Monday, December 14, 2015

Conformity: Not Always Bad (English Final)





At 6:30 a.m. on April 24, 2012, federal agents raided Kurt Mix's home in Katy, Texas. Kurt Mix is an engineer. In 2010 Mix helped stop the BP oil spill that spilled crude oil directly into the Gulf of Mexico. He was called in by BP to help stop the spill, and believed he could make a difference for his industry and home state. Mix was not home at the time of the raid, but his wife was. The agents searched Mix's home and interrogated his wife. After Kurt Mix's wife called him, he immediately drove to a police station and turned himself in. Mix had no idea that he was about to become the focus of the investigation into the BP oil spill. Kurt Mix had no idea that he was going to become a scapegoat.

Over the next three and a half years, there was a Justice task force that was dedicated to putting Mix in jail. Mix had no idea what he did wrong. He naively gave the full record of his actions and believed everything would be fine. What he didn't realize though, was that the prosecutors wanted a conviction, not the truth. He was charged with two felony counts of obstruction of justice for a potential of 40 years in jail. The case was centered on the fact that Kurt Mix had deleted two text messaging conversations related to the efforts to stop the oil well. Kurt Mix recovered the messages, and turned in over 10,000 records.

After a new case was started over and the grind of even another case over the course of two more years, the prosecutors offered Mix a deal. They would drop all felony charges and acknowledge he was not guilty of obstruction of justice, as well as not require him to pay for fines or serve a day in jail. He would have to plead guilty for a misdemeanor for deleting the text messages without BP's permission.

Kurt Mix agreed to the terms Friday, November 6, 2015.

I believe that Kurt Mix is a conformist. In recognizing that he is a conformist though, we must realize that conformity isn't always a negative thing. Kurt Mix conformed to the deal from the prosecutors because it was the best way to stop the horror of all the court cases, and hounding from the government. Kurt Mix conformed because he didn't want to give another possible two years of his life away. Kurt Mix didn't have to conform, but he did so so he could put this behind him. Mix was simply trying to save his family from the courts so in a way, he had to conform. What must be realized though, is that conforming is not always a negative thing as sometimes a person must conform.



For the article:  http://www.wsj.com/articles/i-was-an-oil-spill-scapegoat-1447019267

A Review on What a Time to be Alive

After two months of listening to Drake's album with Future, What a Time to Be Alive, I have been able to thoroughly judge it. Personally, I think this album is garbage. This really is a Future album with Drake as the featured. It is a shame that the far superior artist, Drake, does not get more time in this album. Almost all of the songs are dominated by the garbage we call Future. Listening to what Future is saying on this album is a challenge. I am not sure if he is purposely trying to mumble, but whatever he is doing is not working. It is sad to hear Future drag Drake down, in what was supposed to be Drake's best year so far in music. After having an outstanding number of great songs in If Your Reading This it's Too Late, and great singles in, Hotline Bling, Right Hand, and Back to Back, it is a shame to hear Drake's amazing music joined by this terrible album. That said, there are some not terrible songs on this album. 30 for 30 Freestyle is good only because Future isn't in it, and while hugely overrated, Jumpman isn't bad. A hidden gem is easily Big Rings. This song is exciting and fun until around the 2 minute mark, when Future joins in. Other than those three songs though, the album is a sad excuse for music.

For a more positive review: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/albumreviews/drake-future-what-a-time-to-be-alive-20150924

Or decide for yourself by listening to the songs: http://www.djbooth.net/index/albums/review/09205-drake-future-what-a-time-to-be-alive


James Harden is Back in Business

Until recently, things have not been looking good for the Houston Rockets. Even worse, James Harden had a hideous field goal percentage of 25.6, and 3-point percentage of 13.6%, for the month of October. He had a poor field percentage of 41.6 and 3-point percentage of 32.4% for the month of November (ESPN). After a loss to the Denver Nuggets on November 13, the Rockets were not above a win percentage of 50% for a month. The Rockets record was as bad as 5-10 at one point.

The Rockets though, and especially James Harden, have found their footing. In the Rockets' last five games, their star player, James Harden, has been on fire. Shooting at a great percentage of 46.7% and 48.4% from the three, their is no stopping James Harden. The Rockets record sits at 12-12, good enough for the 7th seed in the Western Conference. Personally, I am so glad to see my favorite player cooking. After an extremely slow start to the season, the Rockets are looking to reclaim their Southwest Division title. Though unlikely with the San Antonio Spurs with a record of 20-5, their is always a small chance.

