September 2012 Archives

Brothers movie with Tobey Maguire

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My creative piece is on the movie Brothers with Tobey Maguire. If you haven't seen the movie, it is basically about the father of a young family who goes off to war and is declared dead. The family has to learn to move on without him and the mother falls in love with her deceased husband's brother. Soon after they get a call that the husband is not dead and he is coming home. The husband is suffering from severe PTSD and is not the same person he left home as. He is a very angry person and his daughters are scared of him. This clip that I posted is very powerful, raw and realistic. It shows what PTSD can turn a person into, and how a person can lash out because of the disorder. Watching it, I honestly got scared to think that unfortunately this happens in real life. My dad suffers from PTSD but I have never seen one of his "episodes" get anywhere near this bad, and I know I would be terrified if I saw my dad be effected from the disorder like this.

Alone in a crowd

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For my artistic representation, I found a picture that was hand drawn and really sends across a message that I think a lot of people don't understand about people with eating disorders.. and thats how lonely of a disorder it is. Until things change and help is sought, eating disorders are often very personal and secretive. Here's the link:,r:0,s:81,i:6&tx=78&ty=53

From this art I learned a little more about how emotionally deep having body image issues and eating disorders can be.


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I attached a video, a short article, and lyrics to Taylor Swifts new song Ronan. Taylor dedicated this song to a 4 year old boy who lost his battle to cancer. I thought this would be a good artistic representation for my topic as well because Taylor played this song at the Stand up to Cancer telethon that I talked about in my previous blog. She says all proceeds from Itunes goes to cancer related charities. She was inspired to write this song from reading Ronan's mom's touching blog about his journey through childhood cancer.
This song relates to my topic because she wrote it directly in tribute to a boy who lost his battle to childhood cancer, which is my topic. Not only did Ronan suffer from cancer, he suffered from the same cancer that I personally endured. This is also why this article struck me. It is almost unbelievable that awareness could be spread this far for the same type of cancer that I had. I learned that it really is possible to spread awareness and that one person really can make a difference. Ronan is now making a difference in the lives of cancer families everywhere, and Taylor is also making a difference in their lives as well. The awareness she is spreading and money she is raising will help the cancer world reach their goal in finding a cure to childhood cancer. I also learned that art and music and spread awareness and help find a cure to cancer, I never knew this was possible until hearing this song. This artistic representation of childhood cancer makes an impact on many lives and encourages them to stand up to cancer because it is a true representation of a cancer victims struggle. This impacts my life and shows me there are many ways to make a difference in the cancer world, and it can start with just a single note.

Barbie's Not So Positive Influence

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Chelsea Banken

Continuing with my journey of researching information about my topic on negative body image, I have found this image of a woman holding a barbie doll with plastic surgery markings on her body of where she would have to change in order to look like Barbie. I am currently interested in how the media and marketing plays a role in how we perceive our own bodies. Barbie is a popular doll intended for young girls to play with, yet is she portraying an unrealistic picture of how every grown-up woman should look? If this is the case, how is she making young girls feel about their own bodies? And do these self conscious thoughts become slightly present in the youth and then drastically impact how maturing teens perceive and criticize their own self images. These questions came to me while viewing this image. I played with many barbie dolls growing up and although I thought Barbie was the most beautiful toy in the world at the time, I never compared her to my own body. This could possibly be becasue I had none of the mature features that Barbie had. I was amazed by the developed yet slender body she had but I didn't connect her to my own self image. Barbie may have, however, a different affect on other young girls than she did with me. Could Barbie be having an affect on young boys as well? As they grow up with sisters that play with barbie dolls, they may be obtaining an assumption of how women should look. Another perspective I came up with after viewing this image is that Barbie may not be the only affecting marketing tool on negative body image. Disney princesses, Polly Pockets, and Bratz dolls are also popular with young girls. I therefore have learned from seeing this image, that media and marketing could have possible affects on negative body image and possible eating disorders that arise from these feelings. I hope that with future research, I can come across evidence that either supports or disproves this correlation.

A Moving Video for LGBTQ Rights

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Hey all,

I found this video on a LGBTQ community website where people shared their experiences. It was incredibly moving to me. I wiped away a few tears by the end of it. It's just a short collage of clips that a director put together attempting to raise money and support for a longer documentary he wishes to do.

This video gets at the hurtful things we of the LGBTQ community have to go through as "second class citizens." From bullying to discriminatory government laws... From misconceptions to blind hatred and homophobia. It's not fun being treated like a second class citizen. This video appeals to the audiences emotional side, their human side, and essentially asks for the LGBTQ community to receive the same rights as those who are straight. The director does this indirectly but the effect was very direct when it hit me. Perhaps it is because I am part of the LGBTQ community myself and was able to identify with everything the video was saying... But I was moved. This video helps to show people our struggle... my struggle. This is my community I talk about.... My community that the video explores.



Texting and Driving At&t commercial- Selena

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Have you ever seen these commercials on TV? I think these stand out the most to me because they are shown frequently while I am watching TV. At&t is doing a good job of trying to promote awareness, but it just does not seem to click with people. It relates to my topic because accidents do happen from texting while driving, it does not matter who you are or how old you are. People just do not pay attention when they are trying to get that word in. It's sad to think that a phone can change your life. For me, I lost my auntie. For this woman in the video, she lost her son. It is a constant reminder that a text message can wait, and getting to your destination is more important. There are many awareness videos out there about texting and driving, but it is up to an individual if they actually want to pay attention or not.

"New Study On Relapse Risk in Alcoholics"

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New Study On Relapse Risk in Alcoholics

I chose to post this article because it is something that is very pertinent to my topic and what I hope to learn from alcoholism. "Prof. Andreas Heinz, director of the Charité Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, scientists examined a group of 46 detoxified alcohol-dependent patients, in addition to a large control group. Structural imaging showed anatomical properties of brain substance, and the examination of functional signals in the brain were measured in reaction to alcohol-associated stimuli. After three months, patients were reexamined for eventual relapses; 30 study participants relapsed and 16 continued to be abstinent." The study basically shows that certain people's brains react differently when confronted with alcohol/stimuli and their relapse is associated with how the different sections of the brain react that is associated with emotional control.

This article was a great find. Although I work with frequently with Habitat for Humanity here in the Twin Cities and at the University, I really don't know that much about homelessness here in Minneapolis. I knew we had a lot of options for people struggling to find a place to sleep at night, I had no idea there are 300-400 people per night without safe places to sleep in Minneapolis. This article discussed how Minneapolis wants to be the first city In the United States to end street homelessness. Minneapolis recently opened a New compound called Higher Ground that gives those who are homeless a way to recreate their lives and work towards a better standard of living. Higher Grounds provides Everything from free first come, first serve beds to rentable apartments on the top floor. They also provide housing and medical assistance to those in need.
This was a great article, not only did it provide a showcase of Minneapolis' efforts to end homelessness, but also shows that there is a productive way to change social situations. It takes more than a charitable act, like giving someone a free bed for the night, to change big social issues like this. People need to be educated, and taught in steps how to overcome their obstacles. Higher Grounds is a great place for people to regain their stability in life, it may not be easy, or free, but It is a great way to help people work for what they want and deserve in life.

Tennis Champion's catharsis from haters

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Link :

This article talks about how Andy Murray (who won the Gold medal in London Olympics for Singles this year) who was hated by many people for a while. His reputation plummeted and people started to foul mouth him from his lighthearted comment a while ago. He mentions how he had to have a teary speech after the finals match at Wimbledon to regain the audience's respect. He speaks of how he learned his lesson that "everything he says is judged." But at the same time, he learned he needs to be himself as much as possible and if people don't like you for it, it is not his problem.

This article has got me thinking about how somewhat hard it will be for celebrities or famous athletes to have "Bandwagon" fans: fans that will support you only if you keep up your good image or only if you win. I also feel that people like these might have a harder time going through trials of insecurity from all the hatred mails and messages in their career. Even though athletes perhaps are somewhat predisposed to be judged by their records of wins. However, I still do not think it is enough reason to hate somebody. I admire Andy Murray for what he overcame and feel being a public leader figure, one must anticipate and somewhat expect that your supporters might turn on you at the flick of an instant and that he must be prepared to be resilient through it all.

I know think even more about the tendency of people to easily change their minds about people. I wonder if people are so much quicker to notice negative rumors about people more than positive successes. For example, many celebrity magazines show rumors that are "private" or "mistakes" and people seem to pay so much attention to those compared to celebrities doing good charity work. Perhaps this culture encourages such abuse of privacy. Perhaps this culture makes people enjoy watching their heroes fall. I wonder about the need for people to see others' fail and fall. Is it that people who do not try hard in their life feel comfort for not trying hard because they see famous people fall as well?

Eat healthy even when you go out

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This article basically just sums up some good tips about what to order when you go out to eat. It's easy to get caught up feeling like it doesn't matter what you order and eat when you go out but you need to remember to stay in control. Healthy options, like fish, are generally on the menu as well as being sure to always eat your vegetables. I know that personally I have issues with eating healthy when I go out to eat because I just want to always order a burger and fries, so being reminded of what's best to do always helps. My question is what to do when you're on a budget? Is it just best to stay in on those terms?

how much do you care about your facebook comments

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Do you believe comments left under your profile pictures could influence how the world sees you? This is article is talking about how people especially public people cares about comments under their profile picture. According to their research result, Hong's saying "These findings show how important it is to present you strategically on Facebook," left me a strong impression. Yes, Facebook users are all familiar with the using of profile picture. They strategically present themselves online/on social media. This essay is talking about these positive or negative comments influence Facebook users' potential employer. So, at the same it influences all other people. A better Facebook picture or positive comments could make a person more attractive online which could also increase the possible of online cheating.
I get a glimpse of some comments under this article. There are lots of articles are doing research about Facebook. And most of them are negative, there always be a voice saying that instead of spending time on FB, it is better to call or visit your friend if you miss them. I would keep doing my journal on how could social networking be so attractive to people. Even we know the profile pic could be strategically present, it could be fake. Even if you might don't know the person who comments on your pic, but you will care about how they see you as same as your real friend and family

Ad Campaign

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This article is about referendum 74 which will be voted on in Washington this November. It talks about a new TV ad run by America United for all Families. The ad shows a lesbian couple and their daughter. One of the partners is fighting brain cancer and the ad attempts to show that civil unions are not sufficient because in situations like their, the partner might not be able to be there for their loved one. The partner with brain cancer had a seizure once and her partner was not able to see her in the hospital. They are urging people to vote for marriage equality in the upcoming election so that situations like that won't happen.

