My rant about people who do not follow evacuation orders

(An emergency personnel carries an elderly resident from flood waters brought on by Hurricane Sandy in Little Ferry, New Jersey, October 30, 2012. (REUTERS/Adam Hunger)

The AP has written an interesting article discussing the mandatory evacuation orders ignored by residents in the path of Hurricane Sandy.  The article asks the question, why don’t people listen to the evacuation orders? This quote sheds some insight into their reasons for staying home.

Often, though, people believe that a storm won’t be so bad or that their homes are built tough enough. Some want to avoid shelters or the expense of staying in a hotel. Still others worry that their homes will be looted.

The points the author brought up, such as believing the storm won’t be so bad, or that their homes are tough enough, I think are fair points. With Sandy though, this storm was known from early on as being very dangerous. We’ve all heard our local meteorologist clamor for a large winter storm, only for their to be little snowflakes for 20 minutes, but this was a  unique situation.  With such mass evacuations ordered, did people really think this storm was not going to bad? Why would people ignore the unprecedented amount of evacuations ordered? I cannot explain this.

As for belief in your home being tough enough, I just don’t see  how one can justify this thought after all the images of houses destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Another point, fear of your house being looted, is fair I suppose. The problem is, if you are dead, who cares if your stuff is looted? I mean seriously. Are people that attached to their houses?

The biggest problem is that rescue team members risk their lives to come and save these people who ignored evacuation orders. Rescue workers have friends and family  that they risk never seeing again if they die trying to save you. So next time you refuse to honor an evacuation order, think about how selfish it is. Now, if there was some reason, such that you were sick, elderly, or handicapped, and no one assisted you in evacuation, well you cannot be at fault. I am not ranting at you.  From my knowledge, however, the government sent out workers to help in the evacuation process.

In order for the evacuation process to go smoother, I would pack an emergency backpack, just incase I had to evacuate quickly. I would have this bag fully packed and store it in a closet or laundry room. In my bag would be

  • emergency reflective blanket, wool socks, wool beanie, fuel canister, dehydrated meals (just need boiling water to cook), Iodine tablets (purify water), Nalgene water bottle (water storage), waterproof matches, GORE-TEX pants and jacket (waterproof), compass, headlight with lithium batteries (lithium lasts longer than alkaline), extra batteries, and a swiss army knife

The bag above would give you enough tools to survive a disaster. The greatest way to prepare for a disaster is to make a plan. The US Government has created a downloadable .PDF which features a chart that keeps track of everyone in your family. It provides the name, date of birth, social security number, and medical information for each family member. The .PDF also has a spot for emergency contacts, neighborhood meeting places, and out-of neighborhood meeting places. Complete this form and store it in your emergency backpack.

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The “FAQ” Web Page

(Credit Wiki OpsCode)

Nearly every business webpage contains a frequently asked questions page, which is a good thing. But what makes these FAQ pages effective? Well, I think the answer is simple…

The best design for a FAQ page is simplicity. It’s important to keep the overall theme of the site, like the main background colors and font style, but you don’t have to be overly cute with the FAQ page.  Most FAQ feature a list of questions, to help  guide you to your question, so there is usually a lot of reading involved. Extra visuals can make it harder to focus on all the text one has to read. This brings me to my second point, a search bar is very helpful on your FAQ page. I would much rather type in my question, then look through a list of 20 questions to find my question. Now, if you don’t have a search bar, that is ok. Perhaps there are not enough possible questions to warrant a search bar. Just make the page simple, and do not have fancy visuals distracting the reader. There is nothing wrong with helpful images, just make sure they are relevant and relatively small.

Let’s take a look at three good examples.

  • Here is a good example by Drop Box. The web design is simple. It keeps the website theme colors and font. It has a search bar, which is a bonus.  It also has some cool visual images for categories, but they do not overwhelm the viewer and distract them from the question list to the left.
  • GitHub also has a nice simple visual design. This webpage does feature larger images, but it still is not overwhelming. It also includes a search bar, which is very useful. The light blue font of the questions are easy on the eyes and are visually appealing.
  • Netflix is a great example of a FAQ page that does feature a search bar, yet still has an efficient page. There subtitles in black bold for categories, then the questions are in light blue which stick out nicely. The Netflix banner still runs atop the page, but no large or fancy images detract from this page.

Not impressed with my examples? Spyres Studios put together a list of 30 good FAQ page examples. Take a look at those, and leave me a comment telling me your favorite ones.

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Could the pterosaurs actually fly?

(Credit Thomas Fortenberry)

Author Dave Homes has recently written an article posted on the Guardian dissolving some myths around the pterosaurs. He goes on to say

There are plenty of misconceptions and misinformation about pterosaurs around the internet and beyond (just for the record: they are not dinosaurs, nor the ancestors of birds, not called pterodactyls, didn’t have leathery wings, and are certainly not alive and well in New Guinea) but they are also a group which has had relatively little research attention paid to them compared to their more famous cousins.

