or you are just somewhere in between these two extremes, here is everything you need to know about roller coasters… and more.

 

The science behind roller coasters

There’s science behind you screaming at the top of your lungs and throwing your arms in the air? Yes, of course! And I’m not referring to the physics involved in designing roller coasters (although that is a pretty important part), I’m talking about the psychological and biological aspects.ControllingGenesWithLightNewTechniqueCanRapidlyTurnGenesOnAndOffHelpingScientistsBetterUnderstandTheirFunction

Recent research done by Frank Farley, a psychologist at Temple University has identified genes that may incite individuals to pursue new experiences. The U.S. National Library of Medicine defines a gene as “the basic physical and functional unit of heredity.” Traits are passed from each parent to their offspring through genes. Genes determine characteristics of your personality, as well as characteristics of your physical appearance.

A biochemist for the University of California, Irvine, Robert Moyzis suggests that the gene that causes humans to seek new adventures and acclimate to different challenges was very advantageous when our ancestors began to explore the world. Moyzis has conducted some research on the DRD4 gene, which he believes was more frequently found in those that traveled farther to settle in new lands than in those who stayed behind. DRD4 is also the gene associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. Those that have this chronic disorder often experience problems with paying attention for longer periods of time and hyperactivity.

Genes might be part of the reason why you love or hate roller coasters. However, past experiences and the people that you surround yourself with can also be to blame for how you feel about thrills.

 

Coasting through history

 1400s- The “Russian Mountains” were constructed in the area of St. Petersburg, Russia. These were handmade hills built out of ice, in which people would sled down them.

1817-  Wheels are added to the ride for the first time in Paris.

1840- The first looping coaster was assembled in Britain.

1884- The first commercial roller coaster is accessible at Coney Island, New York and is called “The Switchback”.

1902- “Leap-The-Dips” opens at Lakemont Park in Pennsylvania. It is the oldest operating coaster presently.

1955- Walt Disney opens Disneyland in California.

1979- “The Beast”, the world’s longest roller coaster is accessible in Ohio. Today it is still the longest wooden ride (7,400 feet).

1982- The first stand up roller coaster is introduced in Japan.

2005- The world’s tallest and fastest roller coaster is unveiled at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey. The Kingda Ka stands 456 feet tall and travels at 128 mph.

2015- The “Fury-325” located in North Carolina is the world’s tallest and fastest giga roller coaster.

Your safety matters

Thousands of people entrust their lives to the designers and maintenance keepers of roller coasters as they plummet from hundreds of feet in the air and travel at high speeds. Some might wonder as they reach the top of the first incline, is this safe?

The answer to that is ultimately yes. While there have been some incidents associated with roller coasters, extreme measures have been taken to ensure that these incidents are extremely rare and limited.

Not only do parks have their own inspection programs, the government has additional codes and requirements that must be met and checked on a regular basis. Technicians test rides every day several times before the park opens. “We inspect every length of track, every car and every lap bar,” stated Dan West, the rides maintenance manager for Paramount Kings Dominion Park in Doswell, Virginia.

Every coaster goes through monthly and yearly inspections too. These are more extensive and often involve taking apart the roller coaster and rebuilding it, and replacing wood or steel on the track.

Park officials must make rider safety a top priority, not just because it is the moral thing to do but also because they cannot afford to have the parks reputation destroyed by a major accident.

And although there are codes and regulations installed by officials to handle your safety, make sure you do what you can to provide for your own safety. These measures might include

  • Secure your clothing, hair, jewelry, and any other loose articles before getting on the ride.
  • Do not ignore the listed age, weight, height, and health conditions.
  • Keep your head, arms, and legs inside the ride at all times.
  • Always have your head and eyes facing forward to prevent neck injuries.
  • Wait until you are told to unbuckle.

 

And the “more”

Have you ever dreamed of having your wedding on a roller coaster? Probably not, but good news! You can get married on a roller coaster and many couples have done just that.

The New York-New York Casino and Resort in Las Vegas has a special wedding package. It grants couples the chance to tie the knot on a 67 mph roller coaster. For a cost between $600 and $700, the resort will direct a 15 minute ceremony with a minister included.