What the Republicans Need to Do to Win

On Tuesday, December 15, 2015 there will another GOP debate. Each presidential candidate will attempt to argue why them being president will be the best for the United States of America. Currently, Donald Trump is leading in the Republican polls. This isn't good for the Republican party. In a recent poll, it was shown that every other Republican candidate did better against Hillary Clinton, the most likely Democratic candidate, than Donald Trump did (Wall Street Journal). One of the problems with having Trump as their candidate is the he will not be able to gain new supporters. Donald Trump has currently the most amount of loyal supporters, but the least amount of potential supports, having less potential supporters than any other Republican candidate (Wall Street Journal). Also, the Republican establishment does not agree with Donald Trump's principles (Paul Ryan). Their is no way that the Republicans can win with Trump, or would want to win with him, as their candidate. So what do they do?



My suggestion to the Republicans would be, have a meeting with all the Republican candidates who are politicians. This would exclude Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina, and Ben Carson. Then, at the meeting decide one candidate to run for the Republican party. This way, the whole Republican party could pool their resources into one candidate, and also not have to spend time attacking each other. Obviously, this is not realistic as their are too many candidates who would not give in, but it is the best way to defeat Trump, and potentially defeat Clinton.  

Friday, December 11, 2015

This blog is a little special. My parents wrote it.






Upon the recent birth of their daughter, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook and his wife Dr. Precilla Chan, announced that during their lifetime they would give away to charity 99% of the shares of Facebook currently valued at $45 billion.  This follows Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, and Warren Buffet, founder of Berkshire Hathaway, giving billions to charity.  I think it’s great that these billionaires are giving away substantial sums of money to charity.  They are paying it forward and acting as wonderful role models for their families and the general public. They can afford it, and they choose to be generous.  My takeaway is that we should all contribute in some way, whether monetary or through volunteering.  It's not necessary to be a billionaire to give to others, and even small donations of time or money can make a big difference.  High school students can volunteer by tutoring younger children, helping at a food pantry, visiting the sick or shoveling the snow for an elderly neighbor.  Anyone can donate gently used clothing, toys, books, furniture and other household items.  The Chan/Zuckerberg's lives are richer by the birth of their baby daughter, and they chose to celebrate her birth by making the world a little wealthier too.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

New Diversity in Upcoming Election

So far, the 2016 Presidential Race is looking more diverse than it ever has before. Of the major Democratic candidates, we have Hilary Clinton, a woman, and Bernie Sanders, a Jew. Neither of these groups have ever been President of the United States before. The Republican candidates also have a lot of diversity. Ben Carson is an African American, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are both Hispanic, Carly Fiorina is a woman, and Bobby Jindal is an Indian American. All of these candidates, except Ben Carson, would also be the first people from these groups to ever be President of the United States. If you really want to be specific, Ben Carson would be the first fully African American President. This is extremely unusual, as the Presidential race is usually dominated by white Christian men. Last election, the only major candidates in the election that weren't white, male, or Christian were Barack Obama, Herman Cain, and Michelle Bachmann.  There are now four more non white, male, or Christian candidates. The current polls show Clinton and Sanders at the top of the Democratic polls, and the Republican polls show Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th respectively. With Donald Trump, falling in the polls, the Republicans mentioned before are predicted to move one place up. This means that most likely, our next president would be representing a group never represented before.

I personally am happy for this. It is important that different groups can be president. This coincides with the American belief that anyone can be successful in America. While I don't think a vote should be based on the religion, race, or gender of a candidate, I do believe this is a good showing that anyone can be president.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Trump Speaking His Mind

Donald Trump recently said, while talking about Syrian refugees, "If I win, they're going back". This is just a terrible thing to say as a human being. These are people that are escaping a war. Sending them back to their country is a very possible death. As a Presidential Candidate, it is very alarming to hear this come out of Trump's mouth. To hear that a person who cares so little for human life could be our president is very alarming. This isn't the first time something like this has happened either. After
World War II,  hundreds of thousands of Jews tried to move to 
the then British Mandate of Palestine. A big majority of them were forced by Britain to go back to the country they came from and were usually killed when they arrived. It is not so different with the Syrian refugees. They are not facing persecution because of their religion, but they are still facing a very possible death if they go back to Syria. In today's world, people should have learned from history, and not repeat the mistakes. On the bright side, by saying this, Trump's results in polling are likely to go down, meaning he will drop out according to one of his latest statement, "if I was dropping in the polls, where I saw that I wasn't gonna win, why would I continue?" 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Brandon Jennings Nonsense

