Monday, December 14, 2015

Final Blog: Put a Dent in the Universe

Jack Werd
Period 6
Final Exam Blog

Put a Dent in the Universe

“Don’t let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your own heart and intuition.” Steve Jobs went from being a college dropout, to one of the most influential people on today’s society. The company Apple went from a small business In Jobs's garage, to one of the most global, profitable, and popular companies on the planet. This got me curious about Job’s story and what exactly made him so successful. Also, what can the average person take away from Jobs and his story?

Jobs was born in San Francisco California and was later adopted and raised by caring parents. Looking back on his life, Job’s remembers how much his parents stressed academic success. However, Job’s as a young child was “far from an academic.” Despite his immense intelligence, Job’s wasn’t interested in schooling. He was interested in things like pranking phone computers, creating business ideas, and messing around with technology. He attended college for one year, only to drop out where he soon started building home aid computers in his garage with his friend Steve Wozniak. So what was so special about Job’s early life? What can we learn from it? Steve Jobs was a nonconformist. We live in a world today where you’re supposed to get an education, get a job, have a family, retire, and die. But as Jobs said, “Your time is limited, so don’t spend time living someone else's life.” What I have taken away from Job’s early life is that you can’t worry about what everyone else is thinking, you have to do what you love because one day, you’re gonna run out of time.

So what exactly made Jobs so successful and what should be taken away from what he did with his career? Job’s was successful because he did what he loved, he tried to put a dent in the universe, and he created insanely different experiences for people. First is do what you love. As Jobs said, “People with passion can change the world for the better.” Jobs found what he loved to do and didn’t care what anyone else thought. Because of this, he was able to put countless amounts of time and energy into his craft which in turn lead to ultimate success. Next is dream big and attempt to put a dent in the universe by changing the world. He once asked president of Pepsi-Cola “Do you want to spend your life selling sugar water or do you want to change the world?” As he said you can't lose sight of your big vision and “The ones who are crazy enough to change the world usually do.” The final one is to create different experiences and change lives. When Jobs first came up with the idea for an Apple store he said that instead of just moving boxes, they would be enriching lives. Create an emotional connection between you and your job and “sell dreams not products.”

So I found myself asking, what do all these things have in common and what what would be one word describe Steve Jobs and his success. The theme of all Job’s values again came down to nonconformity. He didn’t care what other people thought and was willing to do anything to achieve his goals. He tried to blaze his own trail as opposed to follow in someone else's footsteps. As Jobs said “Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the troublemakers, the ones who see things differently.”

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Paris Terrorist attacks

Earlier this fall, a series of terrorists attacks were performed in Paris killing over 120 people and critically injuring approximately 80 others. The attacks were committed at six locations around the city including a soccer stadium where two suicide bombers attempted to take out as many civilians as possible during a friendly match between France and Germany. With that said, the majority of the deaths came during a Bataclan concert as well as in other restaurants around the city. Soon after the attacks were committed, ISIS, the Islamic terrorist group took to twitter to admit to the tragedy.
What really struck me was how the people of not only Paris reacted, but also the people of the U.S. Even a couple of minutes after the attacks, social media blew up and made all the details of the attacks known as they were being released. Also, as I looked on Facebook and other websites, people were advocating awareness for the tragedy by temporality changing their profile pictures and posting supportive comments. It really showed me how powerful social media is in this day and age.      

Tragedy in San Berrnardino

On Wednesday December 2nd, a holiday banquet was held for employees of a social service center in San Bernardino California. At approximately 2pm, a heavily armed man and woman started open firing on the banquet which resulted in 14 dead and at least 17 others seriously injured. The 27 and 28 year old shooters fled the scene in a black SUV before later coming into contact with the police where a shootout occurred. Both suspects ended up dead and after further investigation, it was concluded that there was probably not a third person involved, which was thought earlier by many including eye witnesses. After further inspection of the two office buildings, two explosive devices were found that were disarmed and deemed a non threat.

