Monday, May 3, 2010

Genetically Modified Food

Genetically Modified Crops, or "GM" Crops as they have come to be known, bring both a blessing and a burden to the consumers. Basically, a GM crop is one that have been bred in a lab to have specific traits to make them better, both economically and physically for humans. In the article "Courts Force U.S. Reckoning With Dominance of GM Crops" they discuss how the Sugar beat industry on the west coast is suffering from the introduction of GM seed. Organic growers are concerned because the GM seed is being blown by the wind in every direction. This provides a problem because if the GM and organic seed mix together, the Organic seed will never be the same. It will have trace elements of the GM crop inside it at all times, rendering the growers crop non-organic. However the article "GM sugar beets hit by California court ruling" argues that the Genetically Modified crop is better than organic, and that the growers who get GM Crops in their field should pay for the seed. I feel that while GM crops serve good purposes around the world, and are helping solve world hunger, this is a battle they should stay away from. A grower has the right to plant what he wants to plant and should not be forced into buying something he does not want to plant. The growers who plant this GM crop should also be responsible for the seed they plant and where they plant it. It is hard to control the wind but they need to keep the seed from contaminating the organic crops. If this were to happen worldwide with every crop. sure we would have high yield rates and nearly rid the world of hunger, but there would be nothing natural about the food we eat. The natural plants that our ancestors survived off of would be gone, the natural flora of the world would be extinct and replaced with a new, scientifically engineered relative. This to me is like replacing humans with robots, sure they may be better in some ways, but the natural evolution that has made what we know today will all be destroyed.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday, March 26, 2010

Peer Response

In response to Esperanza’s blog post about ProActiv solution and all the different endorsements they have gotten, I feel the exact same way. After I started reading her blogpost, I found myself taking the words right out of her mouth. Oh, and Esperanza another name you can add to that already long list of celebrities is Jennifer Love Hewitt. Pro active has just been throwing name after name to endorse their product. Most of these people who have endorsed this product may have had some acne problems when they were young but nothing too bad. The photos they always show the before pictures of the celebrities, and to me they seem to be altered. There are many other methods out there to help get rid of acne, and not to mention cost much less. I consider ProActiv to be a last resort before going to the doctor. In other words by asking for ProActive, you are saying everything else has failed, so now it’s time to bring out the heavy weaponry; or the “Nukes”. Even through some endorsements work on a certain target audience, I feel confidently that 75% of the time they will have no effect other than entertainment. Some could argue that entertainment is a goal the company is trying to get across, and I would agree with that. If they throw their product name in a funny skit you are most likely to describe the commercial by the name of the product. So long as the name of the product is being said out loud, on the street, on a bus, or at work; It’s free advertising.

Analysis of a celebrity endorsement

The brand of margarine “I can’t believe it’s not butter” came onto United States shelves in 1986. Since then it has claimed labeling such as “No Trans Fat!” and, “Naturally Cholesterol Free!” in hopes of selling the product. The margarine vs. butter debate has been going on in the United States for quite some time and given some ‘False images’ to both products. Since the debate has heated down, the marketing strategy has moved from pointing the blame finger, to endorsements and other forms of mass communication. Ozzy Osbourne, the legendary rock star notable for his personal appearance and for biting the head off a bat at a live concert, signed to endorse this product.

The reason for Osbourne agreeing to promote and endorse this product confuses me because he does not seem like the type of person who cooks. Maybe if he had cooked the bat on stage before he bit the head off, this endorsement might hold SOME water; but it would still cause some confusion among others. The endorsement might have been successful, but it certainly doesn’t make me want to run out and buy a tub. The only way to tell if this endorsement was a success is if you were working on the marketing team for “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter”. However I can say that this endorsement did not have a negative effect, because you can still find this product on shelves nationwide. In a poll taken by, 87.5% of the answers were “No!” to the question ‘Do Celebrities Influence Your Decision To Buy A Company’s Product” this poll is evidence for my argument that the commercials and endorsements are only there for entertainment. Most of the times when people see a funny commercial or see a funny add in a magazine they look for the celebrity. They want to see how low of a level they will stoop to just to make some money.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Demonstration speech self-evaluation

