Today is April the twentieth, a date cannabis enthusiasts across America mark on their calenders. The date is celebrated as a holiday for smoking weed and is referred to as “Four-Twenty”. The festivities of the day include smoking a lot of pot and generally slacking off. Across the nation there will be some huge smokeouts as the clock strikes 4:20 p.m. Among the largest of these gatherings will be University of Michigan’s annual Hash Bash and the smoke out on Colorado at Boulder’s campus. While the holiday is primarily an American observance, it is celebrated worldwide with people in Canada, Australia and New Zealand getting in on the act. 420 is more than a holiday celebrated on April twentieth its stoner lexicon for all sorts of stuff, you can say it to just add marijuana connotations to something. For example if you wanted to ask somebody discretely if their parents were okay with you smoking in the house you could say “are they 420 friendly?”.

There are all sorts of theories as to where 420 came from, and theyre all wrong, except for one. 420 is not the number of chemicals in pot. Its not the highway that the original kush pushers trafficked on. Its not the day Jim Morrison, Jimmy Hendricks, or Janis Joplyn died on. Its not any sort of police radio code. To find the origins of 420 we must travel back in time to 1971 San Rafael High School in San Rafael California.

There was a squad of stoners who would meet by a statue of Louis Pasteur at 4:20 and smoke doobies and stuff. They started to use the saying “420 Louis” as an all purpose discrete pot reference. They could use it during class to ask each other if they were down later, or if they looked stoned, or what their bud game looked like. The authenticity of this claim has been repeatedly been authenticated by High Times Magazine, a counter culture authority.

Happy 420!

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The New Orleans Saints have named assistant/linebackers coach Joe Vitt interim head coach going into the regular season. This comes after speculation that the Saints might try and lure Bill Parcells out of retirement. It’s a little bit of a surprise because Joe Vitt must serve a six game suspension to begin the season. The Saints say that they will choose a coach to serve in his place during his suspension, the decision is expected to come during training camp. Potential candidates include offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael, and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.

The move caught some flack because Vitt is not a well known name across the league, he’s not necessarily a high up position like Carmichael or Spags(Spagnuolo). I was watching ESPN First Take and Skip Bayless was talking about how the Saints chose Vitt to appease Goodell. He didnt have a high opinion of Vitt and he didn’t think Goodell would either, as opposed to getting a big figure like Parcells. He suggested that it would all be on Drew Brees this year because the Saints would be without the same degree of coaching benefit.

While I kind of agree that there won’t be the same kind of coaching presence this year for the Saints, I don’t think he understands what the Saints will be getting from Joe Vitt.  Joe Vitt may not be one of the biggest name positions and the linebackers may have been spotty these past couple of years, but Vitt is a well respected figure in the clubhouse. Sean Payton had Joe Vitt named his assistant head coach when he came to New Orleans, even though Vitt had been in talks with the Jets about the head coaching job. Vitt service included many years as a defensive assistant, and an interim gig as head coach for the 2005 Rams. Head coach Mike Martz was unavailable due to illness, and Vitt stepped in during week 5 and coached the remainder of the season.

This is pretty good experience for the job he’s got this year. The guy has interim head coach experience. He is a no-nonsense type of guy with a motto of “no excuses, play like a champion”. He knows how Payton’s system works and it’ll be his job to make sure that system of winning is working properly. I think that with the team and staff we’ve got, he’ll be well equipped to successfully complete his task.


This past month it has become public that the New Orleans Saints operated a bounty system during the 2009-2011 seasons. The bounty program consisted of a pool that consisted of as much as $50,000. The money was provided by players on the Saints defense as well as contributions from former defensive coordinator Greg Williams. The system rewarded players payments of up to 1,500, with playoff bonuses, for hits that took opposing players out the game.

Since the news became public, controversy has swirled around the club. ESPN senior analyst Mark Clayton declaring the scandal worse than the Patriots Spygate, and calling for the NFL to punish them accordingly. Former Saints players have spoken up in defense of the club, namely Darren Sharper, who discredited claims that the Saints aimed to injure their opponents. He went on to say that big hit bounty programs have been in the league his entire career and that they are found in most NFL locker rooms. It appears that Williams operated similar systems while he coached at Buffalo, Tennessee, and Washington so already there’s evidence to back Sharper’s statement. Despite this, media attention towards the Saints has been entirely negative, with some pundits trying to take away from the Saints run of dominance over the past few years.

I am disgusted by how people are treating the situation, and believe it to be solely a campaign to put dirt on the Saints. The NFL has released no statements as to how, and why they got this information on the Saints. The NFL claims to be acting in the interest in player safety, but rather than make any significant strides in that respect, they’re just putting a single team on the cross. I do believe that almost every team in the NFL has a similar program or at least looks to knock out their opponents players. The NFL could have acknowledged this by having a summit on the matter where all teams could get their new approach towards bounty systems.