Over the past few years, the amount of deaths by mass shootings in America has been absolutely ridiculous, and does not parallel anything else we see in other countries today. Most notably, before this incident, 9 killed on October 1st in Roseburg Oregon, 9 killed on June 18th in Charleston South Carolina, 27 killed in Newtown Connecticut (December 14th, 2012), and 12 killed in Aurora Colorado (July 20th 2012). Obviously, this doesn’t account for the hundreds and hundreds of deaths by gunfire that this generation has grown up with. Looking at all of these shootings honestly makes you step back and wonder, what can we do in order to stop these tragedies from occurring? I sure don’t have the answer and I don’t know if anyone does, but it really makes you wonder, if there were stricter gun control laws, would it prevent some of these things from happening? But as politicians have said in the past, it isn’t a democrat vs republican debate, and it isn’t a liberal vs conservative debate. Somehow, some way, we need stop these acts of terror from occurring. n472976

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Mom Blog

English Blog/Margy Werd/Jack’s Mom
November 23
, 2015

How Facebook is Helping News Organizations

Every journalist knows that the best news stories tug at our heartstrings. They are stories (often supplemented with photographs or videos) about people-- people that the reader or (in the case of TV and the internet) the viewer, can relate on an emotional level.

As a former TV news reporter who was often assigned to cover breaking news, I know this firsthand. Take for example the events of 911 in 2001. When the tragedy first unfolded, we reported the basic information-- the locations, evacuations, the interrupted transportation, and the death toll. It wasn’t until days and even weeks later, that we saw (in my opinion) the finest reporting emerge-- stories that introduced us to the faces and the personalities of the people involved in 911.

At the time, reporting on people involved in 911 (or in any news story) could be challenging and time consuming.  At the risk of sounding crass— here’s how it worked.  A reporter (or a producer assigned to a reporter) asked “sources” to offer up the names of survivors, heroes, or widowed family members. I would then call these people, or more often-- just show up unannounced at their residence-- with a news photographer and a video camera, and ask for an interview and photos, because a photo of a victim flashed across the TV screen creates a vivid, memorable image, and ratings.

Fast-forward to 2015, and a news event that’s being compared (on some levels) to 911-- the Paris Massacre.  But what’s different about this event is the length of time it took news organizations to humanize it. Thanks to Facebook, just several hours after the tragedy-- we not only got a photo, but we got to learn about American victim, Nohemi Gonzalez, a student studying in Paris. Thanks to Instagram, we met her boyfriend, who posted a touching message to his “angel”. We also met American caterer and shooting survivor, Helen Wilson. All because reporters and producers hurriedly did their due diligence? No, all because they knew how to copy and paste.

In a way, I’m jealous. Why couldn’t social media have existed when I was a reporter? Think of how much easier (and frankly more dignified) it is to Google rather than to knock on a door, with microphone in hand, and ask the person who opened it, “How does it feel…?”  But more than jealousy, I am filled with awe and appreciation for this would wide human link. Who would have thought that with the click of a finger we would be able to (virtually) meet anyone, anywhere in the world?

It makes me think it might be time for me to breakdown, and get on Facebook.

Monday, November 2, 2015

College Football Mayhem

Every once in awhile, there is a moment in college football that leaves you asking what? How was that even Possible? For example, in 1982, the famous, “The band is on the field game,” whereas time expired, the University of California took back a kick return, with no time left, after multiple laterals, all while the Stanford marching band ran onto the field. Or two years ago, in one of the great rivalries in sports, where Auburn ran a missed field goal 109 yards to beat number one ranked Alabama as time expired. Or lastly when the FCS team Appalachian State beat the football powerhouse Michigan on a blocked field goal. These moments don’t happen often but when they do, they’re remembered for a long time.
This college football season we have been lucky enough to have multiple of these Historic plays. To start, In Ann Arbor Michigan, an unbeaten Michigan State team, took on The Wolverines and new coach Jim Harbaugh. Michigan was in control the whole game and with 6 seconds left, all Michigan needed to do was punt the ball away, and let time expire. But, as luck would have it, the Michigan punter bobbled the snap, and the ball ended up being returned 50 yards for a Michigan State Touchdown. With 6 seconds left, Michigan State had a 0.2% chance of winning the game. Also, during a tie game, Georgia Tech (3-4), blocked and returned a field goal to beat undefeated Florida State. Finally, Miami, down three took a kick return back with time expiring that included 8 laterals.
This is why I enjoy college sports more than professional sports. Any given week, a small no name school can shock the college football world with a tremendous effort and win a game no one expects them to win. In Professional football, sure you can have upsets, but every team is so good, and losses don’t mean nearly as much, so it’s simply not as exciting. Below are the links to these unbelievable moments.