Last week, NBA2k released their ratings for the top ten shooting guards for their game.
NBA player Brandon Jennings was none too pleased about these ratings.
On Twitter Jennings wrote, "Blasphemy. Kobe Bryant is #5. 2k gotta chill. The Internet just let you do whatever". As an NBA player, Jennings should know that the past is the past. Kobe Bryant is 37 years old, and has not been playing well lately. For the 2014-15 NBA season, he shot a disgusting 37.3%. Kobe had a scary 3.7 turnovers per game and just did not look like his old self. I would even go as far to say that Kobe could be bumped down to either rank eight, nine, or even ten. These other players are all more athletic and effective than Kobe. The only reason Kobe is even ranked at five is because of his past. Yes, Kobe was an amazing player, but Jennings has to look at the current stats. Kobe did not play well last season and does not deserve this high a rank. So come on Brandon Jennings. Get with today and realize that the NBA2K16 ratings are for this year and not years past.


Brandon Jennings Twitter post after all the backlash he received from fans.
You care! You brought it up in the first place.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Joe: Consequentialist or Categorical?

For this blog you probably should read  this novel first
Last week, I was assigned the task of deciding whether Joe from The Round House was consequentialist or a categorical. Consequentialist people are people who locate morality in the consequence of an act, and categorical people are people that locate morality in certain duty and rights. I decided, after some long thinking, that Joe was consequentialist person. It is easy to see this when Joe takes Linden Larks life. Joe, "Shot him at the logo over his heart. I hit someplace else"(282). Even though in the end it was Cappy who delivered the killing blow, Joe aimed at Lindens heart with the intent to kill. Joe was doing this because he believes that the consequence of ridding the world of evil was worth killing over. Joe also shows intent for his consequential justice when he attempts to kill Linden earlier.  Joe, "Smashed the can on his forehead and opened a cut just over Lark's eye"(244). Though, the novel doesn't explicitly state that Joe intended to kill Linden, it is commonly known worldwide that a hard enough hit to the head will kill. Here, Joe decided that the only good rapist is a dead one. He chose the idea of "ends justifying means" and tried to kill Linden. Joe is consequentialist because he locates the consequence in his actions, deciders if it is worth it, and then executes.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Are You Really THAT Historic?

In case you haven't heard, the video NBA2k16 is coming out this month. This is a huge deal NBA2k fans across the world because it means another year of awesome virtual basketball. One of the new features of NBA2k16 is the addition of "historic" teams that haven't been in any NBA2k before.




The new "historic" teams added into the game so far are the, '99-'00 Portland Trailblazers, '99-'00 Toronto Raptors, '00-'01 Los Angeles Lakers, '02-'03 Dallas Mavericks, '03-'04 Detroit Pistons, '04-'05 Phoenix Suns, '05-'06 Miami Heat, '07-'08 Houston Rockets, '07-'08 Boston Celtics, and the '12-'13 Miami Heat. While all these teams had amazing players on their rosters, not all of them deserve to be called historic. The teams that were NOT highlighted, were teams that won an NBA Championship. When NBA2k uses the word historic, they are implying that these teams all are etched into history and will be remembered. It is not really the team though that is remembered here, it is really the player. When people think about Rasheed Wallace, they don't think about how good his '99-'00 Trailblazers were. They will think about him racking up rebounds. When people think of Vince Carter, they won't think of how "historic" the '99-'00 Raptors were. They will think about Vince Carter doing an epic slam dunk. With the '02-'03 Mavericks, people will only remember Dirk Nowitzki's crazy one legged fade-away. People will remember Steve Nash getting gigantic assist numbers. Not the '04-'05 Suns. And finally, people won't remember the quality of the '07-'08 Rockets. They will remember Yao Ming towering over everybody, and Tracy McGrady scoring 13 points in 33 seconds. The point is, these non-championship teams aren't historic. They did not create NBA history or get the Larry O'Brian Trophy. It is actually the players who are historic, and it is the players who will be remembered.    

Wednesday, September 2, 2015