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K-Cups and Freeze-Dried Plasma

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Needles. I am irked by them, whether in having to take a shot at the doctor’s, or even in opening my Keurig to remove the last K-cup (as a busy college student, coffee is a must). This morning, the latter brought me to question how the mechanism works. The explanation led me to wonder how freeze-drying functions, which finally allowed me to explore the current debate of the impact of fresh-frozen plasma on massive haemorrhage in trauma. Long sentence, longer learning process. I now hope to let others understand the issue in the same passionate and logical manner that the information was presented and available to me.

 

In 2010, fresh-frozen blood plasma was successfully being used by hospitals as an approach to treat the 40% of trauma-related deaths caused by haemorrhage. Simply put: replenishing the blood lost by trauma victims does not have, in most cases, enough effect on slowing blood loss down, but the application of fresh-frozen plasma (FFP) has shown a significant reduction in mortality. After all, at least 25% of trauma victims entering the hospital present with coagulopathy, or the inability of the body to create blood that clots.

Currently, INR guidelines recommend late FFP to blood rationed transfusions, and for good reason. Early acute respiratory distress syndrome has been associated with increased FFP to RBC blood transfusion ratios (usually around 1:1), and, as with many issues regarding trauma, the full effects of increased FFP transfusion ratios are far from understood. In the recent investigative cases of early FFP transfusions, the evidence of lower mortality rates, though inarguable, has been riddled with survivorship bias (those that survive long enough to receive FFP treatment versus those that do not). Not only are FFP transfusion studies scant, but the transfusions themselves have various issues that are being addressed today through the efforts of many trauma doctors:

  • They, as a trauma treatment approach, provide increased clotting venues, which may cause issues elsewhere and further into the trauma timeline
  • The packages of plasma take too much time to thaw in the ER, and are only viable for a short period of time—they decrease to 20% use in 5 days
  • The blood type in the plasma needs to be universal, or AB, and less than 5% of donors are: women constitute significantly more of the donors that are AB, and in the blood transfusion, it increases the risk of TRALLI in men
  • When the military ships the packages in dry ice, more than 45% of them break, causing a large waste of plasma

 

A more specified version of FFP, favorited by the French, could solve many of these issues. Freeze-dried plasma, or plasma that is preserved by freezing in a controlled vacuum, stands two years in naturally-varying temperatures, can be thawed by adding water in minutes for use, does not break in shipment and displays no decline in function from FFP. In addition, the universal blood type AB is no longer an issue: as blood types are combined to be frozen, “blood type selection allows the dilution and neutralization of natural anti-A and anti- B hemagglutinins” to produce more plasma. However, the technology necessary to freeze-dry plasma is expensive and uncommon today.

It was traditionally implicated that traumatic coagulation—the incapability to produce blood that clots to eventually heal wounds—is, among other large-volume infusions, caused by blood-clot factor consumption and dilution. In other words, there is a blood-clotting ratio to be depleted, and traumatic events that cause massive haemorrhage deplete the ratio. If this were to be the case, RBC transfusions by themselves would in fact be the better option today above the use of scarce FFP and FDP to RBC rationed transfusions. However, further studies place blood-clot factor consumption independent of the cause, instead suggesting that “early coagulopathy is initiated by shock and the amount of tissue destruction.”

 

I agree that hospitals and doctors should be careful around deciding when to administer FFP and what general protocols to follow. Yet, I also insist on pushing the development of FDP: not only can the technology assist in lowering the mortality rates of trauma victims, but it can also reduce the survivorship bias to provide clearer studies into just how much of a positive impact the plasma transfusions have on halting the blood from flowing out of the wound.

 

I picked up a freeze-dried Passion Tea K-cup just a couple of hours ago, stuck it into my Keurig and I had $2.50 more on my Starbucks phone app and more time to figure out how FFP saves lives. Just add water, and don’t let that needle prevent us from getting our coffee–even if it is hard to do the first time.

