Sunday, March 31, 2013

Spring Ball

       The Hawkeyes started spring practice last week for the 2013-2014 football season.  There are so many questions heading into next season, but the main one is who will make the plays for the offense this year. The season ahead is a total mystery.  Most people have already counted the Iowa Hawkeyes out of contention for a bowl game.  Although another 4-8 season is likely, there is some hope for the Hawkeyes. 
       One person I feel that will make the strongest impact on the team’s record this year is Mark Weisman.  He is a total beast when he is healthy.  Iowa always produces a solid offensive line and I know the line will be solid this year.  The new quarterback will have an easy job when Weisman is racking 200 yards + a game.  A new quarterback’s greatest friend is a strong running back.  I hope.  If Iowa were to go all in for one player on their offense, they should put their money on Weisman.  Go Hawks. 


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Hawkeyes Soar to Madison Square Garden

Every basketball player in America would like to play in Madison Square Garden.  With the win last night at Virginia, the Iowa Hawkeyes are headed there.  The odds were stacked heavily against their favor last night.  The referees were missed multiple calls and changed their style of calling throughout the game.  Virginia had won 19 straight home games, including a big win over Duke, a team currently in the sweet sixteen.  Finally, Iowa has had trouble keeping consistency in the final minutes of the game.  Yesterday, however, Iowa overcame all of this and advanced to the final four of the NIT.

                The referees wanted to make me pull my hair out.  Early in the first half, the referees called only offensive fouls.  Blatant travels and blocking fouls were missed.  One play sticks in my mind.  Aaron White had stolen the ball and was going to the hoop to shoot and was pretty much tackled at the hoop.  There was no foul called.  The defender had grabbed both of White’s hands and tripped him.  No foul.  The second half, the whistle blew for all the small fouls that had slid by in the second have.  Reaches and moving screen violations were called left and right getting Virginia into the bonus quickly.  It was no wonder why Virginia had a 19 game winning streak at home.  The referees should be looked at. 

                The NIT tournament is set up so the lower seed has to go to the home court of the higher seed to play the game.  This system works until the final four, which is hosted in Madison Square Garden.  Virginia was put into the NIT as a one seed.  This means that every game they could play at home, they would.  Virginia is 3-8 in away games and was 19-1 at home.  There crowd gave them enormous energy that seemed to translate into big wins.  One of the games on the 19 game win streak was against Duke.  They won by 5 points.  That is really impressive.  Good job by the Hawks on playing well and ending their win streak.

                The final aspect of the game last night was the shooting late in the game by the Hawkeyes.  In so many big games, the Hawkeyes would be up late and fail to make simple baskets or turn the ball over.  Michigan State came back twice against the Hawkeyes to win.  Purdue and Minnesota both came back to beat the Hawks in the final minutes of the game.  This has really been the Achilles tendon of the Iowa Hawkeyes.  I was so proud of Devon Marble and Josh Ogleby for knocking the shots late in the game. 

                With no help from the stadium or the referees, the clutch shooting helped the Iowa Hawkeyes advance to Madison Square Garden.  Hopefully the hardest competition is behind us, but Maryland will be stern competition.  It is a good day to be a Hawkeye.  

No Perfect Algorithm

            There is no accurate algorithm for online dating but dating sights make you think there is one.  Computers are just as inaccurate at choosing people as people are at choosing people.  You might as well go ask some stranger on the street to dinner than going on to find your “soul mate.”  Online dating has its place, but it is just for connecting people who want to go out on dates.  Just because you are 99 percent compatible doesn’t mean you are destined to marry that person.   It is solely up to the individuals to decide what they want in a person, not a compute choosing one for them. 

                Every matching site has a different algorithm.  This inconsistency means that there is not a set way to match people together.  Every individual is different and wants something different from their relationship.  It is this unique mix that is so hard to calculate.  The intangibles of the relationship that can’t be measure or calculated usually are the determining factors on whether a relationship works or doesn’t work.  The computer will give you its best guess on what people would be good for you.  My uncle found my aunt on EHarmony.  On however, my aunt was not demographically attractive or height sufficient.  She was cut from the list of matches.  If my uncle looked on and chose a woman from there, he might still be single.  Lucky for him, my aunt had the intangibles that flourished their relationship.  The computer just guessed.