That ad is incredibly moving when you think about your spouse going through some traumatic experience and being unable to even be there for them. Civil Unions just aren't the same! Many rights are denied to couples in Civil Unions and some of the most important rights we are denied is that if our spouse was going through an emergency situation, our partner would not be able to see us in the hospital. The article is right to say that only marriage equality could protect all families truly.


Reality Shows Highlight Young, Unplanned Pregnancies

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I really like this article. It is the opposite of what I thought I was going to read. It talks about the fact that although, the media does highlight unplanned pregnancy, the views of those who watch it remain stable. Statistically proven to. instead of influence a norm of unplanned pregnancy in our culture, it make those who watch the shows even more turned off to having the experience themselves. This article also provides evidence that more caution will be practiced around the issue of unsafe sexual encounters, and may even promote less promiscuity in adolescents (..possibly). I thought the story was enlightening, to read the interviews of teenagers who watch the shows yet do not find the lifestyle to represent a norm in society. I don't think unplanned pregnancy should become a norm, and I thought this article was going to talk about the glorification of the lifestyles of the people on these shows- it did the opposite. Therefore, this article was a good read for me.

GMO Food Labeling Bill In Washington?

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Seems that the little ripples that California started with its little proposition on their November ballot are starting to grow bigger reaching all the way to Washington D.C. Ohio Democratic Senator Dennis Kucinich has created a bill that will "provide for a national labeling bill". The link is for his speech given to Congress. It highlights the liberal view on the GMO debate: GMO's are under tested and big business(Monsanto) has corrupted the government. I question some of his facts that he stated, especially the fact that "90% of Americans agree" that foods containing GMO's should be labeled.

-Sean Foley-


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H.I.V AIDS is a very dangerous and deadly disease. It has no cure and and has completely ruined many lives. Reading this articles about the many innocent live that have been taken by the disease it is heart breaking to know that in some parts of the world has not taken its full effect. In America i is much easier to educate, maintain a healthy life for the infected victims and also acquire the right counseling. In some part of the world like Africa this disease seems to be attacking many and numbers increase with every passing year. At this point since the disease has been around for a while it should have decreasing numbers but that does not seem to be the case. The surprising thing is that there are more cases in the urban areas where education seem to be more than the rural areas. This article just shows how education and other effective ways like medical advances need to be spread through these developing countries. These countries also need support from other organization considering they are poor in order to ensure they receive as much help as they need for their citizens, both the infected and the uninfected. How can we make the education more effective? does abstinence only education have anything to do with the increased numbers in suburban areas?

This article was written by the national chapter director of Active Minds, a mental health awareness and advocacy group that has a chapter at the U. The article focuses on LGBT mental health issues and how lack of self-care often leads to mental health disorders, substance abuse, and suicide.
I liked and disliked how short this article is. Since it was written for a website whose main focus is not mental health, it makes sense that it gets lots of basic information across without being wordy so that LGBT persons can be that much more aware of the issues in that community. However, I feel like this author could write a great article on this topic that goes into much more detail.
What would this author recommend as self-care for bullied youth and young adults? What other resources are available for persons who fear seeking help?

Same-Sex Supporters

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This week I read an article on punter of the Minnesota Vikings, Chris Kluwe. Kluwe wrote a letter to C. Emmet Burns, the delegate for Maryland, responding to his letter that he sent to Brendon Ayenbadejo, linebacker of the Ravens. Both of the letters from the football players were both supporting same-sex marriage where as the letter from Burns was against it. Some people were offended by the "colorful language" that Kluwe used, and he responded by saying "If you're turned off by the swearing and the scatological reference or a genital mashup, then you're not looking at the content of the message". I feel like it is very nice to have people that support same-sex marriage that are in the public eye. I think that it may take a lot of courage to do so. Since this is such a controversial topic, many people could lose fans or supporters, and the fact that they do not care and that they are going to stand up for what they believe in is very encouraging and empowering to me. Questions that I have after reading this article is what is he doing to continue to show his support, and what is he doing to help the GLBTQ community to have the same rights as everyone else?

The Link:

Health Risks Along with Divorce

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This was a very interesting article. I wanted to know more about the health affects of divorce on people and this shows a study of 1,282 people born in the 1950's called American's Changing Lives. They compared the health between people who stayed married and those who got divorced throughout the whole 15-year time frame. At the end of the study the groups of participants that got divorced had more health problems than those who didn't. I think that this shows that no matter how difficult a situation may be it's better for couples health to stay married.

Research on college students and poor body image

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This week I found an article that discussed University of Michigan's attempt to conduct a very intense study on the attitudes and behaviors college students have on their body image. The article went on to discuss the prevalence of students who are concerned with their body and those female students who diet (about 60%). It is their hope to gain enough information surrounding eating, dieting, body image, exercise, etc, to create programs and policies for universities across the nation.

I am not 100% sure on the accuracy of the statistics used in this article, 60% seems high...despite my strong connection to the topic, it still seems a little far fetched when only 3-5% of women in the US have an eating disorder. I wonder what types of information they will get from this study, and how they can use this to better the lives of individuals suffering from eating disorders while attending school. Im really curious to see what they find. If the statistics that were given in the article are true, then eating disorders are a lot more prevalent than i had originally thought.

Growing Awareness

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This article talks about the recent celebrities, Jack Osbourne and Ann Romney, that have come forward to discuss their battles with MS and how it affected their lives. Of course this is not good news, however this can help raise awareness of a disease that many people know very little about. I know from personal experience, a vast majority know very little about how MS affects people, and some have never even heard of it. With an increase in awareness, MS research will be able to secure more funds and we can work to make strides to finding a cure.

Depression a Personal Failure?

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I thought this article was really well related to what I am focusing on with depression and the stigma attached to it. I though this article really helped show me the numbers and the whole pictures of what the stigma attached to depression can do and the huge effect ti can have on people. The statistic 40% of people consider seeking help for mental health a sign of weakness really resonates with me because I didn't willingly seek help for my depression. It took a series of extreme events to cause me to admit I had a problem and finally admit that I needed help. I considered it weakness to seek help for the problem and felt like a failure because i couldn't make myself happy I mean I felt like it shouldn't be that hard I just need to be happy but it was hard and no matter what I did I couldn't do it.
The idea that 30% of people would not willingly accept someone with mental illness as a close friend also struck a cord with me. I think when I was little the reason I was so ashamed of my mom and her openness of depression was because i didn't want to explain to my friends what it was and didn't want them to judge me for it. Now that I am older I realize that if someone doesn't want to be your friend when they find out your weaknesses then they weren't that good of a friend to begin with.
This article really helps me see what I want to change and the size of the issue that I hope to have some impact on this semester. My questions after reading this article are why mental illness would affect friend choice? What do people think is going to happen if you are depressed? Why depression help is viewed as a weakness? And when do these social perceptions of depression start? As a kid? As a teenage?

"PSY Gangnam Style" - Ricki Vang

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Although many people all across the world may see PSY the artist of the vital YouTube video "Gangnam Style" as funny, refreshing, silly, and addicting but in reality beneath the surface of this mega hit video there is a deeper meaning and reason why PSY decided to do what he did. Gangnam which is home to 1% of the total population of South Korea and a neighboring city to is capital Seoul. Gangnam is home to some of the wealthiest people in South Korea where an apartment complex in Gangnam on an average cost of $716,000.
Instead of following the norm of every idol in Korea, PSY did the opposite. Instead of dancing with girls in night clubs and roof tops like many other idols instead he dances with girls while trash blows at their faces and feature retirees on a disco-lighted bus. As the video goes vital across the world, true meaning of the video is the hate-love the people of Korea have with Gangnam. The song breathes irony although only a few will ever understands.

As "Gangnam Style" hit internet I was never a fan of the song. Before reading the article I found the song a bit discomforting because PSY portrayed everything that us Asians weren't in his silly song. After reading the article in the real reason behind his motives and reasons of the song, I applaud PSY for his talent. The media teaches and tell us in order to be accepted by society one must dress a certain way, act a certain way, and look a certain way. PSY was everything but what people would consider an idol back in Korea.

One question that I am left with is what are some of the reactions of other popular K-Pop idols who had tried to break through into other counties but failed, what is their reaction to PSY success across the world?

Birth Defects: "60 percent happens for no known reason"

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This week I've decided to narrow my research of birth defects down to what specifically affects me -- hand deformities. I came across an article by "The Nation," a Sri Lankan newspaper, that discussed various types of hand deformities and their reasons of origin.

Surgeon Dr. Mohd Iskandar says that "seven in 1,000 babies are born with congenital hand deformities worldwide." This made me feel better, to know that many others go through what I do. But this also made me wonder, in what regions is this most common? Why or why not? Is this something I can pass on to my future children? According to Dr. Iskander, "30 percent of congenital hand deformities are caused by genetic abnormalities, while 10 percent are linked to environmental causes."

Well, what about the other 60 percent? "The remaining 60 percent happens for no known reason," says Dr. Iskandar. Great. What if I'm part of that 60 percent? Will I ever know why I have this deformity?

As I continued to read the article, I discovered more about the correct terminology for my birth defects. For example, seven of my fingers are "brachydactyly" or underdeveloped, while my big toe on my left foot is "macrodactyly" and has excessive bone growth. To be honest, this made me think of dinosaurs (lol). But in all seriousness, I am quite intrigued by my topic of study and am excited to discover new aspects each week. Overall, I want to know more about how others handle their day-to-day lives with deformities, and how they undergo social situations and the reactions/stares from others.

My birth defect no longer has a huge affect on me, but more so is just a natural part of life. I know that I can't change the way I am, and to be honest I would never want to. It actually has taught me a lot about life... but more of that in a later blog :)

---- Mandi Beergoon

Source: Understanding congenital hand deformities

National Suicide Prevention Week

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September 9th through the 15th was National Suicide Prevention Week. This week is primarily sponsored by the AAS, or America Association of Suicidology. During the week the AAS sponsored many events across the United States, including Webinars on Trauma and Suicide prevention hosted by Ph.D. experts in the subjects. Additionally, they also organized the FirstLink Walk of Hope. This was a national collection of short walks designed to raise awareness and provide an opportunity for suicide survivors to meet each other and swap motivational stories. All in all, Suicide Prevention Week touches many across the nation and does an effective job or raising awareness for this important issue.

This article just came out today (Monday, September 24th), explaining that a government U.S. panel recommends that primary care physicians should screen patients for alcohol abuse by asking them about their alcohol habits. There has been some research done recently that screening adults can help the patients cut back on their alcohol use. About 30 percent abuse alcohol in the U.S. and is the third leading preventable cause of death in the nation.

