Thursday, December 20, 2012

Advanced Math Classes

Why do students take advanced math classes?  They are very difficult and push the mental capacity of students.  We are forced to think critically and pay attention every day.  Their grades average a B to B-.  They struggle all trimester for the hope of an A.  Meanwhile, those same students could be in the regular math class (same level) and ride an easy A.  Hell, they might even get an A+.  There is no incentive but bettering your math skills.  Our G.P.A.’s suffer and we have to really concentrate.
I believe those students who take on the stress of taking advanced math classes should be rewarded with a waited grade scale.  I’m not asking for a 5.0 grading scale, but a 4.5 would be nice.  This makes taking advanced math worth it because we would get the same grade point if we were in advanced or regular.  When smart kids are given the option to further their skills without a damper on their G.P.A., most take the opportunity.  Think how many people would take A.P. classes if they weren’t weighted.  Just a thought for today.



      Americans eat about 3,400 mg of sodium a day—more than the suggested 2,300 milligrams and double the 1,500 milligrams for people who are over 50, African American, or who have hypertension, diabetes, or kidney disease.  Here are some of the top fast food items you should avoid so you don’t have to take blood pressure medication when you reach 50. Hope this helps!
       This 2-patty monstrosity is a beef-lover’s dietary downfall. With three slices of American cheese and four bacon strips, it has 1,300 calories, 93 grams of fat and 2,860 mg of sodium. With a large fry, you can add 600 calories and 350 mg of sodium.  Totaling 1900 calories and 3210 mg of sodium!
       Here is an odd one. Panera Bread’s Full Bacon Turkey Bravo.  This 800-calorie combination of smoked turkey, Applewood-smoked bacon, and smoked Gouda with lettuce and tomato on a tomato basil loaf tips the sodium scale at 2,800 mg. Cured bacon and processed meats are typically high in sodium. Ouch
       Taco Bell’s Volcano Nachos. These molten nachos with spicy ground beef, pinto beans, and jalapeƱos break the nutrition bank with 970 calories and 58 grams of fat—more calories and fat than any other single item on the menu—plus 1,670 mg of sodium.
       Yes, a salad made the list.  Wendy’s Baja Salad. This Southwest-inspired salad delivers salt in the chili, pico de gallo, guacamole, cheese, tortilla strips, and Creamy Red JalapeƱo Dressing topping. It has 1,975 mg of sodium and 720 calories. The 100-calorie dressing packet alone accounts for 270 mg of salt. No dressing for me I guess.
       KFC provides nutritional information for individual items. I figure this meal—a drumstick, a Crispy Strip, an individual box of Popcorn Chicken, two Home-style sides (I chose mashed potatoes with gravy and cole slaw), a biscuit and a 32-oz. drink (Pepsi)—blasts the daily sodium maximum, with more than 3,000 mg of salt and more than 1,400 calories.  Pretty much avoid KFC altogether.  It has a lot of sodium and calories.
       There are big dangers in consistently eating fast food.  There is just too much sodium and calories to have a healthy lifestyle.  If you do choose fast food, look at their nutrition facts and choose a low sodium option. Have an awesome day Bloggers!.


A week in the life of a Happiness member.

       This week was a pretty stressful week as Happiness had 4 practices combining for 20.5 hrs.  You work tirelessly to clean the show and give constant effort throughout practice.  I would like to run through my particular week to show teachers and other students how much work Happiness really does.
        Day1, 2, and 3:  I wake up at 5 a.m. to go to swimming practice.  I precede to my zero hour A.P. Chemistry class and try an soak in all the information.  We are notified about our six page lab reports being due Wednesday.  Class ends and I go to United States History.  This class talks for 30 minutes about stories and personal experiences then spends the last 20 minutes on actual history.  Such a waste. I proceed through the monotony of my day and get out of school at 2:45.  I proceed to the auditorium and change into shorts.  Those will no closed toed shoes, a happiness shirt, and shorts on will be yelled at by Damon.  Damon is our wonderful choreographer.  He is brilliant when it comes to designing moves and putting a show together.  His down side?  Mean and off topic.  He expects total silence because talking wastes time.  We start practice at 3 p.m.  From 3-6, we worked on the second song.  He told his own little stories for 30 minutes out of the 3 hours.  It is a huge time waster that slows practice to a screeching halt.  The changes we make are so small.  Move your hand like this; don’t bob your head; don’t flex here; make sure your head is always out.  It is necessary but extremely boring.  Worst yet, you are sweating so much because you have to give 100 percent effort the whole time.  Every move.  If you don’t, he stops and calls you out on it.  When 6p.m. rolls around, he breaks for 30 minutes to eat.  The food is caloric and heavy.  When we return at 6:30, nobody wants to dance.  We are exhausted and full.  Muscles ache as we put good effort into the songs.  By the time 9 p.m. comes along, most of us our drenched in sweat and just want to sleep.  He gives us a lecture and lets us go home.  Most of us have two hours of homework to do.  About 60 percent of Happiness doesn’t do it and just take the zero.  I decided to do my homework.  I finish around 11 p.m.   I am in bed by 11:30.  The next morning I am up at 5 a.m. to do the whole thing all over again.
       Day 4:  The same process except the end.  He brings us together after three days and tells us we are cocky and we suck.  He sees greatness in us but we aren’t reaching for it.  He says our effort is bad and we are banking off of last year.  I am in a little shock.  We worked so hard and we leave with a bitter taste in our mouth.  We all want him gone.  Half of us are sick because we are sleep deprived and overworked.  This is only the beginning I am told.  The week after Christmas is much worse.  Lovely.
Day 5: I didn’t get any of my homework done and I take two tests I am not ready for.  I have had no study time because of Happiness.  I proceed to sleep in half my classes as I too, am getting sick.  The weekend is full of activities, makeup work, and swimming.  I try and recoup as I head in another week full of swimming and Happiness.
       We aren’t some little dance group.  We spend hundreds of hours working in sweat, trying to perfect the art of performing.  Singing, dancing and acting.   We have to connect to our show so the audience can connect to it.  We overcome the negatives and push forward.  Happiness is more than a show choir, it’s a varsity sport.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Crayons vs. Markers vs. Colored Pencils

       Hi Bloggers! I would like to finish this week’s blogging with a compare and contrast: Crayons vs. Markers vs. Colored Pencils. *final countdown music plays*
       Crayons: Crayons come in a huge variety of colors, from aqua to brick red. The tip flattens out with use. A crayon can look very waxy on paper.  It is very hard to stay inside the lines with a crayon. One of the best things about a crayon is that if you tear all the paper off the crayon and color it on its side with something under the paper, (like a leaf or coin) you can see an imprint of that object.
       Markers: Markers have rich, deep, colors and can also come in a big variety. They are my favorite of the three.  Generic markers can dry up very quickly. When coloring with a marker, you have to put something under your drawing or risk having the ink bleed through. Markers are good at bringing life to a picture. One of the best things about markers is that if their washable, after you have colored your drawing a bit, using a paintbrush and water you can go over the marker and make it look like watercolor paint.  This is unique to markers.
       Colored Pencils: Colored pencils are good at producing light colors, but do not have a lot of dark, rich colors. You need to keep them sharp or they will flatten out like crayons.  If you have another piece of paper under your drawing the line of the underneath paper will show up if you’re coloring something. One of the best things about colored pencils is that much like a crayon, if you put an object like a coin under your paper and color, an imprint will show up of the object.
       Which is your favorite and why? Leave a comment


       Hi Bloggers.  I had an amazing swim meet last Saturday.  I swam personal bests in all three events.  1:11:87 in my 100 yard breast stroke,  24.7 for my 50 yard freestyle, and 57.3 in my 100 freestyle.  I was very proud of myself.  I began to look at my routine for that morning because I hadn’t swum that well this year.  I learned that it is really important to keep your body hydrated and alert.
       I started the day buying two Gatorades and gummy candy.  I wanted to try something new.  I thought the candy would give me energy before the race.  The Gatorades fueled me up and hydrated me.  It is a great drink to have right before you perform.
       Most people don’t know (including me until now) that you are not supposed to drink it if you are not going to work out.  It gives your body an overload of sugar and electrolytes.  Your body doesn’t use the electrolytes and the sugar turns to fat.
       The gummy candy didn’t help that much.  It provided me with a little sugar, but the Gatorade had already done that job.  I considered it a wash.
       The second aspect to the great performance was the mental aspect.  I came into each and every race saying “I will win.”  While I didn’t win every race, I kicked the crap out of my old times and swam amazingly.
       If you are trying to find ways to improve on a sport or academics, make sure to try new things and something is bound to prevail.


