Blog Post 4: Immersed in Incivility.

Are negative ads a reflection of an uncivil culture or do they encourage incivility? Are our politicians and their actions tributes to our own actions and ideals or do their choices spawn a chain reaction of incivility? How should we, as voters and engaged citizens, respond? These are some of the questions Brooks and Greer attempt to answer in their article “Beyond Negativity” The Effects of Incivility on the Electorate.”

Their study surveyed a national sample of adults who recorded their responses to a series campaign ads, which the authors of this study produced These ads were based off of real campaign ads. These replications were designed to test three dimensions of campaign advertisements.

The first dimension of the study addressed the positivity and negativity. Basically, if an ad is positive, it focuses on something everyone loves. These ads focus on things like education, butterflies, rainbows, or puppies


Kisses and puppies? I mean, what more are you looking for, America?

The team chose to use negative ads that focused on the unfavorable aspects of a candidate’s opponent.

Screen Shot 2014-03-02 at 7.24.27 PM

Really, Romney? Really?

The second dimension of the study centered on trait vs issue focus ads. “Trait” ads attack the personal characteristics of a candidates’ opponent.


While “issue” focused ads attack flawed policies of a candidate’s opponent.


The third dimension of the study focuses on determining whether an ad is negative and uncivil or simply negative. An ad is both negative and uncivil when it crosses the line into the realm of excessive criticism without adding any new substantive information.

The authors recognize that this study is not definitive, since it relies solely on opinion. However, they do feel like they can conclude (like authors Nkonge, Stone, Cort, and Blodgett of “The Moderating Influence of Political Involvement on Voters’ Attitudes Toward Attack Ads,” as well as teh authors of my article) that “those least-liked, least-valued kinds of messages may modestly stimulate two things that we tend to care a great deal about as a society: political interest and improving likelihood to vote.”


Why we are where we are

In my last blog I talked about a website that I got off the reference list of the book Medieval Science and Technology. In this blog post I am going to focus on the book itself, specifically chapter two: Institutional History. This chapter holds a particular interest for me, one because without the development of universities I would not be where I am now (at a university) and two because universities is one of the arguments the Cracked article uses to dispute the myth scientific progress was dead in the Middle Ages.

ImageThis is a picture of Cambridge University. Take a wild guess at when it was established…Yep the good old Middle Ages.

Early schools during the Middle Ages were called Cathedral Schools, because the schools were often attached to the cathedrals. *Side note: the Gothic cathedrals and churches built during the Middle Ages is another example of how science and technology flourished and was not dead. More about that later.* Cathedral Schools were replaced by Universities during the late twelfth century. These universities were the first of their kind and set a standard that is still used today.

“The university, a medieval invention, was the first educational institution in history to provide a required curriculum and a systematic program of study and examinations leading to the awarding of a recognized degree and professional licenses”

-Elspeth Whitney (author of Medieval Science and Technology)

The curriculum of the universities included the translated works of Aristotle (Greek Philosopher) and Arabic commentators. The Arabic had been translating Aristotle and other Greek works for sometime and had started to develop ideas of their own. When Europe came into contact with these ideas and works, they saw how beneficial it would be to have copies they could read. All of these works were extremely important because they gave the universities a foundation of curriculum that they could prove, debate, and challenge. These works were a spring board for Medieval scholars to create their own ideas from.

ImageThis image is a small portion of the famous painting The School of Athens by Raphael. Aristotle is on the right with dark hair and his teacher, Plato, is on the left with gray hair.

The Cracked article seems to have done a pretty good job on getting their facts right. Correctly stating that universities were started up during this time and that they were big into the translation of Aristotle and Plato. They do speed through the important roles that the universities played in history, but they get their point across.

Relatable Source Pt. 2

Work. Unless you do what you love every day, you’re more likely to wake up looking like this…


Besides this cute picture of this little boy, the Cracked article 6 Ways Your Office Is Literally Killing You is basically trying to inform the audience of the different things around the office could potentially harm you. They try and get the audience attention through the many statistical facts through the different sources they use within the article.

For example, the writer says that a printer gives off a “toner” which can end up giving you a type of lung disease, siderosilicosis.

This article is the same as the one I wrote about on Blog Post 3, however it does have some similarities to the first article that I wrote about on Blog 2. For one, both have something to do with health and the fact that there are ways you could die from them. Not only does it have something to do with your health, but also the fact that they’re the weirdest ways to think about on how it could potentially hurt you.

Blog Post #4: Money News, Now With Pictures… Or… Picture…

The news article “China vs. Japan: The Winner? The Us… ” seek to convince the reader that foreign countries buying up our debt is a good thing. The provide some really interesting data, like this amazing graph!

Basically, it is saying that, while China and Japan are buying up more of our debt, it is gaining them less profit, and that, because of this, they will buy up even more debt. It says that, in the long run, this can only be great for America. While this isn’t mentioned directly in the Cracked article, it definitely supports what the article is trying to persuade the reader to believe.

Do I Have To…?

A friend of mine who is currently in school to become a teacher recently informed me that nowadays, the only requirement a person needs to become a teacher is to simply take a test. This was crazy to me! Even my mom, who was a substitute teacher, had to take a course in order to have her own classes. If this is true, what does this say about who has been educating us? If we went to school being taught to go to college by someone who just took a test giving them permission to teach us that, why should we listen?

In my previous blog post, the references were from a book. In this book, there is a chapter on high school seniors’ plans after they graduate. Their studies were broken up into gender, and of those who planned on working after graduation and those who planned on going to school. Of the girls, their studies were broken down even further to which chose to become nurses or go to business school. They also mentioned that parent attitudes toward college played a very important role in students’ decisions about attending college.