If the NFL actually cared about player safety, they’d insure their players lifelong health insurance. They are fully financially capable of this but refuse to do so. They will burn the Saints for rewarding big hits, but turn around and sell those hits on NFL.com as part of biggest hits DVD collections. They refuse to acknowledge that the players who make them their money, choose to operate these systems, with their own money. And like 1500 of your teammates money is any sort of financial incentive to guys making 2.5 million a year(a low estimate for an average defensive starter). The NFL is a corrupt bunch of greedy bastards, and the less power they have, the better the game.

P. 5-15

•2001: A space Odyssey was directed by Stanley Kubrick

•Kids who grew up with the web are sometimes called “Generation Net”

•Tim Berners-Lee wrote the code for the world wide web

•Star Wars came out in 1977

•Apple Computer Company was incorporated in 1977

P. 16-26

•The Prussian Army fielded mounted artillery units

•The type writer invigorated writers across the world

•Sigmund Freud worked out of Vienna, Austria

•William James was an American psychologist whose signature work was Principles of Psychology

•Dualism is a theory pioneered by Rene Descartes

P. 27-37

•An Aplysia is a type of sea slug

•”Tabula Rasa” is a term used to describe the state of mid we are born with, a blank slate

•Plasticity is the normal ongoing state of the nervous system throughout the life span

•David Buller argues that natural selection has left us with a brain that can adapt to our surroundings but not have prefabricated adaptions

•The hippocampus is a part of the brain that stores information

P. 38-48

•Mental maturation can be traced through simple things we do as children like drawing pictures, and how we get better at drawing

•Civilization’s developments in many areas parallel the developments in individuals like how we have gotten better at map making

•Through the middle ages, the keeping of time was regarded as an honor that humans possessed as stewards of the earth.

•Cities in Europe vied with one another as to who had the best clock tower

•The technology debate has two sides, determinists and instrumentalists

P. 49-59

•H.G. Wells author of the book World Brain, notes how mankind has undergone grave change in his social life and habits
•Learning how to read shapes the brain more than almost any other skill development

•As long ago as 8000 BC people used tools to keep track of quantities of things

•The Phoenicians invented the alphabet

•Plato wrote Phaedrus a dialogue about love beauty and rhetoric

P. 60-70

•In most early writing words were not separated by spaces and instead ran as a continuous script

•In ancient society a reader’s value was measured by how thoroughly he could read, not necessarily how fast he could read

•Scriptura continua was how continuous script was referred to as, and it was a pain to write

•The monk Guibert of Nogent was monk who wrote some of the most unorthodox stuff of his time

•Johannes Gutenberg changed the world with his 1445 invention the wordpress

P. 71-81

•The audion was inventede by De Forest

•Books were instrumental in the exchange of ideas that has ocurred over time

•Lope de Vega felt that there was too much print in this world to be sure of anything

•Gibbon was a scholar who wrote extensively on the fall of the Roman Empire

•The audion helped connect the country through communication

P. 82-92

•Computers speak a language of ones and zeroes called binary code

•A turing test is a test performed to determine the aptitude of artificial intelligence

•The web is different from other media in that it is bidirectional, information constantly travels both ways

•The Chinese waste more of their time on the computer than anyone else, they spend 44% of their leisure time on the internet

•The internet has not stopped people from watching tv, we watch as much tv as we ever have

P. 93-103

•The oldest newspaper in Colorado is the Rocky Mountain News

•The Guardian is a popular news magazine commonly found in the UK

•Television shows, namely Late Night with Jimmy Fallon are aimed to attract web surfers as much as TV viewers

•Of all media, the most resistant to the web is the book

•This is largely true because there is not too much difference between a computer monitor an a TV screen

P. 104-114

•In Japan something called cellphone novels are very popular

•The most popular cellphone author is a guy called simply Rin

•Nowadays there’s all sorts of ways to write books, you can write a book on Microsoft Powerpoint

•The French poet and politician Alphonse de Lamartine  declared that thought spread across the world faster than anything else

•A digital media scholar named Clay Shirky does not mourn the death of high reading, he thinks it sucked all along

P. 115-125

•The internet leaves us with what one could call a juggler’s brain

•The internet is such a fluid chain of distractions that one never stays in one spot too long

•Of all media the net commands our attention the most intensely

•Michael Merzenich believes that the extensive use of the internet has neurological consequences

•The use of the internet for learning develops skills but deteriorates others

P. 126-136

•Schools first heavily invested in computers during the 1980s

•In a 2001 study Canadian students made people read a book on the internet and other people read a book conventionally

•The study found that people better understand what they read when they read it in a book and not off the computer

•The web uses a combination of technology to make something called hypermedia

•Studies show that things you learn on the internet, you forget quickly

P. 137-147

•People who play video games intensely have the ability to identify more things in their vision than people who do not

•The type of thinking you do on the internet does increase the capacity of your working memory

•The net is making us smarter but only if we define intelligence by the net’s standards

•It has been speculated that the web is destroying our deep thinking abilities

•People have steadily got smarter over time, by IQ score

P. 148-158

•Frederick Taylor carried out some historic experiments that boosted the efficiency of factory efficiency

•Frederick Taylor’s masterpiece was the book The Principles of Scientific Management