I honestly believe that people who have abused alcohol can get help from their doctor by being screened. Although the screening may not cure people suffering from alcohol abuse, it can lead to people getting help by having the doctors recommend the patient to another professional or possibly a rehabilitation center. I think this recommendation for screening is a great step into continuing treating and discovering people who have alcoholism and taking steps forward into helping them get rid of their addiction.

The article does however, raise some questions. Would the patients who have alcoholism deny their drinking habits to the doctor when asked of them? How effective would the overall screening be? Would the patients follow up with doctor's recommendations or would they just go back to their original habits?

Being an Only Child May Lead to Obesity- Jolene

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The article above discusses a study that was done in which it was found that in one child homes, the child is significantly more likely to become obese versus a child living with siblings.
The article stood out to me because I see the truth in it. When I was growing up I was the only child in the house. I have an older brother but he lived with his mom. For nine years the only person I had to play with was myself. I didn't play outside often and spent more time playing inside with Barbies. Friends of mine who came from large families always seemed to be more active and in better shape.
I'm not saying that parents should start having kids that they don't want to benefit the one they already have, I just think parents should think about making more time to play with their kids and help them to get active.

Teens attitudes toward texting while driving - Selena

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The article was about a telephone survey 650 teenagers age 14-18 took about their attitudes toward texting while driving and what things would reduce it. 96% of the teenagers said actually being in a crash that was caused by texting while driving. Another reason the article focused on was having heavier penalties for those caught texting while driving. In California the fine for texting while driving is only $20 and in Iowa the first offensive to texting while driving is only $30. Teenagers and adults want the fines increased to help curb texting while driving. The article also included that parents need to play a bigger role in their teens driving.

Personally, my thoughts on the article is kind of shocking that the number one reason a teen will not text and drive is if they get into an accident. That should not be the first reason because then it could be too late. I do agree that the fine could be a higher in states that it is low in and I do agree that parents should pay more attention to their driving teenagers. I think the survey should have been more than 650 teenagers though. I personally think if I was pulled over for texting while driving I would not do it anymore. Just the presence of a cop car should be enough for some people.

It leaves me to question that why are teenagers the only ones who get focused on? Because I see a lot of adults messing with their phones as well. Is there any statistics on adults texting and driving? I am going to look into that.


Although this article is not directly about gay marriage rights, it is about the ethical treatment of individuals identifying as GLBTQ. I narrowed my topic down to gay marriage, but it is also about GLBTQ rights. This article speaks to me specifically because I am a college student, and I do have college-aged friends that identify as gay. Every day, I am fighting for their rights and fair treatment, and this initiative by Rutgers really impressed me. I would like to see these types of things implemented into the University of Minnesota's policies and efforts. It is truly a story of a community seeing the impacts of intolerance of the GLBTQ community firsthand, and learning from them, in order to create a healthier environment for everyone. It is a crime that this lesson had to be learned at the expense of a student's life, but it is positive that he has created a more positive environment for his peers, and increased awareness for everyone.

Step Out: Walk to Cure Diabetes

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This video is a promotion for the American Diabetes Association's walk to cure diabetes event. It features testimonials for the ways in which the walk has brought hope to families of diabetes victims as well as people with diabetes talking about the feeling they receive by realizing what a huge backing they have in the search for the cure.

This video just makes me think of how many people are affected by the disease and about how many people actually care enough to dedicate the time and effort to run this sort of thing across the country.

I just wonder how many people I know would participate in this if I didn't personally ask them to do so?

Stand up to Cancer Telethon

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The article I read came out of the StarTribune and was about a telethon that many famous actors put on in effort to "Build a world where cancer is no more", Tom Hanks said. This was the third telethon in relation with Stand up to Cancer, a foundation also in efforts to put an end to cancer. It was also put on to spread awareness of how deadly cancer is and also to show the world that kids get cancer too. The telethon had videos played of those fighting cancer, a lot who were childhood cancer fighters and just how strong these little ones have to be. They also honored the producer of spider man who just passed away of breast cancer. She had a vision of putting an end to childhood cancer and these stars are continuing to move forward in hopes to achieve her dream of finding a cure to cancer. There were many musicians who performed and supported this cause. Taylor Swift wrote a song about a little boy who unfortunately lost his battle to cancer and now donates the itunes proceeds to that song to cancer charities. These stars and this telethon brought hope to all fighting cancer. With the money and awareness they spread they are making breakthroughs and putting together the best teams of doctors to do their best to find cures to this disease. "Researchers said the fund supports collaborative team science and innovative ways of approaching new treatments" (Lynn Elber, StarTribune). Mainly, this telethon brought doctors, awareness, and a ton of hope to those fighting cancer.

This Article was very interesting to me. it is really great to see the amount of awareness is spreading about cancer. The article state that every four house a child dies of cancer, if this statement isn't enough to get someone to make a move then I don't know what is. It is good for people to see and know that even professional actors, musicians and movie producers battle cancer as well. I feel as though this would make more people stand up to the fight and create higher survival rates. It is awesome to see the progression that is being made to finding cures for cancer, but there is much to be done. The only question this article leaves me with is are some of these artist in the fight to make themselves look good? Or because they genuinely care about the cause? I feel bad asking this question but being a cancer survivor my care for the cause is because I had to go through the pain of battling cancer, and many do not know what that is like, so it can be hard for those who don't know to care so much. Seeing how much effort is being put into finding a cure to cancer leaves me with the hope that there someday will be no more suffering.

Controversy between Gay Rights and Chick-fil-A

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Shannon Lawhorn,0,2032634.story

This article discusses Chick-fil-A pulling funding from anti-gay organizations which include Focus on the Family and the National Organization for Marriage. Although, it has not been confirmed from the Chick-fil-A headquarters, a Chicago alderman named Proco Joe Moreno stated that is what the company had promised. Moreno refused to let Chick-fil-A enter Chicago because of the anti-gay stance, but now has a change of heart [if] Chick-fil-a has changed their funding. Chick-fil-A has surred up quite the controversy recently with it's stance on gay rights because of their strong Christanity belief; which has caused many people to boycott it. [If] this information is true, many think Chick-fil-A is making a good decision on not taking a stand on the social issue, and possibly ending a boycott.

When this whole controversy started, it surprised me. People boycotting a fast food chain because of their stances on gay marriage, blew my mind. To me, this was a HUGE stepping stone for gay rights and showing to the world that it would not be tolerated. From big cities to little cities around the United States, Chick-fil-A was not wanted in the cities which if they did not have a neutral stance on the social issue. If Chick-fil-A does evoke their non-profit funding from the anti-gay organizations, that means WE as people made a difference in a heavy Christian based organization. That is something we should all be proud of.

Some questions that crossed my mind while reading the article were why would Chick-fil-A hold such a strong stance on something, and then back off of it? Has the boycott been effective, to the point that they are losing money and NEED to make that change? I am sure none of these questions will ever be answered, but it's interesting to wonder what the answers would be.

An interesting side note:
A few months back, the Mayor of Boston send Chick-fil-A this letter about backing out f locating in Boston.

The Afghan government has banned all Pakistani newspapers, citing anti-government propaganda, according to an article on

This is a big deal, because tensions between the two countries are already running high. A lot of Taliban fighters seek refuge in the mountains of Pakistan, and then come into Afghanistan to fight NATO-led forces. The newspapers were an outlet for the Taliban to try to sway the minds of Afghans, saying things like the government doesn't properly represent it's people, or that coalition forces are occupying the country instead of trying to offer security and support.

Everything in the Middle East is already so tense, and this decision is likely to affect the safety of some U.S. forces, as they deal with the potential backlash from this. Most decisions that are not supported by the Taliban see some sort of violent backlash, and this one could come at the border, where the border patrol has been asked to stop all incoming Pakistani papers.

The article said that only 3 provinces in Afghanistan were still getting Pakistani papers, and I wonder if they were really making that big of a difference? I also wonder about the number of people within those three provinces that are able to read them. Most people in Afghanistan are illiterate, so in the grand scheme of things, how much damage could they really have been doing? My final question is, why weren't we using the same tactics? If the Taliban were able to post messages in these papers, shouldn't we have been able to put some in there as well, to try to tell readers why we're really there, and what we're actually doing?

PTSD suicide rates are higher than combat death rates

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This article talks about a young veteran who could no longer fight his battle against PTSD and took his own life. Currently the suicide rates for veterans are higher than the death rates in the war, because these veterans are suffering from horrible PTSD from combat and can no longer deal with their anxiety and stress. This particular soldier wrote a note to his family (parents, wife and children) letting them know that he would kill up to 17 people each day when he was in combat and he could no longer live with the thoughts inside of his own head.
This makes me absolutely heartbroken that the disorder hurt this soldier so badly to where he had to leave his family and take his own life. It also makes me think about my dad, because he has PTSD and if he has ever contemplated taking his own life. These soldiers are serving and representing our country and our people and they are rewarded with a stress disorder that consumes their whole lives and completely changes them.
The questons that I am left with are what are the exact rates for 2012 of suicides of veterans and deaths in combat. I would also like to know more about this solider and how long he was in combat for and how long he struggled with PTSD for.

Disordered Eating in Athletes

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Chelsea Banken

Last week I read a current article regarding a personal story of how a girl developed an eating disorder. She was involved in judo karate and had to be of certain weights for different weight class categories. The girl believes that having to worry about controlling her weight was a major factor that caused an eating disorder to appear. This story then led me to question if extracurricular activities are leading to negative body images and weight obsession. Although these activities are keeping girls and boys involved and may help keep them from getting into trouble, are they actually hurting self esteem as well? This week I decided to look for an article that discussed eating disorders and athletes becasue I wanted to understand how much of a correlation is at hand with weight obsession and athletes.

The article I read this week explains that because many athletes want to improve, they are known to be perfectionists and competitors. These characteristics are said to possibly put athletes at higher risk for developing eating disorders. I couldn't believe that research in the article found that 62% of female athletes have disordered eating behaviors and 33% of male athletes have disordered eating symptoms as well. The article also discusses that when an athlete is not feeling successful, selt-critical comments come into play. Low self esteem can then lead to wanting to improve body image. Something interesting the article also inlcudes is that the media targets men with articles and ads relating to muscle toning and body building, while females are targeted with ads containing ten times more information about dieting . Reading this led me to question how much media plays a role in negative body image as well.

I agree that many athletes can develop eating disorders. I am around athletes all the time due to being on the University of Minnesota Dance team. Recently, my coach has talked to two girls on our team about losing weight. I am extremely upset with the way she handled the situation because now the girls are afraid to eat and they are self conscious about their bodies. These two girls are in no way overweight, they just are bigger boned and have broad bodies. I fear that these girls may develop eating disorders. I will try my hardest not to let this happen by being by their side every step of the way and watching closely for symptoms.

