http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/7890147/nfl-let-your-son-play-football

 

In the above ESPN article, columnist Ashley Fox talks about what is wrong with football. She talks about how it is so violent that she will never allow her son to play. She cites things like the huge number of players suing the league over concussions, the Saints bounty scandal, and the recent suicide of former linebacker Junior Seau as reasons why she won’t let her son play football. I’m not a fan of Ashley Fox, I think she’s one of those people who fails to see the forest for the trees. She won’t let her son play even pop warner football because of problems in the NFL, point in case.

I played football in middle school and it makes me think football is just about the best sport you can play. You gain way more life lessons being on a football team as a kid than any other sport and that’s because football asks something more from individuals and teams. Football is really the only sport where eleven average athletes can beat eleven superb athletes, teamwork is really a bigger factor in football than in baseball, hoops, or soccer. In football you have to be aware of what everyone else is doing rather than just focus on beating your man. In football you have to be aggressive like no other sport, and you have to learn how to get tackled and get back up. That’s how life is and it’s great that kids have an opportunity to learn that.

The fact that a game played by the most athletic men to ever walk the planet is dangerous does not mean that the same game played by teenagers is dangerous. And even if concussions are a risk in the NFL, they should look to change anything before the actual game. Arguments about changing the way the game is played have little legitimacy in my mind, because they’re usually made by people whose livelihood is football. All they care about is making sure the league has its money, I could care less about how rich the league is. I’ve always wondered why they dont try and put more money and effort into a health care program for retired players. No, instead the league will punish entire communities because of words not actions. See the bounty scandal. The NFL and football media appear corrupt to me, theyre way to concerned with the politics of the game as opposed to the people who make the game: fans players and coaches. Ashley Fox is part of that crowd and wouldn’t it be funny if her kid becomes the first table tennis injury or something? Just kidding but you know what I mean.

The draft is over and now we get to see a nice influx of new talent in the NFC South. Let’s see how I think everybody did.

New Orleans Saints: The Saints were without a pick until the third round which meant nothing to monumental was headed our way. Trading our 2012 first rounder was definitely worth it as Mark Ingram has shown a lot of promise that he can be a versatile back who will fit in our assault attack scheme. When you look at what we could’ve got at 27 this year, Im glad we have Ingram instead. Doug Martin or David Wilson? No thanks. We got a big d-tackle from Canada named Akiem Hicks with our first pick in the third. The guy is an  athletic freak but he has obvious concerns being from Canada. I loved our fourth round pick taking the big dude Nick Toon, gives our offense some more firepower. We then took a little safety from Samford who should probably switch to nickle back, and finished the 6th and 7th with two mammoth offensive lineman.

Atlanta Falcons: Little Brother did work trying to provide Matt Ryan a little more pass protection. In the second they took Pete Konz a big center from Wisconsin. He looks like an NFL caliber talent, but there are injury concerns, as he’s never completed a season without missing a game. In the third they took a tackle form Hattisburg named Lamar Holmes, he’s a huge dude who can maybe play the left side in the NFL if he gets his footwork down. Hes an aggressive blocker who should fit well with the cutblocking ATL o-line. They finished the draft taking a promising fullback and three guys for depth on defense. Their draft was smart, but I dont think Itll change this team’s runner up syndrome. I bet the Saints still sweep these dudes.

Carolina Panthers: The Panthers were pretty bad this past year so they got to pick early. They took Luke Kuechly from BC with the ninth pick. Kuechly is an inside linebacker who can do it all, but is truly excellent in coverage. Smart pick considering Jimmy Graham made these guys look like fools over the middle. The Panthers took a big dude named Amini Silatolu to play guard. He has starter potential but he’s very raw, well see how he turns out. The Panthers adressed their pass rush taking  Frank Alexander from Oklahoma and their receiving corps taking Joe Adams from Arkansas. Im not crazy about either of those guys, and I’m not crazy about the Panthers. I don’t see them finishing over .500 this year.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Bucs were really bad this past year, being awarded the fifth pick. They traded down to the seventh and took safety Mark Barron, who would be called elite if there was such a thing as an elite safety. Thats the problem I have with the pick, they should have stayed at fifth and taken Morris Claiborne but instead they took a guy they think can stop Jimmy Graham, Tampa you gotta be an actor not a reactor. They traded back into the first to take Doug Martin a tailback from Boise. I dont like Doug Martin, he’s tall slow and skinny. He’s versatile but that’s not Tampa, they’ve got some strong dudes, but is QB Josh Freeman the guy who can play the checkdown game? A lot of people are praising this draft, but I don’t like either of heir first two picks, and new coach Schiano is a garbage hiring in my mind. I see this team finishing below 6 wins.