According to Homes, the most obvious visual feature of the pterosaurs is their long 4th finger, which is commonly called a wing. Recent research, however, has began to question whether this was actually a “wing.” There is also a new debate regarding whether the pterosaurs could actually fly like a bird or glide like a flying frog. I am not qualified enough in this field to determine if these questions are fair or a waste of time. In fact, upon reading this article, I had to research the pterosaurs and get a basic definition of what I was going to write about. Thanks UC Berkeley!

In my opinion, the greatest evidence to a simple man like myself that a pterosaurs could fly is that their fossils have been discovered all over the globe (9th paragraph down on article). Homes says that fossils found all over the globe suggest that a pterosaurs could,  “move very long distances very quickly, including crossing oceans.” There are also pterosaurs footprints that have been discovered near sandy beaches. The footprints would trail off near the water, which of course the water would have washed them away millions of years ago. One could argue those were the pterosaurs final steps before taking off in flight over the ocean. Of course, one could also argue the pterosaurs could just be on the beach to hunt for fish or take a sip of water. Either way, I have no clue, I will leave this debate up to the real scientists. I’m just waiting for the next Jurassic Park to come out…

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The perfect fried egg

The folks over at the guardian have written an article about how to cook the perfect fried egg. Now, let me warn you…

“If you are completely confident in your abilities, and never find yourself disappointed by a sadly snotty white or tragically chalky yolk, then pat yourself on the back and then move along – I can teach you nothing.”

I would fall under the category of someone not completely confident in their abilities to a cook a fried egg, but it’s because I’m striving for perfection. My ultimate goal is to make an egg better than my girlfriends, so I have a tough task ahead of me.  The first tip is about the egg itself. I had no idea that taking a cold egg from the fridge will normally result in overcooking the yolk while trying to get the white to set. Who would have thought? The author recommends letting the egg come to room temperature before cooking it. How the heck am I supposed to know if the egg is at room temperature? I’m too lazy for that. If I am in a position where I need to cook, I’m usually on the brink of starvation. My patience is gone in times of hunger.

The author then looks at cooking fat and says butter is the best choice, which I agree with. The next discussions are tricks of the trade. The first is to cook the egg on the lowest possible heat. Well, once again, my patience is gone in times of hunger, so I’m not buying this tip. The second tip is actually from Martha Stewart, she says to add a teaspoon of water into the pan to help steam the egg. Now this is a simple idea, I will try this.

Overall, this article is interesting and has some valid points, but it left out some important factors to a perfect fried egg. The perfect fried egg is always made while camping, it is not made in the kitchen. An egg cooked over a campfire in a cast iron skillet with little amount of bacon grease, that is the perfect fried egg. Now you just need to throw in some potatoes and broccoli and you have the perfect breakfast. Don’t own a cast iron skillet? Check your local Tractor Supply or order online.

(Credit )

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Linking; What is it and why is it useful?

 

A link is a file path to another website on the internet.  This link could contain an image or a video, or just a great wall of text. Everyone on the web encounters links throughout a daily surf. So, why is it that people link? Well, the internet is full of people, users creating and sharing content. Most of these users are friendly and all these web users tend to help eachother out through linking.

When someone shares a good link online, it’s like a travel guide telling you where to find the best resturant in town, it is helpful. When good links are spread, it makes the internet a better place. So people link to be helpful. Now, some people send out bad links, these people are jerks. They may link to poorly written articles or link to viruses that damage your computer.  The internet is a mixed group of users, some jerks, but mainly friendly helpful people.

Another reason people link is so the web does not become cluttered with the same stories (eventhough it already is). For example, when Michael Jackson died, many stories were published online about his death. Some articles were very indepth and well written, so certain news companies would just link to that particular story instead of writing their own. Why not take advantage of a great news story and just link to it? It saves time from writing a sub-par article.

Linking is very useful especially if one wishes to build a positive online identity. Most bloggers and tweeters are successful because they have good links on their blogs or tweets. Sharing good content is beneficial to the web because it helps people find revelant websites faster. Just don’t be a jerk and link to bad content.

What makes content good? There is no specific answer. Usually a non-biased article, with information that can be backed up with facts. There are many variables that go into deeming what is ‘good’ content as everyone has different opinions. For example, I could share a link to a picture that I think is funny, say a man in a womens dress, but someone else may be offended by it. So just be careful, most people on the web are pretty sensitive.

So in summary, linking is providing a file path to another website. Linking to good content is beneficial, and linking to bad content is rude. What makes content good? You will have to be the judge, but mainly articles that are non-biased and have information that can be backed up with facts. Also, be careful to not offend anyone since every one is sensitive.