My assumption that extracurricular activities can play a role in developing eating disorders was verified by this article, yet I still cannot assume that it is one of the only causes. I believe and hope to discover other reasons behind negative body images and after reading this article, I question if friends and family and the media are inlfuencing disordered eating behaviors.

Sleep Apnea could be a cause of Type 2 Diabetes

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This article prompts the theory that sleep apnea could possibly cause type 2 diabetes due to, "The off-and-on breathing from apneas and hypopneas starves a sleeper of oxygen and stresses their metabolic balance. This can stimulate excessive adrenaline, which in turn may worsen a predisposition to insulin resistance, thus advancing diabetes ". This summarizes the idea that over-eating or not eating correctly could not be the only cause of type 2 diabetes.

Again, after finding new information on something that could cause diabetes I can't help but wonder why these cases haven't been widespread and brought to light. If people knew what caused this disease and knew how they could prevent it or take care of themselves more efficiently, then they wouldn't have to suffer for the rest of their lives with this silent disease eating away inside of them.

Other questions this raises is how doctors will use this information and if it actually will help people avoid this disease in the future.

The group fighting against the gay marriage amendment recently began creating, and aired their first, ads to increase awareness of and support for gay rights, specifically the right to have a gay marriage legally recognized. The first ad to air was one depicting a Catholic couple speaking about their neighbors, a lesbian couple. Another that I saw recently aired depicted an elderly, formerly conservative and anti-gay marriage couple who say they have realized through their love for each other that any love a couple has for each other is worthy to be recognized equally, no matter who it is between. I personally could not stop smiling when I saw these ads, and believe their messages really get to the heart of the issue- all love is equal and worthy of validation. Love should not be discouraged. And those who may not believe in gay marriage are capable of seeing it differently, if only they have their minds opened up. #austinvoigt #september18th

Depression makes kids shorter?

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This article talked about how a study done showed a link between a mothers depression and the height of their children. Kids of mothers with depression tended to be shorter. The article then went on to talk about how if a mother tends to think that the depression is only affecting her she isn't as likely to seek out treatment but if she feels it is affecting her family as well she is more likely to seek treatment.
After reading this article I could relate to the idea of not wanting to seek treatment at first because I thought It was only affecting me. While I don't have kids my depression was starting to affect my friendships and my relationship with my parents which is when I decided to seek treatment.
I think my main question in general is why people are reluctant to seek treatment in the first place? If you know it will help why are we so determined to solve the problem ourselves?

Military and Alcohol

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My chosen article is about how people in the military experience alcohol problems.

"In 2008 about half of soldiers in active duty were binge drinkers, compared to about 17 percent of the general population in 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number of prescriptions for pain medications written by military doctors quadrupled from 2001 to 2009."

The government is looking the change this trend and is trying to start new prevention programs to defer our soldiers from experiencing problems/early signs of alcoholism.

I think is this relevant to my topic because it gives an anecdotal as to WHY some people might be binge drinking. From this article, that reason seems to be stress because what is more stressful than fighting for your country overseas? The facts and sources given throughout this article are definitely worth a look.

For Suicide Prevention, Facebook Is A Friend

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The article begins with an anecdote of a suicide intervention facilitated by Facebook in which a woman's life was saved-as was her child's. It is becoming increasingly apparent to social networking giants such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and WordPress that they can make a huge impact in lowering the number of suicides worldwide.

This article is a great reminder of how easy it is to save a life. Facebook deserves a pat on the back for sending "the potential user in distress an email urging him or her to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline," but the community can always be doing more to reduce stigma about mental health disorders and suicide. That's my main complaint about the article: that it never brings to focus the issues behind what drives so many people to commit suicide.

Some remaining questions are, "what can media giants such as Yahoo and Facebook do to reduce stigma surrounding mental health issues so that those at risk for suicide get help before they're on the brink?" "why don't more governmental and online programs exist to help those experiencing symptoms of mental health disorders?" and "how can we involve the entire community in reducing stigma and preventing the escalation of mental health disorders that often lead to suicide?"

Internet Haters online articles

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I read two articles related to "internet haters."

First article I read is about how internet haters caused a model to commit suicide. Internet haters were harsh on her, ridiculing her about her fake breasts and for being an attention seeker in a German cooking show.

Second article I read is titled: "Why you need to ignore internet haters"

This article speaks a lot about who haters are, who they target, why you need to ignore them, and how you can ignore them. It also talks about how internet haters could be prisoners, children, or extremely entitled people. Apparently, haters cannot stand being ignored and feel they "lose" if they are ignored by people they are hating on. The article does a good job analyzing haters to find ways to not be negatively affected by them.

Reading these past two articles make me self reflect about different things. The one about the model committing suicide from being bombarded with hateful messages online happened in South Korea (country of my origin) more than once. Perhaps I will research about these instances in Korea for my next blog post. In any case, I just think about how potent a hateful message can be. I think about that such hateful message can be poisonous like a cancer cell. It spreads quickly. i wonder about if there is any laws or strong ethical guidelines in education to prevent and weaken the spread of hateful messages throughout the world wide web. I feel the potential harm of these hateful message can be severe.
A lot of the stuff I read from the second article, I knew before. I feel that haters simply hate because they wanted good things but they lost their chance. And now because they cannot get good things, they will do anything to prevent others from getting good things. In a sense, I pity haters. If I attempt to get in their shoes, why not spend time working on the problems I have as an individual instead of blaming others for their problems? I feel hating on others is a habit that promotes self-denial of problems and thus hinders self-improvement. I wonder how hard it actually is for haters to stop being a hater? I also wonder if there is a certain culture of people that are easier to become haters. What about relapse? If haters change and become non-haters but they suffer relapse and become a hater again, what would that be like? What would be the opposite of the term haters? What type of websites promote haters to hate more than other websites? Is there any business or organizations that profit from having much haters post on their websites?

A Documentary on Transnational Adoption

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I had some trouble finding recent news articles on adoption, although, I did find this one in the NY Times-

The article is about a documentary of the lives of several adopted pre-teens from China. Some are able to be reconnected with their biological family members, who were forced to give them up due to China's "One Child" Law. While others touch on the sad stories of their abandonment. The article raises the point of how lucky we are to live in a nation where we have the freedoms we do. We are lucky to have institutions that allow new life a chance to be cherished, rather than discarded in a country that cannot, or a government system that will not, care for them.
I thought this article was an interesting way to see adoption in a not only positive way, but as an alternative to those who are not allowed to keep their children. Rather than just an alternative for those who don't want to, or are too young to keep their children- like in many adoption cases in the U.S. I like the positive effects of transnational adoption, an entirely different perspective on the benefits of adoption, altogether.

Protests for Labeling

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A group of anti-GMO activists named "Occupy Monsanto" on Wednesday blocked trucks from entering and exiting a California based Monsanto plant which is producing a new genetically altered form of sweet corn that has been designed to resist applications of a certain weed killer as well as resist certain types of pests. The group, though not directly associated with the specific supporters of the California bill that would require labeling of foods containing GMO's, certainly wished to drum up support for that bill. They say this was simply a preview of about 5 dozen other events that will be taking place in the near future all around the globe.

This article alos does a good job of highlighting a few facts as well as providing additional world view points on GMO's. There is also a brief history and explanation of GMO's. A few facts that were pointed out that I would like to mention are below:

-more than 40 countries have labeling regulations on foods containing GMO's
-U.S. regulators do not require independant safety tests of GMO foods.

The truth about online cheating

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The article I choose for the first week reading is called "The truth about online cheating". I google several key words from my topic, such as "online and cheating". In the article, the author gives online cheating a new definition: Cyber Infidelity. One thing I could answer surely is in this article the author defining online unfaithful relationship as cheating. The author announces that there are two different kind of cheating: physical and emotional. Cyber Infidelity could be sort to emotional cheating. According to the article, "emotional infidelity means that you're confiding in and emotionally connecting with a person outside of your relationship without the sex". In the article, we also explore the reason why people cyber cheat. Social networking is fairly new recent years. People are still creating their new rules on using it. The other reasons why social networking convince people on relationship cheating is because it is so using friendly and there unlimited information online excited people's curious to explore. After reading this article, I was still thinking about solutions to deal with cyber infidelity. There are some signs to watch out before online cheating, but there is no suggestions for people who already are facing the tragedy. The other thing I would like to explore deeper next week is whether we see online cheating as emotional cheating? What are the consequences with this issue? How big the chance for them to transform online relationship into real life? How many percentage people would like to meet their online dating partner in real or they prefer to keep the relationship only on internet.

lack in affordable rentals

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This article that I found on the Star Tribune website discusses the fact that Minnesota has a clear lack in affordable rental housing. The article was very interesting to me because right off the bat I noticed that Stearns county (the area where I grew up) was one of the top counties on the list. I am interested to know what the percent of homeowners or foreclosure rates are in Minnesota compared to the rental rates. If people are still working and Making money, are there problems with the banks causing homes to be foreclosed on, or is there a way to make housing more affordable. Like I stated in my previous blog. I work with Habitat for Humanity here at the university, and Habitat provides affordable housing to people by enlisting in volunteers and homeowners for sweat equity. I think these programs are great and very beneficial to our society, but how do we create affordable housing for the majority of people?

Students write essays on same-sex marriage

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Since I did not post a blog last week, I have chosen my topic as same-sex marriage and gay rights. I chose this topic because I am a gay man, and I would like to have the option to marry someday if I chose to do so. Not only for myself but for others that want to marry the people that they love.

The article that I have chosen this week is about a group of California student that wrote an essay about same-sex marriage for admission to a play that a high school cast put on about the proposition eight in California. Although everyone was admitted to the play (weather they favored it or not), the majority of the students favored same-sex marriages. The author goes on and quotes several of the students essays which many of them either identify themselves as GLBTQ or they are very close with someone who does.

I think that it is amazing that this woman decided to have the students write an essay about it for their admission, because not only does it allow the students to think about the proposition and how it affects others, it also helps the students' creativity and their essay writing skills. I am glad that there are leaders out there like this. As for any questions I have are what were the director intentions on doing this? What kind of feedback/ridicule did she get for it? Also why do the people that do not support same-sex marriage always refer back to the bible or religion?

Here is the link to the article:,0,4091879.story

Birth Defects: Is Potassium the Problem?

