The Secret Is Out

The Secret Is Out

Throughout the world, many children still believe in some form of Santa Claus. Father Christmas, St. Nick, and other monikers address the magical creature who somehow manages to deliver presents to believers around the globe. As children begin to grow older, they usually realize the impossibility of this feat and turn to their parents for answers. This is usually the time where children begin to change their thinking and experience the shift from receivers to givers. The holiday season is still enjoyable, and perhaps even more rewarding, when people have the opportunity to give presents to others. Specialist Ken Griffin says that the inevitability of children growing up and understanding that Santa Claus is not real is part of the experience. When you’re an adult you understand the feeling of waiting for Christmas presents on Christmas Eve and associating that experience with Santa Claus – who was not-so fictional at the time.

Helping those in need was the main motivation behind the organization of the infamous Secret Santa programs. Families and coworkers already subscribe to the system within their own communities, and the local success sparked an international movement. The 2014 Secret Santa movement now includes more than 176 countries who have committed to sending packages to children and families in poverty-stricken areas. Gifts to be wrapped and distributed include toys, clothing, personal hygiene products, and much more. This philanthropic project meets an immediate need and also helps raise awareness of the millions of suffering families that need assistance throughout the year.

Billy Cosby Fights Rape and Sexual Assault Accusations

Billy Cosby Fights Rape and Sexual Assault Accusations

Billy Cosby is hailed as one of the favorite entertainers of his time. He was credited for reviving the entire sitcom genre through his popular TV show, The Cosby Show. The reputation of this star is stake after several women accused him of raping or sexually manipulating them.

Although I didn’t hear his interview on NPR, Brad Reifler and Reuters confirmed that Cosby refused to answer questions about the claims last week. The comedian only shook his head and brushed off the question from the journalist. This followed the cancellation of a show in which he was expected to feature to promote his collection of African art.

The rape accusations have been in public domain for years now but nobody believed them until recently when several women came out to accuse the comedian. Speaking to the Daily Mail Online, one of the victims, Barbara Bowman, said that the 77 year old comedian started manipulating her in 1985 when she was barely 17 years old. Bowman said that the comedian flew her to shows and instructed her to act as if he was her father. After the shows, the comedian would manipulate her sexually.

The victims claim that their cry could not be listened because Cosby was highly respected during his illustrious career. He raised eyebrows when he published his biography earlier this year without a mention of these claims. In 2006, the comedian had an out-of-court settlement with a woman who had accused him of rape.

Glow-in-the-Dark Bike Path is a Tribute to Vincent Van Gogh

Glow-in-the-Dark Bike Path is a Tribute to Vincent Van Gogh

The Dutch are leading the way in energy conservation, and the newest bike path in the Netherlands is no exception. Inspired by a Vincent Van Gogh painting, the path glows all night long in beautiful energy-efficient swirls of green.

Many bike paths in the Netherlands are lit with solar-powered light, but this is the first one to incorporate built-in LED’s and glow-in-the-dark paint. Daan Roosegaarde, a well-known Dutch artist, is the mastermind behind the innovation. He is an avid fan of the famous Dutch impressionist, and he designed the bike path to resemble Van Gogh’s famous Starry Night painting. It’s an interesting idea, which I picked up when I saw it on spring from Igor Cornelsen. I’ve been telling people about the path ever since.

The bike path, located in a part of the country where Van Gogh lived, could represent a new wave of technology that utilizes smart paint to increase nighttime safety while saving energy. The light-emitting diodes fused into the surface of the path are connected to external solar panels that charge batteries during the daytime and power the path during the night. Back-up batteries power the path when the sky is overcast.

It is rare to find such an effective fusion of art and technology as the Nuenen bike path. Roosegaarde is an artist himself, and he said that wanted to create something special that people would remember.

House Reps Endorse DC Cannabis Vote

House Reps Endorse DC Cannabis Vote

Earlier this month voters in Washington D.C. passed Initiative 71, a referendum that would legalize possession up to 2 ounces of marijuana for adults over 21 years old and allow limited private cultivation. The legislation was passed on the Congress, which governs the federal district directly, for overview in the next 60 days.