•The Google headquarters are called the Googleplex

•On the web design is more a science than an art

•Neil Postman reworked much of Taylor’s ideas for the internet in a book called Technopoly

P. 159-169

•The New York Public Library is a huge library and one of the most prestigious libraries in the world

•The library is famous for the lions that guard the entrances

•It is the fate of all art and literature to be digitalized and stored away on some computer

•Leo Marx examined technology’s impact upon American culture in his book The Machine in the Garden

•Franklin Delano Roosevelt had advisers who he consulted on matters about technology in culture during World War II

P. 170-180

P. 181-191

P. 192-202

P. 203-213

P. 214-225

In his book, The Shallows, Nicholas Carr examines various affects the internet has had upon society, particularly how we as individuals engage literature. He makes the argument that the internet has shortened our attention span and made us a generally more distracted people. He argues that its convenience comes with a price. On the internet, people can meander through a great deal of information, that would take focus and intelligence to delve from books. He states that this level of convenience we experience on the web has made us a generally lazier people. While information on the internet is revolutionary, just like the first appearance of writing thousands of years ago, he stresses that it lacks real depth, hence the title, The Shallows.

Watch a clip of Renoir’s The River, and then one from 2008’s Slumdog Millionaire, and you’ll see what Carr’s talking about. The piece from Renoir’s movie consists of a traditional dance accompanied by some exotic sounding music in some unfamiliar Indian tongue. It makes you sit still and watch, without knowing what to think. It’s a piece of a cultural tapestry that the viewer is meant to be unfamiliar with. It doesn’t really leave you with a better knowledge of what India is like, but it shows you something that is for some reason important to India, and that’s what one might call deep knowledge. The clip from Slumdog Millionaire is more a piece of entertainment. There’s little dialogue, we just watch some Indian kids hustle while a catchy song from MIA plays. Granted that it may be a really accurate depiction of how life is like over there, it’s just how it was delivered.

The NFL’s Carolina Panthers have introduced a refined logo and a new font. This is the first logo change the team has instituted since their inception in 1995. In a team issued statement, Panthers President Danny Morrison speaks on the logo saying, “We have one of the finest and most recognizable logos in the NFL and wanted to make it as modern as possible without losing the dramatic essence of the mark”. The changes to the old logo are subtle, but noticeable. Gone is the blue trim, and the whiskers are now a more subtle Carolina blue. The panthers face however, is noticeably more defined, with a fiercer more muscular look. The font, or logotype, has undergone more dramatic change, it’s no longer that intense nineties style, it’s a more clean cut look, reminiscent of a comic book cover.

The old Panthers logo on top, with the refined one on bottom.

I like the new logo, it looks sleeker and meaner. Now that they’ve lost that trim, they need to look into getting black helmets, because this new logo would look savage on a black helmet. I’ve never seen the Panthers wear an all black uniform, but now’s a good time to bring one out. As much as I like the new logo, I’m not really crazy about the new logotype, it’s just too bland for me. The old font does look dated, it’s got that nineties style, but it’s intense and instantly recognizable. I don’t even see what’s wrong with the logotype looking nineties style anyway, this team was in fact, founded in the nineties, so why not let people know with that unmistakable font?

This logo and logotype were designed by something called the NFL creative department, which isn’t as cool as if the Panthers had gone to a local graphic design firm and contracted their own new logo. But as the NFL has grown more corporate and centralized, team’s visual presence has become more uniform and a little dull. Nike takes over equipment duties from Reebok next year, and hopefully they’ll bring a little more individuality when it comes to graphic design.

 

The New Orleans Saints are heading into the off season with several key contributors due to expire, and free agency is approaching rapidly. The list of unsigned players includes such names as Drew Brees, Marques Colston, and Carl Nicks. While it’s assumed that franchise quarterback Drew Brees will resign the Saints, it is bothersome that he has remained unsigned this long. What’s more bothersome is that Brees is just one of the players whose potential absence would be sorely felt.

All-Pro Guard Carl Nicks is set to become a free agent, he is coming off a great year, so he’s going to want a big contract, and if the Saints wont pay him, someone else will. Losing Carl Nicks would be a huge deal as his role in protecting Brees is crucial to the success of the Saints. Wide receiver Marques Colston will also demand to be paid like a top receiver, and when you look at his numbers, you can’t fault him for it. In his 6 years with the Saints, he’s racked up a 1,000  yards 5 times. His dominance at the wideout position is a key to the team’s success in opening up the pass game.

Besides those big three, wide receiver Robert Meachem and cornerback Tracy Porter will also become free agents. Meachem has continued to contribute as he’s had 600 plus yards recieving for 3 straight years. Porter is a quality nickel back,  but his play hasn’t been as sharp as it was during the 2009-2010 season. There is a strong chance that these two players could find themselves with a new team that will simply shell out more money.

The Saints only have so much cap room, and with some new faces in coaching, there are bound to be some personnel changes.  Let’s see how well the Saints can keep this talented squad together, and what new players they bring into replace some departingBrees and the reliable Marques Colston old faces.