                Many dating sights advertise that they will help you find a love one.  The idea is fantastic.  The problem is in the connotation of the phrase “find a love one.”   The dating sight is only good for matching you with someone that you might work with.  It is not guaranteed and just because you are compatible from the algorithm, doesn’t mean you will work. Some people see the compatible algorithm as a destined match.   They go out with the person and are determined to make it work.  Some will get married and realize their mistake and get a divorce quickly.  Others will get shot down by their commitment to their “soul mate” and become depressed.  A study showed that many people become depressed after their top three matches from a dating sight didn’t work out.  The psychology behind it is that these people are emotionally valuable.  Because companies assure them these people would be good for them, people put a lot of energy and hope into the beginning of the relationship.  When the relationship fails, these people think that even the “perfect match maker” couldn’t match them up with someone.  They slide deeper and deeper into sadness until they become depressed.  This depression can lead to suicide and alcoholism.

                There is no perfect algorithm for online dating.  The reason people should go on these websites is to find people who want to be in a relationship.  Sometimes it is hard to find someone who is looking for a relationship in the real world.  Dating sights are not perfect and shouldn’t be considered the “perfect match maker.”  This only leads to unhealthy expectations and sometimes, depression.  It is better to go in with no expectations than to go in thinking he or she is the perfect one for you.   

Monday, March 11, 2013

Calorie Labeling in Fast Food Restaurants

       At the start of this year, all restaurants who own more than 50 stores must post their calorie content on the menu.  Many restaurants have applied for an extension of time to delay the negative effects to their franchise.  The truth is, the more the consumer knows about fast food, the more the fast food industry will be forced to be healthier.  McDonalds has recognized and capitalized on healthy fast food.  They posted under 100, 200, 300, and 400 calorie menu items to attract those who were watching calories.  Other restaurants haven’t changed their menu and have seen significant loss in revenue.  Since the calorie content was put up on the menu, the calorie content per transaction has dropped 10 percent.  That is HUGE!  If all Americans chose food that was 10 percent healthier for them,  we wouldn’t have a lot of the current health problems we due today.
       The franchise fast food companies fought the crap out of this law. They knew that they could no longer sell fast food that was cheap and caloric.  They are now moving in the healthier and lower calorie menu items.  Salads, fruits, and veggies are being added to menus.  Light mayo is being substituted instead of regular mayo.  These small differences will make a big impact on obesity rates in the U.S.  Hopefully our government stays tough on these laws.  I am very happy with this law.  Any other laws that brought transparency to the consumer and lowered calorie consumption would be awesome.  I can’t believe the government did something right.



     What makes you hungry?  There are quite a few things in your body that sends hormones saying you’re hungry.  These are called physiological factors of hunger.  Many people can guess that your stomach tells you that you’re hungry.  True, but what is the number one place that tells you?  And what are some interesting parts of your body that gives off hunger hormones?
     Your brain is the most powerful part of your body.  When it comes to hunger, the brain is in charge.  The hypothalamus performs various functions, including the control of hunger.  Blood vessels supply the hypothalamus, enabling it to respond to our current blood chemistry as well as to incoming neural information about the body’s state.  In short, it is a sensory intake machine on how the body is doing nourishment wise.    It receives multiple different hormones from your digestive track on hunger status.  These hunger hormones are released for different reasons.
     Leptin and Ghrelin are secreted by the stomach.  Ghrelin is the “I’m hungry” message to the hypothalamus.  If the stomach is empty, it will start to contract and release ghrelin.  One easy way to stay full is to load up on protein! It takes a solid two to three hours to digest complex proteins.  Your body will not send ghrelin hormones to the hypothalamus if it is busy digesting protein. Leptin is secreted by fat cells.  When they are abundant, they send an “I’m full” signal to the hypothalamus.  It causes the brain to increase metabolism and decrease hunger.
     Orexin is a weird hunger hormone.  It is stored in the hypothalamus.  Your brain has a biological clock.  IF you ever feel like you get hungry at a certain time, every day, orexin is the reason.  It sends the hormones from when your usual meal times are.  Even if you have a huge breakfast, you might still be hungry for lunch because orexin was released.
     PYY is a digestive tract hormone.  Usually released by the small intestine, it sends a “stop eating, I’m full” message to the hypothalamus.  If your small intestines are hard at work, they don’t want more food coming in.    
     These are just the hormones that cause you to be hungry.  They account for a third of your hunger pains.  Other major factors include sleep, stress, and social situations.  If you don’t sleep enough, you will consume more to make up for your lack of energy.  If you are stressed, you might stress eat or not eat at all.  Social situations can make you eat even if you aren’t hungry.  There are so many factors that contribute to hunger.