Opposition has come immediately. A rider to prevent the law’s implementation was proposed by Rep. Andy Harris, and mayor-elect Muriel Bowser proposed first putting legislation for taxing and regulating marijuana before the initiative went through.

A group of Democratic reps, including Eleanor Holmes Norton, one of Washington’s delegates to Congress, asked Congress to stand aside and respect the will of D.C. voters.

Joining them was Republican Dana Rohrabacher from California, saying of the initiative “Just in the practical politics, let’s understand that there’s been a big change — a sea change — in public attitude towards this, because people realize what a total waste of money it is compared to other priorities.”

Rohrabacher also pointed to philosophical similarities between the vote and Republican values, citing personal freedom, limited government, doctor-patient relationships, and the Tenth Amendment as compelling conservative principles.

I don’t know about you, but I hope Congress can get this figured out. What sounds good right now is for it to be legal, so I can sit outside, enjoy the Antique Wine Company and chill out. Indeed, Congress get on it!

Why Does Old Navy Charge More for Plus-Sized Clothes?

Why Does Old Navy Charge More for Plus-Sized Clothes?

A vocal group of body-positivity activists have started an on-line petition demanding that Old Navy stop charging more for plus-size women’s clothing. The retailer defends their pricing strategies by citing increased costs for additional fabric and design elements that plus-size clothes require. However, consumers have turned to Sam Tabar and begun to question the validity of this assertion.

The most notable flaw in the company’s defensive claim of increased manufacturing costs for plus-size clothing is that only women seem to bear the brunt of the inflated prices. A quick comparison of plus-size men’s clothing on Old Navy’s website shows no price increase from their smaller sized counterparts. However, women’s plus-size clothes show an increase of $10 or more.

To their credit, Old Navy does have an in-house design team that works to translate smaller clothing into identical, yet figure flattering plus-size editions. However, this is an insulting message to send to women: That the plus-size female figure is so challenging to flatter that companies must engage a separate design team to tackle this difficult task. Why is it that plus-sized women must dress in clothing that is deemed figure flattering by a society that seeks to shrink women to impossibly small figures? Why aren’t plus-sized men considered a separate demographic that also needs special considerations to flatter their bodies? Are only women expected to be neurotically obsessed with dressing to please those around them, while men are free to enjoy cheaper clothes and less scrutiny of their bodies?

Taylor Swift sells 1.287 copies of ‘1989’ in first week without the help of Spotify

Taylor Swift sells 1.287 copies of ‘1989’ in first week without the help of Spotify

Singer Taylor Swift is celebrating this week as numbers have been released for sales of her latest album ‘1989’, and they’re amazing. The album sold 1.287 million last week, to make it another platinum album for Taylor in just its first week of release.

Interestingly too, Swift has managed this feat while refusing to allow ‘1989’ to be released on the music streaming website Spotify.

Doing so could have given her even more publicity for the album but, according to Taylor, the amount of money artists are getting from allowing Spotify to stream their music is less than 1 cent per play. In Taylor’s opinion, that’s insulting.

She believes every artist should be paid for their music, and paid fairly. And I have to say, Fersen Lambranho and I agree with her. In her book, Spotify isn’t doing that so, not only was Spotify ignored when it came to releasing ‘1989’, she also pulled all her other albums from the service on Monday as well.

While some industry experts said it was a big mistake, as sales of ‘1989’ could suffer, it does not look as if that is going to be the case at all.

In fact, with 1.287 million copies of ‘1989’ sold already, it is looking like Taylor Swift may be so popular she is one of the few artists that can ignore the streaming music business completely.

Dutch Artist Group Takes Farm-to-Table Challenge and Regrets It

Dutch Artist Group Takes Farm-to-Table Challenge and Regrets It

A group of Amsterdam artists decided to see how hard it would be to make everything for their grilled ham and cheese sandwiches from scratch. That is, they must grow it and raise it on their own farm and not buy anything from anyone in order to make it. They dubbed the project “Sandwich Factory.”