Monday, October 5, 2015

MLB Postseason Flaws

With the start of October, also comes the start of the Major League Baseball Playoffs and for the first time since 2008, the Cubs will be competing. But, not in the fashion that many Cub fans hope for. The way the playoffs work currently, teams that win their respective divisions go on to make the playoffs and play a 3 out of 5 series. The two teams with the best record that do not win the division, play a one game, win or go home, Wild Card.
The MLB needs to change this system because it’s clearly flawed and doesn’t have the best teams playing. For example, the three best teams in the entire league this year are The Cardinals(100-62), The Pirates (98-64), and The Cubs (97-65). But, because all three of them are in the same division, the Cardinals are automatically in, and either the Cubs or the Pirates won’t be playing in the real postseason. Instead, worse teams like Mets and Dodgers automatically qualify.
This new Wild Card Game system was implemented in 2012 and replaces the old three tier postseason format that was in place from 1995-2011. I believe that the system must change so that the team that wins each division still gets in the playoffs, but the overall record determines your seed. That way teams like the Cubs and Pirates would get the automatic berth and worse teams like the Dodgers and the Mets would have to play the Wild Card Game. But, nonetheless, On Wednesday night, the Pirates and Cubs square off in Pittsburgh for a trip to the National League Division Series. On an interesting side note, The Cubs infamous fan who single handedly prevented the Cubs from going to the World Series, Steve Bartman, will not attend the game despite the request of many fans.      


Monday, September 28, 2015

NFL Head Injuries

Football is undoubtedly a violent sport. The game is fueled on aggressiveness, physicality and shear force. In many cases, it encourages and warrants hitting players so hard, that they don’t want to get up. In turn, the game comes with many types of injuries. Bones, ligaments, and muscles are all routinely hurt over the course of an NFL year, but the most serious and controversial injuries are to the head.
It is coming out that more and more retired NfL players have CTE or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. CTE is a disease often found in athletes with a history of repetitive brain trauma as well as concussive hits to the head. Of 91 NFL players who donated their brains to science after they died, 87 of them had some form of CTE. Symptoms of this horrible disease include depression, aggression, and disorientation. So how bad really is CTE? Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher shot and killed his girlfriend before killing himself two years ago. Doctors believe that his behavior was a direct result of CTE which unfortunately can only be diagnosed after death. Not only Belcher but many other former NFL players who were diagnosed with CTE showed decades of cognitive decline before their death.
Obviously this has the potential to not only become a major problem in the NFL but also in society as a whole. The NFL is trying to take steps to make play safer. They have started conducting pregame medical assessments of players, along with on field and post game assessments. They also have reduced the number of kickoff returns which is the most high impact part of the game. Finally, they continue to implement rules to limit hits to the head.
My take is that NFL officials and executives can only do so much to protect the heads of players. At the end of the day, it’s still going to be a sport based on violence and aggression. I’m interested to see how parents with small children react to reports like this and if it will result in a decline of youth football. If I were a parent, I would obviously not want to put my growing son's brain in jeopardy of injury. With that said, technology and and science will continue to advance and come up with new ways to minimize risk of CTE and head injuries as a whole.                   

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Jay Cuter

Chicago has always been a town rich in football tradition. For example, the 1985 team which included Chicago greats like Jim McMahon, Walter Payton, and Mike Singletary, was all time great. But lately, Bears fans can’t say the same. The last four years the Bears have been an average, 8-8,10-6, 8-8, and 5-11, making the playoffs only one of those four years. This year doesn’t look much better as the Bears have lost their first two games, both at home. So what’s the problem? The main problem for the Chicago Bears in Jay Cutler, who has been the quarterback in Chicago for the last six years.
Cutler was drafted by the Denver Broncos in 2006 out of Vanderbilt University and was later traded to the Bears in 2009. Since then he has only one playoff victory recorded. Not to mention, as of the beginning of this season, Cutler was the highest paid offensive player in the league. So, what’s wrong with Jay Cutler? The frustrating thing about Cutler is that he has all the talent and athletic ability in the world. He’s 6’3, 235 lbs, with one of the strongest arms in the league, and an incredible ability to take off and run when he needs to. Cutler isn’t weak physically, but mentally. “Have you ever heard of someone being that tough, with those intangibles, and still stinks. That’s Jay Cutler”(Stephen A. Smith). Plus, it’s not like Cutler has no offensive weapons. Alshon Jeffery, Eddie Royal, and Matt Forte are some of the best position players in the league, and Cutler is still average at best.
Cutler has an inability to lead, to inspire his teammates, and to exhibit passion for the game. When I watch Jay Cutler, it appears as though the only thing he cares about is receiving his check (22.5 million dollars in 2014), and going home. “He’s like a tick, he sucks the life right out of you because he gives you absolutely positively nothing”(Stephen A. Smith). If you watch Cuter on the sidelines, you can see him portraying little to no emotion. There’s no fire or passion on his face like you see from other Quarterbacks in the NFL such as Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers.
So, what do the Bears do with him? In my opinion the Bears should attempt to stick with him for the remainder of the 2015 season and then attempt to trade him. If no one wants him and his large contract, the Bears should cut him and draft a new Quarterback. The 2015 quarterback draft class is good with players like Trevone Boykin out of TCU, Cardale Jones out of Ohio State, or Cody Kessler of USC. Whatever happens, the Bears need to get rid of Cutler and start over.