        Hi Bloggers! I thought I would start of the blogging week with a look on how manipulated elections are as well as the politicians.  Everything has bias in politics.  When bias is spoken, it is called spin.  Politics also uses card stacking to get their point of view across.  These tactics are used by politicians, political parties, and special interest groups to convey their message in attractive way.  Their goal is to get you to agree with them.  
        Spin is defined as a propaganda technique to sway or influence your opinion by manipulating the facts.  They often bring up a bunch of excuses or say something should get done but don’t do it.  Sometimes, they will try and redefine a simple word like “where is he” or “it is” or “relations” so they can manipulate what they or a candidate said. Here are some examples.

You! You can't lie. So tell me
puppet... Where is Shrek?!
Pinocchio thinks.
Well, I don't know where he's not.
Prince Charming gets in Pinocchio's face.
You're telling me you don't know
where Shrek is?
Pinocchio is still a little nervous.
It wouldn't be inaccurate to assume
that I couldn't exactly not say
that is or isn't almost partially
Pinocchio thinks he has the upper hand.
So you do know where he is!
On the contrary, I'm possibly more
or less, not definitely rejecting
the idea, that in no way, with any
amount of uncertainty that...
Stop it.
...I undeniably do or do not know
where he shouldn't probably be.

        You see that Pinocchio isn’t lying to Prince Charming.  He is manipulating the clause “where is Shrek.”  It is something that politicians use all the time to get out of trouble.  Probably the most famous of all is Bill Clinton.  He “mislead” the people of the United States by saying he didn’t have relations with that woman and he didn’t have sex with her.  What are relations? What is sex?  When he was caught with evidence, he squirmed his way out by taking a broad approach and telling the people to focus on the real issues.  By downplaying it and not directly apologizing for lying, he effectively used spin to avert a bigger crisis.  Sarah Palin did the same thing when she was caught saying Africa was a country.  She down played it and said she was taken out of context.  Instead of apologizing to the media about her mess up, she denied it and gave a “non apologizing, apology.”  Barack Obama is guilty! Yes, our current President said the famous “You didn’t build that!” sentence that shook the campaign.  Romney used that for a month, saying that Obama said businesses didn’t build themselves.  The government had built it for them.  It was taken out of context, but it swung a lot of votes because Mitt Romney effectively used spin to influence the voter.
         Card Stacking is the more familiar and more common way that politicians and interest groups get their messages across to people.  Card Stacking is defined as putting up all the positives of your idea or philosophy and mentioning all the negatives of the opposing idea or philosophy.  Basically, in a simplistic form, the Democrats will praise their ideologies and criticize the Republican Party.
Interest groups are the best at card stacking.  Pro Life Association puts up all of these facts and statistics for being pro-life and mentions all the negatives of having abortions.  This interest group gives subjective speeches and drives to make you believe abortions are wrong.  That’s their goal.  Practically every interest group works the same way.  One sided information to try and get you, the voter, to side with them.
         All media is bias.  All elections are bias.  When you are watching the news or listening to political debates, try really hard to listen for the bias and sort in your mind what is and what isn’t true.  You should have information from both sides before you make a judgment and a decision on the news or who you should vote for.   Just a thought for the 2016 elections.  


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Homemade vs. Store Bought Gifts

       What gifts are better: homemade or store bought?  This is the age old question of man during the holidays.  I am going to compare and contrast the advantages and disadvantages of homemade and store bought gifts.

       Homemade gifts can be incredible.  They show personal and emotional connections that store bought gifts don’t.  They are thought of as taking more time and can be personalized.  These gifts are great for close family and the special someone because these gifts have a personal meaning.  If you give them to the wrong type of person however, they can come off as cheap and lazy.  Bosses, brothers, and sometimes, friends, can take a homemade gift as cheap an inconsiderate of what they want.  Fi they made it clear to you that they wanted a special store bought item, don’t go against their wish.

       Store bought gifts can be the best kind of gift.  The can show that you made an investment in their happiness.  These gifts, especially expensive gifts, show that you made the time and effort to buy them it.  Sons and daughters love these gifts as well as friends and distant relatives.  It is a  “I was thinking about you and I spent money on you” factor.  People like to be bought things, even if they don’t need them.  It was the thought of buying something for them that counts.  Everyone likes store bought gifts because they are usually better quality and cost more resources (money etc.).  Some Moms and Dads would rather have a homemade gift because they like the closeness of the gift. 

       Make sure you know what kind of gift to get people this holiday season to avoid their shit list.  It isn’t just the holiday of giving; it is the holiday of giving people what they want.



       Hi Bloggers! I have yet to do a Pod of Process Analysis, so I thought I would give it a try. I would like to show you how to make pralines, a southern treat.  They are a classic in the south and can be made in hundreds of different ways.  I will stick with the traditional method which consists of butter, white and brown sugar, milk, and pecans. 

        First mix a cup of white sugar and a cup of brown sugar together in a bowl.  Melt ¾ a cup of butter into a pot on low heat.  Add in ½ cup milk and stir until it is hot.  Take this time to grab a ½ cup (or more if you would like) of pecans and dice them.   Put them in a bowl and place it near the stove.  Return the stove and add the mixed sugar to the pot.  Make sure that none of the sugar hits the side of the pot.  If it does, the sugar will harden and taste bad.  Slowly mix the sugar in the pot until you have a homogenous liquid.  Increase the heat to high and add your pecans.  When the mixture starts bubbling, stop stirring, and boil for three minutes.   Take a wooden spoon and stir the mixture.  If you hear a crackle sound as you scrape the edges of the pot, you know the sugar has crystalized and it is ready to place. 

        Quickly turn off the heat and set up wax paper sheets.  Create the choice size you want and quickly place them down.  You don’t want the pralines to cool in the pot.  You must place them quickly.  Once placed, wait ten minutes to cool and enjoy.   I hope you fill your bellies with this incredible, rich dessert.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