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I was researching a news article from The Daily Herald and came across a piece linking potassium intake to birth defects. Emily Bates, a profesor at Brigham Young University, discovered that the potassium channel in our bodies has great impact on telling a cell "what to be" during development. "It is necessary for the signal or instruction to tell a cell what it is supposed to be. If it doesn't get the instructions it might become the wrong thing or it might just die," Bates said. In other words, if this channel is unable to regulate potassium flow, birth defects may arise. Bates also noted that the potassium channel may be affected by alcohol, potentially linking this issue to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS): a common agent of birth defects. Now I have heard many stories about the symptoms of FAS, but never one that linked to potassium -- an essential nutrient in our diet. I've always known my mother had low levels of iron (which is common for woman) but could she have had high levels of stored potassium in her system during pregnancy? I would never want to blame my birth defect on my mother, ever. But I am really curious as to why I have these deformities in my fingers and toes. And why it affected only certain digits, like I have fully "normal" functioning thumbs.. but why? Was I just "lucky" or is there logic behind it?

link to original article: BYU professor discovers what may cause birth defects

Divorce From the Start

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This semester I will be doing my research on the topic of divorce. This is something that so many people in this country are being affected by and I think that it is something serious that needs to be addressed.

This article is from USA Today and just explains how that any premarital concerns should be addressed and truly acknowledged. How can any couple expect to make it through years of trial and hardship when they don't even trust their spouse before they are even married.

Rape Culture

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Week 2 Sammy Budzisz

I never really gave much thought to Rape until I came to the U in the Fall of 2010. I come from a small suburban town near Milwaukee, WI. I've been through some rough times throughout my life but was fortunate to never experience any form of sexual assault, or even know anyone who had. When I came to college, I began to hear more about it, but since it didn't apply to my life, I didn't have many strong opinions about it. I saw posters for the Aurora advocacy center and heard about it randomly on campus, but that was about it.

I knew when I decided to join Greek Life that there was a stereotype that people get drugged and raped at Fraternity parties, but I had never heard of this happening to anyone. It really wasn't something that affected me for majority of my life.

Then there was a string of events that fall that really opened my eyes to this issue. Interestingly, I had a VERY different opinion at first than I do now. In order to understand how I've come to view this topic, I'm going to start at the beginning and explain how I first felt about it because it is similar to how most people feel.

Here is what was written about the first incidence:

"Two University of Minnesota fraternity houses are now under the microscope after separate reports of booze-related sexual assaults on consecutive weekends, and drawing media attention for the wrong reasons as campus parties crank up ahead of homecoming.
Police have warned students to lay off excessive drinking, and to buddy-up when going out. And fraternity presidents have met to figure out ways to keep their houses safe.
In the latest incident, a 19-year-old female student told police she woke up with injuries on Sunday after being raped at Chi Psi Fraternity this past weekend. She got herself to the hospital, but she can't remember any details about what happened to her.
The previous weekend, a man trapped a 20-year-old woman in a bathroom at Delta Kappa Epsilon Fraternity, just a few doors down University Avenue from Chi Psi, and almost raped her. Two frat members were beaten and robbed inside the house the same weekend.
Marty Chorzempa, president of the Interfraternity Council, said its members take the incidents seriously. And after last Monday's meeting with fraternity presidents, he thought members were going to work harder on security and safety at parties.
"Apparently more needs to be done," he told KSTP. There have been no arrests in either assault. "

I was a Sweetheart for Delta Kappa Epsilon, and I was there the night this happened. What was reported was ABSOLUTELY NOTHING like what actually happened. There was 2 people who were jumped, but they were not Greek and didn't even go to the U. There was a girl who was going to the bathroom in the a bathroom that was connected to the room I was in all night. She didn't lock the door and someone who also wasn't Greek and didn't go to the U came in and made some suggestive comments and then took her phone. She came out and was mad that her phone was stolen, so she told everyone she was going to file a police report. She did, and she came back to tell everyone the next day that the police kept twisting her words to try to make it seem like she was sexually assaulted. She kept explaining that it wasn't a sexual assault and she wanted to focus on finding her phone. Of course this got into the media as a "rape" and all of my best guy friends now had to walk around campus with the "rapist" title, even though they didn't deserve that.

I began to have an extremely pissed off attitude towards girls who contribute to making guys seem like rapists because they wanted something else to blame besides their excessive amounts of underage drinking that made them do slutty things. I really took up and anti-feminist view on rape because I sympathized with my friends who didn't do anything wrong but now had to deal with the effects of this label.

Rape Culture

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Week 1 Sammy Budzisz

This semester I'm going to focus on Rape Culture for my topic. This is something that isn't necessarily a widely understood topic so I'm excited to shed some light on it and hopefully make a difference in a life or two in our classroom. This topic is very serious and hard to talk about, but I feel like it is something need to do. I have many personal reasons why this topic is meaningful to me that I don't feel completely comfortable getting into right away, but as the semester goes on I hope to open up about it. This is something that shouldn't even be an issue in society but it unfortunately affects too many people and I hope to make some sort of difference for it some day.

New ideas for healthy eating

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This article is about how giving vegetables fun names such as "X-ray Vision Carrots", more children are likely to want to eat their vegetables. I think this is a great approach and will be one successful way to get children to eat a more balanced diet.

Body Image: to look or not to look

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This article I actually found last Thursday the 14th, talks about a new trend for body image conscious people: to stop looking at the mirror. In the past doctors have told their patients with eating disorders or body image issues that they should avoid stepping on scales which could perpetuate anxiety about weight. Now, the newest trend is recommending a "mirror fast" which could be as short as a day to as long as a year. Psychologist Vivian Diller talks about her coined term the "beauty paradox" which basically boils down to the idea that women both feel they need to be "above" the whole looks being important thing but at the same time realize that looks are important in both personal and professional lives. She talks further about how this social experiment really displays our cultures dependence on our looks. Despite this interesting approach, she actually suggests the opposite approach to dealing with body issues, stating that it is more of an avoidance rather than acceptance. Which I actually agree with.

After reading this article I was struck with a couple of opposing thoughts. My first was that as someone who cares deeply about looks at times that this experiment would be really difficult for me. But would it help my body image issues or make them worse? Is avoidance helpful in trying to get my mind on other things or would it cause me to focus more on it? As someone who has dealt with poor body image, I think that its important for women to see themselves clearly, and this can only be done by accepting whats in front of them, because frankly, we can't completely abstain from looking at ourselves as one could do if, say they had a drug addiction. This is what makes eating disorders so can't completely give up food and it can be a struggle for many to find that balance.

Step in the Right Direction

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This week the FDA has approved a new drug that can now be used to treat the relapse form of Multiple Sclerosis, which means the person suffering from the disease does not continually experience the symptoms but goes through phases of relapse and recovery. The article stated that the new oral medication, Aubagio, has shown to lower the number of relapses by about a third, and even slowed the progression of the disease compared to a placebo. This is a step in the right direction for the treatment of MS, and hopefully means we as a society are getting closer to curing MS all together.


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'Berlin Man,' doctor convinced HIV cure is real
By JIM SALTER Associated Press
Posted: 09/12/2012 02:00:09 PM CDT
Updated: 09/12/2012 04:49:09 PM CDT

This article talks about a guy who was infected with H.I.V and was treated and cured in Berlin. This is a very unique story because not only was he infected with H.I.V he also had leukemia. He had H.I.V since 1995 and after numerous treatments and doctor visits he became cured of it in 2006 and has not needed medication since 2007. It goes on to further explain other tests that he has had to go through in addition to leukemia chemotherapy. Although there were some HIV traces found in Brown's system they are not capable of replicating to start the disease again. The articles goes ahead to say that of the 1% European who have resistance to HIV can use their cells to make a recipient resistant too.
After reading this article I felt very excited to learn that the medical advances have gone as far as getting a cure. It made me have a lot of faith and hope for the future. Learning of all the medical advances and possibilities make life a bit easier on both the victim and their families.
How long will it take before many other victims are cured with the same procedure?
Will there be an HIV AIDS cure too now that an HIV has been discovered?
How effective will the resistance cell donation be in terms of preventing the spread of HIV ?

Too Much Salt?

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The link above is to an article that discusses a study that was done with 6,200 kids ranging from ages 8-18. The kids were asked to record the foods that they had eaten. What was discovered was that many kids were consuming just as much, if not more salt than the average adult.

What was interesting to me about this article was that it mentioned the kids who had the highest salt intake had doubled their chances of having elevated blood pressure, while those who were overweight had nearly tripled their risk. Even those who did the study were unsure why children who were overweight had a higher sensitivity to the salt intake.

Most people are already aware that having weight problems as a child can lead to problems as an adult, but even I was unaware that too much salt could cause big problems at such a young age.

Week 2 Tony Turnquist

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The article above deals with the selling of alcohol at Kinnick Stadium, the home of the University of Iowa Hawkeyes football team. In the article, the governor of Iowa is interviewed and talks about how he would be very careful about selling alcohol given the prior history of Iowa's tailgating and prevalence of alcohol before entering the game. The article mentions the University of Minnesota and its new alcohol policy, as its the only Big Ten stadium that serves alcohol at football games to the general public. Now, many schools around the nation are considering selling alcohol to improve revenue.

I find this article very interesting and relevant to my topic of alcoholism, as I know from a prior health class that Iowa City has the most bars per capita in the United States, which is where Kinnick Stadium is located. I find the issue of selling alcohol in college stadiums a very interesting one because it makes me think that some people NEED to be drinking when watching football, especially if the team isn't playing well.

Is this necessity of alcohol a sign of alcohol dependence or early signs of alcoholism? Does the ENVIRONMENT cause alcoholism, or is it genetics? Does the college atmosphere and stigma of drinking in college lead people to become more prone/more at risk to becoming alcoholics?

Christine Ha - Master Chef

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This past week Christine Ha the blind chef took the title of Master Chef. Throughout the season many people questioned that maybe she was only put on the show for the ratings and she was probably assisted while cooking. Fact is she did everything by herself. Although she did have an assistant to guild her and help her with minor things but she did all the cutting, cooking, and prepping herself during the whole season. Christine lost her vision roughly five years ago and during that time she questioned if she would ever cook again after trying to make a simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich but instead created a mess. Disregard the fact that she lost her vision she was determined to not give up. Although she wasn't able to see but it also helped her in focus more on herself, her cooking, and not what other contestant where doing during Master Chef. As Master Chef she wishes to open up her own ice cream shop and a pub. Words of advice from Christine, "If they have that passion, that fire, that drive, that desire... you can overcome any obstacle and any challenges to really achieve what you want and prove yourself to the world. Everyone is very capable. Much more capable than they think they are."

Last week Monday night as I watched the season finale I was impressed that Christine was one of the last two standing on a major T.V. show/network. There have been very few Asian contestants in big U.S. television shows and network. During the finale I hesitated in my own mind of her actually taking the title as Mast Chef because no one from the Asian community in the United States as really taken any title from a show that I could think of. When they announced the winner, I was a bit shocked that she actually won; better yet I was happy that I was wrong. Disregard what many people thought about Christine she kept on pushing because she believed in herself and her skills that she was capable of achieving anything she set her mind too because anything is possible if you put your whole heart at all.