Monday, September 14, 2015

At the end Louise Erdrich's novel, The Roundhouse, It appears as though Joe tries to kill the man who raped his mother. This begs questions such as were Joe’s actions just? What kind of thinker is Joe and what kind of morals does he have? Now, keep in mind that Joe does not kill Lark but it is actually his best friend Cappy who commits the murder. So, it would not be far fetched to say that Joe thinks that murder is never justifiable as a categorical thinker would say. But I believe Joe is a consequentialist thinker which means that he locates morality in the consequences of an act. Joe’s actions are truly justifiable and his full intentions are to Kill Linden Lark.
Joe’s actions are justifiable because of what Lark did to his mom, and how it tore his family completely apart. Before the incident, Joe’s mom was caring, hardworking, and loving. After, the incident, she lays in bed all the time and does nothing all day. Joe and his family are practically ruined. As if the situation wasn’t bad enough, Lark is not prosecuted and gets in no trouble with law for his crime. This is why Joe rightfully takes matters into his own hands. No, Joe doesn’t think murder is right, but in some situations, such as this one, he uses morality and says that the ends justify the means.
At the very end of the book when Joe is contemplating murder he says, “Murder for Justice maybe. Murder just the same...and I can take him”(280). One might think Joe is reluctant to commit the crime but deep down, he knows he actually wants to. If you want to go skydiving, sure you actually want to go, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be extremely nervous and express reluctantcy. After all, Joe is making a decision that is going to affect you for the rest of your life.        

Monday, September 7, 2015

Tiger's Time is Over

             Ten years ago, the game of golf was dominated by a young man named Tiger Woods. He was iconic, polarising, and passionate. After he won the U.S. Open in 2008 (Receiving his 14th major title), it was not a matter of if he was going to beat Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 major championships, but when. That was seven years ago. Fast forward to today and Tiger still has 14 majors and very few people ever believe he will catch Nicklaus. Last August marks the end of another golf season and another year where Tiger comes up winless. It used to be that Tiger was fighting for a victory in every major Championship, now he’s lucky if he makes the cut (Which he did not do in 3 out of 4 majors this year). “In all my times covering sports I’ve never seen such a dominant player, in any sport, fall so hard, so fast” (Skip Bayless). Missing the cut not only means your not playing the full tournament, but also has a negative connotation. When a player misses the cut, it's as if he's swept under the carpet.  So, what is wrong with Tiger?
            Tiger’s main problem is not his age, or his coaches. It’s the fact that he is mentally broken. Today, Tiger lacks confidence, something that he always used to have. No one believes Tiger can win on Tour anymore especially himself. Early in his career, it didn’t matter what anyone thought or said about him. Tiger had a killer instinct and a ferocious will to win that made other golfers fear him. To put Tiger and his mental state of mind in perspective, after he missed the cut by seven strokes during the Open championship at St. Andrews he said, “I thought I was playing well enough to win this event...I had my opportunities. and when I got the ball close enough, I just didn’t make them.” This is coming from a man who used to dominate golf like no other person has ever dominated a sport. Tiger has lowered his bar so much so that he accepts far less than he used to.
            In conclusion, golf needs Tiger way more then Tiger needs golf. I do not regularly watch golf nor do I consider myself a large golf fan. In fact the only time I will watch golf is when Tiger is playing well and is in the hunt. As much as the sport tries to let go it can’t. Still, at every major championship, Tiger is the top story and at every major championship he underperforms. People need to understand that Tiger will never be the same regardless of how much people want it.