GMFs… We use ’em and they don’t.

As it currently stands, labeling genetically modified foods is not a mandate.  There is also not a law set forth in the United States that regulates the testing of genetically modified foods, so essentially, farmers and producers are free to change the genetic makeup of crops without any type of oversight.  The United States has taken an approach of laziness and a mindset of “kicking the can down the road” when it comes to genetically modified foods. However, the international community has taken a more proactive approach towards genetically modified foods. International countries have implemented laws as a precautionary principle to avoid any problems caused by unknown side effects that may occur when eating food that has been genetically modified. Countries such as Europe and Australia have implemented laws that not only require farmers and producers to label modified food, but they also mandate that the modified food be able to be traced back to its origination. Other countries such as Venezuela and India have banned genetically modified foods all together, officially refusing to deal with the side effects of allowing farmers and producers to modify food. Plain and simple. The United States is lazy when it comes to securing their food sources. Especially when it comes to the health concerns of genetically modified foods.

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Over reactive fans cause….

Sports have been a fixture in human life for decades. From undocumented games history knows nothing about, to the 2012 Olympic Games in London; sports have come a long way. We have innovative aerodynamic swimsuits, neon uniforms, cleats, balls, equipment, stadiums and so many more accessories that have evolved through time. However, there is one important aspect of sports that has relatively little to no change over time: fans. Fans have always had an important place in the world of sports.  In Roman history, fans were both jury and judge during the gladiator showings where they would often make life or death decisions for a losing gladiator. In the present day sports world, fans roles in sports have been somewhat subdued. Currently, Serena Williams is beating Sam Stosur. The confidence level Williams is displaying undoubtedly comes not only from her pure talent, but from the large amount of fans rooting her on in Fan Circle Stadium. Fans without doubt play a large role in the sports world. The momentum they can give a player or team is incredible, but it’s what fans do once the buzzer sounds, the whistle blows, the lights go down and the media begins to recap that still has some scratching their head in disbelief that one game can have more consequences that a lost title or a broken record. Riots!

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ESPN… Good or bad for sports?

I think it is important that we understand why people watch ESPN. Let’s be honest, someone who likes sports is going to watch a game if it is on TV, regardless of which channel is airing it. According to espnmediazone.com, ESPN “offers breaking news, highlights, features and in-depth analysis from award-winning journalists.” In order for ESPN to be able to feature what they offer, they have to show sports games and game updates. That is why I watch ESPN. I want to see a game. I do not believe ESPN is bad for sports. I watch ESPN to watch sports and sports only. I don’t watch commentary, I don’t read their online articles, and I don’t participate in online chats concerning ESPN. I watch ESPN solely because I want to watch a sports game and ESPN does a great job airing a multitude of sports games. The notion that someone says ESPN is bad for sports because of its lack of or sloppy journalism forgets why ESPN exists to begin with. ESPN exists to provide sports games with commentary… Not journalism.

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You would think…

You would think that anyone could be elected to political office, given that our president was a junior senator from Illinois one year prior to announcing his candidacy for president. Politicians today, take their jobs way to serious, all in the name of being popular of course. That is why I love The Onion podcasts: short, simple stories that are politically incorrect.

A recent story The Onion produced tells of Congress forgetting how to pass legislation. This is due to the high level of partisanship over the last couple of years. Politicians, however, would never laugh at their own grievances. This very reason is why John Stewart and Stephen Colbert held a rally to restore sanity in Washington D.C. to lighten up the mood of politics. John Stewart said the message of the rally would be to “take it down a notch” I have to say; I agree with John Stewart, this would do America some good.

Simply put, The Onion does just that, it takes it down a notch. It brings sanity back to politics and keeps the mood light for America. Perhaps if congress was more like The Onion, things wouldn’t be so upside down in politics.

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Utilize it … or someone else will

Public transportation. It is all around us. Oklahomans likely don’t have a concept of what “public transportation” actually is. The website publictransportation.org gives a great explanation referring to transit. The above website also lists some interesting facts that make me want to use public transportation even more. For example, in 2008, Americans took 10.7 billion trips on public transportation. As someone living in Oklahoma, that is almost impossible to fathom. However, in Oklahoma, how many of us have actually utilized a transit system? I bet not very many have. As someone who drives a transit bus, my eyes have been opened up to a whole new world. This time, a world I am driving in, not watching pass by.