“A Tale of 2 Cities” Song Review

 

A Tale of 2 Cities 

J. Cole

 

Description

In 1985, Jermaine Lamarr Cole, more popularly known as J. Cole, was born inside of an American Army base in West Germany. Cole’s African American father and German Mother meet while Cole’s father was on duty for the Army. Cole’s stay in West Germany was rather short lived and would move to the small town of Fayetteville, North Carolina. Sadly, the land of opportunity brought nothing but bad luck for Cole’s family, as his dad would soon leave them soon after their arrival. Now with just his mom and his brother, he grew up in a small Trailer home, installed with a furnace. Cole began to chase his dreams at a young age.

j cole young

As a kid, Cole idolized the famous rappers, Nas, Tupac and Eminem and at the age of 14 was inspired to take start taking rapping seriously. Though he made excellent grades throughout high school, Cole turned down the option of going to College to move to New York City and chase his dreams. Determined to give Jay-Z his mixtape demo, he waited outside of his office for over a day. After being ignored during their first meeting, Jay-Z eventually signed J. Cole to his record company. From here, Cole found much success, releasing multiple studio albums and winning two Grammy Awards for his music.

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The year 2014 turned out to be a success for J. Cole after the release of his most popular album. Named after his old address in North Carolina, 2014 Forest Hill Drive would go on to take to music world by surprise. Winning BET’s “Best Album” award as well as Music Billboards’ best rapper of 2015, J. Cole had officially set his feet in the mainstream music world. The top songs from this album include, “Apparently”,” G.O.M.D.” and “A Tale of Two Cities.” In the first week of the album’s release, 2014 Forest Hill Drive sold over 350,00 copies, solidifying it as J. Cole’s best album yet.

 

Song Analysis

Cole sings solo in “A Tale of Two Cities” to the rhythm of a rather heavy yet alternating beat. This plays continuously throughout the whole song and plays a huge role in the song’s identity. During the chorus and some other points in the song, a separate bass noise will accompany the beat. At 3:23 the music will begin and it seems as if the song is about to end. However, Cole includes a minute long outro in his song to close things off.

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Cole not only chooses the name “A Tale of Two Cities”, but he also draws up many of the themes from the book, “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens.  Like the book, Cole uses his lyrics to tell a story from two different perspectives. The first perspective, which is the song’s first verse, is of a perspective similar to J. Cole as a kid. In the lyrics, “Since a youngin’ always dreamed of getting rich,”, Cole is rapping about a boy who dreams of leaving the poverty stricken life he is in and to become successful. Some of the lines from the first verse are direct instances out of J. Cole’s life. This includes the line ”Picked up the paper, they say Eddie caught a body, I’m convinced anybody is a killer” which refers to when he found out that his best friend had gotten arrested for murder and how he had never expected that from him. In the last line of the verse, Cole raps that “he is trying to write a story, so can I get a glimpse,” in writing about how listening to other rappers and seeing how they have made it gave him his inspiration to be a rapper.

LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 20:  Recording artist J. Cole performs during the iHeartRadio Music Festival at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on September 20, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for Clear Channel)

Going into the song’s bridge, Cole uses the old saying “I know that everything that glitters isn’t gold”, to say that he knows things aren’t always as good as they seem, but then questions how you can really know though until you get it. By questioning a widely accepted saying, Cole shows his true passion towards his dream of becoming a famous rapper.

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After the bridge, J. Cole will begin the next verse in the second perspective. This time, the perspective is of another kid, who has the same dream of getting rich and is in the same position as the first perspective, but a different mindset. As seen in the lyrics “Cop some tree in some powder and make it flip,” which is slang for selling drugs such as cocaine and marijuana. The boy in the second verse plans to achieve the same success as the boy in the first verse, but through criminal means. Comparing the two different perspectives is key in analyzing the song, as J. Cole uses this as a way to differentiate one perspective as being driven and essentially good, while the other one as corrupt minded.

 

Healthy Holiday’s to All

As the Holiday Season is quickly approaching, grocery stores are stocking up on apple pie, nutmeg, pumpkin pie, and other delicious desserts. It’s hard to go into the grocery store during the holiday season and not leave with cookies, ice cream, or pumpkin spice lattes. But, don’t worry, there are other ways you can curve your sweet cravings during the holiday season. You can do this by eating healthy, delicious, and mouth watering foods. There are also many fun exercises you can do to remain fit during this holiday season! You can do these exercises with your close friends and family while huddled inside a toasty house. Blogalaties, created by Cassey Hoe, introduces new fun ways to eat and workout without making eating bland and working out miserable. So what are these delicious foods and fun exercises?? Lets explore!

