Up to 1.7M Youths May Benefit From New Deportation Rules

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Illegal immigration has been a problem in this country for years now and public opinion varies on this topic as widely as the weather....

Well, President Barack Hussein Obama has come up with a solution for part of the estimated 4.4 million illegal immigrants who reside in this country according to Pew Research. He proposed a plan that would allow around 1.7 illegal immigrants who apply for the benefits aged 30 and under for a temporary work visa that is renewable. This would also gain them immunity from deportation. Pew research used census data to estimate these numbers as well as some other factors as the US Government's estimations for the number of illegals living here is not as high.

Do you think this will help or hurt the economy?


Senior year of high school I was privileged enough to be able to travel abroad to Spain for a class. It was one of my favorite memories before high school and still holds a place very close to my heart because of all of the fun I had and people I met. One thing that I did not particularly like about Europe as we went through numerous other countries besides Spain was just how Anti-American some Europeans can be! I encountered between 4 and 5 people in the two weeks in Europe who walked up to me and started shouting about how much they did not like America and our past President.

Now this was not the norm, there were many nice people in Spain and the family I stayed with was extremely kind as well. However, there definitely was a tension wherever we went because of our nationality. One of the students I traveled with was pulled out of his chair and kicked (suffered a bruised ego) and another was refused service at a restaurant all because of the fact that Europeans could tell we were American and had strong feelings one way or another!

Pew Global conducted a study of the satisfaction with the United states and our favorabillity among 8 surveyed European nations raised almost 30% from the time Bush left office until Obama's current term. That is a huge increase and I believe most of that has to do with Obama's stance on world policy that convinced the Europeans we were headed in the right direction.

We still differ on a few opinions however including drone strikes and war, religion, and individualism. Many more Europeans do not believe in our view that we can pretty much strike whoever as long as we feel that it is justified. They also are less likely to hold strong religious beliefs that they stand by as was identified in the study. Europeans according to the study are much more likely than Americans to accept homosexuality and the statement that the governments role should be more of a helping figure making sure no one is in need rather than being free to do what you want.

What does this mean overall? I think that the fact that we are getting closer to our European brothers and sisters is great and will only lead to better things. Hopefully that means next time I visit Europe, the people who live there will be a little more accepting of the United States as a people.


Social Media and Voting

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Voting was an extremely big deal for me this year as I missed the past election because of school and just not being prepared and having an absentee ballot in the first place. I am usually not one to want to talk politics or religion with friends, but this year I found myself liking the candidate of my choice on Facebook and tweeting some links to their website from Twitter. Along with that came the onslaught of family members and friends trying to change my mind and getting frazzled that their own nephew, friend, uncle would betray their beliefs! I thought I was the only one to experience this type of response but as I followed social media for the next few days I realized I was not alone. Social Media played a huge role in this past election!

Pew Research actually performed a study on just this very topic and really helped me to come to the conclusion that Social Media CAN sway an election! Pew Research surveyed 861 people ages 18 on up and found that 30% of these people were encouraged to vote either for the Republican Mitt Romney or the Democrat Barack Obama through friends and family on social media. Beyond that, 20% of those surveyed actually admitted they themselves had urged others to vote one way or another. I thought that the sample data was slightly skewed to the right in regards to age groups because there were only 104 participants age 18-29 compared with 255 participants in the 65+ category. This may all be part of their logic and may have been taken into account so I just thought I would mention my findings.

I suspect that the 20% is a bit low because of the fact that people are less likely to admit to doing any pressuring or wrong themselves but rather see others as the culprits. Much like "Mean World Syndrome" is to violence. I do believe that their data is relevant though and will most likely be looked at closely during the next election along with millions spent on advertising through social media. Whoever will be in the running better start planning out their social media tactics now as it is changing every year.

I've got at least another 3 years before Pandora, Twitter, Facebook, and whatever the new trend we discover may be are covered in political advertisements and when friends and family become enemies. For that 3 years I can truly saw THANK GOD!


Scientists have discovered a gene called FKBP5 that responds to traumatic experiences in a persons childhood and makes it much harder for their body to regulate stress. Around a third of the 2,000 African Americans in the study had devoloped Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after being repeatedly abused throughout their childhood. Those who carried the FKBP5 gene were much more likely to develop PTSD than those who did not. This study will not only help with the treatment of individuals of this gene but with awareness of the condition as well as putting an emphasis on keep children away from those types of experiences.


No Reversal in Decline of Marriage

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Many less marriages are taking place these days and according to Pew Research, this trend doesn't look like its going to slow down anytime soon! This data is between 2008 and 2011 and between those years an estimated .30 million less couples have gotten married. People living together before marriage, single-person households, and other adult living arrangements are reasons that the decline could be going steady. Lastly, Pew took into account the idea that their could be more people who are not of age to marry and then recalculated their data only to come up with mostly the same result.

What do you think of the trend of less couples getting married? Can you think of any other trends that may have influenced this decrease?


How Teens Do Research in the Digital World

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The internet and Google basically are the 2 biggest research tools that I use on a day to day basis for all of my school projects. The last time I was in the library on the University of Minnesota Campus was freshman year, and even then I was only their to study and to find a hard copy of a book to use for a source.(Truth be told I skimmed pages and didn't even read full sections of the book. Just enough to quote and use in my bibliography) Why would anyone want to go to a library when almost anything you need, even print materials FROM the library can be accessed via lib.umn.edu?