BCS Bowl Selection

       Hi Bloggers!  I usually exclusively cover Iowa football, but the bowl system has pissed me off so much that I feel people need to know.  I have two major problems with the bowl system.  First, there is too much fighting over money to conferences and “saved” BCS spots.  Secondly, the non-automatic qualifying teams get too many undeserved BCS spots.  It really impacts the game.  Instead of bowl games people want to see, the BCS is creating games based on money.
Usually I don’t mind giving automatic bids to the winners of the big conferences.  One of them usually does very well and deserves to be a BCS bowl game.  However, sometimes a conference champion doesn’t deserve to be in a BCS bowl because their competition was weak and they had less than 9 wins.  This year, the perfect example is Wisconsin and Louisville.  Wisconsin for starters lost five games in a mediocre Big Ten.  They barely deserve the Outback Bowl.  I mean common.  You lose to a bad Michigan State team and then can’t post a single big win game until the championship.  There should be a rule that the conference can lose its guaranteed bid if the winner has less than 9 wins.
Louisville upsets me more than Wisconsin.  Wisconsin actually had to verse good teams every week.  Louisville didn’t play anyone hard and they still lose two games.  The Big East is the biggest joke of a conference and still gets an automatic bid.  They lost to a bad Syracuse team and Connecticut.  That conference doesn’t deserve a bid because everyone in the conference is mediocre.  They rank below the MAC, WAC, and all the other small conferences.  If Louisville goes to the BCS this year, you might as well throw in Iowa.  This conference has no good teams left and should be stripped of its automatic BCS status.  Leave the automatics for the SEC, Big Ten, Big Twelve, and PAC Twelve.  They (for the most part) deserve them.
There is an undeserved non-automatic qualifying team this year.  They finished outside the top 14 and still made it into the BCS.  I am talking about NIU, the same NIU that lost to the 4-8 Hawkeyes.  This is so stupid!  NIU does have an awesome QB, but they haven’t recorded any big wins and have a horrendous loss.  If you are not in an A.Q. conference, you need to be spotless.  NIU was not.  Close wins and a loss to Iowa is way to spotty to give them a BCS bid, especially when you consider the teams left out.  Those teams include Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, South Carolina, LSU, and Clemson.  These are all teams that deserve a BCS spots.  They all have big wins, the biggest of which was when the 10-2 Aggies beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa.  How do you give an 8-5 Wisconsin team, a 10-2 Louisville team, or a NIU team a BCS bid when the Aggies have a 10-2 record with a much harder schedule?  The answer is simple.  MONEY!  That is it!  We could see the good games we all want to see, but that would give too much money to the Big Twelve and SEC (for this year).  The conferences are all about the money and they will do anything they can to protect it.  This is why we have an 8-5 Wisconsin team playing the Rose Bowl.
I am so happy that we are moving away from this BCS system but I fear the four team playoff will not be better.  With ten deserving teams a year, conference champions will get first dibs and maybe the occasional non-AQ team.  The fifth team will always complain, and they have a right to.  Should Florida be denied a playoff spot because they didn’t win the SEC?  I don’t think this system will iron out until we have a ten team playoff.  That will never happen because it takes too much away from college education.  We are stuck in a subjective picks for the playoffs and bowl games base on money.  At least the NFL has it right.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Offense

       The offense. Oh god.  Someone give me the play calls.  We had a QB who threw for 25 TD’s his junior year.  We have multiple running backs and a decent offensive line.  Receivers struggled some, but they aren’t the reasons Iowa finished 102nd in passing.  Iowa also finished 105th in rushing yards per game.  The blame goes to one man named Greg Davis.  There hasn’t been an Iowa offense this bad in 12 years when Iowa went 2-10.  He had a senior QB and a lot of talent.  He chose to run 2-3 yard plays and call the most predictable calls.  I could tell 99 percent of the time whether it was going to be a pass or a run.  You can’t win games if a fan can call your plays.  Besides one pass, he didn’t throw over 25 yards.  If you run those short routes all season, the defense will not play deep.  They will inch up and intercept him.  James Vandenberg was a good quarterback with an awful coach.
Worst news of the season is that in a recent press conference, Ferentz said he was going to keep Davis and that he is more confident with him now than when he hired him.  Really, worst offensive production in your career and you like him?  It was infuriating to see Ferentz back up Davis.  Nobody is going to buy season tickets next year because Iowa will suck.  Until Ferentz and Davis leave, this program is doomed.  Maybe if we are lucky, we can get to the Alamo Bowl next year. Wooo.


The Defense

       The Hawks went 4-8 this season.  Wow. There hasn’t been a season like this sense Ferentz’s first year taking over.  We lost to Central Michigan, Indiana, Purdue, Michigan, Nebraska, Northwestern, Iowa State, and Penn St.  Not to mention, losing our last six games.  This season was pathetic.  My prediction before the Penn St. game was 7-5; Boy was I wrong.  Let’s rewind to see where we shot ourselves. This post will be about the defense.  Later today, I will post one on the offense.
The defense was the only highlight of the Hawkeye season, if there was a highlight.  They averaged 35 minutes per game of playing time.  If your defense is out there more than you offense, that is a big problem.  They finished 34th in the country.  They only allowed 22.4 points per game.  That isn’t great by Iowa and Big Ten standards, but still.  Corner back Micah Hyde and linebacker James Morris lead the defense.  Their big plays kept Iowa in a lot of the ball games.  The only bad performances were Penn St.  and Michigan.  I commend the defense for being put in crappy situations and making the plays.  Tip of the hat to the defense.


Friday, November 30, 2012


       Hi Bloggers.!!! I was flipping through the Psychology book, looking for something to write about, when I stumbled upon this one.  I think you guys will really find it interesting.
A lot of people say they can’t remember anything.  I want to take a closer look and see how and what our brain encodes.  Encoding is the process is which information in entered in and stored for any period of time.  There are multiple different ways in which your brain can take in information.  Some are work a lot better than others.
       The first type is called automatic encoding.  It is memories that you may not want, but the information stores in your brain automatically.  Most people think their brain doesn’t automatically encode.  Here is an example; Imagine you are driving and a car passes you and we continue talking.  A minute later, I ask you what the color of the car was.  You didn’t want to know the color of the car; nobody told you to memorize the color of the car; your brain just took in the information and temporarily stored it.   Time and space is automatically processed.  Imagine going about your day, you unintentionally lose your coat somewhere.  You are able to trace the places you have been through your memory of time and space.  Nobody told you to remember where you went and at what general time.  The final thing that uses automatic processing is well-learned information.  For example, when you see words in your native language, perhaps on the side of a delivery truck, you can’t help but register the meanings.  It takes more effort to not process this information then to process it.
        The second is effortful processing.  The meaning of effort defines the term.  In order to remember these pieces of information, you need to rehearse it.  This is more commonly referred to when the topic of memory comes up.  Memorizing famous dates, choreography, random numbers (pi), and math equations all use effortful processing.  There is a lot to take in, so your brain needs attention and conscious effort to try and encode it.  More often than not, your brain will encode a small portion and forget the rest.  This is the reason why people remember certain lyrics to a song.
       Most people want to improve their effortful processing.  The answer is old and boring.  Space it out.  Psychological studies have proven time and time again that your brain will remember more when you rehearse it consistently over time.  Cramming works, but you don’t remember much long term.  A cool technique to use is the serial position effect.  It states that you are more likely to remember things at the start and end of a list.  If I told you 14 random nouns, you are more likely to remember the first couple and the last couple.  Try and use it with your next quiz.  Put the most important topics first or last.
         Within these two ways of encoding, there are three things we can encode: acoustic, visual, and semantic.  
        Visual encoding refers to strictly using your eyes to encode.  This is the worst technique to use because your eyes receive so much information. Acoustic encoding uses strictly your ears to take in information.   This is an ok way to encode, but isn’t the best.  Often, teachers will use the combination of listening and visuals to teach their class. This combination helps students retain information.  Semantic encoding is the best way to encode.  Semantic encoding is learning something by applying or understanding the meaning of it.  People who study vocabulary will often assign personal meanings to the word to help them remember the definition.  If you want to encode more and lose less information at the end of the day, try mixing semantic, visual, and acoustic encoding.  This will give you the best shot at remembering the facts for your next quiz.
         One great way improve your memory is to chunk.  Chunking is the organization of items into familiar, manageable units.  A common way to chunk information together is to use a mnemonic.  Can’t remember the five great lakes?  Remember the word HOMES (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior).  This is a great way to remember information long term.  It is “catchy” to the brain, giving you the ability to memorize it.
        If you are having trouble studying for that big test, remember the hints.
Combine semantic, visual, and acoustic encoding techniques to improve the chances of remembering it
Chunk information together
Space your studying out so your brain has time to process it clearly.