Daylight Savings Time

Many of us are quick to blame Benjamin Franklin for the hour of sleep we lost yesterday due to daylight savings time. I did some research and concluded that Ben Franklin joked about daylight savings time. Franklin was encouraged to work on simple, yet important, problems. To show his friends his appreciation, he wrote a series of fun pieces for their amusement, one of which was the infamous daylight savings letter.

This daylight savings letter was used later to establish daylight savings times.

The letter said how the law might work. There would be a tax on shutters that blocked light. All families would be rationed to one pound of candle wax per week. Church bells, and, if necessary, cannons, should be rung or shot every morning as soon as the sun rises to “awaken the sluggards effectually and make them open their eyes to see their true interests.” This law was to basically make people use the sunlight while they had it so they didn’t waste candle wax. The idea was ok then but in our society, is not very useful. There are a lot of negative repercussions from daylight savings time.

First, people are cranky and tired. The last person I want to deal with is a cranky person. I don’t even have to do or say something wrong to piss a cranky person off. They go off and yell at me all by themselves. The fact that daylight savings time is on a Monday makes it even worse. There has to be a better time to start daylight savings time, if we are going to do it at all.

Secondly, it gets dark in the morning again. People going to work early are usually tired and unaware of their surroundings. Adding darkness back to their lives increases the likelihood that they will get in an accident. Sunday and Monday after daylight savings time are awful times to drive. People are sleepy, cranky, and inattentive to the road. If weather is a factor, you might just want to stay off the roads altogether.

Lastly, the United States Economy lost $433,982,548 according to the Lost-Hour Economic Index. The Lost-Hour Economic Index breaks down the economic loss state-by-state, across the top 360 metropolitan areas, saying that the lost income is due to a number of factors, including fatigue. Bigger cities were harder hit as less people went outside to spend their money. Fewer consumers bring lower sales and ultimately less profit. Daylight savings time is increasingly costing Americans more and more money. People are becoming lazier and less likely to get out during daylight savings time.

Daylight saving time was a good idea when Franklin was alive. They did it to conserve resources and force people to use sunlight. Now, daylight saving time is costing the United States more money than it makes on the other end. The roads become more dangerous during the time switch. It just isn’t worth the hassle to have daylight savings time in our country. Benjamin Franklin is probably laughing in his grave on our stubbornness to keep daylight savings time. He wrote the letter as a joke after all.



Sunday, March 10, 2013

Gun Control

       How many children have to die until the people agree on strict gun laws?  100 more? 200 more?  1000 children, innocently murdered?  We are better than this America.  I can’t believe the amount of school shootings.  Society is numb to the tragedies.  20 elementary school kids died avoidably today.  If the assailant didn’t own a gun, he wouldn’t have been able to walk in and shoot those kids.  They would still be alive today, able to run home for Christmas and open their gifts. 
       There have been multiple mass school shootings in the past few years.  One reason is mental health.  As it society gets more complex, an increasing amount of people can’t keep up and go insane.  I am not saying society is to blame, but we have an increased amount of mental people in our country.  Our government does nothing about it.  They have actually decreased mental health spending and released more and more mental Americans to the streets. 
       Bullying is another factor that has led to school shootings.  There are so many bullied kids in school.  Most of them can take it, but there are a few who get bullied a lot.  Kids see a weakness and extort it.  Most have to move schools or start counseling.  Some, though, lose their minds and plan a school shooting.  Many have been avoided because they told someone beforehand   but a few have still occurred.
       The biggest problem is the easy accessibility of guns in the United States. I mean Jesus Christ.  There are no mental checks to get a gun.  Most mental people do not get checked.  If they wanted a gun, they just go and apply for one.  Personally, Americans have outgrown the need for guns.  Back when the Constitution was written, we had just freed ourselves from British rule.  A big reason was the minute men.  They kept guns at their house while under control of the British.  They fought the British and won.  Gun owners feel like they should have a gun in case the government was to turn on them, causing them to revolt.  One problem with the theory, the government has more advanced and bigger weapons in comparison to the 1800s.  They have nukes and unmanned air drones.  Give me a break.  If they wanted you dead, you would be dead.
       There is no reason why any local citizen should be able to carry a gun unless they are hunting or at a shooting range.  Those regulations would be fought out in Congress.  Before they figure that out, Congress needs to figure out how to tighten regulations on guns.