 

Ice cream Cookie sandwiches! Who doesn’t love cookies and ice cream? This is not your ordinary ice cream sandwich! It’s a healthier version that will leave you feeling guilt free after indulging in it.

For this recipe all you will need is,

  1. Two Bananas
  2. 1 Cup of dried Oats
  3. Food Processor

One banana will be used to make your ice cream and the other banana will be combined with the dried oats to make your cookie.

Now that you have these ingredients, lets get started!

  1. Chop 1 banana into small pieces
  2. Put chopped bananas into the freezer until frozen (Can take approximately 1 hour)
  3. Pour one cup of dried oats into food processor and blend
  4. Add the other banana, into food processor, with the blended dried oats
  5. Blend banana with dried oats in food processor until doughy
  6. Pour doughy mixture into bowl and mush up the dough with your hands until dough resembles normal cookie dough
  7. Use the dough to make balls of cookie dough and place on cookie sheets
  8. Place cookie sheet in oven and let bake for 15 minutes at 300°F
  9. Take bananas out of freezer
  10. Blend frozen bananas in food processor until frozen bananas resemble creamy texture of ice cream
  11. Assemble your Ice Cream Cookie sandwich

 

YUM! Thanks to Cassey Ho, we can indulge in delicious desserts during the holiday season without consuming the processed junk offered by our local grocery stores.

Personally, I would tweak this recipe a little bit by adding peanut butter to my ice cream. I love peanut butter because it really helps curve my sweet tooth! It also provides our bodies with healthy fats. You can do this by blending peanut butter, in the food processor, with the bananas in step 10. But, do not limit yourself with just peanut butter; you can get crazy with it by adding whatever you want to your ice cream. For example, you can add a couple of nestle dark chocolate chips into your ice cream. This will also provide your body with some antioxidants.

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Photo from: http://stock-clip.com/video-footage/fireside

Not only is maintaining a healthy diet essential during the holiday season, but so is maintaining an exercise routine. During this holiday season, you find yourself constantly huddled up in your house. It’s hard not to spend time with friends and family sitting around a fire watching 10 Lifetime movies in a row. Although sitting around all day is fun and cozy; it’s not healthy. So, it’s time to incorporate some easy, quick, and fun exercises during the holiday season. These exercises pair up very nicely with the healthy dessert mentioned above and can lead to some abs!

  1. Leg up Crunches
  2. Double leg lifts
  3. Criss -crosses
  4. Reverse crunches
  5. Single leg jack knives

 

 

In the Blogolatie video above, Cassey Hoe instructs her viewers to do each abs exercise for a minute each. In the video, pop music is played in the background so that her viewers are motivated to complete the exercises. Although this is a fun way to get your exercise in during the holiday season, this is what I suggest you should do…

Imagine this, you and your friends are watching a classic Lifetime Christmas movie, like The Charlie Brown Movie, and right when it gets to your favorite part it cuts to the commercial. During the commercial, you and your friends sit around and play on your phones anticipating the movie to come back on. The commercial seems to drag on and on.

Don’t worry, I have a cure for long boring commercial breaks! During the commercial breaks, I say incorporate these abs exercises. Incorporating these abs exercises will make commercials fly by and keep you fit because you won’t be constantly sitting. So I say, tell your friends to get off the couch during commercial breaks and do one of these abs exercises for each commercial. For example, during the Pantene Hair commercial do the leg up crunches. Then, during the Taco Bell commercial switch to the double leg lifts. This way you’ll be combating those extra pounds “everyone” gains during the Holiday season without missing a second of The Charlie Brown movie.

Check out these other yummy recipes that will please your sweet tooth and keep you healthy!

Also, check out this other exercise video that can be done in the comfort of your own home during the holiday season!