Hope it helps!  Happy Studying!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Operant Conditioning (originally posted 12/17)

     Hi Bloggers! Recently, I reconstructed an experiment from my advanced placement Psychology class.  The experiment tested operant conditioning.  Operant Conditioning is defined as a conditioned response (behavior) because of a positive or negative response.  Everyone in the world has been conditioned this way.  You don’t swear at your teachers because you got in trouble when you did.   We are conditioned every day to modify our behavior.
The experiment that I conducted was very interesting.  I gave students a skittle every time they touched their hair.  I didn’t tell them that I was giving it to them for that.  They had to figure that out on their own.  Learning what got them a skittle took most people about 15 minutes.  After that, they repeated the pattern to receive more skittles.  The results of the experiment were incredible.  Once people realized how to receive a skittle, they continuously repeated the behavior until they didn’t receive one for doing it.
The next step to this experiment tested how fast they stopped the behavior when they didn’t receive a treat.  This part of the experiment was easy; stop giving them skittles.  Within one minute, 1/15th of the time it took to learn the behavior, the people stopped their behavior.  They no longer touched their hair because they didn’t receive a treat for the behavior.
The final step to this experiment was to test how fast rapid recovery would happen.  Rapid recovery is defined as how fast one reverts back to a conditioned behavior or response due to re-exposure.  When I started to give skittles again, the people immediately started the behavior again.  This showed that it didn’t take any time at all for the brains to recondition themselves.  Students reverted back to previous behaviors for treats.
We are conditioned every day.  Our behaviors are changed due to positive and negative consequences.  Take one day and look around to see how many times you have been conditioned.  How many times have you restrained from action or behavior because you had been conditioned to.  You will be very shocked, I guarantee it.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Predictions for Iowa

       What is my prediction for the rest of the season?  The passing game continues to struggle as they never find the chemistry.  James Vandenberg is overloaded and as a result, stares down receivers.  The running game comes back as the replacement linemen do an excellent job.  The defense has a couple stellar and a couple crappy games.
       So how many games will the Hawks win this season?  Let’s look at the games individually.  The Hawks get Mark Weisman back this weekend and put up 150 plus rushing yards and get a close win at Northwestern.  This puts the Hawks at 5-3.  We storm into Indiana and have the best offensive game all season.  The defense is below average and almost gives Indiana a chance to steel the game.  Iowa holds off, winning their fourth straight road game.  The Hawks are now bowl eligible!  Iowa controls their own destiny and boy to they blow it.  At home, in front of 70,000 Hawkeyes, they lose their 4th home game. The Hawks go to 6-4 and are no longer in control of their destiny.  They follow up with their only road loss to Michigan.  The Hawks are now 6-5.  People are chanting for the backup quarterback, Ruddock.  Vandenberg has not improved at all and throws a game ending interception to lose to Michigan.  Crushed, the Hawks are no longer in contention for the conference title.  They do pull up an upset to stop Nebraska from going to the championship game.  A sloppy performance by the Huskers and a dominant run game allows the Hawks to pull out a win at Kinnick.  This would only be the third home win.  The hawks go 7-5 and head to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl to challenge Iowa State for bragging rights.  Who wins that bowl game?  I can tell you that if Iowa doesn't win, I will be the laughing stock of Iowa.  


Iowa Laid an Egg

       The boos on Saturday night, in Kinnick, were well deserved.  The Hawkeyes played sloppy, nonaggressive, stupid football.  Never in my life, have I seen such poor offensive and defensive play at Kinnick.  The points on the board were a result of a kickoff return for a touchdown and the second string defense.  Big Ten play should never be a time where your opponent can rack up so many points that they can afford to put their second string in.  It was embarrassing.
Let’s take a look at what happened to the offense last Saturday.  It all started with the injury to our star running back, Mark Weisman.  He is the only proven running back for Iowa and he didn’t play much due to his injury.  Secondly, we had two offensive line injuries.  The backups didn’t have any playing experience this year and very little practice with the first string.  Replacing one lineman is tough, but two linemen, mid game, was a difficult task.  I don’t think that offense on Saturday night was a fluke either. The Hawk’s passing game has been awful this year.  We are 10th in the Big Ten in passing.  That is unacceptable.  A lot of people are putting the blame on James Vandenberg, senior quarterback.  What the hell guys?  Do you not remember the 3000 yards and 25 touchdowns he threw last year?  It is absolutely ridiculous to say that James Vandenberg is a problem with the passing game.  We should however, all that first year offensive coordinator Greg Davis.  His new offensive scheme has been unsuccessful the first half of Iowa season.  Use passing screens have led to more negative yardage than positive yardage.  If it doesn’t work, don’t run the play, yet he continues to write a screen play consistently.  Another problem with the offense is James Vandenberg has too many responsibilities.  He is responsible for calling audibles, changing offensive line protection, and anticipating receivers breaking off their routes.  This is too much for a quarterback.  If as a result, James Vandenberg stares down receivers making him easy to defend.  Opposing coordinators plan less and less for quarterback James Vandenberg.  With all the stuff on his plate, it will be very hard for James Vandenberg to put up numbers like he did last season.  The only helped to Iowa offense is the running game.  If Iowa rack racked up 150 plus rushing yards a game, the fastest will be focused on the run, leaving James Vandenberg plenty of holes in the passing game.
The defense last Saturday, was not that bad, besides the defensive line.  The key to Iowa’s defense is to put pressure on the quarterback and make him throw a bad pass into zone coverage.  If your defensive line doesn’t get pressure, they whole defense is done.  To be fair though, the defense was put into a poor situation.  You can’t expect a defense to perform well if they are put out on the field for 38 minutes.  This number is generous because we had the ball for most of the fourth quarter.  Defenses get tired and it is very hard for them to make stop after stop when their offense goes three and out.  The key to the defense is simple; keep them off the field and get pressure on the quarterback.
The Hawks struggles will likely continue throughout the season and cause the Hawks the Legend’s division championship.  It seems like more and more, I sound like a cubs fan with my “next year” speech.  It is very fustrating to see multiple players go to the NFL each year because it means that Iowa has talent but still loses.  It seems that Iowa can't seem to put drives together with good players.  I think that is a coaching problem.  I really hope the Hawks with this weekend because if they don't, they won't be a contender in the Big Ten.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Anger and Rants

                Anger breeds anger.  Have you ever noticed that someone who gets angry can go on a rant and become angrier?  They haven’t become angrier because someone did something else to upset them.  They became angrier because they started to remember past memories where they were angry.  People who are mad at you tend to bring up past experiences that only breed more anger.  This is defined as the mood congruency theory.

                Mood congruency theory states that when someone, such as a classmate, who gets angry at you, will be more likely to remember bad experiences with you rather than good ones.  In simple terms, if someone is mad at you, they will bring up only the bad memories of you.  This isn’t fair to the acceptors of this anger.

                How can you prevent mood congruency from happening to you?  If you become angry at someone, try to be consciously aware that you are getting angry.  If you are conscious of it, you are less likely to go with the norm and become angrier at the person because of past experiences.   Most anger management specialists recommend you do a stress reducing exercise like counting to ten.  These tactics allow your pre-frontal cortex to get back into the thought process.  Without calming down, the logical part of your brain will get less and less say about your words and actions.  Try to be conscious when you get angry at someone because if you don’t, your blood pressure will go up. Have a nice day :)    

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Hi Bloggers! This weekend, I will be taking the PSAT.  If you score in the top 1 percent, you become a National Merit Scholar.  A National Merit Scholar automatically gets free tuition to 43 schools.  There are a lot more schools that give you full rides after interviews and C.V. analysis.  That is a big deal.  With a four year college averaging $100,000, a full ride helps you get out of college debt free.

