Mass Media 06/04/2010
 
The media in today’s society is a very powerful thing. It has the ability to influence people’s choices, decisions, and override their common sense and logic.  It has the ability to bring joy to people, or depict so much death and destruction it becomes depressing to only see that side of the world. It has the opportunity to raise the youth of the world in a way where they can come together and change it, or raise them in a way that they will continue to repeat history in destroying it.
 
 
Having been a user on Twitter for over a year now, I’ve seen much of what goes on between people and how people act.  Recently, there was a small scandal within a portion of Twitter-users: it was found out that a 45-year-old woman had been posing as a 17-year-old girl for a very long amount of time, and had thousands of people who both looked up to her, had spent much time conversing with her, and many of them cared for her.  This one person fooled thousands of people, and hurt them by what she did.  You might wonder how it’s possible for her to have done this. The answer?  The Internet.  Anyone can become anyone they want to become, and obviously it can last for a very long time.  There were people who got close enough to her that they texted her and talked with her on the phone.  These people were hurt, simply by her pretending to be someone she wasn’t.  The reason for me bringing this up is simple: you, and your family and friends, are never safe on the Internet.
 
 
New research is showing that having a pet can help married couples stay together – especially if they can take something away from the way they love their pets.  Needless to say, we often forgive Fido for eating our shoes, or Fluffy for scratching the furniture; give our pets unconditional love and often discuss how understanding they are; and we ignore their flaws to give them the benefit of the doubt long enough to prove they’re sorry.

But do you and your spouse give each other that same kind of treatment?  Being able to recognize the love you have for your pets can improve the relationship with you and your spouse.  How often do you ignore flaws and pass up being angry over spilled milk to just clean it up?  More and more people are owning pets, and doing everything possible and going out of their way to keep their pets happy.  Why shouldn’t your spouse get the same treatment?
 
 
On Wednesday, June 2nd, the California Assembly is set to vote on a bill that would lead to a statewide ban on plastic bags being used to tote purchases and for customers to buy 40%+ recycled paper bags for their items if they don’t use reusable bags.  If approved, it will go on to the Senate.  With environmentalism becoming a very prominently debated topic, nationally and globally, more areas are taking steps to reduce the waste that goes into landfills and dumped into the ocean or into the stomach of animals.  Approximately 19 billion bags a year are used by Californians alone every year, which is approximately 38 million people.

As more evidence from scientific studies emerge, we become increasingly aware of the impact these wastes have on, especially, marine life.  With a large trash dump that is estimated to be larger than the state of Texas floating offshore, it is quite obviously time to take a better look at the habits we have established.  China and Bangladesh have already implemented similar steps to halt the use of one-use plastic and paper bags for consumers.
 
 
It’s easy to buy fast-food when you’re on the go, or when your kids beg you to stop in to see Ronald McDonald, but do you know what you’re really eating or feeding to your family, possibly on a regular basis? On the opposite end of the spectrum from the recent In ‘N Out article, comes an article about what’s really in some of your favorite fast-food items, and it may make you stop and think about the rest of what you eat:
 
 
While perhaps not worthy of being current U.S. News, In ‘N Out’s “secret” menu is definitely news-worthy and obviously current if you’re thus far unaware of it.  If usual menu items are of no appeal to you, some unusual selections might be.  Beginning after enough people ordered specialty items often enough, a “secret” menu was established but has become more and more well-known with media and even the company itself focusing on it, having published a few of the “secret” possibilities on their website, though leaving many to spread through word-of-mouth.  While it is perhaps never fully complete, here’s what I could find:
 
 
Whether you do much traveling or have simply watched the news recently, no doubt you’ve heard of the recent volcanic eruption in Iceland, of a volcano that has a name with an amusing name due to its difficult pronunciation: Eyjafjallajokull. The problems it’s caused, however, are much worse than trying to pronounce the name. Stranding air travelers for days and emitting such large plumes of ash, these problems are reaching far beyond Iceland’s borders.

The recent explosion follows an explosion in the same volcano that occurred last month, and scientists worry it may trigger the eruptions of other volcanoes.  Flights to many major European airports and cities have been delayed for fear of decreased visibility and the possibility of ash and other particles clogging or obstructing some of an airplane’s most important functions – including engine activity.

There are noticeable similarities and differences when comparing the eruptions of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull and Alaska’s Mt. Redoubt.  Last year, Mt. Redoubt’s volcanic activity also put a halt to air travel, but the biggest difference is the lava within the two monstrosities. 

Iceland’s volcanoes are more apt to having lava that can flow long distances, while Alaska’s volcanoes’ lava tends to be stickier and not flow as far.  A definite similarity between the two is that fact that, despite differing lava-types, both can cause big problems and even bigger destruction.
 
 
At what point do we draw the line on ‘free speech’ and at what point do we cross the line for having too much censorship?  This is an interesting topic on many levels and for a number of reasons. It’s common knowledge that Americans have the right to free speech, which can include a wide variety of ways of ‘speech’ especially with the way that technology has developed.  What is considered a peaceful protest?  When it causes no disruption to an event?  When it isn’t hurtful towards an individual, family, or community?  Or a combination of the two?

Please note that this is an article that is also filled with my own opinions and thoughts.
 
 
When you hear the name Tiger Woods, what is the first thought that comes to mind? A year ago, nearly all answers would have been ‘golf’ but that may have changed a bit since then.  With all the media feeding off of anyone’s personal lives, Tiger Woods’ life has been all over the television, newsstands, magazines, and every other media outlet.  With having allegedly (is it even in question still?) cheated on his wife with a number of other ‘mistresses’ his life has been in the spotlight a lot recently, but one has to stop and wonder how much do we really believe, and what do we really care? 
 
 
It is common knowledge that there is a budget crisis befalling America at the moment, and in California this is especially true.  A great, yet depressing, example of this is the L.A. school district’s plan to cut 5 days from this year’s school year and 7 from next year’s school year.  While kids in America are already academically behind their companions in other countries, some of which have students attending classes 6 days a week and even have a grade 13, the schools are looking to make more budget cuts at the expense of the future generation of America.  It would seem that education of children should be one of the top priorities of the government, not only in L.A., but across the country.