In my Life Science 100 class I gave a speech on how to properly apply camouflage face paint. This topic worked very well for me because I am very interested in the art of stealth and the new improvements in this field of study. Because I knew a lot about this topic I was able to explain some in depth reasoning, as to why you follow certain steps. After reviewing a video of my speech, I was able to notice that my biggest strength ended up being one of my weaknesses.
I was able to recall information as to what makes camouflage work, but spent too much time in depth. The good news is that I was able to break down the techniques into 3 easy steps; Base, cross, and blend. These three steps were able to turn a whole complex art form into something basic and simple. My physical presentation has never been an issue for any speeches I have done. When looking at a video of my speech I was able to see that I was moving around a lot, and showing lots of enthusiasm towards my demonstration. However, through I spoke at a good volume, there were times that I turned around and kept talking; making it seem as though I was mumbling. I think the best part of the speech was the fact that I brought in face paint and demonstrated, not only on myself, but on a brave volunteer as well. The second we applied that base layer and looked up with green faces, every single person in the room was drawn in; I mean how often to people show up to class with a green face?
If I had a chance to redo my speech I would look into shortening the length of it and not getting to in depth. Also I need to learn to stop talking when I am not facing the audience. Overall I feel the speech went well (Minus the time limit) , and think that everyone enjoyed watching it.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Prepare a Meal

The meal I prepared for my family was typical Italian pasta and sausage. The steps are as follows...

1) Planning, it is very hard to find authentic Italian food that has not been "modernized". Meaning that it has become a major brand (I.e. Ragu, Chef Boyardee)and lost its authenticity. So I went to Frabonis Italian Deli on the corner of Regent St. and Park St. There I was able to buy some 'home made' spicy Italian sausage, Italian meatballs, local mozzarella cheese, fresh tomato's and hand made pasta noodles.

2) Preparation, I then went home and put some water in a pot and waited for it to come to a boil. once the water was boiling I put the pasta in the pot and let it sit for about 5 min. during that time I washed the tomato's and made tomato paste/sauce to go into the pasta. once the past was cooked I drained most of the water and added the tomato paste/sauce into the pot. once the sauce came to a simmer I added in the sausage and meatballs (Pre-cooked in the oven), sugar, and wine. I let everything cook in the pot for about 10 min (***important note: keep stirring the sauce so it does not stick to the side of the pot) Then it is ready to serve to the entire family.

3) Consumption, There is no better feeling than sitting around a large table with your family and eating a nice home cooked meal. we popped out some wine and fresh bread to make to meal much more pleasant. I will say the pasta was Molto Buono!

After reading Chapter 1, section 7 of Michael Pollen's book " In Defense of Food" it makes me feel heartbroken that we have shifted to a point where food is only seen as nutrition and not as a social event. Growing up as an Italian, Family dinner was the highlight of the day. My grandmothers motto was " You work hard all day and come home to the best tasting food, thats how you live a good life". The "modernized" Italian food has completely changed the cultural background involving food preparation. No there is canned pasta and microwavable dishes that take the fun out of preparation. What came as a savior to my eyes was the blog Italian food forever which helps people learn about the history of some Italian dishes, and most importantly, how to make them.