This test, however, doesn’t test what you know as a student.  It is not an intelligence test.  It is a test to see how well you can take the PSAT.  Supposedly, it predicts how you will do in college.  There are no colleges courses that have you spot the error in a sentence or ask you random vocabulary.   Why does the SAT test these things?  One reason is that the test is not partial to anyone.  Blacks can be just as likely to get an answer correct as a Mexican or European.  This prevents law suits.  The second reason is the difference in school curriculums.  The same classes are taught at different difficulty levels across the country.  This means grades and G.P.A. can vary dramatically.  A 4.0 in a small town in Alabama is not the same as a 4.0 at a Minnesotan school.  The quality is just very different.  Colleges can’t compare G.P.A. of students across the country. 
           How can we change this problem?  In this case, it is a broken system with no ending result.  The colleges should take sports, activities, and relative G.P.A of the students for scholarships.  PSAT will not change to be what you learn in class because every district in America teaches a different curriculum.  So take one of those PSAT booklets and figure out how to take this test because colleges are forced to put a lot of weight on this.    


Monday, October 15, 2012

The Legends Division Just Got Interesting

       Iowa is in the driver’s seat in the Legends division.  Iowa, a team most wrote off after their loss to Central Michigan, has come back strong and is now 2-0 in the division.  Central Michigan, by the way went on to lose their next three games to Northern Illinois, Toledo, and Air Force by double digits.  The season is really backwards from what most expected before the season started.  The strengths and weaknesses have flipped flopped.  The only continuity with this team is the strength on the offensive line.
A strength coming into the 2012 season was senior quarterback, James Vandenberg.  Through the first half of the season, it has been the Hawkeye’s biggest weakness.  His passing has been inaccurate after throwing 25 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions last year.  There is a simple answer to his drop in skilled play, new coaches.  James Vandenberg acquired a new offensive coordinator, Greg Davis.  Greg Davis changed the whole play book and allowed receivers to break off their routes.  James Vandenberg was basically told to erase the whole playbook and memorize a new one.  He was also told to anticipate the breakoffs of the receivers.  Finally, he was told he had to anticipate the blitz and change the blocking coverage.  This was too much for quarterback James Vandenberg.  He has sacrificed his ability to look at multiple receivers and tends to stare down one.  This makes the passing game a lot easier to defend and makes passing unsuccessful.
There were two major weaknesses prior to the season.  First, the defensive line was new and inexperienced.  Many thought this group would be one of the worst in the Big Ten.  The defensive line has proved the doubters.  They are one of the best run defenses in the Big Ten.  They recorded multiple sacks and provide a good pass rush.  This has allowed our secondary to capitalize with interceptions on bad passes.  The defensive line has saved so many games for the team and cause critical stops on third downs with sacks.  They are a real strong point to this Hawkeye team as they continue with Big Ten play.
The second weakness was the inexperience at running back.  After last season, three running backs left the program.  We were forced with two freshmen at running back.  They were decent though two games.  Both running backs were injured in the first half of the third game.  This forced walk on fullback Mark Weisman to carry the pigskin and carry it he did.  Through four games, he has recorded eight touchdowns and 631 yards on 100 carries.  Every time he touches the ball, he averages six yards.  That is amazing for any running back, not to mention a fullback.  He has been the best story in the Big Ten this year.  His power and athleticism allows him to pile drive over defenders as he runs for first downs.
Nobody knows what the Hawkeyes will be able to do for the rest of the season.  Will the passing game step up?  If it does, and Mark Weisman stays healthy, the sky is the limit for the Hawkeye season.  They are in control of what bowl they go to.  The question is whether the bowl is the Ticket-City Bowl or the Rose Bowl.    


Monday, October 8, 2012

Road Rage, There is a Reason

       Hi Bloggers!! Ever have someone pass you aggressively while you were driving on a road?  Did you get really upset and think the person was a jerk who didn't know how to drive?  That is the fundamental attribution error.  It is the theory that one overestimates the impact of the person’s personality and underestimates the situation.  Most people get very upset when they are cut off.  Instead of getting upset, look at it from a situational perspective.  Perhaps they are late to a meeting or forgot to pick up their kid from school.  The perception of the person becomes positive or neutral when you think of the situational perspective.  However, if you look at the personality of the person for the cause of him or her cutting you off, you look the person in a very negative light.
       How can you use the fundamental attribution error to your advantage?  If you learn to look at the situation instead of personality of the person, your stress will go down.  You won’t get angry at drivers or other situations where you don’t know the person you are indirectly interacting with.  Most people will not learn this in their life time and will often judge people they don’t know based on one indirect action they did.  Don’t be those people.



       What commercial works better for you?  One that is straight forward with facts and information about why the product is the best or cheapest or one gives clues to buy the product but doesn’t directly say it.  Most people are unaware that there are differences in commercial advertising.  They are focused for different uses and products.
      Commercials that are straight forward are using a central route to persuasion.  This route is used to advertise that the product being sold is better than other products.  A common example is a car commercial.  They state the miles per gallon, engine size, and low price to persuade you to buy the car.  People want central persuasion with expensive purchases because they care more about the features. 
      Commercials that are vague about the product and use a gimmick are using a peripheral route to persuasion.  This often includes a song, poem, or a catchphrase in the commercial to stick in your brain.  Take the Old Spice commercials.  They say random things then hold and make ridiculous claims that you know are false while holding the product.  The goal is for your brain to remember it when you are in the grocery store buying goods.  These commercials work very well for small priced items because people are more entertained by the commercial then they are about which product is better.  They will often form bias to one product due to a specific commercial because they thought it was funny.
      Next time the commercials come on, try and spot whether the commercial is using a central or peripheral route to persuasion. 


Drink and Bench...

Micah Hyde was arrested last Saturday for public intoxication.  He is the senior cornerback for the Iowa Hawkeyes.  The choice of his actions really makes you question what influences someone’s decision.  Was it a group influence?  Not much is totally know of his personal situation as the Hawkeyes like to keep details within the program.  Here is a look at a few reasons why a person might put their long term goals at risk for a short term “reward.”
The first concept is called deindividuation.  This is the loss of self-awareness and self-restraint occurring in group situations that foster arousal and anonymity.  Micah Hyde was probably with friends when they started drinking.  He knew he should stop after one or two but the group influenced his decision to keep drinking.  Another example would be if a soccer team lost because a ref blew a call and the fans rioted.  The fans wouldn’t have rioted by themselves but because they were in a group they felt less responsibility and restraint.  This allowed their conscience to go out the window as they flipped cars.  How can you avoid deindividuation?  Don’t be affected by peer pressure.  If your morals are strong enough to resist doing the wrong thing, you should be able to say no and find an alternative solution.
The next concept that could have affected Micah Hyde’s decision to get drunk is normative social influence.  This is the influence resulting from a person’s desire to gain approval or avoid disapproval.  Micah might have kept drinking to avoid disapproval from his friends.  He continued drinking until he was put in jail for public intoxication.  Another example of this term is when you are hazed to become part of a club or group.  You do something that you don’t want to do but you do it to gain acceptance for a group or club.  How can you avoid normative social influence?  It is very hard to avoid this influence.  As humans, we strive for acceptance within a group.  We often do undesirable tasks to gain acceptance.  Stand by your morals and don’t be afraid to say no to a group.  If they want you to do something that you are not comfortable with, you probably should not be associating with them.  
Another concept that could have altered Micah Hyde’s decision making is confirmation bias.  This theory states they you look for information to support your bias.  Micah was probably told that there would be no cops around.  They might have also said that he was a football player and that they don’t put the starters in jail.  Longing to believe it, Micah Hyde accepts their argument and continues to drink.  Another example to help define the term is happening right now with the political race.  People of a certain party will often watch new shows that support their beliefs and arguments to allow people to confirm these pre-existing beliefs.  How do you avoid confirmation bias?  Try and collect as much accurate information as possible before making a logical decision.  If you are hearing all of your information from one viewpoint, it is likely that your information will be bias.
Finally, Micah Hyde was probably affected most by the alcohol in his blood steam.  Alcohol is a depressant in both small and large amounts.  Micah became buzzed from his first two drinks and wanted to continue his feeling.  He felt that continuing his drinking would achieve this.  Micah’s frontal cortex was also malfunctioning due to the alcohol in his bloodstream.  Alcohol is a very powerful drug.  It can affect your decision making skills and make you a very different person.  How can you prevent this?  Always have a sober friend around.  He or she will prevent you from doing anything stupid that you shouldn’t be doing.
One or more of these reasons is why Micah Hyde was placed in jail for public intoxication on Saturday.  He made a poor choice with his friends and paid the price.  Perhaps Ferentz should start a sober buddy system so players refrain from stupid activities.  Until then, Iowa players will continue to shoot themselves in the foot as they get suspended for big football games.  Until next suspension bloggers.  