 

Thanks to Cassey Hoe for her yummy recipes, fun exercises, and videos.

https://www.youtube.com/user/blogilates

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Modest Review of RnR

 

 

A Modest Review of RnR

  1. Wyatt Grennan

English 105

Erik Meckley

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

 

I think for this review I should begin with my first time at RnR, as since I have gone back countless times. My first time was during my orientation session before coming to the UNC. I had spent the day walking all over the unfamiliar campus, Tar-ing this, Heel-ing that. The butterflies in my stomach had long since been drowned in coffee and false confidence, leaving me with quite an appetite. My mom and I had searched up and down Franklin St. looking for somewhere to get dinner that was in her words, “quiet enough that we could talk.” The idea of spending another hour in a quiet room talking with my mother made me more uneasy than the prospect of college so I suggested maybe more of a bar-type scene. I walking past the CVS plaza when she said, “Well lets try this place! RnR?”, motioning towards a small sign on the sidewalk. I agreed and we went looking for an entrance. Once through the doors of the restaurant, just up the ramp of the CVS plaza, James the server greeted us. We were immediately seated and handed dinner menus.

A Google search to RnR’s website will tell you they classify themselves as “classic American” food and a quick look at the menu would probably confirm this. But once our appetizer came, Cajun fried calamari, it was clear to me the quality of the food served here was definitely a step above the “Friendly Chili TGI Friday” feel of classic American.

My whole family is from all over New England, so it’s safe to say I am no novice when it comes to good seafood. This being said, I am happy to say I was impressed by the quality of the calamari, especially in the piedmont of North Carolina. The spices they used were absolutely delicious and at the same time not overpowering or overwhelmingly spicy, as thought to be with some Cajun dishes. It was like tasting the scene from Frozen where Anna and the Douche-King sing the song about how perfect they are together, except replace lovable Disney characters with fresh local spices

Everything had a delicious balance. The pepper sauce that came with these delicious little cephalopods was the perfect mix of hot flavor and creamy sauciness. Upon finishing the appetizer and partaking in some friendly conversation with James, a physics major at UNC, my mother decided on the Shrimp ’n Grits and I decided to go with a simple chicken ceaser salad. After a while of dipping the remaining morsels of Cajun breadcrumbs in the pepper sauce to satisfy my growing hunger our food came. I immediately dug into what was and remains to be today, the most delicious salad I have ever had. The lettuce was crisp and each bite tasted like what I imagine surfing in an ocean of VOSS brand water feels like.

The lettuce to chicken to crouton to dressing ratio must have been derived by a mathematician. I naively sat eating my delicious salad thinking about how a meteor could hit the U.S. right now and this would still be the best day of my life, but that’s before I tried the Shrimp ‘n Grits. Now if you’re going to order the shrimp ‘n grits from RnR I feel like I should give you this disclaimer. Take off your socks before you try it, or else they’ll just be knocked off when you take that first bite. Seriously. The elderly couple next to me was not amused when my sweaty foot-mitts landed next to their bottle of wine. This Shrimp ‘n Grits could put a stop to racism, it could end wars, it could swim to the bottom of the Atlantic, find Osama Bin Laden’s dead body, resurrect him, and then kill him again. This restaurant deserves a Nobel Prize because congrats I’m like 99% sure they found the cure for cancer.

 

Conclusion: RnR, 10/10 would eat again. Blockbuster stuff right here. Two thumbs so way up that they’re in God’s nose. You smell that God? That’s Cajun spiced calamari.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Influence of Science Fiction: How Ideas Can Shape the Future

What is Science Fiction?

Isaac Asimov defined the term science fiction as the “branch of literature which deals with the response of human beings to changes in science and technology.” Although this is a broad explanation, it is accurate. Science fiction as a genre deals with an incredibly large variety of worlds that differ from ours in some way. This could be because of new scientific discoveries, new technologies, or different social systems. The genre itself then looks at the consequences of these changes and how societies and individuals respond to it.

The History of Science Fiction: Illustrated by Ward Shelley (Click to enlarge)

How can Science Fiction Influence Us?