Friday, February 19, 2010

While reading the book "In Defense of Food", written by Michael Pollan. The idea of Nutritionism is brought up many times, mainly referring to the typical diet Americans have today. Pollan did not come up with the term, but first saw it in an article written by an Australian sociologist named Gyorgy Scrinis. The basic definition of Nutritionism is "Foods are essentially the sum of their nutrient parts" (Pollan, 28). Pollan argues that because our society has turned to eating mainly intimidation food, we are a lot less healthy. The funny thing is that all of these processed and "Adulterated" foods were designed to help the human body.
One main example of an "Adulterated" food is the imitation butter we like to call margarine. It's cheep, easily available to consumers whatever season it is, and is so versatile that you can add almost any vitamin to it. But as Pollan states in his book, Margarine is " apparently Unkillable. Too bad the same cannot be said of an unknown number of margarine eaters" (Pollan, 33)

I think the main reason for our lack of Nutrition can be traced to the society we all live in. Now a days everyone wants things done fast because efficiency is the key to everything. Because of this most Americans spend their times in drive through lanes, looking for a quick fix on energy for the day. The get fooled by the pictures and clever advertising placed on the board in front of them. Its economics 101, If you keep having a customer why should you change anything about the product.
Growing up in an Italian family, dinner was a special family project every single night. We all took time to sit down and enjoy the food we made, and the company of the people around us. Like Daniel J. Gansle says in his article Eat Healthy, Live Longer, "The problem with our overprocessed- and fast-food culture is that food is eaten in a hurry as opposed to something that is savored and enjoyed." Basically what it comes down to is not only your physical health, but also your mental health. If you take the time to prepare a healthy meal, and sit down with you friends and family, you will be much more healthier, physically and mentally.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

UPDATE: U.S. assault in Marjah

According to Marine Corps Times the battle for Marjah went very smooth with only a few mishaps. There is still resistance scattered throughout the city, but it is mostly indirect and more of a nuisance than at threat. For more information on the subject check out Marine Corps Times.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Real reason's for the M249

For those of you who do not know the military is thinking of scrapping the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW). The logic behind this idea is that the M249SAW, while having a high rate of fire lacks accuracy. There are many reason this raises such a concern; one is with the struggling economy on the home front, why should we keep spending money on poorly used ammo. The M249 SAW an air cooled, open bolt weapon that fires a 200 round 5.56mm belt at a rate of 750-1000 RPM (Rounds Per Minuet). According to the U.S. Infantry Weapons Guide, the single cost of a 5.56 mm round is $0.24, so basic math shows us that a single belt of ammunition costs $48.00 ( 200 x .24). Other factors that go into the unit cost is the transportation from armory to theater, and the special care that goes with handling live ammunition. Even with the amount of marksmanship training, it is a lot easier for the A gunner (Shooter) to just hold down the trigger instead of picking targets. This is an argument that most would like to make regarding whether or not the M249 should remain in service. From what I have previously learned about the M249 SAW is that, it is meant for support fire in a skirmish. What this means is when a squad is out on patrol they have a squad leader, Riflemen (1 who is support for SAW)and an Automatic Riflemen (SAW Gunner). Once enemy contact is established and rounds are being exchanged, it is the SAW gunners responsibility to keep the enemy suppressed , so the rest of the squad can regroup and move to flank the enemy. General James Conway (Commandant of The Marine Corps) expresses my feeling exactly when he bring up " Fire Superiority" in the video posted above. The sound of a belt fed weapon has more of a psychological effect on both the enemy and the squad utilizing the weapon. When you are in a firefight and have rapid fire rounds flying down range towards your squad; it would be hard to stand up and expose yourself to get one round off. On the other hand if you are in a squad, and have a M249 SAW throwing multiple rounds down range, you would be able to spend more time getting in a flanking positing than focusing on getting rounds off down range. Since the M249 SAW was introduced to the United State's Military in 1984, as a replacement to the M60 it has proved its worth on the battlefield. The real question comes down to whether or not we are willing to change the tactics, that have been proven in the Middle East, Somalia and other corners of the globe.

Click on the link for more information on the
F35 Joint Strike Fighter STOVL

Friday, February 5, 2010

There is still a path for Warriors, Paved was Sacrifice, Illuminated with purpose, Covered in Sweat; Becoming a warrior means Joining a Brotherhood, Forged in the Crucible of Training, Proven on the Field of Battle, A true Warrior is measured not only by his Strength, But by his Honor; our victories are measured in stars and stripes; We never rest, for there is always another battle, waiting to be fought, and won.