 

WWOOF is a program where people go across the world volunteering on organic farms. Its name stands for World Wide Oppurtunities on Organic Farms. The deal is you work for free, and whoever your host is pays for all your expenses, usually minus the plane ticket. It’s a cool way to see the world while learning about alternative farming methods. Depending on where and who you work for you get time off to go see sights. Hosts range from families looking for a little help in their garden, to small commercial organic farms looking for  free labor. Picking the right type of host is really important, you can imagine how having to stay with some little family who’s like vegetarian or something could get really old. Usually you have really short hours, so the arrangement is pretty sweet. Most hosts give off weekends and allow you to hit up the town or go visit some nearby attraction.

This may seem like a really sick deal, but you’re signing up for more work than it sounds. Like I said you usually have to stay with your host, and a lot of times its an extra room in their house. You have to be able to get along with people who are probably a lot different than you. You can only imagine that the sort of people who keep organic farms and house travelers for free are probably going to be some weird people.

There’s different WWOOF organizations across the world, usually for just individual countries. WWOOF is most prominent in Europe, probably because thats where people are willing to work for free just so they can visit. I signed up for WWOOF France to check it out, and theres a cool book with all sorts of contacts for hosts looking for work. Like I said, some of these folks arent for everybody, some of these people are weird, but hey I guess that’s what you get.

I might do it after I graduate college, but it would be sweeter if my parents just paid for me to go screw around in Europe for a couple months instead.

http://wwoof.fr/

When you think about the spoken languages of western Europe, the obvious ones come to mind, English, French, Spanish, and German. There are other languages native to the land however. These languages hold their roots in the tribes and people who have inhabited the land for generations. The major spoken languages have largely replaced them as new peoples entered the land and language changed, but the old ones are still alive.

In the British Isles the Gaelic languages are still present. In the northern and western parts of Ireland Irish Gaelic is still prominent. Irish Gaelic is sometimes called Hibernian, coming from the ancient name of Ireland, Hibernia. Irish Gaelic has its roots in the proto-Gaelic peoples of Ireland who were Celts like Gaels, but not Gaels, the people who eventually became the prominent Celtic people of all the British Isles.

In Scotland you find Scotch Gaelic, a language that was once present anywhere that the Scottish went. It was used by Scottish members of the British militairy to disguise their conversation. In Nova Scotia, Scottish immigrants brought with them Gaelic idioms that are still present in many parts of Canada. Today Scotch Gaelic is under threat as speakers are on the decline. Counter efforts are being made as it is taught in schools, and street signs can be found in Gaelic.

In Wales, Welsh is very prominent. Welsh is another Celtic language that is not Gaelic. It is a Brythonic Celtic language. Welsh is so prominent that it is the only official language of the United Kingdom besides English. There are people in Wales who speak nothing but Welsh. Like Scottish it has been used to disguise military communications. Interestingly though, during the Falklands Wars the British chose to not use Welsh, because of the prominence of Welsh in Argentina. Welsh is actually spoken in Argentina, brought by Welsh colonists who spread the language where it is still spoken on occasion.

On the small isle of Manx, there is a Gaelic language called Manx. It is distinct from any other Celtic language. The language nearly went extinct but efforts have returned it to the people of Manx. Today there are a few hundred people fluent in the language, with a percentage of the islands population posessing some proficiency. 

There is only one Celtic language found in mainland Europe. The language Breton is spoken in the French region Breton, called Brittany in English. Breton is very distinct from any other Celtic language. It was Brought to the region by the people known as the Britons who sailed all along the west coast of Europe and actually brought Celtic language to Iberia, where its influence still exists today. Despite the huge amount of Breton speakers the language is critically endangered.