Stories have always engaged us as humans as they are extremely powerful; they move us, leave us in awe, and have to potential to make us think about who we are as people. Science fiction can also do all of this and even more; the most important ability science fiction have is the ability to inspire and influence. This genre promotes interest in scientific learning, and has inspired generations of scientists. Science fiction is also one of the only genres that depict how society could function differently. And by providing this social commentary, it allows us to image the future society we want and start working towards it.

Here is a short chronological list of a few science fiction novels that have inspired and influenced in many ways:

  1. True History by Lucian of Samosata (100s AD)

    Image credit: Illustration by Ruth Cobb

A fictional novel written sometime during 100s describing travels to the Moon, the Sun, and the Morning Star (Venus). It also includes encounters of life forms from these different worlds, advanced human technology, interplanetary warfare and imperialism.

Although Lucian intended this to be a satire piece to bring to light problems in society, the novel shows how the scientific advances at the time affected the Greek imagination. Many authors cite the novel to be one of the earliest examples of science fiction, having influenced many European writers and philosophers during the Renaissance.

  1. Utopia by Sir Thomas More (1516)

    Image credit: Penguin Classics Book Cover

Nowadays, utopias are a widely known concept; they are communities or societies that are ideal and perfect in every way. Sir Thomas More coined the term about 500 years ago in this novel, which contains the conversation between More, his friend Peter Giles, and Raphael Hythloday, a veteran traveler.

At first, they discuss the problems with the modern society of Europe, including poverty, criminal punishment, and wars. The rest of the book deals with Raphael’s travels to a hypothetical ideal island called Utopia, describing in detail the economic, social, and political structure of the community.

The motif of utopian and dystopian conditions became reoccurring in science fiction; they focus on worlds that are seemingly perfect, but are ultimately flawed in some way.

  1. Frankenstein and The Last Man by Mary Shelley (1818 & 1826)

Mary Shelley explored the potential negative effects of scientific advancements in her novels. Frankenstein looks into the consequences of creating life, and the warnings against pursuing knowledge because of its dangers. The Last Man is an apocalyptic novel set at the end of the 21st century, after a plague wipes out a great portion of the human population. It describes the ineffectuality of the medicine and science at the time, exploring the consequences if a disaster such as this were to occur. The novel is credited with being the first work of modern apocalyptic fiction.

  1. The World Set Free by H. G. Wells (1914)

    Image credit: FeedBooks book Cover

This novel has perhaps the most tangible impact on the technological world. H.G. Wells was always fascinated by new inventions. He had consistently predicted technological innovations in his novels, such as the use of airplanes and tanks in wars. In the novel The World Set Free, Wells described a new type of bomb fuelled by nuclear reactions, predicting it would be discovered in 1933 and first detonated in 1956. After reading the novel, physicist Leó Szilárd patented the idea. He was later directly responsible for the creation of the Manhattan Project, which led to the production of the first US nuclear weapons.

  1. Neuromancer by William Gibson (1984)

William Gibson tells the story of Case, an infamous hacker hired by a mysterious organization to help with their plans. Gibson conjured up the idea of a global network of computers, incredibly close to the equivalent of the Internet. Although the early concept of the Internet already existed when the novel was written, the World Wide Web as we know it today was more than a decade away. Not only did Gibson describe the Internet, he also introduced the concept of cyberspace. In the novel, people could physically link their brain to the global computer network known as the ‘Matrix’, where data was not only visual, but also tangible. The novel considers the potential effects of the internet and commercialization of cyberspace.

The Dangers of Legalizing Gay “Marriage”

gayagenda

As I am sure you are well aware, a great miscarriage of justice recently occurred in our nation when the Supreme Court, reaching far beyond its proper authority, decided that it’s okay for the gays to get “married.” As proper Americans, it is undeniable that this threatens the sanctity of our marriages, imposes upon our religious beliefs, leads to unabated debauchery, and presents a grave danger for our children.

Letting these homosexuals get “married” threatens the sanctity of my real marriage. My wife Margret and I have been married for 17 years, man and woman, as God intended. I don’t care how much these homosexuals might “love one another.” Even my previous marriage of two weeks with Cindy, the hooker who I married while drunk in Vegas, is made legitimate by the fact that I was a man and she was a woman. Who is the Supreme Court to come in and say that marriage means something else? Doing so cheapens the bond that my wife and I share. If we just let any two people get “married” then our real marriages become next to meaningless!