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Another blast of handy links

Ok, let’s keep this train rolling with more useful links.

  • So far I have referenced some articles on soda pop, full strength and diet. In a further attempt to prove how soda is bad, let’s try using images. This chart shows you how your diet soda intake is affecting your waist line. Thanks to Leah Goldman for the article supplying the chart. Now this image lays out all the downsides of soda like deterioration of tooth enamel, asthma, etc.
  • By now, I’ve clearly defined soda as bad and that college students should avoid it. By how do we kick the habit? Here are four good tips including asking yourself, “what am I even drinking this pop for anyway, the sugar, the caffeine?” If caffeine, then grab a green tea instead. If sugar, then try a fruit drink.
  • Tea and coffee, which one is the better one to choose? Here is a large image that weighs the pros and cons of each drink and compares the too. Here is a less technically worded image weighing the benefits of both drinks.
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Tips Before You Sip

So far, I’ve disucssed some helpful links about coffee, energy drinks, and soda pop. Let’s check out a few more interesting articles.

  • In my last post, I linked to an article explaining as to why soda is so bad for you, but how about diet soda? Does an increased risk of heart attack and stroke intice you to drink that diet coke?
  • We have all heard that is tea good for us, but why? The benefits include calorie free energy, a boolstered immune system, and more.
  • Arizona’s Green Tea is a popular choice for tea, but are the 70 calories too much to deem it unheathly?
  • A recent study at Ball State pits coffee vs. tea, and many interesting suggestions for tea  other than just green tea are presented in the closing paragraphs.
  • Fruit juices are a great source for an energy boost, everyone knows about apple and banana juice, but there are more options for fruit juices.
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What are college students drinking to stay awake & is it healthy?

 

Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of what we college students are drinking to stay awake. These links will give a sample of what my storify piece will look like.

  • What exactly is the problem with the excessive caffeine we take in? Our addiction is basically a drug addiction so we need information and help to combat this problem.
  • Energy drinks are not helping our cause, in fact the side effects are startlingly.  These side effects include headache, insomnia, chest pain, dizziness, and more.
  • Caffeine, Sugar, Guarana, Ginseng, Taurine; these are all common ingredients in energy drinks, but are they safe? 
  • Coffee is safe to drink in moderation, right? This will help you find out how much coffee is too much. 
  • Soda pop always seems to get the bad rap for obesity. Is it really that bad for you?

More links to follow in the upcoming days!

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What’s our liquid of choice to stay awake in class?

Let’s face it, as college students, it is a constant struggle to stay awake during class. Between a boring lecture, or lack of sleep, we always have a reason as to why our eyeballs feel like they are 100 lbs. As a result, we try many different things to stay awake. My upcoming storify piece will take an in depth look at the liquids we drink to keep us awake for class.

Ranging from energy drinks, coffee, soda, tea; I will take a look at how effective each drink is and the result it has on our body. Then the next time you feel the need to grab a drink for class, you will know which one is the healthiest and most effective!

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Why Curate?

As we all know, the internet is growing. According to Rohit Bhargava’s blog about social media curating, he says that,

“In just a few years we will reach a point where all the information on the Internet will double every 72 hours”

Wow! Think about that statistic for a second, every 3 days, all the content on the web doubles! The internet has a mass wealth of information, and it will continue to grow rapidly. The problem is, how can we efficiently shift through all this information? Yes, the internet is great because there are many useful websites, blog posts, tweets, etc. The internet, however, is also full of biased, incorrect, unappealing, and / or  lame information and content that we unfortunately have to look through. Think of the time we spend searching for good and useful content!

This is where curating comes into play. First, what does curating even mean? Well to curate, as defined by IU cinema director Jon Wicks in his interview by Film School Rejects states on the playable .mp3 that, “filtering out all the noise” and for specific cinema field, “bringing good film to your audience.” So curating means to filter out the bad and only keep good. Understanding your audience will help you realize what is the ‘bad’ to filter and what ‘good’ to keep.

For instance, say you write a blog about your favorite sports team. When you curate for your blog about the Miami Heat, you would not post tweets from the FakeLebronJames account or link to article like a biased website like Bleacher Report. You would , however, link to tweets from LebronJames (real account) and post articles from NBA.com

 

So curating is great, right? Curating online is like the friendly employee at the bookstore that helps you find exactly what aisle you should look in for ‘home gardening’ or ‘sports.’ So why not use curating to your advantage and make that a purpose of your blog?

 

 

Blogger Jay Rosen has a simple strategy for successful blogging.

So if your blog is based around the Miami Heat, then you should currate the best darn content about them. Dominate your topic with helpful links and content. Add in your own personal flare, your own style, and watch the success follow.

So why curate? Simply to create a better online experience for all web users. Still not grasping the concept of curating? Here are six examples.

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