Some questions that I still do have after reading the article and watching the show is how does she feel as an Asian American who is one of the few who has own a big television show like Master Chef? And How did she feel when people discredited her cooking?

As the mission in Afghanistan has changed to training the Afghans to take over their own country, one danger is starting to become more and more prominent: an attack from within.

In the article I found, a Marine stationed in the southern province of Helmand was part of training Afghan National Army Soldiers, and told his family that he did not think he would make it out of the country alive. He had gotten into a spat with one particular soldier who kept telling him they didn't want or need him there. They eventually got into a shoving match, and had to be separated by other Marines. And then just two days before he was supposed to leave the country, that very soldier turned his gun on that Marine, and killed him and two others.

To me, this is not only an alarming article, but an alarming trend. Our troops are scheduled to end combat missions in 2014, which means that this training aspect is crucial in the success of the country after we leave. If we are unable to properly train and equip the Afghan National Army, Police and all their other forces, the work we've been doing there for more than a decade will be potentially wasted. This really bothers me, because in my 6 months traveling around the country, I saw how hard our troops are working to create a better living situation for Afghans, including putting in new schools, giving them access to medical care and improving their infrastructure.

My big question going forward is: what are we doing inside of our compounds to ensure the safety of the troops who are charged with the training of these Afghans?

Suicide Awareness: Checking In

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A new study was recently released in conjunction with Suicide Prevention Week (September 9th - 15th) by the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL). It revealed that simply showing interest and compassion to those struggling with suicidal thoughts or depression can cut the likelihood of suicide in half. John Draper, the Director of the NSPL, revealed that follow up calls to those who have previously called the Suicide Lifeline that his organization provides have had such an impact that the recipients of the "check in calls" are half as likely to attempt suicide. This is significant when seven percent of the people who call the hotline whilst contemplating suicide will later die by it. This study shows us that all it takes to deter suicide is to show people that there are people in the world that care about their wellbeing.

To read an article about this study, visit:

Alzheimer's Disease is Really Type 3 Diabetes

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This article brings light upon new research that is categorizing Alzheimer's Disease as the third type of diabetes. This new research suggests that the reason that the disease occurs is because of neurons in the brain blocking insulin absorption correctly.

Finding this article and seeing that there is another type of diabetes besides type 1 and type 2 has made me want to promote diabetes education even more than before. It has always frustrated me when I've heard ignorant comments along the lines of "one more fry and I'll get diabetes" because dieting is not the only reason that diabetes exists. Because there are different forms of diabetes there are different causes for each type.

After reading this article I'm wondering if Alzheimer's will still be referred to as its current name or if it will change to type 3 diabetes. I also am wondering if Alzheimer's patients will now start seeing endocrinologists (doctors who specialize in diabetes treatments).

Battling PTSD and TBI

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In this article in Time magazine it discusses the Pentagon's plans for using $100 million to try to find out how to better prevent 9/11 soldiers from getting post traumatic stress disorder as well as traumatic brain injuries. These conditions are often linked together and seen within the same person, and the Pentagon's plan is to figure out how to identify better treatment plans for those soldiers impacted by PTSD and TBI.
I was so excited when I read this article, I personally believe that the government has not been doing nearly enough research on this topic. I am glad that they have now put $100 million into research, I just wish they would have done this a century ago.
I am still left with a few questions. What is their plan of attack? Meaning, what are their steps to figure out how to better treat the soldiers that have PTSD and TBI. What have they tried in the past and what results have come from these trials?

Stop the texting while driving

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The article talks about a driver in Tennessee who witnessed a young lady texting while driving. The driver honked on her horn four times and the "texter" did not stop texting nor did she even look up to see who was honking. There is a law in Tennessee about Texting while driving, but unlike Minnesota, it is not enforced. The driver is trying to figure out what she can do about people who text while drive because she has been driving since there were no cell phones or pagers. There was also a response to her artice and that person said that he agrees to not texting or talking while driving, but he thinks it is a bit much when the non-texting car is honking and being on your tail about texting.

I liked the article to be the first about my topic because it shows that texting while driving happens everywhere and everyday. People can be so distracted and not pay attention to their surroundings. The article said about 6000 deaths happen every year due to texting and driving and I feel that is something that could be changed. I can not say I am not guilty of texting while driving but I try not to respond until I can. After reading the article I am left with questioning about what states really focus on texting while driving? And why is i that some drivers feel it is their duty to stop the distracted driver from texting? I understand they want safe roads, but people do not listen to other people with out authority.

Pro Sports and the Gay Community

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The article I found on NBC's Sports, Pro-sports more gay friendly as athletes speak out, discusses how more athletes in today's society are making a stand for gay rights, especially a Minnesota Viking, Chris Kluwe. It talks about how the amendment vote for gay marriage is coming up, and discusses how some athletes who are being advocates for the amendment are being bashed. Brendon Ayanbadejo of the Baltimore Ravens was condemed by his views on the gay marriage amendment by a Maryland law maker, which inraged people like Kluwe. Kluwe decided to write a open letter to the law maker of Maryland, and the words that Kluwe had to say were harsh, but real feelings towards the delegate. "Why do you hate the fact that other people want a chance to live their lives and be happy, even though they may believe in something different than you or act different than you?" said Kluwe in the letter. Athletes are speaking out, and making a stand to support gay community. Although the article states that "No active athlete in the four most popular pro sports - football, baseball, basketball or hockey - has come out publicly as gay".

Kluwe, along with other sports players are trying to make a difference in our culture which is not an easy thing to do. They are stepping up as leaders and being advocates to those who are unaware of the topic. By being a high profile sports player and supporting the gay community could give someone the support and the courage to support the gay community as well. The athletes are making a stand and showing that it is okay, while risking the negative light people can bring on them (such as harassment on teams/homophobic slurs, bad publicity). This article reminded me of reading we read, inquiry, because although we have advocates who do know what they are talking about, we have the advocates who are pointing fingers and speaking without listening to the other side, when they really should be inquiring.

After reading the article, why is it that currently there are no publicly gay athletes in the four sports? If athletes did come out, would people accept them as they are or would they be critizied to the point of no end? If we are granted the first amendment, freedom of a speech, why do people feel the need to try to stomp all over peoples views and opinions of things?

Poor Body Image Can Result in Eating Disorders

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The article I have read is from Monday, September 10th and involves a personal story with informative information about negative body image. The author, Ester Marsh, explains that when she was younger, she did Judo, which is a form of martial arts. She was required to make certain weight classes and therefore performed extreme actions to lose weight. She also at this time, saw herself through a negative lens; she was always too big. Eventually, Ester Marsh stopped performing Judo due to a back injury and then turned to body building. This new passion of hers reuqired a strict diet which led her to guiltily indulge in forbidden foods. She then would exercise for endless hours to make up for eating. Finally, with her sister's help, Ester Marsh was able to get help and recover from her eating disorder.
After sharing her personal story, Ester Marsh continues on in the article about myths and facts of eating disorders. A fact that caught my attention was that many bulimics have died from ruptured esophaguses. Also, bulimia does not always involve purging. It can entail fasting, exercising and taking laxatives as well.
After reading this article, I was deeply moved by the personal story of Ester Marsh and how her eating disorder came to be. Her story reminded me of my dance friend that struggled with anorexia nervosa and it hurts my heart to see and hear about different people struggling with how negatively they view their bodies. Marsh's story makes me wonder about how many other girls, and even some boys, were and are still dealing with eating disorders. Does our society create transitions into having eating disorders? For example, Ester Marsh was involved in Judo karate and had to make sure she was a certain weight which caused an obsession of weight control. Also, my good dance friend worried about showing her body to audiences becasue we wore small costumes. I think it is extremely interesting that our society believes it's great to get and be involved in extracurricular activities. But are these activites giving aid to having negative perceptions of our own bodies? I hope as I continue this journey with my project, that I can grasp a better understanding of poor body image.

Gay Rights in Kansas

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This article highlights a new anti-gay movement happening in Kansas which the media seems to have neglected to cover in large. In two Kansas cities, local ordinances were recently passed that outlaw discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents. Since the passing of those laws this past summer, citizens have certified petitions which will put the issue on the ballot this November. The opposition is led by the Kansas Family Policy Council which views the issue as a question of religious freedom. At the core of the council's argument is a belief that the law should not force employers, landlords or business owners who oppose gay rights on religious grounds to violate their beliefs. 70 percent of Kansas voters approved the 2005 constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and civil unions. The article seems optimistic for the GLBTQ community however. It claims that with the direction this rights battle is heading, it will be brought to the Supreme Court and if history is a guide, they will not be in the favor of opposition. The article also mentions the presidents announcement supporting the GLBTQ community as well as the rise in support for equal rights in the state, from 31% in previous years to the current 48% supporting equal rights. Hopefully this trend continues.

My reaction to the article was frustration more than anything. As the Marriage Amendment is an issue that will soon be voted on here in Minnesota, it's stories like this that keep me worried. Our laws have become so twisted. Since when did we start trying to take away peoples rights instead of giving people rights? Since when did we forget about the separation of church and state (since that seems to be there main argument for taking away rights of GLBTQ citizens)? I worry for the future of America if I can't even trust my own countries laws to protect me from discrimination in the workplace, in housing and in education. One argument the opposition brought up to the law ordinance was that churches might have to rent out spaces to GLBTQ rights activist groups due to the fact that "accommodating" GLBTQ groups was also in the ordinance. Common sense tells me that GLBTQ groups would rather not choose to have their meetings where they are hated and discriminated against... Generally GLBTQ community groups are looking for safe places of support, not places where they will be judged and put-down. And Activist groups may try to make a statement perhaps, but they would never risk retrogression in their rights by forcing a church to rent a space for them. They would surely go to any other available space to meet, rather than fuel a homophobic churches anger. It's common sense. It's not like there is no other spaces available either, surely other business are economically sensible and will take money wherever they can get it. They would be more than willing to rent a space to members of the GLBTQ community.

As far as any questions I am left with after reading this article?
I wonder how many signatures they were able to gather in support of the opposition?
What exactly is the supreme courts track record when gay rights vs religious rights were involved?

September Marks National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

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The article I read talked about September being the National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and also how September 12th is the National Childhood Cancer Awareness day. This article mainly talked about advancements in research for childhood cancer and how they're going about to find a cure. Dedicating a month to the cause spreads awareness and lets people know that they can help find a cure to all childhood cancers. Because childhood cancer is under-funded we need the help of individual support to help fundraise and we also need to get congress involved. To ensure support from congress the US House of Representatives created a Pediatric Cancer Caucus. CureSearch is partnering up with this caucus to help the "voiceless victims" of childhood cancer survive. CureSearch plans many fundraisers, there biggest one coming up is their CureSearch walk. With these advancements and spreading of awareness we hope to find a cure for childhood cancer, because 2,000 kids are unnecessarily dying a year from this monster.