 

I love driving. In fact, I feel paranoid if some else is driving me around. But the more research I do, I find that taking a transit bus, trolley, or train is not such a bad idea after all. With the economy the way it is and gas prices sky-high, I do enjoy saving money on gas. I found an article outlining “20 Reasons to Consider Public transportation,” and I must say; I had no idea that a regular rush-hour driver wastes an average of 99 gallons of gasoline each year. Read more: http://socyberty.com/activism/20-reasons-to-consider-public-transit-facts-and-figures/#ixzz11KlXh86i

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CNG = the new Green

In the early 2000s, America was in a frenzy. Ozone layers were high and public health messages played across the T.V. screens telling drivers to car pool. This same message came across when gas prices soared in the mid 2000s. This time, the theme of this message needs to be refined. To save money and to keep the air clean, ride the bus. Oklahoma State University is helping set this standard. In December of last year, OSU began using compressed natural gas (CNG) buses for their public transportation routes.

 

The notion for years has been that public transportation sucks gas and spits it out in the form of smog. With OSU adding to a healthy standard, it should add to a more healthy view for transportation systems. OSU is not the first to switch to CNG buses. School systems, transportation systems, government departments and the public have begun to use CNG powered vehicles. 
There is so much more to the need for CNG powered vehicles than transportation. Each year, the United States spends billions of dollars each year to purchase oil from foreign countries. Many of these countries do not have the best interest of the U.S. at hand. Oklahoma is a small catalyst in being a part of the solution to the United States dependence on foreign oil. 

There are so many reasons that switching to CNG powered vehicles are beneficial. It is up to you as the public to do your research and to make an informed decision on your support for CNG vehicles. In the meantime, it is refreshing to see Oklahoma State University setting a standard in ensuring Stillwater, Okla. is a safe and economically beneficial place to live and learn.

 

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Ingenuity in transportation

The very idea that Americans want a better funded and expanded transportation system is the same idea that Americans for the last two decades have been demanding. So it comes as no surprise that 79 percent of those polled in rural areas want a better system. Politicians from both sides of the political spectrum say that we just can not afford it. While this may be true on several fronts, the discussion should not focus on the lack of funding, but focus how we can afford it. I would offer a very simple idea that taxpayer’s money is supposed to be used to provide quality infrastructure, not pet projects and bailing out fiscally irresponsible businesses. By cutting wasteful spending, reforming the earmark process and giving the president line item veto power, I believe America could begin to fund, expand and update America’s transportation systems.

I have recently begun to look further into the idea of expanding America’s transportation systems. It seems the lack of funding, innovation and interest into this idea has hindered American’s outcry for a better transportation system. I read an article that stated 79 percent of rural Americans want a better, expanded transportation system.

With that said, there needs to be a discussion on what type of new, expanded transportation American’s want. So I will begin that discussion by saying public rail service has to be a bigger priority for the next Congress. Small town infrastructure and economic outlooks can and will expand if we allow more access to tourism and experience of the town. Next, congress will have to look at ways to fund our already existing systems. This includes boat, bus and current Amtrak rails services. These services need updating and well as better funding to ensure long term success.

Lastly, we can not forget about our current infrastructure with roads and bridges. States need to rely less on the federal government to keep these updated. If states could find a way to stop owing toll road trust organizations and return toll funds back to the people in terms of road and bridge infrastructure, America would see many new jobs created and a new found economically endowed area of interest. States and Congress must start working together to bring public opinion into the works of recreating a new public transportation system in America.

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Blah

Blah

This may be a strange way to start out a blog, but I don’t have much to say. After weeks of being swamped with work, school and being the president of my fraternity; the sudden break in my schedule has brought a welcomed relaxing week. Unfortunately, as much as I wish they could, not everyone can catch a break.

As I was leaving campus earlier this week, a loud crashing noise caught my attention. Looking to my left, I saw two scooters; one of them one the ground. Upon further surveillance, I noticed there was a girl lying on the ground. She had obviously fallen off of her scooter. I bring up this story because it seems people have forgotten about the importance of responsibility, especially when it comes to transportation.