Friday, October 5, 2012

Hawks #1?

        Iowa (1-0) could be on top of the Legends division in the Big Ten this weekend with their bye week.  There are only 4 teams contending for first place right now in the Legends Division.
Nebraska is 1-0 heading in to their game at Ohio State.  They are not favored to win that game.  The Buckeyes have looked very strong through the first part of the season.  Nebraska has shown sparks of greatness but really struggled with consistency against decent opponents.  Let’s say Ohio State wins this one at home.
The next team is Northwestern (1-0).  They are taking on a very hot Penn State team.  After starting 0-2, Penn State has come back in convincing fashion to win their last three games.  Northwestern is only favored by 2.5 points in this game.  This will be a close one that goes down to the final drive.  For now, let’s say Penn State pulls a small upset.
The last team is Michigan, who hasn’t played a Big Ten game yet.  They have to vs. Purdue in their Big Ten opener.  Michigan is favored but I don’t know why.  They have looked really bad against two good opponents.  They have shown that they aren’t a championship caliber team.  Purdue on the other hand is 4-0 and scoring 40+ points per game.  They have a lot of defensive stars and can play very well.  I put my money on Purdue for the upset this week.
If all three of these games go this way, Iowa will be the sole leader of what will be the most contended division in all College Football, the Legends Division.  Savor it while it lasts Hawks.  Michigan State in one week will tell us where the Hawks really stand for this year.


Romney Kills Debate 1

       Let's face it.  There was clear winner in the first presidential debate.  It wasn't even close. There were a lot of factors that lead to the President losing.  
       Romney looked happier to be there which is fair because Obama was probably didn't want a presidential debate on his anniversary. In all seriousness though, Romney had a better attitude than the President.  Many times during the election, you saw Obama frowning and shaking his head when Romney talked instead of forming a counter to what Romney said.
       Obama was just rusty in his debating skills.  He hasn't had to really debate with another candidate since the election in 2008.  He didn't take advantage of possible counters to win the topic.  For example, Romney said that Obama was going to raise the tax on 47 percent of the small business jobs.  He could have responded that these are the top 3 percent of small business owners, and they are similar to large business.  The tax increase wouldn't affect them like it would a small business who is currently receiving tax breaks.  Romney also brought out that Obama was cutting 600 billion from Medicare.  This is just a made up number.      Nobody knows exactly how much will be cut.  He could have responded like that but he just shook his head.  Meanwhile, Romney has been brushing up on his debating skills this whole year as he fought to win the Republican nomination.  Romney took advantage many times to get the final word in as well as counter everything negative the President said about him.  
       Romney isn't ahead in the polls yet because he really hurt himself with the 47 percent video.  If Romney wins the next two debates though, he has a very good shot at becoming president.  Can the President come back and debate like he did in 2008.  Time will tell.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Entering the Black

        We saw the Hawkeyes win in convincing fashion on Saturday.  The first half was the best half of football they have played all year.  They had 19 rushing attempts for 163 yards and 19 passing attempts for 165 yards.  It doesn’t get more balanced than that half of football.  Minnesota didn’t know what to expect.  There was even a trick play called a flea flicker that went for 47 yards and a touchdown.  This leads the question: How can the Hawks lose to Central Michigan and then beat a former undefeated team in Minnesota?
In the game against Central Michigan, Iowa looked average offensively.  They made some big plays but struggled to convert on third down.  Meanwhile, the defense looked lost as they tried to defend a sub-par Central Michigan offense.  It was embarrassing how many yards they racked up on the defense.  The most important stat in that game was the 9 points scored in the final two minutes.  Iowa runs a bend and don’t break defense.  The defense broke.  There was no pass rush, allowing the quarterback to find the open receivers in the prevent-style zone defense.  The result was a 9 point comeback to had Iowa a loss.
The game against Minnesota looked like a whole new defense.  They were very good against stuffing the run which forced Minnesota to pass the football.  They blitzed for the first time all year with two linebackers.  Of the six times they blitzed, they were successful with a pass breakup or a sack four times.  The defense put it on the quarterback to make a great play with a blitz.  Our defensive line and linebackers came up big in causing chaos.  There were three interceptions because the quarterback was put under pressure.  This is why Minnesota was shut out in the first half and only scored one touchdown against our first string defense.  The bend don’t break defense was replaced with the scheme of we are blitzing and you have to make a play.  You don’t lose too many games when your defense has three interceptions.
What does this mean for the Hawks as we move through the season?  There obviously has to be a change in the defensive scheme that matched up with the game last Saturday.  The defensive line can’t pressure the quarterback.  They need additional help from the linebackers to make a play.  This prevents the two deep safety plays that Iowa likes to run and pushes them into man coverage.  There will be more big plays against Iowa as well as turnovers and punts.  As a result, Iowa will have more time for their offense and more time for their defense to win.  This is a winning strategy that might push the Hawkeyes into the pot to win the Big Ten.
There are a couple of key things for the offense as well going forward into Big Ten play.  The offense needs Mark Weisman, who delivered another stellar game with 170 yards and a touchdown.  In order for the passing game to open up, especially the play action bootleg, Mark Weisman needs to rack up four to five yards on first down.  He also needs to be able to pick up the one or two yards on an obvious running situation.  Thus far he has done that with little struggle.  The minute that Iowa can’t run the football, they will lose the game.  Finally, Iowa needs to look farther into their trick play category.  They are known for a very conservative style play and do not do trick plays with the lead.  This is why the trick play was so effective last Saturday when the receiver was clear by 20 yards of any defender.  Iowa needs to take advantage of its reputation as a conservative offense and use it to their advantage in big games like Michigan State in two weeks.
There are a lot of unknowns to the Hawkeyes this year.  Their offense and defense have shown glimpses of greatness.  Will both of them show up when they play to big teams like Michigan State or will one flop and cause Iowa to lose.  There are a lot of question marks to the Hawkeyes this season.  The tittle race includes the Hawks thus far, but only time will tell if they are legit.  Speaking of the title race, if Iowa beats Michigan and Michigan State, does that make Central Michigan the unofficial winner of the Big Ten?


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Backup Refs Cost Packers a Game

          The backup refs officially cost a team a game.  There have been many bad calls this year yet September 24 was definitely the worst call.  On the final play of the game between the Packers and Seahawks, the Seahawks quarterback threw a hail may pass into the end zone to try and win the game.  A field goal wouldn’t have won the game.  A Packer defender came down with it then a Seahawk receiver wrapped his hands on the ball.  It looked like an interception until the replacement officials rushed over two seconds later and ruled it a touchdown.  The play went under further review and couldn’t be overturned because there was not indisputable evidence.
         Even the Seahawk fans agree that the ball was really intercepted.  The backup refs had officially cost the Packers a game.  This bad call could have serious playoff implications and has led to riots in Green Bay.  Owners of other teams are also growing weary of the backup officials and hope that the NFL commissioner can reach a deal before the backup refs do anymore damage.  The replacement officials have not been properly prepared to referee a NFL game.  They have been thrown into refereeing because of a dispute on salary between the commissioner and the referees.  It is not their fault.  They were put into a bad situation.  Is this the tipping point between the referees and the commissioner that will finally bring the real refs back?  How much longer with the backups be allowed to ref games that people bet and invest money into?  Not much longer… I hope.  