This article really hits home with me. I dedicate my survivorship to finding a cure to childhood cancer. I am aware that childhood cancer is underfunded so I could not be happier to see that there is action being taken. Getting congress involved is the biggest attribute to finding a cure, we need to the government money because we can't raise enough alone. I believe finding a cure to childhood cancer is the most important cure we can find. It is the leading cause of death in children, and children are our future. This article makes me want to get even more involved then I am with childhood cancer.

A question this article leaves me with is, how can I step up the the congress level? What can myself as an individual do to make an impact on congress and a higher power to influence them to make a change in the money going to research for childhood cancer? I am empowered by this article to make an even bigger move then I already have.


Increases in Divorce

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I chose the topic of divorce because this not only affect me but every single person I know in one way shape or form. I have personally been affect by this more severely in the past 9 months and know the toll it takes on a person. The rates of divorce are at an all time high right now and it makes me sick to think that marriage and love are things that people throw around so lightly in our era.

GLBTQ Rights

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I chose to focus on the topic of GLBTQ rights because it is an issue that has become both increasingly prevalent in my life, and increasingly controversial in our society. It is important to me because my uncle, whom I am very close to, and many of my friends do identify as GLBTQ, and the threat of some basic human and civil rights being taken away from them is one that makes me extremely angry and confused. At the base of these issues, I feel, is the problem of some leaders of our country wanting to combine the values and influences of organized religion with the direction of our nation's government, something I feel to be completely misguided and contradictory to the original purpose of the creation of our country in the first place. With those religious values and influences comes the threat of other freedoms and rights being taken away, including some of mine as a woman; however, I choose to focus on the issue of GLBTQ rights in order to narrow down my focus, and also because the rights they have on the line are, in my eyes, more crucial and retrogressive for our society in the realm of civil rights. Listening to my uncle talk about the fact that his biggest fear is growing old and dying alone, because he may someday be unable to legally marry or adopt a child based solely upon his sexual orientation, is one of the most heartbreaking things to hear. This is just one example of the pain I see these threats causing my loved ones every day. I am never afraid to speak out against any adversity, intolerance, or misunderstandings I come across about these issues. I already focus on them in my day-to-day life, and am passionate about them, so I choose to concentrate on them for this assignment.

Labeling of GMO Foods

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As an Agriculture and Food Business Management major, food is always something that is on my mind. In this upcoming election, California has another interesting vote on their ballot. That vote is whether or not to have their foods containing GMO(Genetically Modified Organisms) labeled as such. Large companies including such as Monsanto, Coke, and Pepsi have poored millions into the opposition of this vote. I feel a personally connected to this because this could potentially change the make up of our entire food industry, as well as the price of food, which is already becoming more unstable as the effects of global warming are being felt.

Birth Defects

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As someone who is studying psychology, and later in life will be requesting others to be shameless, vulnerable, and open with me, I decided to test my own will to fulfill these needs. I want the ability to speak from the other side, to be fully knowledgeable about how it feels to be the "client" -- someone who will come to me and genuinely share their lives. I've decided to explore the topic of birth defects, something that personally affects me. My fingers and toes have been deformed since birth. I don't know why, I don't know how, but it would be interesting to find out or to have some sort of guidance in this topic. This is particularly important to me because I know I'm not the only one. I am intrigued by others who also have birth defects; how they feel, how they live their daily lives, how people act around them, how they're similar/different to me. And this is something about myself I know I can't change, another aspect that has always interested me. It's not something that I am ashamed of, at least not anymore. But it is something that I have so many questions that have been left unanswered.

Asians in the media

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In America many people tend to look at Asians as the role model, the smart ones, overachievers, and discipline; in other words 'model minority.' One reason why this tends to be in my views is due to the media. The media plays a huge role in shaping people's views, opinion, and ideas of what the world is made of. Fact is, what the media puts out isn't always true and many of the time it's only portraying a small percentage of what the actual picture. As an Asian student at a big University, I myself have been judged and viewed upon in the eyes of the media and society. Rather I am nothing close to what the media sets me to be. In my blog, I want to showcase that Asians we have more to offer than just being set to be smart and the model minority but also we have other talents as well to struggles.

People's habit of judging others without self-reflection

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"Kristen Stewart is a whore."
"Lebron James sucks at basketball."
"President Obama is a terrible president."

For haters who say such words, I ask you...
"Do you think you could have done any better in their positions?"
I doubt it. So I suggest you watch your mouth.

Why do you expect people to be so perfect? Is it Kristen Stewart's job to be a trustworthy girlfriend? No. Her job is to be an act
ress. For haters of Lebron, can you play basketball as good as he does? For haters of President Obama, do you think it is an easy job be one of the most influential person in the world every single day?

We all have faults.

"Do you think you expecting people to be exactly how you want them to be will benefit your life in any way..? Who made you dictator of their lives?"

I learned I have too many problems I want to work on that there is literally no time to think & blame other people for their problems.

When it comes to people, I keep it real simple.
"Do not value your standards of how people should be. Just seek value in whatever each person in your life can offer you."

Texting and Driving

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I have decided to do my topic on texting and driving because even though there is a law against it, you always see somebody looking down at their phone as they are driving. This topic is important to me because my Aunt Fran passed away because of texting while driving. She ended up swerving off of the highway and when she tried to get back on the highway she was side swiped by a semi going back off the highway into a ditch and flew out of her windshield. It hurts to think about and that is why it is important to me because messing with a phone is not worth risking your life.

Substandard Housing and Homelessness

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Freshmen year of college came and I was more than ready to be out of my small hometown of Kimball, MN and in the big city. A few years before I graduated high school my life became overwhelming and stressful. I worked two jobs, was involved in far too many after school activities, and then came home to a houseful of people all with huge personalities. When the economy crashed, my family was hit just as hard as most. I soon realized that my parents were working 70+ hour weeks just trying to make ends meet. I didn't think things were that bad until one day a cop pulled up and handed my dad a bunch of papers. Turns out we were about to lose our house. My parents built our house with the help of family members the year I was born. And since I can remember it has always been one of the most important things in our lives because it is our home, what has kept us all together.
I am the youngest of 5 children, with my youngest brother being 5 years older than me. Even with this age gap, I can never remember a time when it was just me and my parents living in the house. Throughout high school I lived at home with my parents, my brother Matt, my brother Andy, his wife Katie, and their three children. Losing our house would have meant not only my parents and me were homeless, but also my young and innocent nephews. My parents gave up a lot to end up keep our house, but I don't know anyone who is ungrateful for all the hard decisions they made to keep our family together.
At the time I thought my world was ending, but I realize now that things could have been so much worse. When my sister was younger she spent years in and out of women's shelters and substandard housing. Although she is 13 years older than me, we were very close when I was a child. I remember staying in the apartments she lived in, I didn't think much of it then, but now I remember seeing homeless people scattered in the street near her apartment and having to sleep on the floor in her unit because there was no bed. I may not have lost my home, but my sister knew what it was like to move from place to place just to feel safe at night, making this issue extremely important to me.
I have never experienced homelessness personally, but it has hit close enough to home where it is an important issue, so when I came to college I joined Habitat for Humanity. I have been to places like Miami and New Orleans where I witnessed first hand what true poverty and substandard housing looked like. I have been an active member with the group now since my freshmen year, and will continue to support Habitat's efforts to provide affordable housing to those in need, because I know that there is nothing more comforting and safe than a place to call home.

Mental Health

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I chose mental health as my topic for the Community Exploration and Immersion Project. More specifically, I think that I would like to focus on mental health issues that most commonly affect college-aged people.
Active Minds is a campus group that works to raise awareness about the prevalence of mental health disorders, inform students of the resources available to those experiencing symptoms of mental illnesses, and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues that prevents people from getting the help that they need. I worked with them last semester through that leadership class and found that I am very passionate about changing the conversation surrounding mental health and finding solutions for those who need it. This passion certainly stems from from my experience with symptoms of mental illness in my close family members, friends, and in myself.

Internet Relationships

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I choose Internet relationships as my research topic. Recently, technology becomes a hot topic through everywhere of our daily life. I have taken several courses which had explore the questions of how could internet affect on our study? Internet brings a lot advantages to us. It makes our life more convenience and helps saving money, energy, etc. Our university offers a lot online classes which causes a new relationship between classmates. I personally have a strong feeling of the differences between face to face team working than only distance group meeting. Besides, instructors start pay attention on students' electronic equipments using during class. Computers are no longer only for notes taking. I believe most of us have the experiences of opening Facebook page during class time or observing others doing this. I am not a big fan of online social networking, but I am wondering what makes Facebook and Twitter so attractive to a huge amount of people? The other reason why I choose this topic is my best friend's boyfriend was cheating on her on Internet. I am still confused whether it counts for cheating. They share hobbies and secrets. They did everything like a couple online besides physical touch. Some people say it is cheating, some say no. I would like to do some research on that. Of course, not only the internet cheating, I feel it would be a really interesting topic to dig into. How could people deal with Internet relationship or online community? And how could it affect on real life?


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I choose to do this project of Diabetes because I have had the disease for going on 12years. Being personally affected with type 1 diabetes, and talking with others both affected by type 1 and type 2, I would be very interested in doing a project on the subject with a subcategory as to diabetes education (for both those affected and not affected with the disease).


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I choose this topic because one of my best friends gave her baby up for adoption 2 years ago. It is an open adoption, and I have seen her struggle through the process the entire way. Although this decision was extremely hard for her to make, if you ask her, she would never take back her decision. Another one of my best friends had an abortion 2 years prior to my first friend's pregnancy. All of us went to grade school together, and during my friend's pregnancy, the both of them talked for a long time about their different decisions. Today, my friend, who chose adoption, struggles with her decision in the sense that she cannot be a mother to the most beautiful baby that you have ever seen. Although, she does get to spend time with her and watch her grow, as an important part of her life. My other friend, however, struggles with the fact that she will always have to remember, and will never speak of her abortion again.

Both stories have a certain level of pain that will always haunt my friend's lives, but both stories affect their lives so very differently. I want to research the different effects and outcomes of decisions like the ones my friends made.

Healthy Eating

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I decided to choose eating healthy because it is something that I did not spend a lot of time paying attention to while I was growing up and I feel as though it is very important. This past year I began to watch what I am eating much more and have come to enjoy healthy foods. Although, progress has been made I still have work to do but I also feel as though I should help others become healthier too and it is definitely an issue in our country that needs addressing.