I Am Number Four and I Enjoy Those Happy Pills

So over the course of these blog post i have been kinda jumping around within my topic. From now on I am going to focus more on how depression as a whole affects people. So for this post i found more medical articles to help define what depression is. This is all still going with my original myth of misconceptions people have about depression.

Depression does not just affect the individual who is suffers from but also close friends and family members as well.  With depression you have a lack of motivation.

Depression is a continuous battle with your emotions, and a struggle just to make it through the day. We see anti-depressant commercials that give us a small look into what it is like to deal with it.

Antidepressants also known as happy pills

I say again depression can affect anyone, any gender, at any age. This mental disease does not discriminate.




Ladies and Gentlemen, The eccentric Mark Cuban

I chose to look further into the Article in European Sport Management Quarterly. They were testing possible referee bias towards league teams and affiliated people. More Specifically The Dallas Mavericks and Mark Cuban. They analyzed 7 seasons of Mavericks basketball, including 654 games and 77 different referees.  Using 3 different z-scores, the most widely accepted statistical measurement, they measured number of games one by the mavericks when a specific referee was working, also accounting for the expected margin of victory. They chose the Mavericks because of owner, Mark Cuban‘s reputation with the NBA and referees especially. He’s actually been quoted in the article saying “Better refs that approach the game objectively miss fewer calls.”

Mark Cuban Antics

Their results showed no negative effects on the performance of the Dallas Mavericks by referees in that 7 year span. There was only 1 case where a referee had a “significantly adverse effect” on the Mavericks’ performance in analysis of the 80 playoff games the teams played. The researchers also list their limitations in the study. They did not analyze any games prior to Mark Cuban’s reign as owner which could have provided a control group. They also admit, in the title even, that their study is just a “starting point” for future studies.

Comparing to the previous article about referee biases, this article takes a completely different stance. The previous, which broke down referee calls in certain situations, claims that there were certain biases. The 2 studies differ in their methods and theories in general. This article was testing if there were negative biases towards a team with an overbearing owner. The previous tested, not an individual team, but all teams in a certain situation (Losing game, losing series, or home team).

The cracked article “3 reasons why people think the NBA is as rigged as wrestling” is looking at the NBA as a whole. These studies assess the referees that work for the NBA. While they don’t necessarily make the same claim, the cracked article relates to the academic articles greatly. Since the referees work for the NBA that would be how Commissioner Stern affects the outcomes of games and seasons.


“Food Miles” and Their Effects on the Environment

The article I am researching for my topic is titled “Food, Fuel, and Freeways:
An Iowa perspective on how far food travels, fuel usage, and greenhouse gas emissions.” There are four experimenters from three organizations. One is a student at Iowa State, another is an assistant professor at Northern Iowa, and the last two are from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. In this article, the four experimenters are testing to see if locally grown food is actually better for you, based on carbon dioxide emissions into the environment. The bulk of their experiment is testing the “food miles” of each kind of food. The food miles are the number of miles it takes to get the food from where it is grown to the market where it is sold to the public.

One of the methods they used in this experiment was the LCA, or Life Cycle Assessment. This process is used for performing integral analysis of the environmental impacts of products throughout their “life cycle.” They found that apples have about an average of 23 MJ/kg energy consumption, while ground beef got up to as much as 65 MJ/kg.

(Picture taken from

The results of the experiment were as follows: The conventional food system’s semitrailers had 17 times higher fuel use and carbon dioxide emissions compared with the 2 semitrailers in the Iowa-based regional system, and 8.5 times higher fuel use and carbon dioxide emissions than the midsize trucks in the Iowa-based regional system. The conventional food system’s semitrailers traveled 17 times farther than the semitrailers in the Iowa-based regional system, and it was six times farther than the midsize trucks in the regional system.

In conclusion, the local food systems emitted much more carbon (about 17 times worth) than the regional semitrailers.

Blog Post 4: Bacon Cures Hangovers and Appetites!

In my blog post 3 I talked about an article at, It talks about how many people think there is not a cure for a hangover however they say there is one. They state that a bacon sandwich can actually cure hangovers. The article just gives scientific facts backing their claim. The writers say that a bacon sandwich cures a hangover by boosting the levels of amines which clear the head. The article does not say what can not be determined from the results.

Looking back on blog post 2 the studies were very similar in how they backed their claim. They both studies why people like bacon and why its good for them in multiple ways. The articles claim is very close to the Cracked writers claim.

FDA Does It Even Know What’s Going On?

I started out my search by selecting the database that I wanted to search in. I selected ProQuest to do my search in.

The challenges with searching in a database were finding enough sources. On most of my searches I had to make them more general to find more than one or two sources. This is different than my past experiences because I always have too many sources come up. I found four sources that I thought would be good to add to my list of sources. The sources that I found were very useful.

My article from The New York Times said, “The food industry has already been fighting legislation in the Senate backed by Dianne Feinstein of California that would ban bisphenol-A, commonly found in plastics and better known as BPA, from food and beverage containers.” My article BPA In Plastic Bottles-Another View says that the FDA made a mistake in reviews of studies about BPA causing harm. It also says that they failed to take into account the fact that microwaving could increase the amount of BPA in baby formula or milk. The FDA also relied too much on studies made by companies that make BPA. The Eco-Safe Kitchen talks about the different ways to avoid using plastic around food. Not only when it comes to heating food but also different ways to store food.  Most Plastic Products Release Estrogenic Chemicals: A Potential Health Problem that Can Be Solved talks about how EA or estrogenic activity can be released in commercial plastics. The article also talks about how plastics that say they are BPA can release more EA chemicals than plastics that have BPA. All of the articles that I have found from ProQuest contradict what my article said about microwaving food in plastic. My article said that microwaving food with plastic does not release toxins. However, the articles that I found from ProQuest say that it does release toxins.