Block Grants: A Double Edged Sword

          Hi Bloggers! A grant is federal money used to support a governmental service or bureaucracy.  There are two common types of grants: Block Grants and Categorical Grants.  Many of the grants given to the states used to be Categorical Grants.  These are grants with specific guidelines on what the money should be used for.  The states didn’t like these grants because they couldn’t move money within the program to where they needed it.  Categorical Grants gave the U.S. Federal Government a lot of power and say of how to spend the money.  States argued that the Federal Government was wasting money and should change the rules for spending.  This movement brought more power to the states, but consequently received the financial burden that came with more power.
          This movement for more control on how money was spent led to a different grant.  Block Grants are grants from the federal government that have very few limitations.  These allowed states to spend the money how they wished within the subject of what the money was for.  For example, Block Grants gave the states 30 million dollars for health.  Categorical Grants gave the state one million dollars for flu shots.  The states much rather preferred to determine how much they would spend on flu shots and other small things with their federal money.  Block Grants are used in today’s government with very important entitlements such as Medicare, Medicate, Welfare, and Unemployment.  States enjoyed the power to direct where the federal money was going.
          The states didn’t foreshadow the problems for them with Block Grants.  Many people who were angry with the wasteful government spending turned their anger to the states because they had the control of where the money went.  Every cut and addition they made to the grant brought more scrutiny from the people.  The Federal Government was happy that they could just point the finger at the states and tell people that they make the decisions about where the money goes.  The Federal Government also passed the financial burden onto the states.  Rising costs to support the bureaucracies and projects was now on the states to pay for.  If they didn’t want to pay for it, they would just cut the services to save money.
          Which system is better?  With Categorical Grants, the states we reimbursed for the rising costs.  They didn’t have to spend time on where the money was going to because the Federal Government had already decided it.  Block Grants allowed for more efficient spending but put future costs on the states.  If you were the president, which type of grant would you impose?


Monday, September 24, 2012

Unfair Realities of the SAT and ACT

         Why is there so much emphasis put on the SAT and ACT when they don’t reflect what they say they do?  The College Board says that these tests predict how well someone will do in college yet there are many people who do well on this exam and flunk out.  There are also many who do average and do very well in school.  If I were the colleges, I would put less emphasis on the standardized tests and more emphasis on high school achievements, class load, and GPA.
 The average score on the SAT is 1550.  The average score on the ACT is a 21.  These averages are for those students who are college bound.  The maximum score on these test are 2400 for the SAT and 36 for the ACT.  It is ridiculous how much the average is away from the maximum score.  The test does not have a high validity. John Kerry and George Bush both are very intelligent people who scored average on the SAT.  There are many students who do extremely well in college and become wildly successful and do average on the SAT and ACT.  So what are these tests really showing?  These tests are how well someone can take the SAT and ACT.  That is it.  They do not measure your intelligence, knowledge, organization, or any other important skill for college.  They simply ask structured interpretive questions and give a score.
If the SAT and ACT don’t predict how well someone will do in college, why do colleges rely so heavily on them?  This one is an unfortunate truth.  State and schools grade kids differently and use different grading scales.  A college can’t compare two kids GPA because the GPA scale is not all the same.  Sally from Alabama could have received a 4.0 from her school and scored a 1000 on the SAT.  Meanwhile, John from New York received a 3.5 GPA and scored a 2100 on the SAT.  The only common ground they have to measure people around the country is the SAT and ACT.
One reason the colleges should put less emphasis on the SAT and ACT is laziness.  A person can score very high on the SAT or the ACT and flunk out of college.  They often do not get their work done and the studying for classes.  This doesn’t work in college because the material becomes more complex.  Those on the other hand to say if very hard and get their work done at the opportunity to do well in college.  Their scores on the SAT and ACT will not be as high as the lazy, but intelligent people.  Regardless, the lazy person with a high SAT or ACT score will receive a scholarship before the hardworking student.
Scholarships should not be determined by a score on a test.  It should be over your course load, activities, clubs, sports, and leadership skills.  Unfortunately at this time there is no test to measure these skills.  Colleges are forced to use downstairs based on standardized tests.  It is an unfair reality that punishes the few that work hard but cannot perform well on these test.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Increase Your Snoozing Time

          Hi Bloggers! Remember that day you only slept four hours because you were studying for a test and the next day you weren’t tired?   Then for the rest of the week, you wake up drowsy and tired until you slept in on the weekend.  There is a lot of psychological science behind the phrase “catching up on your sleep.”  When you don’t sleep enough, you can’t focus clearly and have trouble with spatial thinking.  If you don’t catch up on your sleep, you can continue this problem for two weeks!
So what is so important about a sleep?  Sleep allows your muscles and brain to relax.  It also is a time for REM sleep.  REM stands for rapid eye movement.  Most people know that this is where dreams are made.    During your first 5 hours of sleep, you have very little REM sleep.  After the five hour mark, you increasingly get more and more REM sleep per hour.  If you do not get enough REM sleep, you acquire a sleep dept.  Sleep debts can last up to two weeks until your body resets the clock and erases you sleep debt.
What are the effects of sleep loss?  Lack of sleep can often lead to memory loss, decrease mood, decreased effectiveness of your immune system, and an increased risk of getting into a fatal accident.  Those all sound so wonderful!  It is true though that sleep is critical for your body to function and when you deprive it of sleep, the consequences start to add up.
         The most overlooked side-effect from sleep loss?  Weight gain!  In a recent study, people who do not get their recommended sleep have a 200% higher risk for being obese.  This astonishing statistic has been proven with multiple experiments.  People, who do not get enough sleep, often compensate by over eating in order to stay awake.  Eating temporarily wakes you up due to a rush of glucose (sugar) to your blood stream.  This glucose is quickly transformed into fat and stops the overabundance of sugar in your blood stream.  The lack of sleep also affects your hormones.  The two hormones that are key in this process are ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is the hormone that tells you when to eat, and when you are sleep-deprived, you have more ghrelin.  Leptin is the hormone that tells you to stop eating, and when you are sleep deprived, you have less leptin.  Simple as that, if you don’t sleep enough, you eat more which results in weight gain.
There are a lot of negative side-effects to not sleeping enough.  On the flip side, those negative side-effects turn positive when you do receive enough sleep.  If you are having a hard time remembering things, concentrating, and feel down, increase your sleep by one hour and see the results.  It’s worth a try :)  Make sure you allow your body a full two weeks to adjust to your new sleep habits before you judge whether it works for you because your sleep debt has to reset.  Happy Snoozing !


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Behavioral Expectations or Common Sense?

         There is laughter in the hallway at these new rules for school dances as many students consider them to be common sense.  However, there are many cases where these rules would have been broken if in effect last year.  Some students just take it too far and shouldn’t have the privilege to go to the dances.  When the rules are broken this year by the one percent, Kennedy will have to enforce more strict rules for the whole school in order to protect themselves from verbal parent litigation.  Here are the rules in case you didn’t read them.

1.  It is expected that all students will wear clothing appropriate for a school event.
           Ok, duh!! Wear clothes that are appropriate for a school event.  This is a school dance, not a strip club.  The school pays for it, hosts it, and cleans up after.  If you are going to dress up like a stripper, you won’t be allowed in.   It is a formal dance so dress accordingly. 