My parents always told me that driving is a privilege, not a right. And with this privilege comes the responsibility of being safe. The girl who had fallen off of her scooter obviously didn’t plan to fall off; but if she had worn a helmet, she might not have had such a bad day. A Winston-Salem Journal claims, “as the number of mopeds and scooters rises, so will the number of accidents.” I couldn’t agree more. However, as the number of mopeds and scooters rise, drivers can’t rely on other drivers to keep them safe. Be a defensive driver, it is the only way to cover yourself and make sure that you are completely following the rules. When it comes to deciding who is at fault when driving accidents occur, if you follow the rules by driving defensibly, you have covered your bases!

What you don’t know, is that I caught a break because I knew my energy level was low, so I took off work. Drivers can catch a break and that girl on the scooter could catch a break also, if they would think forward and not just in the moment.

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Stronger together or struggle apart

Growing up I was always taught you are stronger in a group than you are on your own. In the Bible, we see multiple examples of a sheep straying from his Sheppard. In sports, it seems like every week on Sports Center there is a replay of one man operating solo, instead of as a team. The end results of these examples is always the same: The sheep comes back dead or injured and the ball hog always makes his team lose. This lesson confirms the message that there really is “NO I in TEAM.

Last semester I was  the pledge captain for the Rho Chapter of Beta Upsilon Chi, otherwise known as “BYX” Brothers Under Christ. We operate under the message of brotherhood and unity. As the pledge captain, it is my job to raise the pledges in a way that glorifies God through brotherhood and unity. But as always, there are always a few “black sheep”of the group who have a hard time understanding how to operate as a group, instead of as a single unit.

One particular week, the pledges had 2 missions. First, to complete 12 study hours. Second, to do a service project with their big. (A pledge’s big is an upperclassman that mentors them throughout their pledge semester.) They also had a strict warning to turn in a paper they had written that was due 3-weeks ago. At this point, only three of them had not turned the paper in yet. One would guess that having three extra weeks to finish a 300 word paper would be a piece of cake. I can’t say I was too surprised to learn those three pledges didn’t turn their paper in.

When the pledges fail a mission, they are given a punishment. Usually, part of their punishments will consist of an increase in study hours for their week. This week, at the fault of the three pledges not turning in their paper, I asked a pledge to pick a number between one and thirty. He chose 29. I then asked him to choose another pledge. Upon doing this, I informed the chosen pledge that he has 29 study hours for this week. Harsh…. perhaps, did it get the message across… I guess we will find out.

When operating in a group; when one fails, the group is harmed.  If those three would have turned in their paper and followed directions, there would not have been a punishment. A group is stronger together when they hold each other accountable and build each other up. A group struggles when a member operates apart from the unit. I always find it humorous when pledge thinks they are above the rest and don’t have to operate together. This happens every semester as the pledges slowly learn to operate under brotherhood and unity. When you stray, bad things happen. When you stray, the group is harmed. When you stray, the group cannot succeed. Failure is not an option.

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To be or not to be…. Private?

It seems like no matter where you are, online privacy is a hot topic these days. Every news channel talks about it, Congress is debating it, and even my mom frets about it every now and then. There seems to be a few different areas of online privacy, but most notably is the discussion over social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
It comes as no surprise that a PEW research study found that 43% of social networking teens have been contacted by someone they don’t know. This is astonishing, considering there is no way to verify that another social network user is who they portray themselves to be. A USAToday Poll took it one step further in defining the concerns of social networking privacy when their poll found that 85% of parents say they’re more concerned about online privacy than they were five years ago. These studies are all over the web, but I would venture to say that when parents begin to be concerned over their children’s privacy, changes to social networking policies over privacy are about to be hit hard by parental concerns.

Because social networking sites are relatively new, having been created within the last decade, there still aren’t concrete policies determining how to handle such problems created by social networking sites. While there have not been any huge scandals revolving around the topic, look for a situation to arise that angers the public and elected officials. I think it would be safe to say that in the event of the above occurring, you will see big changes to privacy policies for social networking sights.

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