Brittany is a very populous region filled with the distinct Breton people. The younger generation however, was taught not to speak Breton. This was an effort taken by Charles de Gaulle that effectively killed similar indigenous languages like Provencal, Occidental, and Picard. The breton situation is tricky though, as there are still huge numbers of people who can teach todays youth, but those kids parents dont really speak Breton. Today there are moderate efforts being taken by the French government to preserve the language that the older generations are working hard with to save their language.

There’s all sorts of crazy languages across Europe. Iberia is home to many languages and peoples. The oldest spoken language in the world is Basque which is spoken in northern Spain and southwestern France. You also find Catalan, Galician, and Aragonese. In the low country, there’s all sorts of Flemish dialects like Frisian. In Scandinavia and Finland there is this Eskimo like people called the Lapps, they speak their own language. In Switzerland there is a really weird language called Romansch which is like 2000 year old Germanic mixed with Latin, its the weirdest thing. I went to Switzerland a couple summers ago and I was lost this time, and I was trying to ask this guy direction in French or German, I think he was speaking Romansch because I didnt have the slightest idea what he was saying.  

When you think about the spoken languages of western Europe, the obvious ones come to mind, English, French, Spanish, and German. There are other languages native to the land however. These languages hold their roots in the tribes and people who have inhabited the land for generations. The major spoken languages have largely replaced them as new peoples entered the land and language changed, but the old ones are still alive.

In the British Isles the Gaelic languages are still present. In the northern and western parts of Ireland Irish Gaelic is still prominent. Irish Gaelic is sometimes called Hibernian, coming from the ancient name of Ireland, Hibernia. Irish Gaelic has its roots in the proto-Gaelic peoples of Ireland who were Celts like Gaels, but not Gaels, the people who eventually became the prominent Celtic people of all the British Isles.

In Scotland you find Scotch Gaelic, a language that was once present anywhere that the Scottish went. It was used by Scottish members of the British militairy to disguise their conversation. In Nova Scotia, Scottish immigrants brought with them Gaelic idioms that are still present in many parts of Canada. Today Scotch Gaelic is under threat as speakers are on the decline. Counter efforts are being made as it is taught in schools, and street signs can be found in Gaelic.

In Wales, Welsh is very prominent. Welsh is another Celtic language that is not Gaelic. It is a Brythonic Celtic language. Welsh is so prominent that it is the only official language of the United Kingdom besides English. There are people in Wales who speak nothing but Welsh. Like Scottish it has been used to disguise military communications. Interestingly though, during the Falklands Wars the British chose to not use Welsh, because of the prominence of Welsh in Argentina. Welsh is actually spoken in Argentina, brought by Welsh colonists who spread the language where it is still spoken on occasion.

On the small isle of Manx, there is a Gaelic language called Manx. It is distinct from any other Celtic language. The language nearly went extinct but efforts have returned it to the people of Manx. Today there are a few hundred people fluent in the language, with a percentage of the islands population posessing some proficiency. 

There is only one Celtic language found in mainland Europe. The language Breton is spoken in the French region Breton, called Brittany in English. Breton is very distinct from any other Celtic language. It was Brought to the region by the people known as the Britons who sailed all along the west coast of Europe and actually brought Celtic language to Iberia, where its influence still exists today. Despite the huge amount of Breton speakers the language is critically endangered.

Brittany is a very populous region filled with the distinct Breton people. The younger generation however, was taught not to speak Breton. This was an effort taken by Charles de Gaulle that effectively killed similar indigenous languages like Provencal, Occidental, and Picard. The breton situation is tricky though, as there are still huge numbers of people who can teach todays youth, but those kids parents dont really speak Breton. Today there are moderate efforts being taken by the French government to preserve the language that the older generations are working hard with to save their language.

There’s all sorts of crazy languages across Europe. Iberia is home to many languages and peoples. The oldest spoken language in the world is Basque which is spoken in northern Spain and southwestern France. You also find Catalan, Galician, and Aragonese. In the low country, there’s all sorts of Flemish dialects like Frisian. In Scandinavia and Finland there is this Eskimo like people called the Lapps, they speak their own language. In Switzerland there is a really weird language called Romansch which is like 2000 year old Germanic mixed with Latin, its the weirdest thing. I went to Switzerland a couple summers ago and I was lost this time, and I was trying to ask this guy direction in French or German, I think he was speaking Romansch because I didnt have the slightest idea what he was saying.  