2. It is expected that clothing will be worn as intended at all times.  Boys are expected to keep their shirts on.  Girls are expected to keep their dresses and skirts at the intended length.  Pulling skirts/dresses up is unacceptable.
            This rule is simple as well.  This is not a strip club so don’t strip.  We don’t need to see students half naked.  If you wouldn’t walk around like that in front of all your classmates and teachers in school, then don’t do it at the dance!  There is no reason for you to take your clothes off during this dance.

3.  It is expected that all student will dance appropriately.  Simulation sex acts, dancing with hands on the ground, etc. are inappropriate. 

             This is the last and most abused rule.  Many students dance with their hands on the ground.  This is an inappropriate way of grinding and should be stopped to preserve the dance.  You think that people wouldn’t simulate sex acts, but you’d be surprised.  There is a small percent of the population of our school that goes to these dances and misbehaves.  Their actions jeopardize our dance and threaten grinding for the rest of us.  If you are one of those people, realize the consequences for your actions.  It doesn’t just affect you, it affects us all.


Weisman for Heisman?


              Hi Bloggers!  During the second quarter, both Damon Bullock and Greg Garmon were injured.  Kirk Ferentz decided to put in the walk on fullback, Mark Weisman.  I think it is a little too soon to start the Heisman talk for Mark Weisman.  He recorded 113 yards and three touchdowns.  He averaged 4.7 yards a carry and injured three defenders from his runs.  Mark Weisman could have had four touchdowns, but came up short on 3rd and 4th down.  A full back from Buffalo Grove, Illinois, Mark Weisman is a walk on who still isn’t on scholarship.  He definitely earned that scholarship during the game yesterday.  As of today, he is listed as the starter for the Iowa vs. Central Michigan game.  This game is the only snoozer on Iowa’s schedule so Mark Weisman might not get as many carries as he did against University of Northern Iowa.  They will try and rest him for the Big Ten opener vs. Minnesota.
                Was Mark Weisman’s outstanding game vs. University of Northern Iowa a fluke?  The simple answer is no.  When you look at the tape from the game, you see smart cuts, power, and ball security.  Weisman, known as the Juggernaut by his teammates, is one of the most powerful players on the Iowa team.  His power was definitely shown during the game as he consistently broke tackles and drove through U.N.I. players.  Weisman doesn’t have the running back speed that most people look for in a running back for one reason, HE IS A FULL BACK!  He will do just what is needed, drive up three to five yards for a first down.  That is all Iowa wants, a powerful back to convert on third and short as well as open up the passing game. 
                What does the rest of the season look like for the Juggernaut?  This is a question that no one can answer.  How fast will Greg Garmon and Damon Bullock recover?  Will Canzeri be able to come back or will they keep him on redshirt.  Nobody knows the future for the Juggernaut except the big boy himself.  Weisman for Heisman?  Let’s see how the next few games go before everyone gets their banners out.       

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Iowa Struggles in the Passing Game Could Cost Them

            Getting passed the passing game is going to be the real key for the Iowa Hawkeyes this Saturday in their game against University of Northern Iowa.  Through two games, they have managed to score only one Touchdown.  The quarterback, James Vandenberg has only averaged 182 yards a game with two interceptions.  The receivers have combined for a total of 10 drops.  Iowa has been to the red-zone 6 times and has yet to come out with a Touchdown.  There is no real explanation for the Iowa Hawkeyes bad passing game. They return two outstanding receivers as well as a 2nd year starter in James Vandenberg who led the league as a pocket passer.  All the statistics had the Hawkeye's passing game up in the top of the league. Instead, they sit at 98th in the country and 114th in scoring.  There are only 5 teams in the country who have scored less point than we have and all of them are 0-2.  We should be lucky we are not 0-2.  One thing is for sure, if Iowa doesn't acquire an offensive passing game, Iowa will have a losing record and miss out on a bowl game for the first time since 2007.


Felon Voting

            Hi Bloggers! As November nears and the political race intensifies, I would like to look at an often overlook issue: felon voting.  Whether a felon can vote or not depends on the laws that the state sets.  These laws vary widely on how felons lose their voting rights and how states restore them. This becomes a problem when you enter a federal election where some felons can vote and some can't.  The rules vary by state and can be completely irrational.
                In Mississippi, 22 categories of felon crime result in the loss of voting rights, also known as disenfranchisement.  Timber larceny is one that is on the list.  Manslaughter is not on the list.  Felons who steel wood can't vote in a federal election while those who commit manslaughter are able to vote.  In order to receive your voting rights back, you must apply and the application must be 2/3 approved by both houses and signed by the governor.  This is a ridiculous application that can take over a decade to approve and grant people their rights back.  Many felons look to put their past behind them when they come out of prison.  Voting rights is one way that they can feel like part of the society again.  We are just stripping away their ability to re-join society. 
                There are many states where felons are very easily able to vote.  This can create another problem.  Those you are repeat offenders might vote for someone who would legalize a substance  or de-criminalize to gain their vote.  These are all considerations that should be taken into account.  I strongly believe that this power of choosing what felons can vote and what felons can't should be taken from the states and given to the federal government.  This would allow for a unitary law and prevent discrimination of felons in certain states. 
                Making the process difficult and prevent over 2 million Americans out of prison from voting is ridiculous. If I had to write the law, I would grant all felons who are out of prison, the right to vote.  Probation doesn’t count as being out of prison.  Once you are free from the system, you should gain your right as a citizen to vote.  If however, you are charged with a second felony, when you get out, you must file an application to gain your voting rights back.  This punishes those who are repeat offenders of the system and makes it harder for them to have a political influence in our government.  That would be my broad outline for the law.    Everyone, who isn’t a repeat offender, should have a voice in the government if they have paid their time and debt to society.
                How would you address the issue of felon voting?  Would you keep the power with the states or give it to the federal government?


Monday, September 10, 2012


                Hi Bloggers! Today I would like to discuss how framing a question can produce and answer.  Whether you are talking to a friend or asking a random person to take a survey, framing can be used to shape their answer.  In Psychology, framing is defined of how individuals rely on their schemas and stereotypes to understand and respond to events.  In other words, people build a series of mental filters through biological and cultural influences.  Framing plays a huge role on every part of your life and dictates decisions you do or do not make.

                Consider the following two questions. “Would you like to go out to dinner with me?” “What time and I picking you up for dinner?”  The first question is submissive and provides an easy way for the person being asked to answer either way.  Question two puts a slant on the question and makes the person more likely to go to dinner with you.  This is a classic example of framing.     
                Framing is seen in everyday life?  For starters look at your government.  They ask you questions as Americans with a planned answer of what you’re going to say.  Take a look at the recent political conventions.  Many times in Obama’s speech, he said it is your choice on what plan you want for our country.  He is giving you a choice but he isn’t at the same time.  He went on to discuss all of the positives of his side while pointing out the negatives on Romney’s side.  So when he asks you what choice would you choose for America, he is framing the question.  In Romney’s speech, he asked if you were better off today then you were 4 years ago.  This is a totally framed question.  If you look at what he said before the question.  He had trashed the last 4 years of what Obama did.  When he asks this question, he is going to get a slanted answer.  This is just one example of framing.

                How can you use framing to help you?  There are many ways for you to take advantage of questions and slant them.  It all depends on what you want.  Let’s say that you are trying to sell for your fundraiser.  There are a couple ways of asking them to buy.  The first way is the classic way: “Are you interested in buying anything?”  This way is very passive.  It allows for an easy no without any guilt or bad feelings.  The second way would be a framed question such as: “Would you please help our choir department (or other fundraising program)?”  This is very direct and uses the word help.  This puts a guilt factor on the people buying and makes them more likely to buy something from your fundraiser.  You turned a no into a yes with the wording of the question.

                Whether you are using framing for personal gain or just starting to notice in in society, understand that it plays a huge role in your life.  The framing of a question or the preface to a question often determines the answer.  The next time you want a raise in allowance or a date to homecoming, try framing it.