God was more than clear when he told us what marriage is supposed to be in the Bible, and not once did he say anything about Adam and Steve. Being gay is sinful, and to let gays “marry” each other is nothing but a disgusting perversion of what God created marriage to be: between one man and one woman. Marriage is a Christian practice, of which we have the utmost respect for, other than when it comes to divorce. The Bible’s teachings on divorce are obviously outdated and don’t apply to our modern lives, unlike the far older teachings on homosexuality. God’s stance on homosexuality is so clear, that Jesus himself didn’t even see the need to address the matter.

This is obviously just the first step down a slippery slope into unlimited debauchery. If you let the homosexuals get married to each other today, soon enough people will be getting married to animals! Is that what you want, to be married to a dog? We as a nation cannot afford to budge even an inch from the traditional values upon which this country was founded on or all will be lost. It was bad enough when the Supreme Court last interfered with marriage back in ‘67, legalizing interracial marriage. We must make our stand here and now, or before we know it pedophilia will be legalized and our children will be stolen away!

Which brings me to the final dilemma, what are we to tell our children? How are we supposed to explain these disgusting behaviors to our innocent young children? I don’t want my kids growing up in a world where “gay is okay.” How is a child supposed to understand these things when it so easy to be led astray by the world’s secular lies? In order to prevent this from happening, we must refuse to consider these “relationships” as being actually valid. In fact, I say that it’s time to take further action. Why stop with denying the homosexuals the right to marry? In order to fully remove the influence of these perverse and sinful lifestyles, we should take away their other basic rights! The homosexuals have no right to force their sinful ways of living upon us. Just because homosexuality exists doesn’t mean that we should have to see it. Who knows, if we get enough momentum going, we might be able to re-criminalize homosexuality itself and drive them all back into the closet where they belong!

Join me, and the millions of other concerned Americans, in fighting this atrocious development now. Here are some nice and easy ways that you can help fight back against the gays. If you are an employer, refuse to hire them and if you are a landlord, refuse to rent to them. Hopefully we can thin their numbers by driving them into poverty and forcing them to live on the streets. If you have children, encourage them to bully kids that they suspect of being gay. This will help them to cultivate proper values and might help to prevent instances of homosexuality. If you suspect your own child of being gay, you should disown them unless they agree to give up the lifestyle. There are many psychologists who disagree with organizations such as the American Psychiatric Association that claim homosexuality isn’t a mental illness; you can hire them to psychologically torture your children in order to purge them of their sinful desires. If a television show has gay people in it, don’t let your kids watch it. This is sadly what we had to do with our favorite family show, The Walking Dead, when they added a gay couple. The intense violence, blood and gore, attempted rape, suicide, and murder was fine for our kids, but seeing two men kiss is simply out of the question!

FBN/WSJ Republican Debate Recap

Story Highlights


Leaders Donald Trump and Ben Carson did nothing to change their standing.


Marco Rubio helped his cause with another strong performance


Jeb Bush had his best performance yet, but still lagged behind the other contenders


 

On Tuesday, November 11 at 9pm, the 8 leading Republican presidential candidates gathered in Milwaukee for the fourth debate of the race. Hosted by the Fox Business Network and the Wall Street Journal, the debate was centered on the economy. Notable issues such as tax plans and immigration came up often. The consensus is that this was the best-run debate yet– the moderators asked better questions and did more to make it about the candidates. Let’s see how the contenders did, in the same order as the polls.


 

Donald Trump

Comparing what Donald Trump is like on the campaign trail to what he’s like on the debate stage, someone could think it was a different person. Whereas on the campaign trail he is often seen criticizing his opponents, he actually has been rather respectful on the debate stage, at one point even asking the moderators to let Jeb Bush speak.