Snow Days

                Last Tuesday, we had a snow day.  There was eight inches of snow on my driveway.  Swimming practices were cancelled.  I slept in until eight a.m. and realized missed school.
                I spent four hours shoveling the driveway.  The snow was wet concrete.  This sludge would barely move.  When I fired up the snow blower, it broke one of the augers and tore a pin.  This snow was tough stuff.   My coat was very warm, but I forgot to wear wool socks.  When I finished, my feet were solid blocks of ice.  I proceeded to take a shower that burned the crap out of my feet.  I hate shoveling. 
The problem with snow days is when you finish the crappy shoveling job, you are tired.  You end up sitting on the couch doing nothing for the day.  I sat on the couch and played Halo 4 all day because I was too tired.  Even if I had energy, I couldn’t go anywhere because the roads were really bad. 
                The worst part of a snow day is the homework.  Your teachers aren’t stupid.  They can sort of predict when a real snow day will happen.  Their homework is planned accordingly.  I always have projects and lots of monotonous work when we have snow days.  Teachers don’t want to get behind, so they assign a ton of work.  Most kids just don’t do it, but I feel guilty if I don’t do it.  They usually collect the homework for completion points because they know how many won’t do it. 
                 I would rather have school than a snow day.  If it is too bad to have school, I can’t do any fun activities outside and friends can’t come over because the roads are bad.  There is a pile of homework to do as well as work around the house.  Shit, sometimes, we still have swimming practice during a snow day.  I would rather be in school because we are in school 180 days, regardless of whether we have snow days.  I’d rather have the three day weekends in February. That’s just me.     

Thursday, March 7, 2013


     Eating Healthy is as interesting as a sack of potatoes.  Eating healthy means that you have to give up old habits of unhealthy food.  Eating snickers and drinking coke must stop as you exchange them for water and carrots.  At first, nobody wants to eat healthy.  The human body is trained to love sweets and “junk food” because you can put on weight.  In the past, keeping weight and having energy was a big problem.  Any source of fat or sugar tasted really good because it provided the body with energy.  Now, most people consume more calories than their body uses.  The body stores it as fat.  People don’t use the stored fat energy because they eat more at the next meal.  Eventually, people become overweight and unhealthy because they have stored too much fat.  In this case eating healthy can actually make you feel better.  It will better nourish your body and improve your standard of living.

     Last month I was with my Youth Leadership group for Five Seasons.  We were given a talk about nutrition and a way to calculate food you buy at a grocery store.  Hy-Vee bought the rights of NuVal to test all of their foods.  The foods were given a number from 1-100 based on nutrition.  There were a lot of interesting results that came from the NuVal testing.  Most cereals scored below 30.  Pure foods with no added sugar or chemicals scored much higher than those foods that were healthier with influenced sugar.  The NuVal system preferred nature foods as more healthy than vitamin rich or protein rich foods.

     I asked the nutritionist at Hy-Vee if they had a specialized NuVal scale.  She said no. Men and women need different things from their food.  Generally, men need more protein and more calories from their food than women do.  Generally, women need more iron and calcium than men do.  I brought the point up to the nutritionist and she quickly dismissed my idea.  She then continued to praise the NuVal scale for how accurate and helpful it can be. 

     Here is a link for the NuVal website.  (here)

     Look at the website and leave a comment.  If you could, address some of these questions.  One, do you think the NuVal system is accurate?  Do you think the Nuval scale works for people?  Would knowing the NuVal scale of every item make you change your eating habits?  What would be a better design for the NuVal scale so stores across the country can implement the scale?