Body Image

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The topic I have chosen to connect with this semester is that of body image issues in women. I decided to choose this topic because for the better part of my life I have been in close contact with people I really care about who either have body image issues or have an eating disorder. As a nutrition major I feel closely connected to the idea that its important to better the health of all people. This subject has been a strong part of my life for so long and I feel deeply connected to it and the hope that these issues will be put to an end for all women. Through this project I really hope to connect with others to gain a new insight and perspective on this topic. There are really great resources on the university campus that I hope to connect with to further my knowledge on this subject.


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Gertrude Mongare
Leadership blog # 1
Week 1 September 12, 2012

H.I.V AIDS is known to be a very deadly disease one that has no known cure. In some parts of the world like America, individuals infected by the disease can survive for a very long time due to the well developed medical facilities available. This however is the complete opposite when it comes to third world countries. H.I.V. AIDS has killed and destroyed many lives especially in Africa. Up until three years ago, H.I.V AIDS was just a name of a disease like any other. I was well informed about it from my previous health science classes but I had not thought much of it. It was that very afternoon that my life took a strange turn when I was informed of the horrific news. My sister and I had just come from school and my mother was sitting on the couch looking very pale and by the look on her face I knew things were not well. After greetings and a few usual questions we sat down and began inquiring the reason behind her sad face. "They found out what was wrong with him!!" she said very softly as tears came down her cheeks. My uncle had been in the hospital for about a month but we did not know what the cause of his sudden illness was. Although I was relieved that they had finally diagnosed him I was not very pleased with the news that came after. My aunt (my mother's younger sister) had met this guy who we now call my uncle; they got married and had a baby together. Throughout the few weeks he was in hospital my uncle did not want anyone to be informed by the doctors on his condition including his wife (my aunt). This was very disturbing to our family and my parents decided to try all their best to find out what he was hiding. Little did they know that he had been HIV positive for about ten years and did not tell my aunt before the got married. As hard as it was to accept reality and move on toward the appropriate direction we have all managed to do this as a family. This experience has inspired me to research more on HIV AIDS education in schools, its effects on families, how to live a healthier life and programs/organizations involved with HIV AIDS.

Body Image

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I have been dancing since I was three years old and at the age of six I decided to dance competitively. I was therefore very active and busy every day of the week. I did not have to worry about my weight growing up because I was naturally petite and always dancing. Competition dance costumes pertained to two piece outfits that were tiny, shiny, and revealing. Once I started middle school, my friends' bodies began to develop faster than mine. Curves and weight gain occurred and I had friends that worried about their body images. It was hard for them to accept the fact that they were becoming women. I am not proud to say this, but I was glad to be so petite at the time because I did not have to deal with these feelings of insecurity. One close friend of mine struggled with anorexia and lost an extreme amount of weight. She compared her newly developed body to that of when she was a child and believed that was how she was supposed to look. Wearing such revealing costumes at dance competitions didn't help with feeling comfortable showing her developed body.
I am still dancing to this day on the University of Minnesota dance team and many of my frends on the team worry about what they eat because they do not want to gain weight. I have similar feelings, though I eat healthy not to be skinny but to be fit and to treat my body well. I believe that negative body image is a crucial issue in our society. Some girls see skinny models in advertisements and compare themselves to them. What should a healthy body really look like? How skinny is too skinny? These questions are ones that need to be discussed within communities. I am personally invested in this issue because it was horrible to see a best friend struggle with anorexia. I want to help others understand that being fit, not skinny, is healthy.


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I choose to pick the topic of depression. I chose this topic because it is something both me and my mom struggle with. When I was a kid I was ashamed that my mom had depression and even worse was how open she was about it. Now that I am older I realize how hard being so open about it must have been since depression has a negative social stigma attached to it. I think that by choosing this topic I can learn more about this issue and why there are such negative associations that go along side it. Hopefully I will be able to shed some new light on the issue and discover more about myself in the process.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

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The topic that I will be focusing on is PTSD. The reason why I am choosing PTSD is because my dad was a Sergent Major in the United States Army for 30 years and he fought in the Vietnam war, and since then has suffered from PTSD. I have seen first hand how debilitating this disorder is and how it can completely change a person.

Childhood Cancer

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For my research topic I chose childhood cancer. This reason I chose to study more about childhood cancer is because I am directly affected by it. When I was just thirteen months old I was diagnosed with a rare form of childhood cancer, Neuroblastoma. I was only given a thirty percent chance to survive. Through extensive chemotherapy, radiation, and a bone marrow harvest, I beat the odds and conquered cancer. This story has shaped the way that I live my life and is with me everyday.

I want to look further into childhood cancer by finding more information on new research for treatments, how children handle going through treatment, how they feel and also how survivors feel. I want to touch on any aspect of childhood cancer I can find, even how it affects others around them, most importantly their family.

I believe this is the perfect topic for me because it is so close to my heart. I am passionate about any information I can find on this topic. This topic is also perfect so I can also learn how to make a difference in the lives of those fighting. I see myself as more than blessed to have survived. I dedicate my survivorship to helping others going through this disease and by finding a cure. I put on many fundraisers to raise money for the cure that is needed, but I know there is much more that can be done and that is why I want to continue to learn about this topic.

Alcohol Addiction

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When I first heard about this project idea and to select a topic that hits close to home for me, alcoholism immediately popped into my head.

The reason I chose alcohol addiction is due to the fact that I almost lost my mom to the disease (multiple times) as she has had cirrhosis of the liver has even been given a timeline on when she would die. She miraculously lived past the time given to her by the doctors, and is alive with me today and a completely different person! However, I had a very difficult time growing up with her addiction, as I would come home from school to find her passed out or angry at me due to her drinking. I have had to call the police on her before, and eventually moved in with my dad (they are divorced). I rarely got to see her after a certain point in time due to the fact that she was becoming very hard to live with. My grandfather also had an alcohol problem, as well as some other members in the family. This leads me to believe that alcoholism may very well be genetic as I have read that there is a high correlation of the addiction between parents and children who are addicted.

I plan to research and investigate alcohol and its affects on people. I also want to investigate the age old question as to whether it is genetic disease or in fact more of a nurture than nature. I would love to work with people suffering from this addiction, as well as people around the person who has the problem. I really want to do this so I can better understand why my mom was the way she was and to help me cope with my past during childhood.

Obesity in Children

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My weight wasn't a big issue when I was a little girl. I was probably the same size as any other kid at the time. However, at around the age of seven I started to put on some weight. The issue was of little importance to me; I was teased a little but it never bothered me too much. As I reached high school the weight continued to pile on and I found myself unhappy, yet unwilling to do anything about the problem. My doctor would continually warn me about the dangers of being obese, but I always shook it off. It wasn't until January of 2012 when I decided to take my health seriously. Instead of waiting for something bad to happen to me, I decided to get healthy to avoid any serious health issues. I began watching what I ate and worked out constantly until finally, four months later, I was thirty-eight pounds lighter.

Though this issue is something I struggled with myself, it is even more important to me because I have a younger sister who is headed down the same path I was once on. I care about her more than anything else in the world and I just want to help her be healthy.


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Hey all, as I mentioned in class, I am planning on focusing on the prevalent issue of suicide. The scope of my research will include not only local news, but relevant national and global news as well. As my research progresses I hope to look deeper at the methods that are being employed as proactive suicide prevention.

This topic is important to me because the son of a family friend committed suicide while I was in high school. I became part of the schools Suicide Prevention Education team and presented to middle schoolers and health classes the warning signs of suicide and importance of suicide prevention. I look to continue my proactive approach towards this topic through this class project.

Ryan Roznowski

War in Afghanistan

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In October of 2011, I was honorably discharged after 4 years of service in the United States Marine Corps. In my time in the Corps, I spent 2 1/2 years stationed in Japan, but was also deployed to Afghanistan for 6 months. In Afghanistan, it was my job as a broadcaster to travel around the country and tell the stories of the men and women on the front lines doing the dirty work for our country, so we can continue to enjoy the freedoms that we have. It was such an eye opening experience, not only because I was in a foreign country that was being rocked by war, but also because I got to meet such a wide variety of people with so many unique stories. I've also had many friends deployed, and currently know a few people there.

The war affects many people in a lot of different ways, and by choosing this issue, I hope to stay much more involved in the current affairs in the country. I also hope to see how this war is affecting people in Minnesota, the country, and also in Afghanistan.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

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The topic I would like to follow throughout the semester is Multiple Sclerosis or MS. This is important to me because my father has lived with MS for fifteen years, and it has affected his and my life in many different ways. In the future, I am also interested in volunteering to help raise money and awareness in hopes to find more effective treatment and ultimately a cure, so this matter is very close to my heart.


LGBT Community

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My topic that I would like to explore more this semester is the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community and subtopics like gay marriage and gay rights. Gay Marriage is a controversial topic not only in Minnesota, but globally. Currently in Minnesota, we will soon have to vote on the ballet "yes" or "no" to on the anti-marriage amendment. If the amendment passes it will define marriage as one man and one woman, which to me seems unfair. I feel strongly towards letting people be able to love AND marry whoever they want, no matter what gender you are. Although I am not part of the LGBT community, I have a handful of close friends who are. The reason I decided to choose this topic because one of my closest friends, Jim*, suffers everyday because he is not accepted by his family among other people. He was physically, mentally, and verbally abused by his brother and his parents stood by accepting the choices of his brother. Seeing the pain he had to go through broke my heart and I promised him from then on out that I would do everything I can to help him, and others of the LGBT community. We live in the land of the free, but completely denying the fact that marriage can be more than a man and a woman doesn't sound very free to me.

*Changed name for confidentiality


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To my knowledge, Alcoholism is the dependency, addiction and certain problems associated with the substance, alcohol. It is very meaningful for me to explore this topic because it happens to be a very personal matter to me. Alcoholism is something that I have seen someone very close to me battle, at an upclose and personal level. They were admitted to treatment last winter and are along the path of a very long, hard recovery. Learning about this could help me gain perhaps another perspective, better knowledge of the scientific facts, and possible support through this rough bump in the road.
-Amber Schwab

My Topic

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Hey guys, I'm Aleah and I'm going to be looking into the gay rights issue. I already follow this issue pretty closely because it's very important to me. I myself am part of the LGBT community and the issue affects me personally in many ways.

My Topic

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Here I explain what I believe this topic to be and talk about why it is meaningful for me to spend the semester exploring it. (No length requirement, but your blog post needs to convince us that this is, in fact, a meaningful topic for you that you are personally connected to.)

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This page is an archive of entries from September 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

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