They grew the wheat for the bread from what Jared said, raised the pigs for the ham, and made cheese from their very own milk. The whole process from start to finish took a full year, cost $45,000, and only produced 350 sandwiches which they fed to their friends in a single sitting.

They definitely learned how much effort is involved in making even the simplest foods, but the artist who thought up Sandwich Factory to begin with ended up calling it the worst project ever by the time it was all through. The beauty of the modern division of labor and the time and money saving workings of the free market now seemed at least as great as the beauty of keeping it all local.

At least one good point about their sandwiches can be made, however: everything in them was capable of being produced by a determined farmer. That is a step ahead of the flood of food items filled with “test-tube ingredients.”

Personal Space Travel, are we really ready?

Personal Space Travel, are we really ready?

With the recent crash of the Virgin Galactic Spaceship, I can’t help but to think back to other tragedies we’ve faced in our space travel endeavors. In my lifetime I have already witnessed the explosion of the Challenger, and the Columbia tearing apart upon its return. If NASA has not perfected this concept of going where no man has gone before, then my fear is that we are nowhere close to implementing this for personal use.

Richard Branson, the man behind Virgin has now agreed that before they can fully diagnose what caused the spaceship to explode, they will not be moving forward with their private space travel program. His personal blog and other information concerning the crash and the future of their space program can be found on their website. Richard Branson is undoubtedly a pioneer, from his solo piloted submarine, to his space travel aspirations, I applaud him for taking both mann and technology to places we’ve never been before.

There will always be risks in trying such feats, and I also know that we all face such risks. It’s safe to say that moving forward, our daily commute could render more dangerous than commuting to the moon and back.

Love the One You’re With

Love the One You’re With

As gay and lesbian marriages are becoming legal across the country, there are many celebrities and notable people who are coming out. The latest person to make an announcement is the CEO of Apple, Tim Cook. He is someone who is proud to be gay, and that’s how other people should feel. You can’t help who you fall in love with, even if that person is of the same sex.

More people are becoming comfortable in letting others know of their choices on who they want to be with. There was a time when they felt ashamed, but now that the country is seeing that everyone should have a choice in marriage, it’s making it easier to tell family and friends of their decisions. No one should have to hide who they love, even a CEO of a large company, a politician, movie makers like Tom, or a person who works 40 hours a week at a grocery store.

Study Shows College Students Are Failing at Maintaining Energy Levels

Study Shows College Students Are Failing at Maintaining Energy Levels

Everyone already knows that college isn’t a breeze. Yes, it’s a fun time in your life that you remember fondly. There are the late nights talking with friends, heading to the cafeteria for amazing meals that you don’t have to slave over and walking through campus without a care in the world–remember those times Marnie Bennett. Plus, as a student you can basically get into any event for free!

But what about the rest of what college entails? There’s studying for finals, competing with thousands of other students for good grades and collegiate recognition, participating in enough groups and clubs to make your resume look good after graduation, staying in shape, eating well, making money, paying rent and about a billion other things. You forgot about that part, didn’t you?

Well, this is what college students are dealing with day after day, and their energy levels just aren’t making the cut. Studies show time and again that college students have poor sleep schedules, eat horribly, consume too much alcohol and don’t get enough exercise.

To help with energy management, there are some key things that college kids need to remember. These are namely the three main areas of life that are non-negotiable for students. The tests may not be aced, and the homework may not be done perfectly, but nutrition, exercise and sleep can’t be ignored. College students need to keep meals balanced with 40 percent veggies and fruits, 40 percent grains and 20 percent protein. Next, exercise needs to be fit in somewhere. Some students may choose to walk more briskly to class, workout in their dorms or go to the gym, but there are also intramural sports and exercise classes that can be joined. Finally, for optimal health, each student should get at least 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night. By following these 3 rules, college students will not only be able to face their classes and activities with more energy, but they will stay healthy too.