The most notable policies that Trump spoke about were his immigration strategy and foreign policy. Despite having a different plan on how to deal with immigration from everyone else on the stage, he made his argument for mass deportation and building a wall sound like the only option, no matter how ridiculous a plan most people believe it is. He also argued against “being the world’s policeman” in foreign policy. The one major slip-up for Trump was when Rand Paul called him out for saying that China was involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a deal between the U.S. and 11 other countries that China isn’t involved in.

All in all, Trump certainly didn’t come off as the best candidate in this debate. But, he also didn’t do anything that would cause him to lose support. Expect him to remain hovering around 24% in the polls.


 

Ben Carson

The other candidate hovering around 24%, Ben Carson had a similar performance to Trump’s. While the retired neurosurgeon did nothing spectacular, he also did nothing to take away the support that he already has. He drew applause when he first responded to a question about how the criticism from the media has affected his campaign. “Thank you for not asking me what I said in the 10th grade,” he said. He followed that by saying he believes all candidates should be vetted, but he has a problem with “being lied about and then (the media) putting that out there as truth.”

On the other side of things, Carson never got too specific on policies, instead giving confusing responses to issues such as ISIS. His calm demeanor has definitely helped him here, because it endears potential voters who aren’t strong on policy to him. He also was able to draw applause in his closing statement, saying “there is something special about this nation, and we must embrace it and be proud of it and never give it away for the sake of political correctness.”


 

Marco Rubio

It’s looking more and more like Rubio will end up being the establishment’s pick to run for president. The 44-year-old Florida Senator has performed admirably in the past two debates, not being phased by any questions or criticisms. When Rand Paul said that his plan to spend billions on the military wasn’t conservative, he responded “We can’t even have an economy if we’re not safe… I know the world is a safer and better place when America is the strongest military power in the world,” drawing thunderous applause.

Rubio also did a good job answering why someone should vote for him instead of Hillary Clinton. He said afterwards that he’s been waiting to answer that exact question, and he had the perfect answer ready, calling it a “generational choice.” Similar to Barack Obama’s campaign 7 years ago, Rubio played up the fact that he’s a younger and fresher face, portraying himself as a different Republican candidate than in years past.

Rubio has been rising in the polls slowly ever since the last debate, and don’t expect that to stop.


 

Ted Cruz

At one point early on in the debate, Cruz was listing off the 5 agencies that he would abolish if he were elected president. He named the Department of Commerce twice.

Despite this snag, the Texas Senator rallied and had another fine debate performance, and, like Rubio, is expected to continue his rise in the polls. His most powerful moments came when he was describing how his hardline view on immigration was not “anti-immigrant.”

As the son of legal Cuban immigrants, Cruz built a great argument defending legal immigration. He described how people who immigrated here illegally are hurting the economy and forcing people who are here legally to either work for less or not work. Unlike Trump, who made his similar position rather unsympathetic, Cruz argued for the same thing, but much more eloquently.


 

Jeb Bush

Jeb Bush had his best debate performance to date, although that isn’t saying much. He succeeded in his goal of spending more time speaking this time around. His most successful moments occurred when he challenged Trump. His biggest applause occurred following Trump’s assertion that we should deport 11 million undocumented immigrants, saying, “it’s just not possible and it’s not embracing American values.”

Although he didn’t do enough to appear to be the leader by any means, Bush’s performance did help in other ways. The biggest of these is that he was able to ease the worries of most of his supporters and donors. He also secured the endorsement of former Presidential candidate Bob Dole, which has his team excited.


 

Other Candidates

Of the three candidates earning less than 5% in the polls, Rand Paul stood out the most during Tuesday’s debate. The libertarian actually made some good points several times, including calling out Trump for being wrong about the Trans-Pacific Partnership and having a long conversation with Rubio on foreign policy.

Carly Fiorina had another strong debate performance as well, although it’s questionable how much it will help her in the polls. She clearly used her experience as the CEO of a Fortune 500 company to help her case on foreign policy, going into good detail. She described how she would handle the Middle East, as well as her plan for dealing with Putin and Russia.

The least inspiring performance of Tuesday’s debate belonged to Ohio governor John Kasich. Throughout the debate he interrupted both the moderators and other candidates, to the point that Trump had to ask if he would let Jeb Bush speak. It would be surprising if he gained any ground in the race.