The world’s largest crocodile can be found in the Philippines. His name is Lolong and at 20 foot 3 inches hes is the biggest crocodile of all time. Lolong is a native of Bunawan, Philippines where he was terrorizing villagers, he is the suspected killer of several fisherman.Last September, the locals decided enough was enough and stalked the croc for three days. It took a team of 100 men to take croc alive. After capture he was taken to the Bunowan Ecopark, where his status as the largest crocodile in captivity was confirmed.

ImageLolong is a saltwater crocodile, the largest species of the crocodilians. The previous title holder was an Australian saltwater crocodile named  Cassius who comes in at 17 foot 10 inches. Many experts and crocodile hunters believe there are even larger crocodiles out there though. The hunters who captured Lolong said that in the same Bunowan marshes, there are larger crocodiles to be found.

Saltwater crocodiles are found across southeast Asia and Oceania. In all there are 12 species of crocodiles and they can be found across the globe.

In America, the American crocodile is found across South Florida. Its range also includes the Carribean and the north coast of South America. So it’s not just gators in the states we have crocodiles who are even bigger and more active. I would be more afraid of a croc than a gator, and a gator is the scariest animal I’ve come across.

In the Amazon, you can find a relative of the crocodile called the caiman. It is much smaller than crocodiles and even alligators. Its diet includes fish and capybaras, but it gets preyed on by huge anacondas as well as jaguars. Like gators, caiman nearly went extinct due to extensive hunting for leather. Extensive conservation work has brought them back to health numbers, and caiman is more commonly used in leather work than the old standard, the american alligator.

Perhaps the funniest looking of the crocodilians is the gharial of India. The gharial has an extremely thin snout, ideal for hunting schools of fish. Gharials were at one time common all over south India and the Ganges river delta. Now they are among the most endangered of all the crocodilians.

Gigantic crocodiles like Lolong prove that the world still kind of has its dragons. Just because they arent cute doesnt mean we shouldnt look out for these magnificent creatures, support worldwide sonservation efforts so we can see even bigger crocodiles. 

It has been two years since the BP oil rig Deep Horizon busted and oil spilt everywhere, but the effects are still being felt. 

The Gulf of Mexico is home to more than 40% of the nation’s seafood yield, and finding show that many species have been significantly harmed by the oil spill. Fishers are reporting finding shrimp with no eyes or even no eye sockets. White shrimp are being pulled up with tumors and pregnant females with abnormally developed offspring. Blue crabs are in big trouble as well, fishers are pulling up crab with no claws and soft rotting shells. While crustaceans have it the worst, lots of fish aren’t doing so hot either. Fish with abnormally developed gills as well as oozing lesions. What most fishermen and processors are saying is the same, theyve never seen anything like this before.

It’s not certain at this point how the sealife is being harmed, but it could have something to do with the chemicals BP used to sink the large amounts of floating oil. The solvent called Corexit was the most commonly used dispersant. It is known to be toxic to humans, but its effect on ecosystems is thusfar undocumented. It is suspected that the way the chemical’s residuals linger in the water could be the cause of the abnormalities we are seeing in sealife. Also the way it works with oil is not altogether a clean process. It sinks large deposits of oil and usually renders the stuff harmless, but often it allows large tarballs to form, and these are being pulled up in crab traps more often than ever. Tarballs are known to kill crabs, practically rotting them from the inside out.

The issue is that BP may have used a chemical that they werent entirely familiar with. It is possible that Corexit will be just as deadly to marine life as the oil it was supposed to clean up. While the FDA inisists that Gulf Seafood is healthy and safe to eat, it is uncertain whether the marine life there is safe and living healthily. As events unfold we will see how the Gulf can recover. In the meantime anyone can help the Gulf by buying local seafood available in grocery stores to help the struggling fisherman, and those whose livelihoods depend on one of America’s greatest assets.

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