Pew Research conducted a survey and focus groups of teachers across the nation who taught in secondary schools and what they found was interesting but not to surprising to me because of my dependence on the digital world to succeed. According to the study, the teachers largely agreed that the internet had a "mostly postive" impact on students's research work(77%). The teachers also agreed that using digital media as much as our generation does in this day an age is "creating an easily distracted generation with short attention spans." I in part do believe that this is true. Think about the last time you traveled anywhere whether by bus, plane, or train and try to remember just how many children and teens were playing video games or watching a movie on a laptop. I remember the last time I flew, as soon as the no electronics light had gone off, 6 or seven people who appeared to be under the age of 21 all took of some sort of electronic device to entertain themselves. The example is also very apparent in college classrooms as almost every student has either their cellular phone out, a laptop, or ipad in had and I don't see every person using those for strictly school purposes.

On another note, pretty much all of the teachers were agreed that the internet in general and its capabilities allow students to access much more information than what would be possible without "digital literacy." I found it interesting that this study used in person and online focus groups to come up with its findings. The moderators took a non-probability sample and the findings of the sample cannot really be attributed to the characteristics of teachers as a whole because of the fact that most teachers were already on a mailing list or were a member of a board that decided to participate in the study.

This just goes to show the pros and cons of using internet for student research. Want to know where Grover Cleveland was born? No, I am not leaving my house to go to the library. I'll simply Google it on my phone.


This study explores the effect of head trauma in connection with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) which is not able to be treated and can lead to a plethora of different conditions and symptoms. In the study there were 85 brains ranging from football players to boxers all from people who had died and who had previously exhibited symptoms of the condition before death. The scientists originally thought that contact sports were not the main culprit of CTE but instead found that 80% of the 85 studied had some severity of the disease ranging from stages 1 to 4, 4 being the most severe. This study was performed so that doctors, players, and coaches alike could possibly understand which traumatic hits or injuries can lead to CTE.

The downside to attempting to study CTE is that most families will not let an autopsy be performed on their child, parent, etc. if they did not show symptoms of CTE. This makes it a lot harder to determine if other contact sports athletes' brains had changed at all from their sport even though symptoms were not outwardly visible. If the scientists were able to gather a bigger test group, they would have a much better chance of identifying just how the condition comes about and which hits or events are likely to cause CTE. The main point that the doctors wanted to get across is that it is usually not 1 or 2 big hits that are thought to cause CTE but repeated trauma of any sort and the type of medical treatment you seek afterwords.

Regardless, I don't see myself boxing or playing tackle football anytime soon!


Birth rates took a big drop in the United States in 2011. Among white women, birth rates dropped 6% and among Hispanic women, birth rates plummeted about 23%. This information which came from Pew Research after analyzing census data in the United states is a bit shocking and no clear reason why this is happening. Economic distress is thought to be a reason for the decline in child births as this has caused a drop in the past. I can definitely see that being a very valid reason! If my wife and I were going through rough economic times I would do my best to wait out having a child until we were financially stable.

What do you think could be a cause of the decline? Would you let economic distress influence your decision to have a child?


Hurricane Sandy and Twitter

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Twitter has blown up and become extremely popular and a mainstream form of social media in the last year. It not only serves as a place to rant about your everyday qualms, but also can provide news in the even of a natural or man made disaster. We saw examples of this with the fighting in Libya as well as other war torn governments where the people who hold power attempt to fight the outflow or influx of information from their people.

Hurricane Sandy was followed extremely close by users of the social media giant, Twitter. According to Pew Research more than 20 Million tweets about the storm were put out in a period of around 5 days! News media outlets are also on twitter and not only use it to receive breaking news, but 34% of information regarding the storm was broadcast via Twitter to News Outlets.

This just goes to show that even when times get tough, we as humans always seem to find a way to get around anything that is thrown at us. I wouldn't doubt that some tweets warning of the storm could have saved lives and property! Do you think outreach and news would have been able to full cover the story without Twitter?


Facebook has recently been more of an annoyance than anything to me because of all of the paid advertisements. I also think it is turned into more of a Myspace site than anything at the moment.... Enough of my ranting! Were here for research right?

Ad Age recently published a study performed by "Group M" showed that in a recent 5 week period, the percentage of users who saw an "organic" or original/new post by a brand that they "like" on Facebook decreased by 38% from 15.56% to 9.62%. That is a large drop, however an interesting finding was that engagement by users of Facebook on those posts that did come through went up from .76% to 1.49%. Facebook said that it cut down the amount of posts that users saw to minimize spam on the web site, but that it should not affect them too much. I think that at first, brands obviously weren't to happy with their decreasing visibility analytics, but after they saw engagement went up they were able to see that the change actually gave them more viewers who were more likely to interact with them than those who have no interest.

This is good news for business owners who want to supplement their page with paid advertisements on Facebook. More people who are truly interested are more likely to see your ads than ever. You may not have the numbers of views you're used to, but what would you rather have, Twenty thousand views and no purchases on a click through or 200 new customers? I know which is my choice....


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